Will Elijah Come Again? No, Elijah has already come.

This is written to counter a recent article circulating the net claiming the people of God should expect Elijah to come back to earth before the Return of Christ. It is not the first time I have heard this teaching, and it is false! Realize, it is important to challenge such teaching, for if we are not grounded in truth, we make ourselves vulnerable to deception in the end times.

Here is the background. At the beginning of Matthew 17, Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James and John. They witnessed Him transform into His true, glorious form, where Scripture tells us ‘His face shone like the sun and His clothing became white as light’.

Appearing alongside Jesus were the spirits of Moses and Elijah. Peter in his enthusiasm offered to make booths for each of them, momentarily failing to realize Who should have been his only priority. God’s voice came from heaven in response, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”

So often, just like Peter, we slide off point in attempting to interpret the will of God and His Word. The focal point, the bullseye if you will, is always Messiah. Any movement, however slight, off center of Him misses the mark.

You see, Moses and Elijah appeared along with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration to make a point. The most revered prophets of Judaism were with Jesus! Then God made sure everyone present understood which of them was solely Lord and Master: His Son!

The circulating article I mentioned at the start, conjectured that when Elijah returns in the end times, He will likely ‘restore’ traditions of Judaism before the return of Christ. Oops, he missed the mark and the priority, that being Christ, not Judaism!

Now, I love teaching that helps us understand our Hebraic roots and connects Old and New Testaments. It helps us put all the pieces of the Scriptural puzzle together, and when it is done right, it points us to our Savior again and again. This is already happening through great scholars today like Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, for one.

But, any teaching that the people of God must return to traditions or especially laws of Judaism is strictly false and mis-leading. The New Testament declared the law obsolete. Paul explained it once served as a ‘nanny’ to the ancient people of God, and was retired at the cross. We now have our Bridegroom and His Spirit to guide us. To crawl back to the nanny is absurd and offensive to Him!

Back to Elijah. Should we expect him to come again, to restore Judaism and usher in the end times before Christ returns? No. Jesus, in Matthew 17, makes it very plain that Elijah already came a second time, and His mission was none other than to point the way to Christ.

Listen in to His conversation with the disciples:

MATTHEW 17:10-13

His disciples asked him, ‘Why do the scribes say Elijah must come first?’ And Jesus answered them, ‘Elijah certainly comes first, and restores all things. But I say to you, Elijah has already come, and they did not know him, and have done to him what they wished. Likewise also the Son of man shall suffer at their hands.’ Then the disciples understood that he spoke to them of John the Baptist.

Friends, I do not pretend to fully understand how John the Baptist was Elijah. Was he a literal reincarnation of the ancient prophet? Or, did he possess a symbolic spirit of Elijah, bring back the same message as Elijah? I cannot say, and have heard it taught different ways.

But, the core message is clear. Jesus informed us no matter how you look at it, Elijah’s message did echo on earth a second time through John the Baptist before the ministry of Christ began.

This leaves us with a solid conclusion: Elijah is not coming yet another time. For, the focal point in time for which the prophet Elijah and John the Baptist were prepping us was Jesus’ ministry/death/resurrection, not His end-time return.

The time of the cross was the most important moment in human history! Within that pivotal event lies the identity of our Savior, that He gave everything for us, and that He became the only way through Whom we can be restored to the Father.

Once more, hear the words of God the Father, and then listen to those of His Son, as He instructed!

This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him! (God, the Father; Matt 17:5)

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (Jesus; John 14:6)

Before closing, let’s reflect once more on the message of John the Baptist, for it is most certainly needed today!

MATTHEW 3:1-3

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him’.”

John did what was prophesied and prepared the way for Jesus to be received by His people. And Jesus brought the kingdom of heaven to earth, as John declared.

Will you recognize the focal point of the entire Bible, and of history: Jesus our Redeemer and Messiah, and know and trust Him today?

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Resist Hate = Embrace Love

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus/John 16:33

Last night, I had a terrible time sleeping. Tossing and turning, I felt unrest in body and soul. I told God, ‘I feel braced for bad news.’

His answering whisper in my soul was from the verse above: ‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’

After sleeping less than two hours, I awoke early, still anxious. He led me to a song by Rich Mullins in my inspirational playlist. The words that penetrated my soul went something like this:

There’s bound to come some trouble in this life… hold onto Jesus, hold on tight. He’s been there before and He knows what it’s like. You’ll find He’s there.

After listening to the sweet melody and comforting words of this classic Rich Mullins song, I searched His Spirit as to, ‘what next?’ I felt pressed to switch on the news, something I almost never do, for I don’t watch daytime TV.

The headlines were screaming across several channels: 50+ Dead, 200 injured… over 400 taken to hospitals in Las Vegas. Largest mass shooting in U.S. 

