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Infernal Infighting

The pagan gods of the ancient world did not humbly submit after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Instead, they’ve continued in their rebellion. Maybe they figure they’ve got nothing to lose. Like Inanna in the Epic of Gilgamesh, who tried to destroy Uruk because she’d been rejected by the hero of the tale, they’re willing to destroy everything rather than let the Messiah return to establish His throne over a world restored to its intended glory.

But they’re also arrogant enough to think they can win. The entities conspiring against God are playing multidimensional chess. We humans are playing checkers, so I won’t pretend to have all of the answers. This book will only cover one of the most significant aspects of the rebellion, a front opened by the small-g gods after they realized they’d been outplayed.

Their first response to the Resurrection was to inspire the Roman government and Jewish religious authorities to try to crush the growing body of believers. By the fourth century AD, when it was clear that Christianity was not going away, the Fallen tried a different tactic. The empire of the storm-god first legalized the faith with Constantine’s Edict of Milan in AD 313. Then in 380, Christianity became the official state religion when Theodosius issued the Edict of Thessalonica. Once the Church became a path to wealth and political power, there was no shortage of men and women who chose the clergy as a career—but it wasn’t because they were interested in saving sinners from the fires of hell.

Making Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire was a brilliant move. Corruption in the Church persists to this day and it infects all denominations. But that has only weakened the body of believers, not killed it; as of this writing, the followers of Jesus Christ still outnumber all other religions on the earth.

But the Enemy employed another stratagem, one that’s exploited the Church’s weakness and the dilution of the gospel since the Renaissance and Enlightenment. Let’s begin by tracking the activity of the pagan gods in the years after the Resurrection.

Looking at the ebb and flow of history from high above the page, as it were, we can sometimes see patterns that are hidden when we zoom in too close, sort of like trying to make out an image in an old newspaper by looking at it under a microscope. All we see are blobs of ink—the pixels, to use a more modern reference. The picture only comes into focus when you look at it from farther away.

In the same way, trying to see into the spirit realm is a good way to drive yourself crazy. We aren’t designed to do that, and God has warned us not to try. But we can make out some of the shapes and patterns, the actions of the principalities and powers, if we step back and look at how history has progressed through the ages.

A rough outline of the spiritual history of the ancient Near East shows that there were at least two transfers of power in the pantheon. First, a primordial god of heaven was overthrown by his son, who was considered “the” god between about 3000 and 2000 BC.

Around the time that the Amorites emerged as the dominant people group in the Near East, “the” god was replaced as king of the pantheon by the storm-god—except in Akkad and Sumer, where the city-god of Babylon, Marduk, occupied that place of honor.

However, the personal god of the founding dynasty of Babylon was the moon-god. As we noted earlier, some scholars now believe that the Sumerian god Amurru was actually an epithet of the lunar deity, “god of the Amurru (Amorite) land.” A text only translated within the last ten years reveals that the moon-god, Sîn, was believed to preside over the Mesopotamian divine council at least some of the time. 

The nations led by these various deities fought with one another throughout the period of history covered by the Bible. Beginning around 1800 BC, the time of Abraham and Isaac, Marduk and his followers ruled Babylonia and Sumer, while Baal worshipers dominated western Mesopotamia (Canaan), followers of the sun-god controlled most of Egypt, and the moon-god was the chief deity of the nomadic tribes of the steppe and deserts of Syria and Arabia.

The fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire to the Medes and Persians in 539 BC was probably another rebuke of the moon-god by Yahweh, who revealed to the prophet Isaiah, about a hundred and fifty years earlier, His plan to use Cyrus to return the Jewish exiles to Jerusalem.

Oddly, if scholars are correct about the Persian god Ahura Mazda, this replaced one empire subject to Marduk with another that worshiped the same god under a different name.

So, was Marduk/Ahura Mazda the “prince of Persia” who fought against the angelic messenger who came to the prophet Daniel? It’s impossible to know, and wondering about the prince’s identity leads to other questions we can’t answer. For example, did the prince of Persia resist the angel because he didn’t want Cyrus to free the Jews of Babylon?

These questions can only be answered with speculation. It’s curious that Marduk doesn’t fit the pattern of succession among the gods. Across the ancient Near East, and even as far away as Scandinavia and India, the storm-god rose to the top of the pantheon, but at Babylon, a city-god about whom we know nothing prior to that city’s rise to power, claimed the throne of the gods. We can only ask, “Why?”

Is it possible that the rise of the Zoroastrian religion in Persia, which emerged just before the Medes and Persians conquered the lands of the Bible as far west as Greece, was part of a civil war among the rebel angels? Given that the moon-god, Sîn/Yarikh, was the patron deity of the founders of Babylon (and of most Amorites in the days of Abraham), then maybe Marduk was a figurehead who was head of the infernal council in name only. There isn’t a single event in the Bible that appears to be specifically directed at Marduk, except maybe the reference to the size of Og’s bed.

Continuing with our speculation, the rise of the Persian Empire and its devotion to Ahura Mazda, possibly another aspect of Marduk, may have been that entity’s play to go solo by rebelling against the rebels. Of course, God used it for His purposes, to free His people from Babylon and humble the moon-god (Belshazzar’s feast was held for the fall akitu festival for Sîn).

