It is Religion and Morality
My dear Christian friend:
The truth of scripture, and the faith that is born from its pages, is the only thing that will sustain and guide us in all circumstances, even the worse of tragedies. However, as societal transgressions are flaunted, God’s offer of grace ridiculed, even reviled, what will be the consequences?
It was Winston Churchill who said, “If the present tries to sit in judgment on the past it will lose the future.” And this is what we are seeing. The modern mindset disregards past wisdom, pays no heed to the devastating effects, and what emerges is anything but inspiring. They create a “scientific” certitude complete with its own “saviors,” which will ultimately never save anyone, and with it the crumbling of the cultural and moral foundations of our republics.
In 1775, John Adams, the second American president, wrote to his wife, as a handful of men gathered in Philadelphia to undertake a different kind of union, “Statesmen may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand.” Do you ever wonder what men like (John Adams, or Washington) (John Macdonald or Churchill) would think of the current efforts to “redefine” free speech, or free religion expression (there are now certain topics I am not allowed to express on the radio). What would they make of the purposeful disposal of babies, legalizing mind altering drugs, and our new views of marriage? They knew that a society to thrive must be religious and moral!
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Prov. 14:34). In our heart of hearts we know this to be true. That sin, while it promises so much; fun, happiness, even life, will in fact yield only pain, devastation, and death. Paul in just six words says it oh so well, “The wages of sin are death” (Rm. 6:23). Sin robs life of its meaning, purpose, and fulfillment, and it will also rob any nation, even republics of its hopes and any greater divine purpose.
As we experience the limitations of some civil liberties, and witness the squandering of the spiritual and material attainment of generations, those who in their strength and virtues have lavished upon these lands. Yet continued loss of this spiritual strength need not be, prayer is a mighty weapon, our voices still carry, even across this continent, and we do have God on our side. The secularists, this new breed of atheists have insinuated Social Darwinism, and their naked pursuit of power to the point that they control many of our universities, public education, much of our governments, entertainment, and popular music, but they have not been able to eliminate Christianity as they desire. That is because as the Apostle John tells us “You are of God, and have overcome them; for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world “(1 Jn. 4:4).
In the ninth century before Christ Jehoshaphat, King of Judah faced “a great multitude” and in great fear he turned to the LORD. As he lifted his voice in prayer before all of Judah, even “the little ones, their wives and children.” The Spirit of the Lord came upon the prophet Jahaziel. “Fear not, and be not dismayed at this great multitude,” he prophesied, “for the battle is not yours but God’s” (2 Chr. 20:15). I have always loved this passage, Judah fortunately did not lack a leader who would turn to God, nor did they lack a prophet. Neither do we, many in Washington and Ottawa seek God’s guidance, and prophets still walk among us. So no matter how large, fearsome, or overwhelming the enemy seems to be, how entrenched are the forces arranged against us, if we are sincere in our cry before the Lord, He will answer with a mighty arm and undertake for us.
Indeed the battle is not ours but God’s. It is as I say often, “His Kingdom come, on earth, as it is in heaven.” I just want as many as will, to be faithful, to be prepared, fortified in truth so that they will join the overcomers. That their names will be found written in the “Lamb’s book of Life.”
That we all might now rule and reign with Him,
God is Not Mocked
In the past, the month of May has usually been a celebration of the founding of this ministry. However, such seems at this time a bit redundant, if not slightly superficial. Christians everywhere are faced with such crucial, and important challenges. In China, Christians are defying the authorities to meet as independent “House Churches,” many ignore death threats to worship together in Africa, and more and more meet secretly in the Arab world to learn about “Isa al Mesih.” This is very different from some of our challenges; instead we watch the slow withering and vacillating faith of many of our churches, and yet we also experience our own threats and even terror.
The differences between our problems, and those of much of the world are often very similar, for as individuals we all face our own particular challenges. It may be physical problems, unsaved loved ones, financial obstacles, our difficulties will be as varied and multifaceted as there are people. Yet, despite these many challenges, it is faith, faith in God’s sovereignty, His loving providence, and lavish grace that will triumphant.
This is our Christian faith. Yes, there is much that remains to be done, but when I see a grandchild running the office hall, I see God’s hand. Christian, our grandson is as yet small and vulnerable, yet curious and eager like his father was, with a quick smile and a twinkle in his eye. I pray that he too will have the joy of knowing the Lord as I do, and the freedom to reach as high and as far as he is able. And I hope for a childhood for him, any future grandchildren, and all children everywhere to grow with the chance to be surrounded by joy, peace, and love. A life without fear; the kind of childhood I remember; of summers playing baseball, wading in Mill Creek, and picking blackberries down by the river. Schools uncomplicated, because virtue was paramount—In the fourth grade we actually memorized the 100th Psalm, and no one complained to the principal—Schools now would steal a child’s innocence, and worse their faith in God, country, and family. Television, movies, video games, even music pollutes our national soul. Yet is not God in charge?
Despite the corruption and disarray around us, there are amazing signs of God Almighty’s hand; the fervent faith of the Koreans and Chinese as their churches continue to grow, the incredible expansion of Christianity in Africa, and of Pentecostalism in Latin America. Even on this continent, the secularists have rejoiced prematurely in the decline of church attendance in North America. They are looking at the wrong numbers. Church involvement is up, as the marginal and the carnal Christians no longer feel obligated to attend Church. Old community expectations have given way to an intense, and fervent personal involvement, and large vibrant churches dot our landscape. It is those sects that have wandered from traditional and Biblical Christianity that are withering away, and understandably so.
For is not God ultimately in charge? “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked” (Gal. 6:7). Paul is saying, “make no mistakes, do not be fooled and turn up your nose at God” (that is literally what the Greek means here). “Such arrogance will cost you.” God will require an accounting, and those that make light of, or twist the truth, abuse His call for repentance and free offer of grace, will reap what they sow. They will be rewarded with exactly how they have lived their lives. As Hosea said it centuries before, “they sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind” (Hos. 8:7).
To wallow in filth, indulge in corruption one will be stained, one cannot expect to somehow rise up clean, and pristine. Our challenges, our difficulties are to present the one thing that will cleanse; the grace of God. There is no greater challenge or cause. My grandfather was fond of using the phrase, “Is there not a cause.” It is found in the King James Version of one of his favorite Biblical stories, David and Goliath. I heard him preach often on the faith of a mere lad triumphant over impossible odds. God in His providence provided a shepherd boy with all he required; faith in Him, and the means, a slingshot.
The most insurmountable challenge can, with God, be overcome. When you feel overwhelmed, when all seems at odds with God’s purpose, when our values are assaulted, hear again the words of a young David, “…I come in the name of the Lord of hosts…whom you have defied.…for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands” (1 Sam. 17:45, 47).
The battle is always His! So our hope need never be in doubt, our faith never diminished. For if we will but look, we will see His hand at work, and His love ever stronger. He is sovereign, He rules, and those that mock Him, “turn up their nose” at what He offers, will be “given into our hands.” For God is not mocked!
Dedicated to our Almighty God, who will bring the victory,
Thomas Randolf Wyatt
My Christian friend:
Easter is fast approaching, as this year it will be celebrated on the last Sunday of this month, unless you are an Eastern Orthodox Christian. This brings up the whole Quartodeciman controversy, a dispute that was not always friendly but which now, thankfully, is nearly two thousand years old. But what is undeniable is that Easter the yearly festival of our Lord’s resurrection is the most special celebration in all of Christianity. It is also, without doubt, the most astounding and distinctive event of any religion, and in all of human history.
It is also the most debated over, disputed, denied, and denigrated event, and will remain so, because this is the heart of Christianity. It is where our faith truly begins, and that is why it is so despised. It is this singular event, if true then everything else about Jesus Christ, and the faith of Christianity is also true. Salvation is then available for human sin, which means sin is a reality, and without such salvation, without being born from above, born of the Spirit, one remains in sin, guilty before God and liable for His judgment. Thus there is hell, and also heaven, and that is considered in this our brave new world as undesirable, uncomfortable, and therefore unacceptable.
Even early, as we learn from the book of Acts, the idea of the resurrection was mocked, and rejected by most. To preach the gospel was “a stumbling block to Jews, and folly to Gentiles” (1 Cor. 1:23). Nothing has changed, we will find it still reviled and dismissed. They will call it as all silliness, an ancient superstition, or worse, a fraud. But putting aside what the world says, what they maintain is possible and believable, just what are we, twenty centuries later, to make of the empty tomb? What are we to make of the personal reports that witnessed the Lord alive? Of the vitality and energy that transforms a small group of discouraged and defeated men and women into a band that overwhelms the Roman Empire, and ultimately would change the world?
The answer is simple, and it is earth-shattering; for early on that first day of the week the women found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty, and He then “presented Himself alive after His passion by many proofs, appearing to them (the disciples) during forty days” (Acts 1:3). That morning changed everything, and it still does. It is the only reason that the Christian movement became a reality, and remains so effective as it spread across the entire globe. HE IS RISEN! It is the only reason a handful of men and women risked everything, even death to proclaim this basic truth, HE IS RISEN! It is why, when they began to proclaim the gospel in Jerusalem, it could not be stopped, because all knew the tomb was empty, and many came to believe HE IS RISEN! It is why the story of Jesus does not disappear into the footnotes of history as another murdered prophet, another failed messianic pretender, because HE IS RISEN! It is why the cross, a symbol of death, torture, and disgrace became a symbol of hope and grace, HE IS RISEN! It is why a small insignificant Jewish sect would start teaching something new and radical, and become the largest faith in the world, because HE IS RISEN!
As I am so fond of saying it all starts here with the empty tomb. As this is true, all else is true, His birth, His life, the teachings, and the miracles, all of it. His death, means the ransom of sinners, the redemption of our souls, our justification before God, our hope of eternity, the joy of knowing and being known of God, and experiencing His presence. It starts here, one glorious morning the tomb was found empty, and “He present Himself alive with many proof.” Oh, thanks be to God our Savior, HE IS RISEN INDEED!
Serving an amazing God, and Savior,
Thomas R. Wyatt
The Quartadecima controversy (from the Latin for fourteen), concerned the date in when Easter should be celebrated. In the churches of the Roman province of Asia, and other parts of the East, the celebration commenced on the fourteenth of the Jewish month of Nisan. Easter would be observed on the same day each year, but on the Jewish calendar. This would mean a confusing, and different day of the week each year on the Roman calendar. In Rome and the Western parts of the Roman Empire, Christians celebrated Easter, on Sunday, or the first day of the week of the Roman calendar, following as near to the fourteenth of Nisan as possible. In time, as the debate diminished, all Christians would observe Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon that comes on or after the vernal equinox (March 21st), as close to the Jewish Passover as possible. However, with the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1582, the Eastern Churches as part of the old Eastern Empire, did not accept this new revision of the calendar, remaining with the old Julian or Roman calendar. Thus their Easter celebration will be observed usually, two out of every three years, one
My faithful friend:
The New Year, traditionally, has been the opportunity to envision what the year ahead and even beyond may have in store. One usually hears the predictions that take little perception; there will be conflict in the Middle East, believers will increasingly come under attack, that Western Civilization will continue its moral deterioration, and our culture will become even more vulgar and uncivil. These are all unfortunately true, but hardly a shocking revelation.
Regrettably, just as our Lord prophesied, our world is one of “wars, and rumors of wars, (meaning wars close by, and wars half a world away), but we are not to be alarmed, for this must happen, but it is not the end…there will be famines and earthquakes in various places, but all this is but the beginnings of the birth-pangs… and you will be delivered up to tribulation, and put to death, you will be hated by all nations for my name sake…”(Mt. 24:6-9). What our Lord describes is a world of chaos and lawlessness, and He will add, one of falsehood and treachery, which will cause many to fall away. But He affirms “those who endures to the end will be saved, and the gospel of the Kingdom will be preached as a testimony to all nations” (Mt. 24:13-14). Then, and only then, He declares, the end will come.
