Archive for Acts 17

Celebrating Ten Years!!! BE A Berean

Posted in #PaulthePoke with tags , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2020 by paulthepoke

August 2020 marks the 10th year of the website and related social media outlets. The results are clearly the work of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit.

First of all, thank you to all who read, comment and share with others. The website started with an email list of about 60 friends and family.

The idea of a website was hatched by a young man attending church with me. His name is Chris Frost. He encouraged me to write. Chris is now a Pastor in Tehachapi, California at Mountain Bible Church. https://www.mountainbiblechurch.org/

A shout out goes to Matt Weinreich. Back in the day (March 2016), Matt was a limo driver. The concept of the social media platforms was Matt’s idea. He developed the plan in a party bus over a Dr. Pepper while on a break during a job. The links below are the rest of the story.

I would like to thank Trey Smith at the God in a Nutshell project for taking a chance on me as a writer and editor of his website. The exposure provided by his social media outlets for 4 years is tremendously appreciated.

Thanks to Greg Lewis and Jonathan Rovetto for their support, insights and marketing analysis.

Lastly, a massive thank you to all the contributing authors. These folks come from a diverse background and provide quality, thoughtful content. Thanks to Christine McDonald, Joshua of Ghana, Matt Weinreich, Michael Douville, Michael Stone, Mickey Sutliff (responsible for logo design), Paul Beverly, Phil Kulis, and Rodna Epley.

Along the way, three books have been published. See the links at the bottom of the post.

If someone would have told me 10 years ago the materials and content provided would have reached tens of millions in over 190 countries I would have laughed. RIGHT!!!

This is the first post. This is how it all began…

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BE a Berean!!!

Acts 17:10-11 But the brothers at once sent both Paul and Silas to Berea during the night; who having arrived went into the synagogue of the Jews. And these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the Word with all readiness, daily examining the Scriptures if these things are so.

This is the point of the blog. Don’t take my word for it, look it up, and verify. The culture loves to say, “Well that is just your interpretation.” Personally, that is code for “I really don’t know what it says.”  This is a cop-out. The culture loves to say, “My God would or would not do…”

Is that the God of your mind or is that the God of the Bible? If one’s ethics and morals are not consistent with Scripture, then that mindset becomes idolatry and it is not the God of the Bible. What do you think about Scripture? Make a decision based out of knowledge and not somebody’s opinion or personal ignorance.

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1 Chronicles 12:32a And of the sons of Issachar, having understanding of the times, to know what Israel should do.

The sons of Issachar are one the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel. Issachar is a son of Jacob (Genesis 30:18). His name in Hebrew means “he will bring a reward.” The sons of Issachar are the descendants. These sons read the Word. They knew what the times had to offer because they read and believed in God’s promises through His Word.

Matthew 16:1-3 And having come the Pharisees and Sadducees tempting, asked Him to show them a sign out of the heaven. But answering, He said to them, Evening coming on, you say, Clear sky, for the sky is red. And at morning, today a storm, for the sky is red, being overcast. Hypocrites! You indeed know how to discern the face of the heaven, but you cannot the signs of the times.

Jesus held the religious leaders of His day accountable to know His arrival was here. The Bible foretold in prophecy the arrival of the Messiah and His character and deeds. One prophetic example is…

Isaiah 7:14 So, The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold! The virgin will conceive and will bring forth a son; and she shall call His name Immanuel (meaning “with us is God”).

Yes, Jesus is God.

The same is true for us today. God has not changed. Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and today and forever.

We are accountable to what is stated in the Bible. What does the Bible say about the times we are living? Does it have anything to say?

Welcome and please feel free to comment and share with others. God praises those who verify His Word. Look it up, does the Bible really say… ???

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, so that the man of God may be perfected, being fully furnished for every good work.

Revelation 12 Sign: What Time Is It?

Posted in Prophecy, Rapture, Revelation, Sanhedrin, Signs: Sun, Moon, Stars..., Trend Update with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2017 by paulthepoke

Revelation 12:1 And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

What time is it on God’s calendar? One thing is clear. Humanity has absolutely butchered the ability to mark time as God intended.

Look at all of the calendars. Gentile calendars are generally based on solar cycles. There is the Julian calendar. The Julian calendar is used by the Stellarium software system that many utilize for the Revelation 12 Sign in the heavens. In western society and here in the United States, our calendar is a Gregorian calendar. In 1582, Pope Gregory noted a difference in time as related to the equinoxes and solstices. This variance was affecting the ability to mark Easter accurately.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_calendar

The Chinese have their calendar. Muslims have their calendar and on and on and on…

 

God says the first month is Nisan in the spring.

