Category Archives: religion

The Problem of Evil: Why Does a Good God Allow Evil?

One of the most basic and fundamental questions that any religion or philosophical system must answer is “What is your response to the problem of evil?” Thought systems rise or fall depending on how they deal with the problem of evil.
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Hinduism deals with evil by claiming that the world is “maya” which means “illusion.” Hindu author Jayaram V put it this way: “Our scriptures declare that creation is the play of consciousness.” Yoga Vashista said “The world is nothing but a mere vibration of consciousness in space . . . It is like the marvelous dream of a person who is awake.” (Hinduwebsite.com) If planet earth is a mere illusion then good and evil don’t exist in any real sense.
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The ancient Greek philosophers: the Stoics, the Epicureans and others all wrestled with the contradiction between good and evil. The rationalist philosophers of the early modern era, including Descartes, offered answers to the dilemma. The Empiricist philosophers, the utilitarians and the pragmatists all touched on the problem of evil or wrestled with it down into the mud as they tried to unriddle the universe. In short, humankind has been perplexed by the existence of evil since the dawn of time. However, I will show you that evil is not only not a problem but is actually necessary. I will explain the necessity of evil.
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Who am I to offer my two cents regarding this issue of towering importance? Frankly, it’s not me who loftily opines but rather I will simply and humbly transmit what God has to say through the Bible. The Bible describes and deals with evil on almost every page. The Bible doesn’t whitewash or sugarcoat the problem of evil. The Bible describes evil so plainly that there are some Bible passages we prefer young children not read.
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One thing is clear: the Bible teaches that God created the world good. “And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31 NASB). Evil entered in as an intruder. God allowed evil to enter in. This is important to understand. God did not do moral evil but merely allowed evil; otherwise God would be morally evil. It is also clear that God created human beings as sentient beings with free moral agency. God didn’t create robots who constantly do good with industrial efficiency without any real choice.
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You can reveal virtue only in the presence of its opposite. Love is ultimately revealed as it is contrasted with hate. Courage is developed and revealed only in the presence of danger, which is evil. Joy is revealed in contrast to depression; compassion is revealed as a loving response to poverty. This brings us not to the problem of evil but the necessity of evil. The presence of evil is necessary to develop character and reveal character in people. Evil is necessary to reveal God’s goodness.
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All of us have gone into a jewelry store and seen a beautiful diamond displayed on a dark velvet panel. A diamond wouldn’t show very well on a white panel. The moral evil in our world is like the dark velvet on which the diamond of God’s holy and loving character is revealed. God would not allow evil to enter into His world for one second unless it was necessary to reveal and develop character in human beings who are free moral agents. God permits us to choose to be good and do good. God also permits us to be evil and do evil. God permits Mother Theresa and Adolf Hitler.
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Imagine if we were to live for all eternity and never know what courage is. Imagine if we never saw love challenged by hate. Would we really know anything about joy and pleasure if we never felt any pain? God created a world in which evil is possible. He allowed evil to flourish for a time in order to reveal good and develop goodness in people who choose goodness. Those who choose evil and refuse to repent and accept the offer of forgiveness of sins through Christ will have their fill of evil in the afterlife in a place of separation from God’s love and mercy. Everyone gets what they choose.
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God will ultimately abolish evil. “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4). “And there shall be no more curse” (Revelation 22:3).
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The secular world has abolished the future. You might ask: “How can anyone abolish the future?  Isn’t that a bit absurd?” What I mean is that the atheist existentialist philosophers and Darwinists deny that a human being has any conscious existence after death. Hence, there is no future for any human being. All of the love, joy, courage, generosity, kindness and compassion that is developed and experienced in a lifetime is lost at the moment of death. In this secular thought system, evil makes no sense. In fact good makes no ultimate sense either because all things end when the lights go out at death. This secular futility leads to nihilism and hopelessness. It causes many to become unmoored and turn to drugs and other vices.
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Life does make sense and it endures forever. A human lifetime is merely time spent in a womb preparing to be birthed into eternity. God has provided the way to be freed from all evil. God sent His Son Jesus, the Messiah of Israel who came in fulfillment of over 300 Old Testament prophecies. The prophets foretold that Christ would come and live a sinless life, teach us God’s wisdom and then suffer and die for us, taking upon Himself the penalty we deserved for our sins. The prophets foretold that Christ would rise from the dead and offer forgiveness of sins to all who turn to Him in repentance. Call upon the name of Jesus Christ today to receive forgiveness of sins!
Steps to salvation:
Jesus said “Ye must be born again”
 (John 3:7).

1) Believe that God created you and loves you and sent the Messiah (Messiah is Hebrew for Christ) to redeem you.
2) Believe that Jesus Christ came to die for you, to take upon Himself the penalty of your sins (Isaiah 53:5-6, John 6:29, Romans 4:5, First Peter 3:18).
3) Turn from sin and call on the name of Jesus to receive forgiveness of sins (Romans 10:13).
4) Receive Jesus as Savior and experience the new birth (John 1:12, Acts 2:38).
5) Follow Jesus Christ as Lord (John 14:15).

