THE EXISTENCE OF GOD

Is there any evidence for the existence of God?

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Consider first that there are three possibilities as to how we all got here. 1, We were created; 2, We evolved; 3, We aren’t really here, we just think we are. Other evolution-related concepts such as “Pan-Spermia” (life evolved somewhere else in the universe and was then seeded on earth) are not really alternatives, since all life, wherever it came from originally, either evolved or was created .

I have no time for the third option: I’m definitely here, and so are you. That leaves only two possibilities: a Creator, or evolution from nothing.

Apologies to those who’ve read this post before under a different name. It’s a favourite topic of mine, and vitally important. This is a shorter version.

DESIGN

We see incredible design in all of nature. The evidence for God is all around us: its impossible to miss. When we look around at our world we see beauty everywhere, and things which fit and have meaning and purpose. We live, love and exist in a world of wonder, not a world of chaos. Science is not evidence against God, it’s powerful evidence that God is The master scientist.

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INFORMATION

As an example, one strand of DNA, invisible to the naked eye, contained in each of the trillions of cells in our body, is packed with more information than a huge library of books. Where did that information come from? So- called “simple” life forms are really incredibly complex: how did that first information arise out of nothing, or out of inanimate matter? Information has never been observed to come from nothing or from chaos, and so to believe it did is blind faith, not science. Researchers scan the skies for a radio message from space which, they are convinced, would confirm intelligent life out there, yet ignore the incredible message in plain view within life on earth, as seen in our DNA, in our brains, and in all of life.

O is for ORDER. The universe operates in a very orderly, lawful way, as does our own solar system and our own planet. The laws of nature hold all things together and allow us to exist and function. Sir Isaac Newton, whose laws of motion and gravity are still employable and were used to land man on the moon, attributed that orderliness to a Creator.

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ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE

This principle, dismissed as mere “coincidence” by the evolutionist, demonstrates clearly that Earth is uniquely placed and equipped for life in our galaxy and in our solar system. We benefit from many thousands of extremely fortuitous conditions. As an example, if earth were tilted any more or less in relation to the sun, its temperature ranges would be too extreme to support life. If we didn’t have our moon, or if the moon were not at just the right distance from us and at just the right relative size with just the right orbital pattern, we would have no tides to keep the oceans alive and fresh, and there would be no life on earth. Earth’s magnetic field protects us from the harmful power of the sun’s radiation. Water is unique in many of its properties, enabling life to exist and continue.

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ORIGINS

Even famous evolutionists admit that they don’t know for sure how life evolved from non-life, and they’ve never seen it happen. Millions of people are convinced that life has been made, or almost made, in the laboratory: this is not the case. The Miller experiments made a few amino acids only. When the proverbial first living cell miraculously produced itself according to evolution theory, defying multitudes of natural obstacles, who did it mate with and what did it eat?

The “evolution” of photosynthesis has never been observed: it was a unique event in earth’s history, as even evolutionists have to concede. I can much more easily believe in an intelligent creator than in a rock producing all the complexity we see. In fact, try counting the incidences of evolution which you have observed-there will be none. Bacteria adapting is not evolution in the sense of one creature turning into another: it is still bacteria, and all of life has inbuilt potential in order to survive.

There’s plenty of scientifically supportable reason to believe in the Biblical view of origins. Try http://www.icr.org for a start, or http://www.answersingenesis.org

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HUMAN HUNGER FOR GOD

Man has an inbuilt hunger for the spiritual, which explains the existence of many religions throughout history and in every culture. Religion is not always a product of superstition: perhaps superstition is born of  a natural longing for God, and the realization that there’s something much greater than us.

ATHEISM

The condition of atheistic societies to date has not been impressive or endearing. Atheistic philosophy has been the cause of far more evil in our world than any religion has. Hitler, in his book “Mein Kampf” expressed the need to “cleanse” the human race for the sake of “Mother Nature” and healthy human evolution. Also refer to the regimes of such men as Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, who wanted to rid the world of God. Once man sees no God to answer to, and no  fixed, objective standards of right and wrong, tyranny is the likely outcome, along with the degradation of the value of human life. We can see this at work in our world now. Please note I am not saying that every atheist is a “bad” person: they are usually no more evil than anyone else. Instead I’m demonstrating  that having a God-less society is not the answer to our problems.

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EMOTION

Most of our emotions would be superfluous and even detrimental if we were only here to contend with other life forms so as to emerge the winner (as we have, if we evolved). The God of the Bible made us in his image, and is himself a feeling, emotional being.

LOVE

Real love produces commitment, caring, empathy, loyalty, faithfulness and truthfulness. Where does love come from if not from a loving, faithful designer? How could chemical reaction and interaction alone-born of rock-produce love? When your significant other asks if you love her or him, do you reply that yes, you are currently experiencing some chemical and hormonal interactions, and as long as they occur you will stick around and refrain from killing and eating him or her? Love in today’s popular definition is a reductionist ploy with the aim of reducing our relationships to good vibes and temporary mutual use while the going is good. Godly love, as found in the Bible, is that which produces stable relationships, happy kids, and successful societies.

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JUSTICE

Our sense of justice is evidence that we were made by a just, moral God. If we “evolved” a sense of justice, why do we still have crime, war and murder, at every level of every society, no matter how many new laws and regulations are created? And why would or should we care anyway? The fact is that we recognize naturally in our hearts that there is such a thing as evil at large in our world, and that it needs to be controlled. This recognition was given to us by a God of justice.

AESTHETIC SENSE

We have an inbuilt appreciation for beauty and for all of creation, and not merely for our mate when we’re having sex, or for the food on our plate. We desire to be creative, to entertain, and to express ourselves, and we appreciate those who do so skillfully. We love art, music, literature, and all forms of recreation and creation. We imagine-often without any practical reason but the pleasure of it. We philosophize and think deeply (some of us do anyway).

SIN and EVIL

The Bible is right about human nature: just look around. You probably need look no further than the mirror, or your own family and friends.  Those who claim that people only abuse each other when they’re impoverished are often the same people who berate the ultra-rich for abusing the rest of us. If poverty were the cause of crime and terrorism, half of India and Africa would be in absolute turmoil. And if we evolved, why shouldn’t the rich abuse the rest of us, since life is all about the “survival of the fittest”?

EXPERIENCE

In the years I’ve been a Christian I’ve experienced God in many ways. This includes an acute awareness of His presence, a feeling of indescribable completeness at times, an inner peace and joy, and answered prayers. It’s important for me to remember those experiences and continuous states of mind, and not to let them be dismissed as mere superstition, hormonal balance or positive thinking. I’ve seen the difference made by the Spirit of God in people’s lives, in homes, and in areas of society where God has been allowed or invited in.

LIVING WITH THE BEAST

Mankind is devolving, not evolving. Yes, we have cell phones and cars and internet, but this is development, under the temporary opportunity given us by freedom, relative peace and prosperity: it isn’t physical or cerebral change for the better…

Such evolution, says the fairy story for adults, takes many millennia at least, and more likely, “millions of years”. While we poke away at our little digital devices, paedophilia is becoming the next immoral frontier to cross, sex changes are being carried out, millions of babies are being killed and thrown away before they can be born, rioters attack our emergency services personnel, and a multitude of other horrors and sicknesses develop which will ultimately bring the wrath of God on our so-called civilization. 

The arts are decaying into crass expressions of the worst in human nature, while we, the “entertained”, remain transfixed by the product of technology rather than the quality of meaning and message behind it. Universalism and multiculturalism are flooding the once-strong West with division and resentment, not unity.

The West, which once fought off communism and fascism, now teeters in the direction of those very same darknesses, in the name of change.  In my country of origin, and unfortunately, in most of the Western world, people constantly decry the failures of government, and then vote into power the very same kinds of people they are whining about, i.e., weak and unprincipled. And this is in part due to media types-the ones who parade themselves as purveyors of truth, but who instead are promoters of propaganda, and whose only truth is their own twisted, uninformed, biased view of how things should be. Our cultural navel-gazing is carried out with blinkers in the dark. Our aims are not the upholding of civil life, propriety and factual enquiry, but the overthrow of what has gone before, in the vain, misguided, foolish belief that Utopia is just around the corner. 

The warriors of hopelessness have successfully commandeered the narrative in education, politics and so-called entertainment. The worst in human nature has percolated to the top of the heap, and now seeks to lead the rest of humanity down the moral drain and into the sewer and the garbage bin of history. Only a few souls bravely work to hold us back from the brink, while being attacked and vilified by the lawless. Those of us who just want to live our lives and are not working to overthrow national and moral boundaries can only stand by and watch. Will the rot be in check for another four years, or not? If it is, its warriors of godlessness will be more vicious and devious than they are now.

Where will it all end? That’s the question asked by many more people than we think. And those who refuse to believe in absolutes, or in an Absolute, that is, a God who made us and therefore will hold us to account, have no hope of finding the answer. They are the willing lost; the willing blind; the blinded; the determined, cynical agnostics who are drowning in a sea of post-modernism, in which there can be no objective hope. Where it will end is in judgment. The creator of the world will not leave his creation to rot forever. Instead he-yes, I said “he”, will bring a screeching halt to all that mankind is doing to itself and to his world. The only remaining question is, are you ready for that day? Have you accepted God’s only Son as your saviour from the darkness? While you live, it’s not too late.

NICE PEOPLE

How many nice people do you know? Let me be a little more specific: How many people do you know who you feel at ease with; who are genuine and real; who are warm and thoughtful; who you know care sincerely and consistently about you; who you trust, and who are committed to companionship with you for life?

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Perhaps you’re fortunate enough to know a lot of such people. I’ll have to admit, reluctantly, that I could probably count the number of such people I know on one hand, and have a finger or two to spare. If I look back over my life so far, I may be able to employ all my fingers and toes in the count.

I’m not saying this to have a dig at human nature, as easy as that would be. After all, I’m human too (surprise surprise) and I suffer from the same weaknesses and faults that everyone else does. We can all be hurtful at times, or aloof or busy and inconsiderate. Just how do those few “nice people” manage it? How are they nice? What makes them kind, considerate, warm, forgiving, and all those other special endearing qualities which I am deficient in?

If I focus more closely still on what turns me on, socially speaking, I think I would have to single out that amazing ability a very few people have to make you feel welcome, wanted, loved, and appreciated, every time you meet them, even when you know you’re a nobody, and even when you have nothing to offer them in terms of this world’s perks. I can picture a few shining faces, always fixed on mine, so glad were they to see me and let me know so. They were(and are) the people who have made me feel like life was worth living, that there is a loving God, and that the world really is a beautiful place after all.

My next point is unavoidable. As I’ve considered these people prayerfully, I’ve had to ask my God why I’m not like them. Why am I not a nice person? I wish I were. I wish I could have that effect on people. I wish I could be warm, polite, kind and welcoming as a normal standard of being, rather than having to stretch to a minute or two of pleasantness before I lapse back into my normal modus operandi: being distant and preoccupied.  And as many professing Christians as I’ve met over the years, I must confess that the bulk of them have been, like me, in various stages of brokenness, selfishness, business, worldliness, and yes, sinfulness. We go to church (in normal times) in the hope of meeting people who are going to reflect the love of Jesus Christ, not realizing that everyone else is doing the same thing.

How many of us rise to the occasion?

The answer must lie in genuinely becoming Christ-like. I don’t mean a fleshly spirituality in which we think we’re just like Peter and Paul and can do all their magic tricks: I mean loving, selfless, warm, patient, faithful, godly behaviour as a way of life.

The few who achieve that level of walk with God in this life will be the ones to shine like stars for ever and ever.

THE PARTY OF THE BEAST

Bible prophecy speaks of a future time when a political leader will emerge to world-wide influence, power and popularity, immediately before the return of Jesus Christ. There’s enough detail in Scripture to give us quite a clear picture of his character, his beliefs, his actions, and even his appearance.

Given that we can know to a large degree what this man will be like, and what he will do, and that he will be adored by all those who side with him, it seems logical that we can also project a character portrait of those who will help to propel him to power, and who will therefore share his views and opinions.

What kind of people will love him? Do we see such people at work in positions of power today, or at least, attempting to negotiate themselves into positions of power? Can we recognize any preparatory activity, or party prototypes? God doesn’t vote left or right, and there isn’t one party of the saved and one of the damned, but perhaps we can see some indication of who is most likely to follow the Beast and help him in his quest for power. Of the many indications we have, here are a few which are most relevant:

1/ He will fill a position of strength and extreme power, including military power which outmatches any other (Revelation 13:4; Daniel 7:7).

2/ He will think a lot of himself and will be very boastful (Daniel 7: 8 and 11). His boasting will extend to blaspheming God and God’s people (Daniel 7:25).

3/ He will work to “change set times and laws” (Daniel 7:25).  No doubt an entire book could be written on the meaning of this phrase, but briefly, it refers to rejecting the ways and natural laws God established for humanity, and which have guided people from the beginning. This would include natural marriage, family commitments, moral integrity, and a respect for life and property.

4/ He will be a “master of intrigue” (Daniel 8:23). “He will cause deceit to prosper” (Daniel 8:25). He will be a model for those who are deceitful. This is echoed throughout Bible prophecy-its a distinguishing feature.

4/ He will be helped by those who have become completely wicked (Daniel 8:23) . This is also echoed throughout Scripture. The question is, what does Scripture mean by wickedness? The answer is, to intentionally live life in disobedience to the ways of the Creator. Included in the list of wickedness which God will judge the world for is murder-a disregard for life- and immorality (Revelation 9:21).

5/ He will be a man of lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:3). This doesn’t mean primarily that he will habitually break the laws of human government, although that may well be part of it-he will have no integrity in his dealings with others or those he leads. More directly it refers to the intentional turning from what we know to be true according to what our Creator has taught us, in Scripture and in our innate conscience and nature itself. Paul also informs us that his followers will “delight in wickedness” (verse 12). There will be no shame over the things they indulge in and teach others to do.

6/ He will be the ultimate globalist, as will his followers who will agree with everything he says (Revelation 13:7-8; Daniel 2:43).

7/ He will hate the nation of Israel, the nation which gave us Jesus Christ and the Judeo-Christian ethics which our civilization has been loosely based on (Matthew 24:15:22; Revelation 12:13-17). He will have a scheme to weaken and betray Israel (Daniel 9:27 with Matthew 24:15). The nations of the world, which will at that time be associated, will gather to attack Israel in an attempt to remove the Jews from Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:1-5). This ruler will be a hater of Judeo-Christian belief, history, religion and influence.

8/ He will hate and oppose Jesus Christ and Christ’s Church (Revelation 19:19; 13:7).

In summary, this man will be, perhaps quietly at first, a God-hater and a Church hater. He will oppose the nation of Israel and its  possession of Jerusalem. Being hostile to the Church and Israel, it’s likely that he will agree with those who blame all kinds of wrongs or perceived wrongs on the Church, and on Israel. He will also despise Western history which to a considerable degree has been shaped by these.

He will want to change ancient, natural and established ways of decency, righteousness and goodness, while promoting and supporting  immorality. He will be a globalist; the consummate controller of others via overbearing inter-national government. He will be arrogant and boastful. He will be incurably and shamelessly deceitful, accusing others of all kinds of things which he himself is guilty of. He will have a strong hand on all financial transactions (Revelation 13). He will take the reigns of a political entity which has awesome military power, which he will use. He will, of necessity, be backed by those who control and pass information onto the rest of us, i.e. news and information sources, or, if you like, “fake news”.

As time goes on, keep your eyes on such trends in government and on those who wish to govern us. Which party and which candidates in our political scene match up to the will of the Beast of Revelation?

 

NO FUTURE FOR UTOPIA

What makes a society or a civilization strong? Surely it’s a common view of truth, a reverence for all life, and a reverence for our Creator…

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When you have a love of truth you live it out-for the most part- willingly. If some form of political correctness is pushed upon a society it can only “work” when there’s an overbearing government to enforce it. Hence the beauty of freedom when compared to the darkness of tyranny.

As much as the politically correct folk among us hate to be told this, the unifying factor for the Western world until recently has been Judeo-Christian principles. We haven’t all been Christians by any means, and those of us professing to be Christians haven’t always been without hypocrisy. But up until the last couple of decades we’ve had a culture in which commonly held views and principles bound us together as much as any bunch of imperfect humans can be held together: honesty, truthfulness, politeness, longsuffering, a fear of God and of judgment, industry, enterprisedeference, and a common understanding of history. We’ve had reasonably shared acceptance of the things that matter and that held us together.

Up to now, Western nations, still having a sizable Christian population providing salt and light to the world, have thrived in an afterglow of commonly held ideals. We stand on the shoulders of past achievements, such as scientific discovery by those seeking to know how God has constructed our reality, and the abolition of slavery. We’ve had the benefit of strength and security so that we were able to live in comparative freedom, peace and knowledge to further our civilization. Civilization and culture isn’t the product of evolution, but of development allowed by security and an orderly society with laws and commonly held ideas of right and wrong.

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What’s threatening the West is the determination of some among us to enforce a model of “diversity” which is in reality the rejection of much of what made the West great in the first place, and of what makes any civilization great. This diversity can only be achieved by ignoring our creator. Of course I’m not talking about whiteness: how pathetic and disingenuous are those who attempt to make that accusation. Black, white and all shades in between could live in harmony and prosperity given shared principles, along with freedom from those attempting to incite a race war.

Those people talk about unity but what they mean is that we should all unite under their extreme prescription for society. This includes the total repudiation of all-yes all those standards which have held us together and kept our way of life civil and bearable. They have a hatred for the fundamental building blocks of a sane world: families consisting of mothers and fathers and their kids; accountability for all criminals; the right to life; the natural boundaries of gender; the freedom to prosper and enjoy the fruit of our labours without being forced to give it away to pay for sex changes and abortions and people who have no intention of working.

If you dismantle marital and natural family commitments, you’re dismantling a most fundamental building block of order. If you stamp on your own origins and revise history in order to destabilize things, you are working for the destruction of what has benefited your society and your own life in the first place. If you dismantle borders you are not creating a fair society for all but ensuring that what has been built will be torn down. You are causing instability, upheaval, stress, broken lives, and damage to your economy and to law and order.

Yes our world is imperfect, but it’s a lot better than it would be if you succeeded in tearing down our order and our progress. Tearing down is not evolution, it is regression and devolution. Those who have in the past succeeded in overthrowing their governments have not ushered in a perfect world but failure, while causing misery and hardship for the millions of people they pretended to be revolting for. There is only one destination if you steer away from truth: insanity.

There’s a spirit at work in our world to destroy civility, moral reason, tradition, faith, established norms and plain common sense. This can only lead to pain and trouble-for all of us. I’m convinced that the central goal, the motivating factor in all those who work to overthrow the West as founded and to create a global society, is to attempt to rid the world of the God who made us in the first place and who sustains us. It’s really nothing new: it’s been a movement at work since the beginning of time. It’s a movement doomed to failure for those behind it, a surely as it would be for some insane soul screaming at the ocean and telling the tide not to come in.

Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
    and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
    the Lord holds them in derision.

(Psalm 2:1-4)

The universe is held together by its creator. You can’t remove God any more than you can remove all the water from the ocean. There is no future for anyone attempting to dethrone Him, and the utopia they seek cannot and will not ever exist. The creator of the world holds all the cards and all the power, and the future-all eternity- is in His hands. Glory to God!

ULTIMATE FREEDOM-IF YOU WANT IT

Sometimes I don’t think about God. Sometimes I don’t speak with Him. Sometimes I’m not completely honoring of Him in the way I live my life. But here’s the good news: God is still there: He’s everywhere. He is where you are, right now.

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When I fail my God, and when I ignore Him, and when I let Him down, He doesn’t act like a petulant jilted lover. To put it another way, He doesn’t act like we do. God is merciful and loving and patient. And herein are the riches of freedom in Christ. I’m not talking about a license to sin, or about being consistently luke-warm and uncommitted. I’m saying that God is far more patient and forgiving than we are.

We Christians are free to worship or not. In fact, all humans are free to worship or not to worship. God forces no-one to serve him, unlike the gods of other world religions I could mention. Jesus Christ imposes himself on no man, even though men have attempted to impose themselves in His name, denying the very grace that their claimed Lord brought to them.

It’s human nature, not divine nature, to want to impose ideas and philosophies upon others. Even in our supposed Western “civilization”. The philosophy of evolution is forced upon us from the earliest age, without a hint of evidence to back it up (have you seen any?). Try gaining a degree these days while opposing the theory and you’ll have problems.

In our “democracy” we’re all assaulted with political and social ideology, pushed onto us  without any real love for truth or for what’s genuinely best for everyone or for society. In the world of religion, and even under the umbrella of Christianity, there are plenty attempting to foist their own ideas and goals upon us. They work to take away the freedom we all have to choose Christ.

In this vein is the entire misinterpretation of predestination, in which certain Christians have been and still are proponents of a false freedom: a freedom in which you are not really free- you only think you are. According to this view you do not choose to follow Jesus Christ-he chooses you. I agree that we cannot save ourselves and that we need His Spirit to draw us and to lead us. But this philosophy leads to the inescapable conclusion that God allows literally billions of people to come into existence only to be sent to hell for all eternity, because Christ has not chosen them. To my mind, this is itself a hellish doctrine, denying the work of Christ, the words of Christ, and the will of Christ, who himself said:

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32 KJV).

