Thursday, February 26, 2009

Is Healing for now?

Regarding Psalm 103

Q. Great web site! Regarding Psalm 103:1-5:

Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Is it common sense that he heals all our diseases and restores out youth in this life? I see no evidence of that. Could it be that this is a promise for our future in our resurrected bodies?

A. These are promises for the here and now. Being in the present tense they reflect the personal experiences of David and his contemporaries. Besides, in our resurrected bodies we will have no need for healing or forgiveness because we’ll never contract any diseases or commit any sins. This is one more sign that for the most part, the church today lacks the faith to enjoy many of the promises that our ancestors saw as everyday blessings from God.



Who Is The Bride?

Q. I’ve recently heard a well known teacher who claimed that at the rapture some of us will become the bride to reign with the Lord, while others will either be consigned to the outer darkness or to Gehenna. Do you believe that the entire church is the Bride or just those who endeavored to mature and press in to God? Will you sight scripture please?

A. The phrase “outer darkness” is used only 3 times in the New Testament and never in a context that involves the Church. In Matt. 8:12 it refers to Jews who reject the Messiah, and in Matt. 22:13 and 25:30 the subject is tribulation survivors. Gehenna is a Hebrew term that’s derived from the Valley of Hinnom, which was the location of Jerusalem’s garbage dump. Since it was always on fire, it became a euphemism for the eternal fire where the unsaved will go. It’s the Jewish version of the Christian concept of Hell.

Ephes. 5:25-27 says,
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

This verse, and several others like it, tell us that it’s our acceptance of the Lord’s death on our behalf that makes us holy and blameless, not our efforts at spiritual maturity. Paul said that our righteousness is imputed to us by faith. (Romans 3:21-22)

The idea that we have to earn our position as the Bride is not supported by any scripture. It’s the latest in a long line of heresies that twist the Scriptures to combine grace and works in an effort to convince us that we have to be “co-saviors” with the Lord, as if His death was not sufficient.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bread From Heaven

Psalm 104

Praise the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants. He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.

You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. But at your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of your thunder they took to flight; they flowed over the mountains, they went down into the valleys, to the place you assigned for them. You set a boundary they cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth.

He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains. They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches.

He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work. He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.

The trees of the LORD are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. There the birds make their nests; the stork has its home in the pine trees. The high mountains belong to the wild goats; the crags are a refuge for the coneys. The moon marks off the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down.

You bring darkness, it becomes night, and all the beasts of the forest prowl. The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God. The sun rises, and they steal away; they return and lie down in their dens. Then man goes out to his work, to his labor until evening.

How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number— living things both large and small. There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.

These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.

May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works- he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD. But may sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more. Praise the LORD, O my soul. Praise the LORD.

Everywhere you look you see evidence of God’s role as the Author of Creation. From the mountains and the skies that shout it to the plants and flowers that sing it to the birds and bees that whisper it. No amount of random selection could have resulted in such intricacy, such attention to the smallest detail. If you could hold a hummingbird in your hand and inspect it carefully, you’d be overwhelmed at the beauty of its construction. And how about a bumblebee? Aerodynamically unsuited for flight, its wings are too small to hold its body aloft. And yet they do, because God ordained it.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. (Psalm 19:1-3) All of creation cooperates to bring us the message of Grand Design, and there can be nothing more confirming of this than a walk along a beach or through a field of wild flowers or over a mountain trail. It reminds us once again of the power and majesty of the One to whom we pay homage, teaching us that surely He’s capable of managing our little lives.

This is why whenever our problems threaten to overwhelm us, we gain such comfort from “communing with nature.” It allows the self-evident truth of our Creator-God’s existence to permeate our souls, whether we consciously admit it or not, putting our circumstances into perspective. Often solutions pop suddenly into our minds as our spirit re-connects with God’s and our own creativity is stimulated.

We often say that stepping back from our immediate situation gives us the perspective we need to think things through, or see them more clearly, but I’m convinced that removing ourselves from the static that routinely fills our heads allows us to hear the Voice that was there all along, giving us the answer we were too pre-occupied to hear.

So why wait for a crisis to take yourself somewhere quiet so you can hear the Voice of God? Why not make it a routine part of your life? You’ll be happier and more productive, your life will be more peaceful, and you’ll become even more certain that the Bible’s creation account had to have been written by the only eye-witness, explaining exactly how He did it. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)



Are My Children Still Saved?

Q. My question regards the age of accountability and homosexuality. After reading your answers on age of accountability being around 13 (or puberty) I can logically agree with that. My question is; what if the child accepts Christ prior to the age of accountability (for themselves). For instance my daughter accepted Christ and was baptized by her own choice around 8 years of age. She is now 28 years old and does not believe Jesus is the only way to heaven and she is also a lesbian. Does once saved always saved apply to her? I pray for her consistently as well as her brother who is 30 with a similar experience except he is not gay. Are my children saved because they were saved and showed evidence by fruits at the time? Or because it was before the age of accountability is their salvation in question?