Prayer to receive salvation:

“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
To receive the salvation that Jesus purchased for us at the terrible cost of His suffering and death on our behalf I invite you to pray this simple prayer: 

“Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus, the promised Messiah, to die for my sins. I admit that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins and I ask you to forgive me on the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit to empower me to serve you under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Amen.” 

If you prayed this prayer in the humble sincerity of your heart, then you have received everlasting life, which includes power to live right in this life and entrance into heaven in the afterlife!

Bill Nugent, Overcomer Ministries of Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA
Christian book, Lawful or Legalistic by Bill Nugent available in paperback!
Info and ordering link available at his website:
 www.bnugent.org

Back issues of Defending the Faith archived on website. <>{
(C) 2017 William P. Nugent, permission granted to email or republish for Christian outreach.

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The 1967 Summer of Love and Its Message for Today

This year is fifty years since the 1967 Summer of Love. It was a watershed. It was a pivotal time in our history. It was so much more than just flower children singing peace songs. It was the culmination of decades of philosophical and political turmoil.

 

The leaders of the new hippy movement put out a call to all the hippies across America to come to San Francisco in the summer of 1967. The Summer of Love unfolded in a chaotic way and brought in about 100,000 people by most estimates. There were speeches, rallies, music, free food, sexual promiscuity, drugs and boatloads of emotional idealism.

 

It opened with the Monterey Pop Festival, June 16-18, 1967, just south of San Francisco. Acts included Eric Burden and the Animals, Simon and Garfunkel, Canned Heat, Jimi Hendrix and The Mamas and the Papas. There were gatherings and festivals throughout the summer in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

 

It’s impossible to really understand the meaning of the summer of love and the hippy movement that promoted it without looking at the deeper philosophical backdrop. The hippy movement wasn’t a flash in the pan. There’s an important message for us all in understanding the idealism, narcissism, pessimism, apathy, activism and optimism of the young people who transformed western civilization beginning in the 1960s. If we understand the lesson of the hippies it will shed valuable light on the human condition as a whole.

 

The hippies had youthful idealism and zealously sought to change the world and make it a place of utopian peace. On the other hand, many of them had stifling pessimism that sought to, as Timothy Leary put it, “Tune in, turn on, drop out.” These are polar opposites. What could possibly cause these cross currents of hippy attitude? Dropping out and getting high on the one hand and zealous political activism on the other! I think the answer to this conundrum is postmodernism. Postmodernism is the philosophical backdrop that explains the ironic twists and turns of the whole confused era of the 1960s.

 

Postmodern philosophy really came of age and went mainstream in the 1960s yet fewer than one in a hundred people can succinctly explain what postmodernism actually is.  Postmodernism, as its name suggests, is that which comes after modernism. Modernism came out of the Enlightenment “age of reason” of the 18th century. Postmodernism is an emotional rebellion against modern reason, rationality and order. Postmodernism, when you boil it all down, is moral relativism. Moral relativism is the idea that each person makes up his or her own morals and no moral code is better than any other moral code.

 

The sixties slogan “Do your own thing” really captures the essence of postmodernism. The 1980s slogan “Perform random acts of kindness” is another postmodernist morsel.

 

The parents of the sixties hippies were modernist in their philosophical outlook. Modernism says there is absolute truth; there is a superior moral code and that moral code is traditional, educated, sophisticated western values. The parents of the hippies said “America is morally good and we must stamp out fascism, communism and whatever other ism gets in our way.” The parents resisted the postmodernist rejection of modernism. This was the “generation gap.”

 

To get perspective, let me give you a brief history of how the hippy movement got started.

There arose a new movement in the late 1940s called the “beats” or “beatniks.” They were a generation older than the 1967 summer of love hippies. The beat generation came out of the alienation and anonymity of 20th century urban life. The term “beat” means down and out. They rejected the material success of the 40s and 50s. A beat hero was Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) who wrote the seminal book On the Road and the play The Beat Generation. An inspiring quote from Jack is “I have nothing to offer anyone except my own confusion.” William Burroughs and Allen Ginsburg were Jack’s associates.

 

Beatniks were also called “Bohemians” and “hipsters.” The men wore goatees, sunglasses and berets; the women wore black leotards and let their hair grow long and flowing. They used the 1930s Jazz term “cool”  and phrases like “cool, man, cool!” and “groovy.” Their politics was liberal but their political involvement negligible.

 

There was a generational shift when the crowds of young hipsters started hanging out with the old beats. The younger people wore bright clothes and believed in political activism to change the world. The beats called them “hippies.” The beats hung out in the North Beach section of San Francisco. The hippies preferred a neighborhood around the intersection of two streets called Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco near Golden Gate Park

 

The beats had often dabbled in eastern religion and the hippies who followed them often did too. But there arose among the hippies many who turned to the love of God through Christ. The year 1967 also saw the rise of The Jesus Movement. It was an ironic sight to see young people who overtly rejected their parents conservative ways suddenly embrace Bible based Christianity. Many were baptized in the Pacific ocean. They called themselves “Jesus People. The nonchristian hippies called them “Jesus Freaks.” Chuck Smith and the Calvary Chapel churches were influential in the early years. The Jesus movement spread across the nation and lasted many years as young people by the thousands, dare I say millions, turned to Christ to receive forgiveness of sins.