Little words are as important to our God as the big ones, and that little word, “all” is, in this subject, paradoxically one of the biggest words there could be in our language. He did not say “some”. He did not say “I will draw some men to myself”. Christ died for the sins of the whole world, says our Scripture, and as the deniers of freedom attempt to explain away such passages as meaning something they were never intended to mean, they risk adding to and subtracting from Scripture the deepest truths that are known to man. Christ died for the whole world-not just for some.

There is, however, as is also attested to in Scripture, a condition to our being accepted by the Father of the Son. That is, that we accept His Son, the will of the Son…that we become like Him… and the work that His Son accomplished on the cross. The creator of the universe holds out a loving hand of acceptance, but with that love comes the option for us to reject Him, as terrible a choice as that is, with all its immediate and long-term consequences.

Yes, some people have never heard about Jesus: I’ve written about that: please see my previous post if you’re interested in the subject.

But you have heard about Jesus. You have been blessed with the good news that there is a loving God who has done everything necessary for you to be accepted into an eternal kingdom of light and love. To you is given the incredible gift of a clear choice. Will you seek your Creator, and His Son, or will you reject Him? The best kind of freedom-ultimate freedom-comes from our submission to the One who made us, sustains us, and loves us.

PRIDE OR TRUTH

Over the years I’ve been blogging I’ve seen that the biggest yawn for readers, judging by their response-or lack of it-is any discussion of what truth is and what it means to us. I’m almost writing this post for myself, knowing that very few will be interested: hair color, hurt feelings and virtue-signaling are far more important to people now.

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Our post-modern culture has infected everyone, including the Church. Chat in some depth with a few people in your church, and you’ll find a surprising number who either don’t know their Bible-the indispensable source for the follower of the original Jesus Christ-or who think they and the “experts” know better than Paul, Peter, John, Jesus Christ, and even the Father himself. They know more about Creation, science, history, the reason for the suffering of Christ, what sin is, and almost every foundational doctrine. God didn’t create the universe or Adam, there was no world-wide Flood, Moses didn’t usher in a series of plagues to punish the Egyptians, Jesus wasn’t the Son of God and he didn’t rise from the dead.

I was once invited to dinner with a gentleman who attended the same church as I. He would always sit in a prominent place in the front row, singing louder than anyone else, as proud as he was of his voice, and his greatest efforts were always in the songs about the blood of Jesus. He was a nice guy-the model Christian, it seemed.

After dinner our discussion turned to Scripture at my request. When I read a few verses and commented on them, he replied that the passage didn’t mean what I said it meant. So I asked him what he thought it meant. His reply was “I don’t know, but it doesn’t mean that”. I pursued the issue and discovered that he believed nothing remotely similar to what we would consider to be generally accepted evangelical doctrine. The entirety of Scripture, to this man’s mind, is impossible to understand without imposing our own faulty views upon it.

Try telling the IRS that their demand for payment has no correct interpretation.

My friend attended church for years before finally and publicly renouncing his faith totally. He was not grounded in truth. He hadn’t built his house on the rock.

My response to the arrogant opposers of scripture within the Church is that you should either repent of your pride and distrust of God, or go off and start your own religion. Just don’t call it “Christianity”.

 

WHEN IT’S GOOD TO JUDGE

There’s a serious epidemic at large in the Church these days-and one of the symptoms is the refusal to make a judgment on whether something or someone is right or wrong…

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Somehow Christians have bought into the multicultural mindset to the extent that they think they would be committing a crime against humanity by pointing out that someone has got it wrong. Well pardon my incorrectness, but that’s just plain wrong!

I once wrote at some length in answer to the now common mantra that “it’s wrong to judge”, often linked to the words of Jesus when he said “Do not judge”. I pointed out that once you get that plank out of your own eye, said Jesus, you are free to lovingly help take the mote out of someone else’s eye. Therefore, Jesus wasn’t saying it’s always wrong to make a judgment: he was speaking of hypocrisy. Do not pass judgment on someone else if you are no better than they are, but do…do, once cleansed of your own hypocrisy, go on to point out faults in others, and to tell them they are wrong.

One of the many huge reasons this epidemic is a problem is that there is a multitude of false teachers out there. Some are just mistaken, but some are of the “wolves in sheep’s clothing” variety. And the wolves are leading sheep away, sometimes intentionally. The Church is in need of more sheepdogs, to give the warning that there’s danger, and then to chase off the wolves and the bloodsuckers. We’ve all been so conditioned by left-leaning philosophy that we’re afraid to point out anyone for fear of being called “judgmental”. Perhaps, in many cases, people either don’t know when a teaching is wrong, or they really do know and they’re happy to go along with it anyway.

We’ve wandered away from our Guide, which is the written Word of God. Or else the godless culture around us has had such an effect on us that we really like what we’re hearing, and we’re content to wander away from the true faith once delivered to the saints. But if we aren’t following what Christ and his apostles taught, we aren’t really Christ-Ones at all. Call that a judgmental statement if you like-I can take it.

Without the Maker’s instructions to guide us, we can only wander into mistakes, error, sin and eventually insanity. Isn’t that what’s going on in our culture already? And should we, the Church of Christ, go the same way? If we would only look at what He said we would know that it is not only the right thing to pass judgment on false teachings and false teachers, but it’s actually commanded repeatedly in the very Scriptures which tell us about our Lord and what He said to us. You can’t go a single chapter in the Bible without seeing that it’s vital for us to constantly make judgments about what is right or wrong: it’s fundamental to our faith. God has standards which He expects us to know and to keep, and there is no wishy-washy confusion or ambivalence in the mind of our Creator:

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves…” (Matthew 7:15).

Yes, dear readers, some things are wrong, some people are wrong and some teachings are wrong and often in direct opposition to our God. Very often the ones promoting them are in our churches and on our TV and devices. And it’s up to us, and particularly those claiming to be our shepherds, to get rid of them! So get that mote out of your eye, get into the true Word, and then start judging!

GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT GOD

Thank you to my loyal readers who keep coming back and wondering where I’ve been: I’m planning on being back regularly from now on…

Two things have been on my mind lately above others. One is our current political and social climate, and the other is the widespread belittlement of God even among professing believers. These two things are inextricably linked. The loss of reverence for our Creator in society as a whole but also in the Church, was bound to result in lawlessness and degradation. The worst aspect to this is that many professing Christians have succumbed to it-often without realizing it themselves. Our testimony and witness to the world is compromised by our own lack of belief, dedication, and fear of God.

The half-hearted church was foreseen by our God, and we can know how He feels about it:

“So, because you are luke-warm-neither hot nor cold- I am about to spit you out of my mouth…” (Revelation 3:16).

The corrupt, compromising church was also foreseen by Him who knows the end from the beginning, so that He warned us to separate ourselves from the evils of fallen man:

“Come out of her my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues…” (Revelation 18:4).

Those who reject the deity of Jesus, who reject the fact that our God created all things, who reject the supremacy of Scripture, and who put their own words and the words of their favourite teachers above Scripture are all included in references to hypocrites and false teachers contained in the New Testament especially, but also in the Old. And once you cast off from the absoluteness of the truth of Scripture and invent your own, you are then metaphorically on a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, without navigation, radio contact, charts, or even the benefit of experience.

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Ironically, the One who will spit the luke-warm church out of His mouth identifies himself as “…the ruler of God’s creation” (Revelation 3:14).

Just as bad as the rejection of the Bible as our ultimate guide, is the determination to use it to support false teachings and faulty or corrupted interpretation. This attitude is rampant in the Christian world now: “Let’s follow what so-and-so says and find one or two verses which appear to back him up”. In contrast, Scripture tells us:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man…” (Jeremiah 17:5).

The Western World is now in moral free-fall, and there’s no way of stopping or slowing that fall if all we have to offer is a few jangling guitars and singers shaking their hair, a weak impersonation for spiritual gifts, an effort to bow to political correctness, and politicians who make promises in order to promote themselves. (Having said that, I say “Trump 2020!” The alternative is the destruction of America and so the West).

More than that, we have an insular Church which has largely rejected what God has to say. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” says the word of God, and, “In six days God created the heavens and the earth”. A large percentage of ministers prefer to follow what unbelievers and atheists say-that in the beginning, billions of years ago, something happened, our ancestors crawled out of slime and swung in trees, and later on God, or a few good teachers, came along and got involved, trying to get us all to be nice to each other. This is belittling God and calling Him a liar. This is putting the word of fallen, God-rejecting mankind above the Word of the Immortal, Almighty, Omni-present, omniscient Creator and sustainer of all things. This is nothing short of foolishness!

It not only calls God a liar, it calls Him weak and  incapable and irrelevant. “We know it’s all science now” is one pathetic view: pathetic because the real logic is that anyone who created all things would have to be The Master and Creator of science! Did an infinite being create all things by His infinite miraculous power, or did the universe create? That’s your choice! There’s no middle ground without putting God down beneath the feet of man.

Any true science today is only observing the handiwork of God. He is the Creator of science…not someone who just came along so that he could make us fall over backwards, or offer us new ways of being nice to each other. God is our Creator and He will be our Judge! He has the power to save us or to throw us into hell!

Its time for those of us who are serious about our faith to fall on our knees and worship the incredible being who made us, and who holds our souls in His hands.

 

ELECTION FEVER

Acknowledging that there is a real virus out there…one of many… my own expectation is that fear of Covid-19 will continue to be pumped up to fever pitch until after the election in November.

393px-Gojira_1954_poster_3After that, look for considerable deflation, courtesy of a totally biased news media, were the Democratic party to succeed, and alternative “crises” to arise no matter which presidential candidate gets elected. Crises are perfect tools with which the governing classes (which now include the news media) gain more and more control over people, and in the wrong hands (which is most of them) more and more taxes. If Trump wins, the crises will consist of continued lies and slander against him and his followers. In the longer-term future, look for the Christian world to be blamed for all the evils of society.

Just how did the virus manage to arrive, as if on-schedule, right after the latest in a series of political “crises” which began in election season four years ago? Following the attempted impeachment of Trump, we barely had time to catch our breath before we were being told to hold it in with masks: masks which will not stop a real virus entering your eyes or even your nose unless you have the prescribed medical kind.

Where does hatred for Western values come from anyway? And no, I’m not changing subjects. All kinds of commentators attempt to pin down the reasons for current rabid attempts to demolish all that the US and the West is founded on: it’s slavery, its selfish capitalism; it’s America’s abuse of other nations; it’s misogyny;  it’s the Constitution…

In my opinion, these are not the ultimate, core reasons for all that we see going on: the core reason is the rejection of the ways of God.

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So as an ex-socialist myself, and one who has lived a life unworthy of the Lord I now profess, I am the first to admit that the West falls far short of the ideals which we all wish to see. After all, we are all human- there’s no perfect system because there are no perfect humans. All we can do is our best, and attempt to improve. The United States is, unless the rebels succeed, that best. Everyone has a chance to better themselves, and everyone has the chance to make changes to improve society: tearing it down will only take us back in time: back to tyranny, clan warfare, bitterness, more division and stalled progress in every field of human endeavor.

What it’s all about is a rejection of our Judeo-Christian roots. Marxism, which is near the heart of the enemy of America, is naturally opposed to faith in God and to any moral code but its own. It’s opposed to the family and to the Church. It’s opposed to the value of individual life and instead promotes that of the state and the ruling elite. In a Marxist country there would still be super-rich, but they would be the ones in control. The rest of us would certainly be equal-equally poor and powerless. Our religious roots, badly maintained at the best of times, have up to now given us the dignity of the value of individual life, enterprise and reward. But it’s more than just money which is at stake here.

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In recent decades the secular world has been trying to throw off the moral constraints of our founding and to re-make mankind, or perhaps I should say “personkind”. The monster being created is far from the dignity of the original model. Now we have abortion for any reason up to and even after birth. We have God and the consideration of creation banished from our schools. We have sexual attraction considered to be love. We have gay marriage; demolished marriages and families; universalism; the glorification of violence; the blurring of genders, and just down the road we have euthanasia as population control, and government sanctioned pedophilia.

Biblical precedents are common for anyone who cares for the Word of God. The story of Noah, and the book of Judges clearly demonstrates what happens to a society where every man does what’s right in his own eyes. And when Israel insisted on having a godless monarch instead of having freedom as the people of God under Samuel the prophet, God told Samuel:

“It is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king” (1 Samuel 8:7).

Rejection of God and of his ways in the Bible is sometimes called “lawlessness”. How relevant to our times this is. Having said that, I believe a large percentage of the population just want to maintain their homes, their families, their way of life, and their beloved country. Let’s hope and pray that the moral and foundational disintegration is at least paused, if not stopped. And more than that, let’s do our own small part to stop it.

 

EMBRACING DIVISION

If you’re interested in truth you belong to a rare breed in today’s world. In fact, truth is so out of style that a large number of individuals and organizations are intentionally working at avoiding it, and in preventing you from finding it…

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Who checks the so-called “fact checkers”? Where did they get their diplomas in absolute truth and neutrality? The answer is that they didn’t: the claim of neutrality is itself a lie, a deception. Even judges are making rulings according to their political and social biases. The Supreme and only Judge will one day call them to account. So-called “news” media and social media corporations are intentionally working hard to influence and sway millions of people-entire nations, both here in the US, and in my country of origin, the United Kingdom, and doubtless around the world.

The expressed desire of some that we should “all just get along” is, unfortunately, redundant, because “getting along”, and “uniting”, and “coming together” has to be done under their political, religious and social viewpoints and moral standards. There’s no more genuine debate to find genuine middle ground or to find the best way. There’s no more desire to go half way, or to compromise, or to come to an understanding of truth: we are all, whether we ever wished to be or not, of necessity taking sides.

This taking of sides was an unavoidable outcome of events which have transpired particularly in recent years. When you are publicly shamed or fired from your job because of a view you have, the concept of freedom is severely under assault. The time has come to either fold and go along with the pagan crown and the tide of godless secularism, or to take a stand and say, “No more”. If your nation is just about to be sold out to globalism and Marxism, the time has come to either give it up to the revolution, or to take a stand and do something to stop it while there’s still anything to be done.

And in the Christian world this division is also taking place. Pardon my duality, but to shrink the entire issue to nutshell size, on the one hand we have those who believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and on the other side, those who don’t. Behind all of what is taking place in politics and in society and in the church is the choosing of sides: do we want to live according to our Creators standards, or do we want to rebel and go our own way? People in the Christian world who have cut themselves adrift of the finality of scripture are really throwing in their lot with the political and social rebellion. To support my assertion, we can go to Scripture itself. If you profess to have faith but that idea offends you, be aware that you may really be travelling or at least loitering on that broad road which ultimately leads to destruction.

Of course, if the Bible is not your ultimate guide; if your favorite super-wealthy minister has got it more correct than God did; if your guide is your belly or your favorite activist or your sexual proclivities, what I have to say here will mean nothing to you. For the rest of us-those on the narrow road which alone leads to Life, be aware that Jesus Christ said this:

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34).

Read the rest of that chapter and there can be no mistake: the world of people is not going to all get along, and there will be no peace until He returns. More than that, it’s God’s intention that the world of men be divided. Some professing Christians deny this fact. They are among those who reject the truth of scripture, except to use parts of it to promote their own ideas. The entire concept of the final judgment is as stark a reminder as can be that there are saints, and there are aints, and there is nothing in between. There is a heaven and there is a hell, and there’s no neutral part of the universe-God’s universe- where the agnostics and the uncommitted and the rebellious can retire to. There is no middle ground. There is no “salvation for all” from the wrath of a holy, almighty God apart from Jesus. There will be no world-wide revival and turning to God as some Charismatics claim, according to the testimony of scripture concerning last day things. Instead there will be a “falling away”, or “rebellion” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). And God himself has called us out of the world marching to destruction:

“Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins have piled up to heaven…” (Revelation 18:4).

 

 

INFINITE SCIENCE: INFINITE GOD

MAY 2012 to JULY 2013 158

A couple of hundred years ago the atom was thought to be like a tiny ping-pong ball. In 1911 Rutherford’s experiments led to the realization that the atom is made of even smaller component parts. Now we know that those component parts are so small, particularly the electrons, that each atom is almost entirely space alone: it is held together only by electrical forces. If not for these forces, we would fall through our chair (which couldn’t exist anyway) and into the core of the earth (which also could not exist).

Over the past fifty years scientists found that atomic particles are in turn made of even smaller particles named “quarks”, and in modern “String” theory, it is believed that those particles are not really little lumps of solid matter-they consist of loops of energy which pose as different particles depending on how they are vibrating. However, strings haven’t yet been observed, because, it is believed, they are up to a billion billion times smaller than the atom itself. So if strings really are the basic building blocks of matter, the structure of the atom is even more empty than was thought before strings came along. The study of quantum physics-the behavior of the tiniest particles up to molecule size- has produced such seemingly illogical and fantastical results, dumbfounding the most brilliant scientists, that the nature of reality, even in the twenty-first century, presents numerous profound mysteries to boggle the mind.

One human body consists of roughly forty to a hundred trillion cells. In numbers, that’s 100,000,000,000,000. Each one of those cells, consisting of one hundred trillion atoms,  is staggeringly complex, containing and employing for its survival and maintenance more machines than all of the factories of the industrial world combined. And of course DNA is almost beyond our imagining, being the blue-print for making me and you, and present in every single cell. Yes indeed, we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

I’ve documented before, from the mouths of top secular scientists and professors, that there is no evidence we can observe of how life arose from non-life by evolution. I’ve shared that there is no fossil evidence confirming the belief that the biological cell which facilitates photosynthesis-and so plant life-evolved from the proposed marriage of a bacteria and inorganic molecule. Intelligent Design proponents are brilliantly demonstrating that information can only come from information-not randomness. The vast volume of information required to make the simplest so-called “simple” cell easily discounts the notion that life came from non-life by chance.

I’ve heard from the mouths of secular scientists that they are mystified as to why so many of the constants of nature are the way they are-for example, the strength of electromagnetic force, and the mass of the electron in relation to protons and neutrons. If any one of dozens of these constants were just a little bit different, they say, stars could not exist, planets could not exist, and we could not exist.

Move the moon away from the earth just a little, and our oceans would die and so would we. Move it a little closer, and the tides would overflow the continents. Take it away and there would be no tides to preserve life on earth. Remove the electro-magnetic field around the earth and all our water would be blasted away by the fierce solar wind.

I have personally seen nothing evolve-have you? In answer to this question the uninformed go to the observance of supposed bacterial evolution, not considering that what they are left with is bacteria: just what they started with. It simply adapted to its environment. The potential for such adaptation was built into life, so that the potential variety of each kind of life is enormous. But bacteria remains bacteria, horses remain horses, pigs remain pigs and roses remain roses. That’s the way it’s meant to be.

There are so many impossible, incredible facts about the make-up of life and the universe that were scientists to have another thousand years of freedom to study it, we probably could not come to the bottom of it all.

So I for one am not being swayed by any atheist or agnostic away from my faith in an amazing Creator. Science and God are not antonyms: they are synonymous. God is The Scientist and Mathematician. But more than that, I see from my own limited understanding of the universe around me that God must indeed be infinite. His power is limitless, as is His intelligence, His beauty, His glory, His character, and His imagination. He has to be eternal. He has to transcend all of the physical universe and the unseen world also. He has to be greater than the universe itself. He must possess information even beyond what we observe in nature, along with the ability to process it.

If, or since, God is so great, He is also able to pass to us a simple but profound message, though we already have one written within nature itself, and within our own being. That message is called the Bible, and the first verse of the Bible says this:

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”.

Glory to God for ever and ever!

 

The “F” in England

Searching the web last night for current British comedy I came at last upon someone who was very funny…for the first forty-five seconds…when the “f” words began to fly.

Just a word, you say? Is it really “just a word” which can be accepted as readily as any other word, and “everyone uses it anyway?” That’s an odd view, because if you just try using the word “sin” in England (or the US) a barrage of scorn will come your way: How could you be so offensive and so arrogant? Society has become upended, without much of a fight from anyone.

Try using words like “Jesus saves”, and all kinds of accusations will fall upon you. But after all, they are only words…right? To be sure, the “f” word and many others have been street and gutter language for as long as the language has existed (around six hundred years). But in the land which once produced some of the greatest literature, the “f” word is now king of expression.

Where do we go next? How do we express ourselves to any greater degree now that the “f” word is commonplace? If your most powerful linguistic weapon of expression is in perpetual use, and your vocabulary has decayed to its lowest common denominator, how are you verbally going to make your feelings known in any stronger, let alone eloquent way? How frustrating that question must be in the minds of the Effers.

Sanity In An Insane World

Does it ever seem to you that the world has gone crazy? Here’s the antidote to insanity…

I spent the first part of my life trying to escape reality in many ways, most notably and notoriously through alcohol and drugs. To me the world was an ugly, lonely, dark and boring place, and every opportunity I had to ignore it and turn in on myself and my own personal world I took. I would sleep until twelve or one or two. I would avoid work as much as possible, and I would avoid people who had their feet planted firmly in the real world.

