What on Earth are you Building?

p1010075-004As Jesus was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at these tremendous buildings! Look at the massive stones in the walls!” Jesus replied, “These magnificent buildings will be so completely demolished that not one stone will be left on top of another” (Mark 13:1-2).

Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem was one of the Wonders of the World in its day.  In the time of Christ they had been building it for 46 years (John 2:20), and as Christ was talking, the building had still not been completed.  The Jewish people were very proud of Herod’s Temple; it was one of the ways that Herod was trying to win his way into the Jewish people’s heart, even though he lived an ungodly life.  I have lived in Jerusalem for more than a year and a half of my life, and many times have walked up on the Temple Mount and reflected on the fact that every stone was literally thrown down just as Christ prophesied. It was totally destroyed in 70A.D. by the Roman General Titus. Josephus the historian speaks of more than a million Jews being killed when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and set fire to the Temple. The gold of the Temple melted into the cracks in the walls, so every stone was separated to get at the gold. The result being that each stone of the temple was thrown down from the Temple Mount.

When Jesus talked to the Samaritan woman in John 4, the big issue to her was whether or not she should worship at the temple that was in Samaria or the one in Jerusalem.  Jesus said, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem… the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” (vs.21-23).  What was He saying?

God is not as interested about buildings—He is interested in us. What concerns Him is the temple of the heart.  Paul the Apostle wrote about this when he said “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). It’s seems to me like he was writing something that was 101 basic Christianity to the Church in Corinth using the words “Don’t you know” to remind them.

Isn’t it easy to get sidetracked into building what can be seen by men rather than what is seen only by God? I notice that the first Temple was called Solomon’s Temple, the second being Herod’s Temple.  Maybe that is why God allowed the magnificent structure of the Temple buildings to be destroyed. The buildings were about what men had built.  I don’t want to be disappointed at the end of my life by what I have built with my time, energy and money, and I don’t want you to be disappointed either. Jesus said that we were to not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:2-3).  Is it about me? Does it have my name on it? Why am I building it? Is my labor truly glorifying to Him or is it bringing glory to me? Is it magnificent to men but lacks value to God?

The things we build here on earth may be magnificent for a time but have little if any lasting value. The things that last are issues of the heart and character. I am convinced that many of you will be greatly rewarded for things that man has not recognized but God alone has seen.

Prayer: Please don’t let me get sidetracked into investing into things of this world; I truly want to build something that is glorifying to you.

Keith Thomas

What is the time of “Great Distress” or “Tribulation?”

the-great-tribulation-begins15“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again (Matthew 24:15-21).

Many of you have heard of the time that is called the “great tribulation”(KJV), translated as “great distress” in the New International Version. Jesus in the passage above warned us about this time. He said that an event He called the “Abomination of Desolation” would precipitate this time of great distress in Israel, and the rest of the world too. So the first big question for us to consider is, what is meant by the term ‘great distress or great tribulation? What will happen at that time?

The Greek word that the term is translated from is Thlipsis. I have a Key Word Study Bible, which enables me to search how the Greek word was used in other passages. The word literally means, “to crush, press, compress, squeeze. Tribulation, trouble and affliction. This Greek word “conveys the picture of something being crushed, pressed or squeezed as from a great weight. It is used to denote grievous physical affliction or mental or spiritual distress.”[1]

How this word was used in context in other passages of the Bible will shed some light on what the church should expect to happen during that time. In Acts 8:1, the word thlipsis is translated as great persecution after the martyrdom of Stephen:

1And Saul approved of their killing him. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.

In Acts 11:19, the same Greek word, thlipsis, is translated again as persecution:

19Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews (Acts 11:19).

And lastly, Paul used the same Greek word when he wrote to the Thessalonian church about the persecution they had been going through:

4Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring (2 Thessalonians 1:4).

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, what am I saying? I’m saying that we need to be focusing and preparing ourselves spiritually to live in close relationship to the Lord. The tribulation, when it comes, is a time of worldwide persecution on those who serve the God of Israel, true Christians and Jews. I believe the persecution is aimed at all those who will not take the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:16-17) or worship his image. We should not think that the Lord will rapture us out of here before the tribulation, but we should prepare to endure. The tribulation is never called the wrath of God. The wrath of God is only poured out after the church is taken at some point (no man knows the day nor the hour) during the great tribulation (Matthew 24:30) that breaks out after the mid-point of the seven-year period. Let’s grow in our dependence and trust in Him.

You can study more about what the Bible says about this time period by reading the studies on the Seven Seals, The Mark of the Beast and the Great Tribulation or Persecution in the series of the Second Coming of Christ in the middle column. They are all free and easily downloaded or read by clicking on the link. Hold on to Christ and His Word!

Keith Thomas

[1] New Testament Lexical Aids, Key Word Study Bible, AMG Publishers, Thlipsis, Page 1632

What on Earth are you Building?