Such a world should come as no surprise. Is this not what Prophets envisioned? “No one speaks the truth…they commit iniquity and are too weary to repent. Heaping oppression upon oppression, and deceit upon deceit, they refuse to know me, says the Lord” (Jer. 9:5-6). “These have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations…and when I spoke they did not listen” (Isa. 66:3-4). Yes, God through His prophets and apostles has revealed the truth of this despoiled world, yet He has provided His solution, the only answer.
What the world and its princes have done is to exclude God for centuries, and, of course, they have made matters worse. So as we see markets and governments crumble, as it results in carnage in places we have never heard of before, needless heartache, the deprivation of far too many, and increased uncertainty and unrest, remember it is the consequences of ignoring God. This will result in unimaginable events, not just in some far corner of our globe, but very close at hand. Evil will raise its hand against even the innocent, as we have discovered in a small town in Connecticut.
As I see such evil I remember the old hymn by Ira Spanphill, and yes, find myself singing, “…I don’t worry o’er the future, for I know what Jesus said, and today I’ll walk beside Him, for He knows what lies ahead. Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand, but I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand”
We should known Him, and His love, and thus we can say, regardless of the evil, regardless of what may confronts us, we have “The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive… you know Him, for He dwells with you, and will be in you” (Jn. 14:17). We have the assurance that “If God is for us, who is against us?…Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life…nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rm. 8:31-39).
I could continue for hours reciting the wondrous words of hope and promise that abound in God’s Word. It provides the necessary confidence and assurance. So as this coming year unfolds, as the frequent chaos persists, as the futility of human and governmental meddling continue, I would have you remember with me just who it is “who holds tomorrow,” and that it is He “Who holds our hands.” He has promised to always be there for His people, those who He has called unto Himself. He will, with His strong arm cover us, undertake for us, and enable us.
I do affirm our faith in the One who is always faithful, and able, regardless of what we may face, irrespective of what may surround us. We are His own, His cherished possession. We need fear nothing for He is with us. He has redeemed, and called us, and we are His (Isa. 41:10; 43:1) In Him we are more than overcomers, we are conquerors, and in Him we will hear one day from His own lips, “well done, good and faithful servant” (Mt. 25:21).
It is really all about His Kingdom,
Thomas Randolf Wyatt
Giving Thanks For What Counts
Thanksgiving is a special time in our home, even more now that our young grandson has become such an enjoyable addition. It is as well a special time for our nations, for this holiday is an opportunity for us all to pause and give thanks. Hopefully, we will give thanks to our Creator and Savior for our many and bountiful blessings. It should never become merely a time of feasting and merriment, but always a time of genuine and thoughtful thanksgiving.
It is a time also to remember our history, one of immigrants, those who traversed sea and land to begin a new life on this side of the Atlantic. Everyone of us can trace our lineage back to a parent, grandparent, or we may have to add a number of great to grandparents, but for all of us there is the knowledge of those who left everything to reach the new lands of promise. Regardless of when they came, be it the last century, the one before, or four centuries ago, they all faced uncertainty, and often incredible hardships and dangers. They came to seek economic betterment, and just as likely, and perhaps more important, religious freedom.
Our nations have been, and will undoubtedly continue to be beacons of hope, a second chance for untold millions. As we sit in comparable comfort and ease, surrounded by all the technological advances of modern life in North America, we do so because of the strength, tenacity, and courage of those that came before. But what was it that sustained them through all their trials, inconceivable adversity, and great dangers to build the foundation for what we now enjoy?
I believe it began with their faith. A faith firmly established in the truth of God’s Word, with no doubts, or uncertainties. They knew God’s providence was at work despite any circumstances. Whether they were Puritans, Mennonites, even Roman Catholic, or a hundred other such Christian parties, they came with a confidence, and assurance in their Christianity. As we are instead continually assaulted by the skepticism, and negativism of the electronic media, the press, and those in academia, it can adversely affect some among us. They may even become unsure, discouraged, tempted even to compromise “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
Yet it was this faith that enabled our forefathers and mothers to withstand droughts, floods, blizzards, and every conceivable natural disaster. It enabled them to face the shortages, and personal casualties to see democracy triumph twice over tyranny in Europe, then in the cold war.
I believe we too have we “the stuff,” if we are grounded as they were in the truth of our faith, secure in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, and in His gracious providence. Not baffled over, and battling over the petty minor issues, such as the mode and timing of water baptism, when and how the Lord will return, what songs are sung, how many, or what musical instruments, if any are played. Instead rejoicing and always thankful, for what I call the essentials. That Jesus Christ is the only begotten of the Father, the incarnate Son, who “emptied Himself … humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…” (Phil. 2:8-11). Who is the “power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith” (Rm 1:16).
It was this faith that sustained those that preceded us, that gave them the strength and fortitude to overcome every obstacle. It is in this that we should be thankful. It is Jesus and what He has made possible that must awaken in us the desire to always give thanks, especially on Thanksgiving Day. It is He that will sustain, strengthen, guide, and make us whole. In Him is our hope, and our very lives.
Giving thanks for He who has saved me,
Thomas R Wyatt
A WORLD WAITS
October 2012 (US)
My Christian friend:
It is my hope to use this letter to share with you our many overseas endeavors, and spark renewed interest and desire for these efforts as they aid in the worldwide harvest of souls. The interest began for this ministry many years ago when my grandfather first traveled to Jamaica and then would hold even more phenomenal meetings in West Africa. These open arbor campaigns saw vast multitudes in attendance, and amazing results. He returned greatly stirred and inspired and asked to speak at a large convention in St. Louis, MO, where supposedly likeminded pastors and evangelists were to gather. His sermon on that particular night outlined an ambitious, but practical plan, to send throughout the world 500 teams consisting each of at least two gifted and successful leaders.
He offered to fund the entire operation, setting up the meetings, and itineraries. It was his belief that such spiritually gifted individuals; those who already led successful charismatic churches would inevitably have the same results that he had experienced in West Africa. My grandfather’s offer was overwhelmingly rejected. One has to wonder what would have happened if these experienced, gifted men and women had risen to the challenge to spend just six months, even a couple of months a year for five or ten years in such mass evangelism, but we will never know? Growing up I would hear that it was because they feared my grandfather would somehow garner the credit and adulation, even though he sought nothing but God’s will in it all. Whatever the reason may have been how utterly pathetic, and perhaps a grave and critical catastrophe.
Their refusal prompted my grandfather to start a Bible School to train the teams who would in time do such marvelous work in Ghana, Nigeria, and elsewhere in the world. Such evangelism, with its worldwide outreach has as a result always been an integral part of this ministry. Times and governments have changed, unlike the 1950s much of the world is no longer as open to such “American” evangelism, that is why we now emphasize indigenous works, those led and inspired by native pastors, and evangelists. And why we continue to do all we can to undergirt these deserving works in prayer, endowing Bible Schools, and providing those means and gifts that will not compromise the efforts of these gifted souls in the eyes of their own nations. Yes, the harvest continues, and we are doing our part.
NIGERIA: If you have been reading the world news at all you know of the difficulties Christians are facing in Nigeria. This most populous nation south of Egypt is rich in oil and a very energetic but divided people. Pastor Godwin converted in one of my grandfather’s meetings, left the police force and has been leading a fine group of churches, and a Bible school in the area of Enugu City. He is now quite advanced in age, and this work cries for our prayers, the renewed strength of Pastor Godwin, and for inspired new leaders to rise up to enable him and thus continue the work, especially the Bible school which has trained so many of the pastors and evangelists.
CAMEROONS: Pastor Nachamba continues to see wonderful advances into the northern interior. But the interference by government officials has slowed the growth of the orphanage, which is greatly needed in this poverty stricken area. We provide the necessary funds to enable much of the evangelism, and work with the children.
KENYA: Pastor Kinyua is an energetic man with a great heart for the lost. He is constantly reaching out to villages with his teams into the remote parts of the North, providing desperately needed food, and the gospel. Nearby in the north lies Southern Sudan, and Somaliland, both immersed in fratricide wars, and unrestrained hostilities, even piracy. It requires our prayer, and that we do all we can to provide for those displaced by the violence.
INDIA, Godavari District Pastor Finny continues the work begun many decades ago. I have been with these fine men and women preaching and teaching and know they are doing a fine job. The Children’s home has been one of our main focuses for many years, and now the evangelistic efforts continue in the hill country to the north, where the Christian message is being received gladly, and new churches started. All reports from Pastor Finny are very encouraging, but always he speaks of pressing financial needs. This is a fairly remote and poor area. The bridge across the river to the delta region is fairly new, I had to take a dug out canoe, which appeared more likely to sink. We made it, I didn’t have to swim the Godavari River, and had a great time with the Christians in the area.
INDIA, Kerala State has long had a Christian presence, dating they say to the Apostle Thomas. I have visited and taught briefly when the Bible School was in Ronni. The men and women are dedicated, and willing. The work grows despite past reports of attacks by extreme Hindu fanatics who have beaten some of the students. This is an area much in my prayers, and I hope will be in yours.
GUATEMALA: We continue our partnership withDeborah Flores and her husbandwho are so active in the barrios of Guatemala City. The church, child care, food distribution, and other efforts are a never ending and needed ministry. The Christians there deserve our recognition, praise, and continuing support.
HAITI: The orphanage in this much maligned nation continues its meritorious work by gathering the unwanted or abandoned infants, providing a home, medical care, food, clothing and eventually, and once adjusting to the new regulations, adoption to worthy families in Haiti, the United States, or Canada.
CHINA: I include China only because of recent news that indicates that the growth of Christianity continues unabated, and that soon China will have the largest Christian population of any nation. It is what will ultimate change China’s government, and will greatly affect the entire region, continue to pray.
Others: THE PHILIPPINES, SOUTH KOREA, INDONESIA, BRAZIL, AND LEBANON. These are all places on my heart, some of which I have spent time. Nations in which we have many contacts, all of which require earnest prayers, and the need to supplement as we can needed materials, especially for the Bible Schools and the children.
Serving the world’s Lord and Savior,
Thomas R. Wyatt
Christianity, is there a future?
My Christian friend:
As we as a society face mounting uncertainty, division and discord, it is vital we are aware of just what is at stake. God knows what tomorrow will bring, but we do not, and our choices can have great consequences, for us individually, and our civilization. We can become once more a beacon of truth and freedom, or disintegrate and collapse, as has so many civilizations before us.
Egyptian civilization lasted for over three thousand years, Pharaohs changed, but the same civilization endured. Athens, would be defeated in war: even putting ‘tyrants’ in power, still its culture survived for nearly four hundred years. The Roman Republic persisted for nearly three hundred years, and its Empire for another four hundred years before it collapsed. Once ‘the sun never set on the British Empire,’ and the U.S.S.R. was thought indestructible. Kingdoms come and go, “behold, are not the nations like a drop from the bucket, and accounted as no more than dust on the scales, behold He takes up the isles as if nothing.” (Isa. 40:15 Heb.).
Are we then only witnessing another, the demise of what has been called Western Civilization, what is in fact Christian culture? Too many, in ignorance, passivity, unconcern, or duplicity have ignored that we are being stripped of our heritage. The civilization that has been such an inspiration has degenerated into depravity, a society spoiled, indulgent, and now even dismissive of all things Christian. This, at a time when we have the means, even if no longer the heart, to truly cover the earth with the glory of God. As faithful partners keep reminding me, “…work for the Kingdom of Heaven, souls are waiting to hear the Gospel of Jesus, Lord and Savior.”
