The Danger of Selective Listening

It is very common to listen to what we would like to hear. This however, is very dangerous, especially concerning spiritual matters. We could go off on a tangent and miss important doctrines and truth if we approach scriptures with preconceived biases and try to fit scriptures within the framework of our own understanding or suit our own narratives.

A pertinent case in point is the episode where the Lord blasted Peter calling him Satan for saying something that was completely contrary to the will of God.

Matthew 16:18: And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:19: And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Matthew 16:20: Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

Matthew 16:21: From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

Peter was initially told he was given the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Next, the Lord’s revelation about His sufferings, death and resurrection upset Peter so much that he was so audacious to rebuke the Lord.

Matthew 16:22: Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

What did Peter miss or misunderstand that caused him to impose his will on the Lord Jesus Christ?

Peter must have gone over his head for being told he was given the keys of the kingdom of heaven!

Was he trying to exercise the powers of those keys given to him to bind and loose earthly matters concerning the kingdom and expect endorsement from heaven?

It was so strange for Peter to do what he did here as though he could lord over the Lord.

What offended Peter so much that he just blew his top to rebuke the Lord?

Peter and the other disciples had been following the Lord for quite some time. They had witnessed first hand all those miracles performed and ministering to thousands who came to hear the Lord preached.

A revolution was about to take place under Roman occupation of their homeland. It was promising and got the attention of the ruling religious elite who came to question the Lord. People were talking about the Lord trying to figure out who Jesus was.

Matthew 16:13: When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

Matthew 16:14: And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

Everyone was intrigued about the Lord. He was doing extraordinary things no man could do. This put the religious elite to shame who constantly confronted the Lord but the common man followed the Lord. So this question was put to the Lord’s disciples.

Matthew 16:15: He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

Without hesitation Peter confessed and gave the absolutely correct answer. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God.

Matthew 16:16: And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Confession is one thing but faith and self-will are something else. These disciples including Peter had been following the Lord day in and day out and had become so familiar with Him. It is so easy to take the Lord for granted and treat Him like one of them.

They were full of optimism concerning the kingdom with their Messiah physically with them who could do all things; healing the sick, cast out devils, rebuke the wind to still the storm and even walk on water. What is stopping them to share the glory of the coming kingdom and Roman occupation would become a thing of the past when the Son of David finally sits on His throne in Jerusalem?

The evidence of the coming coronation was apparently so evident that the Lord had to get out of the way.

John 6:14: Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.

John 6:15: When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

The disciples surely feel the same way too. They were already jostling for power even before the Lord ascends the throne.

Luke 9:46: Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.

Mark 10:35: And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.

Mark 10:36: And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you?

Mark 10:37: They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.

Some time later Peter even wanted to know their rewards for following the Lord.

Matthew 19:27: Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

Hence the kingdom was very real to these disciples. They were expecting the arrival of the kingdom. John the Baptist was disillusioned too when he was in prison and sent disciples to ask whether the Lord was indeed the Messiah or should they look for another.

Matthew 11:2: Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,

Matthew 11:3: And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?

As far as John the Baptist was concerned who manifest Christ to Israel, if the kingdom was so real, why should he be languishing in prison? Unfortunately, the message the Lord sent to him might not be what he liked to hear.

Matthew 11:6: And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

Of course in the flesh John the Baptist could be offended in circumstances that turned out the way he least expected. There was no message of comfort or deliverance for him.

So Peter and the rest of the disciples were truly looking forward to the coming kingdom. Now with Peter given the keys of the kingdom of heaven, a great confirmation no doubt, but with the revelation of the Lord’s impending sufferings, death and resurrection, this threw the future of the kingdom into great uncertainty.

Peter was definitely offended.

What the Lord revealed were three folds. Firstly His sufferings, followed by His death and then His eventual resurrection on the third day.

What did Peter actually missed hearing? Did he ignore the last part about the Lord’s resurrection?

