Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Push Back!

Joseph Herrin (07-30-2013)

Romans 12:21
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

I have contemplated for some time writing a series to address the subject of the militant homosexual advocacy of the American government and the media. Seldom has there been more effort expended, and more attention given, to a cause. Tragically, the cause that America’s President is championing is accelerating the moral decay of the nation, and it is leading a generation of young people into a morass of sexual deviancy, gross sensuality, and animalistic debasement. Purity and innocence are being trampled in the name of unfettered hedonistic liberty.

Although U.S. President, Barack Hussein Obama, is leading the push for a homosexual America, he is not the true power behind the agenda that is being promulgated. Satan is the chief architect of the homosexual advocacy that is flooding America and the world. Satan is a great deceiver. He couches his wicked agenda in the garb of pursuing equality, freedom, and protecting the rights of all people. Yet Satan is no friend of man. He comes only to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). Satan is the enemy of all that is right, holy, and good. His plan is to debase mankind until the human race no longer bears any resemblance to its Creator.

I have been concerned that Christians are ill prepared to stand up under the onslaught of public opinion and propaganda that is flowing forth at this hour. Many cunning and deceptive tactics are being employed to make homosexuality, or the support of those who practice it, to be viewed as honorable, fair-minded, and loving. Many Christians have already fallen, and more will succumb, as the deception of the enemy of mankind is displayed with increasing force and the darkness of society increases.

Many Christians have failed to count the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ/Yahshua the Messiah. They are unprepared, or unwilling, to suffer persecution, to receive the scorn and enmity of government and a society that is falling further under the sway of Satan. In a vain attempt to maintain peace with the world, and to continue pursuing a comfortable and pleasurable life in an increasingly anti-Christian society, many Christians refuse to take a stand on truth. Christ stated that the world would hate His disciples. Persecution is unavoidable if one is to follow in the footsteps of Yahshua.

II Timothy 3:12
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Yahshua will be persecuted.

The message of suffering for obedience to Christ is scorned by the church in this hour. A false gospel of prosperity, of easy-believism, has replaced the message of the disciple’s cross. There are great numbers who profess faith in Jesus Christ who will not stand in this hour. They will be swept away by the pressure applied to them. They will be cowed by the threats of Satan’s disciples. They will yield to peer pressure for they love the world and want to be accepted by it. The fear of being rejected by society, or being labeled a religious extremist, will be enough to cause many professing Christians to act in a manner that is a betrayal of Christ and which is unworthy of Him.

Matthew 13:20-21
“And the one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word, and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.”

This writing is offered for those who refuse to shrink back in the face of the mounting pressure of a dark world. It is for those who would push back against the evil that is being forced upon them. How does one push back? The Scripture at the top of this writing states that evil must be overcome with good. Preceding these words, the apostle Paul stated:

Romans 12:19-20
Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. "But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head."

The evil of this world will not be overcome with hatred. It will not be overcome with insults, or anger. The media has given great attention to the tactics being employed by the members of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas. 

The pastor and members of this church have shown up to protest at the funerals of American soldiers killed in military service to their country. They have held up signs applauding the fact that a young person was slain, for they say it is a judgment of God against the wickedness of America.

A pro-homosexual writer on the Huffington Post website has an article titled Why I Love the Westboro Baptist Church. She goes on to explain that she loves this church, and all the media attention it has garnered, because it has caused people to be ashamed of being labeled homophobic.


The article mentions that the Westboro Baptist Church’s website has the following statement listed:


I sincerely doubt that there is a member of this church who is a partaker of the Spirit of Christ. The pride, hatred, insults, and strife they promote are not the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The members of this church are not speaking the truth in love. Their words are hate filled. The attitudes of the members reveal a motive of hatred, not love. Paul did not write that the church is to overcome evil with evil. He said, “overcome evil with good.” Lies must be met with truth. Falsehood and deception must be overcome with understanding. Darkness must be dispelled with light.

In writing this series, my intent is to assist the people of God in understanding why homosexuality is deplorable to God and injurious to mankind. There are some very cunning arguments and tactics being employed by those pushing forward a homosexual agenda. Satan is cunning, and he is not stinting in supplying those who do his bidding with schemes and deceitful arguments which will further their aims.

Many Christians are unable to answer the attacks of the enemy, or withstand the wiles of the devil. I suspect that if most Christians were asked why homosexuality is wrong, they would reply, “Because the Bible says it is wrong.” This is akin to saying, “Homosexuality is immoral because Yahweh describes it as sin in the Bible.” There is merit to the argument that something is wrong simply because Yahweh says it is wrong. Understanding is not necessary to accept the fact that Yahweh’s judgments are always righteous and just. A Christian would be greatly benefitted, however, if they understood why Yahweh has declared something to be sin.

Many people in the world describe homosexuality, adultery, and fornication as “victimless” activities. They argue that because these actions are done by two (or more) consenting adults, and no one is injured, there is no reason to censure such behavior. The same argument has been used for legalizing marijuana. Proponents refer to illegal use of marijuana as a victimless crime.

To a non-Christian, the Bible’s judgments describing righteous and unrighteous behavior may appear quite arbitrary. A Christian may even have difficulty discerning any rhyme or reason relating to many of the Bible’s instructions. People today are asking, “Why cannot a woman love another woman, or a man love another man? Why cannot they enjoy the pleasure of sex together? Why cannot they be married and enjoy a committed relationship with one another?” If a Christian cannot answer these questions, but are only able to say, “Because God declared these things to be evil,” they may themselves begin to question the propriety of the Bible’s testimony.

Indeed, there are numerous Christians who are falling away from the Biblical testimony and are embracing homosexuality. Some Christians find the temptation within themselves to engage in sexual experiences with someone of the same gender. They are likely aware that Yahweh has condemned such relationships in the Bible, but the temptation is greater than their fear of God. Perhaps their faith has been weakened by listening to the arguments of the world, and their commitment to obedience eroded by ministers who describe God as kind, and merciful, and forgiving, while neglecting to teach on Yahweh’s holiness and justice and the judgment to come.

There have been a number of well known Christians who have fallen into homosexual behavior. Among them are the singers Jennifer Knapp and Ray Boltz. Jennifer Knapp was the 1999 Dove Award winner for Best New Christian Artist. Despite enjoying much success as a Christian recording artist in 2002, she abruptly quit touring and took a 7 year hiatus. In 2010 she gave a number of interviews, revealing she had been in a lesbian relationship for the past 8 years. Jennifer Knapp says she still has her Christian faith, and even claims that by being honest about her sexuality her faith is actually enhanced.

Ray Boltz was a popular male Christian singer and songwriter. He is well known for his songs Watch the Lamb, Thank You, and I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb. He sold 4.5 million Christian albums. In 2008, twenty years into his Christian music career, Ray Boltz announced that he is a homosexual. He has continued to perform in Metropolitan Community Churches, which is a homosexual denomination.

Exodus International Logo

Last month many Christians were dismayed to learn that Alan Chambers, the President of Exodus International, the oldest and largest ministry working to free men and women from their bondage to a homosexual lifestyle, was repenting of the ministry he helped found. Exodus International was started in 1976. For 37 years their mission had been to help men and women experience freedom from homosexual desires. Many were shocked when the president of this organization confessed that he has been struggling with same sex attraction for a number of years. He further declared that he was deceived to believe that people could be set free from same sex desires.

Chambers contacted Lisa Ling, who hosts the Our America program on the Oprah Winfrey Network, and asked if he could issue a public apology for years spent trying to set homosexuals free. Following is an excerpt taken from Alan Chamber’s apology.

It is strange to be someone who has both been hurt by the church’s treatment of the LGBT community, and also to be someone who must apologize for being part of the very system of ignorance that perpetuated that hurt. Today it is as if I’ve just woken up to a greater sense of how painful it is to be a sinner in the hands of an angry church...

My desire is to completely align with Christ, his Good News for all and his offer of peace amidst the storms of life. My wife Leslie and my beliefs center around grace, the finished work of Christ on the cross and his offer of eternal relationship to any and all that believe. Our beliefs do not center on “sin” because “sin” isn’t at the center of our faith. Our journey hasn’t been about denying the power of Christ to do anything – obviously he is God and can do anything...

There were several years that I conveniently omitted my ongoing same-sex attractions. I was afraid to share them as readily and easily as I do today. They brought me tremendous shame and I hid them in the hopes they would go away. Looking back, it seems so odd that I thought I could do something to make them stop. Today, however, I accept these feelings as parts of my life that will likely always be there. The days of feeling shame over being human in that way are long over, and I feel free simply accepting myself as my wife and family does. As my friends do. As God does...

Please know that I am deeply sorry. I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents. I am sorry that there were times I didn’t stand up to people publicly “on my side” who called you names like sodomite—or worse. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him that I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart. I am sorry that I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine.