Our heritage and our faith has changed the world. Far beyond its spiritual impact, Christianity, and its roots in Judaism, that in responding to human need gave rise to medicine, science, technology, the rule of law, education, the free markets, and everything that has made our modern world possible. It is our faith that conceived the concept of human freedom, a word that is not even found in most non-European languages. It is only Christianity of all the major faiths that understood that it is about human rights, not mere human duty. This faith developed the free enterprise that has created the wealth that made progress possible, and with it the expansion of reason, liberty, and the comforts we all do enjoy.
What all this means is that one set of moral ideals is true, and at the very least one religion is just better for humanity than any other. Or are we to believe that all cultures and civilizations are the same? That we must therefore not judge, not even the acts of religious barbarity, Nazi genocide, or Marxists monstrosities. Yet that is what is being fervently and persistently taught. We are being told by media, entertainment, and academia that goodness and what is right cannot be actually known. This is nonsense, for if so we are left without standards, not just about our own spiritual life or salvation, but of truth itself. But perhaps that is the ultimate object; the death of all judgment. When there is no absolute good or truth, there is then no evil, no sin, no need of salvation, and no eternal Judgment. Of course, we better not try to debate these things, for that means you are evil and intolerant (no one said they were consistent).
Only one faith stands in the way of this new ‘Tower of Babel,’ only one faith is the foundation for the rule of law (you will not find it in any other culture, except when it has been borrowed from the West). It is this one faith that has become the principle obstacle to the erection of this perfect godless society. Yet it is this that has given us gulags, gas chambers, killing fields, reeducation camps, and corpses stacked like logs. Our Bible angers and frustrates them, and why they are so persistent in trying to change its message. It is why when they cannot change Christianity they are so swift to denigrate, marginalize, or persecute us.
What do they really gain by rejecting God, and worshipping themselves? Less than nothing, God will have His say. “The wicked plot against the righteous, and they gnash their teeth at Him, but the Lord laughs at the wicked for He sees His day coming” (Psa. 37:13). These neo-pagans, these secularist pronounce that they know best. Children must be told that the heavens contain no God, that the universe is founded on chaos rather than love, and in death one ceases to exist. This is the beginnings of dogmatic tyranny. For what purpose is the instruction of children in our Christian faith now called child abuse, that “clinging to God” is somehow backwards, or reading the Bible and praying in public is derided? The only reason is so that this too can be regulated, and ultimately prevented by law. However, we know the future is not theirs ultimately, as the Psalmists declares, “Why do the nations conspire, and the people plot in vain…saying let us break these chains, and throw off these fetters?…The Lord scoffs, He will rebuke them in anger, and will in His judgment terrify them (Psa. 2:1,3-5 Heb).
Desiring always to stand firm in our Christian faith,
Thomas Randolf Wyatt
NEEDED: A VITAL AND FAITHFUL CHURCH
It is embarrassing, but we need to evangelize some of our “Christian” churches. Many are literally disappearing. It seems apparent that if a revitalization is not undertaken, and soon, the future of some of these great historic churches will be short lived. In just forty years the United Church of Christ has lost over 7 million members, The Episcopal, Presbyterian (USA), and the Lutherans 10 million each, the Methodist over 29 million, even the Roman Catholics with all the emigration of Catholic believers has lost over 12 million members, and given their nature to continue to count non-participants, it may be far larger.
What is the reason, aside from disenchantment with recent scandals of abuse in some churches? All studies indicate one glaring fault in these Christian bodies, LIBERAL THEOLOGY! Because if you don’t believe the Gospel, you will not preach it, and simply put, you will not grow. Unfortunately many former members are so disenchanted that they too often don’t seek out, and thus find those Churches and Parishes that do preach the Gospel, and as a result are the ones healthy and thriving. The future is to “cling” to the truth, proclaiming God’s Word!
MYSTERIES NOW REVEALED
My Faithful friend:
I remember very little of my early childhood, but I do remember a magic show. It was at a small Oregon high school, and this young boy of three was quite mesmerized by the slight of hand, optical illusions, and misdirection. All of which still intrigue me, especially when some “magician” will make coins, cards, or other items disappear, reappear, and multiply right before your eyes. To a young boy it is quite mysterious, but then mysteries know no age limit.
The idea of mysteries is an ancient one, expressed often even in our New Testament, in fact we derive our word mystery from the Greek “mysterion.” However our New Testament authors were not writing about magicians, but mysteries once unknown, or beyond human understanding. However, that which was “hidden from ages and generations: is now manifested to His saints” (Col. 1:26). There are many such divine “mysteries” now revealed for us, such as the “hardening that has come upon part of Israel,” “that we shall not all sleep,” or that “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work” (Rm. 11:25; 1 Cor. 15:51; 2 Th. 2:7). But the most important mystery now revealed is that of Christ Jesus.
It is this we are to always make known, for “we are to be stewards of these mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1). It is in Jesus Christ where we find unveiled the divine purpose. God’s Kingdom, His very reign now being extended to all who will believe, even Gentiles, of God’s redemptive act, His salvation made a reality for all, in the life of one man. Paul will in a moment of supreme inspiration provides us with an image that makes God’s purpose all the more indelible. What God has done, and will do he likens to marriage. That when a man and woman become one, this Paul tells us, “is a profound mystery… and it refers to Christ and His church’ (Eph. 5:32).
If marriage can provide some profound insight into God purposes, obviously it is marriage as God intended it to be. Not what has become the popular trend of our society. A momentary conveniences, something to be tried, and if it doesn’t work, well there is always divorce. No! What Paul has envisioning is a special union, a togetherness, an intimacy, and even more the love, but love as God has demonstrated it. A love that is so far beyond our human experiences, more than any words can adequately express.
Oh, that we might more fully and completely understand and appreciate what God had planned so long ago, and now has accomplished in the life and ministry of Christ Jesus. Paul has used the idea of “mystery” to illuminate the long sought desire of God for mankind. The incredible, unexpected, and amazing acts of God to move history, and all else all, that He might lavish His love upon the like of us. It is like that first magic show for a young boy. What you see all seems incredible, enthralling, yet very hard to believe. But it is all true. And now, what was once mysterious and hidden in God’s wisdom we can all experience.
Paul will expressed this all simply in a prayer, God, “has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph. 1:9-10). God desired even before creation to send His Son Jesus at the perfect time, so that in Him everything would be made right. This is about complete restoration. All that mankind has squandered, shattered, lost, or destroyed, every wrong, all sorrows, pain, and torment, all that may seem wrong in life, in our history, in the world, all of it, will be made right. Oh, What amazing love! However, this raises one more mystery, why? Why does God care so much? Why has He gone to such lengths, for us? BECAUSE of That Love! It is like a perfect marriage, we are to be united with Him and each other, surround by an all consuming and holy intensity. It is so beyond our understanding, but so worth our embrace, and our deepest praises. For this is all at such a reasonable price, all we need do is believe.
Praising God, for such a “mystery,”
Thomas R Wyatt
The Providence of God…Today July 2012
My loyal friend:
God’s purposes will often seem a bit mysterious to us. The Apostle Paul will speak frequently of these divine mysteries. Some of these hidden purposes will involve God’s purposes in even present history, and clearly what the future will hold. We have been given some indications of what will occur, and His plans in scripture, so it is puzzling why one still hears the phrase, “things can’t get any worse?” Especially when things continue to worsen. This is precisely what prophecy has forewarned. Our fallen world will descend deeper into degradation, as the hunger and adoration of the multitudes turns ever more to the bizarre, unwholesome, and aberrant. As financial institutions stumble, nations falter, communities become unstable, and the family comes increasingly under assault. This all will only accelerate. All we need do is cast a glance at what passes for modern “culture.’ “entertainment,” and the “news reports.”
There are expectations that one day an individual will rise and require a brand, a name or number placed on our foreheads or right hands (Rev. 13:18). If this beast is indeed the antichrist, the son of perdition, it is a mistake to wait for such a brand to appear, for as John tells us, “the spirit of the antichrist of which you heard was coming, …is now in the world already” (1 Jn. 4:3). Those that deny Jesus is the Christ, those who would obstruct and belittle the gospel, already carry the mark of 666 (see the explanation below).
Clearly it is naïve to believe that Christians we will escape all such horrors, much of Christianity is already suffering intense persecution, just ask our brothers and sisters in West Africa, Egypt, Sudan, any where in the Middle East, or South and East Asia. Here we have avoided such calamity, but only because of the sacrifices and wisdom of those who preceded us to these shores, and provided such magnificent constitutional and legal safeguards. Yet scripture tells us changes are coming, are we prepared for that?
However, what is importance is not what will happen, that is in God’s providence, it is in His hidden purposes. What is important is whether we are “rooted and grounded in love (Eph. 3:17). Here, Paul is saying we are to be as a great tree rooted far down into the solid earth, and like a great Building with a foundation based on bedrock. Paul can writes this while he waits in chains for a Roman trial. Yet his hope, assurance, and confidence is unrestrained. Paul knows that his faith and relationship with God provide all the assurance he requires regardless of what he might face. He will write these timeless words, “Have the eyes of your heart enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what is the immeasurable greatness of His power in us who believe…” (Eph. 1:18-19). “If God is for us, who can be against us…who shall separate us from the love of God? Shall tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or sword?…No in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rm. 8:31,35,37).
Only one who knows the true providential care and love of God can make such inspirational and moving statements like that. God’s love, His providential care would keep Paul regardless. He was confident of that for one reason, God had always proved true. We too as a people have been blessed beyond measure. The “accidents,” the mystifying events, and miscues that have protected and enabled us, do seem improbable and mysterious when we look back on our history. The immigration of those who came to open up a continent, who sought freedom of conscience, and to be loosed from tyranny, and the surprising events in that struggle, be it Yorktown, Gettysburg, Vimy Ridge, Argonne, Dunkirk, or Midway, that has all made it possible.
One day we will know all that God had purposed in us as a people, and as nations. God is sovereign and His purposes do not change, whatever the future holds, it will serve His purposes. So whether one celebrates Canada Day, or Independence Day, understand this one thing we are here because of His purpose. The future is in His hands, and as we serve Him “who by the power at work in us is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever, Amen” (Eph. 3:20).
Thomas R Wyatt
May 10th was a great time with our many friends as we celebrated our 70th anniversary, with an open house and the dedication of our new office complex in uptown Whittier, California.
666; JUST WHAT DOES IS MEAN?
Despite all one hears about brands, tattoos, or implanted clips having to do with the number 666 (Rev. 13:16-18), please understand, John says this calls for wisdom. As the seal on the forehead of the faithful, the name of God, is symbolic, so too is the name, or mark on the forehead and right hand of those who worship the beast (Rev. 7:3; 22:4). This “number of the name,” or “666,” has historically been indentified with a great many people, “depending on one’s ingenuity the number 666 can be worked out to mean almost anybody” (“Notes on the Apocalypse,” pg. 58).
All numbers in the Book of Revelation are symbolic. So one comes far closer to the truth to see 666 as symbolizing the unholy trinity, which is the beast, false prophet, and the dragon. Each of these foul entities is incomplete, falling short of the divine symbol of perfection, 7. The three are then 666. Here we find depicted in its ugliness the rule of darkness, the homage given falsehood, and how some will usurp God’s place. It is a ‘brand’ on the souls of all who would obstruct the purposes of God, try to make ineffectual, destroy, or counterfeit the work of Christ and His church. This is very much in evidence all about us, in the media, the arts, politics, and in the growing invasive and very popular technology that allowed those who would, those in authority, to track everywhere we go and what we do.
The Right Questions, But... June 2012
My dear Christian friend:
There is one essential element vital to one’s faith, asking the right questions. Question about our Lord, His ministry, our faith, and getting right answers. The inability or disinterest in seeking the truth is destructive to faith, making our growth in our Christina walk difficult, if not impossible. Just who is Jesus? What do His mighty works mean? These and others are very important questions.
