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“Vision: is it received, developed, or discovered?”

Father Theodore Hesburgh, former president of Notre Dame University said, “Vision is the essence of leadership.”

Visionary leadership is knowing where you want to go, how to get there, and the three things required to make it happen: First, having a clear and compelling vision. Second, articulating and modeling it well. Third, getting your team focused and excited about pursuing it.

Above all, you must be confident and consistent, no one follows an uncertain or faint trumpet. Great leaders develop a clear and compelling vision by using one of the following three approaches. You can impose it, buy it, or forge it through persuasive consensus.

One, imposing a vision can be either by demand or persuasion. Teledyne founder, Henry Singleton, believes an organization is built around a mind with an idea that is aware of the key issues of his generation.

Great leaders stay ahead of the curve and lead from the future, not to the future. They are seasoned visionaries, sharpened by their image of the future. Their ability to empower and connect their teams’ everyday efforts to the vision is without question. They guide their organization with confidence and humility, not as overbearing power brokers.

Poor leaders impose their vision through demands often disguised as motivation, but in reality is manipulation. Great leaders’ caste their vision until it becomes the common vision of the team through communication that is vivid and compelling.

Second, you can buy a vision. Consultants will happily create a fashionable mission statement that creates a lot of energy, but few sustainable results. The problem with these “off-the-rack” solutions is they are so generic that they are usually worthless.

Visions can’t be bought like a McDonald’s burger or Starbucks latte. They can’t be a Burger King vision where everyone has it their way. Your team and stakeholders know immediately that you’re trying to sell them a second-hand, cut-and-paste dream that they reject immediately. If they don’t they are naive and of no real value, you need to release them.

Third, forging a vision. This happens through leadership consensus by encouraging broad contributions in putting flesh on the skeleton you provide. This produces a vision that’s the most enduring and effective for long term sustainable results.

At the end of the process you want a vision that is not only compelling, but energizes great buy-in by the core leaders and all the stakeholders. You don’t forge a vision overnight, but through patience, perseverance, and passion.

If you can’t get your team’s energized buy-in to the vision, ask yourself the following questions. How passionate am I about it? How often do I show it to them, not just in locker room pep talks, but through my daily actions? How much did I ask the team to contribute in the process

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Dr. Larry Bennett writes from the perspective of an experienced warrior on the front lines, not one of an armchair observer. He has a strong apostolic/prophetic anointing and Dr. Bennett has served in many facets of ministry giving him the experience to share his knowledge to other leader’s. He has a strong anointing for marketplace ministry and wants to see the church rise to the new movement of releasing church members into the marketplace.
If you wish to contact Dr. Bennett you may do so through his email which is ch.larrybennett57@gmail.com, or call him at 863-206-2567.

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Religion, Science and the Future of Transhumanism

By Dr. Thomas Horn

 

Recently, Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science featured a piece written by Professor S. Jonathon O’Donnell in the Department of Religion and Philosophies at the University of London titled, “Secularizing Demons: Fundamentalist Navigations in Religion and Secularity.”

O’Donnell’s aim? According to the article’s abstract, it was to explore at a deeper level than his peers the “anti-transhumanist apocalypticisms” of our day, the central voice behind which was identified as yours truly—“evangelical conspiracist Thomas Horn [and his] milieu [community gathering place]”

In other words, the University of London professor has determined that I and those who work with me at SkyWatch TV and Defender Publishing are the “leaders of the transhuman resistance” that members of that community had better pay attention to. The peer-reviewed Zygon agreed at least to the point they found reason to promulgate O’Donnell’s thesis.

A title such as this placed upon me and the associates within “my milieu” is, I assure you, not as offensive as it may seem. Quite the contrary, I am encouraged that my line of work in the media has captured the attention of renowned spokespersons of the scientific world—such as those deemed worthy of being featured in Zygon. The very fact that personalities of such high regard and academic acumen are addressing what I’ve concluded throughout my career proves that my work is worth addressing. If I was completely off the mark out in La-la Land, I may still gain attention for being an agitator, but to persons such as O’Donnell, I would simply be considered inconsequential and not worth the precious time it takes for them to write such a detailed response to my convictions. Likewise I am deeply flattered to see how mostly professionally and fairly my stance on the subject was handled, as I nearly expected this to be yet another “hit piece” upon myself and my associates. Most naysayers who have come against our work have formulated little more than a straw man’s argument. It’s clear by their retaliation that they haven’t truly read my work to begin with. They assume—errantly so—that we are just religious men and women who cry “sin” against anything laboratory-created as it doesn’t innately have the hand of God upon it. Such may not have been the case for O’Donnell. Much to my surprise, O’Donnell did not appear to be driven by the sole desire to paint me as a half-witted lunatic like some others have done throughout recent history. For that, I openly offer my gratitude.

There was, however, a few intrinsic flaws in his conclusions about us and our “demonologies” of transhumanism and secularism that we will discuss in this and the next couple magazines.

Why?

Because in 2018 we will: 1) host a conference in Branson, Missouri (this September, more info coming soon) where scientists, artificial intelligence developers, technologists and theologians will gather to inform the public on the ramifications of the soon coming technological singularity; 2) release a book on the subject by members of “The Milieu,” and 3) broadcast a month long Special Investigative SkyWatch TV Report on the hottest issues involving transhumanism and Christianity. This magazine will guide and apprise our readers on the most germane subject matter as things develop in the weeks and months ahead.

But Back to professor O’Donnell and his thesis for the time being.

There is always an inherent fallacy when a personality trained in the scientifically oriented school of “show me proof/evidence” analyzes a stance based on religious conviction, particularly as it relates to eschatological prophecy and ruminations about events that have not yet occurred. It will probably always be this way on this side of eternity, since what we “evangelical conspiracists” see written on the wall regarding the scriptural warnings of God aren’t impartially considered amidst the “proofs” and “evidences” of science. It’s no secret that science recurrently discounts religion, and by extension any conclusion that a religious spokesperson may come to. Though I wouldn’t immediately accuse O’Donnell of it personally, well-learned academics heavily entrenched in the scientific community or its publications quite frequently respond to religious concerns with “intellectual snobbery.” And we’re not guiltless on the religious end either, as many a minister will immediately regard people who place their faith in science with an air of “moral snobbery.” It should not have to be this way, but it is a reality perpetuated just as much or more by the Church than by the secular world as I see it. Religion—especially conventional Christianity—recurrently discounts science, and though I understand why, I think this is an unnecessary tragedy. Many preachers and teachers of the Church today distance themselves from addressing scientific development and discovery (and the more “fringe” the topic, such as transhumanism, the greater the distancing) because the Bible is always the final authority, so “science is irrelevant when it contradicts Scripture,” or so the thought process relates. On the other hand, the world at large (including Christians) considers most aspects of transhumanism (and science in general) to be enormously important to our current, and future, generations, so it matters a great deal. How sad, then, that any minister willing to tackle the “fringe” topics is seen as a conspiracy-theorist whacko (often by the Church as well) instead of the man with the salve that could potentially help heal some of the festering tension between secular and religious people groups.  

