FRIDAY MORNING MANNA                                  February 8, 2019

Nathaniel Fajardo                                     email: natfajardo777@yahoo.com

Ecumenical Movement Entering its Penultimate Stage

     “Jews, Evangelicals reach out to Sunni Gulf Arab leaders.” This was the headline of a news story simultaneously appearing and similarly titled in at least 32 news outlets on Tuesday this week. The editorial boards/staffs of these news outlets unitedly perceived its newsworthy nature– from whatever angle, agenda, and editorial policies each had that determined its value.  Should we be interested too? And how much?

Definitely, and much more so. Why?  Because we belong to that end-time generation which the prophets saw in vison as those who would witness the winding down earth’s history. They would see these events through the 20/20 bifocal lens of history’s hindsight and prophecy’s foresight, facilitated by the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy combined.

These instruments from the spiritual toolbox provided by the Carpenter from Galilee, is readily available to anyone who really wants it. These magnify details previously embedded in the field of investigation fertilized by the interlinked prophecies of Daniel and Revelation. Such emerging details in the backdrop of the larger picture are the progressive evidences that all the prophecies have, and will coming to pass.

The 2300-day prophecy beginning with the 70-week prophecy of Daniel 9 are not too deep for the laymen, as some make it to be. As he craftily deceived Eve in Eden, the “father of lies and murderer from the beginning” is already using his end-game tactics of deflection, distraction, and confusion as these proven methods provides him cover as he replaces these prophecies with more “mainstream-acceptable,” ecumenical versions. Such strategy only works if we enable it by slothfulness and indifference, or worse, willful neglect to fortify our minds with the testing truths for these last days.  

Prophecy was designed to attract man’s natural curiosity, hence are given in apocalyptic symbols and parabolic language. Then, moving forward these are to be intellectually and spiritually understood by both the learned and unlearned. The first Twelve are the quintessential New Testament examples of the latter class. When first called, most were coarse, unschooled fishermen. Starting as unrefined followers, they moved up to discipleship and higher to apostleship without ever enrolling in the ivy-league, rabbinical schools of their day. Their modern-day counterparts abound today. Do you know who they are?

Their first Professor, Instructor, and Trainer was Jesus, The Prophet-Teacher. Upon His ascension, the Holy Spirit took over as His Successor/vicegerent to continue their education to make them fully prepared and equipped to be equal to all the new challenges they would encounter in their mission and lifework thereafter. The Holy Spirit would, when invited, abide in all their hearts, acting as their personal “other Comforter,” Guide and Teacher “all the way even unto the end of the world.” The exact same course, curriculum, and training is open to all who will willingly enroll in this school of Christ, not of the rabbis. It’s tuition free and sky is the limit for progress. But the lone door into the spiritual fold, like that of Noah’s ark, will soon close, never more to open. “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” Heb. 3, 7, 8. Now is the time to choose whom we will serve, God or Baal.  

Regardless of what others may say or attempt to do to contradict it, nothing can change the truth that the world is at the stage of the blowing of the seventh trumpet. (See our previous issues covering the first six trumpets). So, before moving further on, we want to make sure we are anchored on a firm foundation regarding the “finishing of the mystery of God” (Rev. 10: 7) accomplished in the seventh and last trumpet. Being part of the third angel’s message of Revelation 14, the sounding of this last trumpet is likewise “swelling” globally. Emphasizing aspects/details in the “finishing of the mystery of God” helps clarify the opposite and opposing natures between the “mystery of godliness” (1 Tim. 3: 16) and the “mystery of iniquity.” The latter was already at work” in the early church during Paul’s ministry. 2 Thess. 2: 7.

       “This is the mystery of godliness. [1 Tim. 3: 16]. That Christ should has pledge Himself to be our substitute and surety, and He neglects no one. There is an inexhaustible fund of obedience accruing from His obedience. In heaven, His merits, His self-denial and self, are treasured as incense to be offered up with the prayers of His people. As the sinner’s sincere prayers ascend to the throne of God, Christ mingles with them the merits of His own life of perfect obedience. Our prayers are made fragrant by this incense. Christ has pledged Himself to intercede in our behalf, and the Father always hears His Son. [1 Tim. 3: 16?]. That Christ should take human nature, and by a life of humiliation elevate man in the scale of moral worth with God: that He should carry His adopted nature to the throne of God, and there present His children to the Father, to have conferred upon them an honor exceeding that conferred upon angels– this is the marvel of the heavenly universe, the mystery into which angels desire to look. [Col. 1: 16, 17].  This is the love that melts the sinner.” E.G. White, Sons & Daughters, p. 22.  

The two mysteries contrasted. – “The greatest deception of the human mind in Christ’s day was that a mere assent to the truth constitutes righteousness. In all human experience a theoretical knowledge of the truth has been proved to be insufficient for the saving of the soul. It does not bring forth the fruits of righteousness. A jealous regard for what is termed theological truth [such as dogmas and creeds, etc.] often accompanies a hatred for genuine truth as made manifest in lifeThe darkest chapters of history are burdened with the record of crimes committed by bigoted religionists. The Pharisees claimed to be children of Abraham [the same claim exists today], and boasted of their possession of the oracles of God; yet these advantages did not preserve them from selfishness, malignity, greed for gain, and the basest hypocrisy. They thought themselves the greatest religionists of the world, but their so-called orthodoxy led them to crucify the Lord of glory.