But Marduk’s shot at glory didn’t last long; within two centuries, people of the storm-god, first Greek and then Roman, pushed the Persian Empire back to Mesopotamia. And with the rise of Islam in the seventh century AD, Zoroastrianism faded into the background. Today, it’s estimated that there are fewer than three million Zoroastrians in the world; in the 1990s, the Guiness Book of World Records began labeling Zoroastrianism as the “major religion nearest extinction.”

There are hints in pagan texts of other rifts between the Fallen. Two letters to the king of Mari from the ambassador of Yamkhad, a powerful kingdom based at Aleppo, mention the delivery of the clubs used by the storm-god “with which the deity boasts to have struck his enemy, the sea” to the temple of “the” god, Dagan, in the city of Terqa.

Scholars don’t know exactly what the letters mean, but there are two probable messages: First, they implied that Mari was subordinate to Yamkhad, just as Dagan (El, Enlil, etc.) had been replaced at the top of the pantheon by the storm-god, Adad (Baal). Second, in a backhanded way, it claims a victory for Adad/Baal that had been credited to Marduk.

Thus says Adad.… I brought you back to the throne of your father, I brought you back. The weapons with which I fought the Sea [Têmtum] I gave to you. With the oil of my bitter victory I anointed you, and no one before you could stand. My one word hear!

Têmtum is the Akkadian word for Tiamat, the chaos dragon defeated by Marduk in the Enuma Elish. Now, this may be political posturing, sort of like saying, “Our gods are better than your gods, nyaah nyaah nyaah,” but it may have been inspired in the spirit realm as members of the infernal council plotted and schemed against one another.

Another example of this comes from the western Amorite kingdom of Ugarit in a myth about a drunken feast at the house of the creator-god El.

Yarikh [the moon-god] arched his back like a d[o]g;

he gathered up crumbs beneath the tables.

(Any) god who recognized him

threw him meat from the joint.

But (any god) who did not recognize him

hit him with a stick beneath the table.

At the call of Athtart [Astarte/Ishtar] and Anat [the Canaanite war-goddess] he approached.

Athtart threw him a haunch,

and Anat a shoulder of meat.

The porter of El’s house shouted:

“Look!

Why have you thrown a haunch to the dog,

(why) to the cur have you thrown a shoulder?”

This is a great example of a text that drives scholars crazy. The meaning is unclear; it could refer to ritual drinking to reach an altered state of consciousness, or it could simply be a long and convoluted cure for a hangover. Either way, the moon-god, bearing his Amorite name, Yarikh, is depicted as a dog, and canines were not man’s best friend in the ancient Near East. This text comes from the final years of Ugarit in the thirteenth century BC. That was the time of the judges in Israel, after the conquest—in other words, after the moon-god had been humiliated at the Wilderness of Sîn, Mount Sinai, Jericho, and the Valley of Aijalon.

Does this text reflect a demotion in the infernal council? The moon-god was at or near the top of the pantheon in Mesopotamia until Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan. After the Long Day, the moon-god faded into the background until his devotee Nabonidus took the crown of Babylon nearly a thousand years later.

Then the Medes and Persians destroyed Babylon as an independent kingdom, and a couple of centuries later, the Greeks and Romans came. Quick, now: How many myths about the Greco-Roman moon-goddess, Selene/Luna, do you know? Probably not many, if any. In the pantheon of Greece and Rome, the moon-deity was strictly supporting cast, a back-bencher.

Again, this is speculation, an attempt to discern the history of the unseen realm from evidence in the natural. We have limited ability to see into the spirit world, but it fits recorded history. Before Christ, the Fallen fought amongst themselves as well as with God. After the Resurrection, it appears that they put aside some of their mutual distrust.

We’ll explore that in more depth in future columns.

From Bad Moon Rising: Islam, Armageddon, and the Most Diabolical Double-cross in
History by Derek P. Gilbert

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Repentance on Behalf of our Nation

There is only one remedy for covenant-breaking; that is – repentance.  The offended party must be entreated to forgive the breach, to restore the good relationship that existed before the offense was given, to set aside what forms of retribution the offense must bring forth in the absence of heartfelt contrition.  Without repentance, contrition, humility, shame, and abject beseeching of the offended party to again honor the covenant, there can be no healing.

A tribe that broke covenant with a neighboring one could expect swift retribution from them – usually in the form of that tribe coming against the offenders and slaughtering every one of them, with particular attention to their chief.  The offended parties prevailed because, in a way, notwithstanding the violence of their acts, they had justice on their side and they somehow knew that they would prevail and they made war in the strength of that knowledge.

It is the same with God.  Hear the thunder of His Word – “In flaming fire taking vengeance upon them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power.” (2 Thess 1:8).  This is the ultimate violence, yet God commands it because those who come before Him in their sins have rejected the New Covenant that is in Christ.

Repentance on behalf of our nation must be on a scale commensurate with the offense.  Scholars and archaeologists have estimated that there were at least 10,000 residents of the cities Sodom and Gomorrah.  God sought 10 righteous people out of that group and could not find them.  The result is recorded in Genesis 19:24-28.  All 10,000 or more perished for the lack of 10 who were faithful to God.  For a nation of 325 million such as ours, the same scale would call for no less than 325,000 Christians in this country to repent for our covenant-breaking and the tsunami of sin and depravity that have followed.  The strong suggestion of Scripture is that unless at least that many faithful Christians can be found who will take this critical step – to set aside a season of prayer, fasting, and weeping before the Lord for our arrogance and wickedness as a nation – His justice may demand that He do to us as he did to Sodom.