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Decades later I can see why I was that way, because, without doubt, the world of humanity really can be for many people lonely, frustrating, hurtful, harmful and even disgusting. But now I sometimes feel like I’m one of the only people attempting to see the world as it really is. Escapism rules, in many forms.

However, what’s far worse than widespread escapism is that the Western world has largely cut itself off from its moral and spiritual roots, so that what was once unthinkable has become acceptable or at least up for serious discussion. Our world has embraced immorality-even to the point of infanticide and giving children sex changes-and a potent mixture of voluntary spiritual confusion. Logic is also “out the window”, so that a majority are happy to believe that we evolved from soup, even though, as I’ve documented before, the evolutionist can show you no evidence whatsoever for that idea. I suppose you could call it paganism run amok, and political correctness defends and champions paganism in any form your little heart may desire: anything which dismantles traditional values and commonly-held truths and standards.

The result of rejecting the truths our Creator established can only be error: confusion, faulty living, mistakes, blunders, disasters, and a battle for the supremacy of ideas.

Unfortunately, the problem of the rejection of truth and so the rejection of sanity and peace extends into a large part of the professing Christian Church. And here is the nub of the problem. If those “leading” the church fall into the ditch, will not the church fall into the ditch with them? At least, those who don’t think for themselves will.

The rejection of our founding beliefs and truths is actually an attack on the Church of Jesus Christ, and therefore a spiritual attack. When a minister promotes his own views or those of others above what the Bible tells us, or even if he just ignores Scripture as being irrelevant or “elastic”, he is in fact denying the Faith once delivered to the saints. He’s leading his flock into confusion, insanity, and paganism.

Our hope in eternal life is built on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and on what he taught. If it isn’t truth, then we’re all adrift on an ocean of uncertainty and confusing and conflicting ideas. But what does scripture claim? It claims that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). So when your minister or your church or you yourself deny or ignore that claim, you may as well throw out your hope in eternal life, and in the forgiveness of your sins. If some of it is wrong, all of it is wrong, because it consistently confirms itself. If it’s wrong it has become just someone’s opinion as to how to be raised from certain death, and how to be accepted by whatever or whoever is beyond it, if there is anyone or anything beyond it.

Jesus Christ, according to the apostle John, said “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). If you don’t want to accept that statement as being factual, you’re calling John and Jesus Christ liars, and you’re flushing away any certainty of eternal life. Not only that, but you’re also flushing away the teaching of Scripture as to what is right or wrong. Truth is then up for grabs, for anyone who can win elections and force their views of right or wrong on everyone else. Man has then become the measure of all things, as Protagoras claimed, and you are at the mercy of whoever gains the upper hand, whether it be by force, trickery, lies, semantics, abuse, flattery or bribery.

Jesus Christ, in the synoptic gospels, quoted Old Testament Scripture and declared it to be the Word of God, to be obeyed above any other alternative (Matthew 4:4). Denying Old Testament truths such as Creation ex-nihilo is to deny God and to call the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit liars and incapable of speaking truth. You’re on very shaky ground if that’s your view. In fact, cutting yourself off from the foundations of the free world, as imperfect as it is, can only lead ultimately to either virtual insanity or tyranny, or both. Atheists argue that they can be as rational and moral as any religious person, and so they can, but only because they have the benefit of being raised in the afterglow of a society based loosely on the principles of God. A multitude of alternative societies in the past and the present holds the value of life and liberty in contempt.

Some of God’s actions as recorded in the Bible were confirmed by Him with an oath. “God did this so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure (Hebrews 6:18-19).

Would you rather live life and approach death and eternity embracing those promises, in which case you have nothing to lose and everything to gain: or rejecting them? In the latter case, you have everything to lose. Have faith in God, and in His Word.

MEDITATION FOR THE CHRISTIAN

Millions of people around the world meditate-why don’t Christians? My guess is that, apart from the sheer business of our existence, many Christians consider meditation to be an occultic, suspicious practice reserved for those wrapped up in Eastern religions: something the good Christian should steer well away from.

The truth is that meditation is something we can and most definitely should engage in, with great benefits to our physical, mental and spiritual well-being, and at the same time honoring God and doing exactly what He wants us to do! But what exactly is meditation?David, a “man after God’s own heart”, wrote in the Psalms about meditating on God (example Psalm 63). The word “meditate” is translated “think” in the NIV:

On my bed I remember you;
    I think of you through the watches of the night (verse 6).

The meaning of the word includes, according to Strongs, “The act of thoughtful deliberation with the implication of speaking to oneself-meditate”.

Jesus Christ said that we are to love God with our whole being, including our minds (Luke 10:27). God tells his people to “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

We’re all busy trying to further our lives, and working to make things happen, and we forget that Christ…God…is not only in our life but is our life (Colossians 3:4). Without our God there is no life. Isn’t it a good idea, then, to think about Him?

In Eastern meditation the goal is generally (I confess I am no expert) to lose oneself, and to abandon your individual self and your connection with the world around you. I can see physical and emotional benefit in this. However, God instructs us to love Him with our minds, and as in the case of David, the goal and the focus is not to forget self, but to seek God, to know Him, and to consider deeply who and what He is and who we are in relation to Him.

At least once a day, get comfortable, get quiet, turn the TV and the phone off, and think about God. It’s not about what we want Him to do for us (although He cares). It’s not about us being “spiritual” or babbling to Him. It’s not even really, as some say, about us “listening” to hear what God has to say, except through His written Word. It’s about us knowing that He is there, that He is amazing beyond our comprehension, that He is our creator and sustainer, and that our life is entirely His.

PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE

Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth (Luke 21:34-35).

(I chose the picture for a little levity in an otherwise serious subject)

From my communications with family and old friends, and from news reports, I see constantly that the people of my country of origin, the United Kingdom, are for the most part under the spell of misinformation and propaganda. The difference in the United States is that we have some alternative media which is able to inform us of the other side of things, whereas, in the UK and probably most of what was once the “free world”, there is only now one story being told through media, education and pop-culture: the rest is banned as “hate-speech”. Its the story which prepares the way for the “man of lawlessness”. It’s the story which is leading the beneficiaries of those millions who gave their lives for freedom towards a global tyranny which will be worse than what Hitler dreamed of.

While I lived in the UK, I believed the lie that President Reagan was senile and stupid and was going to start the third world war by opposing Communism. At a middle point in my political understanding, then living in the US,  I visited the UK when Bush was president, only to be set upon by many, while I tried to discuss soccer or the latest marriage or divorce in my circle, for the evils of America and its support for Israel. Israel, that tiny nation struggling for survival in the midst of a sea of Islam. And how much further on in that direction we all are now.

Now it isn’t just a case of news organizations being a little biased: they’re in full propaganda and lie mode. They’re achieving far more among those under their spell than Putin could ever hope to achieve. The news mainstream media people are largely guilty of dividing the people of the United States, and seem to have no qualms about fomenting violence if necessary, or bringing down a president elected by the people to oppose their lies and a corrupt bureaucracy. Now it’s getting serious…very serious. And before long, if they have their way, posts like this will be illegal, and classed as “hate speech”. Social media sites are already censoring views like mine.

The BBC, the “auntie” I was raised on in the sixties and seventies, is now fully in the camp of the Islamo-socialist movement-the movement which ultimately threatens us all with tyranny and constriction of thought. The two are only bedfellows until they collectively get the upper hand. Then the latter will discover that the former is even less open to tolerance than itself.

Trump has attempted the impossible, and I greatly admire him for it. He has tried to set the clock back, and has done an admirable and fantastic job of it. He has attempted to restore patriotism, the rule of law, national borders, individual freedom and responsibility, while at the same time making the economy boom. In the process, he’s incurring the wrath of Humanis Globlili-the wealthy elites who think they have a right and a duty to direct us all. And of course, behind it all is the much larger spiritual dimension. As I wrote in a recent post, Trump is unwittingly God’s man in place to stall the march of evil on the world. He is the tool of the one “holding back” the advent of that Man of Sin.

Readers of my blog will know that I wrote a series of posts on the subject of the rapture of the Church. I was for twenty-eight years an adherent to the “pre-millennial” view. I now am convinced that the evangelical world is holding to a false hope. Oh, the rapture is coming, to be sure, but not yet. Before it will come many events which most Christians in the West do not expect to ever see. Ask those in other parts of the world-in the Middle-east, in China, North Korea, and large parts of the Islamic world, and they will tell you, from their prison cells or their hidden back-street meeting places, that there is no freedom for them to worship, or to express any faith, and that many of their loved ones have been martyred. Such things are not reserved for those “left behind”.

Christian ministers in the West are not preparing their flocks for what will come, when God sees fit to allow it to come-perhaps soon, or perhaps later. And how can we prepare anyway? Well, for a start, we can face the fact that there is a growing movement against the Christian faith and all that it holds dear. Expect it to be ramped up as soon as the devil’s politicians regain power-maybe this time for keeps. Then we can face the fact that there will be no early escape before any of us suffer persecution: that’s head-in-the-sand wishful thinking, and faulty Bible interpretation. Our guide is the Word of God, as written originally, and not what today’s false prophets and false churches are telling us. That’s our daily food, our sustenance.

Finally, we can look to the future and to heaven and to our God, who controls all things, and who will restore the world to the way it should be. Those of us who have accepted his only Son, Jesus Christ, will be a part of that restoration.

 

 

RAPTURE 31: PREPARING TO STICK AROUND

I’ve been publishing excerpts from my book on the rapture* I’ve covered such subjects as the wrath of God, the testimony of John in Revelation, and what Paul did and didn’t say about the subject. Here is the final out-take…

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PREPARING TO STICK AROUND

The obvious consequence of the thesis of my book, if it’s correct, is that at some time in the future Christians still alive will have the privilege and the blessing to represent their Lord, to a world literally sliding into the abyss. They will witness some of the most incredible events of history. They will plainly see God-and the devil- at work. They will see first-hand the fulfillment of the words of God, and become so assured of its truthfulness that their courage and sense of hope in eternity will grow in leaps and bounds. They will have the honor and blessing of representing the Savior who has represented them in the world and in front of the Father. Their faith and deeds in those times will give them an all the greater resurrection, and if they remain alive until the coming of Jesus, they will never taste death but will be changed to immortality in an instant.

On the other hand, of course, they will likely be faced with challenges that we in the modern West have never had to consider facing, while many throughout history and in the modern world have. Their faith will be tested severely, as will their will to endure. They will be confronted with almost overpowering deception. They will be forced to take the word of God at face value and to trust like they’ve never trusted before.

Will the events of Revelation overtake the entire world? Its testimony is that they will. However, there’s some evidence that some of the world will for a time resist the trend of governance as dictated by Antichrist. It’s likely that there will be nowhere to hide for long for anyone who may think to do so, except perhaps in some very remote part of the earth not under the gaze of satellite and drone technology, or prying eyes loyal to the kingdom of the beast. In this case, the one hiding would be failing to be the witness to a dying world that he or she has been called to be at such a time.

For those who are new to the subject and who perhaps aren’t sure where they stand with God, and to those who don’t know what’s required of them in order to escape the wrath of God, there’s no doubt that the most important thing to know and to react to is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It might be of value to even those of us who call ourselves Christians to refresh our minds on the gospel. So here it is for all of us.

WHAT IS THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST?

The Greek word translated “gospel” in the New Testament means “good news”, and in the context of the Bible the gospel is the “good news” about Jesus Christ. But what exactly was and is that good news, and what does it mean for us? In answer to the second question first, read what Jesus said:

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life (John 5:24).

The Bible speaks of a love-gift from God. That gift is forgiveness of all our sin, and eternal life. The gift-if we accept it for ourselves-takes us from being subjects of God’s wrath into eternal life, even though for now we are in mortal bodies. Here is Paul’s first-century definition of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which he had given his life to, despite all opposition and threats, having once been a persecutor of Christians:

Now brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time….Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also…(1 Corinthians 15: 1 – 8).

The gospel is here spelled out for you. Accept it, believe it, pray it, confess it, and live it.

WHAT WOULD I DO?

I’ve been thinking about what I would do were I to see or hear of a man ascending the temple mount in Jerusalem and claiming to be God or his representative. What could I do? I have to eat. I have to support my family. I can’t just run off somewhere and hide-I wouldn’t know where to go anyway. The response to the knowledge that I was in the end times proper would have to be a predominantly spiritual one.

My first and most important reaction would be prayer: deep, serious, sincere and constant prayer for myself and my loved ones, and for all those living through the same trial. Secondly, praise: praise because God is God, and because I would be seeing my Lord very soon.

Then I would immerse myself in the Word of God. I don’t just mean the prophesies, I mean all of the Word, since it’s all there for our spiritual well-being and growth. It’s there to show us what Truth is and what is true. It’s there for our encouragement and for our strengthening against opposition. The most intense warning of Jesus Christ to his disciples during the Olivet Discourse was of end-times deception, and as Paul also warned of an intense deception which will affect the entire unbelieving world, it will be imperative for believers alive at that time to know the truth of God’s word, so that they can recognize deception and not be fooled by it, as the rest of the world will be. In fact, it’s clear to the Bible believer even now that the majority of people in our world are blinded to the truth, and that manipulators and liars and schemers already hold sway over the masses.

Godliness is the exact opposite of what our present-day godless world is working to normalize. While we’re saved from our sins by faith, we need to remember that:

…without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).

Holiness is what our holy God is looking for in us, along with humility towards Him, and sin is what he’s going to judge the world for. Having an attitude of godliness is vital in our outlook on life, both now and in that future time when we see the signs of coming judgment. We are to be set apart, and certainly to not join in with what the world is already accepting as a normal way of life. We will then increasingly stand out from the crowd, which is what our God expects of us (2 Corinthians 6:17). We’re to make a point of not following the godless flow of the unbelieving world.

PERSECUTION.

If the time comes for us that we have to face serious persecution, we need to remind ourselves that countless believers through history have already had to deal with the same thing. Even in our present world, there are entire nations which not only suppress Christian witness and worship, but physically persecute believers. It’s nothing new. And of course, we need to remember the sacrifice of Jesus himself, who died at the hands of men who thought they were doing a good thing. He said:

Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:20).

However, he also said:

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more” (Luke 12:4).

Persecution is not the wrath of God against his own people, it’s the wrath of man and of the devil, neither of which can do any lasting harm to us. Our God is going to give us eternal life, and any persecutors, if they don’t repent, are going to be judged. We really are in a win-win relationship with our God, thanks to his Son Jesus Christ.

Jesus never promised us a trouble-free life, but he did tell us to patiently endure if the need arises. He told the church in Smyrna, about to suffer persecution:

Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown”(Revelation 2:10).

I would say that in that time of tribulation, and for who knows how long before it (and probably even now in many circles) it will be wise to not fully trust anyone, except the Lord himself. There will be a large measure of betrayal and broken trust when the world is in the mood to follow Antichrist and his very own brand of political correctness, which, I personally suspect, is already at work. Do not fully trust your denomination or spiritual leaders: your first priority when it comes to truth is the Bible. Read it for yourself, while praying for God’s guidance-don’t just let someone else interpret it for you.

Finally, remember that for the believer in Jesus Christ the future is unfailingly bright and eternal. We cannot lose-we can only win, and enjoy perpetual bliss of fellowship with our Creator and his Son, and with each other. There is no lasting loss to come-only gain.

*ALL LEFT BEHIND: THE CASE AGAINST A PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE, by Nicholas Fisher. Available in paperback or electronic form.

TRUMP: THE EYE OF THE STORM

Even Trump himself, when campaigning for election, was unaware of exactly what his attempt to become the US president was going to unleash…

O ye of weak knees and uncertain disposition: be warned that I do hold strong views on our political climate and our future, herein represented..!

Trump’s election and presidency, as tumultuous as it has been and will continue to be, is actually the eye of the hurricane of current history, though it may not feel like that to him. The tumult has been forced upon him and upon all of us as a backlash from all those in high places whose wishes were upset by a pesky election. Under the former “leader of the free world”, President Obama, the United States was being changed “fundamentally”. It was intentionally being weakened, in preparation for what the grand schemers of the world have in store for us all. Trump’s success, first in being elected, and then in making the economy boom against all prognostication, was the opposite of what they wanted, hence the rabid and hateful opposition to him since the day he descended the escalator to announce his intention to run for office.

How could Trump have known that he would be at the center of all the forces vying for the hearts and minds of the Western world-whose unseen, leading instigator is the Enemy of mankind himself? Globalists, socialists, communists, self-serving politicians, anti-Christian religious zealots, worldviews, moral-haters, the uninformed, the misinformed, West-haters, God-haters, plotters, the disgruntled, the cynical, the lawless, the envious, the super-rich who have no interest in what the voters want: all fight and scratch and kick and scream and scheme to remove Trump from their path so that their own ends can be achieved in the world. Yet there he is, for now, protected from their claws by the One who holds all of history-and the future-in His own hands.

Please don’t misunderstand me- I know that Trump is no holy man, and no savior on his own. Instead he is the man of the moment: the man being used by God to temporarily hold up the movement towards world government; the man chosen to be the thorn in the side of those surreptitiously taking us where most of us never wanted to go.

And what of the future? America is said to be the world’s “great experiment”; the “republic if you can keep it” (Benjamin Franklin). Its rise is the first time in all of history where the right to associate, to speak one’s mind, to pursue happiness and prosperity, to have a say in the running of the country, and to practice religion would be protected-in principle if not in practice. If you’re not a believer in the words of God as recorded in the Bible you may think that humankind will find a way without the founding principles of America; that ultimately humanity will solve its problems and that freedom will reign due to reason and correct “education”. I am not of that variety. It’s my conviction that humanity would have destroyed itself many times over by now, given the freedom to do so. 

God’s plan as spelled out in Scripture has been severely misrepresented within the Church. I have been one of those misinformed. But here, very briefly, is what I see for planet earth when considering what the word of God is clear on, mixed with a measure of my own informed observation and speculation…

The Bible says that the nation of Israel would be re-born after a long period of time during which the people of Israel would wander the earth. That has happened in recent decades. It says that the nation will boom and prosper in the short time it is free to do so. It would be hated by the nations of the world, and its ancient capital claimed by nations around it. The scene of Armageddon is in the land of Israel. Trump has temporarily halted the progress of those around the world-the EU, socialist politicians in America, and people of a certain religion-working to wrest Jerusalem from the Jews. This is one of the big reasons he is hated by the globalists, who are also in control of most of our media-a media which should be free and impartial but which has a determined agenda.

Globalists want us all to sing cum-bi-a together, forget our Christian beliefs and our patriotic leanings, give our money to them and to those who have poor political systems and philosophies, and dismantle our borders, so that all the above can be achieved without a struggle. Judeo-Christian morality is a road block to the socialist dream of governing us all into subservience while they hold all the power and all the money. Trump has also put a few wrenches in the works on that front. Once Trump is gone, for whatever reason, a certain religion is to be favored over the Christian faith because its more dedicated members will deal with the problematic obstructionist Christians. Obama had already worked on that effort, so that as Isis raged across large areas of the middle east, mainly unchecked, many of us wondered if this was the prophesied time beginning.

Once globalists and socialists achieve their political hegemony, world “peace” will be imposed upon us; a sort of “pax-anti-Christiana’, fulfilling prophesies of the “man of lawlessness”; the embodiment of the Enemy of God and man on the earth. Their dreams are as futile as standing on the shore of the ocean and telling the tide not to come in.

We’re all in for a pretty rough ride, once God’s restraining hand is taken away. And lest you think I’m making it all up:

And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8).

God is God, and His plan, and His plan only, will succeed.

IS IT REALLY “ALL GOD”?

Jesus Christ said that without him we can do nothing (John 15:5). Clearly he was speaking of things we may do for the kingdom of God. Without Jesus we are powerless to achieve anything for him or which is pleasing to the Father. But is it really the case, as some insist, that he does it all: that everything we do is only his doing and not ours?

I’ve heard this phrase many times in my Christian life: “It’s all God”. I’ll willingly agree that without Him we can do nothing, and that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. That really is “all God”. My only qualification there would be that we have to respond to the gospel. Calvinists insist that we can’t even do that, because, they say, that would be “works”. We’ll save that issue for another day. Today we’re asking if we as believers can do nothing whatsoever for God because it’s all God’s doing.

Salvation is by faith, and then the Spirit of God works within us to want to do what’s right, and empowers us to do what’s right. Anything done by or in the flesh or for our own gain is unacceptable to God-it has to be inspired by the Spirit in us and for His glory. However, the Christian life is teamwork. If we make no effort in it, we remain as spiritual babies. We negate the work of the Spirit. We fail to produce spiritual fruit, and we bury our talent so that nothing is gained by it. That’s the fact of the matter. If it were really “all God”, we would be robots and would have no mind of our own. We would not be choosing to follow Christ or choosing to do what’s right: we would be driven to do it by the Lord.

If we as believers fail to help the one in need, or fail to worship the Lord, or fail to turn away from sin, whose fault is it? God’s? Are we failing because God isn’t doing what He should be doing in us? No, it’s our own fault for not walking in the Spirit, for not learning to walk in His ways, and for not making the effort to do what we  should do. Believers who have been told that it’s “all God” are more likely to not appreciate their role in the Christian walk.