Exodus 12:1-2 Now the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you…”

What do the Jewish people do? The Jewish people have two calendars. There is a civil calendar and a religious calendar. The spring month of Nisan is the beginning of the religious or spiritual year in a Hebrew calendar. The beginning of the civil year is the seventh month of Tishri in the fall. A Hebrew Year always contains 12 Hebrew months in a regular year or 13 Hebrew months in a leap year.

The modern day Sanhedrin recognizes there is an error with the current time keeping system as ordained by God. Prior to the 4th century, the calendar was determined by observation. The calendar has been calculated mathematically since 4th century. Years are numbered from creation. Error occurred when man strayed from observation and started calculating.

“Even though the calendar needs to be adjusted, unity is of the utmost importance. Jews are required to adhere to the calendar accepted by the entire nation. Until a formal Sanhedrin is accepted by the nation, Jews must use the established calendar and observe the holidays on the days mandated by rabbinic authorities,” Rabbi Hillel Weiss, Sanhedrin Spokesman.

https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/85817/passover-celebrated-wrong-night-sanhedrins-new-moon-witness-fix/#uSvuvbWiSBrOuYWp.99

 

Do you have confidence in any aspect of humanity to accurately tell time as God intended? As a people, are we sure we are accurate in our understanding of what we are seeing in the sky and how it relates to the timing of events?

Please understand, I hope the Rapture Fall 2017 is right. That would be awesome. Let’s get an eternity of bliss started. There are good men who have spent countless hours of dedication and excellent scholarship on the Revelation 12 Sign. That needs to be recognized.

It also needs to be recognized there are others who have looked into the Revelation 12 Sign. And some of us respectfully question and/or disagree with the timing of the rapture in regards to the date presented (September 23, 2017).

Questioning and/or disagreement does not make us heretics because we differ. I am a sinner. I am a flawed man. The space between my ears is a dangerous place. Jesus Christ died for all of my sins. He was buried. And Jesus rose from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures. I/we are all members of the bride and body of Christ in His good news. This is what is important.

I personally believe the resurrection/rapture event will take place on the Feast of Trumpets or Yom Teruah. To me, the issue is the year. There are some who make excellent arguments for the rapture during the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. It is called Shavout in the Hebrew. I was once in the Pentecost rapture camp. I was first taught the rapture event is “imminent” and it could happen at any moment. Our salvation is not dependent on us understanding the Revelation 12 Sign.

We should be ready for our gathering to Christ in the clouds regardless of what is in the sky on any given date. Be ready. Stay ready regardless of what does or does not happen on any day!

A pastor I know made a common sense statement on matters such as the Revelation 12 Sign. “Good men can respectfully disagree.”

Dig in on your own with the Holy Spirit. Encouragement to study the Scriptures is highly recommended.

Acts 17:11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

 

Rapture Promo

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Straight Talk…A Loving God the Father, Rodna Epley

Posted in Gospel, Rodna Epley with tags , , , , , , on August 7, 2017 by paulthepoke

RodnaYour Father’s love for you is infinite. He’s so proud of you and isn’t disappointed in you. In fact, He’s so taken by you that, unlike an earthly father, He’s never been disappointed in you. Even before He created the universe, He already knew everything you would ever do…good and bad…and He still made you! He knows the end of the book. He orchestrated all the characters into position and made the ending turn out to where you win! So even though some pages and chapters of your life may not look pretty, He knows you are going to end up with Him forever. He is the Author. He is Sovereign. So how could He ever be disappointed by having an outcome different than what He foreknew?

Now the Father sees you through Jesus if you have placed your trust in Him. And you are perfect in His eyes. You can’t fix what you broke so stop trying. It’s too much for you. Simply let go of it. Let go of your old identity and learn who the “new you” is in Christ. You weren’t built to carry the weight of disappointment and regret. That’s why Jesus took them off your back. You were built to carry God’s love, joy, peace, laughter, confidence, self-control, and all of His wonderful attributes! You were made in His Image. You’re a mini-creator even! And the rest of your life can be the best of your life, no matter how much time you have left.