Was his focus only on the Lord’s sufferings and death? This would be obviously not something he would like to hear.

What is so good about the keys of the kingdom of heaven when their Messiah the King of the Jews would suffer and die?

What could the keys do when the King is no longer around?

What is there glory to share in the future?

Peter’s selective listening to what the Lord revealed was causing this outburst to get out of hand. For conveniently ignoring the Lord’s eventual resurrection, the Lord’s plan of salvation for the whole world, his chastisement came fast and furious.

Matthew 16:23: But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

It is noteworthy here that Peter turned Satan for that moment when he sought to impose his will on the Lord’s will. Peter in his self-will was looking through the lens of the flesh and not the eyes of faith.

It is important to realize that even believers in the Lord are not out of reach from the Devil if the Lord so allows it. In fact, Peter was always the main target and was right in the Devil’s crosshairs.

Luke 22:31: And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

Luke 22:32: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Satan is actively desiring and planning to touch God’s people but the Lord is also actively countering his every move. Notwithstanding, some believers would pay a price for their folly when they allow Satan to play a role in their life.

Acts 5:3: But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

Acts 5:4: Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

Acts 5:5: And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

The difference here is Peter being called Satan survived while Ananias dropped dead after Peter rebuked him for allowing Satan to fill his heart to lie to the Holy Ghost.

The Lord’s furious rebuke of Peter is instructional here.

Peter was not simply trying to protect the Lord and prevent His sufferings and death but his lack of faith in the resurrection.

If Peter failed to heed the Lord’s revelation of His resurrection on the third day, then Peter indeed could not hide his disappointment concerning the coming kingdom. They had left all and followed the Lord and if the kingdom turned out to be a piped dream, it would be disastrous to all these followers of Christ.

In fact, after the Lord’s death, the disciples were indeed disillusioned.

Luke 24:18: And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?

Luke 24:19: And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:

Luke 24:20: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.

Luke 24:21: But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.

The hopes of the kingdom were gone when the Lord died and everyone was trying to move on from this sorry episode. Euphemism gave way to despondence.

Even Peter went back to his fishing business when their Messiah the King was no longer around and the rest followed him.

John 21:2: There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.

John 21:3: Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

So Peter’s strong reaction to the Lord’s revelation concerns the issue of resurrection in the context of the kingdom.

Without death how can there be a resurrection? But Peter was standing in the way of the cross by his own understanding and self-will.

Regarding the issue of resurrection, the Jews do believe there is a resurrection. But this is a fuzzy idea where the present reality of a resurrection is not something so easy to grasp. They had seen the Lord raised the dead but apparently, they were still grappling with this issue. The raising of Lazarus is a case in point.

John 11:22: But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.

John 11:23: Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.

John 11:24: Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

The Jews believe in the resurrection at the last day but not the present day. And Martha did not believe his brother could rise again that day in which he did.

So the Lord had to drill into the disciples concerning this issue of the resurrection. The message of dying is gain takes centre stage.

Matthew 16:24: Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Matthew 16:25: For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Matthew 16:26: For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Dying is gain is a strange concept to the world. Followers of Christ must practise self-denial and bear the cross to stay spiritually profitable.

There is no point entering the kingdom with our corruptible body of flesh and blood. The Lord has a better plan for His people.

The resurrection of Christ should be the central theme and His sufferings and death are just signposts but for selective listeners, they miss the forest for the trees. Selective listening by ignoring the most important part of the entire message brings fear and confusion.

Thus, the Lord had to reiterate His subsequent coming in glory with rewards for every man to assure His disciples.

Matthew 16:27: For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Moreover, the Lord is always and ever gracious despite the lack of faith and self-will of His people. The Lord promised some of the disciples present would experience the glory that should come in their earthly life.

Matthew 16:28: Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

This culminated in the transfiguration of the Lord on the mountain with Moses and Elijah where Peter, James and John had the privilege to have a glimpse of the world to come.