As my mind and emotions struggled to take in the devastating, overwhelming news and images, I realized God had been prepping me all night long. He was one step ahead, leading me, letting me know He was still in control.

God is real. He talks to His kids. He wants us to understand He does not prevent all pain in this world, but He promises to be with us no matter what we face.

 

One of the things we hear a lot these days is the phrase, ‘resist hate’. That is actually good advice. But I find many who proclaim it seem to lack real know-how. You see, to fight a negative, you must replace it with a positive. To resist hate, we must embrace Love.

Love is more than a concept. It comes from somewhere, a very pure, living source, a Person. His name is Jesus, the Creator who made us and gave all for us, Who loves us without end. He is Truth. He IS Love. In His presence, hate cannot survive.

So, connect with the source today. Embrace Love. The world so desperately needs Him.

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— John 1:12

How Do We Save America?

Long before this blog began over a year ago, and many times since, I have found myself mourning, weeping, crying out to God for America. For some reason, He has pressed into my soul an urgent passion on behalf of what was (and in His eyes, I believe, still is) His country.

As a nation, we reflect Him less now than we did a century and a half ago, when writers like Herman Melville and Alexis de Tocqueville were declaring America distinctly and almost universally “Christian”.

But we still house the majority of God’s people, having the densest population of the followers of Christ/Messiah, Yeshua. So, the influx of non-believers, and the secularization of our culture and laws has still not changed the fact the most Christians in the world live in the U.S.! This land is God’s land, it was founded upon Biblical principles and the hope of religious freedom.

The blessings of being God’s land are obvious. Richest nation in the world, abundant resources, country that has most reached a helping hand to those in need and taken in the majority of the world’s refugees…

But we are slipping, are we not? Many ask why, and in my experience, many believers want to continually point fingers at non-believers. ‘It must be their fault, they come with their pagan ideas and worldly values and are voting out our laws which were based upon God’s Word.’

Maybe that is a little of it. But the greater truth we do not want to face is, churches and people who also call themselves Christian have allowed their teaching and values to become severely diluted with the world’s values. Christian pastors and priests, and parishioners have allowed their churches’ teachings to stray far from the Word of God!

This past Sunday, I attended a service where the speaker did little more than give a speech worthy of a social/political rally instead of a message for God’s people in His house. To be honest, it smacked of rebellion, and I did not hear the name of Jesus except at the end of one prayer. I was more than appalled, and found myself doing spiritual warfare praying during the service, going so far as to rebuke a spirit of revolution that is spreading in our land like a wildfire from hell!

My precious friends and co-believers in Christ, remember the words of Jesus when He said in Matthew: “If your enemy compels you to go with him one mile (carrying his load), go with him two.” (Matt 5:41)

The message of Christ in the New Testament is peace and humble service, not rebellion and revolution! The people of God do not need to ‘rise up’, they need to fall upon their knees in repentance to the Lord, fasting and prayer!

When ministers stand up and teach the whole truth in the Word of God, and we as believers respond and become clean, surrendered to the Lord and filled with His Holy Spirit… then we will be ready to move forward as a mighty army, NOT to war, but to LOVE the non-believing world as Christ loved us. And then, maybe then, who knows what God might do in our land?

JOEL 2:12 “Therefore also now, says the LORD, turn to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13 And tear your heart, and not your clothing, and turn to the LORD your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and may change His mind on judgment. 14 Who knows if He will change His course, and leave a blessing instead?

15 Blow the trumpet in the land of God’s people, observe a holy fast, call a solemn assembly: 16 Gather the people, call out the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and babies; let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. 17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep and let them say, Spare Your people, O LORD, and give not Your heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: saying in the midst of the people, ‘Where is their God’?

18 Then will the LORD be jealous for His land, and pity His people.”

Scripture from: Strong, James. A Complete Bible Reference Study Library (4 in 1): [Illustrated]: KJV Bible (with blogger edits to modernize and clarify), Strongs Concordance & Dictionaries, Lexicon Definitions, and Bible word index (Kindle Locations 83503-83529). Bestbooks. Kindle Edition.

The Center of Land of Promise

Day before yesterday, I let Faith and Fasting friends know I published a book called, Land of Promise. I had to return today to share something that happened yesterday because I’m still shocked by it!

First, know this book continues to surprise me every time I read it. That sounds nuts, but it is true. I know God gave me the information, led me to the research and opened my eyes to things in Scripture I’d never noticed before. But, it is a diversion from very traditional interpretations of some things.

At the heart of it, I believe this book is a realignment onto the center of Scripture: Christ. He is the center. A few teachers/scholars over the years have tried to make the center of the Bible the nation of Israel. But, when we make Messiah the center, the rest of Scripture unfolds correctly.