Our gospels provide us with wonderful information, an example is found when Jesus returns to His hometown. It is after He has tamed wind and wave, healed the infirmed woman, and brought back to life Jairus’ daughter. Now as Mark describes it, “He returns to His own country.” Despite His growing reputation His discourse in the synagogue will be interrupted before He has even finished, by various questions.
They are asking the right questions. “Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to Him? What mighty works have been wrought by His hands? (Mk. 6:2). These are good questions, but they are unwilling to see the truth. Their minds are closed; after all they think they know who Jesus is. “Is this not the carpenter?” Is He not the “son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon, and are not His sisters with us?”
Because of such skepticism, even hostility, Mark tells us, “He was not able to do works of power there, except He laid hands on a few sick people and healed them” (Mk. 6:5). Few were healed, because so few came for healing. A massive negative reaction like this makes any acts of divine power useless. Jesus could have done something spectacular, but our Lord does not overwhelm people with over whelming displays. His desire is to build lasting faith, and mighty works rarely produce enduring faith, just look at ancient Israel in the wilderness. Skepticism and unbelief simply results, as it always will, in missing out on God.
The questions about Jesus, who He was, what He was doing, and how, had two possible answers in the first century, either He was of God, or as the Pharisees asserted, His powers came “from the prince of demons” (Mk. 3:22). The questions remain with us, and the skepticism and unbelief has only increased. Assertions are made that this is all superstition, a fiction a fraud devised to delude the gullible. The skeptics no longer even ask the right questions, and as a result the truth is even more remote and lost to them.
Always there are those who will reject the truth. Jesus will even warn the Twelve, as He sends them out, that when they experience such rejection to shake the very dust from their feet. Rejecting the right answers means, as at Nazareth, they will miss out on God. To accept the truth, as the disciples will experience, will see them “cast out many demons, and anoint with oil those…sick and healing them” (Mk. 6:13). Nothing has really changed. You want to experience God, ask the right questions, and be open to the truth, and thus the right answers.
Our present world in its skepticism believes they have all the answers. Some will reject the truth of our message, so just shake the dust off, and move on. There is always someone, a great many, who will respond to the answers of who Jesus is, and embrace a life of hope, healing, and holiness. Those open to the right answers will see God move. He has always been there despite our frailties, and often inadequate faith. The father of the demonic boy when Jesus challenges him to believe will cry aloud, “I believe, but help my unbelief!” (Mk 9:24). Our Lord will responds always with compassionate, for He never turns anyone away. This is who Jesus is. He has come to bring victory, and defeat the works of the Devil. We to be part of His victory must stand firm against all skepticism and unbelief, and pray. As James the Lord’s brother would tell us, we are to “Pray for one another that you may be healed, the prayer of the righteous has great power in its effect” (Jam 5:16).
This great answer is to a good question; we are to pray for one another! As we desire your prayers, we are praying and believing for answers to every request we receive. The answer to the question of who Jesus is; “He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” There is much more, but He is there for us, and there is no more critical and important ministry than prayer. Prayer for deliverance, prayers for the salvation of those we love, prayer for renewal, and prayer for healing. This we must and will always continue faithfully to do.
Believing that He is the answer to all our questions,
Thomas R Wyatt
By God’s Enablement
Early next month, May 10th to be exact, this ministry will celebrate seventy years of continuous radio ministry. This is a major achievement, for few ministry of that period still survive. But as my grandfather said, “The Wings of Healing is God’s work.” It has always been about the proclamation, of what he would call the “Full Gospel.” A message that did not, and does not compromise, or dilute what scripture sets forth. A proclamation of God’s provision and blessing for all His people, and to meet their every need.
Dr. Thomas Wyatt, for whom I am named, began the radio ministry in 1942, on Mother’s Day. Throughout my childhood I was regaled with the many stories of those early days, the many struggles, strange turns, and great triumphants. It took a great leap of faith to begin such a ministry, for America was just entered the uncertainty of World War II, and the early war news was anything but encouraging. Still every week he preached passionately the truth of healing, deliverance, the reality of the Holy Spirit, fighting always the forces of what he called defeatism and modernism, right up until the Lord called him home.
The ministry has not and will not change, and through the intervening years, we have seen hundreds of churches built in Africa and India; Tens of thousands of children fed, clothed, and educated, many of who are preaching the gospel, establishing churches, and evangelizing deeper into the remote corners of their nations. Over the years there have been Bible schools established in four nations, Orphanages and children’s homes underwritten in six nations, and the fields of possibilities remain ripe and open for further advances.
The Wings of Healing will continue to proclaim the truth of the unadulterated gospel. Preaching the truth of divine deliverance from every foul lie of the enemy, and the sinister influence of “modernism,” that skepticism toward all things Biblical. So we must, and will, as long as God enables and encourages this ministry, to proclaim the “Full Gospel.” As is stated at the close of every broadcast “we are dedicated to the proclamation of the gospel done with reason, clarity, and without sectarian confusion.” This is what burned within my grandfather and grandmother in the years that they guided this ministry. And now drawn from my pastorate, this heritage has been placed before me. I do believe my grandfather would be pleased, and my grandmother so wanted me to secure the future of this ministry.
So taking up the gauntlet, with faith in our Lord, we confront the future, whatever it holds, confident that The Lord will see us victorious. We do not know what lies around the next corner, or next year, or five years from now, we only know that History is in His hands. But this also I know, we have the message for our time; Biblically sound, prophetic, and passionate. We begin every broadcast with the ringing note that our message is one “of edification, encouragement, and hope, announcing the victory of God that will strengthen us in the face of our fragmented world, and the ever-mounting challenges of our age.” These are not mere words to introduce our program. It is what we endeavor to do every week on our worldwide program, and seek to provide in every note of music, every word we print, and all our efforts overseas.
The alternatives are unacceptable. To only half-heartedly confront our cultural disintegration, or to withdraw into ourselves, is to meekly accept irrelevancy. This we cannot do, the efforts to undermine truth and the “Full Gospel,” will but lead to the loss of human rights, including liberty and life itself. Those that celebrate the belittlement of truth, and the gospel don’t realize this, but it is true. Without the bedrock, and the robust health of Christianity, meaning the entire truth of our Faith, there will be no freedom, well being, happiness, or hope.
So The Wings of Healing will, with your partnership, continue to confront the ancient enemy, and meet every new challenge. As Sharon’s inspired theme concludes, we have “a mighty sword to weald, His strength will be our shield, and all our foes shall yield, to our Almighty God.” I believe that resolutely, and with no reservations, He has given us the means, the sword of the Gospel, and we will triumph IN HIM!
Dedicate always to the truth of the Gospel,
Thomas Randolf Wyatt
“GRAPPLING WITH DESTINY”
We have in our recent move to our new office complex, discovered a number of the biography of my grandfather’s life, titled “Grappling with Destiny.” Written in 1962 by the well respected biographer Basil Miller. It is a quality hardback book, of 244 pages, and highlights the amazing life of my grandfather Thomas Wyatt. His conversion amid the rural farm lands of Iowa, and his calling to become the passionate and uncompromising “Apostle of Faith,” as he was frequently called. We have only a few copies, so don’t delay they will surely be snapped up. Because of their rarity and quality we must ask for a contribution of at least $40.00, for this irreplaceable volume.
GIVE ME THIS MOUNTAIN
We are also offering one of grandfather’s best books, “Give Me This Mountain.” A stirring personal account of his early life, miraculous healing from near death, his calling, and the faith that would lead him to declare that like Caleb he would have this mountain, even if inhabited by giants (Josh. 14:12). It is this passion that God would use and enable him to accomplish so much. It is a remarkable book, and if you don’t have it in your library, you should. We have a large number of them of this wonderful paperback can be yours for a contribution of just $5.00.
Also we are offering what many consider Evelyn Wyatt’s best book “I’m Glad You Asked,” a collection of her insightful answers to some of the most perplexing and difficult questions on the Bible, life, and our Faith. This too can be yours for a gift to this ministry.
(We always like to make available, at no charge, CDs of our broadcast. Here are offered two of our upcoming broadcasts. One is the anniversary broadcast titled, “No Other Name,” a wonderful tribute to what The Wings of Healing has, and will always forthrightly proclaim. With it we include a look at Peter’s declaration to the lame man at the beautiful gate, “Such as I Have give I thee.” This pronouncement can still be valid, it can live in those filled with the same Spirit. Both of these programs can be yours just for the asking.) if we have room
We pray that many of you will be able to remember The Wings of Healing with a gift of $1.00 for each year of our ministry, but, of course, we would appreciate a gift of any amount, and do especially covet your prayers. It is always our hope and prayer that this ministry will continue to be of help to others, and enabled to proclaim the “Full Gospel,” to a world that desperately needs to hear it. Do, please, allow the Spirit to so guide you, and do remember we are here for you, and will pray and intercede for you until the victory is yours. Our number remains the same (562) 693-3873), Dr. Wyatt and the staff all consider it a joy to fellowship with you on the phone or in your letters, and we will believe together with you for your all your needs.
Also we ask that you remember those in many lands that depend upon this ministry to enable them to provide the necessities, whether in the urban debris of Guatemala, the wretched poverty of rural India, West Africa, or the Philippines. Will you not, as you have many times, consider what you can do to alleviate some of the despair and hopelessness of these in such forgotten corners of our globe. Whether you give towards radio, our various mission outreaches, or to where needed most, every prayer, every dollar is unto God and He will reward your love and generosity.
SPECIAL NOTICE TO ALL OUR FRIENDS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, BUT NOT JUST SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. On May 10th, at our new office complex in uptown Whittier, between noon and 4pm will have an open house. Beginning with a dedication of the office and studio. There will be tours and refreshments, and we welcome all our friends, as well as the community. So, please, if you are so inclined do join us at 6331 Greenleaf Avenue, Whittier, CA between noon and 4 pm on May 10th, for our dedication, and anniverary celebration. Do let us know if you plan to join us, so we can properly prepare ahead.
My dear and faithful friend:
The celebration of the resurrection of our Lord is fast approaching. This is an event, I am sure you have noted, that I take great delight in declaring. I take pleasure in preaching on it, presenting the logical and historical evidence, and what this singular event means, not just for we who believe, but what it has ultimately accomplished for history and the well being of our entire world.
However, as I was preparing for the broadcast I was struck by how the beloved disciple, John, focused so much of his attention on the linen cloths, and so carefully details the first appearance of the risen Lord to Mary Magdalene. The figure of Mary Magdalene is fascinating, there is no evidence that she is the unnamed sinner who will at a Pharisees dinner party be found weeping at the feet of Jesus (Lk. 7:36-50), nor is there any evidence that she was ever a prostitute.
What we know from scripture is that she was from Magdala (Magdalene), a small fishing village on the west side of the Sea of Galilee. And was delivered of seven demons, obviously through the ministry of Jesus (Lk. 8:2). She was a woman of some means, for she with other women of wealth (Joanna the wife of Chuza, and Susanna) provide for Jesus and the Twelve, during their travels in Galilee (Lk. 8:3).
She is clearly very involved in the ministry of Jesus, so it is no surprise to find her prominent on Good Friday. She is at the cross with the mother of Jesus, Mary’s sister, and Mary the wife of Clopas. She will remain there with Mary, the mother of James and Joses or Joseph, and Salome (obviously the wife of Clopas), and the mother of the sons of Zebedee (who tradition states was Mary’s sister). These women will watch these excruciating events culminate, but scripture says from afar (Mk. 15:47, Mt. 27:55). Women could not culturally remain close to such an unsavory event without a male escort, and John will take Jesus’ mother away for most of the crucifixion, the rest of the disciples we know have fled into the night, fearing for their own lives.