But to repent with knowledge and understanding, we as Americans must take to heart the event that caused us to break God’s Covenant. What could we as a people have done to cause such a catastrophic breach?  How, after all the nearly 200 years of blessing that a loving God had showered upon us, could we pour contempt upon His Name and by extension upon His Person?  If we cannot understand this, then we cannot repent as God would have us do if we are to be saved as a nation and again be what we once were, “a shining city on a hill.”

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The Second Coming of Hercules

The gods of Greek mythology are real. They’re angry, and they’re coming back.

Wait, you’re thinking. I thought this guy was a Christian.

Exactly.

The Greek tales of their deities and demigods are bastardized versions of true history. Zeus is Satan. The Titans are the “sons of god [who] came in to the daughters of man.” The heroes of the Golden Age were “the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.”

Now, let’s be clear: We Christians do not seek truth in the myths of Greece and Rome. We can, however, gain a deeper understanding of the Bible by viewing the world through the eyes of the prophets and apostles, and they knew very well what their pagan neighbors believed. Much of what they wrote was directed at the pagan gods.

If you were brought up in church, there’s a good chance that, like me, you were taught that the idols of the pagans were lifeless blocks of wood and stone. That’s true, to a point. The pagans didn’t worship those carved images. An idol was like an antenna, a spiritual receiver that gave a god locality—a place to appear when the faithful called.

Those gods, though—they’re real.

That’s not the default teaching of most Christian churches. Sadly, most are out of step with the God they serve. God called the idols gods, so I’m on solid theological ground here. He’s judged them, found them wanting, and proclaimed a sentence of death on these rebels.

But they’re not dead yet. And just as you and I have free will to choose between right and wrong, so do they. God, who has seen the end from the beginning, has revealed enough about their plans through prophecy in the Bible to tell us that the ride on earth will get rough before Christ returns. Reading those prophecies with a better understanding of what the Hebrew prophets knew about the pagan gods reveals some startling insights about what lies ahead.

In my 2018 book Last Clash of the Titans, I presented evidence for a number of claims, many of which haven’t been made before to the best of my knowledge:

  • The Amorites of the ancient world are far more important to history than we’ve been taught.
  • The Titans, the old gods of the Greeks, are the biblical Watchers, the sons of God who took daughters of man as wives as described in Genesis 6:1–4.
  • Their offspring, the Nephilim (later called Rephaim), were the heroes and demigods of the Greeks.
  • The Amorites summoned the spirits of the Rephaim through necromancy rituals and believed they were the ancestors of their kings.
  • Balaam’s prophecy over Israel foretold the final destruction of the Nephilim by the Messiah.
  • Ezekiel’s prophecy of Gog and Magog tells us when and where they’ll be destroyed.
  • Gog won’t be human, and Magog is not Russia.
  • The spirit of primordial chaos, Leviathan, returns from the abyss as the Antichrist.
  • The Titans and their seed, the spirits of the Rephaim, return in the last days to fight at Armageddon.

As you may have noticed, the book focuses on the supernatural players of the end times. We spend too much time debating whether Vladimir Putin is Gog and not enough trying to discern the principalities and powers behind the scenes.

Now, I could be wrong about much of this. However, my analysis is backed by peer-reviewed, academic research. Most of it comes from secular scholars with no dog in the eschatological hunt. They’ve found many of the pieces of the puzzle, but they don’t see the whole picture because the missing pieces are in the Bible—and most of those scholars just won’t look there.

Likewise, many learned students and scholars of the Bible don’t look to secular academia for information. We Christians do see the big picture, but much of the background image is missing. There is no context for the crossing of the Red Sea, the march around the walls of Jericho, or the confrontation between Elijah and the priests of Baal. Why did God ask such things of His people? There are answers to those questions rooted in the history, culture, and religion of the people who lived in the lands of the Bible during the age of the prophets and apostles.

Is understanding that context essential to your eternal salvation? No. If you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, your future is secure.

But understanding how the pagan gods of the ancient world have successfully rebranded themselves as action heroes for major motion pictures might be useful to reaching the lost. As Baudelaire wrote, “The finest trick of the devil is to persuade you that he does not exist.” Recent research shows that nearly 60 percent of American Christians have fallen for that lie.[1] God’s statement is as true today as it was 2,700 years ago: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”[2] How do you resist an enemy you think is make-believe?

Zeus, Hercules, the Olympians, and the Titans are real. They hate us, they want to kill us, and they’re coming back.

Get ready.

[1] Barna Group (2009). “Most American Christians Do Not Believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit Exist,” https://www.barna.com/research/most-american-christians-do-not-believe-that-satan-or-the-holy-spirit-exist/, retrieved 4/29/18.

[2] Hosea 4:6.

Storm-god Rising

Baal (properly spelled Baʿal) was the main enemy of Yahweh in the Old Testament. One could argue that he was even more of a villain in the Bible than Satan, whos only mentioned in fourteen Old Testament verses, in the books of 1 Chronicles, Job, and Zechariah. Baal, on the other hand, appears 106 times in 88 verses (including personal and place names, like Baal-zephon).