In many cases, such as a pastor of a local congregation whose duty is primarily to sharpen the Body of Christ and spread the Good News of our Savior, speaking of transhumanism and its potential travesties might be a distraction from what he or she is personally called and gifted to do. Though, there remains to be a massive deficit of voices on the God-fearing end of the spectrum that choose to stand in opposition to certain aspects of transhumanism and its prospective travesties, and the result of this is a tragedy in itself. When so few spokespeople of the Gospel are willing to address such important issues in the secular sphere: 1) Believers have nobody on their side to tell them why or how these scientific developments are immoral and possibly devastating, and they are therefore misled to support what they don’t know the Bible expressly forbids; 2) nonbelieving agitators against religion have that much more reason to blast the world with the claim that the Church is outdated and irrelevant; and 3) those who may or may not feel convicted to believe in or follow God already (or those who have yet to even consider what they believe) have a scarce few intelligent, educated theological responders to listen to and guide them (most of whom are already squelched by a “conspiracist” label) and therefore have no reason to see Christianity as anything more than an archaic system of beliefs that can’t relate to the modern world they live in.

The more a minister of the Word compares Scripture to science and the convictions and agendas therein, the more Scripture proves itself to be true from the beginning, so really, a minister’s attention toward what is happening in laboratories across the globe today should not be as intimidating as it has become anyway—yet it appears that hardly anyone in the mainstream Church takes this position. Ministers are missing a great opportunity here to reach those who are confused about what Scripture actually says on the subject…

I don’t wish to insinuate that it is every Gospel minister’s responsibility to drop everything and start preaching about the inner-workings of every sinister scientific organization and the impending dooms that may be birthed from them (and as I said prior, this might prove to be a distraction away from many ministers’ personal callings), but it is my goal in this thread of thought to point out that there have been so very few ministers of the Gospel that have stood up to address these issues for all three people groups just mentioned—which covers all three known categories of people in existence (believers, nonbelievers, and those who haven’t decided yet).

I can’t say that I blame anyone. To take the bull by the horns and speak out regarding the concerns of modern science is a risky move, and it places one in a minority position. My opinions and concerns about the incoming “replacement humans” are often disregarded or staunchly opposed by the scientific community (and lay readers who follow it), despite the fact that a great deal of my arguments have been solidly based on what concern-flags the scientific community has raised in the first place. (As for me or my associates being labeled “conspiratists,” a conspiracy is not a conspiracy when there’s proof, and much of my research traces back to the horse’s mouth, so that label largely cancels itself out if we’re all willing to be honest here…) A minister can quote from the same ten science journals in a row and identify the same impending catastrophes as a secular spokesperson on any given day, but between these two voices, by default of his religious distinction, the minister’s warnings may be discarded by the mainstream who believe his conclusions to be born out of a sacred duty that many believers don’t yet fully comprehend, and toward a God that nonbelievers need not heed. He or she has become a part of the minority, much like many of the prophets in the Old Testament when the majority of Israelites were so consumed with pagan revelry that the warnings of God fell to the wayside until it was too late—and seasons of great tribulation followed every time. (In the case of transhumanistic sciences, however, we are not talking about “seasons” of tribulation, but potentially a permanent and unchangeable reality that no petri dish or super-computer on the planet can reverse.)

I can certainly relate to this—not because I equate myself with an Old Testament prophet, but because I have attempted to raise awareness of irreversible dangers transhumanism poses to the human race that God designed and have watched as, over the years, many have ignored the warnings I believe God persuaded me to put out there. How exciting and flattering, then, that my warnings have been heeded by a man in O’Donnell’s position who finds it necessary to concentrate upon and attend to the research I’ve compiled regarding the relationship between today’s “Promethean faith” (transhumanistic ideals of “playing God” by redesigning His creation; more clarification on this later) and the clear-cut commands of God against some of these practices as addressed in the Word—even as early as Genesis.

Thus, starting in the next edition of SkyWatch Magazine I’ll begin a series of articles to address everything from the nearness of technological singularity to the ethics Christians and conservative philosophers will need to deal with… and sooner than most imagine.

 

Dr Thomas Horn, former pastor, founder of Skywatch TV and Defender Publishing, best selling author and movie maker. Founder of Whispering Ponies Ranch/Camp for abused children. Dr Horn is re-known as a researcher worldwide. His book Petrus Romanus shook the world with its prediction of the last Pope’s retirement to the very month.

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Cain, the First City, and the Mystery of Head Shaping

Life after Eden must have been a crushing disappointment for early humans, especially the First Couple. Forget about the burden of living under the cursetoiling to coax enough food from the ground to survive, the pain of bringing new life into the world, and all the rest. The realization that they had disappointed their Creator and condemned their children and their children’s children until the end of time to lives apart from Yahweh must have been nearly unbearable.

The Bible gives us very little on the rest of their lives. We only know the names of three of their children: Cain, Abel, and Seth. There must have been others and at least two of them were girls, because Cain and Seth both married and had children of their own. (See? The old question, “Where did Cain find his wife?” isn’t that hard to answer.)

It’s understood that secular archaeologists and historians won’t agree with much of what we believe about human history. That’s okay. We Bible-believing Christians don’t reject science when we interpret data through a biblical lens. Science is the process by which we collect and record information to test theories about the way things are. Analysis is what we do with that information after it’s collected. It’s not the science we often question, it’s the analysis.

Scholars do agree, however, that civilization emerged in the Fertile Crescent around 10,000 B.C. (Note: We’re using dates that are generally accepted by a consensus of scholars so we don’t get bogged down arguing about the timeline. That’s outside the scope of what we’re trying to do here.)  Agriculture, cities, writing, trade, science, and organized religion all developed in a broad arc that stretched from Egypt through the Levant and down into Mesopotamia.

This civilization is called the Ubaid culture by scholars. That’s not what the people who lived in it called it, of course; we don’t know what they called themselves because they never invented writing. The Ubaid civilization got its name from Tell al-`Ubaid, a small settlement mound in southeast Iraq where famous archaeologists Henry Hall and Sir Leonard Woolley dug up the first bits of pottery from those people between 1919 and 1924.

Map of Ubaid civilization sites in Sumer. The first city, Eridu, is on what used to be the shore of the Persian Gulf. (credit John D. Croft / CC-BY-SA-3.0).

This happens a lot with prehistoric cultures. The names of their entire civilizations are accidents of discovery, coming from wherever the first archaeologist, bored shepherd, or greedy tomb raider found the first bit of evidence from people we’d never heard of before. Let’s just hope when archaeologists 8,000 years from now discover the remains of our civilization, it’s not by stumbling across the shell of a Wawa or a Piggly Wiggly.