 

Postmodernism essentially springs out of Darwinism. Darwinian evolution is the claim that human beings are descendants of apes and therefore, people are mere products of nature. Implicit in this is the claim that humans have no souls, no life after death and no future. Conscious thoughts cease at death. This is why postmodernism leads to nihilism. Nihilism means nothingness; no purpose for existence and no real reason to try to improve society. No wonder so many hippies tuned in, turned on and dropped out!

 

Postmodernism also leads some people to reject the pessimism of nihilism and embrace narcissism. Narcissism is radical self love. It is self preservation and self indulgence. Narcissism is also – and this is crucial – the impetus to form a new moral code based on one’s own moral preferences. Each person makes up their own moral code. People who make up similar moral codes then join up and try to force their moral code on the rest of society. They agree on a new politically correct moral absolute. Francis Schaeffer called such absolutes “arbitrary absolutes.” This accounts for the radical social activism of the postmodern leftist hippies of the 1960s. They wished to impose a socialist utopia on American society. It sprang out of their narcissism.

 

The hippies had a wide variety of viewpoints. Some wondered “why try to improve a society of evolved apes that have no souls and no future?” Just get high. Others joined together to form communes and separate themselves from society. Others wanted to make America and the world into one giant commune. Some of the hippies turned to Christ and said “We’re not evolved apes, we are children of God and we have souls that will live forever. We must turn from our sins and ask for forgiveness through Christ who died for our sins. We must win others to Christ because human life is sacred and people will live forever either in a place with God or in a place without Him.”

 

The majority of the Summer of Love hippies didn’t turn to Christ but rather returned to their homes with new narcissistic zeal. Their culture of sexual promiscuity, drugs and alienation soon filtered through American society so that today many hippie values are mainstream. The idealism that led them to believe that they could unite the world in love has long ago subsided. The 1980s saw the rise of the “Me Generation.” The “free love” sexual promiscuity caused family breakdown and spread venereal diseases. Broken families produce broken people and they’re everywhere.

 

There is ultimate truth and absolute moral values. These moral absolutes are not discovered by modern man’s reason or conjured up from the emotions of the postmodern narcissistic self. The moral absolutes were revealed by God in the Bible. They include the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus. The Bible is a book vindicated by hundreds of predictive prophecies and their fulfillments. No other writing of any kind throughout all of human history has anything to compare with that. Most sacred writings of other faiths have few, if any, prophecies. The predictive prophecies contained in the Bible are like God’s signature on His holy book. His holy book says “God is love” (I John 4:8). Emotions do matter after all.

 

Steps to salvation:
Jesus said “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).


1) Believe that God created you and loves you and sent the Messiah (Messiah is Hebrew for Christ) to redeem you.
2) Believe that Jesus Christ came to die for you, to take upon Himself the penalty of your sins (Isaiah 53:5-6, John 6:29, Romans 4:5, First Peter 3:18).
3) Turn from sin and call on the name of Jesus to receive forgiveness of sins (Romans 10:13).
4) Receive Jesus as Savior and experience the new birth (John 1:12, Acts 2:38).
5) Follow Jesus Christ as Lord (John 14:15).

Prayer to receive salvation:

“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
To receive the salvation that Jesus purchased for us at the terrible cost of His suffering and death on our behalf I invite you to pray this simple prayer: 

“Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus, the promised Messiah, to die for my sins. I admit that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins and I ask you to forgive me on the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit to empower me to serve you under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Amen.” 

If you prayed this prayer in the humble sincerity of your heart then you have received everlasting life, which includes power to live right in this life and entrance into heaven in the afterlife!

Bill Nugent, Overcomer Ministries of Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA
Christian book, Lawful or Legalistic by Bill Nugent available in paperback!
Info and ordering link available at his website: 
www.bnugent.org

Back issues of Defending the Faith archived on website. <>{
(C) 2017 William P. Nugent, permission granted to email or republish for Christian outreach.

The Life of John G. Lake: The Gospel Confirmed By Signs and Wonders

“For the kingdom of God does not consist in words, but in power” (I Cor. 4:20 NASB). Christianity is a rational faith. Christianity is an evidential faith. It is not a blind leap of faith. Jesus came in fulfillment of hundreds of Old Testament prophecies. Jesus also performed miracles of healing in front of eyewitnesses. It should not surprise us that ministers of Christ today are used of God to perform miracles of healing.

 

Miracles of healing performed through ministers such as John G. Lake are not just happenstance or even for the practical value of curing sickness. Healings are signs and wonders that bring glory to God! “God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will” (Heb. 2:4 NASB).