She will remain to the very end with “the other Mary,” for they follow Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus to where He will be laid. Across from the sepulcher they will watch the two, perhaps these men are unknown to them, do all they can for Jesus as the light fades before the Sabbath (Mk. 15:46-47; Mt. 27:57-61).
It is at this point John will center his attention on Mary Magdalene. On the first day of the week, she comes early, John states, “while it was still dark” (Jn. 20:1). Meaning the women started out in the dark, planning to arrive at the sepulcher at first light. John only mentions Mary, but clearly the other women are present, for when Mary runs back to tell Peter that the tomb is empty she says, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and WE do not know where they have laid Him” (Jn. 20:2).
After Peter, and the beloved disciple (John) run to see, witnessing the linen cloths, and the face cloth wrapped up by itself. It will be John who upon going inside sees the cloths which had been layered with a hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes, meaning the cloths would literally retain the shape of the body that they once encircled, so he will write of himself, “he saw and believed” (Jn. 20:8).
Mary, however, is standing outside weeping. This is all too much, her world has crumbled. Her beloved teacher and deliverer is dead, and now she is unable to do what customs dictate is so important, to properly care for the deceased. She then hears a voice asking why she is crying. She exclaims amid her tears, that someone has taken away the body of her Lord, she knows not where. She turns toward the voice, but with the tears, grief, fear, and confusion does not recognize who it is. Thinking it is the gardener, she asks if he has taken the body to tell her where, and she will take Him. It is totally irrational; she could not possible carry the body of Jesus, but it reveals her emotional state. The power of this moment must not escape us, and John is endeavoring to portray the scene, as surely as he was told it by Mary Magdalene herself.
Women in the ancient world were not considered reliable witnesses, but John sees in these scenes the unmistakable evidence of the earth shattering truth, Jesus is alive. John would have us see this through Mary’s deep emotions, confusion, and then her overwrought desire to never let Jesus go. She wants it all, as it was before, walking the roads of Galilee again, hearing Him preach, and seeing the wonderful signs and wonders. But it can never be as it was, Jesus has changed, His role in her life, for all the world has changed. He is no longer simply a Galilean preacher and healer, the fulfillment of prophecy. He is now the Savior of the World, the vindicated Son of God, who will now sit at the Father’s right hand, and is “given all authority in heaven and earth” (Mt. 28:18).
So very unique, profound, and remarkable is this event. It marks Christianity as not only different, special, but universal, and this is the joy, hope, and the future birthright of all who believe.
Rejoicing always in He who reigns,
Thomas R. Wyatt
THE MYSTERY Feb. 2012
The more one reads, studies, the more one writes, and prepares sermons, the more one prays and spends time in thought, the more apparent it is that everything indeed ultimate comes down to Jesus Christ. Whether one is looking at the stars as they fill the night’s sky far from the city, watching as an infant smiles as his eyes follow you, in deep prayer and that warm sensation floods over you and you know all will be right, reading a passage of scripture and suddenly it is as if you are reading it for the first time, friends and family gathering and the sound of merriment fills the room, or a church service that seems wonderfully different, God is present, in a way that makes other services mundane and commonplace.
It was such a moment as this when I was outlining my topics for the coming year. As is the case in many churches, I was circling certain celebrations, some major like Easter and Christmas, others not so; like Christ the King Sunday, or Epiphany. I realized how special it is that over a billion Christians will circle many of the same days, days that signify and mark our faith as so different; historical, and yes, supernatural. C.S. Lewis once remarked, “All the great events in the Christian year impresses me more and more. Each is a window opening on the total mystery.” Professor Lewis was not alone in drawing attention to the true mystery that is our faith. Our Lord even said that His teaching was such to hide the truth from some, but “to you it has been given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven…”(Mt. 13:11). A mystery that Paul now tells us is “disclosed,” “made manifest,” and “proclaimed to you” (Rm. 16:25; Col. 1:26; Eph. 3:3-6).
This “mystery” is the reality that even as improbable as it seems God is mindful of us (Ps. 8:4), that incredibly the mystery of His grace as been extended to all through Jesus Christ. It always comes back to Jesus; the mystery of the indescribable wonder and inconceivable expanse of God’s love, of what He has wrought in our world, and more in our universe; of the complexity of life, how it literally thrives everywhere; in the smallest drop of water, to vastness of the oceans. Then there are those moments when you have that marvelous realization, that sense of the Lord’s thrilling and awesome presence. It is such a momentary realization that God is near, alive. He is no figment, no illusion, and that He has and does touch you in ways you cannot even fathom, or number.
It is this inescapable fact; that God Almighty is involved in nearly all that we do, that has added to the mystery. He has literally made all of life possible. The merest fraction of a second, the lightest touch, and the most improbable realities have made life possible. Physicists and astronomers call it the “anthropic principle.” This is a scientist’s way of saying that all of life, mankind, the conditions for our universe existing at all, are so finely tuned, so improbable that mere chance cannot explain it. It is now widely conceded that the universe could not have come about by pure chance. This means suddenly, for science, that the supernatural explanation (that is God) has become a far better explanation than the naturalistic alternatives (that is no God). This, as you can imagine is not popular in some circles, and so any theory, even the widely bizarre, are eagerly peddled so that somehow they can avoid what is painfully obvious.
This means that the mystery of God has become even more evasive and unavoidable. To use Paul’s words “may your hearts be encouraged as we are knit together in love. We are to have all the riches of a confident understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery that is of Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with beguiling speech” (Col. 2:2-4).
Be confident, assured, and strong in the truth of Jesus Christ, let no one deceive, or mislead you, the true value and importance of life is in Jesus Christ, and God Almighty. It is really not in elections, not military battles, nor promises made from some capitol, or potentate will suffice to bring life meaning, hope, and ultimate joy. It is found in what Christ accomplished, and that is our reason, to proclaim the truth of Him who is the answer. To draw from C.S. Lewis once more “The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men to Christ…If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other purpose!” God became man, died on the Cross that as many who will believe might be raised like Him, unto a life like His.
Celebrating the mystery of our faith
Thomas R. Wyatt
My good friend:
The New Year is upon us; perhaps a pivotal year what with elections, hopeful and positive changes economically, and even great changes spiritually. The New Year is a time that many see as a chance to start again. It is why many make “New Year Resolutions,” and will attempt to make those serious improvements in one’s life. The New Year will always denote the chance at a fresh start, a new beginning.
It is such new beginnings that have always marked Christianity. Our’s is a faith of getting a new start, of repentance, forgiveness, of people finding reasons to try again and succeeding. It is a faith, as we all know, of wretched sinners made new, of fallen creatures finding grace, those lost being found, and the chance for any one to be born again. We believe that anyone can see the light, find Christ, and be given a second chance.
I believe this fundamental Christian truth. Any of us can be renewed, redeemed, born from above, and this does include, I believe, our churches, our nations, our cultural mores, and our direction as a people. Our respective republics are secular in structure; as such they will stumble ultimately into ineptitude, and corruption, unless we as a people are so renewed in God. John Adams, the second president of the United States wrote, “it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our pople in a greater measure than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty. They will only exchange tyrants and tyrannies.” Adams is saying that a republic will survive only as long as her people are virtuous, and moral, for without such we cannot rule ourselves.
Christianity, our faith, is to bring about such virtue in people. In this way they may live free, happy, and pursue their life’s goals. It is not possible if at every turn barbarity, heartlessness, and violence abounds. Such incivility, when it hounds the faithful, pushes them away from the public arena will only destroy our way of life. This is why we are committed to the fervent defense of our faith, and the bold perpetuation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. To that end we can tell you we have found, at last, the facilities needed for The Wings of Healing International Ministries. We have been blessed to gain a large, central located building, with room to grow. There is more work to be done still, and my son Jeff and I have already done a great deal of the work to readily this building for our needs. We only ask that you pray with us that God continue to bless this effort, and with it even greater things shall be seen and done in the name of Jesus Christ.
This is for us a new beginning, but I would be remise if I did not mention again, and now provide you with a picture, of the addition to our family. Christian Thomas Wyatt is indeed a great joy. Sharon lights up every time she sees him. I hope you have already read her article, for it is obvious.
This time of new beginnings is I pray contagious. I firmly believe this year of 2012 will be such a time of new beginnings for this ministry, and the family of The Wings of Healing. Such a pivotal year will see many changes; some will not be for the better, and yet others will be a great blessing. But know, in it all God is at work. Regardless of the efforts of others, especially by the enemy and his minions, God’s people, His church, will always be more than able, and always victorious. Those that believe in His Word, and trust Him, will, believe me, see remarkable things occurring in their midst. God is not done with North America, with us who have for so long done all we can for God’s Kingdom. He will cause increase, new life, and strength, despite all the nefarious efforts to silence and dismiss Christianity.
We will as always be a faith based prophetic ministry, one of prayer, with evidence of God answering and changing lives. A ministry with renewed outreaches worldwide, and always an outstretched hand to those in need. I do so want you, my good friend, to be a part of what The Wings of healing will be doing in this upcoming year. Pray for us, write with encouragement, and provide us with your own insights, and reports of what God has, and is doing in your life and ministry. I want this to be a special year for many, a new start, a new beginning.
Anticipating great things,
Thomas Randolf Wyatt
One Night That Changed
Wings of Healing, P.O. Box 900, Whittier, CA 90608 , 626/448-3873
During this season we have shared the tale of the Bishop of Myra, we now know him as Saint Nicolas, and we have shared other uplifting stories of a boy to surprise his best friend with a Christmas gift runs into an electrified fence, but the shock will heal his deaf ear, of an old lace table cloth purchased to hide rain damage behind the altar for the Christmas eve service by remarkable “chance” brings a loving couple separated by war together again. We have shared these and many such stories, because Christmas is that kind of “magical” season. It is special in so many ways because of what we celebrate, a birth of immeasurable significance, which has simply and irrefutable changed everything.
We may not always get things just right, we often place the Wise Men at the manger, when clearly the Magi came later and found Jesus and His parents in a house (Mt. 2:11). Many Bible translations tell of taxation, when it more correctly an enrollment, probably a forced loyalty oath for the 25th anniversary of Caesar Augustus as Emperor (Lk. 2:1). We hear that “there was no room in the inn,” (Lk. 2:7), but the word should be translated as “guest room” or “guestchamber” as it is in Luke 22:11, for it is the same Greek word. This would be an extra room with a distant relative, only now it would be crowded with other relatives of the linage of David. They required more privacy as we know Mary was expecting. On this one night the savior of the world, the king of kings would be born, as traditions has long held, in the shelter for the neighborhood animals. It is believed to have been an excavated portion of the hillside with overhanging wooden supports, a site now beneath the Bethlehem Church of the Nativity.
We will celebrate all this on December 25th when surely it occurred earlier in the year. If you have read my study on the “Advent of the Christ,” you will appreciate the reasons. The 25th was a sincere, and perhaps necessary efforts of the early church, particularly in Rome, to counter the effects, and popularity of the pagan celebrations surrounding the Winter Solstice, known as the Saturnalia. We have continued this tradition, which now will pretty much dominate our globe. Ancient pagan celebrations are forgotten, even if some of the reasons for this celebration seem mere background to other things. Yet this season is a time of rejoicing, giving of our time, sharing with friends and family, and those moments of “wonder and magic.”
Sharon will decorate our home with pine boughs, many lights, candles, Magi and camels in abundance, several crèches, and other Christmas items. She will be aglow with anticipation, not so much for what may be wrapped in colorful paper under the tree, but for the many gatherings of family and friends. It is what makes this time of year so special, and this year will be our first with a grandchild, Christian Thomas Wyatt. Now, if at all possible, it will be even more special.
