Archived Articles Written by Jan Markell, the Founder and President of Olive Tree Ministries.
If you are looking for the Olive Tree Ministries and ended up here....go to their current website found at: http://www.olivetreeviews.org/
For a number of years this was the Olive Tree Ministries radio website.
Content is mostly from 2011 archived articles written by Jan Markell, the Founder and President of Olive Tree Ministries.
Spread the Word.
Olive Tree Ministries,
P.O. Box 1452
Maple Grove, MN, 55311
About Olive Tree Ministries
Jan Markell, Founder and President of Olive Tree Ministries, was saved under Jewish evangelist Hyman Appleman when she was a child. In Jan’s early ministry years she was a part of the Messianic movement, worked for pro-Israel agencies, and for Jewish evangelism ministries.
In 1982, Jan incorporated Olive Tree Ministries and the goals of the ministry can be read at “Our Purpose.” Jan has written eight major books with prominent Christian publishing houses. She has produced a dozen DVDs, some featured on Sky Angel. At one time she traveled full time across America as a speaker. Visit our store to see some of the products by Jan that are available for purchase.
In the year 2000, Jan launched a radio branch of the ministry starting first on AM980 KKMS, Minneapolis/St. Paul. In 2004, the program was syndicated nationally and is heard internationally on the Internet. “Understanding the Times” radio has been received well as a source of news and information hard to find. “Understanding the Times” is interview and commentary-driven. Learn more at the “Radio Show” category. We have had e-mail response from across America and from two-dozen foreign countries listening to the program.
The ministry has five employees including Jan’s personal assistant Heidi Swander. Other employees assist in radio production and technical areas.
Olive Tree Ministries is a registered 501(c)3 organization.
Tune into Jan Markell’s radio
Program featuring international guests and commentary.
“UNDERSTANDING THE TIMES”
Please spread the word to friends and families in the signal range of these radio outlets.
American Family Radio (AFR) Network
123 Stations found at www.afr.net
Sunday 1pm EST; 12 noon CST;
11am MST; 10am PST
|AM1280 The Patrioit WWTC
Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
Saturday, 9 - 10 AM CST
Sunday replay, 8 - 9AM CST
CSN RADIO NETWORK
Blaine, WA/Vancouver, B.C.
Saturday 11 PM
Saturday, 6 AM EST and 1 PM EST
Seattle, Tacoma, Bremerton & more
Saturday, 9 - 10 AM PST
Sunday, 6 - 7 PM
Portland, OR/Vancouer, WA
Sunday, 12 - 1 PM PST
Saturday, 8 - 9 AM PST
Sunday 5 - 6 PM PST
PRAISE940, AM940 KPSZ
|XM/SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO
Family Talk Channel 131
Sunday, 7 PM EST, 6 CST, 5 MST, 4 PST
Monroeville, AL - 65,000 watts
Saturday, 10 AM CST
Sunday, replay, 9 PM
Saturday, 6 PM
Liberal evangelicals don't represent me!
What is an evangelical? I believe the definition has morphed a bit over some decades now. Evangelicals stress a born-again experience, have a high regard for biblical authority and stress the sharing of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When I finally became “churched” at age 14, it was in a Bible-believing, fundamental church that was committed to the gospel, to missions, to Bible memorization and to the abstinence from some worldly pleasures. Several decades later, I remain an evangelical – but I fear that evangelicalism may have left the train station without me.
Right from the get-go I knew I was not a part of the “social justice” agenda. I did not look down on those folks; I just knew that we looked at biblical issues differently and even looked at the Bible with different glasses. Christians should care about the poor, but to me, poverty, climate change, war, immigration and women’s rights were not primary evangelical issues.
Or were they? The times began a-changin’ in the 1970s, and by the 1980s, some were concerned that evangelicalism could get hijacked. By the 1990s, the term was being redefined. And in the last 10 years, I fear some of the founders of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), who first met in 1942 to counter the liberal Federal Council of Churches of Christ (which would become the National Council of Churches), were pretty grieved! The 21st century brought a shift to the left. Let me clarify.
In 2006, evangelicals jumped on the global-warming bandwagon. TheEvangelical Climate Initiative was formed. Eighty-six evangelical Christian leaders decided to back a major initiative to fight global warming, saying, “Millions of people could die in this century because of climate change, most of them our poorest global neighbors.” Many in the evangelical community still see climate change as junk science and see it getting our eyes off of the prize; that is, sharing the gospel while there is still time.