More than anything, I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God’s rejection.  I am profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives. For the rest of my life I will proclaim nothing but the whole truth of the Gospel, one of grace, mercy and open invitation to all to enter into an inseverable relationship with almighty God.
[Source: http://exodusinternational.org/2013/06/i-am-sorry/]

A similarity found among men and women who continue to profess faith in Christ while “embracing” their homosexuality, is that they decrease their focus on sin, choosing to consider only the grace, mercy, and kindness of God. The church at large has been prepared by Satan to “embrace” homosexuality through a gradual diminishment of focus on the holiness and justice of Yahweh. Preaching on sin has become passe, as the church has turned their attention to “enjoyment” of their Christian experience. Those aspects of Yahweh’s nature that are too difficult for the flesh to bear are rejected. A new god of tolerance and acceptance, who winks at sin, has been molded for the congregation to worship.

For every Christian who confesses to being a homosexual, or engaging in same sex acts, there are many more who are denying the testimony of Scriptures as they make accommodations for those who profess to be homosexuals. The Huffington Post had the following two articles listed next to one another on their website today.

Satan is flooding the earth with a message that will lead to a wholesale embrace of homosexuality. Clicking on the link to the Pat Robertson story, one is met with the following statements.

The 83-year-old televangelist sat down on Sunday for the "Bring It Online" advice portion of his Christian Broadcasting Network show, "The 700 Club." A viewer named David wrote in asking how he should refer to two transgender females who work in his office and have legally changed their genders. Instead of criticizing the trans individuals, Robertson approached the situation in a seemingly level-headed manner.

"I think there are men who are in a woman's body," he said. "It's very rare. But it's true -- or women that are in men's bodies -- and that they want a sex change. That is a very permanent thing, believe me, when you have certain body parts amputated and when you have shot up with various kinds of hormones. It's a radical procedure. I don't think there's any sin associated with that. I don't condemn somebody for doing that."

He went on to say he would "question the validity" of someone who just says, "Well I'm really a woman" because you "don't count somebody as female unless they really are, or male unless they really are."

When his co-host said the viewer doesn't know the intentions or medical history of his co-workers, Robertson rebutted, "It's not for you to decide or to judge."
[Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/29/pat-robertson-transgender_n_3672244.html]

I want to draw your attention to the last words above. Pat Robertson stated, “It’s not for you to decide or judge.” This forms a direct parallel to statements made by the Pope which are cited in another article found on the Wall Street Journal website.

Pope Francis

Pope Signals Openness to Gay Priests
Pontiff's Comments Suggest Greater Acceptance of Homosexuality Among Clerics

The pontiff was traveling aboard a turbulent overnight flight to Rome from his first overseas trip... when he broached the delicate issue of how the Catholic hierarchy should respond to clerics who are gay, though not sexually active. In doing so, he departed from the posture that has long shaped papal thinking on gay priests.

Pope Francis, left, and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone step off a plane at Ciampino Airport outside Rome after returning from their trip to Brazil Monday.

"Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?" the pontiff told a news conference in response to a question. "You can't marginalize these people."

Pope Francis opened the door Sunday to greater acceptance of gay priests inside the ranks of Roman Catholicism as he flew home to the Vatican from his maiden trip overseas.

Pope Francis reaffirmed church teaching by referring to homosexual acts as a sin. But he wielded his formidable bully pulpit to shift the tone of how the church regards homosexual orientation at its highest ranks...

Pope Francis "is showing a deep respect for the human condition as it is, instead of approaching things in a doctrinal way," said Alberto Melloni, a church historian.

"This isn't a change in the church's teaching," said Rev. James Bretzke, a theology professor at Boston College. "What's important is the change in style and emphasis..."
[Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324354704578635401320888608.html]

Do you think it coincidental that the Pope and one of America’s most well known evangelical broadcasters both are in the news on the same day making statements that will lead to a greater acceptance of homosexual behavior among Christians? Very cunning are the words of these men as they make it appear that judging is an evil thing to be avoided.

Pat Robertson
"It's not for you to decide or to judge."

Pope Francis
"Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?"

In the recent video I posted, I shared that judging is not restricted to declaring something to be evil. We are also judging when we say something is acceptable. Pat Robertson was making a judgment when he said that God created some men who are in women’s bodies, and some women who are in men’s bodies. The absence of any Scriptural justification for this astonishing comment is clearly noted.

There is also a fallacy in the statements of both of these men as it pertains to judging. A Christian is NOT initiating a judgment on their own, they are not “deciding” a matter in their own soul, when they express agreement with Yahweh’s words recorded in the Bible. The Christian is not judging the issue. They are only judging that what Yahweh has declared is authoritative and correct. Yahweh is the One who is judging. As Christians, it is our responsibility to accurately share the thoughts, judgments, and reasoning of God with others. Paul stated that we are Christ’s “ambassadors.” An ambassador does not make policy decisions on his own initiative. He merely represents that policy of the one whom he is representing.

Notice also that the Pope uses the word “gay” rather than “homosexual,” or the Biblical term “Sodomite,” when speaking. With such subtleties, the abomination of homosexual behavior is diminished. At the same time Christians are encouraged to not “judge” those who are homosexuals, which is a giant step forward to the goal of accepting homosexual behavior as normal.

Perhaps by now, you are feeling somewhat oppressed by the massed weight of opinion, both within and without the church. There is a constant pressure being exerted for mankind, and Christians in particular, to accept homosexuality. At the very least, Satan would silence those who have stood in agreement with Yahweh’s condemnation of homosexual activity. This was accomplished to a large degree when the President of Chick-fil-a made some pro-heterosexual statements in an obscure Baptist periodical a few months back. The firestorm in the media was so intense, and the corporation came under such intense threat, frightening many franchisees, that all Christian executives and leaders of Christian businesses, will hesitate to speak out against homosexuality in the future.

It was reported that the President of Chick-fil-a tweeted a message recently when the Supreme Court ruling was announced overturning the Defense of Marriage Act. The tweet said,

Sad day for our nation; founding fathers would be ashamed of our gen. to abandon wisdom of the ages re: cornerstone of strong societies.

The tweet was removed two hours later. I suspect that some franchisees, and corporate counsel, urged him to remove the statement lest the company once more become a target of the government and media’s militant homosexual advocacy. Satan has accomplished his purpose in silencing critics of the homosexual agenda, at least those who can be pressured financially. At the same time, Satan’s chief disciples are speaking out boldly. The same day that the above tweet was posted, President Obama tweeted the following:

Today's DOMA ruling is a historic step forward for #MarriageEquality. #LoveIsLove

The hashtag LoveIsLove is a reference to a pro-homosexual campaign.


With such a one sided onslaught, many Christians are succumbing to the pressure. Afraid of being singled out and judged as a “hater,” or “homophobic,” they are silenced, or worse. Satan’s pressure is mounting. It will be unrelenting until the majority in the world and in the church have embraced homosexuality as normal.

Many Christians will cave in to the pressure, thinking it far easier to accept this view than to stand in agreement with Christ. When these pro-homosexual voices reach a critical mass, and the consequences of resisting cannot be avoided, there will be a flood of Christians who shift their position to open acceptance. Many will conclude that since so many Christians are declaring that it is okay to be homosexual, and that it is evil to judge, things will be much easier if they fall in line. Satan will be near at hand to prod the hesitant ones to cross over to this new way of thinking. The folly of doing so will not be realized by many until that hour when they stand before God to give an account of their lives.

I Corinthians 6:9-11
Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Yahshua Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.

In this first post of this series, I have introduced the subject, and have sought to bring attention to the pressure being exerted through a diversity of sources to alter the church’s opinion of homosexuality. In coming posts I will begin to answer the question, “Why does Yahweh condemn homosexuality?”

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws    

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tipping Point

Joseph Herrin (07-23-2013)

Occasionally, airline crews realize they have a problem while in flight and they instruct the passengers to prepare for an emergency landing. The problem can be mechanical, such as a failure of landing gear to deploy correctly. Such an occurrence happened in September of 2005 when a JetBlue Airways flight encountered problems right after take-off. The landing gear failed to retract properly. The pilot flew near the airport tower for the employees inside to take a close look at the problem. They observed that the front landing gear wheels were rotated 90 degrees. They were locked in this sideways position, and could not be retracted.

The pilot in charge changed his flight plan, choosing to make an emergency landing at the Los Angeles airport because it had long and wide runways available. He flew in a figure 8 pattern over the Pacific Ocean for 2 hours to burn fuel, allowing him to attempt a landing with much less weight and a decreased risk of fire. The lowered weight also permitted the pilot to land at a slower speed.

When the pilot landed, he did not use reverse thrusters on the engines, as this would cause the nose of the plane to point downward. Instead, he kept the nose gear off of the runway during most of the landing, relying upon the brakes on the rear landing gear to slow the plane. Only when the plane had slowed significantly did he bring the nose down, putting weight on the damaged front wheels that were now facing sideways.

(Click on Image to View Larger)

The tires and rims of the front landing gear shredded, but did not collapse. By all reports, the landing was relatively smooth. No one among the crew or passengers was injured. The stewardesses had given all the passengers instructions on how to brace for landing, and what to do in case they had to evacuate down the emergency slides. Using the slides proved unnecessary, as passengers were able to disembark using airstairs.