Baal is first mentioned in the Bible in Exodus and he was still around 3,400 years later in the New Testament. Jesus discussed him with the Pharisees (see Matthew 12:22-28; Beelzebul means “Baal the prince”).

Stela at the Louvre from the ancient city of Ugarit depicting Baal in characteristic “smiting” pose, holding mace and thunderbolt

Baal isn’t a name, its a title. It means “lord,in the same way we Christians usually say Lord (and our Bibles read Lord) instead of saying Yahweh or spelling out YHWH. It’s rather arrogant, when you think about it. And Baal wasnt the only one; over time, Babylons chief god Marduk came to be known as Bel, which likewise means “lord.

Baal has had a long career. Hes not recognized as an active deity in our world today, at least not by the secular scholars who have researched the people who worshiped him. It’s safe to say most American Christians think of Baal as a sort of cosmic imaginary friend of the pagan nations around ancient Israel—but surveys show that most American Christians don’t believe in Satan or the Holy Spirit, either.

There may be a few neopagans here and there trying to recreate the old religion of the ancient Canaanites, but like aging pop divas, the old gods reinvented themselves as time and people moved on. Weve already seen how Sumerian Inanna became Babylons Ishtar, the Semitic Astarte, Aphrodite of Greece, and Venus of Rome. Today, the old gods condemned by Yahweh in Psalm 82, Isaiah 24:21-23, and elsewhere, are viewed as characters in ancient literature, if they’re considered at all.

Over time, Baal replaced the original name of the West Semitic storm-god Hadad (or Haddu), who was also called Adad/Addu by the Akkadians. Baal has also been identified with the Hurrian god Teššub, the Hittite god Tarhunt, the Urartian god Teisheba, the Sumerian god Iškur, the Amorite god Amurru (incorrectly, as it happens), and others.

Of course, Baal is best known as Zeus to the Greeks and Jupiter to the Romans.

The earliest of these storm-god manifestations was Iškur (note: the š sounds like “sh”). However, Iškur was a minor deity in the Sumerian pantheon. Thats logical; in a land thats mostly desert, a god of storms and life-bringing rain wasnt as important as Enki, who controlled the fresh waters of the Tigris and Euphrates. Irrigation was far more important than rainfall for growing crops in southern Mesopotamia. Farther north, where rain was key to agriculture, Iškur played a larger role in the pantheon.

The chief god Enlil and his son, the war-god Ninurta, also had storm-god characteristics. This left Iškur looking like a pale imitation of the others, a third-tier superhero in a comic book universe. He was believed to be the son of Anu, although some traditions claimed that Enlil was his father. This could mean that Iškur wasnt a native Sumerian deity but an import from Sumers Semitic-speaking neighbors. As the patron god of Karkara, a minor city near Uruk in southern Mesopotamia, Iškur’s cult center didnt have enough political clout to elevate him into the upper rank of the pantheon, as Babylon later did for Marduk.

The first written evidence of the cult of Iškur comes from the cities Lagash and Adab in the middle of the 3rd millennium BC Adab was near Karkara, site of Iškur’s temple, the House of the Big Storms. Unfortunately, the ruins of Karkara havent been discovered yet, so we dont know much about the cult of kur or local traditions about him. But based on prayers and rituals that have been preserved, it appears Iškur, like most of the Mesopotamian gods and goddesses, could be good or bad depending on his mood. The storm-god brought necessary rain for the crops needed to survive but he could also destroy fields with wind, hail, and flood.

He first appeared under the name Hadda at Ebla around 2500 BC, and as Adad in Old Akkadian texts, the period of history that began with the empire of Sargon the Great around 2330 BC We know theyre the same because the Sumerian logogram for Hadda/Adad was the same used for Iškur (dIM). As god of the heavenly waters, Iškur was sometimes praised as the twin brother of Enki. This may be an early example of the twin godsmotif in ancient mythology. Sometimes theyre brother-sister twins, such as Apollo and Artemis; sometimes divine-mortal twins, like Castor and Pollux; and sometimes, as in this case, a pair of brothers, one more important than the other, at least in the early days. Until the early 2nd millennium BC, it wouldnt have been a compliment for Enki, the god responsible for the fresh water of the abzu and the fundamental laws of civilization, the mes, to be compared with a minor deity like Iškur.

kur-Adad, later Baal, played a key role in the cosmology of Mesopotamia for the next 2,500 years. His importance to the cultures of the region grew with the political influence of the Amorites, who may have introduced Iškur into Sumer, reaching its peak in the 2nd millennium BC and lasting through the time of Jesus.

At Mari, which was on the Euphrates about 75 miles southeast of the modern city of Deir ez-Zor, a powerful but short-lived Amorite kingdom grew from the ashes of an older state that had been smashed by Sargon the Great. The name Haddu often appears in texts found at Mari alongside Dagan, a grain god (contrary to common belief, Dagan/Dagon was never a fish god), and Itūr-Mēr, the patron god of the city of Mari, as one of the three great gods of the kingdom.