There are so many ways in which this subject could be approached scripturally. But it seems to me pretty obvious that when Paul told his flock to “walk in the Spirit”, the word “walk” requires some sort of effort on our part. Scripture is full of guidance, advise and commandments to us concerning what we should and should not be doing to live out our Christian faith. If there were no effort required from our own will there would be no need for all those things. Didn’t James say that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14-26)?

With that in mind, I bring your attention to the words of Peter, who made the matter crystal clear for us:

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3-11).

 

RAPTURE 30: ONE TAKEN, THE OTHER LEFT

It’s a common view, as it once was mine, that when Jesus said, speaking of the future time of distress that, “one will be taken, the other will be left” (Matthew 24:40-41) he was speaking of a surprise rapture at some time before the tribulation. The one taken would be the raptured believer: the one left behind would be the one….left behind.

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This idea first leads me to ask what this says about “the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus” during the tribulation (Revelation 14:12)? As some of those “left behind” in a pre-tribulation rapture are going to be believers in Jesus Christ, and as I discussed previously, will be saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ just as we are now Revelation 12:11) why is it that we pre-tribulation believers are blessed with escape from the perceived outpouring of the wrath of God on the earth, while those future saints will have to live through it? Are they to be subjects of God’s judgment, as it is claimed we all would be if there were no early rapture? The claim that God would not pour out his wrath upon his Church rings a little hollow if we realize that by this standard all those saints saved by grace through faith and by the blood of the lamb during the tribulation will suffer the wrath of God on the earth! Are they appointed to wrath? Are they “left behind” because they just didn’t make the grade, so God is going to punish them for it?

A far more logical explanation is that we will all be treated equally; that all believers will be called upon to be witnesses to Christ during the tribulation, and that, as I wrote in early excerpts of my book, the wrath of God which we believers will all escape is eternal judgment, not temporal earthly suffering. Refer again to the millions of believers who have suffered persecution around the world through the centuries, and continue to do so: did they incur the wrath of God? No, it was the wrath of man and the devil.  

Verses about one being taken and the other left, while possibly speaking partially of the rapture- are far more likely to be warnings of the judgment of the godless. In his Olivet Discourse Jesus gave the example of a wicked servant who, on the realization that his master is staying away for a long time, begins to beat his servants and to get drunk. In response to the servant’s actions, Jesus said:

The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites… “ (Matthew 24:48-51).

The wicked servant, who did not expect his master to return, was the one being judged. He was not aware of the day or the hour of his master’s return, and was taken by surprise. He was not raptured: he was judged.

Before saying that one would be taken and the other left, Jesus had just given the example of Noah and the Flood to show that it was necessary for his followers to be ready for his coming (verses 38-42). The two subjects are related. Jesus, speaking of those destroyed in the Flood, said:

…and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man” (verse 39).

The wicked were “taken away” by the waters in the judgment of the Flood, said Jesus. It was Noah and his family who were left behind. The wicked servant was punished when his master suddenly returned. Therefore, the phrase “one will be taken, the other left” is not speaking of a pre-tribulation rapture. Instead it’s speaking of the time of wrath and judgment, which will occur at the end of the tribulation.

RAPTURE 29: LOT, ENOCH AND DANIEL

Is Lot’s escape from Sodom really evidence for a pre-tribulation rapture? Was Enoch taken to heaven so that he could escape the Flood? Does Daniel’s absence from the furnace scene support the same idea?

Subjects covered lately in this series have been a little on the fringe of the whole matter of the timing of the rapture, but considering that  some ardent preachers of a pre-tribulation rapture  borrow every corner of Scripture to try to prove their point, it’s necessary to counter some of those weak arguments, and bring some reality to light.

I want to reiterate that I am not a-millennial in my beliefs, and I know that the rapture is a real Scriptural event. However, having been misled on the subject for twenty-eight years, I wish now to help others see what the future really holds, and not allow them to stick their heads in the sand of faulty interpretation. This post is excerpt number 29 from my book*. There’s a lot of meat in earlier posts. Just search “rapture” or try search terms such as “rapture wrath”, or “rapture bride”.

LOT’S ESCAPE FROM SODOM

Jesus’ reference to Lot’s escape from the destruction of Sodom in Luke chapter 17 is used to support a pre-tribulation rapture. However, Lot left Sodom on his own two feet, not on angels’ wings, knowing it was going to be judged that very day, because he had been told so. The ungodly were living out their usual daily lives when destruction from the Lord took them by surprise (verses 28-29). This is the point Jesus is making: not that believers were taken away without knowing that they would be or when they would be, but that the wicked were taken by surprise and were not expecting judgment. The wicked were appointed to wrath instead of salvation (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

Noah entered the ark on the same day the Flood came (Genesis 7:11-13) and not days or years before. Lot escaped from Sodom on the same day judgment came. They did not leave the earth. Do we really want to take these events as templates for the rapture? If so, at best we would have to take the “mid-Tribulation” position, because Jesus and Paul said that the “time of trouble”-equivalent to the Flood and the destruction of Sodom-will begin when Antichrist enters the temple, and not before (Matthew 24:17 and 21). This will be only three and a half years before Christ’s visible return, not seven or eight or ten years before it. Even in the words of pre-tribulation “experts” the first half of the “seven years” will be a time of apparent peace and prosperity for the world: not the day of judgment, wrath and trouble. Antichrist’s power lasts only for forty-two months (Revelation 13:5). If Noah’s escape and Lot’s escape prefigure the rapture itself then the rapture would have to be on the very day Antichrist is revealed on the temple mount-at the earliest.

Noah’s deliverance does not work as a model for a rapture years before the time of trouble: neither does Lot’s. It’s intended to demonstrate that the unbelieving world will not be ready for the Day of the Lord while true believers will. Paul put it this way:

…for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly…But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief…” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-4).

ENOCH

Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away” (Genesis 5:24).

Enoch’s disappearance could certainly be considered a type of rapture. It’s very reminiscent of Paul’s description of our being changed from mortal to immortal, in his letters to the Thessalonians and the Corinthians. However, some pre-tribulation teachers go beyond what this brief account actually says, by claiming that Enoch’s “rapture” is symbolic of a pre-tribulation rapture of the Church. They assert that Enoch was taken to heaven to escape the Flood, and in the same way, the Church will be taken to heaven to escape the tribulation. Is there a statement in the Bible plainly connecting these two events-Enoch’s “rapture” and the rapture of the Church?

This concept gives the impression that Enoch was raptured a day or so, or a year or so, before the Flood, so that he wouldn’t have to suffer it. After all, the Church, it is said, will be raptured days or perhaps a few years before the “seven-year” tribulation begins. In fact, when you do the math, you find that Enoch was taken by God to heaven nine hundred and sixty-nine years before the Flood (Genesis 5:21-29 and 7:6). We’re told in Genesis that Enoch “walked with God”. This is why the Lord took him. We’re not told in scripture that Enoch was taken to spare him from the Flood almost a thousand years later, but because he walked with God. Being so close to God, would he not have escaped the Flood, along with “righteous” Noah, were he around for that long? There was no need for him to be raptured from the Flood!.

DANIEL

One prominent denomination teaches that Daniel had his own “rapture” which is intended to model the pre-tribulation rapture. Into the fiery furnace went Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo, in Daniel chapter 3, for not worshiping Nebuchadnezzar’s idol. But where was Daniel? He was not there at all. The fearless three had to endure the trials and tribulations of Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace, while Daniel was nowhere to be seen. His absence is not only a “mystery”, but is considered a type of the pre-tribulation rapture.

Of course, there’s no statement to that effect anywhere in scripture, not even in Paul’s discussion of the rapture in the New Testament, when he shares his “mystery”. It’s an idea which is not provable, but which tickles the fancy of those who look for support for a pre-tribulation rapture in every corner of the Bible and beyond. There’s no consideration of the possibility that Daniel was, for example, away on business for the king. It was a very big kingdom. And why were the other three not raptured also, considering they were men of great faith, whose faith would put most of us to shame?

Not only is there no statement in scripture that Daniel’s absence models a pre-tribulation escape from the events of Revelation, but when we read on in the book of Daniel we find that he’s back in the flesh, on earth, and undergoing his own “fiery trial”. Chapter six sees Daniel falsely accused and set up by the king’s counselors. He’s then thrown into the lion’s den, where he is miraculously protected, but nonetheless very present on the earth for the ordeal.

*ALL LEFT BEHIND:THE CASE AGAINST A PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE, by Nick Fisher, on Amazon in paperback and e-book.

THE FINAL (AND ENDLESS) FRONTIER

Call me a romantic if you must (I would like that) or a dreamer (I am) or crazy (again, there may be some basis…) or un-scriptural (I would challenge that one…) but it seems to me that the universe isn’t there just to look pretty for people on this little speck called earth…

I was reading through Isaiah recently, and as Bible readers will know, even if you’ve read through a passage of scripture many times over many years, there’s always something fresh waiting to pop out at you-so deep is the Word of God. This time the following verse jumped out at me:

Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this (Isaiah 9:7 NKJV).

Testing my own senses against those of my far more level-headed son, I asked him what he thought could be the meaning of that phrase, “Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end”. His immediate answer was “Space”.

There’s only one way the increase of Christ’s government can never end, to my mind, no matter how you attempt to interpret it, and that’s in an ever-expanding universe. If you have a better explanation, let’s hear it, please. Here, on this limited planet, there is limited space, and I don’t expect God to allow bureaucracy to strangle us all as it has attempted to do in the US, and has succeeded in doing in much of Europe.

I’ve long thought that while the universe is so vast because our God is infinite and all-powerful, and wishes to display his power and nature, the universe is not just there to be looked at for all eternity from the tiny part of it that we know now. I’ve been convinced that our eternal dwelling will extend to the stars. And even though scientists describe the limits of our universe according to their theories, they cannot see them, but continue to see further and further seemingly without end. Limited or not, it’s big…unimaginably big! It’s so big that it would take a very long time indeed to explore and populate. Not only so, but an infinite God can supply an infinitely expanding universe, even if it does have boundaries now. And that, according to my hopeful, imaginative mind, is just a part of what God has in store for those who love him.

RAPTURE 28: NOAH and the FLOOD

The experiences of several Old Testament characters are frequently used and confused as evidence for an early rapture of the Church, as they once were by me. Today I will consider Noah, and next time Lot, Enoch and Daniel..

NOAH AND THE FLOOD

In his “Olivet Discourse” Jesus, after describing the destruction of the temple and the times of distress before his return, gives the example of Noah’s escape from the Flood as a way of telling his people that they need to be ready for his coming (Matthew 24:36-39). This reference is seen by some believers, as it once was by me, as a sure evidence of pre-tribulation rapture: Noah escaped the Flood, so we’ll escape the tribulation. Others, including at least one prominent modern-day denomination, teach that Noah’s experience in the ark represents Jews being preserved through the tribulation on earth, whereas Lot’s escape from Sodom is a type of the rapture of the Church before tribulation.

If Noah’s escape from the Flood in the ark speaks of Jews living through the tribulation, we might ask why the Church is not in this allegory, since the only other characters in the account-even before the Flood began-are those who drown outside the ark. Only eight souls survived the Flood, and they were all in the ark. And while it’s a fact that Noah and his family were safe inside the ark, Jesus made it clear that those living in and around last-days Jerusalem, not to mention the world, will undergo terrible trials. That’s why the tribulation is known as the time of “Jacob’s Trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7).

Jesus said that upon the revealing of Antichrist in Jerusalem people there are to flee the city, because “…there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now-and never to be equaled again” (Matthew 24:21). Zechariah said that in that time Jerusalem will be invaded and half the city will be taken into captivity (Zechariah 14:2).

The other popular theory, that the escape of Noah is a type of pre-tribulation rapture, is equally dubious. Righteous Noah and his family escaped the Flood while everyone else, who had no idea what was going to happen, drowned. Therefore, the Noahic-rapture theory says, Jesus was obviously alluding to the rapture, modeled by the ark, in which all of Christ’s people-the Church-will be whisked away to safety before the seven-year tribulation begins. This is another indicator, they say, of the doctrine of “imminence”.

However, Noah did know the flood was coming. Of course-he was building an ark, he must have known. But it wasn’t just a vague idea that a deluge was coming, he knew exactly when it was coming seven days before it came, because God told him:

Go into the ark, you and your whole family… Seven days from now I will send rain over the earth for forty days and forty nights…” (Genesis 7:1 and 4).

The seven days of warning God gave Noah could be seen by some as symbolic of the “seven years” of tribulation, but the Flood began at the end of those seven days, not at the beginning, and most pre-tribulation believers don’t see the distress and judgments of the tribulation as arriving at the end of the “seven years” of tribulation. Neither will these judgments last for forty years as the rains lasted for forty days in the case of the Flood. Then, after the Flood Noah and his family came back to earth with a bump on the mountains of Ararat, lived out their lives as mortals and died, which doesn’t speak well of a change to immortality for the Church in the Flood/rapture scenario.

Since Noah was clearly warned seven days before the beginning of the Flood, Jesus did not intend to use the example of Noah’s escape from the Flood to be an example of a surprise rapture. It was the unbelieving world which was not ready for the Flood. That was the point Jesus was making in the Olivet Discourse:

“…and they knew nothing about what would happen until the Flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man” (verse 39).

The flood did not begin until the seventh day after God’s specific timed warning to Noah. While Noah was told by God seven days before the flood to go into the ark, those seven days were spent loading it up with animals-which was probably the intention of God’s command. Noah and his family did not actually enter the ark to stay until the seventh day-the very day the floodwaters began to arrive:

…and the floodgates of the heavens were opened… “On that very day Noah and his sons…together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark” (Genesis 7:11-13).

So using the seven days of God’s initial command to enter the ark, during which the animal “kinds” of the world were boarding, doesn’t work as a model or a type for a surprise pre-tribulation rapture. The wrath of God in the form of the world-wide flood began at the end of the period of seven days, not at its beginning, so using the seven-day period as a type would only serve to further confirm the wrath of God falling at the end of the seven-year period and not all the way through it.

The entrance of Noah into the ark was at the end of the seven day period, not at its beginning. No-one “left behind” and outside the ark for that seven day period or after it resembles a “saint” of the tribulation period: everyone outside the ark perished. Noah was not taken into heaven to escape the Flood, he remained on the earth and died at his allotted time.

The point of Jesus’s example of Noah and the Flood was to let his people know that they must be ready spiritually, because the unbelieving, wicked world will not be. In the days before the Flood, said Jesus, people were eating, drinking, marrying…in other words, living out their lives normally, with no expectation of or interest in what was to come:

…up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man” (Matthew 24:36-39).

The people who “knew nothing” were the unsaved-not the people of God. Jesus’ emphasis was readiness for the coming of the Son of Man, not readiness for a sudden surprise escape, because Noah knew exactly when his escape would be. It was to be a spiritual readiness of obedience in contrast to living in blind wickedness like the rest of the world. What was coming for hearers of the Olivet Discourse to be ready for was judgment, not rapture. Significantly, the coming of the Son of Man which Jesus had just described in Matthew’s gospel, to which he was relating the story of Noah, was his entrance into the sky from heaven in power and glory, not a secret coming (verse 30-31).

Those who tell us that Noah represents the remnant of Jews living through the tribulation also miss the fact that Noah knew the Flood was coming, seven days before it came. They tell us that the majority of the Olivet Discourse is intended for the Jews who they say will live through all those events. If this is the case, why did Jesus tell the very same people, living in that time, “You do not know the day or the hour”? Noah knew exactly when the Flood was coming:

Go into the ark, you and your whole family…Seven days from now I will send rain over the earth for forty days and forty nights…” (Genesis 7:1 and 4).

Noah was actually the father of all of us-Jew and Gentile. He didn’t live under the Law, he wasn’t circumcised, and he didn’t dwell in Israel after the Flood. There’s no scripture telling us plainly that Noah represents Jews living through the tribulation or escaping the tri-bulation: these are impositions to prove a theory. When Jesus did speak of Noah in relation to tribulation events, it was clearly to stress the importance of spiritual readiness rather than being lost in judgment with the unsaved: not to illustrate the plight of Jews at that future time.

THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST

In this world of struggles and disappointments and hardships and loss it’s refreshing to be reminded that there’s something worth celebrating every day of our lives, and that’s the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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The Greek word translated “gospel” in the New Testament means “good news”, and in the context of the Bible the gospel is the “good news” about Jesus Christ. But what exactly was and is that good news, and what does it mean for us?

In answer to the second question first, read what Jesus said:

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).

The Bible speaks of a love-gift from God. That gift is forgiveness of all our sin, and eternal life with our Creator. The only requirement is that we accept God’s son, and attempt, through him, to live God’s way instead of our own.

Contrary to the common view on the street, as promoted by Hollywood and by certain authors, the gospel, the scriptures and the essential Christian doctrines were not all invented hundreds of years after the time of Christ’s life on earth. Lee Stroebel, with an MA in Law from Yale University, and a former award-winning investigative journalist for the Chicago Tribune, in his book “The Case for Christ” interviewed a number of believing scholars such as Cambridge educated Sir Norman Anderson. Anderson was a Professor at Harvard, and lectured at Princeton. He was also the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of London. Anderson said that Paul’s letter to the Corinthians can be confidently dated to around 55 AD (1).

Dr. Gary R Habermas, a New Testament historian, received his Ph D from Michigan State University and his DD from Emmanuel College, Oxford. In his book “The Historical Jesus”, Habermas discusses the creed quoted below as found in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, and writes:

“That this confession is an early Christian, pre-Pauline creed is recognized by virtually all critical scholars across a wide theological spectrum” (2).

THE GOSPEL

Here, then, is Paul’s first century definition of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which he had given his life to, despite all opposition and threats, having once been a persecutor of Christians:

“Now brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.  After that he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time….Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also…” (1 Corinthians 15: 1 – 8).

So the gospel of Jesus Christ-the good news we can accept or reject-is this:

1 Christ died for our sins, as prophesied in Old Testament Scriptures (we can be forgiven for all our sin because of Christ’s death on the cross);

2 He was buried;

3 He was raised from the dead on the third day;

4 He appeared alive to his disciples after his resurrection.

5 He has promised peace in this world and eternal life to all who trust in him.

NOTES

1 Lee Strobel “The Case For Christ” (Pub. By Zondervan, © 1998) p. 230.

2 Gary R Habermas “The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ” (College Press Publishing Company, Joplin, Missouri, © 1996 Gary Habermas) p 153.

SOFTWARE AND RESURRECTION

I’m currently considering what the mind may consist of. Is it all neurons and synapses, as the materialists insist, or is it an immaterial spirit within us? Is it perhaps a combination of both?

I see the brain as a physical interface between our spirits and the material world we live in. It also operates and maintains our body, and communicates with people and things around us. We need both brain and spirit to be who and what we are in this material world, and the mind is involved in both.

Descartes was one of the first famous philosophers to consider such questions, and is frowned upon in our time for, well, believing in God, and for concluding that the mind and the physical body are two separate things. The mind cannot be measured he reasoned, therefore it is not physical.

Whatever the mind is exactly, we know from Scripture that God knows it, and knows it better than we do:

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
    You are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely (Psalm 139:1-4)

I know I’m not the first to make the computer-human analogy, but thinking about it, there really are a lot of uses for it in our reasoning. Our body is the hardware, and our mind and our spirit is the software. Just as we can copy and paste on our favorite devices, and just as we back up our information so that nothing is lost, so God must have a copy of our minds, and of exactly who we are. Of course, with limitless intelligence, He can keep that copy within His own mind: He doesn’t need any hardware. I’m speaking metaphorically here. And we know that “God is spirit” (John 4:24).

Our Creator surely also has a copy of our DNA. So when we die, He can take His back-up of our being-our own human nature and character, and upload it into a brand new fleshly version of our body, created from our own (but corrected) DNA code. Voila: resurrection! It’s a glorified version of taking a software design of, say, an aircraft, and turning it into the real thing.

Unwanted, corrupted codes, which God calls “sin” will be discarded; deleted (1 Corinthians 3:14-15). Then what remains will be that in us which has loved Him and His ways, and which has lived for Him, and also no doubt, the degree of our individuality which is uncorrupted.

In that case, how much of you, of me, will be left after deletion? If your “codes” are all corrupted, and your hard-drive intrinsically flawed, you are of no value in God’s universe, and you certainly cannot restore yourself. Scripture says that all humans are fatally flawed in their software and their DNA, which is why we die. We desperately need a re-boot in this life: we must be born again, spiritually speaking. And ultimately we need a complete re-build. The living Word of God is the antivirus that we all need. And in God we can have all our corrupted codes re-written. On top of that, the operating system upgrade will be positively out of this world! Glory to God!

 

ROCK ‘N SOUL

It’s amazing how many things evolutionists and creationists agree on, without realizing it. A well-known creationist* when debating evolutionists, loves to point out that they believe humans came from a rock. The Bible says something similar…

When the evolutionists protest that they believe no such thing, he explains. According to the evolutionary history of the universe, space, time and matter came from nothing, or virtually nothing, when it expanded into all the universe we see today. A part of that matter, a large lump of rock, became the earth. Rain appeared on it magically, and created a soup in which life with all its incredible intricacies popped into existence (none of this was ever observed). That life developed itself over enormous amounts of time, until, well, here we all are communicating, pro-creating, and writing blog-posts. Voila: life from a rock.