JetBlue Flight 292 Nose Gear

It is prudent for airline crew to tell passengers to prepare when they know they will have to make an emergency landing. Many lives are saved, and much injury avoided, by preparing ahead of time. This particular flight was unusual in that the crew of the airplane recognized they had a problem immediately after taking off. They had plenty of time to consider what they had to do and how best to prepare for it.

One of the first things the pilots did was to immediately cease treating the flight as normal. They recognized there was a problem and began making emergency preparations. What folly it would have been for them to simply disregard the problem and to continue on as if all was normal. Yet, this is precisely what the majority of Christians are doing in this hour. Yahweh has been indicating that a crash is coming. He has given numerous signs in the heavens and on the earth indicating that troublous days are at hand. He has spoken through visions, dreams, and prophecies. Even those who are not Christians, but who observe what is occurring in the nations, are sounding an alarm.

Over the course of my Internet ministry, I have written much about the dark days that are ahead. Yahweh has not been stinting in sounding forth a message that His prudent children might prepare themselves spiritually and physically, for what is approaching.

Amos 3:6-8
If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble? If a calamity occurs in a city has not Yahweh done it? Surely Yahweh God does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets. A lion has roared! Who will not fear? Yahweh God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?

A trumpet is being blown, yet few people are trembling. In September of 2008 I posted a writing titled Preparing for Days of Trouble. In that blog post I cited a recent article by David Wilkerson. Following is an excerpt.

I ask you, please, hear my heart as I say this: The time is not far away before we all will be deeply affected by the economic flood coming to the whole world. Great trials are ahead for all of us who deeply love the Lord.

Here is what I am led to do by the Holy Spirit. I ask it of my family, all of whom work with the church body. I urge you to pray to see if the Lord is leading you to do the same:

1. No more buying of luxuries. Cut all spending except absolute necessities.

2. Sell every unneeded item. Turn it to cash and give it to ministries to the poor and needy.

3. Downsize as much as possible. Be willing to let it all come to this: “Having food and raiment [covering], let us be therewith content” (1 Timothy 6:8).

4. Build up your faith by reminding the Lord daily of his promises:

“The Lord sitteth upon the flood; yea, the Lord sitteth King for ever” (Psalm 29:10).

In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness” (Psalm 31:1).


DW:bbm 9.15.08

David Wilkerson was acting just like the captain of the JetBlue airliner, recognizing that the nation  had a serious problem. He had concern for the safety of those under his care. He provided them counsel as to what they should do to prepare for that which is coming. This advice was shared five years ago. If the saints had heeded this counsel, and had been practicing it during the ensuing period of time, they would be in much better shape for that which is even now at the door.

David Wilkerson’s counsel was not fleshly. It was not the result of soulish reasoning. He stated, “Here is what I am led to do by the Holy Spirit.” The actions he set forth are similar in some ways to that which the pilot of the JetBlue flight took. He immediately assessed the situation and knew he needed to lighten the load. This has been counsel that the Father has had me declare to His people for some years now.

In 2010 I posted the series titled Wilderness Survival for Christians.


In that series I spoke of the necessity of traveling light in this world. I compared the experiences ahead for the saints to the pioneers of the American West. They loaded everything they would need for life in a new land into a Conestoga Wagon, sometimes called a Prairie Schooner.

Only the bare necessities could be carried on the journey across the Great Plains, over the Rocky Mountains, and through thousands of miles of wilderness. Those who made the trek were counseled to choose wisely that which they would take with them. They may have had houses full of goods, furnishings, and many luxury items, but the pioneers had to dispose of the amassed material possessions of a lifetime in order to make the arduous journey ahead of them.

In truth, Christians should not need to face dire days in order to choose to live a simpler, less materially focused lifestyle. A focus on material acquisition has always been anathema to those who would walk as disciples of Christ. Christ admonished those who would follow after Him to yield all their possessions to Him.

Luke 14:33
“So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.”

Mark 10:21
“Go and sell all you possess, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

Matthew 6:19-24
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also... No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

John, the beloved disciple, wrote:

I John 2:15
Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

David Wilkerson quoted the apostle Paul’s words to Timothy. “Having food and covering, with these we will be content.” In coming days, Christians will find that the amassed accumulation of a lifetime will be forfeit. There will be no way to hold onto their homes and possessions apart from embracing the beast system. Those who would follow Yahshua in the days of tribulation ahead must travel lightly. Is it not preferable to sell what you have now, and give to the poor, receiving treasure in heaven as compensation? If your goods are lost through bank failures, government bankruptcies, the crash of the dollar, economic collapse and the ensuing civil strife, what will you be benefitted?

The handwriting is on the wall. We are seeing policies implemented that are stripping away the wealth of the populace. The international bankers control the governments of nations. By executive orders, acts of congress, and judicial legislation, they are making the citizens of the nations responsible for the unsound lending practices of the banks. In Cyprus we recently observed as tens of thousands of citizens from that nation were robbed of their life savings as the global elite determined that they should bear the cost of the bank failures in their homeland. Since then the European Union, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and other nations have been passing laws which will result in the same thing occurring elsewhere. As banks fail, it will be the bank customers who stand to lose the most.

In this past week we have observed the start of a new trend in America that will accelerate in coming days. The city of Detroit declared bankruptcy. As a result, they are reneging on their promise to tens of thousands of pensioners. Men and women who have given decades of their life in public service employment, with a promise of a fixed retirement income, face losing all, or most, of what had been promised to them. The media is calling this “sharing the responsibility” for the excesses of the past.

It is not difficult to postulate that when the most massive bankruptcy of all occurs, that of the Federal Government of America, the same principle will be applied. The citizens of the nation will be held culpable for the trillions of dollars of debt that the government has amassed. The people’s pensions will be forfeit. Their bank accounts seized. Their homes and other assets will be subject to heavy taxation, and with no money to pay the levies placed against them, the people will be impoverished, forfeiting whatever property they have acquired.

A post yesterday on The Economic Collapse Blog contained the following information.

Guest Post: The Tip Of The Iceberg Of The Coming Retirement Crisis That Will Shake America To The Core
July 22, 2013

The pension nightmare that is at the heart of the horrific financial crisis in Detroit is just the tip of the iceberg of the coming retirement crisis that will shake America to the core. Right now, more than 10,000 Baby Boomers are hitting the age of 65 every single day, and this will continue to happen every single day until the year 2030. As a society, we have made trillions of dollars of financial promises to these Baby Boomers, and there is no way that we are going to be able to keep those promises. The money simply is not there. Yes, I suppose that we could eventually see a "super devaluation" of the U.S. dollar and keep our promises to the Baby Boomers using currency that is not worth much more than Monopoly money, but as it stands right now we simply do not have the resources to do what we said that we were going to do... There is going to be a lot of heartache and a lot of broken promises.

What is going on in Detroit right now is a perfect example of what will soon be happening all over the nation. Many city workers stuck with their jobs for decades because of the promise of a nice pension at the end of the rainbow. But now those promises are going up in smoke. There has even been talk that retirees will only end up getting about 10 cents for every dollar that they were promised.

Needless to say, many pensioners are extremely angry that the promises that were made to them are not going to be kept. The following is from a recent article in the New York Times...

    Many retirees see the plan to cut their pensions as a betrayal, saying that they kept their end of a deal but that the city is now reneging. Retired city workers, police officers and 911 operators said in interviews that the promise of reliable retirement income had helped draw them to work for the City of Detroit in the first place, even if they sometimes had to accept smaller salaries or work nights or weekends.
    “Does Detroit have a problem?” asked William Shine, 76, a retired police sergeant. “Absolutely. Did I create it? I don’t think so. They made me some promises, and I made them some promises. I kept my promises. They’re not going to keep theirs.”

But Detroit is far from an isolated case. As Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said the other day, many other cities are heading down the exact same path...

    "We may be one of the first. We are the largest. But we absolutely will not be the last."

Yes, Detroit's financial problems are immense. But other major U.S. cities are facing unfunded pension liabilities that are even worse.

For example, here are the unfunded pension liabilities for four financially-troubled large U.S. cities...

Detroit: $3.5 billion

Baltimore: $680 million

Los Angeles: $9.4 billion

Chicago: $19 billion...

And many state governments are in similar shape. Right now, the state of Illinois has unfunded pension liabilities that total approximately $100 billion...

On top of everything else, the federal government has been recklessly irresponsible as far as planning for the retirement of the Baby Boomers is concerned.

As I noted yesterday, the U.S. government is facing a total of 222 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities. Social Security and Medicare make up the bulk of that...

Sadly, most Americans are not aware of these things.

The mainstream media keeps most of the population entertained with distractions.  This week it is the birth of the royal baby, and next week it will be something else.

Meanwhile, our problems just continue to get worse and worse.

There is no way in the world that we are going to be able to keep all of the financial promises that we have made to the Baby Boomers. A lot of them are going to end up bitterly disappointed.

All of this could have been avoided if we would have planned ahead as a society.