Archaeologists who study the Ubaid culture agree that it spread from Eridu in southeast Iraq, eventually going as far as what is today northwest Iran, northern Syria, southern Turkey, and the Levant (Syria/Lebanon/Jordan/Israel). The Ubaid civilization was typified by large unwalled villages, rectangular multi-room mud-brick houses, high quality pottery, and the first public temples. Crop irrigation developed by about 5000 B.C., so cereals and grains could grow in the dry climate that again dominated the region. The first city in Mesopotamia, and therefore the oldest city in the world, appeared around 5400 B.C. Although agricultural settlements like Jericho (c. 9000 B.C.) and Jarmo, east of modern-day Kirkuk in Iraq (c. 7100 B.C.) are older, Eridu, located in what is today southeastern Iraq, was remembered by later Sumerians as the first city, with a degree of specialization among its citizens not seen before in other settlements.

The Sumerian King List, dated to about 2100 B.C., records it this way:

After the kingship descended from heaven, the kingship was in Eridu. In Eridu, Alulim became king; he ruled for 28,800 years.1

Interestingly, the Bible may support this account.

Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch. To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad fathered Mehujael, and Mehujael fathered Methushael, and Methushael fathered Lamech.

Genesis 4:16-18 (ESV), emphasis added

Some scholars, such as Egyptologist David Rohl, believe it’s possible that the “he” in the second sentence refers to Enoch, not Cain. The last word, Enoch, might be a later addition. In that case the builder of the city was Enoch, and the city was named for his son, Irad—hence, Eridu.

To speculate a little further, we can apply a rudimentary translation to the name Alulim and come up with “fourth man” (A = prefix + lu = “man” + lim, a contraction of limmu = “four”). Again, this is speculative and it may be way off base so don’t take it as gospel. But if it’s correct, then Alulim might have been Irad, the “fourth man,” or fourth generation, after creationAdam, Cain, Enoch, Iradand the first king of the first city on Earth, Eriduthe city which bore his name.

Regardless of its origins, what is most interesting about Eridu is that besides being the oldest city in Mesopotamia, and possibly the world, is that was also the home of the oldest and largest ziggurat in Mesopotamia. This was the temple of one of the most important gods of the ancient Near East. He was known as Enki to the Sumerians and Ea to the later Akkadians and Babylonians. Enki was the god of the sweet waters needed for life. He was depicted with two streams of water flowing from his shoulders that represented the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the main sources of fresh water in Mesopotamia.

Along with An (or Anu) the sky god and Enlil, the god of the air, Enki was one of the three most important gods in Sumer. He arrived very early in Sumer from Dilmun, probably the island of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. In fact, the Sumerians believed Enki personally created Eridu, elevating it from the marshy ground on what was then the shore of the gulf.

Enki was the god of magic, craftsmanship, and wisdom. Although Enlil was the king of the gods, Enki was the keeper of the mes (sounds like “mezz”), decrees of the gods that formed the fundamental concepts and gifts of civilizationeverything from religious practices to social interaction to music.

The Babylonian creation myth, the Enuma Elish, describes how everything on Earth came into being through the defeat of the chaos goddess Tiamat by Marduk, son of Enki/Ea, the chief god of Babylon. However, the older Sumerian story credits Enki with giving life to all things, including mankind, and names Enlil the slayer of Tiamat.

The differences in the story are at least partly due to the ebb and flow of power over the centuries. Each city in Mesopotamia had a patron god or goddess. The importance of a deity was, as you’d guess, tied to the fortunes of its city. Just as Eridu was the home of Enki, Enlil was chief deity at Nippur, Inanna (Ishtar) was supreme at Uruk, the sun god Utu was the patron deity of Sippar, and so on. To give you an idea of the incredible amount of time we’re dealing with, Enki ruled in Eridu for about 3,500 years before Marduk replaced Enlil at the head of the Mesopotamian pantheon, an event linked to Babylon’s emergence as the region’s dominant power in the 18th century B.C.

That’s about the same amount of time that’s passed between Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt and you reading this sentence.

This essay is not in any way a thorough review of life, culture, or religion in ancient Mesopotamia, but there is one more aspect of life in the ancient Near East to call to your attention. It’s something we usually only hear about from fringe pseudo-scholars who blame the phenomenon on extraterrestrials. Scholarsarchaeologists and sociologists—have known at least since the late 1940s that people throughout Mesopotamia, before they learned how to write, figured out how to turn their children into coneheads.

It appears, based on human remains dated to between about 10,000 B.C. and 3500 B.C., that cranial deformation was widespread in the Ubaid culture, and Eriduthe world’s first city, possibly built by Cain or his sonwas Ground Zero for head shaping. An archaeological dig at Eridu just after World War II discovered about a thousand bodies that were buried during the Ubaid. Of the 206 sets of remains the archaeologists exhumed, “all of the crania had been deformed in one fashion or another.”2

Got that? 206 out of 206. Not a few, and not just the elites. It appears that everybody from every strata of the Eridu culture had a deformed skull.

Deformed crania from the Ubaid culture site at Seyh Höyük in Turkey (photo by Kirsi O. Lorentz).

Now, instead of asking why, the lead archaeologist decided “earth pressure” after burial was the cause2even though none of the skulls were cracked or broken, which would be expected if the deformations had occurred after death.

Evidence of head shaping has been found at sites all over Iraq, southwestern Iran, eastern Turkey, the valleys of the Zagros mountains, and the western shores of the Persian Gulf, dated from 7500 B.C. to about 4000 B.C. After that, the practice seems to disappear.

Hmm. If we place a global flood sometime between 4000 and 3500 B.C….

 

1 Black, J.A., Cunningham, G., Fluckiger-Hawker, E, Robson, E., and Zólyomi, G. “The Sumerian King List: Translation,” The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/section2/tr211.htm), retrieved 12/24/16.

2 Coon, C.S. “The Eridu Crania: A Preliminary Report,” Sumer 5, 1949, p 103.

To go much deeper with author and Biblical History Researcher Derek Gilbert read his recent book “The Great Inception”

 

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Derek Gilbert Bio

Derek P. Gilbert hosts SkyWatchTV, a Christian television program that airs on several national networks, the long-running interview podcast A View from the Bunker, and co-hosts SciFriday, a weekly television program that analyzes science news with his wife, author Sharon K. Gilbert.
Before joining SkyWatchTV in 2015, his secular broadcasting career spanned more than 25 years with stops at radio stations in Philadelphia, Saint Louis, Little Rock, and suburban Chicago.
Derek is a Christian, a husband and a father. He’s been a regular speaker at Bible prophecy conferences in recent years. Derek’s most recent book is The Great Inception: Satan’s PSYOPs from Eden to Armageddon. He has also published the novels The God Conspiracy and Iron Dragons, and he’s a contributing author to the nonfiction anthologies God’s Ghostbusters, Blood on the Altar, I Predict: What 12 Global Experts Believe You Will See by 2025, and When Once We Were a Nation.

Stand firm on the Word 

We are living in very uncertain times – recent weather disasters, another mass shooting – bring us all to the stark reality of how fragile life is, and how important family, and most important, our relationship with God is.  