So this journey called life then becomes one of discovering and uncovering who you truly are in Christ. It is one of becoming Jesus’ disciple, learning of Him, taking up your cross and following Him, and agreeing to the process of being transformed into His image. This transformation of the mind into the Mind of Christ is a lifelong process and includes shedding all other identities and attachments to this world, to uncover the “new one” hiding deep inside – in Christ. “You are the light of the world” and you’re on a journey to uncover that light. Jesus teaches us to “be in the world, but not of it.” But don’t beat yourself up because you’re not there yet. None of us are! We’re all trying to excavate more of the “me” who is alive in Christ every day.

“In Love He predestined us to adoption as sons (and daughters) through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved (Jesus).” -Ephesians 1:5-7

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called the children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” -1 John 3:1-2

“In Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.'” -Acts 17:28

Trend Update: 1 & 2 Thessalonians, December 2014

Posted in Prophecy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 3, 2014 by paulthepoke

1 and 2 Thessalonians were two letters in the New Testament written by the Apostle Paul in approximately 50 AD. A key theme of 1 Thessalonians is the coming of Christ. Another doctrine in 1 Thessalonians is the rapture. Themes of 2 Thessalonians are the Day of the Lord and God’s judgment. The citizens of the city were being deceived regarding these doctrines. The point of the letters was to encourage believers about the imminent return of Christ.

thess

Thessaloniki, Greece was and is a real place. There were believers in Jesus in this town and area. In Paul’s time, 1st century AD, Thessaloniki was the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia. It was the largest city with a population of approximately 200,000 (Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps & Charts). Understanding the history of the city, it is not difficult to imagine how and why a riot broke out when Paul arrived on the scene (Acts 17:1-9).

The first Jews are thought to have arrived in the region in 513 BC. The city of Thessaloniki was founded in 315 BC by King Cassander of Macedon. The Jewish community remained uninterrupted in Thessaloniki until 1492 AD, the time of the Spanish Inquisition and expulsion of Jews from Spain. 20,000 Jews migrated to the city to escape persecution. Thessaloniki continued until the early 20th century. It was called “Mother of Israel” and “Jerusalem of the Balkans”.

Today (December 2014), the Greek city is looking to revive its Jewish past. In the early 20th century, the city was essentially Jewish. In 1911, David Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak Ben-Zvi visited Thessaloniki. Their purpose was to study a functioning Jewish society.  They were looking for a model for the future state of Israel. The Jewish community in Thessaloniki was destroyed by the Holocaust during World War II.

http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-features/.premium-1.626438

Curious, the modern day city of Thessaloniki is looking to return to its Jewish roots. The city is a reminder of the letters written by the Apostle Paul. His message to the church is that of encouragement. Jesus is coming to get His bride. He is coming back as judge. His return is imminent.

Rapture of the Church, When, Part 1

Posted in Gospel, Prophecy, Rapture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2014 by paulthepoke

There are primarily three perspectives in regards to the time when the rapture of the church occurs. The first is called a Pre Tribulation Rapture (rapture before). The second is called a Mid Tribulation Rapture (rapture in the middle). And the third is a Post Tribulation Rapture (rapture after). These three perspectives are hotly contested, debated, and divisive. The discussion of “when” this event takes place has no bearing on one’s salvation. People who hold to any of these positions believe that Christ died for sins, resurrected…Heaven bound. All three positions are members of the body of Christ. A pastor I know has made a common sense statement. “Good men can respectfully disagree.”

I will be up front. I hold to a Pre Tribulation Rapture position. This is the conclusion I have come to after reading and re reading the text over a period of 20 plus years. I am not telling anybody what to think. I am not telling anybody they are wrong. Dogmatism in opinion solves nothing. Because somebody stomps their foot harder and yells louder does not result in a change of mind and thinking.

Be a Berean. Acts 17:11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Do not take my word or anybody else’s word. Search, read, study. There is too much at stake, your eternal future.

What is the church? The Greek word for “church” is ekklesia. Per Strong’s Concordance it is translated or defined as: a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly; an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting; those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body; the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth; the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven.

Colossians 1:18 He (Jesus) is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

Ephesians 5:22-33 Draws parallels between Christ (husband) and the church (bride/wife). He is the savior of the body. He gave Himself for us. We, as believers, are members of His body. He washes and cleanses us with His word. He takes care of us. We are to submit to Christ.