As political control of Mesopotamia shifted from Akkad to Ur and then to Babylon between 2150 BC and 1900 BC, powerful Amorite kingdoms in Assyria, Mari, and Yamad (modern Aleppo, Syria) emerged alongside the old Babylonian empire. At the same time, the storm-gods identity gradually shifted from Sumerian Iškur to Akkadian Adad and his importance in the pantheon grew.

By the time Hammurabi brought Babylon to the greatest extent of its power, around 1750 BC, Adad—Baal—was firmly established among the great gods of Mesopotamia.

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“A 15-minute Vision checkup”

Ask your core leaders these seven questions. If they answer no or show hesitation you are overdue for a vision checkup.

If your core leaders show any doubt rest assured the team members on the outer edge don’t have a clue. It’s the “outer-edge” team members that have the initial and most frequent contact with those you serve or are trying to reach.

1. IMAGINABLE: Does our vision convey a compelling picture of our future?
2. DESIRABLE: Does our vision appeal and grab the attention of at least two generations?
3. FEASIBLE: Is our vision built on reasonable, stretchable and achievable goals?
4. FOCUSED: Does our vision guide and dominate our decision making process?
5. FLEXIBLE: Does our vision allow for individual creativity and changing conditions?
6. COMMUNICABLE: Can all of our core leaders “Tell our story” and describe our vision in 100 words or less?
7. EXECUTABLE: Is our strategy (action plan) well-conceived, understood and embraced by all team members?

You get the best results when your team members feel they can be brutally honest, especially with their leader. Great leaders keep drilling down until they discover what every team member really thinks, not just what they think the leader wants to hear.

Until you have that degree of openness and honesty by everyone on the team you have not taped into the full potential of your team. Until you ask your team for just a little more than they think they can give, you won’t get all they can give. That takes commitment, trust and honest answers to these seven questions.

When’s the last time you and your team had a vision checkup? Poor attitudes, low energy and lack of engagement may indicate its time.

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Pastors Sharpen Pastors and Prayer is the Sword!

Pastors we need each other and our families need us to be strong.

Watch this short video and be encouraged!

The Mountain of Enlightenment and the End of the Age


A mountain in Arabia is responsible for what statisticians say will be the world’s largest religion by about 2070 unless something drastic happens. In that regard, we must give credit where it’s due—this mountain was, without question, the site of the most successful supernatural PSYOP in history.

The Arabic name of this peak means “Mountain of Enlightenment.” Jabal al-Nour is near Mecca in western Saudi Arabia. It’s the site of the cave where Muhammad was visited by an angel calling itself Jibril, or Gabriel.

There is no way to sugarcoat this: The message was not from God. Yahweh does not contradict Himself, but the Quran clearly does. Muhammad saw something, of that we have no doubt. But it was not a messenger from Yahweh.

Islam has a role to play in the future war for God’s holy mountain. Sadly for Muslims, the part the Fallen wants them to play is very simple—to die.

Allah is the name used for the god of Islam, but it’s also the name used by Arab Christians for the God of the Bible. This is somewhat confusing, which is, of course, intentional. Just as El was the name of the chief god of the Canaanites and a generic name for God in Hebrew, “Allah” is another PSYOP by the Fallen to muddy the water.

Many Christians assume that Muslims worship the same god they do, and so they aren’t surprised to learn that Arab Christians apply the same proper name to the God of the Bible. This is the same mistake as assuming a pagan Amorite in the 15th century B.C. who prayed to El was calling on the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Muslims, who believe that Allah has no son, have put their faith in something they think is the God of the Book (the Bible). How can that be, when there are fundamental differences between Allah and Yahweh?

Some Christian scholars draw a link between Allah and older deities worshiped in Arabia prior to Muhammad. This isn’t universally accepted, but it doesn’t have to be to make a case for the god of Islam being something other than Yahweh.

Etymologically, the explanation that seems to make the most sense, and the one accepted by most scholars, suggests that Allah is a contract of al-lāh, “the god.” That’s like the old Semitic use of El, a proper name that grew out of the generic Proto-Semitic word ʾil-, meaning “deity” or “god.” Variant forms show up in Akkadian (ilu), Ugaritic (il), and Hebrew (eloah, the singular form of elohim).

Still, differences in the fundamental characteristics of Allah and Yahweh force us to conclude that one of two things must be true: Either, 1) Allah and Yahweh are one and the same, and the Bible doesn’t accurately record the way Yahweh revealed Himself to the prophets and apostles; or, 2) some thing lied to Muhammad in that cave on Jabal al-Nour, and Allah is not the God of the Bible.

Given that we have Old Testament texts that can be reliably dated to at least two centuries before Jesus (the Septuagint translation from Hebrew into Greek), and most scholars would accept earlier dates for the authorship of those books, and that the books of the New Testament are the best attested documents from the classical period, there is compelling evidence that the Bible has not been corrupted or substantially changed since it was written by the apostles and prophets. While there are minor differences between some texts, the sheer number of manuscripts and documents that quote scripture, like letters from the early church fathers, provide plenty of material to cross-check the books of the Bible and confirm its reliability.

In contrast, the Quran was compiled into its final form about twenty years after the death of Muhammad from several competing versions. By the time of the third caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, Islam had spread from Arabia into Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Iran, cultures that were different from one another and from the origin point of the faith. Uthman was reportedly motivated to take on the project by disputes between some of the new followers over the correct way to pray. So, to prevent Muslims from fighting over the book, texts were collected from around the caliphate and compiled into an “official” version, and variant copies were destroyed.