Some have said that these natural disasters are sent by God as Judgement. Well I don’t see God in that way because sin was already judged in Christ on the cross. The sin that will eventually separate us from our loving Heavenly Father is the sin of not believing that Jesus is the Son of God, and died for my sins. So I  know God is not punishing mankind with calamity but rather warning mankind through the words of His son as to what is to come in these last days. 

Mathew 24: 4. -8

Satan is the God of this world (2 Cor 4:4) and his time is limited, but so is ours. We need to know that the earth is in birth pains and the glorious church will arise and bring hope and salvation to many as we converge toward the end of this dispensation. 

As a husband of a beautiful wife and father of two beautiful children, I stand in awe of a loving Heavenly Father who gives us mercy when we desperately need it, and strength when we are weak. 

Having been in ministry for over 30 years on three continents, we often stand amazed at what God does to pluck people from the jaws of death. People in impossible situations come through because God is a God of the impossible. If we could do it on our own we wouldn’t need God. 

I hope my words to you today resonate with what you may be facing. You may be facing a family member who is a prodigal, a financial loss that could be devastating, a negative report from a doctor BUT God……….

Eph 3: 20-21 –

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us…….(NKJV)

Isaiah 7:9 –

“If you do not stand firm in your faith you will not stand at all.” (NIV)

Keep your eyes on Jesus lest you sink into the water, hold on to your first love, and the Word of God that is alive and active will sustain you through troubled times. 

Dr Nick Coetzee 

Nick Coetzee is a music producer and worship leader from South Africa. He has spent the past 30 years pouring into worship ministry and also developing and recording worship songs. He produced the first US release of ‘Shout to the Lord’ with Darlene Zschech , as well as many instrumental and vocals albums for artists and recording companies. He and his family are based in Wesley Chapel, FL where he owns and operate a recording Studio. Nick also produces promotional videos for companies and Churches.

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May Your Name be Inscribed in the Book of Life?

Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset on September 20. Judaism teaches that God opens the Book of Life when Rosh Hashanah begins and closes it when Yom Kippur ends (which is when the sun sets September 30). During these “Ten Days of Awe” Jewish people are trying to convince God to write and seal their name in the Book of Life for the next 12 months. This is what Judaism teaches, but is this what the Bible teaches?

I have created a few short videos to discuss the Book of Life. Throughout the month of September, I encourage you to seek opportunities to engage Jewish people in conversation about the Book of Life. Whenever you see a Jewish person you could greet them by saying: “May your name be inscribed in the Book of Life.” This is the popular greeting Jewish people use during these “Ten Days of Awe.”

It’s possible a Jewish person might be surprised that you know our greeting so be prepared to respond to this if it happens. Here are a few questions you could then ask a person to get a conversation going.

 Do you personally believe there is a Book of Life?

What is the Book of Life?

How do you get your name written in the Book of Life?

Can you be certain that your name is written in the Book of Life?

Would you be willing to watch a few short videos to see what the Holy Scriptures teach about the Book of Life?

There are ten Scriptures in the Bible about the Book of Life and I briefly discuss them in a few short videos. Five of the Scriptures are found in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), and five are found in the Jewish New Testament.

“Book of Life” Scriptures

(Exodus 32:31-33) God has a book and sin keeps people out of God’s Book.

(Malachi 3:16People who fear the Lord (with awe-filled reverence) and esteem (honor) His name will find their name written in God’s Book.

(Psalm 139:16) God has a book which lists the number of days people live on earth, but this is already determined before we are born.

(Psalm 69:27-28) Some people have sinned so much that they will be blotted out of the Book of Life.

(Daniel 12:1-2) People whose names are written in the Book will be rescued from great distress. Some will experience everlasting life (a.k.a. heaven) and others will experience disgrace and everlasting contempt (a.k.a. hell). There is a connection between the book and where people live forever.

(Luke 10:20) Messiah Yeshua told people that they should rejoice because their names were already written in heaven.

(Philippians 4:3) Paul expresses certainty that people who were dedicated to the Good News of Messiah (offering eternal life) had their names in the book of life.

(Revelation 3:5) Once our name is written in the Book of Life Yeshua will never erase it. It will always remain there so we don’t have to try to be good enough to get it written in it every year.

(Revelation 13:8) The Book of Life is associated with Yeshua, the Lamb of God who was slain for our sins at Calvary.

(Revelation 21:27) Only people whose names are written in the Lamb’s (Yeshua’s) Book of Life will enter the New Jerusalem (which comes down from heaven).

After reading these Scriptures we see several things:

Sin keeps people’s names out of the Book of Life.

Names were written in the Book of Life before we were born.

The Book of Life is associated with Yeshua.

Yeshua will not erase names from the Book of Life. Once names are written in His Book they will stay there.

The Book of Life is about whether we live with God forever, or separated from God forever.

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Ron Goldberg is a Jew who belongs to Jesus. He regularly speaks to all denominations and faiths about his spiritual journey. Ron was raised as a traditional Jew and was sent to deprogramming by his parents and rabbi in hopes of getting him to reject Yeshua (Jesus). He shares how he met the Jewish Jesus and helps other people meet the Jewish Jesus. Have you met the Jewish Jesus?

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Life or Death is in the Power of Your Words

How well do you use your words in life as a leader? If you are not sure, just look at the relationships around you. Our words can get us into trouble or they can dissolve trouble. Loving words can be like a warm breath on a lit candle that can easily extinguish a heart simmering with anger. “Please forgive me” can be just as powerful a collection of words as “I Love you with all my heart!”  In this article, we will consider the power of our words as it relates to us as Leaders of the WORD.

My father gave me great advice the day I got married. He said to me, “Son, when you and your wife get into an argument, watch your words. Once you say them, you cannot take them back.” Although I have not always practiced this seasoned piece of wisdom, I do understand the incredible importance of it. As a Leader, we have to stop and consider a few ways we can learn to weigh our words in our heart before they are spoken (or shot) out of our mouth?

In a time of drought, even the smallest bit of water can help a thirsty land. It can also help a drying heart. One of the first ways to weigh our words is to consider if they will be received as a cool glass of water or a mason jar of gas. Like the brittle grass during an absence of rain, is a heart that is hurting. The smallest spark can set it on fire. The words you choose will determine either a blessing or a blaze. Remember in meetings and gatherings, fires are good for roasting marshmallows, not each other.

Another way to weigh our words is to consider what your subordinates expect of you. If you are married, has your spouse ever said “I don’t need your solutions; I just need your sympathy”? Many of us are fixers and when it comes to talking with our spouses and those that work for (or with) us, less is often more. If you are not sure- ASK. This not only determines the content of your words, it also impacts the way you listen. You may even say something like, “How can I best assist you?” Try it next time- you might be surprised at the response.

I remember a poem by H.W. Longfellow that that said, “I shot an arrow into the air, it fell to earth, I knew not where; for, so swiftly it flew, the sight could not follow it in its flight.” A third way we weigh our words is to consider its target. Will the words be encouraging or confronting? Is the point of the words to affirm a good choice or to expose a bad one? Regardless of the arrow, the string that sends it flying should be that of love and respect. When we speak the truth in love (EPH. 4:15), we never have to worry about a stray arrow causing unnecessary injury.