A. First of all Once Saved Always Saved applies to everyone. There are no exceptions. Second, 13 is the age used in the Jewish religion for accountability. There’s no mention of a specific age in either the Old or New Testaments. Most scholars interpret it to be the age at which a child can understand the concept of sin and salvation. If your children were intellectually mature enough to know what they were doing when they asked for salvation then they’re still saved. If they’ve wandered off, the Lord has promised to bring them back. He said He would never lose even one of us. Remember, He knew every sin of our lives before we came to be, and died for all of them. Nothing we do is ever a surprise to Him. Keep praying for them. It won’t be in vain.


The Book of Ezekiel

Ezekiel And The Fall Of Judah

Q. Why did God have Ezekiel prophesy the destruction of Israel and Judah? I thought Israel and Judah were already destroyed before the days of Ezekiel because, Ezekiel said in the beginning of his book that he was in the midst of captivity. Where was Ezekiel located (where did he live) during the time he was prophesying?

A. The northern Kingdom, called Israel, was conquered by the Assyrians around 722BC. Babylon conquered Judah over a 19 period that included three sieges about 130 years later. In the first siege, which took place in 605 BC, Daniel was taken to Babylon along with a number of others from the royal family, to serve as hostages. Ezekiel became a hostage along with 10,000 others who were carried off to Babylon in the 2nd siege, in 597. Finally, in the 3rd siege, 586 BC, the Temple and city were destroyed, all the remaining Jews were taken to Babylon, and the Promised Land was left unoccupied for 70 years. The firsrt 32 chapters of Ezekiel were written before the 3rd siege.


Father's Love

The Love of The Father

Wendy Pope

"For the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes."

Hebrew 12:6 (AMP)


"This hurts me more than it hurts you." These were the exact words my mother and father used before they disciplined me. Have you ever heard these words? Have you ever said these words?

As a child it was hard to understand how my parent's correction and discipline could hurt them more than it hurt me. After all, I was the one on the receiving end of the pain and suffering! I had many mental conversations with myself on this very subject. How can they say that when I am the one confined to my room for the week?

Growing up I thought I would only use positive reinforcement as disciplinary tools to raise my children into civilized, well-behaved members of society. My plan worked perfectly until I actually had children. Then I begin to re-think my mindset and seek the counsel of the Word as my guide for disciplining my children, as well as for receiving my own discipline from the Lord.

As a young mother correcting her children, my heart began to understand the Father's correction. It helped that I had already made the decision to allow God to be the Lord of my life. I was surrendered to His leadership in my life. Surrender meant accepting and submitting. Accepting His unconditional love and undeserved grace for my sin and submitting to His correction and discipline in my life. Trusting Him to use His Word to shape me into the person He wanted me to be. I was and I am today the object of His great love.

The Lord's correction and discipline is given to everyone He loves, accepts, and cherishes in His heart. According to Ephesians 1:5, through Jesus Christ we are adopted as sons of God. Therefore, as His children we are entitled to His great love and His loving hand of discipline.

Admittedly, it took me some time to willingly submit to the correction and discipline of the Lord. At times, the process was painful and difficult, asking me to give up things I took pleasure in. When I obeyed though, I always saw a positive result. Two truths came to life: discipline is good, and discipline is necessary to help me become like Christ.

I felt His great love as God would tell me, "No honey, don't watch that show anymore" or "Wendy, that relationship is not really beneficial to you. It would be in your best interest to break away from it." When I submitted to the discipline, I could see that He really loved me and wanted what was best for me.

As a young mother, I began to understand how giving the discipline really does hurt more than receiving the discipline. How? Because of the love. The giver loves so deep and in a way the receiver cannot understand until the discipline is accepted and applied, and the receiver matures. Eventually, the one receiving the discipline and correction realizes that discipline brings what he or she has always longed for: security, comfort, and peace.

The next time you need to accept discipline, remember the love of the Father who uses correction to shape you into the person He has designed you to be.

Dear Lord, help me to accept and apply Your loving discipline to my life. Thank You for loving me enough not to overlook my faults. You want me to be all that You have planned. Forgive me when I stubbornly stand in the way of the work of Your great love. It warms my heart to know that You accept and cherish me in Your heart, even enough to discipline me when I need it. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

Do You Know Him?

i am not but i know I AM by Louie Giglio

Pierced By the Word: 31 Meditations for Your Soul by John Piper

Out of the Mouths of Babes by Wendy Pope

Visit Wendy Pope's blog

Application Steps:

Read Hebrews 12:1-12. Look for and write down all the benefits of God's discipline.


How do I typically respond to God's discipline?

Do I really believe that discipline means love? Why or why not?

How does discipline really provide security, comfort, and peace?

Power Verses:

Job 5:17, "Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty." (NIV)

Proverbs 10:17, "He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray." (NIV)

Hebrews 12:11, "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." (NIV)

© 2009 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105

Monday, February 23, 2009

Bad Eye

What is the 'Bad Eye' in Matthew 6:23?
John Piper

A verse in Matthew is somewhat difficult to understand. It seems to dangle in the Sermon on the Mount with little connection to what goes before and after: "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!" (Matthew 6:22-23).