Even Muslim scholars—mainly Shia, who believe that Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law was the rightful heir to the prophet’s growing empire—admit that Uthman corrupted the Islamic holy book by his action.

There is more to the story, of course. Scholars spend entire careers studying the Quran just as others do the Bible. But the fundamental difference between the Quran and the Bible is that there is no comparison between the two when it comes to the quantity and quality of the source material.

We take no joy in saying so. Literally billions of humans will pay the ultimate price for the supernatural deception worked on a charismatic Arab trader fourteen centuries ago. And billions more will be destroyed in the cataclysmic final battle for the holy mountain of Yahweh. The bloodthirsty gods are preparing for war.

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Here is where another brief review of history may be helpful. We’ll get a little speculative, and because we’re dealing with the spirit realm there is only so much we can say with one hundred percent confidence.

What happened to the Amorites? Scholars have been exploring that question ever since their existence was confirmed by sources outside the Bible in the 19th century. They were pushed out of Mesopotamia by the Kassites, who took Babylon in the 16th century B.C., and native rulers near the Persian Gulf called the Sealand Dynasty. We’ve already discussed how the Amorite Hyksos rulers of Lower Egypt were evicted by native Eygptians around the same time.

They Amorites disappear from history around the time of the Sea Peoples invasion of the Levant and Egypt in the late 13th and early 12th centuries B.C. This coincides with what scholars call the Late Bronze Age collapse. Over a period of about fifty years, between about 1200 and 1150 B.C., the major states of the eastern Mediterranean from Mycenaean Greece and Hatti to the Amorite and Canaanite states of the Levant were destroyed.

This was the event that ended the kingdom of Ugarit during the reign of the ill-fated Ammurapi we mentioned in an earlier chapter. A small kingdom southeast of Ugarit called Amurru, named for the Amorites, was also wiped out around this time.

This was the period of the later Judges, a time that set the stage for the emergence of the kingdom of Israel. Barak and Deborah’s destruction of Hazor, which some scholars think may have belonged to the kingdom of Amurru, may be dated to this time.

The bottom line is that only Egypt and a few small kingdoms in northern Syria appear to have survived this wave of destruction. The Philistines settled in what we call today the Gaza Strip, and they may have been part of the Sea Peoples coalition. Emerging from the ashes of this turmoil alongside the kingdom of Israel were several Aramean kingdoms, with Damascus and Hamath being the largest.

Because they came out of the same area formerly associated with the Amorites, it’s easy to assume that the Aramean people were just descendants of the Amorites who carried on as best they could after the disasters of the Late Bronze Age collapse. But we can’t make that assumption any more than we could assume that the Israelites were just Canaanites with a repackaged religion because of where David came to power.

By analyzing texts that have been found from the Neo-Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian, and later Egyptian kingdoms, we can piece together a history that seems solid. While the name “Amorite” fell out of use after the conquest of Canaan, there are a couple of tribal names that bridge the period between the disappearance of the Amorites and the emergence of the Arameans. Specifically, the Aḫlamū, sometimes called Aḫlamū-Aramayū (Aḫlamū-Arameans) by the Assyrians, and our old friends the Suteans.

Together, these two tribal names appear to be used, at least sometimes, interchangeably with both Amorite and Aramean nomads, mainly in the steppes of Syria and the Transjordan. After the conquests of the Assyrian empire through the 7th century B.C., even the Arameans fade from history, although the Aramaic language, because it was adopted as the lingua franca by Assyria, became the language of trade and cultural exchange in the Near East from about 600 B.C. to around the time of Jesus before giving way to Greek.

In short, scholars can document a “geographical, historical and linguistic continuity” between the Amorites of the Old Babylonian period and the Arameans of the Middle Babylonian era.

Recent history in the old Amorite homeland, which includes Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon, points to a troubled future for the Holy Land. We mentioned earlier the existence of territorial spirits, the main biblical example being the Prince of Persia that tied up the messenger to Daniel for several weeks. We can’t know for certain, but it’s worth mentioning because, as you’ve noticed by now, this author doesn’t put much stock in coincidence, especially where it concerns the Bible and the ongoing spiritual war.

Here are the relevant questions: Can it be just a weird coincidence that the hot spots in the Middle East, especially since the emergence of the Islamic State since the summer of 2014, are a match for the areas defined as the homeland of the Amorites four thousand years ago? Is it just a cosmic accident that the land of the Amorites, especially central and northern Syria, are far more important in the eschatology of Islam than Arabia, the land of Islam’s birth?

Consider the otherwise inexplicable atrocities in the Islamic State’s capital, Raqqa, which lies on the west bank of the Euphrates close by Jebel Bishri, the ancient mountain of the Amorites; or the destruction in Aleppo, called the City of Hadad when it was ruled by Amorite kings in the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The prophecies that guide the leadership of the Islamic State focus on lands where the old gods of the Amorites once reigned supreme.