 

Jesus showed Himself to be alive after His resurrection “by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3). The great theologian and philosopher, Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274) taught much on the reasonableness of the Christian faith. Faith and reason can be distinguished but they can’t be separated. Faith and reason are two different concepts but they work together. Jesus expects us to hear the message of salvation, view the evidence and respond in faith. Faith means to trust in Christ alone for salvation. Christ alone has died for our sins.

 

John Graham Lake, one of sixteen children, was born in Ontario Canada on March 18, 1870. He would grow up to be one of the greatest healing evangelists of the end-time church. He received Christ as Savior, at age sixteen, during a Salvation Army meeting.

 

Lake suffered from rheumatism that  twisted and distorted his legs. He traveled to Chicago to receive healing ministry at the healing home of famous healing evangelist John Alexander Dowie (1847 – 1907). One of the workers there, an older man, laid hands on Lake and he was instantly healed. Lake also brought his invalid brother and a sister who had breast cancer to Dowie’s healing home for prayer. Both received miraculous healings. His sister’s cancer actually came out or fell out a few days later. Her diseased breast was fully restored.

 

Lake married at a young age and not long afterwards, his wife was beset by a serious illness and was close to death. Lake, influenced by Dowie’s example of faith and reliance upon God, prayed for his wife, Jennie, and saw her miraculously healed. I should mention that Lake was also highly impacted by the ministry of prominent healing evangelist, Maria Woodworth Etter (1844 – 1924).

 

In 1901, Lake moved his family to Zion Illinois to study under Dowie and work for Dowie’s ministry. He suffered financially during the next few years but things turned around dramatically. John Lake apparently had a gift in the area of financial success and I don’t mean by charging money for ministry. During the depression year of 1907, he was able to acquire a seat on the Chicago Board of Trade and build a fortune of over $200,000. Back in 1907, $200,000 was a lot of money. He gave it all away before he left for South Africa to serve as a missionary.

 

When John and Jennie Lake and their seven children arrived in South Africa in 1908, their ministry really blossomed. John moved in a powerful healing anointing. Jennie had a powerful gift of the word of knowledge which is a prophetic understanding of people’s situations and needs. Associate minister, Tom Hezmalhalch, was also a supernaturally gifted evangelist. With the vast number of converts, they founded Apostolic Tabernacle in Johannesburg and started more than one hundred other churches. Their influence in South Africa reverberates even to today, over a century later.

 

John G. Lake is perhaps best known for his work in Spokane Washington. After Jennie’s untimely death in 1908, Lake returned to the U.S. in 1912. He remarried and traveled across America on a free railroad pass given to him by a friend from his Chicago Board of Trade days. Lake and family settled in Spokane in 1914 and established the famous healing rooms there.

 

Lake and his team prayed for thousands of sick people in the healing rooms. Healings of cancer, paralysis and rheumatoid arthritis occurred miraculously. There were so many phenomenal healings that the local papers published testimonies of many of the healings. I have a picture of a boy standing next to a full leg brace he wore before his healing. The boy appears healthy and straight. A woman was dramatically healed of a broken kneecap. These are among literally thousands of miraculous healings.

 

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) decided to investigate the healings in Spokane. Lake offered to produce a hundred people to testify of their healings. He also requested the BBB gather a panel of doctors and lawyers. The BBB decided not to follow through on Lake’s request and notified Lake that the BBB investigation had by then verified enough healings to satisfy them. Even the mayor of Spokane publicly honored John Lake.  The city of Spokane was highly impacted by the flood of undeniable miracles which transformed the health of the city for the better according to government statistics. Lake and his family left for Portland Oregon in 1920, and he served as pastor and did itinerant evangelism from there.

 

Lake traveled throughout the U.S. during the twenties and early thirties as a healing evangelist being greatly used of God. Gordon Lindsay, a prominent figure in the Voice of Healing revivals which would start decades later, beginning in 1948, was converted at a Lake meeting in Portland Oregon. When Lindsay later suffered deadly ptomaine poisoning, he was healed under Lake’s ministry. Gordon Lindsay is the father of Shira Lindsay Sorko-Ram of Maoz Ministries, Tel Aviv, Israel.

 

The lesson of the life of John G. Lake is that God continues to use supernatural power to witness to the truth of the Gospel during modern times. Christianity is not a dry academic argument though I will say the Christian worldview and Christian morals are far superior to the ever changing musings of secular humankind. Christianity is alive and vibrant. God’s compassion on the sick is revealed through the faithful ministries of John G. Lake and those who went before him and the many healing evangelists at work today.

 

God revealed His love for humankind in that He sent Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah of Israel. Jesus came in fulfillment of over 300 Old Testament Bible prophecies. Christ and His apostles worked miracles of healing which confirmed the truth of the Christian message. The prophets foretold that Christ would suffer and die, taking upon Himself the penalty we deserved for our sins, thus making atonement. On the basis of Christ’s atonement we repent and ask for forgiveness of sins. Turn to Christ today to receive your forgiveness!