Matthew 17:1: And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,

Matthew 17:2: And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

Matthew 17:3: And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

As such, beware of selective listening, especially concerning the spiritual things of God. This would lead to trouble, confusion and fear. There might be things we do not like to hear from the Holy Bible that do not fit into our intellect, our upbringing, our own understanding and preference, but we have to accept the whole counsel of God by faith.

With eyes of faith, we should look to the glorious world to come and the things in this life would turn strangely dim.

John 5:25: Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.


Pearl of Great Price

Matthew 13:45: Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

Matthew 13:46: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

The Lord Jesus Christ likened the kingdom of heaven like a merchant man seeking goodly pearls. Once found, he is willing to part with his all to obtain this pearl of great price. From this piece of information, there must be great value placed on pearls, in particular, special pearl of great price.

Since ancient time, pearls have been used in ornamental adornment together with precious stones for women. Apart from the purpose of treasure collections together with other precious stones, pearls are also used in medicine and cosmetic products as well as part of the burial items for the dead.

Pearls in some part of Taiwan have been so good due to the pearls being cultivated in mountain spring water, they could be used to alleviate many aliments as well as used as eyes cleansing solution when the pearl powder is mixed with water. These pearls are not cheap. They are sold in grams. The pearls are then ground to powder in your presence and put into small bottles. These pearl powder can be consumed with water as health supplements for its excellent minerals and medicinal properties.

In Wuxi China, the pearls obtained from clams in the lake Tai Hu are also much sought after for its beauty and often used as adornment pieces. The first lady of China was reported to like purple colour pearls and hence the price for this type of pearls has gone up. A beautiful white pearl necklace was also given to Michelle Obama during the US president’s visit to China some time back. These pearls are also made into cream and used as skin whitener as well as other cosmetic products much like the Japanese SK II cosmetic products.

Legend has it that the last Qing Dynasty Empress of China, Empress Dowager Cixi was buried with a lot jewels when she died and a massive pearl was put in her mouth to prevent her corpse from decomposing according to Chinese traditions. During the civil wars, her tomb was robbed and her corpse was said to be intact. Once the pearl from her mouth was removed, her corpse began to decay. The pearl was then given to the Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek by the warlord but ended up as an ornament on the gala shoes of Chiang’s wife, Soong Mei Ling. Notwithstanding the fact that this is just a legend and the truth required authentication, the importance and the premium placed on pearls of great price cannot be under estimated.

Recently, it was reported that a Filipino fisherman found a gigantic pearl. He didn’t know what it was and kept it under his bed for ten years as a good luck charm. When finally discovered, this massive 34 kilograms pearl could be worth more than 100 million dollars.

Biggest Pearl in the World

Fisherman’s Giant 34 kg Pearl Worth 100 Million Dollars

Matthew 7:6: Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Just like the scriptures admonished not to cast pearls before swine because some people simply can’t appreciate the beauty and price of pearls, those who could find such pearl of great price would willingly give up all they have to acquire this pearl. Today, the gospel is this pearl of great price where those who finds it will give up their all to go after the kingdom where pearly gates await.

Job 28:12: But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?

Job 28:13: Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living.

Job 28:18: No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.

While precious pearls may be valuable, wisdom is far above the price of pearls and precious stones. This wisdom can only be found in none other source other than in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 1:24: But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Those seeking after the pearl of great price leading them to the Saviour of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ, would be rewarded with inheriting the city of the pearly gates.

Revelation 21:21: And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

The 34 kilograms pearl found by the Filipino fisherman is absolutely nothing compare to the massive pearls that will the adorn the gates of that celestial city for the saints of all ages.

If you are not the dogs and swine the scriptures described, you have a good chance of seeking after the pearl of great price. If you wish to have a chance to see the greatest pearls of great price, you need to follow the sign posts below.