Not only does this very wry creationist have a point, but actually, so do the evolutionists, because Scripture says something similar. Early in the book of Genesis we read that God created man out of the dust of the ground:

“Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).

Here is one example of agreement between evolutionists and creationists: humans originate from the earth itself. The most obvious difference is that we believers acknowledge that intelligence is required to make information: DNA and life, even in the simplest of cells, is mind-bogglingly rich in information.

Another difference between the two accounts of man’s origins is that according to Scripture, we (mankind) have a spirit within us, also created by God. Believers (and everyone else) get an incalculably valuable bonus which most evolutionists don’t seem to want: an immaterial, immortal soul. We are more than rock plus information.

However, we believers, along with our unbelieving brothers and sisters-in-flesh-if-not-in-spirit, sometimes get inflated ideas of ourselves and of our value. We think that our Creator owes us all kinds of goodies and service. We think we can act our way and not His way without consequences. We’re like a painting which attempts to assert rights and privilege over the artist and the owner. We think that we are the important ones and the artist is irrelevant.  With this principle in mind, John the Baptist drew the attention of those he was preaching to where they had come from-that is, the ground:

“And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham” (Matthew 3:9).

God made us from the dirt of the ground, adding information and life. So then let’s not insult our Creator by compromising with the evolutionists about our origins: a painting does not paint itself, and information does not come from nothing or from chaos. Let’s instead give God the honor and reverence He deserves, for creating us with a certain amount of dignity, with a spirit, with a little free-will and intelligence, and the promise of much more even than that:

“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).

Thanks for reading.

*Kent Hovind

 

 

DOES JESUS’ “GATES OF HELL” QUOTE PROVE A PRE-TRIB. RAPTURE? (RAPTURE 26)

Hi everyone. And when I say “everyone” I’m well aware that only a very small number of people are the tiniest bit interested in the rapture of the Church. And only a tiny fraction of that tiny fraction is the slightest bit interested in asking whether their dearly-held pre-tribulation rapture  is a valid view. However, undaunted, I plow on with my critical expose of this teaching, because, having once been a pre-trib. believer myself, I can see how dangerous and myopic it is. More on that at a later date. Here, in an uncharacteristically short post, is excerpt twenty-six of my book on the rapture. 

Jesus, talking about the Church, said that “the gates of Hades (‘hell’ in KJV) will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18). The modern claim in support of a pre-tribulation rapture says that since we know Antichrist will overcome saints on the earth during the tribulation, according to Daniel 8:12 and Revelation 13:7, the saints of Revelation cannot be the Church, because Jesus said that the gates of hell will not overcome the Church. Therefore the Church, it is claimed, must be in heaven at that time. 

Think about what will happen to the saints alive during those trying times in Revelation. They will be persecuted, and some or many of them will be killed. So what’s new? Thousands or even millions of Christians have been persecuted and killed for their faith over the centuries since the time of Jesus, and the opposition to the Church goes on today. So either Jesus was wrong to make this statement that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church, or persecution and the martyrdom of saints is not the gates of hell prevailing against the Church! Jesus said to his original disciples, and so to us:

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” (Matthew 10:28).

The persecution of the believer is not by any means a victory of Satan or his minions. In fact, those who “hold to the testimony of Jesus” and are persecuted in Revelation are anything but defeated. Even those who will be killed in this persecution will not have been “prevailed” against, in fact, quite the opposite. At the beginning of the reign of Antichrist, we read the following:

Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on’” (Revelation 14: 13).

The Church, consisting of all true believers of all time, will not be conquered, even in the physical death of its members, but will be raised to life, and will reign with Christ for a thousand years (20:4). The Church is an entity which cannot be defeated or harmed, no matter how much it is opposed or persecuted. The Bride of Christ is eternally secure, and the overcoming of the saints’ temporal earthly existence has no effect on her status at all. 

FREE WILL: REAL OR ILLUSORY?

Once I started questioning if reality is exactly what we perceive it to be, I began to discover some of the weird, wacky and wild philosophies at large in the human mind throughout history and in today’s world, including that of many professing Christians…

Some Buddhists believe that we aren’t really here: reality is just an illusion which we create in our own minds, and all we need to do is create the right kind of reality. Of course, the logical question here is “how can something which doesn’t exist think?” I’m not sure how they would answer that one, because I’m only just beginning to delve into the multitude of strange ideas. Not that I’m shopping: it’s a matter of interest only. Among these ideas are such related issues as determinism-secular and “religious”; destiny; fate; predestination; providence; Murphy’s Law*; Karma; luck and fortune, and preordination.

The “free will” which most of us like to think we have is subject to at least one of these forces, according to many millions of people in all parts of the world, and throughout history. From the Christian perspective, does God impose his will on everything we do and everything which happens, as many Christians believe? These people are convinced that if you pick up a box of Corn Flakes at the store, it’s because God decided and decreed it, or ordained it, long before you were born or before the world was made. Or does the Lord just step into some situations and guide some of our lifetime events?

From the secular perspective, is nature itself arranged in such a way that certain things, or even all things, are “fated” to happen? Is there a natural flow of things, as in such philosophies as Daoism and Stoicism, which we would do well to willingly yield to, rather than attempt to fight against?

How many Christians are aware that Martin Luther rejected the idea that we have free will, particularly when it comes to salvation? He wrote, among other things:

“This false idea of ‘free-will’ is a real threat to salvation, and a delusion fraught with the most perilous consequences.” (Martin Luther, Bondage of the Will, p.106-107).

Luther wasn’t the first to make this claim, and later, John Calvin came along and  impacted the Christian world forever with his strong views on predestination. As Augustine had argued, Luther and then Calvin believed that salvation and faith come solely at the discretion of God’s will, long before we are born. If you are chosen, you will receive faith and so be saved. It has nothing to do with you wanting to seek God or loving Jesus Christ.

If you are not chosen to receive faith, you will not be saved. And in Calvin’s “double predestination”, God not only chooses who will go to heaven (and that, a small minority of the population) but also chooses who will go to hell-long before they are born. It doesn’t matter how much you pray and try to live for the Lord and how much you love Jesus: your designated destiny may be the fires of hell. For all Calvin knew, most of his congregants, who were all but forced to attend church, may have been of the damned. I can’t see how he could have been sure of his own salvation. Apparently you have to test yourself to see if you are doing the works that God requires in increasing measure. But surely, that’s works, not faith.

In my own life, my interest in the subject of free will began when I started to observe how many things happen in life which seem to be beyond natural events and coincidence. This mostly applies to “bad” things. I also met the acquaintance of a Calvinist who attempted to pull me over to his persuasion. I hadn’t experienced this thinking before, and I wanted to get a grip on it.

He’s a good man, but arbitrary predestination of the soul? No thanks: my God isn’t that cruel. Yes, God is God and we are not, and He can do what He wishes. But a God whose love is so deep as to send his only son to die at the hands of men, is not then going to be so pernicious as to block the vast majority from seeking or finding  salvation. If salvation comes from God alone, and not from our works, which I firmly believe, then the idea that God gives some salvation and sends others to hell even before they’ve had a chance to live is not consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Reality, fate, fortune and free will are all unfathomably deep topics. And how can we come to any conclusions at all if what we see is not real? No, I think a God who can create such an orderly and beautiful universe can also make as much reality as we need to be clearly seen to us. What we see is only a part of reality, yes, but what we see is real. My observation at this point in life and in my walk with God is two-fold:

1/ We do live in a real, physical universe in which our actions and our decisions and our thoughts have real, physical consequences. Having said that, I’m sure that our reality is greatly affected by many unseen forces: God’s occasional or even regular intervention; Satan’s opposition to the people of God and mankind in general; spiritual attack and deception; God’s testing of us; the Curse; God’s faithful angelic beings; the fallen nature of man at work in our world, and yes, luck and real, natural coincidence. God does not drive us like automatons.

The fallen nature of man greatly affects our lives. We are constrained by numerous obligations such as work, taxes, alarm clocks and human laws. For most of us, the day is already shaped for us before it starts. But this isn’t any cosmic denial of free will, it’s the natural consequence of living in a world and a society in which we want to survive, to adhere to a certain amount of moral law and propriety,  and to stay out of prison.

2/ God cares for all people. This is the testimony of scripture. No, I don’t believe that everyone will go to heaven, but I do believe that we all have the opportunity. Some may have their hearts hardened, as pharaoh ‘s was, because he was already wrapped up in his own pride and power and opposition to our God. God can foresee the future, and the hearts of all men who will live, and acts accordingly. I’m sure he knew well before Judas was born that he would betray Jesus, but I do not believe that God selected him to do it without first knowing what kind of a man Judas was. There’s no other conclusion to draw than that we all get the chance, when we read scriptures such as this one:

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32 KJV).

Thanks for reading. I welcome comments and suggestions, or information. I may write more on this subject at a later date. You could search for my series titled “Why Do We Suffer”, and my post on Murphy’s Law*

https://nickyfisher.com/2016/12/10/toast-murphys-law-and-the-bible-2nd-edition/

 

 

 

RAPTURE 25: FALL AWAY FROM WHAT?

Welcome readers. Here’s another installment of my book* on the timing of the rapture. I was a pre-tribulation believer for twenty-eight years: I now know how wrong I was to unquestioningly accept everything the “experts” taught. The good news is that this post is considerably shorter than most…

blinding-light-into-lent

Paul wrote that a preliminary and unmistakable sign that the Day of the Lord was beginning or about to begin will be a “falling away”, or a “rebellion”, followed by the revealing of Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:3). What exactly this “falling away” will be is a matter of some debate, though it’s generally considered to be a falling away of nominal believers from the faith.. Some have attempted to interpret it as being the rapture. More likely it’s a movement of those loosely associated with the faith away from it. This is the most common view and makes the most sense, but the exact interpretation of what the falling away may be isn’t the subject of this post.

Imagine this: the rapture has taken place before the tribulation. The Church is gone. Besides the millions and billions of unsaved people on earth, only nominal believers and hangers on are “left behind”. In this case, I want to ask the question: What will there be for anyone to “fall away” from? If the Church is gone, and with it the Holy Spirit, what is there left to fall away from?

Is it the Church? How can you fall away from a Church which has already gone? How can you lose a faith you didn’t really have anyway? How can you rebel against God or against Christ if you’re already so weak in the faith or hypocritical that you missed the rapture? And in that case, if the Church were raptured and then all the weak “left-behind” people fall away, where do “those who remain faithful to Jesus” spoken of several times in Revelation, come from (Revelation 14:12)? We would have to assume that these weaklings suddenly become the toughest, most fearless and faithful believers in history. So why didn’t they get raptured? We ourselves, supposedly the ones to be raptured, are not that tough. We aren’t out there sharing the gospel in the midst of severe persecution. Is it because they just happened to be going through a phase of spiritual weakness that they didn’t get raptured? Haven’t we all experienced that? If this is the case, Jesus is willing to “dump” us if we experience a time of discouragement and weak faith. Isn’t he more faithful than that? Doesn’t he uphold us? Didn’t God say “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5,6)?

With all the persecution going on and the mark of the beast being instituted in the tribulation, it has to be nothing short of remarkable that those saints living at that time will have such incredible faith that they’re prepared to die for Jesus! How can there be any “falling away” during the tribulation if the Church is already gone, and “those who hold to the testimony of Jesus” are prepared to die for their Lord?

If we try to say that the “falling away” will happen before a pre-tribulation rapture in order to escape this conundrum, we only create another conundrum, because Paul, giving the initial signs of “The Day of the Lord” here, surely would have said something like “that day cannot come before there is a falling away first, and we are all changed to immortal, and then the man of sin be revealed”. Also, if the falling away is to come first, before tribulation, the rapture would not be so “imminent” and unexpected, would it? Why would Paul speak of the falling away, and then go straight to the revealing of Antichrist, giving these two signs as the initial signs of the Day of the Lord, without mentioning the rapture, if it is supposed to come before either of these events?

If the rapture has already occurred at the point Paul is speaking about-that is, before the falling away and before Antichrist is revealed, why did Paul not mention it to the Thessalonian church in the same chapter? He had already mentioned the rapture in his first letter to these believers when speaking of the coming of the Lord: it was not a hidden mystery to be kept from the Church. Surely, that would be an ultimate sign of the arrival of the day of the Lord, particularly to anyone “left behind”? He wrote to them about the rapture in his first letter, and it’s no longer a “mystery”: why not mention it now? If the rapture is indeed the first “sign”, which it would have to be if it’s “imminent” and must come first, why not mention it when speaking of what to look out for as signs of the Day of the Lord coming?

THE CAUSE OF REBELLION

The most logical answer to all these questions is that the Church will still be around when Paul’s initial sign-events of the Day of the Lord take place, and that those who are weak in the faith and who attend church for something to do, or who are trusting in their church organization or favorite teachers instead of Jesus, will rebel against the true Faith when the going gets tough. This will be the “falling away”. The tribulation will be a divider between the people of God and those who don’t want to know God. Jesus said that there will be such great deception and distress in those times that if it were possible even the elect will be deceived. Those who are not the elect will be deceived. They will be the ones to fall away. There will be a sharp division between the saved and unsaved.

*ALL LEFT BEHIND:THE CASE AGAINST A PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE, by Nicholas Fisher, available on Amazon.

WHAT SHOULD MUSIC IN THE CHURCH SOUND LIKE?

There’s been a lot of debate in recent decades over what music, or the worship in church should sound like, but it seems that what’s known as the “contemporary” style of worship has pretty much triumphed over hymns in most evangelical churches. I here offer my viewpoint, for what it’s worth, and a suggested fix for the problems. 

(This post is a greatly edited version of one I wrote a few years ago. It’s a little kinder than it was, but if you don’t like strong opinions, don’t read on!)

MODERNIZING

The evangelical church has been quietly burying or trashing hundreds of years of inspired hymn-writing (along with a lot of terrible hymn writing) in exchange for what it believes is modern music. This has been done in an effort to entertain and draw new generations. And perhaps that’s as it should be: times change and tastes change. Just a couple of decades ago electric guitars and drums were considered to be instruments of the devil. For a long time it was thought that once you get the drums tapping in the church you’re all on the slippery slope to hell.

Although I was raised to love the hymns, and still prefer the truly inspired hymns far over new “worship” songs, I don’t see it that way. Biblical worship is both passionate and noisy, and there’s no hint that drums or electric guitars should be excluded. Rhythm is not evil: God, not Satan, invented the heartbeat. Musicians speak of an instrument’s “voice”, because all instruments, including the electric guitar, have one, and David said “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Psalm 150).  But there’s more to the consideration of contemporary music than that.
It seems odd to me that many in the Church are saying that we should be moving with the times and changing our style, because what is presented as “contemporary” Christian music is really a Christian sanitized version of pop, or light rock or country music which has been around for decades. If you really think you should “modernize”, you shouldn’t pussy-foot around with what the secular world has already been doing for some time. The Church never invents or explores or pushes the boundaries in worship or the arts, because that’s always considered to be “of the devil”, and consequently the world always does it first. Granted, we have to present some degree of familiarity in worship. But doesn’t modernization require doing something fresh and new, rather than just following the herd?

PLAYING THE WORLD’S GAME

By trying to be like the world, and trying to please a majority of younger people and those wishing to appear young, we select the lowest common denominator in music, and everyone in church is expected to smile, get enthusiastic, and go along. And this brings to light a rather big problem: there’s a genie out of the bottle now. You’ve trashed the hymns (or stuck a rhythm onto them and cashed in), and now you’re claiming to be modern. Now you have to put up with what comes along in the future, and your music will soon be trashed.  And if you really want to bring your music up to date, which kind of contemporary music are you going to regard as Christian? For all those who stand in church jigging and wiggling to the beat, I can assure you that there are also many who don’t like that kind of contemporary music-they much prefer a different kind. What’s considered “new” by many is really not new at all. Yes, in this world of fast-changing, diverse tastes and styles, it’s difficult if not impossible to please everyone. Fashion, unlike worship methods of the past, changes rapidly.

The latest genres are not represented in church-what are you going to do about that? While you think that “most people like contemporary music so we’ll keep it this way”, you’re actually thinking exactly what the hymn-singing world was thinking thirty or forty years ago: you’re getting stuck in the mire of conformity. It’s a complicated business, being modern.

THE FORGOTTEN SOULS

What about the many people who still love the hymns, and those who were raised with 60s and 70s style choruses and songs-don’t they matter? Perhaps we should reflect the style of music and worship by suffixing the names of our churches:
“The First Presbyterian Church of mid 1970’s Progressive Rock”.

PET PEEVES

Having been a pro musician for a time, and a music lover all my life, I for one resent being instructed or expected to clap and to writhe like a pop star, when the music I’m supposed to get excited about is as predictable and clichéd as it can be. I’ve had one or two worship leaders all but point me out to the audience (I’m sorry-I meant “congregation”) because they were irritated that I was not dancing on the spot. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like that, or the only one who is made to feel like I’m not spiritual or that I’m an un-cool relic of bygone days.

Another complaint I have is that sometimes the band on the stage is actually performing, and the congregation may see the church service as a show. Instead it’s meant to be a service in which God is exalted, in which we are instructed in the Word, and in which everyone sings with passion, with their focus on Jesus Christ and not the band.

It’s also my experience that someone can be in rapture over the latest song by a contemporary Christian star, and still be living as worldly a life as anyone not professing Christ. Pop music has lent us a false feeling of spirituality: if we feel good while we sing those words, we must be good Christians, right? If the vocalist closes her eyes and shakes her expensive hair while she sings, she must be a good Christian, right?

THE FIX

If you’ve managed to read this far, you may be wondering what my suggestion is for the future of Christian music. So here it is.
Either we should simplify, and just have keyboard accompaniment to the songs, which would bring everyone down to the same level, turn the show back into worship, and allow us all to concentrate on the spiritual side of life (and not the sensual), or let’s have some real variety. Instead of letting the “stars” and their recording labels get a monopoly on Christian music, let’s give worship back to the worshipers.

Let’s give everyone a chance to blow their own trumpet; to sing to the Lord; to use their gift; to present a short application of their musical gift or talent. Let’s have Rap, hymns, guitars, brass – the lot. So what if it’s not polished? Producing music only in a tightly controlled manner greatly inhibits variety, creativity, imagination and participation. It kills spontaneity.

If everyone had the opportunity to take part, I think there would be a lot more enthusiasm in the church. Everyone would be entertained and represented. The music and worship would not get stuck in a quagmire of clichés and propriety but would be fresher and more spontaneous and alive. Perhaps the Christian world might actually allow some originality to the fore, and something to make the world out there take notice. Perhaps our God would be blessed by what he sees coming from the heart and not from some “contemporary” prescription for what worship should sound like.

RAPTURE 24: WHICH LAST TRUMPET IS THE LAST LAST TRUMPET?

Not only do teachers of the pre-tribulation rapture theory insist, without scriptural statements, that the first of two resurrections is in stages, but they also have to resort to claiming that there is more than one “last trumpet”. This is the subject of excerpt twenty-four of my book*

Paul, when telling the Corinthians that “we will all be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51) speaking of the resurrection and the rapture, said that “the last trumpet” will sound (verse 52). Then, when writing to the Thessalonians on the same topic he mentioned “the trumpet call of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-19, esp. verse 16). Jesus, when speaking of his physical and visible return to the earth, said that he would send his angels “with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds” (Matthew 24:30-31).

Since there will be a “last trumpet” according to Paul, at which the rapture will take place, there must be previous trumpets, or a series of trumpets. We know from Revelation that there are trumpets sounded as a part of the final judgments on the earth. However, pre-tribulationists claim that the loud trumpet call which Jesus said will be sounded upon his glorious return at the end of the tribulation is a different trumpet call, or part of a different set of trumpet blasts entirely to the trumpet call Paul spoke of. They say that there is more than one series of trumpet calls, and so Jesus’ trumpet call announcing the gathering of his elect at the end of the tribulation has nothing to do with the trumpet sounded at the rapture. This has to be their claim to avoid the otherwise clear fact that Christ will return for his bride and his elect at or near the end of the tribulation.

Do they know that to be so, or is it necessary for them to invoke different trumpets or series of trumpets in order to preserve their theory? If there are other trumpets or series of trumpet blasts, and since “the”, or “a” “last trumpet” heralds the resurrection and the rapture of the living, we could rightfully ask when these other trumpet blasts or series of trumpets were or will be heard, what did or will they announce, and…which last trumpet is the last last trumpet?

Trumpets are heard from time to time throughout the Bible. However, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to find any other series of trumpets related to end times events, other than the one found in Revelation, which announces a final series of judgments. There are only two other trumpet sounds mentioned in Revelation. One is the voice of Jesus in the first chapter when he spoke to John, which sounds like a trumpet, and the second is speaking of the fact that musicians will no longer be heard in Babylon when it is destroyed (18:22). These are clearly not related to the rapture.

Zechariah tells us that “…the Lord God will sound the trumpet”, in a prophecy sounding very much like an end-times deliverance of his people Israel (Zechariah 9:14). This does nothing to alleviate the pre-tribulationist’s problem, but only adds to it, because it fits with the principle of Christ appearing in power and glory to deliver Jerusalem, to bring judgment, and to gather his people. And the fact that God was only speaking of the deliverance of Israel in Zechariah’s prophecy does not mean that the return of Christ is only to deliver Jews. This could simply be a part, a detail of the bigger picture.