 

(Much of the information contained in this article was obtained from the book God’s Generals by Roberts Liardon, Whitaker House 1996.)

 

 

Ghosts, Demons and the Paranormal

The very fact that there are haunted houses, poltergeist activity and other paranormal phenomena is proof that there is a spirit world. The abundance of evidence proving the existence of the spirit world undermines the official US public school teaching that human beings evolved from animals and the material world is all that exists.
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In the opening lines of the popular “Cosmos” television series, Carl Sagan said “The cosmos [material universe] is all there is, all there was, and all there ever will be.” The paranormal proves him wrong!
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Of course, I don’t think that the activity of ghosts and demons is a good thing in itself. Nevertheless, I think it is extremely significant that the paranormal activity of ghosts so dramatically contradicts the “this world is all there is” dogma.
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Atheistic materialism has become the meta-narrative of postmodern America. Atheism is supported by tax dollars because tax funded schools teach children that their ancestry is from apes and their destiny is permanent loss of consciousness at death. Now people are faced with evidence of the existence of the spirit world and the realization that perhaps consciousness does continue after death and perhaps we enter the spirit world after death. People are taking a fresh look at religion. The religion with the best miracles and the most fulfilled prophecies is Christianity.
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There have been many investigations into haunted houses and even pictures taken of ghost phenomena. The term “ghost” is a general term synonymous with “spirit” but in today’s usage, ghost usually refers to a familiar spirit who inhabits a haunted house. Ghosts that inhabit haunted houses are really familiar spirits. Familiar spirits are demons who know or become familiar with a person. After the person’s death, the familiar spirit will sometimes inhabit the house in which the person lived, often posing as the deceased person. Demons are evil spirits according to the Bible.
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The evidence that proves the existence of evil spirits can be considered to be a kind of “witness of the opposition.” Let me explain. Imagine a court case in which a man is accused of murder. The prosecution calls up its star witness who testifies against the man and tells about all kinds of circumstantial evidence that serves to prove that the man is guilty of murder.
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But then the star witness makes a startling statement in which he reluctantly admits that he actually saw the defendant a mile away from the murder scene at the time that the murder took place. The fact that an accusing witness would make such a statement has a lot more force that if a witness for the defense made such a statement. This is what’s called “witness of the opposition” and it carries enormous weight in any trial. The man on trial for murder would likely be acquitted.
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The fact that demons reveal their activity  in our own day is how demons unintentionally confirm the Bible’s teaching about the spirit world. The Bible contains many passages about the spirit world and there are many Bible passages that discuss the existence and activity of demons. The witness of the opposition serves to prove the truth of the Bible on this point.
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If ever that you want proof that demons exist I suggest you buy a good scholarly book about the Nazi holocaust. The Nazis murdered Jews and others with an almost superhuman degree of brutality. Holocaust scholars admit that Hitler and the Nazi high command were not Christians. They were, in fact, occultists and this is well documented. Occult religions and secret societies were widespread in Germany and throughout much of Europe at the time. Occult religions are doctrines of demons. The radical anti-Semitism had an energy and intensity that was beyond ordinary human hatred.
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There are many other examples of evidence for the existence of demons. I’ve been told that a US spy agency that occasionally operates in Haiti has told its agents to be careful not to have a hex or curse put on them by occultists. Such curses are real. Curses allow demons access to the person under the curse. The cursed person can be afflicted with disease or other trauma by the activity of evil spirits.
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Many of the new cable TV shows about the paranormal such as “Paranormal State” and “Celebrity Ghost Stories” offer much documented eyewitness testimony of happenings that cannot be explained by natural causes. I certainly don’t recommend that you watch those kinds of TV shows but I simply point out that the shows offer proof of the existence of the spirit world.
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Many years ago when I was a teenager I heard stories of hauntings and other paranormal phenomena. I had a strong tendency toward atheistic materialism at the time because I had paid attention in school and believed the Darwinian materialistic evolution that I was taught in science class. However, I came to realize that if demons exist and they affect people’s lives in a negative way, then perhaps there are also good spirits out there such as angels. I began to entertain the thought that God Himself exists. I eventually rejected atheistic materialism and came to faith in Christ years later when I was 20 years old. The witness of the opposition was actually one of the things that God used to draw me to Christ.
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I want to assure you that if you trust in Christ you should not fear demons. Christ is far greater than all of the power of Satan and demons. The Gospels are full of examples of Jesus casting demons out of people. Born again followers of Christ also have authority over demons. A Bible passage in Acts 16:16-18 gives a clear example of a Christian casting a demon out of a person by commanding it to come out in the name of Jesus.
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The spirit world is a world of real dimensions and can be called a parallel universe. Just because it is usually invisible does not make it any less real. Be assured that God created the spirit world and God is master of it.
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Jesus Christ came in fulfillment of over 300 predictive Messianic prophecies written in the Old Testament hundreds of years before His birth. Several of those prophecies predicted that Christ would suffer and die, taking upon Himself the punishment of our sins. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins so now we can receive forgiveness if we turn to Him in faith. I urge you to pray today to receive Christ as Savior and to follow Him as Lord!
 <><
Steps to salvation:
Jesus said “Ye must be born again.”
(John 3:7)
1) Believe that God created you and loves you and sent the Messiah (Messiah is Hebrew for Christ) to redeem you.
2) Believe that Jesus the Messiah came in fulfillment of over 300 Bible prophecies to die for you and take upon Himself the penalty of your sins. (Isaiah 53:5-6, John 6:29, Romans 4:5, First Peter 3:18)
3) Turn from sin and call on the name of Jesus to receive forgiveness. (Romans 10:13)
4) Receive Jesus as Savior and experience the new birth. (John 1:12, Acts 2:38)
5) Follow Him as Lord. (John 14:21)