Before it: the familiar saying about not laying up treasures on earth: "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21).

After it: the equally familiar saying about not serving God and money: "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money" (Matthew 6:24).

Therefore, the sayings before and after Matthew 6:22-23 deal with treasure or money. In fact, the first would flow really well into the second if we simply left out the intervening verses 22-23. The gist would be "Treasure God in heaven, not money on earth . . . because you can't serve two masters, God and money." So why does Jesus link these two sayings about money and God with a saying about the good eye and the bad eye?

The key is found in Matthew 20:15. Jesus had just told the parable of the workers in the vineyard. Some of them had agreed to work from 6 am to 6 pm for a denarius. Some the master hired at 9 am. Others at noon. Finally some he hired at 5 pm. When the day was done at 6 pm he paid all the workers the same thing--a denarius. In other words, he was lavishly generous to those who worked only one hour, and he paid the agreed amount to those who worked twelve hours.

Those who worked all day "grumbled at the master of the house" (Matthew 20:11). They were angry that those who worked so little were paid so much. Then the master used a phrase about "the bad eye" which is just like the one back in Matthew 6:23. He said, "Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?" (Matthew 20:15).

Unfortunately that last clause is a total paraphrase, not a translation. "Or do you begrudge my generosity" is a very loose paraphrase of "Or is your eye bad because I am good (? ho ophthalmos sou pon?ros estin hoti eg? agathos eimi?)" The "bad eye" here parallels the "bad eye" in Matthew 6:23.

What does the bad eye refer to in Matthew 20:15? It refers to an eye that cannot see the beauty of grace. It cannot see the brightness of generosity. It cannot see unexpected blessing to others as a precious treasure. It is an eye that is blind to what is truly beautiful and bright and precious and God-like. It is a worldly eye. It sees money and material reward as more to be desired than a beautiful display of free, gracious, God-like generosity.

That is exactly what the bad eye means in chapter six of the Sermon on the Mount. And that meaning gives verses 22-23 a perfect fitness between a saying on true treasure (vv. 19-21) and the necessity of choosing between the mastery of God and the mastery of money (vv. 24).

So the flow of thought would go like this: Don't lay up treasures on earth, but lay up treasures in heaven. Show that your heart is fixed on the value that God is for you in Christ. Make sure that your eye is good not bad. That is, make sure that you see heavenly treasure as infinitely more precious than earthly material treasure. When your eye sees things this way, you are full of light. And if you don't see things this way, even the light you think you see (the glitz and flash and skin and muscle of this world) is all darkness. You are sleepwalking through life. You are serving money as a slave without even knowing it, because it has lulled you to sleep. Far better is to be swayed by the truth--the infinite value of God.

So if you are emotionally drawn more by material things than by Christ, pray that God would give you a good eye and awaken you from the blindness of "the bad eye."

Pastor John

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

Email: Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.

Be born again!

Church Goer Or Believer?

Q. Recently I read that end times prophecy turned you from life long church goer to born again believer. Can you explain what you meant? Wouldn’t your going to church faithfully because of God mean that you believed in God and subsequently Jesus? I understand if you’d rather not get personal but I’ve experienced the same, I prayed for salvation when I was nine because I didn’t want to go to hell, and I went to church ever since. I believe strongly today but I feel I was saved then and wondered if you felt that you were saved before you were a “born again believer”. After all, isn’t it simply belief in Jesus and that he died for us enough? Some people never have a born again experience.

A. There are many life long church goers who aren’t saved and I was one of them. Sure, I “believed” in Jesus but I didn’t think I was a sinner, so I didn’t think I needed a Savior. Therefore I never prayed for salvation. My church didn’t teach the need for that. We were taught that membership in the church was all that was necessary to go to heaven when we died. Now I know that no matter how much time we spend in church, we aren’t saved until we admit we are sinners, accept the Lord’s death as payment for our sins, and ask Him to save us. Lot’s of people don’t have a “born again experience” Being saved is a conviction not an emotion.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Three days during Jesus Death!

What Happened During Those 3 Days?

Q. I would like to know what Jesus did those 3 days when he died on the cross prior to resurrection. Was there a battle? If so, what was it for exactly? I have had some interpretation on it but not much scripture.

A. Some teach that when the Lord went into the grave it was to endure 3 more days of torment at the hands of the devil, but I don’t buy it, primarily because His last words were “It is finished.” (John 19:30) Remember, the Greek word John used there was very familiar to his early readers. It was a legal term that meant “Paid In Full”. Jesus couldn’t have said that if His torment wasn’t finished yet.

But there are also 2 verses in Peter’s first letter that speak of his time there. 1 Peter 3:19 says that He preached to the imprisoned spirits of those who had disobeyed in the days of Noah. 1 Peter 4:6 says that He also confirmed the gospel to those who had died believing in a coming redeemer. In effect He said that their faith had been justified, and they should get ready to accompany Him to Heaven. He couldn’t have done these things while being tortured as Satan’s captive.