John 14:6: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Romans 10:9: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Romans 10:10: For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:11: For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Romans 10:12: For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

Romans 10:13: For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

If you have followed the instructions above, you are well on your way to that city and enter the pearly gates together with the multitudes of other saints having found the pearl of great price in the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Revelation 21:23: And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

Revelation 21:24: And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.

Revelation 21:25: And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

Revelation 21:26: And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.


War and Terror

It is commonly reported that terrorists are hijacking religion to commit terrorist acts for political gain. It seems to imply that all religions are fair game to be hijacked for terror and political activities. This may also allude that verses found in the Holy Bible could also promote terror and world conquest to exterminate infidels if they refuse to capitulate to biblical demands.

It is indeed true there are verses in the Old Testament that commanded wars and provided historical records of war. It is important to understand the local geographical nature of those conflicts and the mandate given to those involved in the conquests otherwise the enemies of the cross will take scriptures out of context to accuse biblical Christianity to be just another religion that could promote terror and regime change.

For the record, the children of Israel were given commandment to exterminate certain groups of people residing in Canaan.

Exodus 23:23: For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.

Exodus 23:24: Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.

Exodus 23:27: I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.

Exodus 23:28: And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.

Exodus 33:2: And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite:

Exodus 34:10: And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.

Exodus 34:11: Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite.

Numbers 33:51: Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan;

Numbers 33:52: Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places:

Numbers 33:53: And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it.

In fact, this mission was already preplanned four hundred years before the nation of Israel came into existence when Abraham was given a preview of things to come.

Genesis 15:13: And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;

Genesis 15:14: And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.

Genesis 15:15: And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.

Genesis 15:16: But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

Deuteronomy 7:1: When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;

Deuteronomy 7:2: And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:

Deuteronomy 7:3: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.

Deuteronomy 7:4: For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.

Deuteronomy 7:5: But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.

Deuteronomy 7:6: For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.

Deuteronomy 7:8: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

The Lord did not give the land of Canaan to the descendants of Jacob because they were obedient and faithful. In fact there were the most obstinate and rebellious people. They were given the land because of the promise God made to their fathers.

Deuteronomy 9:1: Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven,

Deuteronomy 9:2: A people great and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard say, Who can stand before the children of Anak!

Deuteronomy 9:3: Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee.

Deuteronomy 9:4: Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee.

Deuteronomy 9:5: Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Deuteronomy 9:6: Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.

The Lord has determined to bring wars and destruction to certain nations for a reason. When iniquities become full, judgment will fall whether it is by the hands of the children of Israel or otherwise. In fact, God’s chosen people, the children of Israel were not spared from judgment too.

Deuteronomy 18:9: When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.

Deuteronomy 18:10: There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,

Deuteronomy 18:12: For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

Deuteronomy 8:18: But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.

Deuteronomy 8:19: And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.

Deuteronomy 8:20: As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.

2 Chronicles 12:1: And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him.

2 Chronicles 12:2: And it came to pass, that in the fifth year of king Rehoboam Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the LORD,

2 Chronicles 12:3: With twelve hundred chariots, and threescore thousand horsemen: and the people were without number that came with him out of Egypt; the Lubims, the Sukkiims, and the Ethiopians.

2 Chronicles 12:4: And he took the fenced cities which pertained to Judah, and came to Jerusalem.

2 Chronicles 12:5: Then came Shemaiah the prophet to Rehoboam, and to the princes of Judah, that were gathered together to Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said unto them, Thus saith the LORD, Ye have forsaken me, and therefore have I also left you in the hand of Shishak.

2 Chronicles 12:6: Whereupon the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, The LORD is righteous.

2 Chronicles 12:7: And when the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance; and my wrath shall not be poured out upon Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak.

2 Chronicles 12:8: Nevertheless they shall be his servants; that they may know my service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.

So the children of Israel were likewise punished as well. God determines who can continue to stay alive on earth and who has to leave. When nations transgress beyond the point of God’s tolerance, judgment will come regardless whether these nations have the benefit of receiving the written oracles of God.