Musician Tommy Shaw stated, “Timing is everything.” If that is true in music, it is also important in our words because all of life is relationships. Our next way to weigh our words comes not from the ticking of the clock as it is the cadence of the conversation. When you are about to say something to someone, especially when it is a heated discussion, ask yourself, “At this time, will he/she hear what I am about to say?” If you are unsure about the importance of timing, please consider the Prophet Nathan in 2 Samuel 12:1-13.

As we close, I want to provide one more way to weigh our words and that is at the foot of the cross. Only when our words are first baptized in the waters of worship to God will we be able to bring a proper sacrifice of speech to the Lord’s altar of healing. Words matter. The Apostle John wrote “In the beginning was the word (Logos), and the Word was with God and the word was God…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . .” (John 1:1, 14). When we run our words through the Word, they will always come out with grace and not growl.

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CHAPLAIN (MAJ-ret) DANIEL MIDDLEBROOKS
813-767-2082 (Cell)
chaplainmiddlebrooks@hotmail.com

Personal Story:
Chaplain (MAJ-ret) Daniel Middlebrooks was born in Plant City, Florida on 19 July, 1966. After receiving his AA degree from Hillsborough Community College, he entered the Active Duty on 27 May, 1988 at FT. Jackson, SC and began his career as a 91J- Physical Therapy Technician for three years at Fox Army Hospital, Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL (1988-1991). In November 1988, Daniel surrendered to the call of the ministry and worked toward his BS degree at Athens State College, Athens, Alabama. He left the Active Duty, May 1991 and entered New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and the National Guard Chaplain’s Candidate Program. He was endorsed by the Southern Baptist Convention, commissioned as a 2nd LT in January 1992 and served with the HQ STARC until Jan 1994. He completed his MDIV in the summer of 1994 and was commissioned at a 1st LT, January 1994 and transferred to 769th Combat Engineers, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was later transferred to the 2-117 FA in Oneonta, Alabama.
Civilian Ministry Experience:
CH Middlebrooks served at Williams Blvd Baptist church from 1991-1995 as the Minister of Newlyweds, Minister of young Adults, Minister of Family Ministries and Interim Music Minister. He moved to Morgan City, AL and served as the Associate Pastor and New Building Construction Director from OCT 1995-June 1997. He served as the Senior Pastor for Hopewell Baptist Church, Plant City FL from Feb. 2013- March, 2017. He currently serves as the Command Chaplain for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and as the Chaplain for Plant City. His also volunteers as the chaplain of Plant City Fire Department and Hillsborough County School Board-Security Division. He is the President/CEO of R3 Care & Consulting, LLC and Chaplaincy Care, Inc.
Active Duty Chaplaincy/Military Experience:
He entered Active Duty again in June 1997 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He served in the 626 FSB (97-98) and 1/502 IN BN(99-2000); Deputy 280th BSB CH (2000-02) and 1-26 IN , Schweinfurt, Germany (2002-03); 1st Recruiting Brigade as the OIC of the CH Recruiting team (2004-06);and 10th Combat Support Hospital, Fort Carson, CO (2007-10). He last served as the Chaplain’s Career Course Senior Course manager, instructor and developer/writer.
His military Schooling includes Chaplain Officer Basic Leaders Course (93), Chaplain Career Course (2003), USAREC Chaplain Recruiting Certification, CPE (2006), and ILE (2007), and the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School Faculty Development Training/Instructor Certification. CH Middlebrooks has deployed to MFO/Egypt (1999-00), Kosovo (2002), and Iraq (2008-09).
Awards: Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, The Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leave Clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with one Silver and four Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal with one Silver and two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with bronze star, GWOT, Humanitarian Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Oversee Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, and MFO Medal. He earned his Air Assault Wings in 1997 and his Recruiter badge with three silver stars in 2006. He was awarded the distinguished Witherspoon Award from the OCCH and National Bible Association in 2010. He is married to the former Arienne Plyler of Brandon, Florida. They have two daughters, Erica (23) and Allison (18). Over the last 29 years of marriage, the Middlebrooks family has moved 19 times and understands what means to “Bloom where God plants you”.

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The Real Church

The Church of Jesus Christ is what it says, it belongs to Jesus Christ the Son of God the one who holds the universe together by the Word of His power. What does this mean ? 

Jesus said upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail. 

Regardless of how fragmented and divided we think the church is, He doesn’t look at it that way, He sees the potential in you and me and does not judge according to appearance. ( John 7: 24) 

There is no plan B, we are it, the unstoppable force that is growing stronger and bigger everyday. We think that there is a drop off of membership in church but in reality there is a grass roots, Kingdom minded, underground church that are not confined to a denomination or a building or even a network of churches but rather an organic entity inseparably linked by the blood of Christ and joined together by real communion and fellowship. This Church cannot be contained inside four walls and is forever expanding.

The Kingdom of God is always expanding but a system is always diminishing until only two people left and even they will be suspicious of each other. 

So the real church is not a system, or a building, nor a club or business but rather an organism who’s life blood comes from the very God we love and serve. We don’t go to church, we are the church and go to Jesus. We need to see the church that meets in Tampa, in Atlanta, in Orlando etc and that is why I’m so excited to see All Pro Pastors become a strong organization that has the resources to reach out to hurting Pastors. 

Who ministers to the minister? 

Where does the Pastor and his wife go for healing of past hurts, council regarding some of the challenges leadership face.? 

The real Church is made up of individuals who prefer their brother over themselves, who will go the extra mile without complaining, and who believe the best rather than listen to gossip because Love always believes the best. 

Welcome to the greatest force in the universe, the church of Jesus Christ 

Nick Coetzee is a music producer and worship leader from South Africa. He has spent the past 30 years pouring into worship ministry and also developing and recording worship songs. He produced the first US release of ‘Shout to the Lord’ with Darlene Zschech , as well as many instrumental and vocals albums for artists and recording companies. He and his family are based in Wesley Chapel, FL where he owns and operate a recording Studio. Nick also produces promotional videos for companies and Churches.

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What Could Go Wrong?

1. Let’s say you decide to finish the evening of your Fall Festival in grand style with a lovely fireworks display…only it was a bit more windy that evening than was planned for, and some of the fireworks were inadvertently blown into some dry grass and a fire breaks out. The windy conditions fan the flame and your neighbor’s property is damaged. The call to your insurance agent to file the claim goes a little like this: “Fireworks? Real fireworks? They started a fire? Did you notify us about the fireworks? Now that’s a whole different ball game…” Uh oh.