Moses a type

Moses, A Type Of The Messiah

Q. My granddaughter and I are studying “The life of Moses” this year in Bible Study Fellowship. I thought some of it would be something of a slog, but God’s set up of the whole sacrificial system is such a beautiful graphic picture of all that Jesus has done for us, that it is wonderful.

But one thing that I don’t understand is this. When the “stiff necked” people (I love that-aren’t we all?) disobeyed, God became so angry. After the golden calf, He threatened to start all over with just Moses and not lead with His presence. There are many failures that brought on God’s anger. My problem is that I know God knew this would all happen ahead of time and He knew He would not wipe everyone out and start over with Moses. So why such anger? It almost comes across to me that God loses control. And I know that is not true. Can you help me here?

A. You’re right. God knew everything in advance and does not lose control. In a sense He and Moses were acting out a parable of the Everlasting Covenant. God’s anger symbolized His wrath at the end of the age when He will punish the wicked. By offering to have his name blotted out of The Book of Life if God would forgive the people and not destroy them (Ex.32:32), Moses was being a type of the Messiah. Later Jesus fulfilled this model when He actually did give His life as payment for our sins so that God could forgive us and spare ours.


Moslem Antichrist

Could The Anti-Christ Be Moslem?

Q. I know there are differing opinions on who and where the anti-Christ comes from. Is there any indication that he may be a Muslim? Seeing that the whole region was a part of the Roman Empire is it possible. Or do you think he will be of European descent?

A. The only indications that the anti-Christ could be Molsem come from extra-Biblical sources and even those are only inferences, but when combined they form a compelling circumstantial case. Here are the main ones.

1. As the end of the age approaches, Islam is both the 2nd largest and fastest growing religion on Earth. Only Christianity is bigger, but after the rapture will become a distant 2nd to Islam. To me that makes Islam the most likely one-world religion.

2. Islam has a stated goal of taking over the world, by force if necessary.

3. The Roman Empire of Biblical times had both Eastern and Western divisions. Today the countries that made up the Eastern division are largely Moslem.

4. Western Europe is rapidly falling under the influence of Islam, so even a western anti-Christ could be Islamic.

5. Some Moslems expect a coming world leader they call al Mahdi. Their descriptions of him are strikingly similar to our descriptions of the anti-Christ. They say al Mahdi will be a peacemaker who comes in a time of chaos, that he’ll rule the world for 7 years, enforce the practice of Islam worldwide, and that at the end of his reign the world will be judged.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Millenium Temple

The Coming Temple

Most people believe a new Jewish Temple would require destruction of the Dome of the Rock. What does the Bible say?

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

According to Prophecies in Daniel 9:27, Matt 24:15 and 2 Thes 2:4, a Temple will exist in Israel at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. This is confirmed by Revelation 11:1 which describes John measuring a Temple during the Tribulation. Its location is the “Holy City.” Chapter 11 also introduces the 2 witnesses who preach in the “Great City” and are ultimately killed there, their bodies left lying in the street. The Great City is identified as the place where the Lord was crucified: Jerusalem. But is Jerusalem also the Holy City?

According to Zechariah 14:6-9 on the day of the Lord’s return an earthquake will split the Mt. of Olives in two along an East-West line that creates a great valley through the center of Jerusalem. Immediately a river will fill the valley creating a waterway from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea. If the Lord returns to the same area of the Mt. of Olives from which He left, as suggested by Acts 1:11, the earthquake creating this East-West valley will destroy the current Temple mount and anything that may be standing upon it.

Ezekiel 47:1-12 describes a great river flowing from under the south side of the Temple and then eastward to the Dead Sea during a period of time that most scholars believe has not occurred yet. Revelation 22:1-2 confirms this. If as it appears, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Revelation all describe the same river, then an interesting scenario begins to emerge.

This scenario requires a Temple to be present on the day the Lord returns, but since the current Temple mount will have been destroyed by the earthquake mentioned above, this Temple must be somewhere else. Since the river originates under the Temple and flows from its south side before heading East and West, the Temple must be north of the newly created river valley.

Where Are The 12 Tribes?

Plotting the land grants for the 12 tribes given in the 48th chapter of Ezekiel on a map of Israel places the precincts of the Holy City somewhat north of the current City of Jerusalem. This new location is the ancient City of Shiloh, where the Tabernacle stood for nearly 400 years after the Israelites first conquered the Land. This is the Holy City and its name is Jehovah Shammah according to the last verse in Ezekiel. The Hebrew translates as “the LORD is here.”

If accurate, this location would meet all the requirements for the Temple mentioned in the above references. The current Temple Mount in Jerusalem would not.