Romans 2:11: For there is no respect of persons with God.

Romans 2:12: For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

Romans 2:13: (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

Romans 2:14: For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

Romans 2:15: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

Commandments for the children of Israel to exterminate certain groups of people were restricted to those residing in Canaan and not the world at large.

Deuteronomy 20:10: When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.

Deuteronomy 20:11: And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee.

Deuteronomy 20:12: And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it:

Deuteronomy 20:13: And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword:

Deuteronomy 20:14: But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.

Deuteronomy 20:15: Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations.

Deuteronomy 20:16: But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:

Deuteronomy 20:17: But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:

Deuteronomy 20:18: That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God.

The nation of Israel was not given a mandate to conquer the whole world. Their primary mission was to exterminate those sinners God wanted to be removed from Canaan but they failed and compromised the mission. Those nations became a snare to them and eventually caused them to sin and they likewise had a taste of judgment.

Waging wars outside of Canaan was not a priority nor an absolute necessity. Unlike the inhabitants of Canaan destined to be completely wiped out, option of peace must first be extended to the inhabitants in those cities. If peace was rejected, they were given rules of engagement where not every souls that breathed were to be destroyed.

So when you think God is cruel and merciless towards the pagan nations, God allowed half a million people from His own chosen people to perish in a civil war for rebellion and apostasy against His law. The number of those slain during that conflict is more than three times the victims of those who died in the two atomic bomb attacks in Nagasaki and Hiroshima during world war 2.

2 Chronicles 13:16: And the children of Israel fled before Judah: and God delivered them into their hand.

2 Chronicles 13:17: And Abijah and his people slew them with a great slaughter: so there fell down slain of Israel five hundred thousand chosen men.

The magnitude of those who perished is mindboggling where this number who died is twice the number of those who were wiped out during the tsunami resulted from an earthquake that hit the Indian ocean in 2004. This just demonstrates the wrath of God against all unrighteousness and fallen men often severely underestimate the holiness of God. It is worthwhile to note that God’s own people were not spared just as He did not spare those pagan Canaanites living on the earth He created when they committed abominable practices.

So the children of Israel continued to sin and rebel against the Lord and did not keep their covenant with God. Eventually God raised up the heathen nations, in particular, the Assyrians and the Babylonians to destroy their cities and carried them away for seventy years. They had a taste of being driven out just like what their forefathers did to the Canaanites of old for failing to keep God’s covenant.

When they were finally allowed to return from their exile and reside in their own land again in Israel awaiting for their Messiah to show up, they did not fare any better. Their Messiah then showed up but they rejected Him.

John 19:15: But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.

Matthew 27:23: And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

Matthew 27:24: When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

Matthew 27:25: Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

So they killed their Messiah. Eventually Jerusalem was sacked by the Romans and the Jews banished for two thousand years and the rest was history. Those chilling words of taking responsibility for murdering their Messiah to be charged to their children are still frighteningly in effect till this day and they have been paying the price since.

With the nation of Israel now set aside, God no longer deals with one single nation alone. Thus the Lord moves forward His plan of salvation for the whole world. The nation of Israel is just a chosen vessel to bring forth the Messiah, the Saviour to the world and it has now been accomplished. The Church is now set in motion to fulfill her mission to bring the gospel of salvation to the end of the world.

The Church however, does not have a mandate to occupy real estate on earth. The Church is made up of individual members from all nations on earth who believe the Lord Jesus Christ and receive Him as Lord and Saviour. The Church is not an earthly nation and there are no Christian nations on earth. In fact the Church is a holy nation and certainly not an earthly carnal nation.

1 Peter 2:9: But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Like the saints of old before the existence of the nation of Israel, the Church is heading to a heavenly country.

Hebrew 11:10: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Hebrew 11:16: But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

The Church has no business fighting wars on earth to occupy real estate. As such, there are no commandments given to Christians to wage war on earth like the children of Israel. This is simply not the mandate for Christians because they have a different calling and take on different priority.