In Iraq, where ISIS is hard pressed at this writing by Iraqi, Kurdish, Turkish, and American forces in the city of Mosul, analysts at the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Training Academy at West Point suggest that ISIS has already prepared a fallback plan in Diyala province if they can’t hang on in Mosul. The analysts feel the terrain and the demographic makeup of Diyala is especially well suited for an ongoing insurgency.2 That’s the area northeast of Baghdad along the Diyala River toward the Hamrin mountain range, where more than four thousand years ago the doomed Sumerian kings of Ur built their futile Amorite-wall-which-keeps-the-Tidnum-at-bay.All of this begs the question: What foul spirit is at work in MAR.TUki, the ancient land of the Amorites?

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“Energizing your team for change, is your greatest leadership challenge.”

Astronaut James Irwin said, “You think going to the moon was the most scientific project ever, but they literally threw us in the direction of the moon. We had to adjust course every ten minutes and landed only 50 feet inside a 500-mile radius of our target.”
On that mission every change, no matter how small, was essential to success. So it is with yours. If you resist even the slightest change long enough, you may find yourself off course, too late to adjust, and have to abort the mission.
What causes a lack of behavioral or organizational change? Team members are seldom the problem but get most of the blame. Senior leaders create most of their own problems by their lack of leadership in one or more of the following four areas:
First, lack of clarity about the rationale not only for the daily action plan, but more so for the long-term goals and strategy for change. People seldom buy into what they cannot see and understand.
Second, lack of commitment and passion for change by the core leadership team. Passion, or the lack of it, is contagious. There must be consensus and one hundred percent buy in by the core team. If not, delay the change or change players on the team.
Third, lack of accountability on a regular basis to reinforce positive sustainable change. Without accountability there is no improvement of what already exists much less changing it.
Fourth, lack of trust by the team in their Leaders’ decision-making skill in leading change. Trust is the glue that holds teams together when they face the unknown and the lubricant that enables them to flow together till the needed change becomes a way of life.  
Average leaders can keep the car between the guardrails most of the time. However, it takes outstanding leaders to lead when the way forward is no longer on the map and current conditions demand a change of direction.
“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” George Bernard Shaw
Why not ask your leadership team which of the four areas above challenge them the most. Great leaders constantly ask this question and many others that make their leadership vulnerable and open for inspection. Weak leaders avoid questions about their leadership at all costs.
Technology-driven smart phones, tablets and laptops, microwave ovens, computer-flown airplanes, robots that can do just about anything, most kids toys and big box stores filled gadgets unheard-of a generation ago. 
They are today’s reality as a result of that first trip to the moon led by men and women not threatened by change. The wealthiest corporations on earth today were founded and continue to be led by leaders who declare war on the status quo every day.
Remember, without change your organization has no future. Without you personally changing your team remains stuck in “today” and only dreams about a better tomorrow.

Atty. David Gibbs III, I Support Pastors, You should too!

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Pastor’s Resource Tool Kit

The Resource Tool Kit is what every Pastor needs. What you will find here will make your life and ministry much easier and also flourish like never before! This “Tool Kit” provides you information about People and Ministries that have excelled with great success across the country. The links and videos below provide resources and training that will increase church attendance, bring in more tithes and offerings, strengthen and refresh marriages, teach tactical leadership skills, provide free legal counsel, cutting edge sermon material, complimentary pastor vacations and much more. Click on the names and videos below to learn more.

Scroll down to watch a short introductory video from each. 

BlessEveryHome.com  is the premier tool for any pastor who wants to get his church praying. This powerful ministry tool is unlike any other. Watch the video to see what thousands of pastors are doing to get many of their people working for the kingdom without ever leaving the house.

Saturate USA is providing FREE OF CHARGE any church in America the tools to EASILY get the gospel into every household in their city. This ministry is reaching every city with the gospel and inviting every church to get involved. Watch their video for detail.

Game Plan for Life is a ministry founded by re-known(3) Super Bowl winning and (4) NASCAR Championships Coach Joe Gibbs. Every Pastor we talk to states that they need more men involved and need them discipled to be faithful leaders. This unique and powerful ministry reaches into the heart of most men and is designed to reach men for Christ. The GPFL discipleship material is second to none. This ministry is a premier partner with All Pro Pastors International and provides many unique benefits to the pastors who join us.

National Center for Life and Liberty provides free legal counsel, legal documents, and educational seminars. Attorney David Gibbs, III represents the Christian community every day against the legal attacks in America, going all the way to the Supreme Court on several occasions.

Restoring Hope Global  Ever feel tired, exhausted with your job?  Where do you turn?  What do you do to refuel, to keep going in your mission?  Think about it pastor; where do you turn?  Where do you get to escape to?  The good news is there is “Restoration House”, a place for pastors and leaders to turn when work has exhausted you. Call today!

Mike Williams Ministry The 2017 Dove Award winner is known for his brilliance as a comedian and also as one of America’s leaders in bringing your congregation on board your ministry as an “All In” giver.  Mike’s new book “Reboot Church Giving” is a handbook for pastors.

Liberty Pastors/Reclaiming America for Christ is teaching the heritage of Pastors in America and how to get their church back to the evangelistic roots we were founded on. Learning the truth can sometimes be hard and it is these hard places that God opens our hearts and minds to change and grow. Pastor Paul Blair shares why we all need to look in the past to back on the straight road.

