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The importance of Paul as a chosen vessel unto the Lord

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The importance of Paul as a chosen vessel unto the Lord

Of all the writers and scribes of the New Testament, none is quoted or preached on in churches more than Paul. We are told of his many works, his courage, his deeds and the multitudes that he helped to bring into the faith. It’s important to understand the significance of the Lord choosing him to be this vessel in order to understand how the Word has spread throughout history. This will help us know how we must proceed in the last days.

Paul, also called Saul, is first mentioned in the Bible in Acts 8 just as Stephen had been stoned. From there, everything moves very quickly in the story and within a chapter Saul was Paul and emerged as a great leader in the church and champion for Yeshua. Let’s take a closer look at how this all occurred so we may understand how this transition applies to us today.

Stephen in the face of death

To understand Paul, we must first look to Stephen starting in Acts 6. The Grecians were accusing the Hebrews of neglecting their widows. The 12 apostles and the multitude of disciples were growing the early church quickly in those days and felt that they could not leave the Word of God to “serve tables,” so they selected seven men to tend to the ministration of the widows. Stephen, “a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost,” was one of the seven selected.

Stephen went about his duty and performed great wonders and miracles among the people. Many from the synagogue confronted Stephen and engaged him in debates, but his wisdom as inspired by the Holy Ghost was too much for them. In the midst of the people Stephen was winning these debates, so they bribed men to say Stephen was speaking blasphemy against Moses and God in order to bring him in front of the council.

This is where it gets interesting. False witnesses told the council that Stephen claimed Yeshua would come and destroy the holy place and would change the customs of Moses. When the council asked Stephen if these things were true in the beginning of Chapter 7, he did not proceed to defend himself against the lies but instead told the story of the history of the Hebrews starting with Abraham. He stated the promise that God made to Abraham about the land where they now stood, declaring that Abraham would not be there himself but that his seed would dwell there. At the time, Abraham had no seed nor any hope of having sons with his barren wife, but through the glory of God it was made so.

Then, Stephen retold the story of Joseph and how he brought Jacob into Egypt. It’s a very quick retelling; several chapters of the end of Genesis are retold in a few short verses. It brought him then to Moses and another quick retelling of his life from birth unto the time when God brought the children out of Egypt and into the wilderness for 40 years.

At this point, one can imagine the reaction of the council hearing a retelling of the story that they likely knew very well. In the next verse, Stephen comes to one of the points that he was trying to make.

Acts 7:37

This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.

He continues through the transgressions of the Hebrews with Aaron when Moses was on the mountain, then jumps forward to David and Solomon. Then, he comes to his next point in speaking against the council.

Acts 7:51-53

51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:

53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.

Through over 50 verses, Stephen does not use his time to speak as an opportunity to defend himself but uses it to condemn the actions and hearts of the council. His words were a certain death sentence, but he had no fear because the Holy Ghost was upon him. Through his death, he saw the heavens opened, the glory of God, and Yeshua at His right hand.

Saul, a vessel from the beginning

Most scholars look at Saul as misguided until the road to Damascus, but a case can be made that he was unwittingly doing the Lord’s work even before he knew Yeshua. It is only briefly mentioned in the beginning of Chapter 8, but he led a great persecution that went out unto the church in Jerusalem. He went to the homes of believers and had them put into prison. He probably did much worse than that. As a result, many disciples were forced to flee to other lands. As terrible of an action as this sounds, there was a clear benefit as mentioned in two verses:

Acts 8:3-4

As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

The importance or length of time of events are not always relative to the length of discussion as mentioned in the Bible. Genesis 6:1-4 is a quick burst of four verses that have profound significance that has spread across all of time, but it is barely a mention. Fallen angels were making children with human women. This brought about the need for the great flood and has been a challenge for humanity for a few thousand years, yet it is only discussed in four verses.

The same can be true for Acts 8:3-4. Saul wreaked havoc on the church and as a result it was spread abroad outside of Jerusalem. At the time, there was a centralization of the church around the apostles in Jerusalem, but Saul’s actions forced many disciples to flee across the land. Had this not happened, had Saul and others not gone after the church so fervently, it would not have spread as it has today to the far reaches of the planet. These two verses represent the beginning of the spreading of Christianity around the world.

Henceforth he was Paul

It is often thought that Saul changed his name to Paul or that God changed his name as he did with Jacob to Israel. Scripture does not back up either of these concepts. The most likely reality is that Saul was his Hebrew name and Paul was his Roman name.

Here is when the “change” happened:

Acts 13:9

Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him.