We want this season to be special and filled with “wonder and magic,” for all of you. It is a time of joy, praise, and healing. A time that celebrates one night in which in an animal shelter, a birth occurred that changed everything. God now touched the earth in a unique way. He entered human history, for a very special and profound reason, and as a result it would CHANGE EVERYTHING. Everything for mankind is different because of this birth, and because of the Lord’s presence in our lives I am more convinced than ever that God is preparing once again to do wondrous, even frightening things in our midst. Some events will be drastic, both natural and manmade, there will be violent uprisings, unyielding disagreement which will tear at the fabric of our world. This too is in God’s hands, and as a result God’s people will be inspired to greater effort. Bible believing churches will experience astounding spiritual renewal, with even prophetic words and abundant miracles. Even in small and seemingly insignificant things God will be mightily at work. As He prepared Israel, for the birth of the Christ child, so He is preparing this world what He desires. As He changed everything that one night, Still He is not finished changing everything.
Rejoicing and praising our Lord,
An Exceptional Nation
My gracious friend: (USA)
As you read this I hope it will add a urgency, and further importance as you gather for your Thanksgiving celebration in a couple of weeks. Thanksgiving is a celebration that I have frequently stated is my favorite. It is not just the food, which Sharon prepares in such mouth-watering abundance, not just the fellowship with family, which has now grown to include my daughters-in-law and their families, but the special, central, and indispensable place of God in all this. As such, Thanksgiving celebrations for God’s goodness have been part of our culture since our inceptions as a Christian nation.
Yes, a Christian nation, for this was the unique perception of the earliest settlers from Europe. They believed this land was to be the “light on the hill,” a beacon of hope, peace, in their Christian faith. These early settlements that clung to these hostile shores were born of that faith, and it is said that their efforts actually saved Christian civilization. The republic that has arisen from this history is indeed meant to be a “light” to the world. All this was made very relevant by Senator Marco Rubio, at least for me, in a recent speech. Allow me to share a poignant portion of that speech.
“My grandfather loved being Cuban. He loved being from Cuba. He never would have left Cuba if he didn’t have to. But he knew America was special. He knew that without America Cuba would still be a Spanish colony. He knew that without America the Nazis and Imperial Japan would have won World War II. When he was born in 1899 there weren’t even airplanes. By the time I was born, an American had walked on the surface of the moon. And he knew something else. He knew that he had lost his country. And he knew that the only thing preventing other people in the world from losing their land to communism was this country – this nation.
It is easy for us who are born here – like me – and so many of you, to take for granted how special and unique this place is. But when you come from somewhere else, when what you always knew and loved, you lost, you don’t have that luxury. My Grandfather didn’t know America was exceptional because he read about it in a book. He knew about it because he lived it and saw it with his eyes. That powerful lesson is … our legacy as a people. And it is who we have a chance to be again. And I think that it is important for all of us because being an American is not just a blessing, it’s a responsibility.
As we were commanded to do long ago, ‘Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven’ (Mt. 5:16). Well, as we gather here …we are reminded that for our nation, being a light to the world, that is not just our common history, it remains our common destiny.”
We should appreciate the exceptional blessings of this land, and also appreciate that freedom, the liberty we enjoy, is not the usual condition of humanity, it hasn’t been for Cuba, nor many other lands. The blood stains upon our human history, the centuries of oppression and enslavement, expose for all to see what has been the typical human experiences. Our unimaginable blessings of freedom, our rule of law, and open political discourse is actually an aberration. It is simply not the normal condition of humanity. Its survival is then not guaranteed, but requires the passionate embrace of our responsibilities to this fragile thing we call liberty. This is required all the more because injustice, abuse, slavery, and slaughter have their own forces behind them, evil! America must remain an exceptional land, a bulwark, the “Light before men,” that our “good works be seen,” so that God is glorified. This is our “common history,” and yes, think about it, our “common destiny.”
We as a nation, as a people are joined together, not just by our history, and this mutual heritage, but by who we are, and what God has wrought in us. Together, with like-minded nations, we have in the past raised the banner against the hordes of dissipation, and barbarity, and we will have to again, believe me. Our nation was born of the Judaic-Christian faith, and this exposes the truth of who we are as a people. What we enjoy in our lavish and multiple blessings is because of our faith in God. Do not imagine for a moment that these bountiful and gracious things we enjoy are the results of accidents of history, geography, or luck. It is God’s doing, and we need to pray that He will continue to bless us!
So as you gather around a laden table with family and friends, remember what is our responsibility, our “common destiny.” Let the light of this exceptional land shine, proclaim the truth that God is living, and true, and we should, at the very least, give Him Thanks.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving unto our God,
Thomas R. Wyatt
THE FEAR OF GOD
My good friend:
In many places, quite a few seem to be engaged in but another struggle for the soul of our Western or Christian civilization. Forces are a foot that denigrate and would destroy what they perceive as the heart of who we are as a people. Atheism, anarchy, hostile and fanatical forces attack; they burn Christian hospitals, attempt to tear down our basic institutions, our churches, and even the benign efforts of good organization that want to feed the starving. These attacks do not come from poverty; they are not because of capitalistic oppression, supposed imperialism, financial folly, or even foreign policies errors, these are efforts to simply destroy, to lay waste, and remake what these people despise as Christian civilization.
However, we know what they seek to destroy is not what lies at the heart of who we are, or our civilization. Regardless of what most in the media believe, what ill informed crowds, or leading academic centers contend, the heart of our civilization remains our faith; faith in each other, faith in our institutions, and above all faith in God. That there are certain elements and movements within our institutions, even our churches that disdain any such expressions of real faith is what is really disturbing. It is this that will, if left unchecked, destroy our civilization as we know and love it, far quicker than any attacks from outside.
However, all this only reveals a profound misunderstanding by those intent on destroying any semblance of faith, and thereby remaking our civilization. Our civilization has been strong, prosperous, even great at times, only because of God. Without God, and His truth, there will be nothing to remake. Attempts to eradicate God will result in “wallowing in ashes,” and “ruin” (Ezek. 27). They overlooks one basic truth, “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom” (Psa. 111:10; Prov. 9:10). This is more than merely being reverent; or some playful dread, but the realization that God is not to be toyed with. We need proper respect, a sense of terror as we approach Him, for when one realize who He truly is it should evoke fear. He is The Creator, He holds all, everything in His hand, including us. It is this knowledge that is the prerequisite to wisdom.
“The fool says in his heart there is no God” (Psa. 14:1; 53:1). Although we are inundated with facts, bombardment with information, but when the world dismisses God it only reveals a serious lack of wisdom. This profusion of information has not enabled the world to answer the real questions of life. To remove God resulted in nothing making any sense. How does reason and intelligence come into existence without God? If everything, as current scholarship assert arises from non-intelligence, if life evolves from lifelessness, and the complexity of our world comes from the collision of simple atoms, plus time, meaning billions of years, plus chance, meaning a lot of luck, then we are confronted with nonsense. It is a farcical proposition, and reveals the true motives of these academics. They would remove the need of God! So for them any proposal, any theory, no matter how bizarre, or empty will be proposed and embraced.
Without God what is the answer to who I am? Is there any meaning to life? If everything began as an unthinking, unconscious, lifeless compressed mass of energy, billions of years ago, of what value is any single human life? The real answer to such questions requires God to be included in the discussion. Without God, life, morality, even love makes no sense. The existence human personality, self-awareness, especially those moments of human nobility and genius, cannot be answered by an impersonal, unintelligent explosion of mass and energy, plus those billions of years, and all that luck. The answer is a personal and intelligence being involved in everything from the beginning. And, in fact, only the Judaic-Christian revelation provides the answer, the only answer to these age-old questions.
No other construct, religion, or belief system provides the answers to the existence of life. The diversity of life, human intelligence, our ability to develop language, and think and imagine beyond our experiences, requires more than unprovable theories. There is only one philosophy, one religion that fills our need for meaning and purpose. Creation by a personal and intelligent God is not only the best answer to existence, intelligence, and all the whys of life, it is in fact the only answer.
GOD EXISTS! It is an answer that means more than God is out there somewhere in the vastness of space. He is a God that speaks, and more even moves in our midst. He has left us His Word, revealed Himself to mankind, and more, has provided the means to know Him. That God exists, is again the only answer, and it means that what He has said, declared, and promised also exists. It means Biblical Christianity is true, and as we will explore this further in days to come, it includes all that He means for our life, health and well-being.
It is an awesome and fearful thing to know the living God, but it brings wisdom,
Thomas R. Wyatt
Let Us Not Forget God!
Wings of Healing, P.O. Box 900, Whittier, CA 90608 , 626/448-3873
My wonderful friend:
I recently ran across this quote, it is old, but could have been written yesterday. “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power, as has few other nations, but we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which has preserved us, multiplied and enriched us in peace, and have vainfully imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own…we have become too self-sufficient to feel the need of redemption, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us to humble ourselves before the offending power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
The speaker was Abraham Lincoln, and it was April of 1863. Things were not going well for the Union, and it would be over two months before the fall of Vicksburg, and the victory at Gettysburg. His words struck me, however, as particularly poignant as I was assembling so many different items for my “Notes on the Apocalypse.” Often, John’s visions as he relates them in his book, do seem to even now stare menacingly back at us: in the nightly news, our newspapers, or as we view about us the vulgar gathering of ever more iniquity. Yet Lincoln remained firm in his cause, and so must we!
We need not now or ever meekly accept as inevitable the “gathering darkness.” Our generation, or any generation to come, need not acquiesces to such growing spiritual feebleness, and moral ineptitude. We have been called to be “salt” and “light,” to a decaying and darkening world (Mt. 5:13-14). As well, commanded, “to be a light to the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth” (Acts 13:47). And we are to, “stir up one another to love and good work, not neglecting to meet together…but encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb. 10:24-25).
Yes, “all the more as we see”! Even John in his Apocalypse constantly admonishes his readers to be steadfast, and faithful, bearing “testimony to Jesus” (Rev. 12:17). That, “the brethren,” which means all believers, will, “conquered him (the accuser) by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony (Rev. 12:11). Paul, after telling the Thessalonians what will lead up to the Lord’s return, will appeal for, “our Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, and God our Father…comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word” (2 Th. 2:16,17).
We are to establish ourselves, and encourage one other, especially when things seem the worse. We always need to stand firm in the truth, and provide for every good work. Which is to help each others, but also we are to witness to the word. It is our testimony of the Lamb, speaking the truth of our faith that will topple the accuser of mankind, bring God’s purpose to a triumphant close, and provide us each with a victor’s crown. There is no time for those that forget God., and we should have no desire to just wait as the world succumbs to deception.
God is in control, and will be victorious. He has awaken the hearts of tens of thousands in Iran, untold others throughout the Muslim world (if the emerging stories are true and there is no need to doubt them), and reports continue of millions in China, and now a tide of revival sweeping India, and there will be even more unbelievable stories to follow. Please do read the enclosed report from India.
Clearly we should not forget our God is advancing. His Spirit is reaching beyond the narrow confines of any regime trying to prevent the gospel, and all false dogma. Perhaps, the long awaited world wide revival is near upon us; don’t you want to be as much a part of it, as I? Of course, you do! Join with us, for the testimony of the Lamb can, and will bring down the very “gates of hell!”
Committed to the WORK and WORD, of our Lord,
Thomas R. Wyatt
Answers to Questions: “If the world is only going to get worse, what is the role of Christians?”
Our role is not to submit, or meekly accept the deepening abominations, but fight back. As Christians we should contest every inch of ground the enemy of mankind desires to take from our communities, regions, nations, or societies. Remember He is actually a defeated foe with limited time. It is divinely decreed that Christ and His own are the ultimate victors. However, obviously it will come down to North American Christians. This will be the final bulwark against the onslaught of Satan. Here will be the focus of his deceptions. However, we need not be alarmed, nor do we need to acquiesce to any of Satan’s efforts, as we can see in Asia, Africa, and elsewhere we are not alone in this battle.