Exactly what happens at the seventh trumpet judgment of Revelation anyway-is it at all relevant to this question? An angel gives us the answer in chapter 10:

…in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished…” (10:7).

Didn’t Paul also call the resurrection and the rapture a “mystery”? (1 Corinthians 15:51). Hmm, that’s quite a coincidence isn’t it? Perhaps that’s a different mystery…

Here in chapter 10 of Revelation we’re told what will happen when the seventh-and last-trumpet is about to be blown, but in the next chapter it is actually blown, and this is the result of it:

The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).

The seventh trumpet announces that God and his Christ have taken over the world and have begun to reign. Another outcome of this seventh trumpet follows:

The nations were angry and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name…” (11:18).

Believers, according to Paul, will appear at “the judgment seat of Christ”, and will be rewarded or shamed for what we have done while alive in the world (2 Corinthians 5:10). I wrote about this in my chapter on the resurrection.

The seventh and last trumpet of Revelation has delivered “the kingdom of the world” into the hands of God and of his Christ (11:15), and at the same time set up the judging of the dead and the rewarding of God’s people (11:18). Can it really be coincidence that Paul wrote how, upon Christ’s return in “blazing fire” and not before, that the persecutors of God’s people (and here he was referring to Church age saints) will be judged, and the persecuted rewarded (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10)? There is just too much agreement with these two accounts for them to be unrelated.

The seventh trumpet of Revelation is the last. To the unbiased this is at least reminiscent of the “last trumpet” and the “trumpet call of God” spoken of by Paul as a herald of the resurrection and the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). It’s also undeniably similar to the return Jesus spoke of, when, in the space of two verses, he described both his return to the earth in power and glory, and the “loud trumpet call” upon which the angels will gather his elect (Matthew 24:30-31). At this point, the kingdom of earth will have become the kingdom of God and of his Christ.

IMMINENCE THEORY AND LAST TRUMPETS DON’T FIT TOGETHER

Warning and announcement is the purpose of trumpet blasts in Biblical and secular history. But if, as pre-tribulation believers say, the rapture and the coming of Jesus Christ is ‘imminent’, so that there is nothing to occur before it in terms of last days events, what were the previous trumpets for, and when did they sound, according to scripture? If the rapture is imminent, what could any previous trumpets possibly mean to us: surely we cannot know them or recognize them-we aren’t supposed to. And if we could, why is there nothing in scripture about them? Where are the previous trumpets described in Bible prophecy? Jesus said nothing about them in his Olivet Discourse. Paul said nothing about any trumpets previous to the “last trumpet” heard in the resurrection and rapture. In truth, they’re absent from scripture, and the only series of trumpets we’re told about is the seven trumpets in Revelation which lead up to the transfer of earth’s kingdom to our God. Some pre-tribulation teachers have attempted to attach trumpets to past events in history, such as the First World War, but this is simply guesswork and not supported by scripture. No-one can confirm such things, so how are such “trumpet” blasts of any use at all?

So then, the last trumpet spoken of by Paul when referring to the resurrection and rapture of believers could easily match the seventh trumpet- the last trumpet- described in Revelation chapters 10 and 11, which will occur at the end of the tribulation, not before it.

*ALL LEFT BEHIND: THE CASE AGAINST THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE”, by Nicholas Fisher, available on Amazon.

THE WORLD THAT ISN’T GOD’S

The book of Revelation, in speaking of cataclysmic end-of-days  events and the judgments of God, states this:

 “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).

So a pertinent question is this: If the kingdom of the world only becomes God’s upon the enactment of end-times events, to whom does it belong now?

Over there in Washington, men and women fight and scratch and kick and grab for power. Whose bidding are they doing? Whose kingdom do they want to control? Under whose influence are they? The answer can be seen in several Bible passages, not least the account of the temptation of Jesus Christ. Here, Satan offers to give Jesus Christ all the world, without having to go the way of the cross:

“Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “All this I will give You,” he said, “if You will fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:8-9).

Jesus didn’t argue with Satan: the kingdoms of the world, that is, the kingdoms of mankind, do belong to our enemy, for now. That fact explains quite a lot, doesn’t it? I’m not one who thinks Christians should not be involved in politics-we absolutely should, to hold back the flow of evil and just plain bad government as much as possible. And I’m in awe of the President for attempting to do just that. But no matter who manages to gain control of the “free” world on the surface, and no matter that it is under the power of the evil one, its future belongs to our God, and to His Christ.

THE PHARISEES OF D.C.

Human nature and the clamor for power never changes. From first-century Jerusalem to twenty-first century Washington, the same tactics are at work:

“Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be honest. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor…” (Luke 20:20).

RAPTURE 23: RESURRECTION AND PAUL’S ORDER OF EVENTS

Last time I wrote that Revelation provides for only two resurrections: one at the return of Jesus Christ, and the other a thousand years later after the Millennial reign of Christ. Pre-tribulation rapture theory has to assert that the first resurrection is in stages separated by years of time, because the first resurrection in Revelation includes those who will be martyred during the tribulation. See part 22. Today I will continue the theme of resurrection in relation to the rapture. The fact that Paul listed the order of resurrection events is usually overlooked, but not here!

August 2013 010

I apologize once more that this is a long post. It’s also a little bit involved, and not an “easy” read. It is, therefore, helpful only for those who strongly want to know what the rapture is about Biblically-the intention of my book*. 

Before Paul told the Corinthians that they would be changed in the twinkling of an eye, he discussed the resurrection and the necessity of faith in it. Here Paul laid out an order of resurrection events in plain terms for us. He introduced his order of events by saying that as in Adam all die (speaking of the result of the Fall of man) so in Christ all will be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22). However, he wrote, there is an order of resurrection:

…each in his own turn” (verse 23).

Is this perhaps evidence of a “staged” first resurrection? Paul is enlightening us on the subject of “turns” here, including who will be raised first and second. He’s going to tell us in what order these fundamental happenings take place.

FIRST: “Christ the firstfruits” (verse 23a). Paul had already clarified that Christ is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (v 20). He was the first to be raised permanently.

SECOND: “Then, when he comes, those who belong to him” (23b).

THIRD: “Then the end will come” (24a).

A shallow understanding of this order of events may suggest that the pre-tribulation position is the right one, so that the “end” is considered to be the tribulation and its culmination, which will happen after the rapture when Christ will come for believers. Is this correct?

To help us draw some conclusions about Paul’s “turns”, we need to ask some questions. In which of these three steps is the rapture? Which “coming” is Paul speaking of in the second step: a pre or mid-tribulation rapture, or his visible return in power and glory? Is this resurrection perhaps in “stages”? What does Paul mean by “those who belong to him”? Are those who belong to him just the people who are ready for the rapture while nominal believers have to be “left behind”? If so, where is the turn of those left behind? Which “end” is Paul speaking of? If it’s the end of the tribulation, then the second step could be speaking of an early or pre-tribulation rapture.

THE “COMING” OF CHRIST IS SINGULAR IN PAUL’S NARRATIVE

Why is it that here, where Paul is speaking of the order of events-particularly the resurrection, is there only one coming of Jesus for those who belong to him? This chapter-1 Corinthians 15- is the same chapter in which we read about resurrection and rapture, and that “We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye” (verse 51-52). Paul is sharing the “mystery” of resurrection and rapture with us in the second half of the chapter-and we all see him as being privy to the facts. And yet when he gives us the order of resurrection in the first part of the chapter, there’s only one coming of Jesus mentioned. He said nothing about a split or a staged return, or a split or a staged resurrection. All he tells us is that Christ will come for those who belong to him. Surely, those who “hold to the testimony of Jesus” during the tribulation also belong to him? Surely, they will also be raised to live and to reign with him? The remarkable answer to this question is “Yes”- the saints martyred during the tribulation will be raised and will reign with Christ during the Millennium:

“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection” (Revelation 20:4-6 NKJV). 

Significantly, neither is there any split or distinction later in the chapter when Paul discusses the “mystery”. There he’s telling us that for the dead and the living believer there will be instantaneous change from mortality to immortality. But gives no hint that this transformation is for “some” while the rest get left behind for a later, subsequent event in his order of things.

It’s no use saying that the coming of Jesus in Paul’s second event is a pre-tribulation rapture, because Paul says that he is coming for “those who belong to him”. Surely, at Jesus’ return in power and glory when he commands the angels to gather his elect, the elect “belong to him” (Matthew 24:31). And surely, those resurrected martyrs of Revelation chapter twenty also “belong to him” (Revelation 20:4). There cannot be several single comings of Jesus.

Pre-tribulation teachers speak of an in-the-clouds secret coming for the Church and later a visible coming in power and glory. Though Paul in his own words is laying out his meaning of “each in his own turn”– the “turns” of resurrection-he only speaks of one coming of Jesus Christ. There is no step between Paul’s second and third step. There are no “stages”. Paul said nothing like “then it will be the turn of true believers” or “then will come the turn of those who were left behind the first time”, or “then the turn of those martyred for Christ”. If the “coming” of Jesus is in two stages or more, why didn’t Paul say so here, in this chapter about resurrection and rapture?

We’re told in Revelation chapter 20 that all those who belong to Jesus will be raised before the millennial reign of Christ. There will not be any held back from resurrection until after the millennium:

This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them…they will reign with him for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:5-6).

Remember that those who are martyred during the tribulation are considered by Christ himself to be blessed. He isn’t going to count such people out of his first resurrection. And you will recall that in his Olivet Discourse, Jesus commands his angels at the end of the tribulation to gather his elect from one end of heaven to the other. Jesus isn’t going to leave any of his people out of his Millennial kingdom.

So the most obvious reading of Christ’s coming in part 2 of Paul’s list of events which is in singular terms, is that there’s an all-inclusive coming for all believers in Christ, with no mention of a staged resurrection. But even if this resurrection Paul described in 1 Corinthians is a single reference to a staged or split resurrection, there is still no guarantee that the first stage of the first resurrection will be before the tribulation.

Further, it’s difficult to conclude from Daniel’s book, with any honest conviction, that the resurrection will take place before the work of Antichrist begins. The last five verses of Daniel’s 11th chapter describe Antichrist’s movements in the middle east, saying that “He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain” (11:45). We know that the “beautiful holy mountain” must be the temple mount in Jerusalem, and we know that both Jesus and Paul spoke of Antichrist’s revealing upon his temple mount appearance. It is after Daniel’s prophecy tells us this that it then speaks of the resurrection.

We know that Antichrist is not even revealed until the mid-point of the tribulation, when he enters the temple (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12), and we know that Antichrist is given just forty-two months of power on the earth (Revelation 13:5) before Christ returns and throws him into the lake of fire (19:20). Remember that a pre-tribulation rapture necessitates the resurrection of the dead occurring before any sign of Antichrist appearing or fulfilling any prophecy. This would be contrary to Daniel’s view of things, and Paul’s.

WHICH “END” IS PAUL SPEAKING OF?

We’re looking at Paul’s discussion of resurrection, and the order of events around the resurrection of those who belong to Jesus. Now we want to look at Paul’s third point of order. After Jesus comes and the dead are raised, Paul says, “the end will come” (1 Corinthians 15:24). Which “end” is Paul speaking of here? This is a vital question. Is he speaking of the tribulation, transpiring after our second step in which Christ comes for “those who belong to him”? This would signify a pre-tribulation rapture. Or is he thinking of a different “end”? Paul gives us the clear answer himself, in the following verses:

Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (15:24-26).

Revelation makes clear for us that Jesus Christ will reign on the earth for a thousand years (Revelation 20:6b). The last rebellion against God will be put down at the end of that thousand years (verses 9-10) and then death itself-the “last enemy” will be destroyed. This is the “second death (20:14). Then Christ will hand over the kingdom to the Father, as Paul said (Revelation 21:1-4 with 1 Corinthians 15:24). Paul is saying, then, that “the end” is when Jesus has put all his enemies down at the close of the thousand year reign: the final rebellion of Satan, and death itself. Then he will hand over the kingdom to the Father.

The “end” which Paul was saying would come after Christ returns for those who belong to him is not the tribulation, but the end of the millennium -a thousand years after Christ’s glorious appearing for every eye to see; the end of Satan, and the end of death.

In summary Paul’s sequence of resurrection events in his letter to the Corinthians only includes one “coming” of Jesus Christ and one resurrection of believers.

Scriptures about the resurrection do not favor a pre-tribulation rapture. The best we can say about them in this regard is that any proposed first “stage” of the first resurrection would have to be after the revealing of Antichrist.

*ALL LEFT BEHIND: THE CASE AGAINST A PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE”, by Nicholas Fisher. Available on Amazon in paperback and digital form.

MUSE, BEUHLER, DILLING, KRUG

What happens when a society rejects its roots, and hundreds and thousands of years of standards, markers, principles, guidelines and wisdom, with no honest reference to what made that society great? Here’s a little word-picture, beginning with four names…

749px-Wrecking_ball (1)

MUSE, BEUHLER, DILLING, KRUG;

MUSE, BEWLER, DILLY, KRUG;

MUS, BOOLA POOLA, GOOP;

MUSH, PooLa, DRIBBLYGOOP;

MOOSE PUKA, GIBBLERLYKLOOP;

MOOSE PUK GILLERYPLOOP;

MOOSE POOK GILLERY POOP;

MOOSPook,GLIBbRYPOOP;

mOOzEPOokRILLIbByPOO;

MzpOOkRIbBLPOO;

ZmPKribBBbBILOO;

zpKIBBILEoO;

zpiBbILL;

IbbIL;

ILL.

FALSE WITNESS AND THE FREE WORLD

A certain political party which I don’t need to name has to abandon the commandments of God and the Word of God in order to fulfill its philosophical and social proclivities. One commandment being trashed currently is this one:

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16).

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Here’s another instance of the commandment, which includes another related issue:

“Stay far away from a false accusation. Do not kill the innocent or the just, for I will not acquit the guilty” (Exodus 23:7).

I’m not trying to say that the members of one party lie and the members of the other party don’t, because that wouldn’t be true either. But when a party claiming to be fighting for democracy uses as its chief weapon false witness, there’s something very wrong. You probably noticed that my title, at least at the level of leadership we are discussing, is an oxymoron. Freedom cannot exist in a nation or a world using such tactics.

Think back with me. Trump has been accused of almost everything any man can be accused of. Perhaps the most pernicious accusation was that he worked with the Russians to fix his election. But no real evidence was found. It was a set up: a “soft coup” being run by certain members of the political establishment and the news media.

And now, an accusation that he discussed “quid-pro-quo” with the Ukranian leader in order to beat his political opponent has been shown to be false by Trump’s release of the transcript of the actual conversation. Political leaders of the so-called “free world”, along with their allies in the media, have been brazenly and callously bearing false witness against their own president. Not only is this, in my view, the real treason going on around here, but it’s a sign that our society is teetering on the edge of disaster. And that disaster is probably only held back, for now, by the will of God and a few good men.

 

 

RAPTURE 22: THE FIRST RESURRECTION

I was a pre-tribulation believer and proponent for twenty-eight years. Therefore I am, I  believe, well qualified to critique this mistaken position. Open your minds to reality, dear Christian brothers and sisters…

blinding-light-into-lent

Today’s excerpt from my book* is taken from chapter 14. The chapter is rather long, so today’s post contains a part and the rest will appear next week.

Paul, writing primarily about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, wrote that the dead will be raised “imperishable”, and that “we will all be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51). He gave us more detail of these events in his letter to the Thessalonians. Here he made clear that the resurrection will occur first, and then, “after that” those who are still alive will be taken up to meet the resurrected and the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Therefore, if the rapture were to occur before the tribulation, the resurrection would have to also occur before the tribulation. Conversely, of course, if the resurrection were to be at some time later, say, during or after the tribulation, then the rapture would have to be even later than that. So is it possible to pinpoint the time of the resurrection in relation to the tribulation using scripture?

Pre-tribulation believers have to assert that the resurrection will be in stages, because when we read of a resurrection of martyred believers at the end of the tribulation, occurring after the victorious return of Jesus Christ to the earth, it is called in Revelation, “The first resurrection” (Revelation 20:5). There are only two resurrections in total, according to Revelation, and John informs us that if you miss the first resurrection, there’s a long wait until the second:

The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended” (verse 5).

If it were to be the first “first” resurrection (intentional repeat) in which martyrs of Revelation are raised in chapter 20, then the rapture has to be at the end of the tribulation. So pre-tribulation theory has no choice but to say that the resurrection is in stages, that the resurrection of the martyrs is a second or even a third stage, and that the first stage, taking place with the rapture, occurred at least seven years earlier than chapter 20. Are pre-tribulation believers correct in invoking stages for the first resurrection? Or instead, could this resurrection of martyred believers in Revelation chapter 20, labeled by John “the first resurrection” actually be the same event as the resurrection Paul talked about to Corinthians and Thessalonians, which he associated with the rapture?

There’s no doubt that only the martyred are mentioned at this point in Revelation, giving the distinct impression that they’re the last ones left to be raised, and other believers must have been raised at some time before this. However, the fact that they’re the only ones mentioned here doesn’t exclude the possibility that their resurrection is actually just a featured detail; a part of the simultaneous resurrection of all believers. In that case the focus here, as it has been for several chapters of Revelation, is the persecution of all ages under the Harlot, and more specifically during the tribulation, where those living through it- the “saints who hold to the testimony to Jesus”-have been harassed and persecuted by the Beast. In this case their resurrection is most relevant to the account of tribulation events, and so the one in focus at this point.

WHERE ARE THE OTHER STAGES OF RESURRECTION?

Even though Paul had revealed the “mystery” of Christ’s return; the resurrection and the rapture, many years before the writing of Revelation, there’s no other reference in Revelation to the first resurrection before this one in chapter 20. Why not? It’s not at the beginning, or in any of the letters to the churches, or in the account of John being taken up to heaven. There’s no mention in heaven of resurrection before any seals are opened, or during or after them, until this talk of the “first” resurrection in chapter 20, after Christ’s return with his angels in chapter 19.

Verse 4 of chapter twenty, in which we see the martyrs raised, and before the martyrs are mentioned, speaks of “thrones, on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge”. We normally associate judgment with the physical return of Jesus to the earth. Indeed, how can anyone be judged without him? We, even as Christians, are going to receive a form of judgment, without condemnation (2 Corinthians 5:10 with Romans 8:1). So if the “judgment seat of Christ” is going to occur at the time of the resurrection of the martyrs, either the resurrection of the martyrs is a part of the general resurrection occurring simultaneously, or if the rapture occurred years earlier, the raptured have had to wait seven years to by judged. The other unlikely alternative is that Christ keeps getting out his judgment seat for each proposed phase of the resurrection. Why are seats of judgment being brought into view now for the first time in chapter 20? There’s no mention anywhere of any judgment occurring seven years before or at any previous point in Revelation.

Note, again, what Paul didn’t say to the Thessalonians or the Corinthians in the very scriptures we use as evidence of the resurrection and the rapture. He didn’t say, “some” of the dead will be raised imperishable (1 Corinthians 15:52). He didn’t say that those who are “ready” for the rapture will be taken and the others left. He didn’t say “some” of the dead will rise first and the rest later (1 Thessalonians 4:16). He said nothing in these passages about a two or three-staged resurrection, or a two-staged rapture, or for that matter a two or three-staged return of Jesus.

DANIEL’S RESURRECTION

Daniel’s prophetic book gives us an early, Old Testament glimpse of the resurrection. Chapter 11 first foretells some narrative of military and political struggles in the Middle-East in a chronological order, and then, by the end of chapter 11, we’re brought all the way up to the actual time and location of last-days tribulation events. There we learn a little about the movement of Antichrist and his forces in the Middle East.

Chapter 12 continues the order of events Daniel was shown, speaking of a time of “great distress” for the nation of Israel. This description closely resembles Jesus’ remarks in his Olivet Discourse, in which he speaks of the appearance of Antichrist, and the time of “great distress”, unequaled at no time past or future (Matthew 24:15-22). It also evokes Paul’s description of the time of Antichrist’s revealing which will release all sorts of evil on the world (2 Thessalonians 2).

It’s at the end of the succession of events Daniel is told about, and not at the beginning, that the angel talking to him speaks of the resurrection. First comes the warning of “a time of great distress, such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then”. Then the resurrection is described:

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2).

*ALL LEFT BEHIND: THE CASE AGAINST THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE”, by Nicholas Fisher, available on Amazon.

D.C. POWER

If I were the devil, the place for me would be Washington DC.

If, according to Scripture, Satan wants to rule the world, then the obvious hang-out, besides all the sources of disinformation and entertainment, would be the command center of the most powerful and prosperous nation on earth. I would claw my way to the seat of power, lying, cheating and scheming my way, and I wouldn’t care who I brought down to ruin in the process.

Only this can explain the madness and frenzy surrounding the presidency of the United States.