Colossians 3:2: Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Any one who calls himself a Christian using scriptures to justify war on earth is out of line with biblical revelation.

There are commandments to wage wars in the Old Testament but they are only restricted to one geographical location on earth. The mandate was not given to any one else other than the children of Israel which is now history. Any one seeking to resurrect those commandments to justify wars on earth does not have a leg to stand on theologically let alone claims to be a believer of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Meanwhile, this world continues to be at war. We have been told in no uncertain terms there will be wars and rumours of wars.

Matthew 24:6: And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

The biblical reason for wars is greed. Nations will continue to go to war for real estates and resources. The strong will dominate the weak and this has always been the case since time immemorial.

James 4:1: From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

James 4:2: Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

After all, how can the world have peace when the Prince of Peace has not returned to earth to set up the Kingdom? So wars will be here to stay. This will culminate at Armageddon where the Lord will settle once and for all the controversy of wars with Israel and the nations on earth.

Revelation 16:16: And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

Hosea 4:1: Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.

Hosea 12:2: The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him.

Micah 6:2: Hear ye, O mountains, the LORD’s controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth: for the LORD hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel.

Jeremiah 25:31: A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD.

What Israel failed to accomplished in time past God will bring to past the extermination of Canaanite from His house.

Zechariah 14:21: Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.

Israel will finally settle in nicely in the land grant promised to their fathers according to the division of the land documented in Ezekiel 48 stretching from Hamath in the north to Kadesh in the south whether the nations on earth like it or not.

So whenever anyone brings out any verses from the Bible to justify terror and wage war, he is reading in the wrong place of history. Commands to wage war were only given to the children of Israel concerning a small piece of land in the Middle East that connects three continents more than three thousand years ago. No Christian in the New Testament is ever commanded to wage earthly wars on earth for the purpose of occupying real estate on earth.

Meanwhile in spite of chaos and conflicts in the world, Christians while on earth have been officially conferred to be representatives of the heavenly country with a mission to reconcile sinners to the Lord. They have been commissioned as ambassadors for Christ to offer peace not war.

2 Corinthians 5:20: Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

Matthew 5:9: Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

So Christians, know your status and mission on earth. It is one thing to protect yourself and your loved ones from criminals and terrorists which is scripturally justifiable, it is another to participate in terror to wage war. Don’t be manipulated by anyone on earth to commit terror and wage war for political gain. It is not befitting the status as an ambassador for Christ.


Chinese Jews Returning to Israel

Chinese Jews are returning to their own homeland in Israel. Jews have been living in China for over a thousand years. The largest concentration of Jewish community is in Kaifeng, China. Incidentally, Kaifeng is the capital city during the Song dynasty where the legendary Iron-Face Judge, Justice Bao served as Magistrate known for honesty and integrity.

The Jews in Kaifeng at its peak numbered as many as 5000 during the Ming Dynasty between 14th and 17th century. Some Chinese Jews had attained high ranks in the Chinese civil service. Unfortunately, despite the success of some Chinese Jews, the Jewish community declined and by mid 19th century, their Jewish way of life nearly faded away.

However, these modern descendants of the Chinese Jews still carried on with their Jewish practice passed down from their forefathers through word of mouth. Now there is an awakening of the Jewish roots in these Chinese Jews. So some of them are returning to Israel.

Read more about the Return of the Chinese Jews.

Watch the video on the Return of the Chinese Jews to Israel.

Who put this desire in their hearts to want to return to Israel to reconnect with their Jewish heritage? It might be quite pointless a hundred years ago to return to Israel where Israel was still not a State and the Jews were still scattered throughout the world. It is different today. The State of Israel has come into existence on 14 May 1948. Thousands and thousands of Jews have returned to their ancestral homeland. Likewise the Jews in China today.