A Bit Messy, But Thank You LORD!
My faithful friend:
It is July, and summer is upon us, a time for barbequing, and that lemonade in some leafy glade. July is as well our traditional time of reflecting upon our national beginnings, whether with fireworks, parades, family gatherings, or all of the above. We do remembering as well, in Philadelphia with the heat of rebellion in the air, hot enough to match the heat of the summer of 1776. The Second Continental Congress had met to wrestle with the future of thirteen separate and contentious colonies that hugged the coast of a vast wilderness. It was a meeting that would alter their lives, and would change history.
The richness of our national journey was made all the more real as Sharon and I traveled to British Columbia recently for the Wings of Healing Society annual board meeting. We were in time to witness the vibrant working of Canadian democracy. Television that night was filled with the results of the various contests, with pundits endeavoring to explain the sudden surge of the National Democratic Party, and the surprise of a Conservative majority government. I was fascinated with the differences, but even more by the similarities to our elections here. Realizing just how rare and special are such absolutely vibrant, robust, and fair elections. It was to see in real life what Winston Churchill, in a moment of ironic humor said, “Democracy is the worse form of government, except for all the others.”
A Democratic Republic is indeed at times messy, especially in the midst of cantankerous debate, or uncertainty, but would we really prefer to live in a theocracy like Iran, an authoritarian dictatorship like Zimbabwe, or totalitarian ones like Cuba, or North Korea? I doubt any of us would willingly exchange our lives for the “clean utopia” of Kim Jong-il, or the agrarian “paradise” of Robert Mugabe. The dreams of a manmade perfect society have been tried for centuries, even well meant Christians have tried. All such efforts have, and will, always fail. It will take God’s direct hand. So we make do with the messiness of campaigns, debates, heated rivalries, and elections, and thank the Lord for it all.
The last century saw the repulsion and failure of those ideology that oppose democracy and Christianity, whether Fascism, Marxism, socialism, hedonism, secular materialism, or a myriad of “new” religions. All the alternatives were dismal failures, often at the cost of millions of lives. Yet there will be those who will dress these old failures in new disguise, trying anything again, except what is natural to mankind, real faith and liberty. It is God that has instilled this in us all. It always comes down to Biblical Faith, and the Revelation of the One Living God. Here was revealed human worth, dignity, equality, our limitations and frailty, our dependence, compassion, and our true aspirations.
We enjoyed our trip, and will do so again next year. But now I wish all a great time of celebration, and reflection upon our very special heritage, which has made this continent a wonder in our world, and a destination of so many seeking a place where they can worship and live in peace and security. It is the wonder of our Republics.
Thank you Lord, for the obvious providence of your hand in it all,
Thomas R Wyatt
THINGS THAT MATTER:
Elections matter, often more than we realize. I knew of the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, and was intrigued as I watched his party sweep to what appeared to some, a surprising victory. Then I was to hear how at the Group of Eight Summit (the G-8) in Deauville, France, Prime Minister Harper stood alone against increasing pressure, particularly by our administration. Pressure to insist that Israel negotiate a Palestinian state, based on the 1967 borders. Canada alone made sure that the resulting communiqué would make no mention of the 1967 borders.
This issue was in the headlines recently with a Presidential speech, made while the Israeli Prime Minister was in flight to the United States, and was followed by a surprising “history lesson” provided by the Israeli Prime Minister in the White House. This is the cauldron that our administration continues to stoke, and will, if not this year, soon, culminate in unilateral action by the UN General Assembly, proclaiming a Palestinian State, based on those 1967 borders. How the UN Security Council acts will determine, whether Israel, will be isolated and then coerced into accepting borders that have invited four previous wars, or stand strong, as the situation implodes into what may be a catastrophic war, one that may engulf us all.
Sealed and Secure
My good friend:
As promised, we continue the effort to bring possible light to the maze that seems to gather around the topic of the Lord’s return, what our New testament usually refers to as the Parousia. Many of the popular perceptions puzzled me, and have since I was quite young. The confusing of the Lord’s prophecy “that not one stone will be left upon another,” and His telling all those present “that this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Mt. 24:2,34), just how does one mistake this for a prophecy of His return? He even says this specifically to, “those who are in Judea…,” adding, “alas for those who are with child,” and “pray that your flight not be in winter, or on a Sabbath” (Mt. 24:16-20). None of which can have any relevance outside its fulfillment in “the great tribulation,” the carnage following the Roman invasion of 66-70AD.
Jesus, follows His prophecy saying clearly, “but of that day and hour no ones knows…” and will add, “as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man.” He will then describes these days as if it were a wedding feast, “They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark… and then they were all swept away” (Mt. 24:36-39). Jesus is using the popular image of the great Messianic banquet to redirect the frantic expectations of His day, and hopefully the same kind of frenzy today as foolish men put a date to the Lord’s return. The reality of His coming is more than a celebrating of “the marriage supper of the Lamb,” but it is also entails judgment (Rev. 19:7-9; 21:2-3,9-10; 2 Cor. 11:2). Many will not be ready, and will be “swept away,” in judgment.
This banquet, and the marriage is a reoccurring Biblical theme (Mt. 22:1-14; 25:1-13; Lk. 14:15-24: Hos. 2:19-20; Isa. 62:5; and Isa. 54:5-10). The last passage from Isaiah is of particular interest. “Your maker is your husband…the Lord has called you like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit…with great compassion I will gather you…for this is like the days of Noah to me: as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth…the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you…”
Our Lord uses this language of Isaiah, to tell us His Parousia will resemble the days of Noah. Centuries ago many expected one thing, and were instead swept up in judgment. Yet He come always, in love, to gather His elect. Scripture is to encourage and inform, and certainly John’s letter to the seven churches is no exception. Filled with Old Testament images, it is all meant to help us understand what to expect and prepare for. Yet many avoid, or would miss what John says to the “churches.” Instead they expect the sea to literally become blood, and the sky to fall to earth, they and as a result confuse, and unnecessarily muddle John’s amazing and profound message.
Yet scripture is clear, despite all the muddling. Paul, as we know, left us two obvious and unmistakable signs of our Lord’s coming. First, there is to be a rebellion (apostasy in the Greek), and then the man of rebellion, the Son of perdition is revealed (2 Th. 2:3). The word apostasy implies an extensive rebellion in all spheres of life, literally a rising against all divine authority. This will be very hard to miss, as societies, every nations throw off all restraint and law, rejecting all Godliness. Paul will tell us “this mystery of rebellion is already at work,” meaning this rebellion against God has always been with us, and will only grow in intensity (2 Th 2:7). So why should we be surprised at the growing degradation about us?
This man who is to come, is more than lawless, he is the son of perdition, one destined for destruction. He reeks of arrogance and godlessness, as he exalts himself against all that is called God (2:4). So he, too, when revealed, will be hard to miss. Yet in this picture of societal breakdown and national instability, still we find God at work. So when we are presented with plausible rationales for necessary changes, “for the well being of society,” when certain rights freedoms are “suspended, just for a little while,” Christianity is persecuted all the more, and Israel, who will become the flashpoint for a worldwide conflagration, is pressured unrelentingly to “do what is right and fair,” understand that forces are coalescing for a “new world order.” Preparations are well under way for a realignment, as the will call it, “for world economic stability and social justice.” But the chaos will only grows, watch as the media, and many world leaders clamor for someone, a new “messiah,” to bring order out of the cataclysmic mess they have made. At the height of this mess the true Messiah will come to redeem and judge. Maranatha!
However, we do not abide in darkness, that any of this should catch us unaware. Just, “watch therefore…You must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Mt. 24: 42, 44; see also 24: 50; 25:13). We have the necessary information, and also His promise, “whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward” (Mt. 10:42). Giving to even the most insignificant disciple, the smallest, the most minuscule of gifts, just “a cup of cold water,” our reward in God is assured. He promises the same in the parable of the sheep and goats, for as the faithful ask in puzzlement, ”when did we see thee hungry, and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee…or sick or in prison and visit thee.” He responds, ”Truly I say to you, as you did it to the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt. 25:37-40).
So have no fear, one of our greatest blessings is that we are sealed as His own, with His name (2 Cor. 1:22; Rev. 7:3; 9:4). And as Paul claims, so it is for us all, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil and save me for His heavenly kingdom (2 Tim. 4:22). “The Lord loves justice; He will not forsake His saints. The righteous shall be preserved for ever” (Psa. 37:28). Through all and any difficulties He is always there. Just continue to do unto all, even to the least, as He is our Lord, Savior and Protector, and we will not lose our reward.
In service to all,
Thomas Randolf Wyatt
Why Do We Listen?
My gracious friend:
One would have to have been completely oblivious to the world around us to be unaware of the catastrophic effects of recent earthquakes, or that a sizeable portions of the world is engulfed in conflict and blood shed. This chaos has even touched the Christian church, as pastors, simple congregants have been burned, mutilated, or simply brutalized. Compounding this is the continuing nuclear disaster in Japan, so it is no surprise when respectable Christians speak of the possibility of the coming Apocalypse. One man has even predicted the Lord’s return on May 21. Of course, that Christian “leader” predicted the same thing in 1994.
We all should be aware of our Lord’s admonishment, “of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” (Mk. 13:32). Still we are inundated, now for over a thousand years, by the well-meant, but frantic cries of “He’s coming.” There are some Christians to which the year 1844 is still known as the “Great Disappointment.” That was when a pastor by the name of William Miller persuaded a large number of people of the Lord’s return no later than March 21, 1844. The date would pass, Miller’s prediction, and theology discredited. Yet others quickly put forth the date of April 18, and then October 22, all despite an entire nation laughing at them. It will happen again, when on May 21 there is no rapture. A segment of Christianity will be ridiculed, and it will adversely affect all Christianity. So why do we listen? Why do we give such men any credibility at all? Why are there legions who use every little headline, every imagined Old Testament passage to outline current events, and then try to fit it in their perception of Revelation?
The simple truth is, He is coming, but we are not supposed to know when, nor are we to guess, calculate, or predict. What good would it actually do if we did know the exact date? We couldn’t change anything, nor prepare ourselves any better, or could we? (Do read Sharon’s “by the way!”) This same problem confronted Paul in Thessalonica. Believers there had become confused, despondent, and others had just quit working, believing that the Lord would return at any moment (2 Th. 2:1-2; 3:6-12). Paul has clarified things, by stating that some events must occur before we can even begin to expect the Lord’s return. There is to be a rising apostasy, or rebellion against God and all civil order, which could be an accurate description of our present world (more on that next month). Then someone whom Paul will call “the man of lawlessness, the son of perdition is revealed, who opposes and exalt himself against every so-called god or form of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Th. 2:3- 4). There is much to say about this, but I must save it for next month.
There seems to be three basic errors, which are constantly perpetrated by those who frequently cry, “He’s coming.” They use the words and descriptions of our Lord’s prophecy concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, as if they referred to His “Parousia,” or second coming. They ignore, or perhaps are unaware of its fulfillment in 70AD (Read about this in my primer, “Prophecy,” pages 3-5, see below). Jesus does introduce His prophecy by providing some vital and important insights, but even these are often misunderstood. “Many will come…saying I am the Christ…you will hear of wars and rumors of wars (meaning wars near and far away) … “don’t be alarmed, such things must take place,” and then Jesus will add, “the end is not yet” (Mt. 24:5-6). Jesus will repeat this for added emphasis, “nation will rise against nation… there will be famines and earthquakes… but this is only the beginning of the birth pangs” (Mt. 24: 8).