Okay, now for the really, really strange thing that happened yesterday. I was re-reading the book in my Kindle app. Kindle let me know I was at the 50% mark, exactly halfway through the book.

Guess what I read on the middle section of the middle page of the book, something which I certainly did not/could not have planned! It was this:

“The most important thing I can say is… the Bible is not Israel-centered. Israel, meaning the earthly land. Rather, the Bible is Christ-centered… It is the testimony of how He related to His people, all of His people – Israel of God – before and after the cross. When we get the center point of the Bible wrong, we get everything out of focus… And our interpretations of Scripture suffer because they are faulty from the foundation.”

The weird thing is, that text was something I added at the last minute before I published  the book. I had no idea I’d placed it in the exact center until yesterday. My jaw dropped when I saw it.

I’ve noticed from the beginning the Spirit of God was all over this, it was His project. I pray His people give it a chance although it will challenge long-held thought for some.

I’ve priced the book very low because I just want people to read it. If you know someone who cannot afford it, the ebook can be loaned for 2 weeks by anyone who has purchased a copy. The ebook is $2.99 and the paperback is $7.99 (link below).

God bless!

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/158-0402283-8285826?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=land+of+promise+garcia

Land of Promise

Dear friends of Faith and Fasting, I am so pleased to announce that after two years of research and writing, my first book, Land of Promise, was published this month on Amazon.com!

This book takes a closer look at Old Testament prophecy and dares to suggest the U.S.A. was in prophecy all along, spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, for one, as a land where God’s people would gather in greater numbers in the last centuries.

It sounds crazy, I know, but the Biblical evidence is surprising and extremely compelling.

Anyway, I wanted you to be among the first to hear about Land of Promise. I’ve printed the Introduction here for you to sample. Have a blessed day!

 

INTRODUCTION

Masterfully and poetically, Isaiah prophesied the most pivotal events in human history. Isaiah foretold of a Redeemer coming to save a rebellious people. He comforted them with word of Redeemer’s long-awaited arrival. He described the suffering of that Servant. Then he promised glorious blessings of the people restored by Redeemer. In the simplest of terms, Isaiah is Messiah-centric.

Isaiah brought his message to life using relational and family concepts like widowhood, barrenness, and marriage. He talked of a new land for the bride, and birth of new children.

This book will eventually focus in on one specific topic of Isaiah’s prophecy. That is, where Isaiah gave descriptions regarding the new land, where the people restored by Redeemer would eventually dwell.

For an introductory glimpse, listen carefully to Isaiah 49:19-20:

19 Your desolate places and the land of your destruction will even now be too small for the inhabitants. 20 The children you will have after you have lost the others, will say… ‘the place is too small for me; give me a place where I can dwell.’

The prophet Isaiah let us know in this short passage that there would be a destroyed land and lost children. The prophecy of destroyed land was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D.

He also revealed there would be so many new children that the old land of destruction would become much too small for them. Followers of Christ, having begun in Jerusalem, have grown and spread worldwide. Was that what Isaiah meant when he said the new children would need a bigger place to live, that they would someday cover the whole earth?

In one view, many well-established Bible scholars have insisted the new land Isaiah described is still a future fulfillment after the return of Christ, something God’s people will enjoy only in the Millennium. The Millennium, described briefly in Revelation, is the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth after His return.

But Isaiah’s very detailed descriptions, all the way down to soil content, perfectly match one particular land that exists now.

For many years, without explanation, I was overwhelmingly drawn to read Isaiah. Over and over, when I would pick up the Bible to read or study, I found myself landing in his prophetic chapters.

Each time I came across a mention of the ‘new land’ in Isaiah, I was intrigued and couldn’t help but silently ponder it sounded oddly familiar. The thought nagging my mind was it seemed very similar to United States history and makeup.

Certainly crazy and counter-culture in traditional circles, I barely mentioned my suspicions to anyone. It had long been declared absolute by so many Christian teachers that America is not in prophesy. Still, the prodding in my mind and spirit would not go away.

Finally, one day in the Fall of 2014, the Holy Spirit powerfully moved me to research America, to compare her to each of the descriptions in Isaiah regarding the new land for the followers of Redeemer. I wanted to hold up and thoroughly examine her founding, topography, and more, against every suspect passage in Isaiah.

My research began where Isaiah said the soil of the new land would contain multiple gemstones. With gemstone research as my cornerstone, I spent weeks studying in worldwide databases.

What I unearthed was overwhelming. The United States is saturated with multiple gemstones in her rocks and soil, far beyond any other country in the world.

The information to follow, uncovered over weeks and months, I can only describe as staggering. One by one, exact and distinct matches were found in America to all of Isaiah’s prophetic descriptions of the ‘future’ land until they added up to 100%.