James_Tissot_Jesus_Walking_on_Solomons_Porch_525As Jesus was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at these tremendous buildings! Look at the massive stones in the walls!” Jesus replied, “These magnificent buildings will be so completely demolished that not one stone will be left on top of another” (Mark 13:1-2).

Herod’s Temple was one of the Wonders of the World in its day. In the time of Christ it had been in the building for 46 years (John 2:20) and as Christ was talking, the building had still not been completed. The Jewish people were very proud of Herod’s Temple; it was one of the ways that Herod was trying to win his way into the Jewish people’s heart, even though he lived an ungodly life. I have lived in Jerusalem for more than a year and a half of my life and many times have walked up on the Temple Mount and reflected on the fact that every stone was literally thrown down just as Christ prophesied. It was totally destroyed in 70A.D. by the Roman General Titus. Josephus the historian speaks of more than a million Jews were killed while the Romans set fire to the Temple.  The gold of the Temple melted into the cracks between the bricks so every brick was separated, looting the gold and throwing the large magnificent stones from the Temple Mount.

When Jesus talked to the Samaritan woman in John 4, the big issue to her was whether or not she should worship at the temple that was in Samaria or the one in Jerusalem.  Jesus said, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem… the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” (vs.21-23). What was He saying?

God is not as interested about buildings as us.  What He is more concerned about is the temple of the heart.  Paul the Apostle wrote about this when he said “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). It’s seems to me like he was writing something that was 101 basic Christianity to the Church in Corinth using the words “Don’t you know” to remind them.

Isn’t it easy to get sidetracked into building what can be seen by men rather than what is seen only by God? I notice that the first Temple was called Solomon’s Temple, the second being Herod’s Temple. Maybe that is why God allowed the magnificent structure of the Temple buildings to be destroyed. The buildings were about what men had built.  I don’t want to be disappointed at the end of my life by what I have built with my time, energy and money, and I don’t want you to be disappointed either.  Jesus said that we were to not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:2-3). Is it about me? Does it have my name on it? Why am I building it? Is my labor truly glorifying to him or is it bringing glory to me? Is it magnificent to men but lacks value to God?

The things we build here on earth may be magnificent for a time but have little if any lasting value. The things that last are issues of the heart and character. I am convinced that many of you will be greatly rewarded for things that man has not recognized but God alone has seen.

Prayer: Please don’t let me get sidetracked into investing into things of this world; I truly want to build something that is glorifying to you.

Keith Thomas

Would you like to Tour Israel with us?

Would you like to come with us on our Christ centered inspirational tour of Israel? The date we are leaving is 28th March, 2016. Returning on 8th of April. Our departure city is New York. So, tour “pilgrims” will need to make their own arrangements to and from NY. The advantage of this is that some people have air miles and can use them to plan their own flight to New York. Some might want to drive the day before and leave their car with a friend. Doing it this way helped us to keep the pricing down significantly. Last time I had some people join us in Israel from England, so there are all kinds of ways to join us. The price is $3,290. All you will need is a little extra for a lunch each day and of course, souvenirs. This works out as an excellent value for the experience that awaits you!

I have taken extra care by finding an excellent guide, and she comes with high recommendations from friends that live in the land. She is an Israeli Registered Tour Guide, and is also a Jewish background believer in Yeshua (Jesus!). Hanna is originally from America, but has lived in the land for many years. Her full name is Hanna Ben Haim. I found a clip on YouTube where you can see her sharing a little at a site in Israel near Capernaum:

Below are the links which show the hotels we will be staying at:

1 Night @ Netanya, Ramada Hotel: http://www.ramadanetanya.com
2 Nights @ Tiberius, Ein Gev: https://www.eingev.com
1 Night @ Dead Sea, Daniel Hotel: https://www.tamareshotels.com/daniel-dead-sea-hotel
5 Nights @ Jerusalem, King Solomon Hotel: http://www.kingsolomonjer.com

If you are interested, email me at keiththomas7@gmail.com and I will send you more details.

Israel Tour Testimonies:

I’ve been meaning to write to tell you again thank you for all you did for us on this trip to Israel. I’m still in the “wow” zone from everything I learned and enjoyed on this trip. It has been the best trip I’ve ever been on in my life. Liliana.

You have NO idea how much I appreciate you taking all of us to Israel…I’m still processing all I’ve experienced. Just unbelievable!!! I enjoyed it all immensely!! John

Hi Keith, The trip was amazing its always in my mind my husband would probably like to go next year I told him its a trip not to miss and I most likely will go again lucky me! We learned a lot and more close to Christ. Andrea.