2. Perhaps your men’s ministry plans a skeet shoot to raise money for beautification of the church grounds…and you have a LOT of grounds, so no one bothers to think anything of heading out to the back acreage with all the manpower and firepower they can muster. Only there’s one amateur in the group, who also happens to have a faulty shotgun. Bad combination. Before you know it you have three injured men, one of whom is a guest who proceeds to make a call to an attorney. You immediately think that the church insurance certainly covers this. When you call your agent, he stutters, “Three people wounded at a skeet shoot? That’s a new one…why didn’t you call me before the event? ”

3. Here’s a good one: your very active Senior Adults decide to have some fun and take a hot air balloon ride! After a wonderful time, on the downward descent, the basket bumps against a group of trees, then makes a rather rough landing, jarring those inside. Your oldest church member has trouble getting out of the basket because the hard landing has actually fractured her fragile hip. You have a sinking feeling that your property insurance can do no good in this situation. You think surely your liability coverage will pick this up since the group was away from church grounds. You call your insurance agent, who can’t believe he wasn’t informed of this risky business beforehand. Not good.

Wonderful ideas for special activities seem to be quite abundant, especially when the weather begins to turn crisp and clear! As you plan for your holiday events and fundraisers, ask yourself this question: is this function we are planning out-of-the-ordinary? If you have even the slightest inclination that it IS, take a few moments to notify your insurance agent! Here’s why…


Each of the above examples might be covered in your church insurance policy. The real issue is that you don’t want to find out they are NOT after there has been a claim. Bottom line is, it takes just a few moments to pick up the phone or send an email to your insurance agent, give a brief description of your “high adventure” plans, and ask for their insight and recommendations. You’ll feel better, knowing that all your bases are covered and those involved in your activities will be better protected.

There’s no need to shy away form adventurous activities, however, it’s a great time to develop trust and practice good communication with your agent! After all, they have your best interest at heart.

This article provided to you by Strong Tower Insurance, Inc. Strong Tower Insurance is pleased to partner with All Pro Pastors in support of pastors and their congregations by offering a variety of insurance solutions to protect the mission of the church!

 

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President of Strong Tower Insurance, Inc.
Graduate of Lee University
Credentialed minister in the Church of God
Certified Insurance Counselor

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Rejection the Supreme Test

The recovery process takes a minimum stay of 100 days. In February of 2016 I had the honor to be a friend’s companion during her recovery after a bone marrow transplant.  She had to follow the strictest of regimens and doctors instructions.  Selecting the proper donor was a tough process because her son ultimately was the donor.  

Definition of rejection

  1. 1a :  the action of rejecting :  the state of being rejected b :  an immune response in which foreign tissue (as of a skin graft or transplanted organ) is attacked by immune system components of the recipient organism

The purpose of the 100 days is to make sure her body doesn’t reject the tissue.  The numerous doctor’s appointments and labs were exhausting.  Every function of her body was monitored and constantly examined.  To date she is cancer free and getting stronger and stronger.  PTL

As pastors and pastor’s wives we see people rejected and beat up all the time.  Our quick responses of prayer and encouragement to them are part of the things we do to serve the local body.  It is Out of obedience to the Lord in our calling.  

What happens when we experience rejection?  I have been in ministry now for almost 25 years and I have had a lot of rejection.  In the definition of rejection; the second definition made me think of the local church.  The local church is where I see the body of Christ in action.  Sometimes my local body is not very kind or loving.  I feel rejection.

As pastors we try not to take things personal, but everything we do is personal.  As a servant to the ministry I have to invest and love and care!  When people leave the church it hurts.  When you pour into people’s lives and they don’t want any more to do with you, it hurts.  My prayer almost daily is, “Lord keep my heart soft and my skin thick.”  

Who was the most rejected person, Jesus?  He was perfect and yet rejected.  When I received my salvation I took on the very being of Christ.  This very thing I must remember.  Jesus kept His eyes on the Father.  His identity was in God.  I find in some of my biggest disappointments in people that have rejected me, I was looking to them for approval.  It is very easy to try and people please.  Looking to the Father and asking what He thinks of me changes my perspective on rejection.  My approval must come from Him and not man.

In ministry I’ve had to learn to get over things quickly.  This comes in the form of forgiveness.  Early on in my ministry a very precious women mentored me in the area of forgiveness.  She told me I had to learn to forgive and forgive quickly.  This is not always so easy, is it?  I found hanging on to unforgiveness made be bitter towards the people who had rejected me.  That was only hurting me.  I knew I had to lay that down.  It has changed my ministry.  I have a greater dependence on the Father.

I heard a pastor recently say, “I am going to let man’s rejection be God’s redirection in my life so I can move forward to something better!”

When I was saved, I received the bone marrow of Christ.  I want to live out my days following His orders and direction for my life.  I don’t want to go into rejection of who he made me to be.  Today I will stand in the fullness of His approval and operate out of love.

 

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Pastor’s Wife, Mother, Worship Pastor, Teacher, Soloist

The Code of Leadership; Character

How many of you enjoy a good swashbuckling movie? I always enjoyed the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series. Although very fictitious, there was something that the pirates often referred to when faced with a dilemma. It was “The Code”. In the movie, “At World’s End”, all the Captains of the pirate ships came together and they brought out the large, dusty book of the pirate law and opened to “The Code”. It was a standard (I will agree rather one sided) in how they would live and act toward each other. I began to wonder, what is my “Code of Character” for the Lord I serve? I went to the ultimate source of truth and began to search the high seas of the scripture. From this beginning journey, I found the treasure of four principles that help to protective the posture of my heart and life in leadership.

Character is visible: A good Character is first demonstrated rather than declared. I love what Margret Thatcher said during her time as the Prime Minster of England, “Power is like being a lady, if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” In Luke 8:17 and Ephesians 5:13, we read that everything is on display. If you are married, how do you view your spouse regarding his or her character? How does your spouse view you? How about friends and even strangers? Remember, in times of stress and challenges, what is on the inside of you will come to the surface and pour out of you. Conflict does not make character- it put’s it on display. Remember, if those that know you the least respect you the most, you have a problem with your character.

Character is reliable: There are many routines that help us to get through the day without much thought. Routines like; getting dressed, brushing our teeth and hair, and stopping at stop signs and all yellow lights (Well two out of three isn’t bad). One of the healthiest routines we can develop is a consistency of character. The old phrase, “What you see is what you get” is wonderfully appropriate in our life because it denotes transparency and consistency. Matthew 5:37 and James 5:12 provide for us a template of a reliable routine of character. If your “yes” is always “yes” and your “no” always “no”, people, especially our family, never have to questions where we stand on issues or ideas.

Character is tactful: So how would you answer the question, “Honey, does this make me look fat?” We are encouraged in Ephesians 4:15 to “Speak the truth in love”. So how do we accomplish this while holding onto our character when we know that what we say will hurt the other person? Depending on the comfort of your couch, you may take the stance of, “I’ll just tell it like it is!” If this is your approach, please tell me what couch you recommend for me to buy. If you would rather choose another way, let me recommend what one man said to his wife when asked the question. His lovingly, tactful, and truthful response was, “Sweetheart, I do not think that outfit brings out the beautiful woman you are.” (Smooth as butter). In Psalms 15:2, the writer pens these words, “He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart.” Tactful techniques in developing our character consider how to engage others with truth while encouraging them with tender touches.