WILL JESUS KEEP US FROM THE HOUR OF TRIAL? (RAPTURE 21)

Will Jesus Christ keep true believers from the coming “hour of trial”, meaning the tribulation? That’s the claim of many people who teach an early rapture. This phrase is taken from a verse in Christ’s letter  to the church in Philadelphia, and the promise applied to believers in our age:

I will keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 3:10b).

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I have to wonder just how the Philadelphian church received the benefit of this promise, because if you think about it, they, being first-century Christians, didn’t get raptured before they died. Their bodies still sleep even now while their souls are “present with the Lord”. In the pre-tribulation rapture sense which people now hope for, that is, going to heaven while alive and so escaping persecution and death, there was no fulfillment for the Philadephians. Why would Jesus make a promise of rapture, if that’s what this is, to a first century church?

Could it be instead that the promise is being misinterpreted? Perhaps we could look at it in a different way. And the way I”m going to suggest isn’t going to be popular with some of you: the natural death of those in the first century church was their escape from trial. Isaiah wrote:

The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find their rest as they lie in death” (Isaiah 57: 1-2).

Being human in the twenty-first century West we think that escape from trial should mean instant transport to heaven. But perhaps God has a different idea. Jesus told the Philadelphians that as they’d patiently endured they would be kept from trial, and we think that we deserve the same treatment-that is, rapture-while those “left behind” to live through the tribulation don’t. This attitude isn’t borne out in scripture. Even those who will bravely live through the tribulation, and refuse the mark of the beast, are said to “patiently endure” and remain faithful to Jesus (Revelation 14:12). At this very point in John’s book we’re told that those who die in the Lord at this time are “blessed”. And in language very reminiscent of the Isaiah quote above, we’re told that their deaths are their “rest”:

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on”…”Yes, says the Spirit, they will rest from their labor, for their deeds follow them” (verse 13).

Here, we’re told what we cannot grasp in our relatively free and safe Western culture-that escape from trial does not have to entail rapture. And the obvious observation must be made that millions of believers through the centuries, and even today in many parts of the world, have not been delivered from persecution by being raptured. Jesus said,  No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you as well (John 15:20).

PATIENT ENDURANCE

Here’s that quote from Jesus’ letter again:

I will keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 3:10b).

It seems easy to apply this phrase to the pre-tribulation rapture, doesn’t it? And yet there isn’t really any mention of “rapture” or of being changed and transported to heaven. Perhaps we should look at the context of this phrase before we make a decision. With the first part of the verse in place, it reads like this:

Because you have kept my word about patient endurance…I will keep you from the hour of trial…” (etc).

The reward of the Philadelphians was in return for their patient endurance. What does Jesus mean by “patient endurance”? When I was first a Christian I was waiting for the rapture to happen any day. I thought I didn’t need to get a job because I would be zipping off to heaven before I’d even signed the application form. I had told my unbelieving family members where I would be when I disappeared along with millions of others around the world, and I’d written out a large “Where I’ve Gone” note for them to find. Is that what Jesus meant by “patient endurance”, or was I missing something? We can get a good idea of what the Philadelphian church was patiently enduring, and what other churches were patiently enduring, by reading through Revelation, particularly the letters. In John’s opening testimony, he wrote:

I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (Revelation 1:9).

John was suffering persecution because of his testimony-the testimony of Jesus. Because of this suffering he was “patiently enduring”, just as the Philadelphian church was (3:10).

Interestingly, Jesus also expected the Philadelphians to “hold on” to what they had, and he said to them (and to us) “Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God” (3:11-12). Despite the fact that they were going to be kept from the world-wide trial which we may see as the tribulation, they were still expected to endure and to overcome. Their lives were not trouble free. They were not delivered from all trouble, and they were not raptured.

Overcoming is a common theme in the letters to the churches. It speaks of enduring persecution (Revelation 2:7; 2:11; 2:17; 2:26; 3:21). The Olivet Discourse includes a very relevant passage in which Jesus speaks of those living in those future, last-days times of “distress”. Speaking about all the trials they will experience, he said:

But he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:13).

These words, “stands firm” are translated from the very same word which is also translated “patient endurance”. The first-century church in Philadelphia lived through their own trials and patiently endured, just as the tribulation saints will be expected to patiently endure, because they will be the ones living at that time. The Philadelphians died nineteen hundred years ago and so by natural death were kept from the future hour of trial which will affect the whole world, if that’s the trial Jesus was speaking of. He may have been speaking about judgment instead.

Again, the “hour of trial”, if it is the tribulation, is not necessarily seven years long. The world will be in some sort of relative peace and security before Antichrist is revealed three and a half years before the return of Jesus, not seven years (Revelation 13:5). Therefore, even if Jesus had meant in his letter to the Philadelphians that we, in our time, will escape the tribulation, there is no guarantee that the rapture will occur seven or more years before the visible return of Christ.

Thanks for reading. This post is the twenty-first edited excerpt from my book, “ALL LEFT BEHIND: THE CASE AGAINST THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE”, by Nicholas Fisher. It’s available in paperback and kindle editions on Amazon.

CLIMATE CHANGES

“The oceans will be as dead as Lake Erie in a decade”. So said a Stanford ecologist in 1970. He also declared that “America will be subject to water rationing by 1974 and food rationing by 1980”.

Now, I’m all for having a clean environment and for eliminating waste (so let’s get rid of half of the government) but unless the Buddhists are right, we still exist in 2019, as large as life and twice as potent. Let’s drink to it, with a large glass of clear water…and then go out for a meal at any one of the multitude of restaurants around us, all brimming with food…including fish.

The above quotes are contained in a collection of similar doomsday predictions given over the last fifty years by… experts (see note 1). Ooh-experts! (Did anyone read my post titled “Ex-ing the Experts”?)

Another dire prediction contained and documented in the collection, first made in 1971, was that the earth was about to enter a new ice age. I can actually remember this warning being given. One expert making this prediction was working for NASA and Columbia University at the time. He said that the use of fossil fuels was blocking out sunlight to the earth, which would lead to the earth cooling dramatically within fifty years. In 1974 the Guardian’s report on this problem declared:

“Worldwide and rapid trends towards a mini ice-age are emerging from the first long-term analyses of satellite weather pictures”.

So from 1971 we have two years to go until the ice age begins, right? Wrong. Within fifteen years of predictions of impending arctic conditions, the experts were onto global warming. Who remembers that? And who remembers all the talk in the eighties of the ozone layer being rapidly diminished, which would quickly lead to all of us frying and life on earth ending? Whatever happened to the ozone layer?

But now it’s “climate change”. Simple warming couldn’t be detected by we, the unwashed, ignorant masses-especially during winter. So in order for those who wish to control us, and those who are genuinely duped to get at least half of us on their side, the idea of changing weather must be introduced, because it’s a more tangible phenomenon, even though weather and climate has been changing since the beginning of time. Bob Hope, a famous comedian in the fifties and sixties, said that “England is the only country where you can get all four seasons in one day”. Having spent thirty years in England, I know exactly what he meant. And there are some who are certain on an especially hot day that the earth really is going to burn unless the United States distributes all its money around the world.

For one example of real climate change, consider the Sahara desert. It was a fertile land (see note 2) only a few thousand years ago, and its desertification cannot by any stretch of the imagination or misinformation be blamed on Western industrialization or progress.

The earth’s climate has changed so dramatically during its history-before any industrialization- that fossilized palms and hippos and camels are found a long way north. Read any account of earth’s history according to evolutionists and they’ll tell you how much things can change. Just look at the last ice age (in my view, the only one). Where we now live and bask in warmth for half the year glaciers, ice and snow thousands of feet deep blanketed northern latitudes for hundreds of years.

In my several decades on this planet, while we did indeed sometimes see all four seasons in one day, I’ve seen no noticeable change in the climate. But the blame for the destruction of the earth and the bill to right nature is being handed to the United States and the West (in fact, to the hard working tax-payer) when the US is one of the cleanest nations in the world.

We are being hoodwinked, and millions of young people are being terrorized by apocalyptic predictions. This is being done for the sake of political gain by a certain party and those of the same political and social philosophy, and for the dream of overturning a way of life and replacing it with a mythical socialist utopia.

NOTES

1 “WRONG AGAIN-50 YEARS OF FAILED ECO-POCALYPTIC PREDICTIONS”

https://cei.org/blog/wrong-again-50-years-failed-eco-pocalyptic-predictions

2 https://qz.com/africa/549573/5000-years-ago-the-sahara-desert-was-home-to-people-animals-and-lush-vegetation/

https://www.livescience.com/4180-sahara-desert-lush-populated.html

(PS: note the three-thousand year difference estimated in these two reports)

 

 

 

RAPTURE 20: HOW TO BE READY

I was a pre-tribulation rapture believer for twenty-eight years: I finally saw the light. This series on the rapture is designed to present the alternative to anyone who really wants to know. You can search for other parts of this series in the box above, or you could get my book*

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HOW TO BE READY FOR THE RAPTURE

In Revelation chapter 19 we read that the bride-the Church-has made herself ready for the wedding of the Lamb (Revelation  19:7). In what way has the bride “made herself ready” before Christ returns to the earth? Has she been in heaven for seven years or more, getting those linen robes fitted, and practicing for the wedding? I think we’re given a strong clue as to the answer in the following two verses, though they’re often conveniently overlooked:

Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints)”.

As I’ve pointed out, not only the bride of chapter 19 wears fine linen but angels do too. However, those saints who are martyred during the tribulation-and possibly before it- also seem to be wearing something very similar:

I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained…then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer…” (6:9 and 11).

In chapter 19 fine linen is given to the bride seemingly as a gift, just as salvation is a gift of God. Salvation is by faith and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9). However, we’re told in chapter 19 of Revelation that the Church’s fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints. Doesn’t that sound a little like works?

There’s precedence to this imagery, in Jesus’ letter to the church in Sardis. Jesus speaks there of the deeds of those in the church (Revelation 3:1). They had a reputation for being alive in Christ, but they were not. He told them to repent and “wake up”. He acknowledges that there are a few people in Sardis, “who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white…” (verses 4-5).

Similarly, the church in Laodicea is accused by Christ of being “lukewarm” in their love for him. He tells them that they are “wretched, pitiful, poor blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17). They have no robes on. Clearly he means the kind of robes we’ve already discussed. So among other things he counsels them to buy “white clothes to wear” from him (verse 18).

Therefore, considering our opening verse, ” …his bride has made herself ready”, along with the references above, being ready does not at all have to relate to being raptured. As with the bride in Revelation, so with these churches in existence well before the tribulation, and by extension anyone who wants to walk with Christ in white, we must live out the “deeds” expected of us (verse 1). As Christians we do not believe in salvation by works, but we are “created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Ephesians 2:10). We can’t live the way we did before our profession of faith, or else our profession is not genuine. At least some of those deeds expected of the church in Sardis included being spiritually awake and attentive to their Lord. Perhaps that’s the entire requirement. Clearly a vital theme, Jesus Christ reiterates it after the penultimate bowl judgment on the earth and before the final one:

Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed” (Revelation 16:15).

Getting to the point of this observation, it seems clear that the bride mentioned in chapter 19 “makes herself ready” by her deeds. The bride has not made herself ready for the wedding by being raptured or by getting used to being in heaven for seven years, or by spending seven years putting robes and make-up on: she’s made herself ready by the deeds done in her lifetime on the earth. She doesn’t have to be raptured before the tribulation in order to make herself ready. And those saints still struggling against the Antichrist on earth can be just as ready for the groom as those who may be in heaven. John gave counsel in this regard in his first epistle:

And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming” (1 John 2:28).

In short, the bride, conspicuously intangible, along with the wedding supper in the chapter 19 scene in heaven, usually described as the bride’s preparation for the attack force, does not even have to be in heaven to be ready for her groom.

*My book, “ALL LEFT BEHIND: THE CASE AGAINST A PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE”, is available on Amazon. Alternatively, the entire book is being published here in an updated and edited form. This is part 20. More to come next week.

SEEING GOD

Millions of people make the gigantic mistake of expecting God to peep through the clouds, or to audibly speak the winning lotto numbers, before they’ll believe he’s there. God isn’t undetectable. He isn’t “the God of the gaps” as one famous evolutionist insists we evangelicals believe. He isn’t only in the things we can’t explain.

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In fact, God is so there that it’s really impossible not to see his handiwork, unless you are that determined not to see it. What evolutionists observe while intentionally ignoring the fact, is God’s workmanship. Go and look outside, or look in the mirror: there’s all the evidence you’ll ever need that there’s an amazing, mind-bogglingly intelligent Creator, full of beauty, love, power and order. What we can see, hear and touch, and the fact that we can see it, is proof enough:

“Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

RAPTURE 19: WHO ARE “THE HOLY ONES” WHO RETURN WITH CHRIST?

If you’re honestly interested in the timing of the rapture, and if you’re brave enough to face the truth, here are some of the results of years of my own “no nonsense” study on the subject. I was a “pre-trib” believer for twenty-eight years. I now know how misinformed and wrong I was. Get the facts, and stop believing the hype…*

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Are “the holy ones” who return to earth with Jesus Christ the raptured Church, as pre-tribulation preachers claim? This post is related to earlier ones in the series which concern the Bride of Christ.

THE ARMIES OF HEAVEN

At or very near the end of the tribulation Jesus Christ will appear in the sky for the whole world to see. We read in scripture that he will come with a multitude, sometimes described as a “cloud”. Some Christians believe this prophesied multitude is the Church. The Church will have been in heaven with Jesus Christ for at least seven years, they say, and now she’s going to return with him to help defeat his enemies and claim the world.

We read in Revelation chapter 19:11-16 that the “armies of heaven” follow Christ into the skies of earth from heaven. They’re not named or identified, but they’re riding white horses, and they’re dressed in fine white linen, just as the Bride of Christ is given to wear earlier in the chapter (verse 14). I’ve seen numerous paintings or drawings of believers in flowing white robes, riding white horses to the earth for battle. As if to confirm the conviction that this army is the Church, Chapter 17 verse 14 says that when Christ overcomes the Beast, “with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers”. It may seem to be a reasonable and obvious assumption that this is the raptured Church riding from heaven to the earth with Christ. However, it really isn’t that clear-cut, and I offer here some considerable contrary observations to this view.

When the text says that the Lamb’s followers will be “with him” (17:14) it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be a part of what we could call “the Armageddon attack-force” from heaven. It may just mean that Christ’s victory is their victory, and that they’re going to be “with him”, in his presence, for eternity as his bride, because they’ve been faithful to him in the world.

Secondly, even if the Church is to be part of the Armageddon attack force, the attack will occur, according to Revelation,  when the beast and his ten kings are making war against Jesus Christ-and not before (verses 12-14). Therefore this event is not pre-tribulational. It’s not even before the mid-point of the “seven year tribulation”. It’s near the end of the last three and a half years, and probably at the end of them. We know that because this is the allotted time for the beast to hold power over the world:

The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months”(Revelation 13:5).

There is therefore no clear reason to assume from chapter 19 that the Church has already been in heaven for seven years. If what we read about is really the Church leaving heaven on white horses with Jesus, it could just as well have been in heaven for a week, a month, or a year or two-there’s no way of knowing from this passage.

Thirdly, we can’t identify the riders just by what they wear. It’s not just the redeemed who wear clean white linen: angels do also:

“Out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues. They were dressed in clean, shining linen” (15:6).

Fourth, when Christ leaves heaven with ‘the armies of heaven’, the words “Church” and “Bride” are not used to describe those armies! (19:14).

PAUL’S CLEAR STATEMENT ON THE MATTER

Fifth, Paul describes Christ’s coming in vengeance, not “with us”, but “with his powerful angels” or “mighty angels” (KJV). We can’t assign these labels to the Church, because Paul makes a clear distinction in his letters between the Church and the angels of heaven. This distinction is first made in his first letter, when he prays that when Jesus comes to bring vengeance, Christ will see the believers of Thessalonica as being blameless:

…so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones” (1 Thessalonians 3:13).

In this above verse we have the Thessalonians in clear distinction from the “holy ones” coming with Jesus.

In his second letter, Paul tells believers that they will be avenged and rewarded when Christ and his angels arrive in blazing fire:

He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled…”This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels” (2 Thessalonians 1:7).

NOT THE CHURCH!

Why did Paul make this distinction if the “attack force” from heaven is the Church? Again, notice what Paul did not say. He did not say “…on the day he comes with his holy people and all of us who have believed”. Paul’s statements demand two different sets of followers-the attack force and the rescued.

Jesus said that when He comes in power and great glory, it will be the angels who will come with him (Matthew 25: 31). He didn’t say “you will come with him” or “the Church will come with him”. Jesus will send his angels to gather his elect (Matthew 24:30-31; 13:40-43). Perhaps the Bride will have made herself ready for the wedding supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-9) but not to fight the battle of Armageddon! As I asked rhetorically in a previous chapter, how many grooms have wedding celebrations and then immediately take their brides out onto the battlefield?

SAINTS

The KJV speaks of the ‘saints’ coming with Christ (Zechariah 14:5; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; Jude 5:8). The word translated ‘saints’ can also be translated “holy ones”, or “morally blameless”, so they are not necessarily people: they may be angels who did not fall with Lucifer. But even if we were to understand the word ‘saints’ to mean “believers” or “Church” the pre-tribulaion position gains nothing, because ’saints’ are seen to be persecuted throughout the Tribulation! (Revelation 13:7-10).

*My book, “ALL LEFT BEHIND: THE CASE AGAINST THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE”, is available on Amazon. However, it’s also being published here piece by piece, in an updated and edited form. This post is part 19. Stay tuned or follow me to continue. Thanks for your time.

ARE SCIENCE AND GOD INCOMPATIBLE?

A common argument against any consideration of the existence of God and of divine Creation is that science and God are two separate things: God is all about “faith and fairy tales”, whereas science is concerned with reality. This, dear reader, is poppycock…
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 My initial rebuttal in this situation is that God IS the Master mathematician, and the Master scientist: no God, no universe! Evolution is an “opt-out” excuse for those who want to ignore God and hope that he isn’t there.
Great scientists of the past-those who actually made the discoveries rather than being indoctrinated and then employed according to their obedience to the politically correct views, recognized that science proceeds from the mind of an omnipotent creator. They were the men upon whom the foundations of true science were built. Those who try to fudge this fact are really trying to defend evolutionism by calling it “science”.
True science is observable and testable: evolution is a theory which cannot be demonstrated or observed. You may have been told that some bacteria in the lab underwent some sort of change. However, those little creatures are still bacteria, are they not? This is not evolution in the sense of microbes to man: it’s variation. It does not prove that you are related to a slug, and it does not prove that life came from non-life.
Sir Isaac Newton gave us the three laws of motion and his law of universal gravitation, among many other amazing things. In discussing these laws The Department of Physics at the University of Illinois states:
“Newton’s Three Laws of Motion and his Law of Gravity are probably the most famous of all physics. He was one of the greatest scientists in history” (note 8).
Newton said in his “Mathematica Principia” in 1686:
“This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all, and on account of His dominion He is wont to be called Lord God, Universal Ruler.” 
(note 7).
Larry Vardiman, PhD, writes, “The modern scientific method was developed in the 16th and 17th centuries. Many Christians contributed to the procedures for doing science. The use of careful observation, experimentation, the development of laws, hypotheses, and theory, and the use of mathematics were all important parts of its development. Scientists like Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, Johann Kepler, Blaise Pascal, and many others who were Christians believed Genesis and honored God in their science” (note 1. See also an article by T.V. Varughese, PhD note 2).
Louis Pasteur (December 27, 1822 – September 28, 1895) was a French biologist in the nineteenth century. He was a microbiologist and chemist, renowned for his discoveries of the principles of vaccination, microbial fermentation and pasteurization. He is remembered for his remarkable breakthroughs in the causes and prevention of diseases. He created the first vaccines for rabies and anthrax.
Pasteur said:
“The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the creator” (note 3).

 

Galileo Galilei, famous for his scientific achievements in astronomy, mathematics, and physics, and infamous for his controversy with the church was, in fact, a devout Christian who saw not a divorce of religion and science but only a healthy marriage:

“God is known by nature in his works, and by doctrine in his revealed word.” 4

Michael Faraday, who became one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century, began his career as a chemist.  His major contribution, however, was in the field of electricity and magnetism. He was the first to produce an electric current from a magnetic field, invented the first electric motor and dynamo, demonstrated the relation between electricity and chemical bonding, discovered the effect of magnetism on light, and discovered and named diamagnetism, the peculiar behavior of certain substances in strong magnetic fields (6). Faraday said:

‘God has been pleased to work in his material creation by laws’ (5).

NOTES
7 Principia Mathematica, by Sir Isaac Newton.

RAPTURE 18: THE BLESSED HOPE, AND THE GLORIOUS APPEARING

The “blessed hope” spoken of in the Bible is seen by some as a pre-tribulation rapture. Certainly for the believer in Jesus Christ the change from mortality to immortality is a blessed hope, but it’s not accurate to say that the “blessed hope” mentioned by Paul to Titus is the pre-tribulation rapture.

Paul didn’t call the rapture the blessed hope at all, although the rapture is associated with the appearance of Jesus. He said the blessed hope is the appearance of Jesus:

“…while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ…” (Titus 2:13).