In 2010 and 2011, immigration became the new evangelical cause. OK, what had I missed? How had this slipped in under the radar screen and become headline news to Bill Hybels, Richard Land, Mathew Staver, leaders at the National Association of Evangelicals and others? Wasn’t this owned by the religious left? Or maybe the right had just moved left. I was starting to connect the dots.
Then came the “Circle of Protection” in the spring and summer of 2011. This was a push from both evangelicals and leftists to see that Congress not cut the federal budget for the poor. The National Association of Evangelicals and religious left icon Jim Wallis yoked together, and suddenly the “What Would Jesus Cut?” effort appeared in headlines. Hundreds of outfits – mainly left-of-center – signed on.
But on Nov. 8 the stunner came along and has millions scratching our heads. This time the founders of the NAE back in 1942 just had to feel betrayed! The National Association of Evangelicals came out calling for nuclear disarmament. I can’t make stuff like this up! I wish it had happened on April 1 and it was a joke. Say it ain’t so! Their position statement falls just short of urging total nuclear disarmament while surmising that reliance on nukes might be idolatrous. Was this position acceptable to all of the 45,000 local churches that make up the NAE? Is this statement (and the other issues I’ve raised) representing them? None of these edicts represents me!
Here’s the answer to that question. Religious left watchdogMark Tooley writes, “Although most of the NAE’s about 100 board members likely remain conservatives, few have openly dissented from the NAE’s recent stances on the environment, enhanced interrogation, immigration, budget policy, and nukes.” This isn’t your grandma’s evangelicalism. Change happened incrementally, but what I believed had left the building!
In October, NAE officials met with President Obama. They released a statement saying, “A growing body of Christian thought calls into question the acceptability of nuclear weapons as part of a just nation defense, given that the just war theory categorically admonished against indiscriminate violence and requires proportionality and limited collateral damage. Scripture shows that national military might too often takes the place of trust in God.” I am having trouble connecting the scriptural dots here.
NAE board member Joel Hunter stated, “We are looking to the Lord for security. Stockpiling weapons for our security may be a form of idolatry.” Other NAE spokesmen talked about loving our enemies. Are they delusional that Iran and North Korea want to love America?
We have a fallen world! A world without violence would be welcomed, but on this sin-stained planet, it won’t happen until much later. We have to address such issues realistically and not idealistically. The enemies of freedom are rogue regimes that won’t disarm just because America does.
Tooley, of the Institute for Religion and Democracy, writes, “Christians, including evangelicals, understanding humanity’s fallen nature, should shun utopian dreams and prudentially advocate policies that hopefully contain evil while knowing that no human actions can eliminate evil.”
Eric Barger of Take a Stand! Ministry says in conjunction with my report, “Methodists, Presbyterians, Anglican/Episcopalians, Lutherans, Disciples of Christ, and many other churches and groups had been the ‘evangelicals’ of their day 80-150 years ago, until liberals gained control. Gradually, Bible schools and seminaries filled with unscrupulous – and unsaved – individuals denigrated the Scriptures, mocked the supernatural, and attempted to instill doubt and not faith in all who dared enter their classrooms. The creeds, which the Apostles and countless believers throughout the church age had given their lives for, were unceremoniously ridiculed. As the Bible was denounced, denial became the norm and heresy replaced truth as liberalism appealed to the flesh and corrupted all who embraced it. Within a relatively short period of time ideals, science, and human reasoning systematically replaced the Bible and began to poison the minds of future ministers, teachers, and countless lay people. All of this took place but not without a formidable fight.”
Is anyone fighting today? All I see is capitulation.
Once again we see a vain “fix the earth” mentality. The wrongs of this world cannot be made right until Christ’s return. Since that just might be soon, could we please go back to the fundamentals of soul winning, the calling card of evangelicals for decades? We can’t fix anything on this planet because the devil is in charge right now. One of the things our government is assigned to do, and rightly so, is to protect its citizens. One of the things evangelicals are to do is to share the gospel. Nuclear disarmament is not a church issue. Somebody do a reality check.
Liberal theologians, even if they call themselves “evangelicals,” don’t speak for me nor do they represent me.
The "Arab Spring" and Potential Cataclysmic Winter War
s Salus and I both note, the whole of the Arab world uprising, euphemistically called the "Arab Spring" by the media, is in a torment of revolt, rage, terror, and chaos. Peace is not on the horizon and democracy is even further away. The supposed democracy-lovers overthrowing evil rulers are thugs and terrorists themselves. When it comes to Islamic-rooted revolutions, there really aren't any "good guys."