The Tribulation is a seven year period of Divine judgment on the people of planet earth because of our sin. It is a matter of simple justice. Approximately 13% of the Bible is written about this seven year period. If the data points of time in the Bible are taken literally in terms of ages of people and reigns of leaders, the earth is roughly 6,000 years old. This seven year period represents .0005 of history (3.5/6000). Approximately 13% of the Bible focuses on .05% of history! Two chapters in Genesis were dedicated to Noah’s flood. Humanity is being given disproportionate, ample, and considerable warning. Matthew 24:21-22 “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” –Jesus.

Would the ultimate expression of Husband allow His bride to be beaten and bruised by His Father’s judgment and wrath? Would that be “just” to allow the church to be effectively judged twice? Our sins as believers were paid on the cross. Do we need to pay again during the Tribulation?

Romans 6:10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all…

Resurrection For All, Part 1

Posted in Gospel, Prophecy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2014 by paulthepoke

Resurrection Sunday, April 20, 2014

Some would say the idea of a “resurrection” is only noted in the New Testament. Resurrection is not a New Testament only concept. There are many examples of the idea of resurrection in the Old Testament. Resurrection events are promised and noted from the arguably the oldest book of the Bible, Job, to the end of the Bible in the Book of Revelation. We will all be resurrected one way or another. At issue is the eternal destination of our individual resurrected body.

Job 14:13-15 “Oh that You would hide me in Sheol, that You would conceal me until Your wrath returns to You, that You would set a limit for me and remember me! If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my struggle I will wait until my change comes. You will call, and I will answer You; You will long for the work of Your hands.”

Job is aware of the concept of resurrection and being brought back to life. He is pleading with God. Will I live again? Job expresses awareness of his bodily change to come. Job knows that God will call before this change.

Job 19:25-27a “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God; whom I myself shall behold, and whom my eyes will see and not another. My heart faints within me!”

The Hebrew word for “Redeemer” is ga’al. This is the same word used in the Book of Ruth of Boaz who is the kinsman-redeemer. A kinsman-redeemer will pay off one’s debts, defend the family, avenge a killing, and marry the widow of the deceased (definition of kinsman redeemer provided by NET Bible). Job knows his debt for sin will be taken care of. Job knows his Redeemer will avenge the killing of his family members and defend him. Job knows he is going to physically die. Job 42:17 verifies he died. And Job died, an old man and full of days. But, he knows he will be resurrected to see his Redeemer with his restored body. His flesh and his eyes will be renewed. The Redeemer lives. This verse reveals the timing of the resurrection…at the last.

Who is our kinsman-redeemer? Jesus. Galatians 4:4-5 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Acts 17:31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

God the Father will judge the world through His Son Jesus. Based on what, the fact of the resurrection.

Isaiah 9:13-16 Character in Leadership Part2 Pastor-Teacher

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2013 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 9:13-16 Yet the people do not turn back to Him who struck them, nor do they seek the LORD of hosts. So the LORD cuts off head and tail from Israel, both palm branch and bulrush in a single day. The head is the elder and honorable man, and the prophet who teaches falsehood is the tail. For those who guide this people are leading them astray; and those who are guided by them are brought to confusion.

Biblical principle: Deceitful leadership will result in the destruction of the people they represent.

Today in the body of Christ, who is the authority in a local church? Granted, the ultimate authority is Jesus. The person in charge of a local body of believers is the pastor-teacher. Ephesians 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers… This responsibility is extended to elders and those in church leadership as well. But ultimately, does the pastor-teacher follow in the steps of Jesus’ authority and example?

Jesus demonstrated Himself as a teacher. He taught in synagogues. Luke 4:43-44 But He (Jesus) said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.” So He kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea. The people respected His authority as a teacher. Mark 1:22 They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

There are at least 16 examples in the New Testament where Jesus is called “Rabbi”. The apostles and citizens addressed Him as “Rabbi”. Rabbi is Hebrew for Teacher. John 1:38 And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?”

Jesus demonstrated the characteristic of a servant while performing as a leader. An example of service would be when He washed His disciple’s feet. John 13:4-5 got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. The creator of the universe was willing to strip off His clothes and wash the nasty and dirty feet of those who followed Him. He was willing to care and act towards those under Him with humility.

It is the responsibility of individuals to read the Bible and discern. Be a Berean. Acts 17:10-11 But the brothers at once sent both Paul and Silas to Berea during the night; who having arrived went into the synagogue of the Jews. And these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the Word with all readiness, daily examining the Scriptures if these things are so.

For that matter, don’t take my word for it either. Search and seek, verify.

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