But that did not happen, and now we are all going to pay the price for it.
[Source: http://blacklistednews.com/?news_id=27550&print=1]

Ignorance, or avoidance, of the truth does not make the consequences go away. The pilot of the JetBlue plane could have simply ignored the fact that his landing gear had a problem, but the consequences of doing so would have proven calamitous. Even so, as a Christian, you can ignore the warnings that Yahweh has been sending forth to His people. You can look about at so many others who are doing nothing. They are going on about life as if all is normal, that there is no calamity looming on the horizon. When you are homeless and destitute in the land of your forefathers, will you take comfort in the fact that you were not alone in experiencing a completely avoidable loss?

The powers that be have planned what is coming, and they are confident that only a few will be motivated to make life changes that will mitigate the calamity to come. What would you do if you had been a public sector employee in Detroit and had foreseen the bankruptcy crisis that is now upon the city? Would you have devoted decades of your life in some blind hope that someone would fix the problem before it occurred? Many did foresee what was coming and they left Detroit while they could. The population of Detroit once exceeded 2 million. Today the population is less than half.

What would you do if you lived in Scranton? This city in Pennsylvania is in such dire straits that they will need to raise taxes 117% next year in order to pay their bills. They are facing an 18 million dollar shortfall and they only collect 17 million a year in tax revenue. Property taxes and sales taxes could skyrocket. Perhaps you would do what some are surely considering, and move out of the city, leaving others to deal with the chaos. This is what many former citizens of Detroit did.

Some, however, are even more forward looking. They see the economic quagmire that the entire nation is in. They are choosing to leave America and move to another country. America is one of the only nations in the world that charges income tax on its citizens wages and earnings made while living abroad. The only way to avoid this taxation is to renounce U.S. citizenship. The President and Congress, foreseeing this trend, are proposing legislation to strip Americans who renounce their citizenship of their wealth before they leave the country.

The walls of the American prison are being constructed. Soon, people will find it impossible to escape the chaos by relocating. The government will confiscate their savings in the banks, their pensions, and their property if they stay. They will also confiscate their property if they choose to leave. This, however, leaves one tremendous opportunity, and it is in accordance with the counsel of Christ. Give what you have away before the government can take it from you. You will have treasure in heaven, and Yahweh has promised to supply all the needs of those who seek first His kingdom and who place their trust in Him.

Luke 12:29-34
“And do not seek what you shall eat, and what you shall drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek for His kingdom, and these things shall be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Yahweh has repeatedly used the symbolism of a plane crash as a parable of that which is coming to America. I have written of this parable on a number of occasions as events in the news spoke clearly of things to come.

U.S. Airways that Crashed in the Hudson River

Back when the U.S. Airways plane crashed in the Hudson in 2009, I wrote much on the symbolism of this event. The plane, of course, represents America. It was a U.S. Airways plane. Significantly, it was flying from New York City, the top banking center of the nation, to Charlotte, North Carolina, which is another major banking center. Aboard were numerous financial sector executives and employees.

The passengers all survived, but they lost all of their possessions. They did not carry as much as a purse with them when they hastily exited the plane. The fall of this plane was very sudden. Both engines failed simultaneously due to striking a flock of birds. After making an emergency landing on the river, the plane floated down to Battery Park, signifying that America will take a battering following a rapid economic descent. After a few days the plane was lifted from the water to be transported over land. To accomplish this, the plane’s wings had to be removed.

Wings Removed

The removal of the wings, and transport over the ground, indicates that America, which was once a high flying nation of great wealth and prosperity, will be humbled. Neither will she rise again to attain the prominent place once held as an economic power among the nations.

Knowing that Yahweh has been testifying that these things are coming, is it not prudent to prepare? Should the people of God continue on as if life is normal? Should they not seek the mind of Christ to know what He would have them to do?

Yesterday, several people sent me a link to a news story in the Washington Post. It reported on a rare South American plant that blooms very rarely. When it does bloom, it gives off an odor like that of a decaying body. Consequently, the plant has been named The Corpse Flower.


The U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. is the home for this foul smelling plant. Its flowering was very brief, reaching its peak yesterday, July 22nd. This struck me as symbolic, for the date is written as 7-22-13. The number 13 is symbolic of the nation of America which began with 13 states, and which has 13 stripes on its flag. 7 is a number denoting finality and completion, especially in relation to fulness of time (as in 7 days in a week). The number 22 signifies flesh cutting, and the work of the cross.

Corpse Flower in Washington, D.C.

Perhaps it is not coincidental that arising from the center of the flower is a prominence that looks very much like the Washington Monument, that great obelisk that towers over the city. The city of Washington truly exudes the smell of death. It was here that the Supreme Court of America legalized the murder of the unborn forty years ago. Since then the blood of more than fifty million babies has been spilled on American soil. One result of this rampant murder is that the nation now has far fewer working age citizens to support the growing number of retirees. America has brought her economic destruction on her own head.

It is also in Washington that the Pentagon is located. This is the headquarters of the world’s military superpower. From here, wars have been planned and carried out all over the globe, resulting in the death of many more millions, vast numbers of whom were civilians who merely got in the way. It is this city that has spread homosexuality and moral perversion across the globe. It is truly a Satanic city that exudes the smell of death. Satan comes only to KILL, steal and destroy. Many of his chief servants are found in America’s capital city.

The hour is late. It is time to commit oneself for readiness for that which is to come. America is nearing a tipping point where she will plunge the entire world into darkness. Yahweh has been sending forth His warning. The trumpet has sounded. The lion has roared. Will you respond and avoid unnecessary harm?

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws    

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Man’s Message to All Christians - New Video

Joseph Herrin (07-16-2013)

Some may wonder why I have not posted any new videos after announcing that I was to begin creating videos some months back. I had some setbacks. I had purchased Pinnacle Studio 16 Ultimate, a software program, to perform video editing. I had also purchased a training DVD on how to use this software, and had spent numerous hours becoming familiar with the way the software functions.

A few weeks after I posted the announcement that I would begin creating videos I received an automated notice that an update was available for the software program. The update was free, and promised faster video rendering times, which was very attractive to me as I do not have a particularly fast graphics card on the laptop computer I use.

After I installed the update, the software immediately encountered programs. Certain key functions in the program would no longer work, resulting in the software becoming useless. After spending a couple days researching the problem, I found that many others were having similar difficulties, and tech support was non-existent for this software. The software company had recently been sold, and was now with its third owner, Corel. Evidently, the frequent change of ownership had led to numerous problems with software stability. I realized that I was not going to be able to get the program to work, and would have to find another solution.

I was disappointed, for learning a new program, and performing video editing, are time consuming ventures. I was not looking forward to investing the time to learn another program. After some weeks, however, I began looking for alternative programs. After further research I settled on Adobe Premiere Elements (Version 11). This program had one thing in particular going for it. It had never changed hands. It was created by Adobe, and has been an Adobe product, its entire lifespan. It was well rated and reasonably priced. After purchasing it I found out that it is the best selling video editing software. Having used it now for the past couple days, I can see why. It is much simpler to use than the program I had purchased originally. I am able to accomplish tasks quicker, and the program interface strikes me as more intuitive.

I had put video production on the back burner for some months until a few days ago I came across a viral video that has had more than a million views on YouTube. It is titled A Girl’s Message to All Christians. It is a little more than 4 minutes long, so I invite you to watch it if you have not yet done so.


I can see why this video has been so popular. First, there is a an attractive young woman who is the sole actor in the video. Second, her message of non-judgmental love appeals to a great many people, both Christians and non-Christians. For those who are interested in the background of the young woman identified as iEmanuella, her other videos reveal she is a Lebanese American Christian. She is a member of the Seventh Day Adventist faith, and she is giving away books by Ellen G. White, who was/is considered a prophetess by the SDA church.

It would be unfair to form a judgment about an individual's life or teachings based upon one four minute video. So let me just state that this video, if taken by itself, concerns me, for I see a general trend in Christianity to abandon truth that offends others, due to an errant understanding of the nature of love. Many have come to conclude that to offend others is a serious breech of love. If this is so, then Christ was one of the most unloving people who have ever walked the earth.

Matthew 15:12
Then the disciples came and said to [Yahshua], "Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?"

John 6:61, 66
When Yahshua knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, "Does this offend you?”... From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

Truth offends. Yahshua declared:

John 3:19-20
“And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”

When Christians speak about sin and the judgment of a holy God, it offends sinful men and women. As a result, we are seeing a staggering number of churches abandon all focus on sin and judgment. The holiness and justice of Yahweh are ignored. The message has become, “Let us just love and accept everyone as they are.”

The error of this is that although Christ accepted men and women wherever they were, without regard to the sin they were involved in, He did not leave them in this condition. His words to the woman caught in adultery were, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

As I contemplated this viral video, and the effect it would have upon many Christians, the thought came to make a video that was similar in appearance (as much as a 52 year old bearded man can bear any similarity to an attractive young woman), but which presented a different message. Creating the video provided me the opportunity to get back on track with video production. I was led to take the leap and begin learning the new software that I had acquired.

Following is the video I posted today.