According to Ezekiel 44:6-9, this Temple will have been defiled in a way never seen in history, therefore at a time yet future to us. A foreigner un-circumsized in heart (neither Christian) and flesh (nor Jewish) will have been given charge of the sanctuary while offering sacrifices. If we understand the chronology of Ezekiel, this event will have taken place after both the 1948 re-gathering prophesied in 36-37 and the national wake-up call prophesied in 38-39 but before the Millennial Kingdom begins. The only event we know of that fits that chronology is the Great Tribulation. This is confirmed by Paul’s prophecy of 2 Thes. 2:4 where the anti christ sets himself up in the Temple proclaiming himself to be god.

Here then is a rough outline of events. Following Israel’s return to God after the battle of Ezekiel 38-39, the Jewish people will re-establish their covenant (old not new) with Him. This will require a return to Levitical practices and so a Temple will be built. This is the Temple spoken of by Daniel and Revelation. Following instructions given by Ezekiel and needing to avoid the enormous problems a Jerusalem Temple would create in the Moslem world, this Temple will be located north of Jerusalem in Shiloh. It will be defiled in the middle of the last 7 years as outlined in Daniel 9:24-27, Ezekiel 44:6-9, Matt 24:15 and 2 Thes 2:4 kicking off the Great Tribulation, but will be cleansed by living water that begins flowing on the day the Lord returns (Zech 14:8). This temple will be used during the Millennium to memorialize the Lord’s work at the cross and provide the perspective for children born during the Kingdom Age to choose salvation just as you and I have had the perspective of the Lord’s Supper in making our choice. Remember, He said, “Do this in memory of Me until I come.” Acts 15:14-16 confirms that after the Lord has chosen a people from among the gentiles for Himself (the church) He will return and re-build David’s fallen Tabernacle (the Temple). This is the Millennial Temple so vividly described in Ezekiel 40-48.

The New Jerusalem

The Ezekiel passage also solves the Jerusalem / New Jerusalem problem. For as long as I’ve been studying these things, there has been debate over the issue of the New Jerusalem. Some wonder how the Lord could permit redeemed believers and non- believing natural humans to co-exist in the Millennium. (The rotten apple spoiling the barrel theory) Others wonder how a city with a foot print 1400 miles square and tall could be located in Israel when the whole country won’t be that big.

Carefully examining Rev 21 and 22, we notice that John never actually says the city arrives on earth. We are only told he sees it coming down out of heaven, prepared as a bride. (Not that the city IS the bride, but that as with a bride on her wedding day, no effort has been spared to make it look its absolute best.)

I don’t believe the city ever rests on the Earth’s surface, but rather orbits in the proximity of Earth, like a satellite or perhaps another moon.

Also comparing the descriptions of New Jerusalem with Jehovah Shammah we see some similarities but enough differences to refute the notion that John and Ezekiel described the same place. Compare the following:

New Jerusalem
(All verses from Rev.)
Jehovah Shammah
(All verses from Ezekiel)
12 gates named after Israel (21:12) 12 gates named after Israel (48:30)
12 foundations named after Apostles (21:14) Foundation not described
1400 miles square and tall (21:16) One mile square (48:30)
Coming Down from heaven (21:2) Located in Israel on Earth (40:2)
No Temple … God and the Lamb are its Temple (21:22) Temple just north of the city (40:2)
No sin; nothing impure will ever enter (21:27) Daily sin offerings in the Temple (45:13-15,17)
No more death (21:4) Still death (44:25 also Isa 65:20)
No natural beings … only the perfected (21:27) Natural Beings (46:16)

With the differentiation of these two Holy Cities, the apparent conflict between Jewish and Christian eschatology is resolved. Israel was promised that one day GOD would come to Earth to dwell among them forever, while the Church is promised that Jesus will come to take us to heaven to live with Him there. Both promises come true.

Since Ezekiel specifically quoted the Lord’s promise to dwell among the Israelites forever (43:7) and then described the new Holy City, while Jesus promised to return for the Church to take us to be with Him (John 14:1-3), they must have been talking about two different destinations. They were. Heaven is the New Jerusalem where we will dwell with the Lord forever, while the Holy City on Earth is Jehovah Shammah where God will dwell in the midst of His people Israel forever.


New Heaven and New Earth

Separated Forever?

Q. I want to thank you for clearing up a lot of questions, but I read one of the articles I get from you and don’t quite understand.

You are comparing the descriptions of the New Jerusalem with Jehovah Shammah. In the last two paragraphs of that article you state that Heaven is the New Jerusalem where we will dwell with the Lord forever, while the Holy City on Earth is Jehovah Shammah where God will dwell in the midst of His people Israel forever.

This sounds like we will be separated from the Jews forever in eternity . Can you clear this up for me?

A. No one in his or her natural state, whether Jew or Gentile, will be able to enter the New Jerusalem during the Millennium. (Rev. 21:27) But believers in their perfected state, as we will be after the rapture, will be able to visit any place in the universe. This includes Israel and every other location on planet Earth where our loved ones might be.

At the end of the Millennium, all the people of Earth will be perfected too (Isaiah 25:7-8) which would likely remove any restrictions on them as far as visiting us is concerned. So we won’t be separated forever.