The only organized groups in the Arab world are the rabid Muslim groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. They will unite even with perceived enemies if it can lead to the overthrow of Israel. They are at least honest brokers of death, whereas the 'moderates' hide their real intentions with duplicity and 'diplomatic' lies.
At the outset of this "Arab Spring," many inside the liberal media applauded the widespread Arab protests. They hypothesized that the protesters were merely the by-product of a regional youth bulge tired of tyrannical rule. They credited Internet social network sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter for giving the activists a glimpse of freedom.
Bill Salus writes, "Barely digesting the unsettling events of the 'Arab Spring,' the media's attention has now been drawn back to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the genuine possibility of a Mideast winter war. Presently, Israeli borders are fortified rather than redrawn, Arab arsenals are replenished rather than dismantled, and the prospect for the 'Mother of all Mideast Wars' is extremely high."
Salus continues, "Interestingly, there is evidence that the majority of Middle East and North African countries plagued by the current Muslim unrest are involved in end-time Israeli war prophecies. You can read about these forthcoming battles in Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39. Psalm 83 identifies an inner circle confederacy of Arab populations sharing common borders with Israel. Their mandate is to wipe Israel off the map, and their motive is the reclamation of Palestine. Ezekiel 38-39 describes an outer ring confederacy destined to invade Israel in the last days. Ezekiel presents a separate set of invaders than those described in Psalm 83. Additionally, they are driven by a different motive, which is the promise of plunder and great spoil (Ezekiel 38:1-13)."
White House correspondent Bill Koenig writes in his weekly e-newsletter, Koenig's Eye-View from the White House, "There is great concern that Israel's enemies in the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran are cooperating and will rapidly close in on Israel. The United States' involvement in the Middle East has been the backing of the lesser of two evils in country after country. The United States' backing of dictators in the Middle East has led many in the Middle East to not trust the U.S."
As for our actions in Libya, Koenig writes, "The evidence is overwhelming that the U.S. President is downplaying or maybe even misrepresenting his use of American military and diplomatic support of Libyan rebels who are terrorists, supporters of terrorists, and radical Islamists."
As I implied above, there are no "righteous freedom fighters" involved anywhere. There are only agenda-driven radicals on both sides of the region's many conflicts. Evil is maneuvering for power, throwing out both brutal and benign regimes. While most uprisings are contained at present, you still need to see this as a concerted, orchestrated effort to eventually turn all guns on Israel. Enemies will become friends, for in the Middle East, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." That sentiment has never gone out of style.
Strings are being pulled in places of power such as Europe and Washington. Money, greed, and power are potent forces with which to contend. Men like George Soros play a role but even he is but a puppet of more powerful men. The most visible puppet is U.S. President Barack Obama who set America at odds with Israel last May. He also set America at odds with God by revealing himself to be the most anti-Israel president in U.S. history. His demand that Israel retreat to indefensible 1967 borders revealed both his ignorance and arrogance.
But the world's strongest delusion is that if just the tiny nation of Israel could be eradicated, this pulsating world would break into global peace and prosperity. Global debt could be contained. The stormy waters would instantly become calm. The rioting of disgruntled societies would cease. The world could become one.
That is also driving the chaos. Be it a perceived environmental crisis or an actual economic crisis, globalism is the answer. Thus all these Middle East nations must overthrow leaders, kings, dictators, premiers, and generals, and then focus like a laser on Israel as the single enemy. They do not want Israel in the one-world system. She is the mouse that roars and the nation that embarrasses them in war after war.
That a nation the size of New Jersey could have such a global impact is actually known to Christians, but it is interpreted entirely differently by the unbelieving world. Even the religious Left aligns with the Israel-haters. True believers are being called to "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem" (Psalm 122:6) more than ever.
Spring is a season of new beginnings. Unfortunately, until the Lord returns to the heart of Jerusalem for His reign on Earth, there are no good beginnings ahead for that region of the world. Only conflict lies ahead and likely a war so horrendous that the stability of the entire world will be affected. Yet try to tell this to people you care about and you will be met with a glazed-eye stare. They have no clue nor do they want one. Be glad that you do.
You read about it first not here, but in the Bible. The writing is on the wall and it doesn't take the Prophet Daniel to interpret it. You simply cannot understand the times without a Bible.
Obama and Israel: Is it Ignorance or Arrogance?
The fanfare is over. Benjamin Netanyahu has left the building. He has returned to Israel and he and the Israelis realize that they are on their own. The President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, has identified himself as the most anti-Israel President in history. But he does not speak for all of the American people and he does not speak for all of Congress. There may be only a few issues in Washington that have bi-partisan support, but one of those issues is that both the Right and the Left in Congress - with a few exceptions - remain an ally of God's covenant land. Many of them are trying to hold back the water from the hole in the dam that would make the Islamic empire the chosen people.
My only surprise concerning the Netanyahu-Obama events was the people's surprise! That is, that the American people reacted with seeming shock at the events that transpired from May 19-23. It was a slam dunk that this would happen! One can start with Obama's book The Audacity of Hope. In it he states, "When the ill winds blow, I will always stand with the Muslims." And wasn't it just a few short months ago that Obama ditched Netanyahu and company at the White House for dinner with his family. It was that meeting where Bibi Netanyahu was lectured and left stunned and bewildered - and then he actually came back for more!
Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council looks back to November 2010 when Obama went to Indonesia specifically to harass Israel. Blackwell states, "In going to Jakarta, Indonesia, Obama literally went to the ends of the earth to give voice to his displeasure (over Israel). He emphasized his opposition to the policies of the elected government of Israel. He used his Jakarta platform to complain about Israel building apartments for her growing population. Where? In Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. To make matters even worse, Jakarta is a city no Israeli is allowed to enter! The symbolism of saying what he said in the country and city where he said it is simply atrocious."
All of the turmoil of the last two weeks comes at the time when Israel is about to celebrate the 44th anniversary of her recapture of Jerusalem. This took place June 7, 1967. Understand that Jerusalem is the heart of the issue. Let me give you the key to unraveling the end-time code God has given us. Remember three things: Israel, Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount, in that order. And Jesus returns to rule and reign out of Jerusalem - not New York, or Cairo, or London. On June 7, 1967, Israeli soldiers defied all odds as they were outnumbered, yet they recaptured both the old city of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Moshe Dayan made a serious mistake by giving back the Temple Mount to the Islamic world as their golden-domed mosque sits on top of that sacred place. The Muslim world didn't love him one iota for his gesture of good will. They just sat down and planned the next war!
Don't ever get stressed about Israel's survival. Be justifiably concerned about America's. God will always watch over His covenant land and people. "He who keeps Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps" (Psalm 121:4). One hundred million Arabs have tried to annihilate her since 1948, and they have consistently struck out. But every American who is concerned about the security of the United States should be livid and should tremble for our nation. The U.S. President just abandoned his responsibility to defend America and its interests with his objective of coddling America's worst enemies. In fact, this President is favoring the enemies of God because you are an enemy of God if you want to side with those committed to annihilating Israel.
One of the strongest delusions today is that if there were just a two-state solution between Israel and "Palestine," there would then be world peace.
Caroline Glick of The Jerusalem Post says, "Conceptually and substantively, Obama has abandoned the U.S. alliance with Israel." She boldly and appropriately clarifies that Obama has abandoned America more than Israel. She gets it.
But this scenario is not all dark! Now that the most powerful man in the world has turned on the Jewish state and on God, perhaps that beleaguered nation will begin to turn her eyes to the One who formed a covenant with her millennia ago. We know that in a future war known as the Gog-Magog invasion in Ezekiel 38-39, Israel will be forced to reach out to God for help. The passage indicates that there will be no earthly ally to help her. Zechariah 12 indicates she will be friendless as well. Right now Canada's Stephen Harper remains a friend, but few other prominent leaders will do that.
In the meantime, another "peace" flotilla to Gaza is on its way in June; the threat of a unilaterally created Palestinian state is set for September; a now wide-open border from Egypt into Gaza is operating; and al-Qaeda leadership is applauding the Arab Spring. They are assisting with the installation of radical Islam into the governments of many nations that are toppling their leaders. Another major Middle East war is being coordinated as I write these words.
The stage is set. America has played a key but a bitter role. The world is headed in a frightful direction. The President of the United States is steering a sinking ship. Obama's actions against Israel reflect both ignorance and arrogance. Such perilous times only remind us that the King of kings' return is imminent. If you look up and not around, you will maintain a level of peace.
Will This Ship of Fools Sink May 22?
There's going to be a party given by "heathens and skeptics" and I hope you have no desire to attend it. They intend to get together to mock the rapture. After months of enduring the unnerving dogmatism of Harold Camping's billboards, signs, cars, radio commercials and bumper stickers heralding the end of the world as we know it on May 21, American Atheists have announced that they are planning "rapture parties" in Oakland, Houston, and Fort Lauderdale on May 21-22.
The atheists boast of their own billboards which state, The Rapture: You KNOW it's Nonsense. Learn the Truth at our Party." The billboard is designed to knock two millennia of false predictions that the world was about to end. So, they are having a party to celebrate another rapture that wasn't. And the atheists will be more accurate than the Christians because they are going after the date-setters.
So who's behind the latest date-setting nonsense? None other than false teacher Harold Camping who has led a well organized "We Can Know" campaign for more than a year. Sorry, Harold. We cannot know. The Bible says that in Matthew 24:36.
What can we know for sure will result from Camping's prediction?
- He will be proven wrong.
- He will put all who long for the Lord's return in a bad light.
- This will push many more away from considering end-time issues as they will not want to be lumped into such a questionable category.
- Church pulpits will grow even more silent on this topic right at a time when a countdown has truly begun and it is nearing midnight.
- The mockers and scoffers will grow stronger and more vocal.
Due to natural disasters, economic tumult, efforts at forming a one-world system, and political corruption on overdrive, people instinctively know something is very wrong. American Atheists President, Dave Silverman, says in a statement, "What distinguishes the latest round of warnings is the sheer scale of 'gloom and doom' over everything from the economy to the environment."
Having been proved a fool back in 1994 with a similar prediction, one would think these guys would learn! Instead, Camping now insists that Jesus is coming back on May 21, 2011. On that day, true Christians will be raptured and everyone else will come under the judgment of Christ for a period of five months, ending on October 21, 2011.
But Camping states, "God has given so much information in the Bible about this, and so many proofs, and so many signs, that we know it is absolutely going to happen without any question at all. There's nothing in the Bible that holds a candle to the amount of information to this tremendous truth of the end of the world. I would be absolutely in rebellion against God if I thought anything other than it is absolutely going to happen without any question."
Camping is relying heavily on math and the mathematical formula seems known only to him. But Albert Mohler says, "The Bible does not contain hidden codes that we are to find and decipher. The Bible has been given to us in order that we might know the truth, and the truth is clearly revealed in its pages. We are not to look for hidden patterns of words, numbers, dates, or anything else. The Bible's message is plain and requires no mathematical computation for its understanding. The claim that one has found a hidden code or system in the Bible is an insult to the Bible as the Word of God."
His disciples are all across America. Recently, Christian friends of mine spent a day doing intense evangelism at a secular Minneapolis/St. Paul outdoor event. Camping's followers were there passing out their own doomsday literature. They would not listen. They were convinced they have a week before apocalyptic events begin. They are seduced. They insist, in this case, that the secret things don't belong just to God (Deut. 29:29); rather, the followers of Harold Camping have been let in on a giant secret. But Jesus himself said in Matthew 24:36, "Of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my father only." What part of "knows no man" do they not get? Isn't all of this just further proof that biblical illiteracy and deception are raging?
Rick LaCasse, who attended Camping's September 1994 service in Alameda, said that 15 years later, his faith in Camping has only strengthened.
"Evidently, he was wrong," LaCasse allowed, "but this time it is going to happen. There was some doubt last time, but we didn't have any proofs. This time we do."
Would his opinion of Camping change if May 21, 2011, ended without incident?
"I can't even think like that," LaCasse said. "Everything is too positive right now. There's too little time to think like that."
It appears this ship of fools will not sink on May 22, 2011. Camping will likely go back to the drawing board and come up with another sure-fire calculation and some sheep without shepherds will still follow him. But God never rewards the date-setters. If He did, He would show the Bible to be inaccurate and untrustworthy.
Mixing Paganism with the Passion
A very special week was hijacked by the environmental movement last week. What is known as Earth Day landed on the same day as Good Friday, so our crucified Lord had to share the spotlight that day. And if you think this was only the typical antics of the religious Left, think again. Evangelicals have now jumped into this arena. The cause of caring for God’s creation is our responsibility, although we cannot “save the planet” as many herald. Should conservative Christians really be making the theological leap that it was significant that both observances were placed on the calendar on the same day?
The Episcopal Church issued a statement last week saying that the two events on the same day had “profound significance.” Additionally, the statement read, “On the day we mark the crucifixion of Christ, let us remember that when Earth is degraded and species go extinct, a part of God’s body experiences a different type of crucifixion and another way of seeing and experiencing God is diminished.”
Dr. Mark Tooley of the Institute for Religion and Democracy weighed in, stating what many evangelical leaders should have been saying. He states, “Shouldn’t churches instead focus on explaining the Good News made possible on Good Friday to a broken world in need of redemption? These church agencies seem only to echo secular environmentalists. Shouldn’t churches have a more powerful message during Christianity’s most momentous week of the year?”
I agree, and thus I am troubled that one evangelical organization has a blog entry stating that “Earth Day and Good Friday Go Together.” The writer states, “It is especially fitting that Earth Day happens to coincide with Good Friday this year. As we contemplate both the crucifixion of Jesus and the current state of the creation He died to save, an appropriate call to action has come out of the Cape Town Commitments.” The writer thenlifts a quote from that recent event which says, “Love for God’s creation demands that we repent for our part in the destruction, waste, and pollution of the earth’s resources and our collusion in the toxic idolatry of consumerism.”
Wait a minute! Repent for our part in the waste and pollution of earth’s resources? What about repenting just from blatant sin?
I, however, do applaud the Evangelical Environmental Network for their statement, saying that, “Since sin is the root cause of our environmental and social crises, there is ultimately no answer to these problems apart from Christ and what He did on the cross.” I am not in agreement with their belief that Earth Day and Good Friday go together, as Good Friday should cause us to only reflect on the suffering Savior who died that man might have eternal life. The nails in His hands had nothing to do with healing the planet, as more liberal outfits stated last week.
While true believers who are on the environmental bandwagon may not buy into the principles outlined in the environmental bible called The Environmental Handbook, you still need to know what this publication pushes. I suspect the religious Left has no problem with this prayer found in the book, “Mother, Father, God, Universal Power — remind us daily of the sanctity of all life. Touch our hearts with the glorious oneness of all creation as we strive to respect all the living beings on this planet. Penetrate our souls with the beauty of the Earth as we attune ourselves to the rhythm and flow of the seasons. Awaken our minds with the knowledge to achieve a world in perfect harmony and grant us the wisdom to realize that we can have Heaven on Earth.”
No, we cannot have Heaven on Earth unless you believe in Kingdom Now/Dominion Theology, which teaches this. Dominionism is a false teaching. The world is too corrupted by the Fall in the Garden to have even an ounce of perfection.
A Lutheran Pastor in Abilene, Texas says, “Good Friday was Earth’s greatest day, and try as we may to inspire awareness and appreciation for this earth, this promise about Earth’s renewal is awesome.”
The Bible says nothing about “Earth’s renewal.” It says a lot about Earth’s ultimate judgment.
But the good folks atBlessed Earth: Serving God and Saving the Planet, had hoped we would wake up on Earth Day with a whole new spirit of serving God and saving the planet. They state, “I found God’s Holy Spirit is convicting and calling Christians from all over the world to repent for the damage we have done, and to care for God’s Earth.”
Again, we repent from sin, not from what we might have done to the planet. There is no more appropriate week during the year to get right with God than Easter week. Repenting from the damage we have done to the environment on Good Friday is misplaced passion. Statements like the one above further reveal how the world has entered into the church.
Here is a liturgical service from an Earth Day/Good Friday service (PDF). While evangelicals would never go to this extreme, you need to know what is out there.
Make no mistake that Earth Day does represent a “religion.” It is the religion of “Mother Earth.” This is not the kind of a belief system that evangelicals have paid much attention to until the last 15 years. The Green Bible boasts that there are far more references to Earth than to Heaven. That fact, even if accurate, shouldn’t bestow sacredness and providence that Earth Day and Good Friday were on the same day in 2011.
As I write this, millions are perishing and headed to the wrong place for eternity. All the “signs of the times” tell us that the hour is very late. The passion of the cross is to remind us that our Lord’s literal passion was souls. No Christian finds recklessness with the creation acceptable. All of our hearts broke at the sight of pelicans saturated in oil in the Gulf last year. But there are some, heavily on the religious Left, who need to understand that we can only redeem the planet from the Fall with the Lord’s return.
For balanced information on the environment, we highly recommend The Cornwall Alliance. Director Cal Beisner is my frequent radio guest.
God Is Shaking the Nations
World events are startling! Watching the Middle East, Japan, Australia, Europe, and a meltdown in America, have prompted some healthy discussions on the last days. When events happen at such a rapid pace, it is wise to ask, "What on Earth is happening?" Those who could care less are likely drowning in some kind of destructive behavior because they, too, notice but cannot cope. Who can we trust with answers?
Most turn first to their pastors. Some provide wonderful, biblical insight into our times. May their numbers increase! From what we hear at this ministry, they are in the minority, for one ministry supporter sent me an email from her pastor. I did a double-take on it upon reading it. I so wanted to believe it was just made up. He writes:
"The number of troubles in the world overwhelmed me for a while and I didn't know how to respond. I am suggesting we pray for the people we see or hear about in the media who are working in these troubled areas and also for the victims and their families whose faces and voices carry so much grief and anxiety.
"Some may wonder if these are signs of the end-times because they certainly appear to fit the descriptions we read about in the Bible. But, I suggest we don't rush to express this view. Historically, there have been seasons of trouble that have had the hallmarks of the end-times, most notably, the early 20th century. Some people were driven by fear to repent. Other people concluded that such a violent and indiscriminate series of events that killed 'innocent' with the guilty did not present the God of Christianity in a good light and there was then a great falling away.
"Now is not the time to theologize or speculate on causes. It's just time now to help."
How tragic that he discourages people from considering the serious warnings that great traumas would come upon the world as we hurdle towards the very time of the end. He discourages a conversation about these issues and would thus rob many of the "blessed hope" that Christ's return offers. Without the proper biblical perspective, the strongest believer could cave. When we realize what is happening to this planet -- the Japan scenario most recently, but preceded by global chaos in many hot spots -- it should quicken our spirits and affect the way we live and think and carry on with our relationships. Jesus is coming soon! Live your life in light of eternity! God is shaking the nations as spoken of in Haggai 2:7.
People cannot take chaos and confusion forever. They need some comforting words. They need some insight. They are asking why all this is happening. They don't know how to connect the dots. Tell them! This is a dress rehearsal for Matthew 24. We don't know if that drama is center stage tomorrow or 20 years from now. But it will happen.
This pastor also told the woman to whom he sent his email that she should not talk about repentance, for that might lead to a great falling away. It is the withholding of the message of repentance that has led to the great apostasy of our day. But he states what is most important -- more important even than speaking of repentance -- is to go and help. I guess that means the social gospel or good works is what really matters. Yes, it is a great idea to make a donation for those suffering in Japan or you-fill-in-the-blank. The globe is throbbing. But the social gospel has been implemented now for a century as liberalism has emphasized feeding the stomach but starving the soul.
This ministry exhorts you to reach out to the lost with the truth of the gospel while there is time. The world and much of the church are deceived. Strong delusion has run amok. The apostate church is thriving. Bible-believing, discerning Christians are being left on the side of the road, scorned and displaced with no church to attend. The Church of Laodicea has left the light of the Word and the world. That is why a shepherd of the sheep can pen the words quoted above.
I am weary of hearing that Bible prophecy is scorned in church after church. If it is one-fifth of the Bible, it has to be relevant! If Jesus' first coming is significant, why is His Second Coming controversial and not seeker-sensitive? When and how did the message that the King is coming become a downer? On some end-time issues, we "see through a glass darkly," but other issues are crystal clear.
It seems that for 25 years seminaries have been cranking out pastors who aren't sure what theology to teach when it comes to eschatology, so they won't visit the topic at all.
Here we are, likely in the last of the last days. God bless the pastors who tell the truth and teach the whole counsel of God. I exhort you now, while there is still time, to become fishers of men just as Jesus challenged us. It is a small price to pay in light of what He has done for us. Evangelism and issues of the last days fit hand-in-glove. Everything has an end, even life as we know it. I can almost hear the hoof beats of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.
You need to go out and tell people. Shout it from the mountain tops. You are not responsible for their response. There may not be much time left.
Why Won't They Listen?
By Jan Markell
Olive Tree Ministries
A repeated theme coming into this office by e-mail is that loved ones - friends and family - will not listen when discerning people try to tell them about our world today. If a reference is made to end-time activity, people will often scoff and literally brush them away. Some just don't have ears to hear about any current issue. While this has always been the case, it seems to be accelerated today. And this is happening when issues are so serious you would think it would help people carry out their lives more effectively if they only understood the times from a biblical perspective.
When Technology Turns Against Us
By Jan Markell
We all know we are heading into a full-blown surveillance society. The U.K. probably heads the world in this effort, but the U.S. is nipping at its heels. The Obama administration is assuring that.
The World's Oldest Disease
The world remains sick with a very old disease for which no cure has ever been found. It tends to go into remission now and then, but it always reappears as virulent as ever. It even develops into new strains. Some have called it a lethal obsession. It is called anti-Semitism, and if the Jews did not exist, some anti-Semite would invent him. It's that bad.
The Helen Thomas story is now old but it was very revealing. In just a brief moment of time, she spewed in microcosm what kings, generals, fuhrers, pharoahs, and Muslim extremists have done in legion. She tried to dispossess the Jews. None of Israel's enemies have any knowledge of what the Bible has to say about the land or the people of Israel. None of her enemies experience even a nano-second of guilt for telling the Jews to go back to Auschwitz. Even though I researched the Holocaust to write the Anita Dittman story, Trapped in Hitler's Hell, I cannot imagine the haunting thought of being told to go back to Auschwitz had I ever been interned there. But in demonstrations after the May 31 flotilla fiasco in Gaza, signs sprouted up all over the world saying that the Jews should all pack up and head to Auschwitz, which is now a solemn memorial museum. In its own way, it says "never again" just as all of Israel does when the subject of the Holocaust comes up.
For someone to tell a Jew in Israel to "go home" also makes no sense because they are home. They may have passed through Germany or Poland, or Russia as my grandparents did, but the Bible reveals that Israel is their home. Of all earth's inhabitants, only the Jews have a deed to a piece of land from God as recorded in the Bible. But then not even most church members even know that, let alone the monsters of the world.
The destiny of the Jew is to be eternally unsafe around the world. The day is coming when friends of Israel will also feel uneasy and unsafe. Right now the "friends of Israel" are primarily evangelical Christians who do not hold to Replacement Theology -- the belief that the church has replaced Israel. Rather, they recognize that the land and people of Israel were chosen by God to be special real estate and a chosen people. In Leviticus 25 God calls Israel "My land." So it belongs to God. He has given it to Israel to manage and make the desert blossom as a rose.
As I researched the Holocaust for the Dittman book, I became aware that for the first time in the history of the human race, a decision was made in a modern nation (Germany,) in the midst of a civilized continent (Europe). That decision paved the way for people to behave in an unthinkable manner. A unique group of innocent people -- the Jews -- were tracked down, registered, marked, dispossessed, humiliated, and transported against their will. They had generously contributed to the culture of the world. Perhaps their biggest problem was that they were different, but in a good way. They dared to be different. But they cannot afford the luxury of historical amnesia. They must be vigilant, conscious, and always prepared for the resurgence of the plague of anti-Semitism.
There is global outrage when Israel tries to defend herself from rockets or "activists" bearing lethal weapons, riding in a flotilla while world powers who arm themselves with weapons of mass destruction receive little chastisement. Terrorists such as Hamas and Fatah actually receive U.S. aid while Israel is scolded, threatened, and humiliated by Washington. Any Israeli act of self-defense becomes a massacre, genocide, or ethnic cleansing.
In recent decades, the anti-Semitism has sprouted new wings and turned into anti-Israel activity and sentiment. It's bad enough that the Jews exist, but to have their own nation is more than most can stomach. Colleges in the Western world are riddled with anti-Israel sentiment. You can find Israel-bashing events, often called Israeli Apartheid Week, on dozens of campuses. And what fuels much of this is the sentiment that Israel is the Goliath beating up on helpless Palestinians. The untold story is that the Palestinians are rendered helpless, not by Israel, but by their own leadership. It would seem that the world -- not just Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- really wants another Holocaust. Yellow stars are even being put on the backs of Jewish Norwegian school children today.
So what is the spiritual connection? The devil is in the details. He knows the Bible better than many Christians. Satan knows that the Jews are the key to the end of the age -- from how it plays out to where it plays out. He knows that if he could exterminate the Jews, perhaps his demise could be thwarted. Helen Thomas doesn't understand that nor do the Islamic empires who want to vaporize the people and nation of Israel.
It is only this ugly age-old anti-Semitic sentiment that calls the terrorist occupants on the Turkish boat Mavi Marmara good, and the nation of Israel, evil (Isaiah 5:20). At least one video shows the Israelis, who were armed with paintball guns, being mercilessly beaten with multiple kinds of objects. But the world doesn't care. They have bought the lie. The lie is that there would be world peace if only Israel and the Jews would disappear. They won't. That's a guarantee. Their greatest hour is yet future.
How About the "Israelification" of Our Airports?
It's time to follow Israel's El Al Airlines and profile, interrogate, and treat everyone with polite suspicion. I have been through their routine more times than I'd like to remember. It's an enormous inconvenience but the procedure works. Getting up at 3 AM to prepare for a two-hour cross-examination isn't a joyride, but there are no El Al plane parts floating in an ocean or embedded on the ground.
According to Global Traveler magazine, El Al is the world's most secure airline. This is both despite and because her planes are assuredly the highest value terrorist targets in the air.