Prior to this verse, he is only known as Saul. After this verse, he is called Paul. Every word, utterance, and even character within the Bible has significance. It was at the time that his name is switched that he is bringing his first soul into belief. I won’t speculate further on this since it’s not of much relevance to this article, but it’s good to note that his transition that led to him becoming such a profound aspect of the church took a turn for the better at this point. Thus, we normally refer to him as Paul.

Up until this point, there were believers and non-believers. The fact that Paul was chosen by God to be a vessel of the Gospel holds extreme significance. He was not a simple fisherman or one who could be viewed by Hebrew or Greek scholars as an easy convert to follow Yeshua. He was an exceptionally well-educated man who fought with everything he had against belief in Yeshua. This gave his conversion the highest level of significance by taking someone so opposed to the Gospel and turning him into its greatest champion.

Our Lord chooses the right people to do His works on the earth. Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Elijah, Daniel, John the Baptist, Peter, Paul – all of them were perfectly equipped to do the Lord’s Will. Before his conversion, Saul would have been considered one of the least likely people on earth to believe in Yeshua as the Messiah. Disciples feared him. Synagogues empowered him to persecute the followers of Christ. This fact gave his conversion significance and put weight behind this teachings that could only be achieved through someone who was so opposed to the idea from the start.

We cannot currently know for sure what significance the change from being called Saul to Paul holds, but we do know for sure that God chose him to bring the teachings of our Messiah to the whole world.

Applying the concept today

The lines are being drawn and are advancing every day. There’s a war over faith that is fueling battles across the planet as well as in America.

One of the biggest challenges that American Christians face is that it is becoming increasingly more difficult to spread the Word. Today, most of us are not faced with death or imprisonment over our faith, but those days may not be too far from us. Though the battle here is more subtle, it is important nonetheless.

The influence of the adversary grows constantly. That does not mean that we are to give up on those who seem furthest from the faith. Saul was as far from being a believer in Yeshua as any other man on earth in his time, yet God chose him “to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel”.

We are often called upon to bring the Word to those who seem furthest from the faith. In many cases, we shy away from this act because our nature makes us fearful. From a secular mindset, it is wrong to “talk religion” at work, school, to strangers, and often even with our own family. This fear holds us back. What would have happened if Ananias had followed his fears instead of the order by God to heal Saul? What if the apostles had followed their earthly fears of Saul and cast him out when he came to join them?

It is not for us to know who or how we are to influence others. By following what the Holy Spirit puts on our hearts and going boldly forth with our faith as our guide, we can bring the Word of God to those who need it the most as Paul did in his days.

 


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Culture and Religion

Speculation about ancient human skull in Israel points to unscientific method of modern science

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Speculation about ancient human skull in Israel points to unscientific method of modern science

What does an ancient human skull found in a cave in Israel tell us about the past? It all depends on which perspective you take and whether you want to follow sound scientific practices or manipulated conclusions from circular reasoning.

Modern science can give us a tremendous view of the past. With nearly every discovery, we can see God’s work at play in molding the planets and the stars, the oceans and the lands, the people and the other wonderful creatures. Unfortunately, scientists often distort the findings to fit in with their secular worldview. A clear case of this comes to us from a study published four years ago in the scientific journal, Nature, titled Levantine cranium from Manot Cave (Israel) foreshadows the first European modern humans, that is still being erroneously taught today.

First, watch the way that it is being reported. Then, let’s discuss the conclusions.

This is an important discovery, one that clearly points to a Biblical worldview of the roots of man from the garden of Eden working its way from what is now Africa into what is now the Middle East. It jibes with the story of the great flood, stories from the life of Adam through Joshua, and a centralized end point of ancient man in the region along the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa up through modern day Turkey.

Of course, that’s not what the scientists doing the research concluded.

“The is the first evidence that shows that, indeed, there was a large wave of African migrants coming out of East Africa and inhabiting the Eastern Mediterranean region,” said Israel Hershkovitz of Tel Aviv University.

One of the biggest problems with modern science is that our society blindly accepts their conclusions. They know, right?

Proper scientific method that we all learn in high school tells us the conclusions of the research are completely unscientific. We know a few things that are truly observable:

  • Humans very likely started in Africa and Neanderthals were in the Middle East.
  • Humans and Neanderthals interbred to form the basis for Europeans. Today, everyone other than purely African people have at least a little Neanderthal DNA.
  • A human skull fragment was found in Israel.