Legitimate Leadership

Paul Keith Davis:
"Our Nation and the Church are Desperate for Legitimate Leadership"

Paul Keith DavisGreetings friends,

We trust this newsletter finds you pressing into God for the fullness of your personal destiny. These are indeed critical times and as indicated throughout history, various individuals are inevitably born and equipped to meet the needs of the generation to which they are devoted. This is especially true during times of adversity and crisis. We as God's people must arise with His anointing to provide answers and direction.

We are very excited about the responses we have been receiving from many concerning our upcoming conferences in Frederick, Maryland and Tucson, Arizona (see itinerary below). Both seem to have a sense of destiny and prophetic promise for the restoration of spiritual mantles of revelation and power.

In Tucson, we will have individuals attending who were closely associated with the life and ministry of William Branham to share firsthand testimony of his meetings as well as representatives of the A. A. Allen family. We are asking God for a spiritual release and deposit into our generation of those incredible wells of healing and deliverance.

Based upon the meetings thus far in 2009, there's something genuinely different about this year. If we will co-operate with God, much ground can be taken in the Spirit in a progressive unfolding of His divine plan.

Richest blessings of favor and grace,

Paul Keith & Wanda and the WhiteDove Team

Our Need for Legitimate Leadership

There is a present call being heralded through the Church for intense revelatory prayer that births God's purposes and the anointed Word that unveils the Lord's Kingdom realm. The Church must enter a higher level of intercession that is mingled with clear prophetic insight to launch this next seven-year season in God and provide much needed leadership.

Moses and Aaron stood in the gap and interceded on behalf of Israel in key times of crisis and indecision; so must God's anointed stand in the gap through intercessory prayer to facilitate the harvest and steer our nation through these turbulent times. Our nation and the Church are desperate for legitimate leadership.

The spirit of humanism is struggling to form a stronger foundation throughout our nation that would only hinder our promised harvest. New Age philosophy and teachings will now be offered on a greater plain and with broader exposure than ever before. Nevertheless, if we pray, many who turn to soothsayers and diviners for direction and guidance will only discover that true answers are found in Jesus.

Many will have the opportunity to experience the utter fallacy and weakness of humanism to respond to the deep longing of their soul. Only the Lord Jesus can fill that void within the human spirit through His anointed Word. The words of Jesus are especially relevant to this season when He said:

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

The Anointed Word

In John 6:63 the Lord stated that His words were both SPIRIT and LIFE. Through the anointing, words have a spiritual life of their own that highlights the Cross and transports one from the natural realm into the Spirit realm. Words, when anointed, become spiritual "vehicles" that translate us from one realm to another. The natural word becomes spiritual through the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus Himself was actually representative of the "anointed Word." He was the Word of God incarnate in flesh and He is the Messiah—the Anointed One.

2 Corinthians 3:6 declares, "...who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."

For the ministered word to become spiritual food, it must proceed from the Lord's presence through an anointed ministry in an atmosphere of the anointing. As His anointed word is quickened within us and we receive from it an impartation of Spirit and life, we are then growing into "the fullness of His stature." Our intercession is only productive when proceeding from a culture of the anointing; then our words possess Spirit and life that cannot return void without accomplishing their intended purposes.

Restoring Lost Mantles

A substantial portion of our revelatory prayer should be devoted to at least two things: restoring some-things old and birthing some-things new. The "something old" is that which will be recovered from the prior generation. The new thing will be spoken into being by the Spirit of prophecy according to Isaiah 48:6-7:

"You have heard (these things foretold), now you see this fulfillment. And will you not bear witness to it? I show you specified new things from this time forth, even hidden things (kept in reserve) which you have not known. They are created now (called into being by the prophetic word), and not long ago; and before today you have never heard of them, lest you should say, 'Behold, I knew them!'" (Amplified Bible)

There were Spiritual purposes initiated in the 1940s-50s that were supported by the Holy Spirit and vindicated as a true move of God. However, this movement faltered because of unbelief and fanaticism. The Lord's desire now is to reinstitute the Heavenly purposes that were begun in the 50s and pick up where they left off, mingled with fresh and new expressions of His grace. That is our purpose in hosting our Conference in Tucson, Arizona, at the end of this February. Our heart is to honor the great things God did in the prior generation in order to create a culture and atmosphere for the impartation of those revelatory and healing mantles.

In a prophetic experience several years ago, our friend Bob Jones saw the Lord restoring these lost ministries. In the revelation the Lord exhibited an exuberant attitude in revealing this truth and great joy and excitement exuded from Him as He revealed His desire to reestablish the move of His Holy Spirit that was begun in the prior generation. It was not His intent for this movement to break down as it did. Yet, we must learn from the mistakes of our forefathers so that we can overcome the obstacles that caused the derailment of end-time purposes.