Prayer to receive salvation:

“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13)
To receive the salvation that Jesus purchased for you at the terrible cost of His suffering and death on your behalf I invite you to pray this simple prayer: “Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus, the promised Messiah, to die for my sins. I admit that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins and I ask for your forgiveness on the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit to empower me to serve you under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
If you prayed that prayer in the humble sincerity of your heart then you have received everlasting life, which includes power to live right in this life and entrance into heaven in the afterlife!


Bill Nugent, Overcomer Ministries of Fort Mill, South Carolina USA
Christian book, Lawful or Legalistic by Bill Nugent available in paperback!
Info and ordering link available on his website: www.gracelawandsonship.com
(C) 2016 William P. Nugent, permission granted to email or republish if credit given.

The Most Dramatic Prophecy in the Bible

The Bible contains literally thousands of predictive prophecies. Predictive prophecy and accurate fulfillment of prophecy sets the Bible apart from all other holy books of all other faiths. No other sacred writings of any other faith compares with the Bible’s record of prophecy and fulfillment! In this article we’ll explore what can be considered the most dramatic of all Bible prophecies. This prophecy was so important and crucial that Gabriel, the archangel, appeared to the prophet and spoke the prophetic words directly to him!
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Of the more than 300 prophecies in the Old Testament that predict the coming of the Messiah very few actually use the word “Messiah” [Hebrew: “mashiach”]. Most of the prophecies speak of the Messiah in figurative or metaphorical terms. Even fewer prophecies predict the exact time of the coming of the Messiah.
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There is, however, a powerful prophecy consisting of just four verses, found in the book of Daniel, that uses the word “Messiah” twice and also predicts the time of the coming of the Messiah. This same short prophecy also gives crucial information about the future antichrist. I consider it to be the most dramatic prophecy in the Bible.
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Daniel was one of the three prophets to the Jewish people during the time of the exile. Israel had been conquered by the Babylonians in the sixth century BC and the Jews were exiled to the land of Chaldea of which Babylon was capitol. God did not leave His chosen people without prophetic witness. Jeremiah was the prophet to the few remaining Jews who were in the land of Israel. Ezekiel was out in the countryside of Chaldea by the river Chebar. Daniel was in the capitol city, in the king’s court, ministering to the Jews in exile there.
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In the ninth chapter of Daniel we find that Daniel had read in the writings of Jeremiah that Jerusalem would be desolate for 70 years. The 70 years of exile were almost over. By this time, Daniel was an old man, Jeremiah was long dead and Ezekiel had also gone to his reward years earlier. Daniel didn’t just say “Finally, the 70 years are over, let’s pack our bags for the trip back to Jerusalem!” Instead he prayed a lengthy humble prayer of repentance and asked God to restore Jerusalem. This is called praying the promises or birthing prophetic fulfillments through prayer.
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After Daniel’s prayer, Gabriel the archangel appeared to Daniel and gave him a prophetic prediction of great things to come. I’d say that’s pretty dramatic. Gabriel appeared to Daniel and spoke the words of the prophecy directly to him! This most dramatic prophecy in all the Bible is recorded in four verses, namely Daniel 9:24-27.  This prophecy, like most Bible prophecies, is in the form of a riddle. How are you at crossword puzzles, Daniel?
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Why does God speak in riddles? He could have just said: “The coming Messiah will be named Jesus, He will be born in Bethlehem and be raised in Nazareth.” God speaks in riddles because He doesn’t want everyone to understand. God doesn’t want the devil to understand and He doesn’t want people who hate God to understand prophecy. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, yet only those who are enabled by grace will understand the riddles.
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Nevertheless, Daniel 9:24-27 is among the easiest riddles to understand. More importantly it gives the timing of the fulfillment of its predictions and that is rare in prophecy. The main subjects dealt with in this prophecy are sin, atonement for sin, righteousness, the temple, Jerusalem, the Messiah, the death of Messiah, the destruction of the temple, a great war, the antichrist and desolations made by the antichrist. That’s a lot of territory to cover in just four verses!
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 9:24 “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.