Jesus is saying that all such events are not signs of the end, but what is common to every age. Wars, famines, earthquakes, are part of our struggle, part of mankind’s tormented existence in this age. There will always be “tribulations…you will be hated…for my name’s sake…many will fall away…false prophets…and wickedness will multiply.” But Jesus adds a concluding revelation, “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then will the end come” (Mt. 24: 9-14). Against all such severe tests we are to remain steadfast, and faithful, proclaiming against all odds the gospel.
Others have abused Daniel’s prophecies, forcing their own perceptions on what is so obviously symbolic. (Read my primer on “The End Time,” see below). This has affected how one reads the book of Revelation, and why it is the most misunderstood book of the Bible. There is more to say about John’s amazing and vital letter to the seven churches, but that too must wait for next month newsletter.
There are obviously those who like William Miller just have to calculate the Lord’s return. As a result there are those who have predicted the return of Jesus in 1981, 82, 88, 89, 92, 93, 94, 2000, and 2001, and now 2011 and 2012 have been put forth by still more. So why do we listen? Our call as Christians is to be faithful, put our trust in Him, and to witness to His truth of His gospel. To not, in the words of Paul, “ be quickly shaken in mind or excited, either by spirit or by word or by letter…” (2Th. 2:2). Such frantic fear mongering is not the gospel, nor is it to be our message. We have something far more vital, and relevant, again as our Lord Himself said, “the gospel of the Kingdom must be preached throughout the whole world, as a witness to all nations …” (Mt. 24:14). There is a great deal left to do. As for His Parousia, it is in His hands. It is up to the Lord to take care of that, and Oh yes, one day He will!
Serving the One who will return, Maranatha,
Thomas Randolf Wyatt
There is Nothing Like This!
My dear and faithful friend:
I would like to take you with me on a journey to a place that represents the very focal point of our faith. A place, that especially at this time of year, does come to mind as one reflects on the meaning of Easter, and what it must have been like to have been a witness to these momentous events. So, at this Easter season allow me to take you to a place half way around the world, but which is never far from our hearts.
I have traveled the world, and have seen many religious sites in exotic and mysterious places. I stood near the stupa, which is the traditional site of Mahatma Buddha’s burial. I have read of the Al Masjid de Naboui, where Mohammad is buried, and non-Muslims are not permitted to visit. I have seen the Golden Temple of Amritsar, where the remains of the Sikh’s ten Gurus are interred. Near Haifa, there is a lovely garden where the Baha ullah is buried. All these places are identical in a way, for each holds the earthly remains of revered founders of worldwide religions.
I have also stood in the rotunda of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a much repaired and expanded structure, but it still retains the feel and antiquity of the church built in 10992AD by the crusaders. There beyond the Chapel of Calvary, beneath the vastness of its dome stands a small stone building. What one might wish to see, the original site undisturbed, is gone destroyed by Roman conquest, and excavating the hillside to make room for centuries of pilgrims. Still as you draw closer the stone structure becomes a captivating with its carved façade and ancient adornments. You enter through a small doorway, and the powerful aroma of incense from scores of censers, and candlelight reflecting off countless golden embellishments, will leave a lasting impression. Then, just to your right, is a plain stone slab, worn smooth by the countless caresses and even kisses of nearly two millenniums. Here is where tradition, which long predates this ancient and venerated church, holds that Jesus was laid in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea (Jn. 19:38-42).
It is this place, where is revealed the major difference of our Christian faith. It is not the ancient and adorned buildings; all religions have erected such structures on their sacred sites. It is not in the veneration of the founders of a religion. All these places, where the remains of such revered founders lie, reveals this difference, THIS TOMB IS EMPTY. There was, and there is nothing like this! I do so hope all Christians realize just how unique and profound, how magnificent and amazing is this central creed of our faith. “He was crucified under Pontius Pilate, died and was buried, and rose on the third day living from the dead…” Yet these simple words have aroused more questions, doubts, been more scrutinized and speculated over than any other event in history. Oddly enough even among those that purport to be, of all things, Christian leaders and scholars.
However, it remains impossible to explain the recorded events of our gospels, and events of human history, without the reality of that empty tomb.
How does a rag tag, disheveled, disorganized, and frightened group suddenly become the staunch defenders of this newfound faith in Jesus? How do they stubbornly refuse to be silenced by the religious authorities, insisting that they “cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard (Acts 4:20). Imagine the courage as they face death to proclaim throughout a hostile Roman Empire “… the word of God without fear” (Phil. 1:14). How does the church continue to grow facing the same kind of hostility, and in so many nations of the world? How do thousands of Christians face martyrdom without flinching, and in numbers that exceed any persecutions of ancient history? The Christian church will always overcome every obstacle, resist every effort to destroy it, all while adding believers; the answer to why and how, is indeed wondrous!
What assured the success of this new movement was not the quaint and insightful little sayings of Jesus, not His profound parables, not even the reports of His marvelous signs and wonders. No, not even His excruciating death on Calvary guaranteed His place in history, or that this movement would thrive. There is only one thing that has made Christianity a reality, has made the world a better, brighter place, made civilization and advancement possible, made benevolence, world hope and eternal blessedness a divine promise. Only one thing…THAT EMPTY TOMB, and that Jesus rose from the dead, and was seen alive by many.
Without the resurrection, as I concluded my Easter sermon, Jesus would be perhaps remembered as another prophet murdered, another messianic hope crushed, another tribal king executed by the Romans, all forgotten, like so many to history. No, the culmination of our faith, the very reasons for the existence of Christianity, and why it will NEVER be snuffed out, crushed, or ever overcome, no matter what the forces arrayed against it. There is only one thing, JESUS IS ALIVE! Here is the pinnacle of all ancient hopes, the climax of prophecy, and the crowning achievement of God’s purpose for all mankind. HE IS RISEN INDEED!
Thus ends our journey to the Holy Land, to visit a place where events occurred beyond human comprehension, to a place that reflects all that Our Savior means to us. Where the hope of all creation began, that astonishing place….THAT EMPTY TOMB!
Praising God and a risen Savior and Lord,
Thomas R. Wyatt
Answering Questions: What of the Garden Tomb?
Many Christians when visiting Jerusalem will go to the popular “Garden Tomb.” Not far from the old Turkish Damascus Gate is a site made popular in 1883, by the British General, Charles Gordon. Gordon was a larger than life character, and a dedicated Christian. He became famous during the Taiping rebellion in China, and then added to it by suppressing the slave trade in the African Sudan. In 1884 he returned to Sudan to deal with Mohammed Ahmed, a self proclaimed Madhi, who raised a fanatical army bent on establishing the world Caliphate. Gordon would fortify the city of Khartoum, and after a siege of eleven-months the city fell, and with it Gordon. It was this Gordon, who on a visit to Jerusalem was disenchanted with the ostentation he found in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. He would discover among other ancient tombs, one that was empty. It was found near an outcropping that resembled a skull (or Golgotha in Aramaic). This has become known as the “Garden Tomb,” a popular site for visitors to Jerusalem. There is much to recommend this garden site. It is natural and preserved as one might wish all such sites were, however centuries of history, and archeology do favor the traditional site as the actual burial place of Jesus.
The Wit and Wisdom of Paul
My gracious friend:
To our faith, the apostle Paul holds a special place. His efforts for the gospel and his epistle are considered invaluable because of their obvious impact and revered value. There are those who find Paul harsh, judgmental, and fixated on certain negative issues. But I would have us appreciate one who can use language so effectively, perhaps unlike any other, even devising his own words. He uses irony to defuse potentially destructive situations (Rm.2:22; 1 Cor. 2:2; 3:18-19; 4:20; 14:8; 2 Cor. 11:4), has a caustic wit that disarms his detractors (1 Cor. 4:7-13; 2 Cor. 11:4; 12:13; Gal. 5:12; Eph. 5:18), and with extravagant flair can lift us on wings of divine inspiration to unimagined heights with just words.
He is, for me, always refreshing, inspiring, and constantly challenging. He did not drag, as some claim, this new “Way” (which is how the early church described itself, see my note below), into some theological maze far from some imagined simple faith in Jesus. Paul instead, with profound depth, an intense faith, and total devotion to Christ, would lead “The Way” where it could “make disciples of all nations” (Mt. 28:19).
For Paul, everything changed when he was overwhelmed on the road to Damascus. Here everything he thought he knew, EVERYTHING, was changed (Acts 9:1-9). He referred to himself “as the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle…but by the grace of God I am what I am…”(1 Cor. 15:9-10). And always he would stress that his apostleship, the gospel he proclaimed was “not received from man, nor was he taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:12, also 2 Cor. 12:12). His was a message “to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).
Jesus spoke of the Kingdom as at hand, and Paul could speak of its reality. That the kingdom existed not in meat, drink, or mere words, but “in the Spirit,” and “of power” (Rm. 14:17; 1 Cor. 4:20). Jesus endeavored to prepare His disciples for His divine destiny, and with remarkable words and great signs and wonders revealed that He was more than another prophet, healer, more even than just the Jewish Messiah. And Paul would give expression to that astonishing reality, “He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth….all things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together…For in Him the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:15-20).
Jesus befriended, brought liberation, healing, and forgiveness to all who sought Him out, which irritated religionists. Paul would speak of the “riches of His grace, which He has lavished upon us,” irritating more religionists (Eph. 1:7-8). Jesus prophesied of “other sheep not of this fold” (Jn. 10:16), and Paul with gifted inspiration writes “there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28). Jesus’ mission was first to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” for He would be limited by time, nature, custom, and God’s purpose (Mt. 10:6; 15:24), but Paul, constrained only by God’s purpose, would take the story of Jesus to Greece, Rome, and perhaps even Spain (Rm. 15:24), even as the Lord commands us (Acts 1:8).
Everything Paul knew was wrapped up in, and revolved around Jesus Christ, and the life of the Spirit. The gospel was that powerful and real to Paul, which meant the mere hint of compromise, to dilute, or alter the gospel resulted in his passionate denunciation, using even absurdity to strike home his point, “Even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8). His extravagant use of words will even sing of great truths, as “who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Surely not “tribulations, distress…peril, or sword…” Instead he will declare that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” He will conclude this soaring hymn proclaiming that nothing “in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rm. 8:35-39). What a profound and stirring prophecy!
There is so much more, so I am offering, free, some sermons on this theme, because we need to share with Paul his uncompromising passion for Jesus, and the gospel. As Jesus performed great signs and wonders, Paul expected such signs and wonders to continue as the expected consequence of our life in the Spirit. Are we then too afraid today of such a message? One of fire, passion, full of a burning love and wonder in the things of God? Would we understand and appreciate the likes of Paul in our pews, or even in our pulpits? Do we shy away from the Spirit’s true empowerment for our lives? Is it easier to be unruffled, undisturbed, and unchallenged by the truth of who Jesus is, and what He came to do in and through each of us? These are demanding questions, and require a truthful answer.
Would we embrace all the Spirit can do, or are we a little timid, and unsure? I know what my answer is! And I pray yours is the same, for by it will depends this ministry, and actually as does all of Christianity.
Serving an undefeatable God, and Savior,
Thomas R. Wyatt
Believers were first called Christians in the Syrian city of Antioch (Acts 11:26). However, this was not what the followers of Christ first called themselves. In the book of Acts we find that believers were first known as “The Way.” When Saul, soon to be known as Paul, embarked on his fateful journey to Damascus, he was determined that, “if he found any belonging to ‘the Way,’ men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem” (Acts 9:2). It is by this term, “The Way,” that Paul will refer to the “Christian” movement throughout his ministry (Acts 19:9,23; 22:4; 24:14,22). This makes wonderful sense, for it was the “way of God” (Jn. 18:26), the way of salvation (Jn. 16:17), and was built upon the one who said “I am the way…” (Jn. 14:6). The term “Christian” was attached to a young church in Antioch, in derision. We will always be known as “Christians,” we can’t change history, but actually there is nothing wrong with being called “Christian,” is there?