I don’t imagine it will go viral, but I do hope some will be infected with the truth it declares.

For those who watched both of these videos, understand that I am not an adversary of the person posting as iEmanuella. I would point people to a follow-up video she posted where she does bring some balance to her message. The speaker evidently had a large number of virulent comments posted to her video, many of them which were very carnal, and hate filled. This itself is tragic, but is all too common an occurrence on the Internet. This is one reason that I do not have comments enabled on my videos.


If you do want to send me a comment, or if you have a question, you will find my e-mail address listed at the top of this blog.

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws    

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Training Wheels

Joseph Herrin (07-07-2013)

My Bicycle and Trailer

Recently I posted a blog titled Driving Lessons.


That writing focused on spiritual lessons and revelations gleaned through a focus on the vehicles that my daughter Kristin and I have owned. This post continues the theme as I share some meditations related to the bicycle that I use as my primary form of local transportation.

Most of my readers are familiar with the fact that I do not own a home, or an automobile. The Father provided for me a 1972 Carpenter School Bus that I have converted to a motorhome. The bus is mechanically sound, and cranks and drives fine, but I rarely drive it anywhere.

The Dreamer - With Champ Standing Watch
(Click on any image to view larger)

The Father has directed me to park my bus at various locations. I typically stay for long periods of time in a single location, and so far my treks between locations have been very short. The longest trip I have taken in my bus was driving from Middle Georgia to Jekyll Island on the Georgia Coast about 17 months ago. Round trip, the journey was about 400 miles. The bus gets only 5 MPG, which translates to 80 gallons of premium unleaded gasoline for the trip. The cost of gas being what it is, paying for fuel ran into the hundreds of dollars on what was a relatively minor trip. When gas hits $5.00 a gallon I will be paying $1.00 for every mile I travel in the bus.

Because of gas prices, and also the impracticality of unhooking the bus from sewer, water, electric, and the trailer behind it, and having to pack everything away inside the bus, I do not use it for local transportation. I have had baskets on my bicycle for quite some time and have used them for carrying groceries, mail, and other assorted items. I enjoy bicycling, finding it to be good exercise and a pleasant way to get about and see the outdoors.

When the Father relocated me from the small campground I had stayed at in Montezuma to my present rural location last November, the distance to the post office increased from approximately 4 miles one way, to 14 miles. My daughter has been gracious to retrieve my mail which largely consists of correspondence from men in prison who receive the newsletters I send out, as well as financial gifts from the saints who are led of the Spirit to send contributions for my support.

It takes my daughter a bit out of her way to retrieve my mail and bring it to me. Kristin stays extremely busy as she works a full-time job and is involved in a large number of ministry activities and social events with the members of her church. She has been traveling out of state more often to participate in prison ministry, youth ministry, etc.. Recently there have been times when my daughter was unavailable to retrieve my mail. This led to some concern on my part about being able to respond to people in a timely manner.

The terrain here in South Central Georgia is relatively flat, but making a 28 mile round trip trek on my bicycle in the heat of the summer is more than I wanted to tackle on a regular basis. I have deliberately chosen to not own a car as I would like to live as simply, and inexpensively, as possible. I did purchase a motorcycle in 2011, but abandoned the idea of riding motorcycles anymore when a 91 year old woman ran into me in Macon as she was trying to turn across my lane to get to the hamburger joint she had set out to visit. (Talk about a Big Mac Attack - Actually, it was a Krystal’s Hamburger Restaurant.) A compound fracture, shattered fibula, two titanium plates, and more than 20 screws in my leg, were the result of the car bumper striking me.

All that has healed up satisfactorily, but I am no longer eager to drive a motorcycle through cities and other congested areas. I am not diminished, however, in my desire to ride a bicycle. Some may suggest that a bicycle is no safer than a motorcycle, but there are often bike lanes, or shoulders of the road on which to ride a bike, and one does not have to mix it up with automobile traffic to the extent one does on a motorcycle. When I ride my bike into town and have to cross a busy street, I have the luxury of waiting for a suitable break in traffic before crossing. If one is on a motorcycle they have to move with the flow of traffic.

Me Wearing Bike Helmet

I do wear a bike helmet, with a rear view mirror attached to it, for safety when riding my bike. The small rear view mirrors that attach either to a helmet, or to one’s glasses, are wonderful. I much prefer them to handlebar mounted mirrors. It is nice to be able to see what is coming up behind you, and how much clearance they are giving you, without having to turn around and look.

Not desiring to have the added expense of a car that would require that I purchase gas, insurance, and provide for regular maintenance on it, and knowing that I could not tow a car behind my bus since I am already pulling a trailer, I began to look at other options to get me to the post office, and other destinations that were further than I wanted to peddle completely on my own steam. I began looking into mounting a motor on my bike to give me some added range.

I was familiar with gasoline motors on bicycles. I owned one previously, and I have a friend who has used them on his bikes. They tend to be noisy, require frequent maintenance to keep them running properly, and you have to deal with purchasing and storing gas and oil. Another alternative was electric bicycle motors.

Like many electrically powered devices, electric bike motors have made great advances in recent years due largely to advances in battery storage technology. I have a battery powered chain saw that surprisingly does a very respectable job at sawing up wood. See the following blog post:


I also have a battery powered weedeater, and lawnmower (more on that in a later post). Yet, when I began to look into electric bike motors, I was still surprised by the power and range available. Electric bike motors come in three main varieties: friction motors that sit over the top of the tire; crank drive motors that use the bike’s chain to drive the wheel; and hub motors that are built into either the front or rear wheel, and spin when power is applied. After spending time researching the various types, and determining which one would work best with the bicycle I own, I chose a front wheel hub motor.

Front Hub Motor

The image above shows the type of hub motor that I purchased. The power is controlled by a throttle on the handle, similar to what one would find on a motorcycle. There is even a cruise control button provided so that the rider can set the bike at a certain speed and maintain it. (This is not a true cruise control, for it only sets the electrical power going to the motor at a steady level. If you go up hill, or down, the bike will vary in speed, but it will maintain a constant speed as long as the grade of the road remains consistent.)

My Handlebars

With the hub motor I bought, you have to purchase the battery separate from the motor. The reason for this is that people have different needs relating to power and distance to travel. The hub motor from Golden Motors will run on anything between 24 and 48 volts. Of course, you will not get as much torque, or top speed, at the lower voltages. Some may do well with a 24 volt 10 Amp Hour battery. Depending on variables such as weight of the rider, and type of terrain being ridden, a person may be able to travel at 15 mph for about 15 miles with this battery. I opted for the beefier 48 volt 15 amp hour battery. It fits in a bag on the rear rack on my bike. It will cruise up to 27 MPH on a flat road without peddling, and it has a range of 50-70 miles, depending on how much peddling I do to assist the motor.

The bag behind the seat holds the battery. It is not a small battery, nor particularly light. Yet, in comparison to older battery technology such as the lead acid batteries found in most cars, it is much more compact for the amount of power it provides. The battery is a Lithium Iron Phosphate battery, abbreviated by its chemical designation of LiFePO4. Considering that the battery will push me along for more than 50 miles at speeds up to 27 MPH, it is a remarkable piece of engineering. The battery is rated at 1500 recharges, and is estimated to last for 5 years before needing to be replaced. At 1500 recharges, you could essentially use the electric motor 300 days a year for 5 years, which is far more than I anticipate.

The hub motor and battery do add considerable weight to the bike. Yet it is far lighter than a motorcycle, and even lighter than a typical moped. The reason I opted for a front hub motor, rather than a rear hub motor, is that I have to ride down dirt roads for miles before I arrive at paved roads. The dirt roads become very sandy when it has not rained for more than a week. Handling is much improved when the front wheel pulls you through the sand, as opposed to the back wheel trying to push the bike forward through loose sand. Because I can pedal and apply force to the back wheel while the hub motor is applying force to the front, I basically end up with all wheel drive on the bike. This improves handling in dirt, mud, and sand.

I have had the electric motor now for about a month and have made four trips to Montezuma to the post office and grocery store. It is 28.75 miles round trip. I generally keep my speed around 20 MPH, as this feels comfortable. The entire route is down country roads, and I have very few cars pass me. The only exception is about a two mile stretch in town. I very much enjoy the ride. I peddle almost constantly, as I need the exercise, but I am not having to exert myself strenuously. I feel like the bionic man as I am exerting a modicum of energy and getting tremendous results.

After making several trips with my bike, using only my baskets for carrying things, I decided to purchase a small trailer to pull behind the bike. I can do my grocery shopping in a small town just 4.5 miles from my location, but they do not have much variety, and their prices are high. By doing my shopping in Montezuma, or another nearby town that has a Kroger, Walmart, and Publix, I can save considerable money. However, I have to be more conscious of purchasing items that require refrigeration, which is part of the reason I bought the trailer. I purchased two fabric insulated cooler bags that fit perfectly in the trailer, and they keep my groceries cold, or even frozen if I add some ice to the bags, while making the trip from the store back home.