If you think this is a fascinating historical event, a far more remarkable event will take place in the future. When the Lord has properly and conclusively dealt with the children of Israel during the times of Jacob’s trouble and after they have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah, not only more Jews will return to their own homeland in Israel, the Gentile nations will assist in the repatriation of the Jews and even submit to them.

Isaiah 49:19-23
For thy waste and thy desolate places, and the land of thy destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants, and they that swallowed thee up shall be far away. The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait for me: give place to me that I may dwell. Then shalt thou say in thine heart, Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? and who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been? Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.

The Gentiles in the future shall look up to the Jews for they will know that God is will Israel. They certainly want to know and learn from the God of Israel, the God of the whole world during the Kingdom Age.

Zechariah 8:20-23
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.

Regarding the return of the Chinese Jews, and other Jews alike, it is the Lord’s faithfulness in preserving them. The Lord has a covenant with them since time immemorial.

Isaiah 59:21: As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.

Jeremiah 33:20-26
Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers. As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me. Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them. Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.

Psalms 89:28: My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him.

Psalms 89:34: My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.

Leviticus 26:42-46
Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes. And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD. These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the LORD made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.

The Lord has repeatedly proclaimed He will not break His covenant with the children of Israel. So the return of the Jews to Israel may look marvelous in our eyes today but it is the Lord’s doing to prepare the Jews to confront their Messiah in the future.

Meanwhile, the Jews are still blinded and as such, they do persecute Christians from time to time just like the days during the time of the apostles’ ministry. Notwithstanding, our attitude towards the Jews has to be in alignment with God’s decreed will.

Romans 11:25: For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

Romans 11:28: As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.

2 Corinthians 3:14-16
But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.

Christians better wake up to the idea that the Church is not here to replace the nation of Israel. Israel shall be converted in the future to fulfill God’s promises to them.

Exodus 19:6: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

Deuteronomy 28:13: And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:

What else do you expect when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to earth to restore the Kingdom to Israel that the disciples so enquired?

Acts 1:6: When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

When the Lord Jesus Christ reigns from Jerusalem, will Israel not be the head of the nations on earth?

Like it or not, when the Lord finally sits on the throne of David on earth, Israel shall be the head of nations in this world.

Don’t be arrogant to insist that the Church has replaced the nation of Israel. This will never happen, no, nor ever shall be. Amen!


Kings of the East Heading for Middle East

While the nations in Middle East are being reorganized with Russia now putting its feet down in Syria, the first train from China has arrived in Tehran, Iran.

China’s President Xi Jinping is one step closer to realizing his new silk-road initiatives.

First Chinese Train Arrives in Tehran to Revive Silk Road

Silk Road Revival as Chinese Cargo Train Arrives in Iran

Prophetically, the show scripts written in Ezekiel 38 will commence anytime soon.

The kings of the east are being prepared according to scriptures.

Revelations 16:12: And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.

With more trains trips from Shanghai to Tehran becoming a regular feature, this opens up new opportunities for mass movement of people from the East to the Middle East not limiting to terminating at Tehran, Iran but rather into the heart of Israel and beyond.

Another pertinent prophecy concerning mass numbers of army from state actors is also found in the last book of the Holy Bible.

Revelations 9:16: And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.

When we read about this 200 million strong army involved in the end-times event and wonder how this could be possible, fret no more.

This mass movement of people has been going on in China for a long time once every year during the Lunar New Year. Hundreds of millions traversed the country to celebrate the New Year with their loved ones.

China Spring Migration

The Largest Human Migration in the World

So it is not inconceivable that 200 million men will be assembled in the last days in the Middle East though it might look quite far fetch decades ago where it took months to assemble an army of just 156,000 Allied Army together with a greater number of supporting troops for the Normandy invasion of Europe.

While it is tragic for those living in the war torn countries in the Middle East where death and suffering are being unleashed on them, it is exciting times for Bible believers to know the Lord’s coming is right on schedule according the prophetic calendar scripted in the Holy Bible.

Luke 21:28: And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.