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When Jesus appears we will be changed and we will be with him for ever, but Paul didn’t say anything about rapture or being “snatched up” before tribulation here: it’s just assumed that’s what he meant. In a sense, the appearing of Jesus Christ in this passage, and in others, has been hijacked to support a theory.

What did Paul mean by the “appearing” of Jesus Christ? The answer seems obvious. But was, as some think, Paul talking about Jesus appearing only to his Church to take them to heaven, or was he talking about his physical appearance to the whole world at the end of the tribulation? Are there two separate appearings as is claimed, or just one?

Jesus’ first appearance to the world was a physical, tangible appearance for anyone who was in his vicinity to see, whether believer or unbeliever:

He appeared in a body…” (1 Timothy 3: 16).

When resurrected, he appeared to his disciples in physical form (1 Corinthians 15:5-8). He told Thomas to touch his hands and his side and stop doubting (John 20:26-28).

Years after Jesus’ ascension John wrote that, “When he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). The word translated “appears” here is the same one used to describe his on-earth appearance in a risen state to his eleven disciples, which was, as noted, physical (Mark 16:14). This word “appears” means, according to Strong’s Concordance (see note 1 on chapter 6) “reveal”; “make known”; “appear”; “be disclosed”; “displayed”. The word “reveal” seems, logically, to negate a secret appearance, as do all the others.

The same word is used in Paul’s letter to the Colossians:

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4).

The writer of Hebrews tells us that:

He will appear a second time…to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:28).

Who will be waiting for Jesus? Is it only those taken up in a pre-tribulation rapture? Surely, the “elect”, who have been living through the tribulation, who Jesus will command his angels to gather at the end of the tribulation, will be waiting for him at least as much as we are now (Matthew 24:31)? And there’s no mention anywhere of him appearing a “third time”, as there should be if the rapture were this second “appearing” at a much earlier date than the gathering of the elect.

Paul used the phrase “appearing of Jesus Christ” on other occasions. He told Timothy to fight the good fight of faith “until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 6:14). He used the same Greek word here translated “appearing” as he had used in the Titus verse, when he said “the glorious appearing of our great God and savior”.

It’s interesting that in the above verse Paul didn’t tell Timothy to keep his command until he was taken up to heaven in the rapture. The relevant event Timothy was to aim for was the appearing of Jesus Christ.

These verses could perhaps be claimed, as they are, by any rapture theory. However, Paul’s statement to the Thessalonians nails the point much more clearly, when he said that the Lord would bring relief and avenge those causing them trouble:

This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels….They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).

These verses state unequivocally that believers will not see Jesus until he is revealed to punish those who have rejected him and who have persecuted his people. The day he appears to punish wrongdoers is the same day, according to Paul, that he will appear to be glorified by his people, which includes the Thessalonian church. This, according to Paul, is the day on which Jesus will be “revealed”.

The word “reveal” is one meaning of the word “appears” according to Strong’s Concordance. And Peter also uses the word “reveal” to speak of the time when Jesus will appear to his people:

But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:13).

When these two passages are honestly considered together, the concept of a secret, pre-tribulation rapture melts away. Peter said that believers will be overjoyed when Christ’s glory is revealed, and Paul said that believers will be rewarded and avenged when Christ’s glory is revealed, “in blazing fire”.

We could entertain the argument, as pre-tribulation believers must, that “the day” Paul speaks of above is a general time-period. However, we already know from the Olivet Discourse that there is going to be a specific “day and hour” when Jesus will appear to punish the wicked. At the very least the two opposites in the Thessalonians verses-the marveling of those who believe and the punishment of the wicked-are happening at the same general time. There is no hint in these verses of a time-period of several years of earth-shattering events to separate the two-it has to be inserted between the lines.

GLORIOUS APPEARING

Here’s that Titus verse again:

“…while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ…” (Titus 2:13).

Now let’s compare that verse with Jesus’ description, in his Olivet Discourse, of his appearance for all the world to see.:

They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds…” (Matthew 24:30-31).

Paul and Titus were waiting for “the glorious appearing” of Jesus: Jesus said that he will appear to the whole world in “power and great glory”. Notice the word “glorious” in the first verse above and “glory” in the second, which both come from the same Greek word. It’s used again by Jesus in Luke’s gospel:

If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26).

There’s no talk here or anywhere else of people being “left behind” after a secret appearance of Jesus.

Peter used similar language in his first letter:

But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:13). Again, the word translated “glory” is the same as that used by Jesus referring to his own future appearing in power and glory for all the world to see.

The common theme in many scripture verses concerning Christ’s appearing is punishment being delivered at the same time as reward:

They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.”

The “blessed hope”, says Paul, is “the glorious appearing” of our savior.

Thanks for reading. This post is an excerpt from chapter 10 of my book, “ALL LEFT BEHIND: THE CASE AGAINST THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE”, by Nicholas Fisher. It’s available on Amazon.

SAYING IT WHILE YOU CAN

To everything there is a season…(Solomon).

There’s a time, and the time is now and it’s right for me… (Jon Anderson).

The point of these opening quotes is to share my conviction that it’s time to speak out while speaking out is still possible. I know this is probably sounding rather extreme and alarmist, but what I want to say is that it’s time to be spiritually prepared for what may be-I say may be-just around the corner…

The time is coming, and is probably already here, when free speech as the West has known it will be no more. If you aren’t on the correct side of political and social issues, you will be at the very least ostracized; at the most imprisoned and financially stripped, and eventually, you could be, in the words of the Cybermen (above) “Deleted”. To those of you already completely overcome by the P.C. virus, I must say that this reference to certain fictional non-human characters is a rhetorical device only: I’m not suggesting that earth is going to be invaded by the Cybermen!

Unfortunately a lot of our church leaders (but certainly not all) have either accepted the wickedness of man as being acceptable practices, or have gone silent for fear of making waves. They have also abandoned Scripture as being authoritative. Preaching is now mostly eisegesis rather than exegesis: giving a man-made view of life and God and even scripture and using one or two verses to back up the ideas. Worship now seems more like entertainment. As many have pointed out, the reason for the current state of our culture is substantially that the church has allowed itself to become corrupted or silenced.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”-Edmund Burke.

Political correctness has been almost given free rein until a couple of years ago. It took a billionaire with considerable intestinal fortitude to stand up and be counted, and to attempt to pull the United States back from the death of free-speech, and the precipice of globalism and moral decay. “We will say “Merry Christmas again!” (if we want to) he promised. Millions have rallied to him, as I have, because here for the first time in who-knows-how-long, someone is prepared to say and do what needs to be said and done about many things, and to brave the barrage of opposition and hatred which comes as a result. I do hope and pray that his efforts and courage will have lasting effects on our world, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

The problem is that we may already be too close to that proverbial precipice, largely because the bulk of our secular media and entertainment industry is firmly on the side of those wishing to upend our culture and hand it over to Satan. Ooh! That’s a strong accusation, isn’t it? Yes, it is, and it happens to be Biblical too. They-the media and their faultless Party and its supporters in Washington, almost succeeded in selling the “Russia collusion” fraud and carrying out a soft coup. Their myriad other attempts to bring down a president have so far failed, except to keep his ratings down among some voter groups. If the so-called “free media” can do such things and get away with it, and and after all, with truly free-speech they are allowed to lie if they are so inclined: what will they do next?

Our current president will not be in that position for any more than five more years, and what will happen once he’s gone? How will the radicals now pushing themselves and their morally corrupt and perverted ways onto the rest of us deal with us and our country once they gain power again? Judging by their far more open anger; their willingness to come clean with their extreme goals; their lies and their total lack of shame, it’s not going to be pleasant.

One way in which I planned to write this post was to title it, “The Party of the Beast”. It could also be titled, “The Media of the Beast”, or “The Hour of the Beast”. All those titles would be true, to my mind. Read Revelation and related passages and you’ll find that the radicals in our nation and in the Western world; those pushing for the demise of Western principles of government and freedom, and of history-long norms, have the same goals as the government of the Beast will have, when he arrives.

Who is “the father of lies” according to Jesus (John 8:44)? The answer is obvious, and a media (including social media) which promotes lies and falsehoods, while claiming to be informing the public, is serving its father and its own bias, and not the people or the nation. They are the real traitors.

The Party and the people of the Beast will not care for honesty: they will get what they want in any way necessary (Daniel 8:12). They will not care for the law-legal or moral (2 Thessalonians 2:3). They will not care for the value of life (Revelation 13:15). They will hate Christianity and Christ’s faithful followers (Revelation 12:17; 13:7). They will hate Israel and its supporters (Zechariah 12:3; Revelation 12:13). They will defend the immoral and the lawbreakers (Revelation 9:21).

They will be accusers, just as their father is (Revelation 12:10). They will work for globalization and the end of nationality (Daniel 2:43). They will want total governmental control over all financial transactions-in a global context (Revelation 13). They will demand a global religion, and hate Christianity and Judaism (Revelation 13).

Don’t let the world blind you to these alarm bells: be wary and be spiritually prepared in Jesus Christ. Share your faith, knowing that doing so might not always be allowed or possible without consequences.

 

WATER!

Have a drink…of water!

As my readers will know, I like to share how completely unproven the theory of evolution is. I also like to consider the uniqueness and the wonders of our creation. Here are some cool facts about water.

Water is made of two very reactive gases, yet is inflammable. Seventy percent of the world is covered in water. It’s essential for all life. It dissolves more substances than any other liquid. It’s able to store enormous amounts of energy compared to other liquids, and the temperature of a large body of water such as a lake is very stable. The boiling point of all other molecules of a similar size is much lower than water. If water boiled at the same temperature as others, we would not be here. It’s “a very special material, held together in a completely different way“*

Unlike other liquids, the density of water decreases upon freezing. This prevents large bodies of water from freezing solid. No other molecular material will float on its own melt. The water vapor in our atmosphere protects us from radiation from the sun. Why is it, given that the sun is so near to us, that we have any water at all? Why doesn’t it all boil away? Here’s the answer an evolutionist gave to this question:

“Normally the sun would split water into hydrogen and oxygen, as would happen on planets with no atmosphere. We’re fortunate that through a combination of luck and life we have an atmosphere which contains a whole series of molecules to filter out the most harmful rays. And that in a sense protects the water from being essentially destroyed”*.

In this regard, here’s one of the things the ancient Bible says about water:

But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water (2 Peter 3:5 NIV).

* IN OUR TIME: WATER, BBC RADIO 4, hosted by Melvyn Bragg.

RAPTURE 17: WHEN? PAUL’S CLEAR STATEMENT!

Last time I discussed what Paul didn’t say about the rapture, which omission is a strong indicator of its timing. Here, in a mercifully shorter post, I’ll briefly include what Jesus didn’t say. Then I will point out one of the clear statements which Paul did make concerning the rapture’s timing. I once ignored such statements, as others do now…

WHAT JESUS DIDN’T SAY

In his Olivet Discourse Jesus spoke of the destruction of the temple, which was to occur a few decades later (Matthew 24:1-2). When his disciples then asked him about the end of the age, he summarized what was to come, from verse 4 and ending at verse 14. Then He gave them the clearest clue, or the most significant event to look for, as the trigger of last-days events. He called  it “the abomination of desolation”, first spoken of by Daniel (verse 15). The abomination of desolation will occur in association with the revealing presence of Antichrist on the temple mount in Jerusalem. According to Jesus, this will effectively be the sign that the turmoil of great tribulation is beginning. In verse 21 we read:

For then will be great distress, unequaled from beginning of the world until now-and never to be equaled again”.

When Antichrist goes to work on the temple mount, said Jesus, there will be “great distress”, unequaled through all history. This initial sign of tribulation given by Jesus aligns with what Paul wrote, saying that the first signs of “the day of the Lord” would be a “falling away” and the revealing of the man of sin. 

Neither Jesus or Paul said anything about a rapture or a gathering of believers happening before the “abomination” event. Why not? Paul did tell the Gentile church about the rapture in  his first letter to the Thessalonians, chapter 4, so why didn’t he tell them in his second letter that it would occur as a first sign, in order to put their fears to rest? Jesus spoke about the resurrection and the gathering of his elect at the end of the tribulation: why didn’t he say anything about a gathering which would precede tribulation events? Neither of them said anything along these lines:

When you see millions of believers vanish from the earth, know that the time is near”

Instead, Jesus said :

..but he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (verse 14).

MYSTERY UNVEILED

Pre-tribulation teachers answer the problem of why Paul and Jesus omitted talk of the rapture while discussing the Day of the Lord by saying that the rapture was a “mystery”. But Paul did speak about the rapture, in his first letter to the Thessalonians-the one before the second letter in which the signs of the day of the Lord are given. He also discussed the rapture in his first letter to the Corinthians, saying, “I tell you a mystery”. He didn’t say “I know a mystery but I’m not going to tell you what it is”. He didn’t say, “Behold, I hide a mystery from you”: the rapture was an open topic. Thessalonians and Corinthians (and so probably others also) were told about the mystery. And we too know it, because we’ve read these letters many times. Yet when giving the initial signs of the Day of the Lord, Jesus and Paul said nothing about the rapture!

Another pertinent fact is that Jesus was in fact speaking to his  closest disciples during the Olivet Discourse: people who would shortly become the first members of his spirit-filled, saved and sanctified Christian Church at Pentecost. To them-born again Christians-he gave the signs of tribulation and things to look out for during that tribulation.

A CLEAR STATEMENT: 1 THESSALONIANS 3

Paul’s wish and prayer was that the Thessalonians would be, “…blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones” (1 Thess. 3:13). This thought about being blameless is echoed by John in one of his letters:

And now, dear children, continue in him so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming (1 John 2: 28).

Paul hoped that the Thessalonians-predominantly Gentile believers- would be blameless and holy when Jesus comes “with all his holy ones”. When, according to Scripture, will Jesus come with all his holy ones? Is it in a pre-tribulation rapture, or at his visible appearing to the entire world? Paul answers the question himself:

God is just: he will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels” (2 Thess. 1:6-7).

Didn’t Paul want the Thessalonians to be “blameless and holy” at a secret coming of Jesus, years before Christ’s “blazing fire” appearance with all his holy ones? Why be in the presence of Jesus for seven years before you have to be “confident and unashamed before him at his coming”? And the “relief” which the Thessalonians would receive, says Paul, does not come before the Tribulation, but at the visible appearing of Jesus Christ to bring judgment and rewards.

Paul is telling the Thessalonians that he wants them to be blameless and unashamed when Jesus appears in his grand entrance for all the world to see-which is at the end of the tribulation. This statement-ignored by pre-tribulation believers-directly contradicts the concept of a pre-tribulation Rapture.

Thanks for reading. This post is an updated and edited excerpt from my book, “All Left Behind: The Case Against a Pre-Tribulation Rapture”, by Nicholas Fisher, available on Amazon.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT

Here’s one of those posts just crying out to be blocked and censored by social media giants! If you manage to read it, you’re probably quite lucky…

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How does a person go from being an a-moral, leftist communist in their thinking, to being a Trump-loving conservative? It’s easy, really…

ROOTS

I began my political understandings on the far left of the spectrum, in Britain. My dad, a wonderful Christian man, lived his early life in the days when unions were still struggling to win fair working conditions for working people, and his socialist views shaped mine. I was also influenced by my friends, still firmly entrenched in their way of thinking, and believing me now to be a brainwashed, “far-right” neo-nazi who isn’t worth knowing.

IRON LADY

In the eighties I witnessed Thatcher-“the iron lady”- come to power in the UK, and Reagan in the US. While I know now that they were both grossly misrepresented in most of our news media, as Trump is, Thatcher and her cabinet really were a band of cold, heartless, uncaring individuals. Even if their economy did pick the country out of a deep recession caused by socialist policies, they had no communication graces, and their snooty attitudes and some of their policies left a permanent scar on the British psyche. At that time and for years after I would rather be pulled around the streets by wild horses than vote Conservative.

THE MAKER’S INSTRUCTIONS

In the course of time, I became a Christian. My life was changed radically, because until then I was living with absolutely no thought of God but only how to get more stoned. I had no views on morality and no care for what might be right or wrong except for myself. I also moved to the US to live near relatives, and to be in a part of the world where there was space to breathe. It was there (here) that my Christian mind and heart developed, being shaped by Biblical Scripture and the few who were really preaching it. For a number of years I still saw myself as being completely “left” of any Republican ideals, including the claimed right to bear arms. I thought then that all guns should be illegal, and that no-one should be wealthy.

Cutting out the details and the process of my conversion, I find myself well and truly on the opposite end of the political spectrum in these times. Scripture and life have taught me a whole new way of seeing things. I now know that God made the world with a specific set of principles attached, and didn’t present them as being optional. For best results, follow the Maker’s instructions.

THE FAMILY

God designed the nuclear family (mum-dad-kids) as the basic building block of a safe, stable and functional society. Our society is crumbling partly because of its rejection of this fundamental fact. The “Left” of the political spectrum, in the vein of Carl Marx, wishes to see this unit destroyed or at least to be regarded as unhealthy and damaging. One of the instruments of destruction is the corruption of sexual expression, with the assertions that sex is love, and that any sexual preference is acceptable. This is encouraged through entertainment and fashion, and now politics also.

WORK

God instituted work and the enjoyment of its rewards. Whereas I once believed that those unwilling to work should be provided with all their needs and wants anyway, at the expense of the rich, I now realize that genuine hard work and enterprise should be rewarded with the wealth it creates. And it doesn’t only create wealth for the businessman (or woman) but for all he employs and for all who are paid by him for their services. Work builds our society and keeps us from wasting our time. It honors God who is a creator and a builder, and who has given us all the abilities we need in this world. It’s good for us all.

NATIONS, NOT WORLD GOVERNMENT

God divided the nations at Babel. He did not want to see a global or a “trans-national” community, which he knew would be united in opposition against him. In our world the Left wishes to have another go at building that tower to the heavens, and opposes the Christian gospel and faith in the Biblical God (any other god is just fine). It seeks global governance and power over every aspect of our lives, coercing us into believing and trusting in government, not God. The Left, along with its own father, wishes to take power from God, and to become god.

God set up borders between nations. He has no qualms about borders and territories, so long as we care for those who are genuinely in need. But God wishes us first to care for our own: 

If anyone does not take care of his own relatives, especially his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8).

DEFENSE

Self-defense is not an ungodly concept. If we had no means of self-defense, we would be at the mercy of the ungodly, and of ungodly government, and may not be able to protect and take care of our own. We would actually be encouraging those who wish to take, kill and destroy. The police would simply show up to clean up the mess and perhaps blame the victims (does that sound familiar?)

DEATH

Life is of enormous value, and to take it-particularly to take it from those who are helpless and who just need a chance to come into the world like the rest of us did, is one of the most despicable practices on earth, yet is loved and defended by the Left. I could never vote Left again for that reason alone.

TAKING SIDES

The list does go on. The point is that once I came to know who God is, and to understand some of his principles, I came to realize that while God does not vote one way or the other, and while good and bad are found on both sides of the political divide, he is most likely to be found among those who honor his ways.

TACKLING THE MONSTER WITHIN

It’s human nature to point fingers at other people, without finding fault at our own end of the finger. Some people live their whole lives without dealing with the monster within their own souls. They don’t see their problem-they just experience the consequences of their failings, and blame others for them. The wreckage they leave is often not visible to them, but it’s very tangible to those they’ve damaged-sometimes for a lifetime. 

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I was thinking about someone I was once very close to, and looking at the trail of wreckage she has left all the way along in her life: broken relationships, broken people, offended family members, lost homes, lost jobs, and worse. At this point in her life she seems unaware that any of the problems were caused by her. It’s always someone else’s fault. It was always her that was wronged. In no part of her life, it seems to her, was she responsible for what happened.

It’s always easy for us to see the faults in other people, but we don’t see them in ourselves very well, if at all. On top of that, our pride prevents us from even beginning to consider that what happened may have been at least partially our fault. And here I’ll freely admit that I am one of the guilty. When I allow myself, I catch a little glimpse in my mind of what I may have done, not just to one person, but to a whole string of people, in the course of my life. However, examining what happened closely is painful and embarrassing and demeaning: it doesn’t fit with the way of today’s life which says it’s all about me, and that others don’t meet my standards. We all make excuses for ourselves.

How will I ever truly confront my own dark side? As tough as it is, it has to be done, because if we don’t tackle that monster; that habit of destruction or of neglect or selfishness, we will continue to wreak havoc, and the consequences will affect us as well as others.

There are many reasons why Jesus said that we have to repent. It’s not just so that we can get back into a right relationship with our creator-it’s so that we can become more Christ-like, which is what our God wants in us. It’s so that we can stop damaging other people; so that we can stop giving our God a bad name that He does not deserve.

In prayer and meditation on our God and His words, we can face up to those monsters within us. We have to first acknowledge that we may be at least partially responsible. We have to ask ourselves if what happened with so-and-so could have been avoided if we were more caring and less selfish. And we have to make ourselves do what we can to at least try to mend bridges and to heal hurt souls. It takes humility, resolve, and determination, along with a daily walk with God. Don’t believe those preachers and believers who say “It’s all God”, meaning that only God can change us. If that were the case, Jesus would never have said that we need to repent, and Peter would never have written this:  

For this very reason, make every effort to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is near-sighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins (2 Peter 1:5-9).