Fabric Cooler Bags in Trailer

There are many different types of bike trailers. Most of them connect to the spindle that goes through the rear wheel of the bike. There are advantages to that type of trailer, but I opted for a trailer that I could connect to the back of my bike rack. The trailer was actually designed to connect to the seat post on the bike, but I modified it slightly to attach it to the back of the bike rack.

Trailer Hitch on Bike

It strikes me as somewhat funny to see a trailer ball hitch on the back of a bicycle, but this has been working well. Yesterday I rode my bike into Montezuma and picked up a watermelon and bag of Vidalia onions at a produce stand before heading to the grocery store and picking up some more items. The trailer is hardly noticeable behind the bike. It rides quietly, though it was somewhat noisy when I first purchased it. The hard plastic crate was bouncing noisily on the metal frame. The noise went away when I wrapped the bottom frame with ½" foam pipe wrap. You can see the pipe wrap in the photo below.

I am sure some are curious about the cost of upgrading a bike with an electric motor. The upgrade cost me about one thousand dollars. My bike itself, which is a Trek Alpha 7300, cost about $500 when I purchased it. For those used to purchasing their bikes at Walmart, $1,500 certainly sounds like a lot of money for a bike. However, I am not a casual rider. My bike is my automobile replacement. I ride my bike most days. Sometimes it is just to take my dog on a five mile run, but my bike is also my primary means of local transportation.

The hub motor itself was a bit over $300. The battery is where the main expense comes in. The large capacity, 48 volt LiFePO4 battery was about $600 of the cost. Consider, however, that the battery supplies power in the same way that gasoline powers a car. This battery will last me for 5 years, and 1500 recharges. The average driver will spend $600 on gasoline in a few months. With gasoline at $3.50 a gallon, it would cost me $175.00 to fill the 50 gallon tank in my bus one time. AAA Auto Club of America estimates that the average driver travels 12,000 miles annually and the average fuel efficiency of their car will be in the 20-25 MPG range. Taking the midpoint of 22.5 MPG, that equates to 533 gallons of gas purchased by the average American each year. At a price of $3.00 per gallon, that is $1,600.00 a year spent on fuel. Over five years that would be $8,000.00. That makes the $600 investment for the bike battery look pretty attractive in comparison.

Because I have solar panels to charge the auxiliary electric system in my bus and trailer, I can re-charge the bike’s battery at no cost. This means, even if gasoline is restricted in coming days, or if I have to live off the grid where I do not have shore power to plug my bus into an electric outlet, I can still charge my bike’s battery and use it for transportation.

There are other advantages to riding a bike, however. I very much look forward to the days that I make the trip to town on my bike. The ride through the countryside is beautiful. As I ride my bike I proclaim to the Father my thanksgiving for being able to enjoy the beauty of His creation. I ride by fields planted in corn, cotton, sorghum, peanuts, and other crops. There are dairy farms, with cattle to be seen. I drive past pecan orchards, and delight to listen to the birds, frogs, and other animals that can be heard along the way. When driving in a car, you miss so much of the world about you.

Being insulated inside a car can be a good thing if you are in adverse weather, or driving through somewhere unpleasant, but oftentimes it ends up shielding the driver and passengers from many beautiful and pleasant things that Yahweh has created. My trips on my bike are times when I express my praise and thanksgiving to the Father for a great many things.

A few days ago Champ and I were out on a bike run and six wild hogs ran across the road about 50 feet in front of us. (Yes, Champ took off after them, but he soon returned, realizing he was outnumbered.) I often see deer, rabbits, armadillos and other creatures when out on my bike rides. I get to see an array of flowers that I would miss if I were in a car, and I have time to stop and smell the roses (so to speak). There are certain areas I bike through that are pungent with honeysuckle and wisteria. The aroma is heavenly, and I cannot pass through these areas without giving thanks to the Father. Of late, I have enjoyed stopping to pick wild blackberries. I get the blackberries, and the Father gets my praises.

I do enjoy riding in a nice car. That actually becomes a problem for me. When I have a car it is too convenient, and too easy, to make a trip somewhere. I find that I make unnecessary trips to the grocery store, or restaurant, or Walmart, when I have a car. I spend money on things I do not need, and I am far more prone to impulse purchases. Not having a car causes me to be more selective about my trips to town. I am not likely to make a 30 mile round trip bike ride to go grab a hamburger and fries at the fast food joint, or to make some impulse purchase at the store.

Recently, my daughter traveled to Pennsylvania for five days and left me her car to drive. I found that I was going somewhere every day. It was so easy to do so, that I thought little about it. America is known as a nation of automobiles. Many Americans, including most Christians, have assumed that owning a car is both a normal and a good thing. My daughter purchased her Volkswagen Jetta recently from a young college student who said he was “downsizing” by selling one of his cars. He still had three other cars after selling the Jetta, including two Corvettes. It is quite common for families to have 2, 3 or more cars.

I have thought about these things recently. I have wondered how much the lives of  Christians are impacted by the conveniences they own. How many people stay on the go from early morning to late at night because they own a car and it is so easy to travel? How much time is wasted sitting in front of the television, or surfing the Internet, because they are so readily available? How much time has been taken away from a quiet, contemplative life, from Bible study and prayer, because it was so easy for Christians to pursue any impulse of the soul?

As I look at many of the great men of faith in the Bible, I find that their lives stood out in contrast to the culture around them. At a time when men were relocating to cities, and building permanent lodging places, Abraham dwelt in tents and lived as a wanderer in the land of promise. His son Isaac, Isaac’s son Jacob, and Jacob’s sons continued this pattern. When Daniel and his three young friends were taken captive into Babylon they refused to eat the king’s meat, or to defile themselves with that which was unclean. Daniel was known by those around him to devote three times each day to spend in prayer and devotion to Yahweh. The actions of these men were atypical of the day. They did not conform to society, but lived as aliens and strangers in the land.

Have the conveniences of a materialistic society become a stumbling block to those called to walk as spiritual men and women? When was the last time you spent time outdoors viewing the wonders of God’s creation and expressing thanksgiving for the things that Yahweh has made? This past week I stood outside eating a ripe plum and marveling at how exquisite the taste was. I looked at this succulent fruit, so full of rich colors and satisfying to the palate, and I thanked the Father that He was so gracious that He made a food for man that was not only nutritious, but also delicious, and appealing to the eyes. As I have stood out in the yard I have admired the beauty of a variety of butterflies that abound at this time of year. I have laughed as I watched my dog chasing frogs through the grass, or bounding through the tall sedge with his nostrils filled with the scent of field mice and rabbits. Champ will pounce on one tuft of grass after another, excited by the creatures that he knows inhabit these hidden places.

Champ - July 5th

Back in 1999 I was a willing victim of Christian materialism. I rolled out of bed in my nice home, rushed through my morning preparations so I could be out the door and off to work. A major portion of my day was spent serving my earthly masters so I could pay for all of the trinkets and baubles that society said were necessary to experience a fulfilled life. In the evening I would return home, and my family would pile into the car to go to some meeting or activity. We would often eat out, and stay on the go until late in the evening. On the days we did stay home, various entertainments competed for our time. When the day was over there was very little time that any of us had spent in communion or conversation with our heavenly Father.

When Yahweh called me to surrender the rule of my life to Him in 1999, I had no idea how radically He would alter the things I considered normal. My life has become less cluttered with material goods. My time has been liberated from service to the maintenance and payment of all the things I owned. It may take me two hours to ride my bike to the post office and store now, when I could have gotten there in ten or fifteen minutes before. Yet, I am enjoying the trip. I am delighting in the view. I am speaking to the Father all along the way.

The point of this writing is not to convince you that you need to get rid of your automobiles and get a bicycle. Rather, it is to encourage you to reflect upon the impact that the conveniences of life are having upon you. It is to invite you to consider that there are other ways of living beside the standard American lifestyle. It would be well for the saints of God to spend time considering their ways, rather than being carried along by the tidal flow of society.

I would not have known how much benefit there is in riding a bicycle to the grocery store had I not yielded my life to adopt that manner of living Yahweh chose for me. If you too would yield your life to go wherever Yahweh directs, and to do whatever He commands, you will find that a great many things you accepted as normal and beneficial were actually hindering you.

Does the convenience of having a car tempt you to stay on the go so much that your devotional life is suffering? Are you spending so much time and money on the upkeep and maintenance of your present lifestyle that you have little left over to share with those in need? The next time you are about to jump in your car to run to the store, or rush over to the fast food place to pick up dinner for your family, ask yourself if doing so is truly benefitting you, your family, or others. Could you do without? Could that $20 or $30 dollars spent on a single meal be saved by preparing something at home? Could there be a bonding and maturing time as a mother taught her children how to prepare a meal from scratch? Would the savings provide you with the funds to help others who are in need?

What if you were able to save more than $7,000 on gas over a five year period by using an e-bike as your primary transportation? Whom could you minister to with that money? What may seem a sacrifice before committing to it, could prove to be a great blessing once it is embraced. You may meet people you would never have encountered if you had continued to drive by, secreted inside of your automobile. You may gain benefits in health, and in alleviating stress, as you get some much needed exercise. You could begin to see the multitude of wonders in Yahweh’s creation that you had been zipping by without noticing before.