25 So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.
26 Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.
27 And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate”  (all quotes are from The New American Standard Bible)
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The timing is given very clearly in the opening words of Daniel 9:24: “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city.” The weeks are weeks of years or “septads.” The Jews had a sabbath year every seventh year. They measured years in septads like we use decades. Seventy weeks equals 70 x 7 years or 490 years.
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Now consider the lofty accomplishments that God expected of His chosen people during those 490 years. They were commanded “to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place” (Dan. 9:24).The Jews were commanded to accomplish all of that in 490 years!!! How can sinners “finish the transgression” or make an “end of sin”? With all due respect for the Jewish people, I have to point out that the Jews are mere mortals that are not perfect and they fall into sin. Their sins are what got them exiled to Chaldea in the first place! How can they end sin?
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I will show how the Jews, or rather one particular Jew, did in fact, end sin as this prophecy predicted. This Jew, Jesus of Nazareth, also made atonement for iniquity. More on that later.
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Also notice that the phrases seem to be repetitive. The phrase “finish the transgression” is essentially the equivalent of “make an end of sin.” In Hebrew, emphasis is made by repetition. In Isaiah 6:3 the holiness of God is emphasized by the repetition “Holy, Holy, Holy.” So we see in Daniel 9:24 that the phrases seem repetitive and this is to highly emphasize the importance of finishing the transgression, ending sin, atoning for sin and bringing in everlasting righteousness.
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How did the Jews atone for sin? They offered animal blood sacrifices in the temple as God commanded in Leviticus. Animal sacrifices had ceased because of the Babylonian conquest of Israel. The command in Daniel 9:24 “to anoint the most holy place” is a prediction of  the rebuilding of the temple which was in ruins when Daniel received this prophecy. When the temple would be rebuilt, animal sacrifices could be resumed.
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The prophecy continues in Daniel 9:25-26a. “So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing.”
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Daniel 9:25 sections off 7 weeks and 62 weeks. Seven weeks of years after the decree was issued to rebuild Jerusalem, (i.e. 49 years after the decree of Artaxerxes in 444 BC, recorded in Nehemiah 2:1-8) the city and the temple were rebuilt. Then a 62 week period (434 years) is given after which “the Messiah will be cut off.” “Cut off” is an expression meaning death and so we have a clear prediction of the timing of the death of the Messiah!
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Do the math and you’ll see that from 444 BC, the 7 weeks and the 62 weeks (which equals 69 weeks or 483 years) brings us to about 33 AD. It is important to note that, in doing the math, one has to adjust the length of each year to be 360 days to conform to the ancient lunar calendar. If you multiply 483 times 360 it comes to 173,880 days. Starting at March 5, 444 BC the 173,880 days takes us to April 6, 33 AD. (See Josh McDowell’s book, The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict.) What prominent leader was “cut off” (killed) in 33 AD? The obvious answer is Jesus. This prophetic chronology is clear evidence that infers that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah of Israel!!!
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This prophecy deals with the two biblical methods for atonement for sins, animal blood sacrifice and the sacrifice of the Messiah. The temple was predicted to be rebuilt so that Old Testament animal blood atonement could be made. This prophecy also predicted that the Messiah would die. The death of the Messiah is the means of New Testament atonement for sins. Jesus died for our sins. When Jesus suffered and died, He took upon Himself the penalty for our sins. The New Testament atonement fulfills and supercedes the Old Testament means of atonement. Jesus offered His blood and so we no longer offer animal blood.
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Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead after the 69 weeks which means during the 70th week. The 70 weeks are over. Did the Jews “finish the transgression” and “make an end of sin”? I would say that the Jews did accomplish this because Jesus was the perfect Jew. Jesus represented the Jews before God. Jesus kept the Law of Moses perfectly and in essence fulfilled Israel’s side of the covenant of Sinai. Jesus ended sin. He atoned for sin. He redeemed all humanity from sin!
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Jesus brought in everlasting righteousness because all who trust in Him for salvation are given the new birth in which our human spirits are regenerated and given a new sinless,righteous nature. The spirit of a born again Christian is already experientially righteous. The soul of a born again Christian is being sanctified and the body of a born again Christian will be perfected at the resurrection of the righteous dead.
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In Daniel 9:26, after the phrase “Messiah will be cut off” the words: “and have nothing” appear. The phrase, “and have nothing” has always intrigued me. It means that Jesus did not have an earthly kingdom manifesting at the time of His death (see John 18:36). The political, earthly taking of the throne of David did not occur at His first coming but will occur at Jesus’s second coming.
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The phrase “and have nothing”, meaning that Jesus, the true Messiah would have nothing, is a crucial dividing line in this prophecy. There’s no prediction here of Jesus’s resurrection. His resurrection is prophesied elsewhere in the Old Testament. In this prophecy we see the rejection of Christ. The words that follow immediately after the phrase “and have nothing” refer to the antichrist. So we see the death of Christ and the rise of the antichrist in this prophecy with no explanatory transitional words. Remember, this is prophecy; it is a riddle; it is not ordinary prose.