Character is Confident: What is the difference between confident and cocky? It is what becomes evident when the spot light shines on the person. The cocky person will soak it all in and welcome the recognition. The confident one will reflect the light and bath others in its radiance. 1 Corinthians 3:13 and 1 Timothy 3:10 teach us about the light of a refining fire that will test our motives, attitudes, and agendas of the works we do.  True confidence of character remembers that nothing significant was ever accomplished by one. It takes a team. Having a character of confidence means that you are secure in who you are and what you do so that you can turn the attention to what others have done and give them the recognition for it. Remember, a man wrapped up in him-self is a very small package. I also like what John Maxwell said. “It is amazing what gets accomplished when you don’t care who gets the credit.”

As you consider these principles, I encourage you to take the needed time to dig deeper into each one and make it personal. As the famous boxer, Joe Frazier once said, “You can have a fight plan or a life plan.” If you cheat yourself in the dark, early morning hours of training, it will be exposed in the light of the ring of life. Make every day count as you travel the high seas of service for our gracious Savior.

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CHAPLAIN (MAJ-ret) DANIEL MIDDLEBROOKS
813-767-2082 (Cell)
chaplainmiddlebrooks@hotmail.com

Personal Story:
Chaplain (MAJ-ret) Daniel Middlebrooks was born in Plant City, Florida on 19 July, 1966. After receiving his AA degree from Hillsborough Community College, he entered the Active Duty on 27 May, 1988 at FT. Jackson, SC and began his career as a 91J- Physical Therapy Technician for three years at Fox Army Hospital, Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL (1988-1991). In November 1988, Daniel surrendered to the call of the ministry and worked toward his BS degree at Athens State College, Athens, Alabama. He left the Active Duty, May 1991 and entered New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and the National Guard Chaplain’s Candidate Program. He was endorsed by the Southern Baptist Convention, commissioned as a 2nd LT in January 1992 and served with the HQ STARC until Jan 1994. He completed his MDIV in the summer of 1994 and was commissioned at a 1st LT, January 1994 and transferred to 769th Combat Engineers, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was later transferred to the 2-117 FA in Oneonta, Alabama.
Civilian Ministry Experience:
CH Middlebrooks served at Williams Blvd Baptist church from 1991-1995 as the Minister of Newlyweds, Minister of young Adults, Minister of Family Ministries and Interim Music Minister. He moved to Morgan City, AL and served as the Associate Pastor and New Building Construction Director from OCT 1995-June 1997. He served as the Senior Pastor for Hopewell Baptist Church, Plant City FL from Feb. 2013- March, 2017. He currently serves as the Command Chaplain for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and as the Chaplain for Plant City. His also volunteers as the chaplain of Plant City Fire Department and Hillsborough County School Board-Security Division. He is the President/CEO of R3 Care & Consulting, LLC and Chaplaincy Care, Inc.
Active Duty Chaplaincy/Military Experience:
He entered Active Duty again in June 1997 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He served in the 626 FSB (97-98) and 1/502 IN BN(99-2000); Deputy 280th BSB CH (2000-02) and 1-26 IN , Schweinfurt, Germany (2002-03); 1st Recruiting Brigade as the OIC of the CH Recruiting team (2004-06);and 10th Combat Support Hospital, Fort Carson, CO (2007-10). He last served as the Chaplain’s Career Course Senior Course manager, instructor and developer/writer.
His military Schooling includes Chaplain Officer Basic Leaders Course (93), Chaplain Career Course (2003), USAREC Chaplain Recruiting Certification, CPE (2006), and ILE (2007), and the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School Faculty Development Training/Instructor Certification. CH Middlebrooks has deployed to MFO/Egypt (1999-00), Kosovo (2002), and Iraq (2008-09).
Awards: Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, The Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leave Clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with one Silver and four Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal with one Silver and two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with bronze star, GWOT, Humanitarian Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Oversee Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, and MFO Medal. He earned his Air Assault Wings in 1997 and his Recruiter badge with three silver stars in 2006. He was awarded the distinguished Witherspoon Award from the OCCH and National Bible Association in 2010. He is married to the former Arienne Plyler of Brandon, Florida. They have two daughters, Erica (23) and Allison (18). Over the last 29 years of marriage, the Middlebrooks family has moved 19 times and understands what means to “Bloom where God plants you”.

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Sons of God, Fathers of Giants

While the early Sumerians were figuring out how to grow crops without rain, interesting things—historic things—were happening far to the northwest. The second peak in our chronological list of spiritually strategic holy mountains is Mount Hermon.

Hermon is the highest, most majestic peak in the Levant. At 9,200 feet above sea level, it dominates the Golan Heights on the border between Israel and Syria, anchoring the southern end of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains. It has been considered sacred for most of human history.

Mount Hermon was a holy site as far back as the old Babylonian period, nearly two millennia before Christ, and probably even earlier. In the Old Babylonian version of the Gilgamesh epic, which dates to the 18th century B.C. (roughly the time of Jacob), “Hermon and Lebanon” were called “the secret dwelling of the Anunnaki.” The Ninevite version of the poem, written about 600 years later, describes the monster slain by Gilgamesh, Humbaba (or Huwawa), as the guardian of “the abode of the gods.”[i]

The Anunnaki were the seven chief gods of the Sumerian pantheon: Anu, the sky god; Enlil, god of the air; Enki, god of the earth; Ninhursag, mother goddess of the mountains; Inanna (the Babylonian Ishtar), goddess of sex and war; Sîn, the moon god; and Utu, the sun god. They are mentioned in texts found in what is today southeastern Iraq that date back to the 27th century B.C. So the more recent versions of the Gilgamesh story from Babylon and Nineveh may remember more ancient traditions.

The name Hermon appears to be based on a root word that means “taboo,” similar to the Hebrew word kherem, or “devoted to destruction.” The word is often translated into English as “under the ban.”

The first appearance of the word in the Bible is Exodus 22:20: “Whoever sacrifices to any god, other than the Lord alone, shall be devoted to destruction (kherem).” But the ban wasn’t just invoked against disobedient Israelites. Some of the inhabitants of Canaan were also declared kherem by Yahweh—specifically those that were known to be giants, or at least descended from giants.

That begs the question:  Where did the giants come from?  A curious episode is recorded in the first four verses of Genesis chapter 6:

When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.

Genesis 6:1-4 (ESV)

Scholars have debated the meaning of the term “Nephilim” for millennia. Most believe it comes from a Hebrew root, napal, meaning “to fall” or “cast down”—literally, “fallen ones.”

However, Bible and ancient language scholar Dr. Michael S. Heiser, author of the excellent book The Unseen Realm (highly recommended) and the new book Reversing Hermon (ditto), contends that this cannot be correct:

The form nephilim cannot mean “fallen ones” (the spelling would then be nephulim). Likewise nephilim does not mean “those who fall” or “those who fall away” (that would be nophelim). The only way in Hebrew to get nephilim from naphal by the rules of Hebrew morphology (word formation) would be to presume a noun spelled naphil and then pluralize it. I say “presume” since this noun does not exist in biblical Hebrew — unless one counts Genesis 6:4 and Numbers 13:33, the two occurrences of nephilim — but that would then be assuming what one is trying to prove! However, in Aramaic the noun naphil(a) does exist. It means “giant,” making it easy to see why the Septuagint (the ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) translated nephilim as gigantes (“giant”).[ii]

In short, the Jewish scholars who translated the Old Testament into Greek about two hundred years before the birth of Jesus clearly understood that the Nephilim were giants, not just men who “fell away” from God.