That movement released in embryonic form, Kingdom principles essential for the harvest and the fulfillment of God's Word for the end-of-the-age generation. God's healing power that was exhibited during that season as well as the humble quality of His servants as they initially began that era of Church history is fundamental to our success. It was also a season of great revelation of the Word with the restoration of Biblical truth that provides a sanctifying light to God's people that makes us a suitable habitation for the Holy Spirit in fullness. The Lord prayed in John 17:15-17:

"I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth."

The good things of the 50s that were pure and Godly will now be restored to us and joined with these new things that we will be experiencing in this new beginning. An emphasis in the "new thing" will be a new unity that before now has not been known in the Church and must first be displayed in our corporate intercession.

Becoming Disciples of Christ

How do we become more revelatory and offer prayers of greater precision? At least one way is by becoming disciples of Christ according to Isaiah 50:4, saying:

"The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning; He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple."

A disciple is defined as one who is being awakened and instructed morning by morning by the Holy Spirit. The words then proceeding from disciples of Christ are saturated with life and Spirit that transforms the spiritual environment.

The Lord is revealing Himself as the Teacher (see Isaiah 30:20) and He is going to anoint those individuals He has been grooming over the past several years in order to impart the Spirit of Truth and the power of God with the weapons of righteousness on the right and on the left. Second Corinthians 6:6-7 tells us how to identify this company coming in:

"...purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left..."

Cleansing of Flesh and Spirit

The apostle Paul speaking of these lofty admonitions says,

"Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." 2 Corinthians 7:1

There has presently been an emphasis on the cleansing of our spirits in preparation for the Light that is coming. The Lord is sprinkling clean water (revelatory truth) upon us that we may be made clean from our association with the spirit of this world. We then receive a new heart and a new spirit will be placed within us so that our heart of stone is extracted and a heart of compatibility with Heaven is imparted (see Ezekiel 36:24-27).

When this is complete we are then capable of receiving more fully the Holy Spirit within us, who causes us to walk according to His statutes and ordinances. This is the process that makes us "bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh." From this position our desolate heritages are restored and the favor of Heaven becomes evident.

The Lord is preparing to make "known" the previously unknown. When our soulish ambitions and agendas are revealed and extracted, it makes way for the revelation of the Lord's redemptive attributes that we have heretofore been incapable of experientially apprehending. There is a purifying that takes place in the spirits of God's people to eradicate mixture and extract corruption. The Holy Spirit in us will then reveal God's nature that is foreign and unknown to this world.

There is a divine stirring within the spirits of men to link Heaven with earth. The Bible calls it, "deep calling unto the deep." The Holy Spirit resident in us is calling out for the deep and lofty things of God contained in His mysteries and divine strategies.

I Have a Dream

These directives may seem high and lofty to some, and perhaps they are. Even so, this is our "promised land" of inheritance. No matter how great the giants may seem that occupy the land, God is big enough to pull it off, if we will yield to Him and co-operate with Heaven.

In another of his prophetic encounters, Bob Jones was told that the enemy vigorously works to steal these impassioned dreams of God's people. Primarily, dreams consisting of hopes and aspirations birthed in their spirits that motivate them in prayer and set them on their prophetic journey.

In the experience, the Lord expressed that it was acceptable for His people to contemplate great and lofty things that He is capable of doing through them. That is the admonition in Ephesians 3:20-21:

"Now to Him who is able to do far more (exceedingly) abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen."

If our dreams become exaggerated beyond the parameters of His promise, then He will make adjustments in us that keep it from becoming vain imaginations. With the vision that is being imparted to saints, there is a corresponding faith that is birthed to see it become reality. Our adversary is attempting to bring opposition to those dreams and visions with the anticipated result of birthing hopelessness and depression in its place.

Psalm 126 was given as an outline for this admonition. Those who dream in the greatness and hopeful expectation of God's restoration are filled with joy. Correspondingly, without vision, people perish in discouragement and confusion and are led astray into captivity.

We cannot give up the dream and aspiration of being used mightily by the Holy Spirit in the blueprint of Heaven presently being unfolded. We must also continue to dream for our children to be handed a rich spiritual inheritance.

Paul Keith and Wanda Davis
WhiteDove Ministries



20/20 Hindsight

20/20 Hindsight: What I Hope We Learned From the Lakeland Revival

Looking back at what happened in Lakeland, I wonder if we can agree on what went wrong.

It has been four months since Canadian evangelist Todd Bentley fled the scene of Florida’s Lakeland Revival amid rumors of a moral failure. When Bentley vanished in August, the crowds thinned, God TV stopped broadcasting services, the meetings eventually shut down and Bentley’s worship leader took the popular music of the revival on the road.