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The remainder of Daniel 9:26 and all of 9:27, predict the activity and ultimate end of the antichrist. This prediction concerns future events. The antichrist has not yet appeared on the scene of world events as of 2015. I believe that we are living in what the Bible calls “the last days” and the antichrist will soon arrive on the political scene.
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Daniel 9:26 goes on to state that the city (Jerusalem) and the temple would be destroyed by the people of the coming prince (the antichrist): “and the people of the prince [the antichrist] who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined” (Dan. 9:26b). The Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD utilizing troops whose ethnic background could be the same as that of the coming antichrist. According to Josephus, the Roman troops who destroyed the city and the temple were legions that were raised in Syria and other parts of southwest Asia. This could indicate that the coming antichrist will be a Syrian or Arab. Some commentators, citing this and other scriptural references, claim that the antichrist will be of Muslim background.
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When the temple was destroyed in 70 AD, the Jews lost the place to offer animal blood sacrifices. Animal sacrifices were, by that time, obsolete. The death and resurrection of the Messiah superceded the animal sacrificial system.
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Daniel 9:27 says that “he [antichrist] will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering.” This implies that there will be a temple built in Jerusalem in the near future in which animal sacrifices and grain offerings will be reinstituted. A sect of Judaism, The Temple Mount Faithful, has been preparing for decades to rebuild the temple in modern Israel. Such a temple would be a false temple and sacrifices offered in it would be false sacrifices because Jesus fulfilled the sacrificial system in His death and resurrection on our behalf. Animal blood sacrifices are now obsolete and inappropriate. The seven year covenant that the antichrist makes with Israel will be the “covenant with death”  of Isaiah 28:18.
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There will be a false messiah making a false covenant, ending false sacrifices in a false temple. Dramatic indeed!
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The New Testament in Second Thessalonians 2:3-4 speaks of the man of lawlessness who will take his seat in the temple of God and claim to be God. That would desecrate the temple and cause sacrifices to cease. Revelation 13:5 indicates that the beast (antichrist) will have authority to act for 42 months. Forty two months is exactly half of the seven year (one week of years) of the duration of the antichrist’s covenant. The final words of Daniel 9:27 speak of this antichrist figure who will bring terrible desolations and that a complete destruction will be poured out upon him.
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“On the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate” (Daniel 9:27b). The phrase “on the wing of abominations” is interesting and it refers to the fact that the animal sacrifices offered in the temple will be abominations. Such animal sacrifices are an implicit denial of the one great sacrifice, the death of Messiah, that made final atonement for sin.
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The antichrist essentially desecrates a temple that is itself a desecration. It is a compound error that takes sin to its extreme. Abominable sacrifices will be offered in the false temple before the antichrist even arrives to make the ultimate desolation. Complete destruction is then poured out on the antichrist.
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After these dramatic future events, the true Messiah, Jesus, will come again and “all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26). The Jewish people will “look on Me [Messiah] whom they have pierced” (Zech. 12:10) and receive Jesus as Savior and follow Him as Lord.
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This most dramatic of all Bible prophecies covers a whole lot of territory. It gave the command for the Jews to end sin and they were helpless to do it. So God sent the Messiah to “remove the iniquity of that land in one day” (Zech. 3:9) and “His own arm brought salvation to Him” (Isaiah 59:16). Perhaps most dramatic of all, is that the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 gives the timing of the coming of the Messiah with unmistakable clarity. It went on to warn of the coming of the antichrist and the desolations he will bring.
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All Israel and indeed all the world is forever warned to choose Jesus Christ who made true atonement for sin and to reject the antichrist. The antichrist is coming and when he comes there will be great drama in Israel as people will be forced to make the ultimate choice between Christ or antichrist! Pray to receive Jesus Christ into your heart today!
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Steps to salvation:
Yeshua said “Ye must be born again.”
(John 3:7)
1) Believe that God created you and loves you and sent the Messiah (Messiah is Hebrew for Christ) to redeem you.
2) Believe that Jesus the Messiah came in fulfillment of over 300 Bible prophecies to die for you to take upon Himself the penalty for your sins. (Isaiah 53:5-6, John 6:29, Romans 4:5, First Peter 3:18)
3) Turn from sin and call on the name of Jesus to receive forgiveness. (Romans 10:13)
4) Receive Jesus as Savior and experience the new birth. (John 1:12, Acts 2:38)
5) Follow Him as Lord. (John 14:21)

Prayer to receive salvation:

“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13)
To receive the salvation that Jesus purchased for us at the terrible cost of His suffering and death on our behalf I invite you to pray this simple prayer: “Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus, the promised Messiah, to die for my sins. I admit that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins and I ask for your forgiveness on the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit to empower me to serve you under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
If you prayed that prayer in the humble sincerity of your heart then you have received everlasting life, which includes power to live right in this life and entrance into heaven in the afterlife!

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Bill Nugent, Overcomer Ministries of Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA
(c) 2015 William P. Nugent Permission granted to email or republish for Christian outreach.
New Christian book, Lawful or Legalistic by Bill Nugent available in paperback!
Info and ordering link available on his website: www.gracelawandsonship.com