If I were to score the trip in general from 1 to 10, I would give it a 12!!!! As an overall experience, it’s just the best place to go. I have travelled to several places in Europe and South America; all very beautiful but as I have mentioned to others, there is just no comparison. It has to be that impression you get in the center of your being, that awareness of His presence, that feeling of knowing He was there, that make this trip so memorable (Liliana).

“My trip to Israel with Keith Thomas really helped to build context for all the things I’ve learned & studied in scripture. It all came together for me as I visited each site and benefited from the knowledge and insight that Keith shared with the group. This trip was absolutely life-changing for me as the Bible came to life and I felt a greater connection to God and the Scriptures than ever before!” Matt

Keith, Thanks for organizing the trip and bringing the scriptures to life as we visited all the historical places. The group we traveled with jelled together and became my spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ in a special way. My lasting memory will always remain alive! Our visit to the Garden Tomb I felt the Spirit of God’s presence. Entering the tomb where Jesus was laid and rose from the dead. The beautiful garden where he walked and met Mary! How awesome and meaningful. I will never forget the feeling deep in my heart! Blessings, Rose

For me, I want to encourage everyone who can to take this opportunity to visit the Holy Land with Keith Thomas and his lovely wife Sandy. This trip made a lasting impression on my husband Gary and I’s lives because it brings the Bible to life in a brand new way. I am so grateful that we got to experience traveling with a group to Israel. There are too many benefits almost too many to name but I will try and list a few. First of all, by traveling with a group you have the comfort and excitement of sharing everything together. We started off as a group of people that barely knew each other and became a tight band of brothers and sisters.

I also was greatly impacted by not only seeing where stories took place in the Bible, (which was amazing in itself), but God’s Spirit met us on several occasions as we prayed, sang or worshipped together. The trip also fashioned our hearts and gave me a greater respect for the nation of Israel. These people have suffered and triumphed as a nation for thousands of years, yet through everything they have been through, it is evident that God’s hand on them. It was truly an honor getting to meet each and every one on our pilgrimage to the Holy Land together. I will remember this trip for the rest of my life. Thanks again to Keith and Sandy for making it happen. May God Richly bless each one of you, Mary

Thank you so much for arranging the trip to Israel! When looking at my 1817 photos I remain amazed at the many places we visited in such a short time! Visiting the historical sites and hearing the stories pertaining to each stop and along the way has helped me to comprehend where and how the Old Testament ties into the New Testament thus making hearing and reading the Word of God come alive in a new and exciting way! I feel like we all got our monies worth and then some! The memories of Israel and the Jewish people we met are priceless! Sue

The War Between Jewish and Arabic Peoples

palestine122There is a great love by the Most High Creator God for the Jewish and Arabic peoples. God tells of a time that is still future when there will be a highway all the way from Syria across Israel to Egypt. It will be a time when Arabs and Jews will worship the Lord together. Even though we cannot see it right now, the Most High God will bring it about. Egyptians, Syrians and Israeli’s will have a true peace and experience the blessing of the Messiah. This is what the Lord says:

23In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. 24In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. 25The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance” (Isaiah 19:23-25).

We cannot see it now because of a great war that is going on over the Middle East. This war is being fought on a spiritual plane, but has consequences on Earth. Paul the Apostle wrote, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). What was Paul saying? He was saying that behind the things that are going on in the political world are invisible spiritual forces of evil that are vying for control over people’s minds and hearts. These invisible spiritual forces of evil plant thoughts and influence the minds of political leaders for a worldwide agenda to be brought about—a One World Government under a dictator the Bible calls the Antichrist. The hatred that has been pushed by the media between Jews and Arabs is of unseen demonic origin. It is just being used as a ploy for gaining control of Jerusalem, and at a time in the future, a world leader, the Antichrist, will sit in a newly rebuilt temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and proclaim himself as God, seeking for all the world to worship him. The prophet Zechariah spoke 2500 years ago of a time that we are in right now:

2“I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. 3On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves (Zechariah 12:2-3).

It is important to understand that the name “Jerusalem” never appears in the Koran. The claim to Jerusalem came years after Mohammad’s death. Writer Hal Lindsey, in his book The Everlasting Hatred, The Roots of Jihad, says, “The justification for this comes from a verse which says Mohammad travelled to the “uttermost mosque,” (which is the meaning of Al Quds in Arabic) shortly before his death.” There is no evidence that this was Jerusalem—the legend of a visit to Jerusalem first appeared in the days of Khaliph Omar, the Muslim who originally conquered Jerusalem in April of AD 637, more than 560 years after the Jews were banished from Jerusalem by the Romans. There will come a time when the Arabic people will see that they have been manipulated by dark invisible forces and turn to the Lord for the free gift of His salvation that Christ won on the cross. They will see that He has a great love for them just as He has for the Jewish people.  He will have mercy on all who call on Him—for He will forgive them of their sins when they cry out to Him. What a difference on Earth that will make!

Keith Thomas