      “The same danger still exists.  Many take it for granted that they are Christians, simply because they subscribe to certain theological tenets. But they have not brought the truth into practical life. They have not believed and loved it, therefore they have not received the power and grace that come through sanctification of truth [John 17: 17]. Men may profess faith in the truth; but if it does not make him sincere, kind, patient, forbearing, heavenly-minded, it is a curse to its possessor, and through their influence is a curse to the world.” – E.G. White, The Desire of Ages, pp. 309, 310, 1950 edition. 

Only portions of the news cited above are quoted below for they suffice to make the point. (Read the full news from any sites of your choice). These, I believe, will help open closed eyes and open wider those already open to see the urgency of “examining and proving ourselves whether we are in the faith.” 2 Cor. 13: 5.  In short, we must fully understand the Advent message and be conversant with the true origins and experiences of the Advent movement and their prophesied end like the back of our hand. Counterfeits are already in place and snagging countless believers. Only the true message, empowered by the Holy Spirit can arrest and reverse this rapidly declining knowledge of the truth resulting in the rapidly-rising acceptance of the counterfeits. Such is the nature of the great controversy between truth and error.    

This reveals the rapid strides the Ecumenical Movement has made in so short a time, beginning in 1967, barely 53 years ago. How about the Advent Movement proper that begun much earlier in 1844, now on its 175th year? One is genuine, the other counterfeit. Can you tell which is which by scriptural proof? The good news is that the Advent Movement, with all its problems,  is, as a whole “militantly” expanding globally. Its core message, the third angel’s message warning of the judgement in progress and Christ’s soon return after is fulfilling the prophetic description of “swelling into the loud cry of the fourth angel” of Revelation 18.  

The Ecumenical Movement is now past that first stage of breaking down the walls of the major  sticking points that caused truth-loving believers to break away from the papal church, giving birth to the Protestant Reformation movement in the Old World. It is now at the latter stage of uniting the bitterest of existential enemies from Abraham’s time.Walls are not going up but coming down between the modern Jews and the Muslims, between Judaism and Islam. The latter’s three major sects and their offshoots and splinter groups are viciously engaged in deadly internecine warfare with one another, no doubt encouraged–as history and basic military strategy attest—by superior outside forces with much bigger and more complex agendas. This is a separate topic in itself.  Now, we’re ready for that news quote (For fuller details, see www.yahoo.com/news/jews-evangelicals-reach-sunni-gulf-arab-leaders-192755876.html):    

        “Against the backdrop of the first papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula is an interfaith conference that includes prominent U.S. rabbis and Christian evangelicals, who are seeking stronger recognition of Israel through closer ties with Muslim figures and Arab leaders.

       “These merged interests come as Arab leaders look to strengthen ties with the Trump administration through his evangelical base of supporters. It’s also happening as Gulf Arab states take their once-private outreach to Israel more publicly in the absence of peace talks between Palestinian and Israelis.

      “Rabbi Marc Schneier, who founded The Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton Beach, NY, is at the forefront of building ties between Jews and Muslims in the U.S. and the Middle East. Through greater interreligious dialogue, he’s pushed for closer relations between Muslim leaders and the state of Israel.

     “Schneier has carved a foothold in the region to deliver that message. The king od Bahrain has appointed him as a special adviser and he’s been hosted by Quatar’s ruler in Doha. He also has links to Saudi Arabia’s interfaith center in Vienna and has been invited to Saudi Arabia to meet the crown prince. [whatever happened to Jamal Kasshoggi case?]. . . . .

       “Over the weekend, he delivered a sermon to a congregation of expatriate Jews in an unmarked synagogue in Dubai—a move that not only underlined growing acceptance and recognition of Jewish life in Gulf Arab states but also the warming of these ties between these nations and Israel.

      ‘”I remember when I first entered the fray here in the Gulf, there was a tendency to bifurcate Israel and Judaism, to break out Israel from Judaism,’ Scheneir said, explaining that he used to hear people in the region say: ‘We have nothing against Jews. It’s Israelis and Zionists that we have a problem with.’ [Note: this is clearly double-talk, distractive, and confusing].

       ‘I no longer hear that rhetoric. It’s no longer part of the conversation,’ he said. . . . .

      “For some U.S. evangelicals, support for Israel is at the very core of their faith. Most believe that before Jesus can return, Jews have to go back to the Holy Land. They also believe the return of the Messiah will follow the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, also the site  of Islam’s sacred Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

       “The Rev. Bob Roberts, who leads a congregation of about 1, 200 people in Texas and works on interfaith outreach with Muslims, said he believes this theology [of the “Rapture”] is ‘very unhealthy’ and also harmful to Palestinians.’

       ‘Very few agree on exactly how Jesus is coming back, so it’s all a guess. But we’re letting that drive our foreign policy, which drives things like war and conflict.  That’s very serious,’ he said [well said indeed!], speaking on the sidelines of an interreligious conference in Abu Dhabi.”  (end of news quote).

Here’s the thing. Do we know enough of the foundational 70-week prophecy of Daniel 9: 24-27 so that this rapidly-spreading “Rapture” doctrine will clearly appear to be what it truly is–the very counterfeit of the true Advent Message?

I remember some older folks saying when I was young, leaving a lasting impression, that as long the Jews of modern Israel (i.e., that which was proclaimed a state by the U.N., May 14, 1948, and recognized by the U.S. that same day), and the Muslim nations (currently united in their Friday worship), are in existence, Sunday law cannot happen. Today, they can, if still alive and rational, together with their generational ilk, retract and make all efforts to undo that view for such contributed towards “lulling” many, including myself, “into carnal security.” I thank God for waking me up before it was too late.  Biblical prophecy clearly reveals the gradual, steady, and progressive process over time of the merging and unifying of all religions into one final confederacy with the world’s secular powers.    (To be continued next week)