Children unaccustomed to riding a bike need training wheels. Riding on two wheels requires a person to develop and exercise their sense of balance. With four wheels you need no balance. Perhaps that is why so many Christians are riding around in cars, and so few on bikes? I know, I am being silly in suggesting such a thing, but perhaps there is some profit to asking whether you would be better served on two wheels than four. Perhaps it is time to take the training wheels off and to restore some balance to your life.

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws    

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Orderly Procession of the Spirit and the Gift of Tongues

Joseph Herrin (07-04-2013)

The Day of Pentecost

I deemed it expedient to post a second writing on the Holy Spirit, and tongues as a sign, after receiving numerous e-mails on the preceding post. When writing on a particular topic I often discover many of the arguments that cause people to stumble at truth as responses begin to come in. This affords me the opportunity to address the specific objections, many of which I acknowledge come from sincere individuals who have had error delivered to them by other Christians.

One of the sincere objections that was raised is that there are numerous accounts in the book of Acts where the impartation of the Holy Spirit to groups of men is attended with signs and wonders, one of the most common signs being speaking in tongues. Why, one might ask, do we have recorded on multiple occasions visible manifestations, and speaking in tongues when the Holy Spirit was received by men, if Yahweh did not intend to establish a doctrine that these things will always accompany one another? This writing will endeavor to answer this question.

Bear in mind that these events are all recorded in the book of Acts. This is a book wholly unlike the books that follow it which primarily consist of apostolic epistles. The book of Acts is NOT a doctrinal treatise like the book of Romans, or I and II Corinthians, or Galatians. Rather, it is a narrative retelling of events that occurred from the time of Christ’s ascension, detailing the spread of Christianity throughout the world.

This distinction is important to keep in mind, for many of the events recorded by Luke in the book of Acts are unique, historical occurrences. They were not intended to be taken as a pattern for the churches to repeat. For example, on the day of Pentecost, there was the sound of a rushing mighty wind heard throughout the city. There were tongues of fire which distributed themselves over the heads of the 120 men and women gathered in the upper room. ALL of those gathered experienced the Holy Spirit falling upon them, and they ALL began to speak in tongues and prophesy.

Luke clearly did not intend for his narrative of this experience to be taken as a template for the manner in which every annual Pentecost celebration should be observed, nor as a pattern to be repeated every time someone received the gift of the Holy Spirit. There is never again a record of a similar event occurring. The sound of a rushing mighty wind was heard only on the day of Pentecost. The same is true regarding the appearance of tongues of fire above the heads of the saints.

A narrative of an event is very different from an instructional epistle that was intended to be shared among the churches. Apostolic letters were given as universal guidelines for all disciples of Christ. That the apostles’ instructions were intended to inform the believers of the universal practices of the church is often stated within the body of the text.

I Corinthians 7:17
This is my rule for all the churches.

I Corinthians 11:2
Now I praise you because you remember me in everything, and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you... But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God.

II Thessalonians 2:15
So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

II Thessalonians 3:6
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Yahshua Christ, that you keep aloof from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.

It is evident from these Scriptures that the epistles which make up a large portion of the New Testament were given to establish rules, traditions, practices, and ordinances among all members of the body of Christ. What Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers applied equally to the saints in Thessalonica, in Phillipi, and in Colossae. Nor were these merely the instructions of Paul, for we find him using expressions such as “WE have no other practice,” and “whether by word of mouth or letter from US.” These instructions were attested to by the other apostles and elders appointed by Christ as overseers among His flock.

The book of Acts is not the same type of writing. We have no record of Luke being numbered among the apostles. We are only told that he accompanied Paul on some of his missionary journeys, and was a helper to those that were engaged as apostles and teachers. Neither did Luke write the book of Acts in the same way that the epistles were penned. Paul frequently began his letters by declaring his authority in Christ, for his letters were written as a spiritual father instructing children. Following are some examples, though not an exhaustive list.

Romans 1:1
Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Yahshua, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God...

I Corinthians 1:1
Paul, called as an apostle of Yahshua Christ by the will of God...

Galatians 1:1
Paul, an apostle (not sent from men, nor through the agency of man, but through Yahshua Christ, and God the Father...)

Ephesians 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Yahshua by the will of God...

Colossians 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Yahshua Christ by the will of God...

It was necessary that Paul establish his credentials and authority at the beginning of his letters, for he was establishing doctrine and delivering to the churches traditions, practices, rules, and ordinances that they were to follow. This is very different from the introduction Luke provides at the beginning of the book of Acts.

Acts 1:1-2
The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Yahshua began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen.

“The first account” Luke refers to is The Gospel of Luke. In this gospel Luke focuses on the life of Yahshua, beginning with a virgin becoming pregnant and the Son of God being born. Luke now labors to set forth a second account which begins at the ascension of Christ to the right hand of God, as he follows the work of the apostles in laying a foundation for a new work of God among mankind. This is not an instructional book like the epistles. It is a historical account. Those who read it should bear this distinction in mind.

If a person wants to know what the Christian’s attitude and beliefs should be in relation to the gift of tongues, they would do well to look for such information in the epistles. The apostle Paul did not overlook this subject. He wrote at length on the topic in I Corinthians chapters 12 and 14. What he set forth there applies to all the churches.

The book of Acts, on the other hand, reveals occasions when men spoke in tongues, while providing no instruction, no rules, and no ordinances related to the employment of tongues among the body of Christ. What Acts does provide is very valuable, if one discerns the reason that selected events were recorded by Luke. These are not random events strung together by the author. They were set forth with careful design, and specific purpose.

In Luke’s account of The Acts of the Apostles, he relates four separate occasions when the Holy Spirit was given to groups of men. At every occasion there was some outward manifestation. There were differences, for, as it was already mentioned, we never read again after the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost of there being a sound of a rushing, mighty wind, nor of tongues of fire manifesting above the heads of believers. Nevertheless, on each of the four occasions Luke cites, there was SOME obvious, observable, manifestation. Furthermore, on each one of the occasions, there were apostles present. This latter fact should provide the reader with a clue to Luke’s purpose in setting forth these specific acts of God.

During Pentecost, all of the original apostles were present (Judas Iscariot had been replaced by Matthias). Following are the other three accounts of the Holy Spirit being given. Note specifically the presence of apostles at each event.

Acts 8:14-18
Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Yahshua. Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money...

Acts 10:1-5, 44-48
Now there was a certain man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort, a devout man, and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people, and prayed to God continually. About the ninth hour of the day he clearly saw in a vision an angel of God who had just come in to him, and said to him, "Cornelius!" And fixing his gaze upon him and being much alarmed, he said, "What is it, Lord?" And he said to him, "Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God. And now dispatch some men to Joppa, and send for a man named Simon, who is also called Peter... While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. And all the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, "Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?" And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Yahshua Christ.

Acts 19:1-7
And it came about that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper country came to Ephesus, and found some disciples, and he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said to him, "No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" And they said, "Into John's baptism." And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus." And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Yahshua. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. And there were in all about twelve men.

These accounts are the sum total of passages in the New Testament that link together the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. Some, not discerning the purpose Luke had in mind in sharing these specific events, have wrongly concluded that what is set forth occurs every time a man or woman receives the Holy Spirit. Let us therefore discover the common thread connecting these accounts that we might discern what made these experiences significant and unique.

You may have wondered about the title of this writing. What is meant by the phrase “The Orderly Procession of the Spirit”? Yahweh determined by His own counsel that the salvation provided through His Son should be revealed to mankind in a specific order. Paul sums it up succinctly in the following words:

Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Paul was not expressing some personal prejudice by saying that salvation was delivered “to the Jew first.” Paul was a Jew, but his statement was not based on national pride. Paul was merely affirming that which Yahweh ordained. Yahshua declared the proper order of salvation during His years of ministry. When Philip approached the Lord and told Him that some Gentiles wanted to speak with Him, we find that Yahshua made no effort to comply (John 10:20-23). Yahshua’s  actions were in keeping with the words He spoke to the Syro-Phoenician woman who had a daughter horribly oppressed by a demon.

Mark 7:27
He was saying to her, "Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."

What Yahshua was declaring was that Yahweh had established an order for salvation to be given to mankind. It was to the Jew first. Christ’s entire ministry was focused on the Jewish people. Yahshua never sought out those who were not the natural descendants of Abraham, for He discerned the Father’s will in this matter. Yahshua declared, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 15:24). The Son of God gave similar instructions to His disciples.

Matthew 10:5-6
These twelve Yahshua sent forth, and commanded them, saying, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

(On a side note, understanding the established order of the spread of the gospel, we find that the myths and fables which have arisen that declare that Yahshua visited England, or some other foreign land, in His childhood, are proven to be false. The Gospel of the Kingdom had to be declared first in Jerusalem and Judea before it could spread to the uttermost parts of the earth.)