Meanwhile, many people were left scratching their heads. Some were angry with Bentley for leaving his wife. Some were confused because their faith had been energized during the six-monthlong experience. Many charismatic ministry leaders defended the revival, saying that it was never supposed to focus on a man. Others blamed Bentley’s critics for the revival’s demise. "Ministers of the gospel need both godly character and powerful anointing. Why did we ever settle for the idea that we should have one without the other." Late last week the board of directors of Fresh Fire Ministries—which Bentley resigned from in August—released a lengthy statement to update its supporters on Bentley’s condition. The letter confirmed that (1)

Bentley is “resolute in his intentions” to divorce his wife, Shonnah—and that “he admits to being 100% responsible for the divorce”; (2) his relationship with his former intern is ongoing; (3) the evangelist drank inappropriately during the revival; and (4) he has yet to enter into a clear system of accountability with Christian leaders who have offered to help him.

The six-page statement, which defended the impact of the Lakeland Revival, did not excuse Bentley’s behavior. “We believe there are currently no biblical grounds for Todd to leave his wife and children,” the board members said. They added: “The nature of the present relationship between Todd and his former staff member is that of adultery.”

Lakeland was a painful chapter in the history of our movement, not just because such a highly visible preacher made such embarrassing moral choices but also because Christian leaders never agreed on what went wrong or how it could have been avoided. Now that the accident scene is in our rearview mirror, I wonder if we can agree on at least some points. Here are some lessons I hope we have learned by now:

Lesson #1: Accountability. Accountability. Accountability. I wish just saying the word over and over could impress the concept in our minds. Leaders must live according to biblical standards. Period. Bentley’s board admitted in their statement that after the Lakeland meetings went into full swing, Bentley developed troubling behavior patterns. That would have been the right time for someone with apostolic courage to demand that Bentley step down for a season until he got his spiritual life in order. If we really want New Testament miracles and New Testament impact, maybe we should embrace New Testament discipline.

Lesson #2: The one-man show is over. New Testament ministry is about teams, not hotshots. Paul shared the workload with Barnabas, Phoebe, Clement, Priscilla, Aquilla and many others. And he protested when people tried to make him out to be a god. When will we learn that the superstar syndrome actually thwarts genuine revival because it causes audiences to focus on man instead of Jesus?

I know there are those who insist that Bentley didn’t want people to notice him. But if that’s true, why did he cover himself with tattoos a few years ago, when he was in the ministry? I’m not a stickler about tattoos, but in Bentley’s case they definitely should have been a red flag. Anyone who craves that much attention needs counseling before they get on a stage.

Lesson #3: Chill out. The Fresh Fire board, in last week’s statement, admitted that one of their biggest mistakes was allowing Bentley’s meetings to go on week after week without a break. Bentley tried to preach continually without rest, and as a result he burned out. Most likely his staff burned out too. No Sabbath, no time for family, no time to unwind. No human being can keep such a schedule without imploding.

Isn’t this also true for the American church scene? Our rule has become, “The show must go on.” We are driven to keep the seats full and the money coming in. The more we work, the more we grow—so we have to work harder to maintain the growth and pay the bills. The pace becomes more and more frantic until the engines fail and the wheels fall off. Building God’s way requires patience, pacing, regular maintenance and plenty of downtime to receive His ongoing guidance and grace.

Lesson #4: Character is more important than anointing. Some revival groupies disagree with me on this. They’re so desperate for a display of miracles that they’ll take a zap from someone who has questionable morals or shoddy values. They don’t mind who lays hands on them as long as they are thrown to the floor while the crowd cheers.

I love revival too, and I’ve spent time on the floor soaking in God’s presence. I love the anointing. But please: Can you show me in the Word of God that character is not required of leaders? The Bible says imposters who work miracles will spend eternity in hell. Working miracles does not win anyone brownie points with God. Ministers of the gospel need both godly character and powerful anointing. Why did we ever settle for the idea that we should have one without the other?

Lesson #5: Lay hands on no man quickly. Many of us are still grieving over the fact that a large number of charismatic leaders stood on a stage in Lakeland in June and publicly commissioned Bentley. Some praised him for his integrity and humility while others prophesied about the nations he will evangelize and the increased spiritual influence he will wield. Today those proclamations (readily available on You Tube) seem hollow and embarrassing.

Some who stood on that stage insist that God told them to do a public commissioning service. One recently hinted to me that it was a mistake. I’ll let them sort that out. Personally, it saddens me that our movement has been tarnished by what appears to be a serious lack of discernment. In the crazy world of independent ministries—which already lack proper accountability—leaders should take the time to investigate a preacher before commending him on international television.

Lesson #6: You can’t have revival without repentance. The word “revival” is thrown around loosely these days. If a few people fall on the floor, get goose bumps or see gold dust, we are ready to christen it a revival and put it on television as soon as possible. After all, if large crowds gather, it must be God!

I’m tired of imitations. History shows that genuine revival is more than a bunch of blessed bodies in a pile. We need more than angel feathers, emotional euphoria and limp pep talks about getting high on Jesus. We need the strong Word of God that convicts hearts, demands repentance, slays sin and has the power to produce converts who will withstand temptation.

With Lakeland behind us, let’s celebrate the testimonies that came out of it, enjoy the songs we sang during it and pray for the restoration of the man God used to start it. Then, let’s learn from our mistakes and press on to better things.

J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma.