Posts Tagged ‘Apostle Paul’

WHERE IS THE THRONE OF SATAN?

December 28, 2015

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“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” ~Ephesians 6:12

Christians understand God’s omnipresence. The word means that God knows exhaustively, and upholds and touches continually, every single item in the universe He has made, from the tiniest genes and electrons to the most massive stars in the expanding universe to the most complex mind-body interactions in the psyche of over 6 billion people. God is here, there, and everywhere, and His mind and Hand are on everything. We are never out of His sight (Psalm 139), and we cannot get away from Him (John 1). Wherever we are, He is there too. This is not simply a matter of transcending spatial confines. Strictly speaking, God has no spatial location at all, for space belongs to the created order and exists in Him rather than He in it. Such is the omnipresence of God. Scientists talk about simple one celled animals but a single human cell is anything but simple. It you typed the information found in a single human cell on standard typing paper, it would take a stack of paper higher than the Washington Monument and would require more than a hundred years just to read. You might also be astonished to know that the information is digital and that the digital age did not start during modern times, it has always existed.

As I write about the Throne of Satan, you should understand that Satan is the god of this world but he is not omnipresent. Satan was created by God but he cannot be in two places at the same time. Satan is aided by his demons though God restrains them to limit what they can do, but their hostility toward God and the godly has no limits. Wrecking God’s work, thwarting His grace, and bringing us to spiritual ruin is their common goal.

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So where exactly was the throne of Satan? Read for yourself beginning in Revelation 2:12, “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this: 13 I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality.…”

The people of Pergamum worshipped a myriad of Greek and Roman gods, but when Christianity arrived with the belief in just one god, the city’s pagan priests went on the attack and their most famous victim was a man named Antipas.

In the book of Revelation, Jesus called Antipas “my faithful martyr.” He was the bishop of Pergamum, ordained by the Apostle John. When Jesus looked down from the Cross and put His mother Mary in John’s care, John and Mary fled to Ephesus. I stood in the very location to the south of Ephesus where Mary’s tiny house was believed to have stood 2,000 years ago overlooking the Greek Islands in the Aegean Sea not far from the Isle of Patmos.

The pagan priests went to the Roman governor and complained that the prayers of Antipas were driving their spirits out of the city and hindering the worship of their gods. As punishment, the governor ordered Antipas to offer a sacrifice of wine and incense to a statue of the Roman emperor and declare that the emperor was “lord and god.”

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Antipas refused and was sentenced to death on the Altar of Zeus otherwise known as the Throne of Satan. Most of that altar still survives today, and surrounding it are some of the world’s most famous marble friezes. They depict the Gigantomachy, or the battle between the Greek gods and the giants. At the top of the altar was a hollow bronze bull, designed for human sacrifice. Antipas was placed inside the bull and they tied him in such a way that his head would go into the head of the bull. Then they would light a huge fire under the bull, and as the fire heated the bronze, the person inside of the bull would slowly begin to roast to death. As the victim would begin to moan and to cry out in pain, his cries would echo through the pipes in the head of the bull so it seemed to make the bull come alive.

Even in the midst of the flames, the elderly bishop Antipas died praying for his church. The year was AD 92. I believe on the day Antipas died, Satan was present savoring the event. Satan’s time of reckoning is yet to come.

A few years later, the Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation, mentioning the death of Antipas in Pergamum. Today, all that’s left there is the foundation; the Altar of Zeus is more than a thousand miles away.

The Pergamum Altar of Zeus or Satan is a monumental construction built during the reign of Greek King Eumenes II on one of the terraces of the acropolis of the ancient Greek city of Pergamum in Asia Minor.

The structure is 117 feet wide and 110 feet deep; the front stairway alone is 65 feet wide. The structure lay in ruins until 1878 when the German engineer Carl Humann began official excavations on the acropolis of Pergamum, an effort that lasted until 1886. The excavation was undertaken in order to rescue the altar friezes and expose the foundation of the edifice. Later, other ancient structures on the acropolis were brought to light. Upon negotiating with the Turkish government, a participant in the excavation, it was agreed that all frieze fragments found at the time would become the property of the Berlin museums. If you have read my previous writings you know that the Library of Pergamum rivaled the Library of Alexander to the degree that the Pharaoh demanded that papyrus paper could no longer be sent to Pergamum. As a result, Pergamum invented Pergamum Paper later known as Parchment.

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The Altar of Zeus alternately known as the Pergamum Altar built between 197 and 156 B.C. formerly in Pergamum, Asia Minor, (today Bergama, Turkey) is now housed in Berlin’s Pergamum Museum. The Museum will be closed to all visitors for five years for the purpose of restoration work on the museum building that houses it. The authority that runs Berlin’s public museums said the central hall that contains the altar will likely not reopen until 2019.

After the relics of Satan’s throne were moved from Pergamum to Germany, Satan’s throne was re-erected twice in Berlin, in 1901 and 1930 respectively; each re-erection was followed by a world war – WWI & WWII. Does this also explain why both world wars exploded from Germany?

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As a Presidential candidate, Barack Obama made his initial acceptance speech in 2008 for the DNC presidential nomination, from a nearly perfect replica of the Pergamum Altar of Satan. When this was pointed out many leftist bloggers and news outlets went crazy.

Hitler’s architect Albert Speer used the Pergamum Altar as the model for the Zeppelintribune Field used by Hitler to make his most grand speeches to the Nazis.

The Pergamum Museum was severely damaged during the air attack on Berlin at the end of the Second World War. Many of the display objects were stored in safe places, and some of the large pieces were walled in for protection. In 1945, the Red Army collected all of the loose museum items, either as war booty or, ostensibly, to rescue them from looting and fires then raging in Berlin. Not until 1958 were most of the objects returned to East Germany. Significant parts of the collection remain in Russia. Some are currently stored in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow and the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg.

Three years after parts of the Pergamum Alter were returned to Berlin, the Berlin Wall was built dividing the city for 28 years. During the 13 years or so the Alter was in Russia, the Cold War began. Is there any doubt that Satan is at work dividing countries?

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Just four years after 300 boxcar loads of relics from Pergamum were returned to Germany from Russia, the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred in 1962. What was not revealed until recently is that the United States agreed to dismantle our missiles in Turkey that were aimed at Russia. Those missiles were in the Pergamum region not far from Pergamum and they were called PGM-19 Jupiter ballistic missiles. The agreement was that the U.S. would dismantle the missiles but it would be done in secret. The Roman god Jupiter is the same as the Greek god Zeus.

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Using the altar as his model, Speer created a colossal grandstand at the rally grounds in Nuremberg. It became known as the Zeppelintribüne. After the war, only a small part of it was left standing.

If you look at the kinds of ceremonies that were on display at Zeppelin field with the reconstructed temple there patterned on the Pergamum Altar, you’ll see photographs of Hitler, descending down the steps, like a tribune of the people from old Roman times.

In the middle of the grandstand, where the bronze bull altar of Zeus stood in ancient Pergamum, Albert Speer built Hitler’s podium. Hitler wanted to create what he called a “mass experience,” and Speer came up with the perfect idea.

Most of the Nuremberg rallies were held at night, so Speer surrounded the grandstand with 150 searchlights. The columns of light extended for miles in the sky, creating the mystical effect Hitler wanted:

This effect was known as the “Cathedral of Light,” and it became a hallmark of Hitler’s events. It was even used in the closing ceremonies of the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.

Inside the rally grounds, thousands of Nazi Party members marched in torchlight parades.

From his podium, Hitler mesmerized the crowds with rhetoric, “Not every one of you sees me and i do not see every one of you. But I feel you… and you feel me!”

Then under the Cathedral of Light, thousands of Germans swore what they called a “holy oath.”

“Blazing flames hold us together into eternity…

No one shall take this faith from those who are dedicated to Germany.”

From 1933 to 1938, hundreds of thousands of people gathered at the Zeppelin field in Nuremberg every September for the Reichstparteitag, or Nazi Party Congress. But it was the 1934 rally that captured the attention of the world, thanks to what may be the greatest propaganda film of all time. It was also in Nuremberg that Hitler used the phrase “Final Solution” for the first time in public. “Bitter complaints have come in from countless places citing the provocative behavior of Jews. This law is an attempt to find a legislative solution. If this attempt fails, it will be necessary to transfer [the Jewish problem] … to the National Socialist party for a final solution.”

The Nuremberg Laws stripped the Jews of their rights as citizens.

They couldn’t teach in public universities, they couldn’t practice medicine in public hospitals, they couldn’t fly the national flag, but they could fly the Jewish flag. Then that was coupled with the Reich citizenship law, which said that Jewish people in Germany were subjects of the Reich, but not citizens.

Hitler’s “Final Solution” is now known as the Holocaust, a word that comes from a Greek word meaning “a wholly burnt animal sacrifice.” Does that remind you of the faithful martyr Antipas?

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You can’t say that Satan’s Throne is not in the center of global affairs.

On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan in a speech in front of the Berlin Wall said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” During November 1989 the wall came down. Both Reagan and Gorbachev were Time Magazine men of the year.

Current Time Magazine Person of the year is German Chancellor Angela Merkel who was called Chancellor of the Free World.

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THE BIBLE IS NOT A FAIRY TAIL

April 9, 2015

 

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This is a photo I took of Pergamum and my wing man while I was flying an F-4 Phantom II over Turkey about 30 years ago (taking photos from jet fighters is no longer legal). Pergamum was once the center of a small kingdom. In The Book of Revolation it is labeled a place where Satan has his throne, or where Satan lives. One reason often suggested for this statement is that Pergamum housed a famous temple to Asklepius, the Greek god of healing, symbolized by the figure of a snake. An evil dragon in one of John’s later visions is labeled “that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.” Another possible reason for placing Satan in Pergamum is that Antipas, possibly the first Christian martyr in Asia, was killed there, and “Satan” is simply the label attached to his persecutors (like “Satan” or “the devil” at Smyrna).

Even the ruins of Pergamum are beautiful with its Amphitheater overlooking a breathtaking vista. I was amazed when I set in the highest seats of another Amphitheater in Ephesus and could understand people talking in a normal voice at ground level.

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This Ephesian Amphitheater is where “Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.” Acts 19

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As you think about the erosion of Christian Religious Freedom today, ask yourself what gods our governors and corporate CEOs worshippeth in 2015.

RICH PREACHER POOR PREACHER

November 2, 2014

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Jesus said, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Prosperity Preacher Joel Osteen lays his head down in great comfort in his $10,500,000 mansion in the richest neighborhood in America, River Oaks in Houston.

Paul the Apostle wrote: when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel. But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me. I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of this boast. Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make use of my rights in preaching it. Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

Paul worked as a tent maker to support himself, sometimes night and day, as he preached the Gospel.

King Solomon called himself “The Preacher.” He was the wisest and richest man who ever lived denying himself nothing and keeping scores of wives and concubines.

The Catholic Church’s global holdings including huge amounts of real estate, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Vatican City, and some of the world’s greatest art add up to immeasurable wealth.

I am writing this blog not to judge but to inform; keeping in mind that we are all sinners and fall short of the Kingdom of God without the way, the truth and the life.

Television has been a great multiplier allowing preachers to spread the Gospel to the masses. It has also proved to be a tool to obtain great wealth.

Jesus and Paul amassed no earthly wealth. Solomon and many other preachers are so wealthy they make Joel Osteen look like a pauper.

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The founder of Modern Prosperity Theology, Bishop Edir Macedo of Brazil has a net worth estimated by Brazilian authorities at two billion dollars. He is continuously involved in scandals, mostly due to allegations that his organization had siphoned off billions of dollars of donations intended for charity. There have also been official charges of fraud and money laundering. Macedo even spent eleven days in jail in 1992 due to charges of charlatanism. He has denied all the accusations against him in Brazil, but he is still under prosecution by US authorities as well as Venezuelan authorities. Yet Macedo has managed to keep his flock of followers throughout the years.

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Jesus rode on a donkey; Bishop Macedo owns a $45 million jet.

Jesus and Paul ran afoul with Roman and Jewish authorities but never for money laundering or taking money intended for charity. Their crime was preaching the gospel.

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Bishop T. D Jakes enjoys a net worth of $150 million and resides in a $1,700,000 mansion. He has been called America’s best preacher and has been featured on the cover of TIME magazine. He is a writer, preacher and movie producer. Thomas Dexter Jakes, Sr. is the bishop and chief pastor of The Potter’s House, a non-denominational American mega church, with 30,000 members, located in Dallas, Texas. T.D Jakes wears custom made suits and sports a diamond ring the size of a coin.

Bishop David Oyedepo is a Nigerian Preacher, Christian Author, Founder and Presiding Bishop of Winners Chapel known as Living Faith Church World Wide. Has been hailed as the wealthiest preacher in Nigeria with a total net worth of $150 million and properties like 4 private jets and homes in the United States and England. After the foundation of the Living Faith Outreach Ministry in 1981, it has evolved to be one of the largest congregations in Africa and has a flourishing mission in Nairobi. This is just one of Bishop Oyendepo’s jets.

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Bishop Oyedepo claims that in 1998 he was instructed by God to build a new base for the Commission to accommodate the increasing number of worshipers. This resulted in Bishop Oyedepo’s church’s acquisition of the initial 530-acre facility, known as Canaanland, which serves as his headquarters. It is the home of the 50,000-seat capacity auditorium, the ‘Faith Tabernacle’, which is reputed to be the largest church auditorium in the world. This was a feat also recorded by the Guinness Book of Records.

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Canaanland campus also has for profit establishments operated by the church such as a bakery, a bottled water processing plant, a gas station, various restaurants and shopping stores, several residential houses that provide for the over 2,000 church employees, and guest houses. Four banks are also present on this Estate, three of which are branches of external commercial banks and one which is a community and micro-finance Bank and operated by the Church. The whole of Canaanland which includes a proposed 15,000 housing division known as Canaan City had increased to 17,000 acres as at 2012

It is not easy to figure out just how much some Bishops, Preachers or modern day Apostles are worth.

Kenneth Copeland runs Kenneth Copeland Ministries and was one of several televangelists whose finances were investigated from 2007 to 2011 by Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa. According to an article by the Associated Press that ran in 2008, “His ministry’s 1,500-acre campus, behind an iron gate a half-hour drive from Fort Worth includes a church, a private airstrip, a hangar for the ministry’s $17.5 million jet and other aircraft, and a $6 million church owned lakefront mansion. The article later added that while Copeland has not released up-to-date salary statements, the church disclosed in a property-tax exemption application that his wages were $364,577 twenty years ago; Copeland’s wife, Gloria, earned $292,593. It’s not clear whether those figures include other earnings, such as special offerings for guest preaching or book royalties. Here is the Copeland home:

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As of 2012, Prosperity Theology Preacher Joel Osteen had amassed a fortune of $56,508,500 and lives in a $10,500,000 mansion in River Oaks. River Oaks is the wealthiest and most expensive community in Texas and occupies 1,100 acres in Houston. Strolling through River Oaks one might see a professional basketball player, the primary figure of the Enron scandal, a Saudi Arabian oil figure or maybe a preacher? Not bad for a young man with no college degree and only a brief stint at Oral Roberts University. Joel’s brother Paul is a surgeon with lots of education but after 17 years Paul moved back to Houston and works for Joel. Don’t cry for Joel, he is still a young man with time to make some real money. Here is Joel’s home and guest house:

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Pat Robertson is an American businessman and Christian preacher. He attended college at Washington and Lee University, and then served in the Marine Corps. After attending Yale Law School, and failing to pass the bar exam, he chose to attend New York Theological Seminary. Four years after graduating, he launched the Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia, and the network is now broadcast in 180 countries. In the late 80s, he ran for President, but was unsuccessful. He runs a number of large companies. Some estimates put his net worth at 1 billion. He lives on the top of a Virginia mountain, in a huge mansion with a private airstrip. He owns the Ice Capades, a small hotel, diamond mines, and until recently, International Family Entertainment, parent company of the Family Channel.  This mountain top home is just one of many Robertson residents:

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Israeli televangelist Toufik Benedictus “Benny” Hinn has an estimated net worth of $42 million. He is best known for his regular “Miracle Crusades” – revival meeting and faith healing summits that are usually held in large stadiums in major cities, which are later broadcast worldwide on his television program, “This Is Your Day”. The estimate of $42 million may be low for Benny who owns this Malibu mansion:

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Chris Oyakhilome is the man behind Believers’ Loveworld Ministries, a.k.a Christ Embassy. Hard to estimate the net worth of this New Age Preacher but is possibly between $30 million and $50 million. The charismatic preacher was at the center of a $35 million money laundering case in which he was accused of siphoning funds from his church to foreign banks.

Creflo Dollar: American Bible teacher, pastor, and the founder of World Changers Church International has an estimated net worth of $27 million. As his name suggests, this preacher’s “manna” comes in form of the green buck.  Here is Reverend Dollar’s Fayetteville, Georgia mansion under construction with an inset image of his jet.

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Rick Warren is an American author and evangelical Christian pastor who has a net worth of $25 million dollars. Rick Warren founded his high school’s first Christian club and earned several degrees. He founded Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California; it is now the country’s eighth-largest church. Saddleback Church and Warren attracted national attention when they hosted Barack Obama and John McCain for the Civil Forum on The Presidency in 2008.

American evangelical Christian evangelist, William Franklin “Billy” Graham, Jr., has a net worth of $25 million. The Southern Baptist evangelist rose to celebrity status as his sermons started getting broadcast on radio and television. Graham was born on a dairy farm near Charlotte, North Carolina in 1918; he has conducted many evangelistic crusades since 1948. Billy is many people’s favorite preacher who had access to presidents and kings.

Becoming an evangelical preacher in Brazil is the dream of many young people across the country. Contrary to more traditional protestant churches that require their pastors to have at least a masters degree, the neo-Pentecostal churches such as the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God offer intensive courses to “create” pastors for as little as $350 for a few days of classes. It’s not only about money, the most talented young members of a pastor’s crew can earn up to $132,000 a year, but it is also about power.

Many Brazilian pastors have been given diplomatic passports in the past few years. Some, especially those who lead big churches, are courted by politicians at election time. I mentioned Modern Prosperity Theology Bishop Edir Macedo earlier in this post. Here are some of Brazil’s other Pastor Superstars:

Valdemiro Santiago is a former preacher within the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, he was reportedly expelled from the institution after some misunderstandings with its boss, of whom he was a protégé. That was enough for him to found his own church, the World Church of the Power of God, which has more than 900,000 followers and over 4,000 temples, many of which are adorned with images of him on billboards. He made headlines last year after reportedly spending $45 million for a private jet. Several Brazilian business magazines estimate his net worth at $220 million.

Silas Malafaia, the former leader of the Brazilian arm of the Assembly of God, Brazil’s biggest Pentecostal church. The most outspoken of his colleagues, Malafaia parted ways with the institution in the late 1990s to start his own spin-off denomination, the Assembly of God-Victory In Christ Church. Malafaia is also a prominent figure on Twitter, where he is followed by more than 440,000 users. In 2011, Malafaia–who’s worth an estimated $150 million according to several Brazilian business publications–launched a campaign called “The One Million Souls Club,” that aims to raise $500 million for his church in order to create a global television network that would be broadcast in 137 countries. Malafaia also owns one of the four biggest record companies in Brazil’s gospel segment, according to Billboard Brazil, and the country’s second largest gospel publishing company, Central Gospel, with sales of a reported $25 million per year.

Romildo Ribeiro Soares, simply known as R.R. Soares. As the founder of the International Church of the Grace of God, Soares is one of the most regular faces on Brazilian TV. Another former member of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, he is the brother-in-law of Macedo. The self-entitled “missionary” Soares is said to be the humblest among his peers. His private jet, a King Air 350, is worth a “modest” $5 million. Soares’ estimated net worth is $125 million.

Estevam Hernandes Filho and his wife, “Bishop” Sonia, oversee more than 1,000 churches in Brazil and abroad, including several in Florida. With a combined net worth estimated at $65 million, the couple made international headlines in 2007 when they were arrested in Miami, accused of carrying more than $56,000 in undeclared cash. Some of the money had been stuffed between the pages of their Bibles, according to U.S. customs agents who detained the couple at the Miami Airport. They were returned to Brazil a year later. They are also still under prosecution in Brazil for a number of other crimes.

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Back in the U.S. American civil rights activist and Baptist Minister Jesse Jackson has an estimated net worth of $10 million.

Another civil rights activist, Baptist minister and radio show host, Al Sharpton has an estimated net worth of $5 million. He earned his net worth through radio and television. I didn’t know Reverend Sharpton had a radio show?

John Hagee was my mother’s favorite preacher when she died in 2000. He is a founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, a non-denominational Charismatic megachurch with more than 20,000 active members. He is also the chief executive officer of his non-profit corporation, Global Evangelism Television (GETV). Hagee is the President and CEO of John Hagee Ministries, which telecasts his national radio and television ministry carried in the United States on ten television networks, including 62 high-power stations aired to more than 150 million households. He is shown on networks around the globe, including Africa, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Hagee is the founder and National Chairman of the Christian-Zionist organization Christians United for Israel, incorporated on February 7, 2006. Hagee’s support for Israel has brought him death threats. He also speaks openly on religious beliefs regarding Islam, Catholicism, and homosexuality. I know of no other person with responsibilities approaching John Hagee’s with a net worth of only $5 million. If your retirement nest egg was that much and was invested in ten year US treasury notes, your income would be $114,000 a year.

John Hagee and well known Pastor and Author John Piper are not poor but both chose not to be fabulously wealthy. “”Out of the freedom from worry that God’s generosity provides comes an impulse toward simplicity rather than accumulation.” John Piper

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THE ARK OF THE COVENANT

August 10, 2014

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While Moses was in the wilderness near Mount Sinai in Saudi Arabia, God commanded him to build the Ark. The Apostle Paul spent three years in the same area after his conversion on the Road to Damascus. It was Constantine’s mother, Queen Helena who mistakenly placed Mount Sinai in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. Paul wrote in Galatians, “For this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.” Paul wrote almost 25% of the New Testament and was clearly the most traveled and hardest working apostle. While Paul did not make a big issue about how he became so knowledgeable, it is clear to me that he was taught directly by God, perhaps on the Holy Mountain. He did not get his understanding from teachings by Jewish Scholars although he was an expert in all the ways of the Jews.

This is also the area where Moses fled to from Egypt and married the daughter of the Priest of Median and where he saw the burning bush where God first spoke to him.

The Ark was constructed of acacia wood and plated with pure gold, inside and out. On the bottom, four gold rings were attached, through which two acacia wood poles plated in gold were placed so the family of Kehath, of the tribe of Levi, could safely carry the Ark. The Ark was approximately 45 inches long by 27 inches in height and width. Two pure gold sculpted Cherubs faced one another on the top of the Ark. The top or lid of the Ark was called the Mercy Seat from whence God communicated with His people. It was the seat of mercy much like a county Courthouse is the County Seat or seat of power as opposed to a place to sit down. The Tablets of the Ten Commandments which were broken by Moses and then restored by God were placed in the Ark by Moses himself.

Acacia trees would have been one of the few types of trees growing in the wilderness. There are several species of acacia growing in Arabia today. In addition, acacia wood is dense and extremely strong, making it a great option for any type of enduring wooden construction. It is resistant to decay because the tree deposits many waste substances in the heartwood which serve as preservatives and render the wood unpalatable to insects and making the wood dense and difficult to be penetrated by water and other decay agents.

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This is a table made of acacia wood. Perhaps it will last at least a thousand years as the Ark did from its creation until the destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians.

The Ark was built by Bezalel, son of Uri, son of Hur, who constructed the entire Tabernacle – the portable Temple used in the desert and during the conquest of the land of Israel. The Tabernacle was the resting place for the Ark, and also contained other vessels that were used in the physical worship of God. The Ark was used in the desert and in Israel proper for a number of spiritual and pragmatic purposes. Practically, God used the Ark as an indicator of when he wanted the nation to travel, and when to stop. In the traveling formation in the desert, the Ark was carried 2000 cubits ahead of the nation.  Below is a representation of the Tabernacle with an acacia tree in front.

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Spiritually, the Ark was the manifestation of God’s physical presence on earth. When God spoke with Moses in the desert, he did so from between the two Cherubs. Once the Ark was moved into the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle, and later in the Temple, it was accessible only once a year, and then, only by one person. On Yom Kippur, the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies to ask forgiveness for himself and for all the nation of Israel.

The holiness of the Ark made it dangerous to those who came in contact with it. When Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aaron, brought a foreign flame to offer a sacrifice in the Tabernacle, they were devoured by a fire that emanated “from the Lord.” During the saga of the capture of the Ark by the Philistines, numerous people, including some who merely looked at the Ark, were killed by its power. Similarly, the Priests who served in the Tabernacle and Temple were told that viewing the Ark at an improper time would result in immediate death.

The Ark accompanied the Jews throughout their time in the desert, traveling with them and accompanying them to their wars with Emor and Midian. When the Jews crossed into the land of Canaan, the waters of the Jordan River miraculously split as the bearers of the Ark arrived. Throughout their conquest of the land, the Jews were accompanied by the Ark. The most dramatic demonstration of its power comes when the Jews breached the walls of Jericho merely by circling them, blowing horns and carrying the Ark.

After the conquest was completed, the Ark, and the entire Tabernacle, were set up in Shiloh . There they remained until the battles of the Jews with the Philistines during the Priesthood of Eli. The Jews, after suffering a defeat at the Philistines’ hands, took the Ark from Shiloh to Even-Ezer in hopes of winning the next battle. But the Jews were routed, and the Ark was captured by the Philistines. Back in Shiloh, Eli, the High Priest, immediately died upon hearing the news.

The Philistines took the Ark back to Ashdod, their capital city in the south of Canaan, where they placed it in the temple of their god Dagon. The next day, however, they found the idol fallen on its face. After replacing the statue, they found it the next day decapitated, with only its trunk remaining, and soon afterward, the entire city of Ashdod was struck with a plague. The Philistines moved the Ark to the city of Gath, and from there to Ekron, but whatever city the Ark was in, the inhabitants were struck with plague. After seven months, the Philistines decided to send the Ark back to the Israelites, and accompanied it with expensive gifts.

King Solomon built the Holy Temple and summoned the elders of Israel, all the heads of the tribes and the chiefs of the Israelite families to Jerusalem. to bring up the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Zion, the City of David. And all the Israelites came together to the king at the time of the festival in the seventh month.

When all the elders of Israel had arrived, the Levites took up the ark, and they brought up the ark and the tent of meeting and all the sacred furnishings in it. The Levitical priests carried them up; and King Solomon and the entire assembly of Israel that had gathered about him were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and cattle that they could not be recorded or counted.

The priests then brought the ark of the Lord’s covenant to its place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, the Most Holy Place, and put it beneath the wings of the cherubim. The cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark and covered the ark and its carrying poles. These poles were so long that their ends, extending from the ark, could be seen from in front of the inner sanctuary, but not from outside the Holy Place; and they are still there today. There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.

The priests then withdrew from the Holy Place. All the priests who were there had consecrated themselves, regardless of their divisions. All the Levites who were musicians—Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun and their sons and relatives—stood on the east side of the altar, dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres. They were accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets. The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang:

“He is good;
his love endures forever.”
Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~XA

The Ark remained in the Temple until its destruction at the hand of the Babylonian empire, led by King Nebuchadnezzar. The stories are endless about where the Ark was taken or hidden before or after the Temple was destroyed. It is unlikely that the Babylonians took it, as they did the other vessels of the Temple, because the detailed lists of what they took make no mention of the Ark. According to some sources, Josiah, one of the final kings to reign in the First Temple period, learned of the impending invasion of the Babylonians and hid the Ark. Perhaps in a hole dug under the wood storehouse on the Temple Mount. Another account says that Solomon foresaw the eventual destruction of the Temple, and set aside a cave near the Dead Sea, in which Josiah eventually hid the Ark.

One of the most fascinating possibilities is advanced by Ethiopian Christians who claim that they have the Ark today. In Axum, Ethiopia, it is widely believed that the Ark is currently being held in the Church of Saint Mary of Zion, guarded by a monk known as the “Keeper of the Ark,” who claims to have it in his possession. According to the Axum Christian community, they acquired the Ark during the reign of Solomon, when his son Menelik, whose mother was the Queen of Sheba, stole the Ark after a visit to Jerusalem. While in the not-so-distant past the “Ark” has been brought out for Christian holidays, its keeper has not done so for several years due to the tumultuous political situation in the country. The claim has thus been impossible to verify, for no one but the monk is allowed inside.

Another claim is that of archaeologist Leen Ritmeyer, who conducted research on the Temple Mount and inside the Dome of the Rock. He claims to have found the spot on the Mount where the Holy of Holies was located during the First Temple period. In the precise center of that spot is a section of bedrock cut out in dimensions that may match those of the Ark. Since I do not believe the Temple was built on the so-called Temple Mount, I discount this story. I will explain why the Temple Mount is not the Temple Mount in a later posting and will also tell you where the Temple was built and why even the foundation of the Temple was completely destroyed.

I promised I would tell you everything you need to know about the Ark of the Covenant. The information comes from the Great Prophet Jeremiah who saw the destruction of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple. He also witnessed the death of Josiah, the last devout King of Israel. Jeremiah loved King Josiah dearly and knew what his death meant. Soon afterward, the people reverted to idolatry. Jeremiah strove hard to stem the tide of spiritual depravity which was threatening to undermine their high moral standards. One of the prophet’s famous sayings is the one in which he points out that wisdom, might, and riches, are nothing compared to the happiness that man achieves through real knowledge and understanding of the ways of God: “Thus saith the Lord: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might; let not the rich man glory in his riches. But let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord Who exercises mercy, justice, and righteousness on the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Maddow

Jeremiah prophesied about the Babylonian threat and warned the Jews of the terrible devastation they would incur if they did not stop worshiping idols and mistreating each other. But his gloomy prophecies, recorded in the Book of Jeremiah, went largely unheeded by the Jews, who mocked and persecuted him. Some eighteen years before the destruction of the Temple, Jeremiah was imprisoned by King Jehoiakim for his persistent prophecies foretelling the fall of Jerusalem.

Jeremiah summoned his devoted disciple, Baruch ben Neriah, and dictated to him a heart-rending and graphic warning of the coming doom; the prophecy Baruch wrote down for Jeremiah and read in the Temple is contained in the Book of Lamentations in the Holy Bible. The Temple was destroyed in 586 BC.

Here is what Jeremiah wrote about the Ark and his prophecy for the Ark and the future of Israel as recorded in The Book of Jeremiah Chapter 3:

“Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land,” declares the Lord, “people will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the Lord.’ It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the Lord, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the Lord. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. In those days the people of Judah will join the people of Israel, and together they will come from a northern land to the land I gave your ancestors as an inheritance.

“I myself said,

“‘How gladly would I treat you like my children
and give you a pleasant land,
the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.’
I thought you would call me ‘Father’
and not turn away from following me.
But like a woman unfaithful to her husband,
so you, Israel, have been unfaithful to me,”
declares the Lord.
A cry is heard on the barren heights,
the weeping and pleading of the people of Israel,
because they have perverted their ways
and have forgotten the Lord their God.
“Return, faithless people;
I will cure you of backsliding.”
“Yes, we will come to you,
for you are the Lord our God.
Surely the idolatrous commotion on the hills
and mountains is a deception;
surely in the Lord our God
is the salvation of Israel.
From our youth shameful gods have consumed
the fruits of our ancestors’ labor—
their flocks and herds,
their sons and daughters.
Let us lie down in our shame,
and let our disgrace cover us.
We have sinned against the Lord our God,
both we and our ancestors;
from our youth till this day
we have not obeyed the Lord our God.”

The Ark was the Throne of God; as it set in the Tabernacle on Mount Zion it gave King David peace as he could look up to it from the City of David. Jeremiah said The Ark would be forgotten as Jerusalem becomes The Throne of God and the Seat of His Government. Jerusalem will not be trampled down by gentiles forever. One glorious day Jerusalem will once again become that shining city on the Mountains of Moriah.