Likewise, the Hebrew words translated “sons of God” in the passage, bene elohim, refer to divine beings, not mortal men. Now, that hasn’t been the consensus among Christian scholars since about the 5th century, thanks to the great theologian Augustine. He popularized the “sons of Seth” theory to explain away the weird supernatural element of the passages above. In short, the Sethite view is that the sons of God were men from the godly, righteous line of Seth who began intermarrying with women from the corrupt, wicked line of Cain.

Frankly, this defies logic on several points:

  1. How likely is it that all the Sethite men were good while all the Cainite women were bad?
  2. We’re supposed to believe Cainite men never married Sethite women?
  3. Why would these unions produce Nephilim, understood to be giants by Jewish rabbis and early Christians alike?
  4. Why would these unions lead to wickedness so great that God had to wipe out everything that walked the earth except Noah, his family, and the creatures in the ark?
  5. Every other use of bene elohim in the Hebrew scriptures refers to divine beings.

Problems with the supernatural understanding of the text usually focus on whether angels and humans could successfully produce children.  Proponents of the Sethite view often point to Jesus’ teaching on the resurrection of the dead:

For in the resurrection [people] neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

Matthew 22:30 (ESV)

The key words are “in the resurrection” and “in heaven.” Noah’s neighbors were flesh and blood, not resurrected, and the angels who “came in to the daughters of man” were most definitely not in heaven.

There are several examples in the Bible of divine beings interacting with humans in physical ways—eating, drinking, and even engaging in a dustup in front of the house of Lot (Genesis 19:5-11). Why couldn’t they procreate as well?

The final nails in the coffin of the Sethite view are the references to this event in the New Testament. Both Peter and Jude refer to the only example in scripture where angels transgressed:

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;

2 Peter 2:4 (ESV), emphasis added

And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

Jude 6-7 (ESV), emphasis added

If there was any doubt about what the angels did that deserved punishment, Peter and Jude clarified things. They specifically identified the sin of the angels as sexual by linking it to the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Crossing the species barrier between angel and human is just as taboo as the barrier between human and animal.

 

[i] Lipinski, Edward. “El’s Abode: Mythological Traditions Related to Mount Hermon and to the Mountains of Armenia,” Orientalia Lovaniensa Periodica 2, 1971, p. 19.

[ii] Heiser, Dr. Michael S. “The Nephilim,” Sitchin is Wrong.com (http://www.sitchiniswrong.com/nephilim/nephilim.htm), retrieved 12/16/16.

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Derek Gilbert Bio

Derek P. Gilbert hosts SkyWatchTV, a Christian television program that airs on several national networks, the long-running interview podcast A View from the Bunker, and co-hosts SciFriday, a weekly television program that analyzes science news with his wife, author Sharon K. Gilbert.
Before joining SkyWatchTV in 2015, his secular broadcasting career spanned more than 25 years with stops at radio stations in Philadelphia, Saint Louis, Little Rock, and suburban Chicago.
Derek is a Christian, a husband and a father. He’s been a regular speaker at Bible prophecy conferences in recent years. Derek’s most recent book is The Great Inception: Satan’s PSYOPs from Eden to Armageddon. He has also published the novels The God Conspiracy and Iron Dragons, and he’s a contributing author to the nonfiction anthologies God’s Ghostbusters, Blood on the Altar, I Predict: What 12 Global Experts Believe You Will See by 2025, and When Once We Were a Nation.

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How to Love Your Wife

Loving Your Wife – Positive Insights
1. The husband who loves his wife will not abuse headship. He will
not try to rule her, but learn to love her like Christ loves the
church (Ephesians 5:25).
2. The husband who loves his wife will comfort and listen to his
wife (I Thess. 5:11,14).
3. The husband who loves his wife will spend quality and quantity
time with his wife. He will put her on his calendar, etc. (Ecc. 9:9).
4. The husband who loves his wife will bring encouragement to his
wife. He will always esteem her (Hebrews 3:13).
5. The husband who loves his wife will take an interest in his wife’s
world. He will honor her likes and respect her dislikes (I Peter 3:7).
6. The husband who loves his wife will initiate reconciliation with his
wife. He understands the value of restoration (Ephesians 4:26).
7. The husband who loves his wife will pray daily for his wife.
(I Timothy 2:1).
8. The husband who loves his wife will avoid harsh words with his
wife (Ephesians 4:32, Proverbs 25:11).
9. The husband who loves his wife will keep his wife informed
(I Timothy 6:18).
10. The husband who loves his wife does not always have to be right.
He knows that compromise is an asset in a marriage (Eph. 4:2,3).

“Final Thoughts”
 Loving your wife is not an option if you are going to be in the will
of God, where God’s blessings will pursue you and overtake you
(Deut. 28:1-2).
 If your wife is not a Christian, she still needs to be valued and
appreciated (I Cor. 7:14).
 A woman is like a rose, treat her right and she will bloom. She’s a
precious gift from God to be nourished and cherished (Eph. 5:29,
Gen. 2:18).
 When your wife is emotionally hurt and has a desire to talk, if she
doesn’t ask for advice, don’t give any. Don’t give her your head,
give her your heart.
 A godly husband will master unconditional love for his wife. He
will look beyond her faults and failures. He will cover her with
patience and forgiveness. Unconditional love is not “I love you
because,” it’s, “I love you, period.”

Family Focus Ministry
Pastors Jesse & Brenda McNeil
Every person is worth understanding!
Services Offered:
Premarital Preparation, Post Marital Advisory,
Marriage Ceremonies, Seminars & Speaking Engagements
For comments or questions email us at: ffm@tampabay.rr.com
or call 863-944-2283 or 863-944-0762

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Pastors Jesse and Brenda McNeil are Assistant Pastors at Word Alive Ministries, Inc. in Lakeland, Florida. They are committed marriage and family pastors, advisors, and teachers, offering premarital preparation, personal advisory, post marital advisory, and wedding services to any-one who desires. Pastor Jesse is also the author of the very influential book, “Powerful Principles for Choosing a Marriage Partner.” The McNeils have been married for more than 42 years and have worked together as a dynamic, unified ministry team for over 36 years. You are sure to be blessed and in-spired by their awesome ministry.

Family Focus Ministry
Pastors Jesse & Brenda McNeil
Every person is worth understanding!
Services Offered:
Premarital Preparation, Post Marital Advisory,
Marriage Ceremonies, Seminars & Speaking Engagements
For comments or questions email us at: ffm@tampabay.rr.com
or call 863-944-2283 or 863-944-0762