Given this information, it is obtuse to draw the conclusion that this represents a large wave of African migrants inhabiting the Eastern Mediterranean region. One skull fragment does not tell us that there was a large migration. One skull fragment does not tell us that it was a migration at all. Modern science must establish hypotheses based upon observable facts, but it almost always extrapolates too much.

This wouldn’t be a bad thing if it extrapolated based upon the Bible. We are told the general story of everything that happened from creation through the rise of the Greeks within the Old Testament. Every scientific and archaeological discovery in the region supports this general story, but a culture that utilizes far more distant time frames to explain the discoveries has generated the faulty conclusions that scientists present to us today.

The evidence tells two different stories depending on the observer’s worldview. It’s unfortunate that most have pushed aside the obvious and verifiable conclusions in order to perpetuate the paradigm of secularism.

Will you help revive the American Conservative Movement?

 


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Culture and Religion

Seriously, ‘eat mor chikin’ at Chick-fil-A

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Seriously eat mor chikin at Chick-fil-A

A month doesn’t pass without some organization protesting Chick-fil-A to exclude them from participating in some program or even open restaurants in certain locations. This month’s version of Chick-fil-A hate was the last straw for Senator Ted Cruz (and me) as San Antonio’s city council has voted to prevent the fast food chain from operating at the airport.

Let’s call this what it is. Any individual, organization, or company that supports a Biblical worldview or donates to Judeo-Christian causes are considered to be anti-LGBTQ. The only ones who are not labeled as such are those who go out of their way to embrace the LGBTQ community and who promote such things as gay marriage. Faith-based institutions that prioritize modern day’s version of “tolerance” over the Bible’s teachings are often considered to be A-OK to the leaders of the LGBTQ community (as compared to the actual members of the community, most of whom are not involved in pushing the leadership’s agenda beyond believing marriage is not only between a man and a woman).

Chick-fil-A has done nothing to attack the LGBTQ community. They’ve always been stalwart defenders of equal rights and do not deserve the type of treatment they get from people like the six who voted against them in San Antonio’s city council. Yes, they donate to Christian causes. Yes, they let their employees off on Sunday except in those rare circumstances when they’re presence on Sunday is a blessing. Yes, ownership expresses a Biblical worldview. But such things shouldn’t earn them a place on the blacklist.

Nevertheless, they are, and it’s time for patriotic Americans to commit to a sustained campaign in support of this company which has become a symbol as a primary victim of the left’s contempt and discrimination.

Starting tomorrow (can’t start today since it’s Sunday), it’s time to eat out at Chick-fil-A whenever it makes sense. But don’t just do it once. Make it a regular thing. Thinking of other fast food joints for lunch? Whenever possible, don’t. We need to let them and everyone else know that if the left is going to continue to denigrate and block Chick-fil-A, that we’re going to counter their maneuvers by supporting them with our business.

It can’t stop there. We also need to let those who act against Chick-fil-A know, such as those discriminating against religious freedom at the San Antonio city council, that it’s unacceptable. Notice that I’m referring specifically to those who act against Chick-fil-A and not average citizens who protest Chick-fil-A. Protests are protected by the 1st Amendment, so anything beyond respectful discourse should be avoided with the people who have a conscientious difference of opinion. But those who act against Chick-fil-A, especially if they’re part of the government, must be dealt with at the ballot box. A strongly worded letter wouldn’t hurt, either.

Chick-fil-A doesn’t need our help. They’re doing just fine. But that doesn’t mean we can’t expand our support for them anyway. The best way to show or deny support is with our business. Give it to them. Withhold it from those who oppose American freedom.

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Culture and Religion

Did Jesus die exactly 1000 years after King David died?

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Did Jesus die exactly 1000 years after King David died

History doesn’t tell us exactly when Yeshua was born. Luke tells us that He was about 30 years old when He began His ministry and we know it lasted approximately three and a half years.

And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, – Luke 3:23 (KJV)

We know that King David died in 970 AD. The math might start sounding pretty cool at this point, but I’ll elaborate.

Scholars put Yeshua’s birth to likely fall in the 6-4 BC range. Experts place the range of His death (and resurrection) between 30-33 AD as a result of the data that they’ve worked out.

If He did die in 30 AD, that would mean that he died exactly 1000 years after his human ancestor King David.

Some will point out that the calendars were changed, going from 364 to 360 up to 365 at different points within this time range across the various regions, but using the accepted calendars, we can claim that it’s possible for it to be a 1000 year gap. Knowing the amazing order and precision with which our Father has established His creation, it wouldn’t shock me to find out some day that it was precisely 1000 years all the way down to the second.

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