SkywatchTV is a new paradigm in Christian broadcasting, examining everything from ghosts, UFO’s, giants, demons, artificial intelligence, trans-humanism, the occult, evolution and many other subjects that are often uncomfortable to discuss in the average church environment. This is critical information when teaching discipleship and preparing yourself to face the enemy.  Warning: The video below is an example of what SkywatchTV investigates.

Time to Revive is the discipleship training ministry that is bringing revival across the country. Every church that engages in their teaching and follows their instructions will see an immediate impact on their church/community.

Please take a moment now and watch the videos below to learn more:

BlessEveryHome.com

Saturate USA

Game Plan for Life

 

National Center for Life and Liberty

Restoring Hope Global This is an All Pro Pastors “Premier Partner” for APP Pastors who need a Free place to get away to be refreshed, relax and recharged. 

 

Mike Williams Ministry

Liberty Pastors/Reclaiming America for Christ

SkywatchTV  

 

Time to Revive

There is a pastoral crisis… There is a pastoral cure…

 

When Pastors succeed, churches succeed. When churches succeed, families succeed. When families succeed, communities succeed. The glorious message of the gospel rises or falls in direct proportion to the health of the local pastor.

A recent church leadership survey reported that 27% of pastors had no one to turn to if they were facing a crisis, 35% were battling depression on a daily basis, 50% would abandon ministry if they had another job option and 70% say they do not have a close trusted friend. All Pro Pastors partners with pastors to change that.

The same survey announced that 90% of pastors believe they inadequately manage the demands of their job, and 53% felt their seminary training did not equip them for today’s church ministry. All Pro Pastors offers real world training resources to pastors where they are.

From medical help, mentoring, or the use of a vacation home for a sabbatical, All Pro Pastors works to connect Christian business professionals who are willing to help pastors succeed in their personal world. All Pro Pastors is a pastors friend.

Based on the simple example of Jesus, the All Pro Pastors Champions Table brings strength, encouragement, and restoration to pastors. A Champions Table consists of four strategically placed pastors partnering together for the growth of each other, their marriage and family, and the growth of their church. Best of all… IT WORKS.

A one hour weekly investment in yourself, your church, and your family through a Champions Table will transform your future. Please invest in your own personal emotional and spiritual foundation as a pastor. Then you will be able to stand for the long haul and be glad you did.

Be a part of All Pro Pastors. We are in this together for you, your family, and your church.

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From ChurchLeadership. org  & ChristianityToday. org Survey of Pastors:

Only 35% feel beloved or cared for by their church

46% have seriously considered leaving the ministry or are looking to do that right now

and 22% of pastors would not be a pastor if they had to do it all over again.

50% are so discouraged you would abandon ministry if you had another job option

44% of pastors do not like their church

28% are spiritually undernourished and 9% are burnt-out

23% are still distant to their families

57% are not receiving a livable wage

34% of pastors battle discouragement on a regular basis

35% battle depression and fear of inadequacy

27% can’t find 30 minutes a day to study the word for their own personal growth

81% have been tempted to have an inappropriate liaison with a church member

14% admit they currently struggle with using pornography

27% of pastors say they have no one to turn to if they are facing a crisis

90% of pastors feel they inadequately manage the demands of their job

53% say Seminary did not equip them for church ministry

44% of pastors claim the biggest challenge they have is recruiting or developing volunteers

78% of Pastors feel that their congregation is not tithing to their potential

89% have projects that could be accomplished if they had more funding too

This is why we need Paul Pickern and All Pro Pastors!

How to Listen so My Spouse Will Talk!

CONFLICT RESOLUTION IN MARRIAGE

The premise of productive listening is with our hearts. It is imperative that we grow in equanimity (having soundness of mind with spiritual discernment). Listen, any marriage that is successful values emotional connectivity as a jewel of understanding.

 

 

  • During the conversation exchange, if you don’t hear the words, “I need your advice,” then don’t give any. Generally, when a man speaks, facing times of conflict and problems, it is a picture of what he is thinking in terms of solutions and advice, or how to fix it. He is by nature, thinking logically about the problem and may offer advice too quickly. The need for discipline and self-control is essential.

 

 

Usually, when a woman speaks, facing conflict and problems, what she says is a picture of what she is feeling. By nature, she is emotionally expressing herself; however, emotional balance and temperance is a signature value for her.

 

It is vitally important that both husband and wife learn to listen and not lecture and to console and not counsel.

 

 

  • Show humility and empathy (John 11:30-36).                                               Jesus identified with the people at Lazarus’ death, displaying a powerful emotional moment. In times of conflict, emotional stress, or marital perils, spouses should demonstrate genuine care and concern for each other.

 

 

 

  • When you hurt with words, heal with words.                                                     Our Father God has given us some awesome guidance. Let’s look at Proverbs 25:11-“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Tactful words are always the right words. Let’s look at one more scripture; Col. 4:6a –“Let your speech always be with grace and seasoned with salt.”

 

 

 

  • Healing also comes with touch. A study was done of 200 hospital patients. One hundred were touched and one hundred were not touched. The ones who were touched healed much faster than the ones who were not touched.     

 

Husbands and wives, take advantage of the healing and comfort of touch.

 

Take the other person by the hand and pray. Prayer lifts the person from feelings to faith (Matt. 18:19-20).  Because of marriage, you have a permanent lifelong prayer partner. We say that there is power in prayer, so let’s take advantage of the power that God has given us.