There was no doubt in my mind we were a match. More than that, we were the head-and-shoulders-above-the-rest, single perfect match. Is it possible for such a thing to be a coincidence? Or, were we the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy and scholars had somehow missed it?

By this time, my husband, aware of the growing research, was pushing me to finish. Still, I procrastinated. I’d never written a book. The scope of topics being challenged was overwhelming, and the fear of ridicule crippled me.

It seemed worthless, pointless to take on the traditional thought that has so long dominated. I couldn’t help but think it would be like trying to un-wedge people out of comfortable clay in which they had become practically cemented. And what if I was the wrong one?

Pressing me ever onward, one day the Spirit whispered to me, calculate the odds. What were the odds of one country in all of history being the clear, point-by-point match to every single prophecy of Isaiah’s new land? I had no idea how to calculate odds, but studied and learned.

When I finally put pencil to paper, my mind exploded again. The astronomical odds against one country being the identical match to Isaiah’s prophecy rendered it statistically impossible to have happened by chance. The numbers could not lie. No country could have been a perfect match, except by design.

In spite of this, my internal struggle persisted. I dreaded being labeled just one more pretentious American trying to elevate our far-from-perfect country to the level of ancient Israel.

Bottom line, how could I raise my hand and timidly suggest to an unwelcoming crowd that we might be another promised land right out of Scripture? That we might just be the dirty Cinderella whose foot inexplicably, perfectly, and exclusively fits into the glass slipper?

Regardless, the facts must be shared. The data demands hearing from a wider audience. And more importantly, if I’ve learned anything in life, when the Spirit hands you insight, revelation great or small, it must be proclaimed no matter the implications.

So, I bring you this evidence with timidity. Let’s be honest, it isn’t every day you challenge a paradigm or face down a giant. Still, it comforts me that a boy named David did just that once, and God was glorified in the outcome. And, this time around, there are more than just a few stones.

 

[Land of Promise is available as a Kindle ebook for $2.99, or in paperback for $7.99. To get your copy, click the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=land+of+promise+valerie+garcia&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aland+of+promise+valerie+garcia]

Reexamining a Presidential Debate Quote

Hillary Clinton invoked a famous quote in at least two of her speeches now, and it occurred to me to put it into perspective for those who did not recognize the quote or know its true author. The quote is this: “America is great because America is good.”

She was quoting Alexis de Tocqueville, famous 19th century French historian, philosopher, and statesman. The way Hillary used the quote indicated she (or her speech writers) believed it to stand on its own, but I hope she and those who endeavor to lead this country will study more of de Tocqueville’s work, for he clearly and strongly identified his belief as to the source of American goodness. Let me explain.

Alexis de Tocqueville travelled to America in the mid-1800s to learn for himself the reasons for the amazing success of this young nation. Afterward, he wrote a work entitled, Democracy in America, and he went to great lengths to explain why he concluded America was good. Here are some excerpts:

Upon my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention… 

In America I found (the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom) were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country. 

I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion — for who can search the human heart? But I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society. 

…there is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility and of its conformity to human nature than that its influence is powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth. 

In the United States, the influence of religion is not confined to the manners, but it extends to the intelligence of the people… 

I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors… her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her… institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution. 

Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. 

America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great. 

The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.

Christianity is the companion of liberty in all its conflicts — the cradle of its infancy, and the divine source of its claims.

To Alexis de Tocqueville’s words, I say, “Amen!”

Hillary was right in repeating his statement, ‘America is great because America is good’. But, American goodness has been connected to something. It came out of unchanging, bedrock, Judeo-Christian values. And, according to de Toqueville, that was the true heart of our greatness.

Final thoughts: within de Tocqueville’s work is a very sober warning. American goodness and greatness are directly linked to Biblical values. Divorce the culture from those values, and we break ourselves away from all that made us great. How long will we stand detached from our foundation? It is something to think about.

Resources:One Nation Under God: Alexis de Tocqueville, pulled June 10, 2016 from http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/cdf/onug/detocq.html

Challenge to the People of God

For anyone who knows Christ, this is a quick, personal challenge burning in my heart today:

Do you find yourself despairing over the atmosphere of our country and the direction she is headed, the division, violence, etc? I know you are praying about it. But, have you fasted yet? Fasting is the ultimate spiritual weapon.

According to Christ, ‘some things are broken only by prayer and fasting.’ So, until we have fasted, the truth is we have not yet even begun to fight.

I wonder what would happen these next few weeks in our nation if all of us fasted for her one meal a week, or more?

Pass it on…

[Do not fast if you know you have a physical ailment that makes it unsafe! See a doctor, if you need to be sure!]