Luke clearly understood this procession of the salvation of Christ. He understood that salvation, and the gift of the Holy Spirit, had to be rolled out to mankind in an orderly fashion determined by the counsel of Yahweh. Luke, in the first chapter of the book of Acts, reveals his understanding of this principle when he cites the following words of Christ.

Acts 1:8
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

The remainder of the book of Acts is a forth-telling of the fulfillment of this Great Commission that was spoken to the disciples of Christ. The disciples, and all the original apostles, for a season, bore witness to Yahshua only to the Jews. For a number of years they did not venture beyond Jerusalem and Judea. The church was established there on the day of the first Pentecost following the resurrection of our Lord. What we observe is that every time the salvation of Christ was carried to a new group of people, the Holy Spirit was given to them, and this fact was attested to by signs and wonders. Among these visible signs was the gift of tongues.

The first expansion beyond Jerusalem and the Jewish people was to the citizens of Samaria. The Samaritans were a mixture of Israelite and Gentile blood. They were considered half-breeds by the Jews, and were scorned. Yahweh had to drive the Jewish believers in Messiah out of Jerusalem through the instrument of a severe persecution, in order to induce them to take the gospel message beyond their own people. In Acts chapter 8 Luke tells us that a severe persecution arose. Saul, later to be called Paul, was one of the chief actors in the persecution.

As the persecution began, Philip, one of the seven deacons selected by the apostles, went down to Samaria and proclaimed the gospel of Christ there. This was the first time the gospel had been proclaimed to non-Jews.

Some have read the account of salvation coming to the Samaritans, noting that they did not immediately receive the Holy Spirit, and have formed doctrines of a second blessing. Luke is not writing to establish doctrine. He is being faithful to record that the impartation of the Holy Spirit to each new group of people was attended by visible signs, observed by the apostles, and it occurred in a public manner. The Father acted in this way to demonstrate to the Jews, and particularly to the Jewish apostles, that He was now giving His Spirit to men and women who were not Jews.

Acts 8:14-18
Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Yahshua. Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money...

Although there is no mention of any specific manifestation of the Spirit in Samaria, we can conclude confidently that there was a visible manifestation. Simon the sorcerer observed the power of God being manifested with the laying on of hands of the apostles. He was so impressed by what he saw that he offered to purchase this power from them.

It was necessary that Yahweh provide a visible testimony to the impartation of the Spirit to the Samaritans, otherwise many of the Jewish believers would not have believed, or accepted, that Samaritans had become partakers of the same Holy Spirit that was given to them.

Luke, understanding the procession of the Holy Spirit being given to men, provides an orderly account of the way in which this astonishing occurrence unfolded. The next to receive the Holy Spirit was a Gentile dwelling in Judea. Cornelius was a Roman centurion. He was a member of the Italian cohort. He was a convert to Judaism, being described as “a devout man, and one who feared God with his whole household.” Despite this man’s devotion to the God of the Jews, it was forbidden for Jews to enter the home of a Gentile, or to break bread with them. The Gentiles were considered unclean.

How deep-seated this belief in Jewish superiority was, is hard for Christians to comprehend today. That the Gentiles should be made partakers of the Holy Spirit was inconceivable to many Messianic Jews. Peter was typical in this regard. Yahweh had to speak to Peter through a vision, repeated three times, in order to break through his resistance. Peter saw a vision of unclean animals being lowered down from heaven on a sheet. The voice of God spoke and stated: “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unclean” (Acts 10:15). Yahweh then sent Peter to the home of this Roman centurion, and the Holy Spirit fell upon the Gentiles gathered in his home.

Acts 10:44-48
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. And all the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, "Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?" And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Yahshua Christ.

Notice the words, “And all the CIRCUMCISED believers who had come with Peter were amazed.” Six Messianic Jewish men accompanied Peter. They looked on with astonishment when the Holy Spirit was given to Gentiles. It was very necessary for there to be an outward manifestation to demonstrate what had occurred inwardly in the lives of these Gentiles. Without an outward manifestation, many of the Jews simply would not have believed that the Holy Spirit was given to Gentiles.

Immediately following this event, we find that Peter landed in hot water with the Jewish Christians back in Jerusalem. They called Peter on the carpet.

Acts 11:2-3
When Peter came up to Jerusalem, those who were circumcised took issue with him, saying, "You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them."

Peter, was still subject to intimidation by the Jews. He had previously denied Yahshua three times. Yahshua specifically chose Peter to face the wrath of the Jews at this time in order to cause him to stand and overcome where he had previously failed. Although Peter was a bit hesitant, and shifted the blame to God, he did stand firm, and did not deny what the Lord had done. Peter gave a defense of his actions, concluding with the words, “If God therefore gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Yahshua Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?" The Jewish believers were mollified by these words, and dolefully acquiesced to Yahweh’s judgment.

Acts 11:18
And when they heard this, they quieted down, and glorified God, saying, "Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life."

To our minds, it seems strange that these Jewish believers in Messiah would “quiet down” when they learned that the Holy Spirit had been given to the Gentiles. It would have been far more appropriate that they had gotten exceedingly louder as they began to rejoice that Yahweh’s salvation was being granted to all mankind. So proud had the Jews become in their identity as Yahweh’s chosen people, that it was with difficulty that they could accept the fact that Yahweh was now accepting others.

Notice a particular thing that Peter stated when giving a defense. He said, “If God therefore gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing...” Yahweh did not repeat the sound of the rushing mighty wind, nor the tongues of fire. He did, however, repeat the sign of tongues and the gift of prophecy. This was so that the Jews would recognize that the Holy Spirit had been imparted to the nations in the same way that He had been imparted to them.

There was one more step to take however. Cornelius, though a Gentile, was living in the land of Judea, and was a devout follower of the Jewish God. It yet remained for the Holy Spirit to be given to gentiles outside of Judea, in pagan lands, and to men who were not converts to Judaism. When the persecution of Jewish Christians began in Jerusalem, the believers in Messiah spread across the Roman Empire, but they did not immediately begin sharing the gospel of their Messiah with the Gentiles. They still spoke only to Jews. This is revealed in the following passage.

Acts 11:19
So then those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose in connection with Stephen made their way to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews alone.

These scattered Jewish believers, needed a sign from God that He was granting His Holy Spirit to the Gentiles. Here then we find the final procession of the Holy Spirit as He is given to Gentiles outside of the land of Judea. Once again, there were apostles present, and attesting signs were given that the Jewish believers might observe that Yahweh had chosen to give His Spirit to people they had previously considered unclean.

Acts 19:1-7
And it came about that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper country came to Ephesus, and found some disciples, and he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said to him, "No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" And they said, "Into John's baptism." And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus." And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Yahshua. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. And there were in all about twelve men.

Luke has chosen these specific accounts to establish the fact that Yahweh was bequeathing His Holy Spirit to all the nations, even to the uttermost parts of the earth. This was a fact not easily accepted. Even among the Jewish converts to Messiah, we find that there was great resistance to the inclusion of non-Jews as fellow members of the body of Christ. Deep prejudices of many centuries were hard to overcome. In the book of Galatians we read of Paul having to rebuke Peter, Barnabas, and many of the Jewish believers, for their failure to openly receive Gentile believers.

Galatians 2:11-13
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.

It is hard for Christians in America today, to perceive of the offense that had to be overcome in the minds of the Jewish believers in order for them to accept Samaritans, and Gentile believers, as equal members of the body of Christ. Having a very myopic point of view, and not perceiving the purpose of Luke’s accounts, many have falsely assumed that these four accounts of the Holy Spirit being given, attended by signs and wonders, were set forth to establish a doctrine that there will always be an external manifestation when someone receives the Holy Spirit. This was not Luke’s purpose at all, nor God’s. These specific events were attended with outward signs so that the Jewish believers, and the apostles in particular, would recognize that the Holy Spirit was being granted to all nations.

There have been multitudes of men and women who have become partakers of the Holy Spirit in the ensuing 2,000 years who did not share any similar manifestation. There are even accounts in the book of Acts of men and women being born again of the Spirit and becoming believers in Yahshua the Messiah, who did not experience an outward manifestation. To list just a few, there were 5,000 saved in Jerusalem, recorded in Acts chapter 4, and there is no mention of any external signs and wonders occurring. There was Paul’s conversion, and baptism by Ananias in Damascus. We are told that Paul regained his sight, and something like scales fell from his eyes, but there is no mention of speaking in tongues, or prophesying, occurring in conjunction with Paul’s salvation experience. The same is true when Lydia came to faith in Christ.

Acts 16:13-15
And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled. And a certain woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay." And she prevailed upon us.

We are told only that “the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.” Was Lydia not a partaker of the Holy Spirit because she did not manifest outwardly the gift of tongues, or prophesy? Was not the presence of the Holy Spirit revealed in the generosity that immediately gripped her heart, and her offer of hospitality? There are many ways that the Spirit makes His presence known.

I would conclude this teaching by recommending to you a writing by Zac Poonen on the subject of the gift of tongues. I have found it to be a well balanced teaching, and believe it will be helpful to those who are seeking truth.


May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws    

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063