Category: APOLOGETICS

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.

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I’M NOT JOINING THE MOVEMENT

There’s a movement away from scriptural authority: I’m not going with it…

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There’s a movement which asks the question, “Did God really say…?” (Genesis 3:1). Famous and not so famous ministers, including, unfortunately, those in a church my own family attends, are claiming that the Old Testament doesn’t really say what we think it says, but that some of the New Testament does. It can’t be trusted they say-if they ever mention it at all.

Oh really? That’s interesting, because the New Testament itself is filled with the defense of scripture, including the defense of what we have in the Old Testament. The two are inextricably linked. Jesus himself said to Satan, who was attempting to derail the Son of God from Scripture:

“It is written…” (Matthew 4:4).

There’s a train of unbelief and of calling God a liar. Its engine has always been Satan, and its cars consist of atheists and agnostics, and those wishing to rid the world of godly standards of morality. But joining the procession are many in the church who think they know better than God, and that God is incapable of speaking his mind, of having convictions, and of preserving his words. I’m not on the train, I’m not going to get on the train, and I’m not the slightest bit interested in going to the final destination of that train. Count me out.

In coming weeks I’m going to develop this topic.

FAITH IN EVOLUTION

Billions of years ago the chloroplast evolved and enabled life on earth. Do you believe that? If you do, you have something called “faith”, because there is no evidence whatsoever that it evolved (note 1).

HAZE

Billions of years ago the first self-replicating living cell formed from non-life. Do you believe that? If you do, you have faith, because there is no evidence or record of it happening (note 2).

Billions of years ago, or thereabouts, the first enzymes-vital to life- were “invented” by happy chance. Do you believe that? If so, you have faith, because there is no record or evidence of it happening  (note 3).

Billions of years ago, our magnetosphere evolved, protecting life from the onslaught of the sun’s perpetual blast of plasma, or solar wind. At about the same time, give or take a billion or so years, the earth’s ionosphere evolved, protecting us from the sun’s life-destroying emission of UV and X-rays. Do you believe that? Your faith is truly amazing, because there’s no record of them evolving, or of why they would evolve (note 4).

The incredible “coincidences” of nature are endless. Stay tuned for some more in the future. Meanwhile, give a thought to the possibility (I really mean “fact”) that there is an intelligent creator.

NOTES (Previous posts where I have discussed these things, with references).

1: https://nickyfisher.com/2018/01/05/photosynthesis-fact-and-fiction/

2: https://nickyfisher.com/2016/07/22/the-must-haves-of-evolution/

3: https://nickyfisher.com/2019/06/22/the-managers-of-truth/

4: https://nickyfisher.com/2019/05/04/how-evolutionists-hide-meaning/

 

RAPTURE 14: THE ELECT

Who are the “elect” gathered by Jesus Christ and his angels, at the end of the tribulation?

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Here’s excerpt 14 from my book on the rapture. I’m sorry that this is a pretty long post again, so please scroll down the subtitles if you need to, to at least get the gist of it. I will, as promised, get around to the subject of the Bride of Christ very soon. Today’s post pertains to the Bride.

WHO ARE THE ELECT?

During his Olivet Discourse Jesus Christ said that in his future physical return for all the world to see, he will command angels to gather his “elect” from the “four winds”. This gathering of the elect, whoever they are, is generally recognized to be at the end of the Tribulation:

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, from one end of heaven to the other (Matthew 24: 30b-31).

THE PRE-TRIBULATION VIEW

So just who are the “elect” Jesus was speaking of? They’re being gathered at the end of the tribulation, so it’s a significant question, because if it’s the Church, then the rapture cannot be before the tribulation. Teachers who hold to the pre-tribulation rapture are adamant that the elect in this passage cannot be the Church, but instead are an elite band of Jews, chosen and anointed by God to evangelize the world during the Tribulation. Jesus was speaking to Jews at the time, they claim, and believers who were previously rapture-ready have already gone to heaven. So the “elect” Jesus referred to must be Jews, according to the prevailing view in the evangelical world.  But does this assertion stand up to close scrutiny?

My Zondervan ESV Study Bible here defines “elect” as “the people of God”, and my “Strongs” Concordance (see chapter 6 note 1 of my book) states that the Greek word translated “elect” most often means “chosen” or “chosen one”. It can also mean “election”; “choice”; “selection” or “chosen”. There is no other qualifying term used by Jesus.

Given these definitions alone, apart from a single individual being specifically chosen for something, the word used in the Olivet Discourse could possibly be referring to a specific group of believers such as a remnant of Jews, but it could also be speaking of believers in general, since all believers, whether Jew or Gentile, are “chosen”. So we aren’t any clearer on the matter than we were, except to say that the assertion that the “elect” spoken of in the Olivet Discourse is a Jewish remnant only, is an assumption at best. Perhaps we can gain some insight by looking at other uses of the word in the New Testament.

Paul certainly used the word “elect” to refer to a remnant of Jews, in Romans 11 verses 6 and 7. Does this confirm the pre-tribulation view? No, because there’s no indication in Romans chapter 11 that only Jews can be the “elect” or the benefactors of election: God can and does “choose” from all people groups and nations. Not only that, but the same Greek word translated “elect” is used to describe Gentile believers.

THE APOSTLE TO THE GENTILES

Paul wrote to Timothy:

I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory (2 Timothy 2:10).

Who was Paul referring to? Who was he calling the elect? If we read the context of the letter we see no direct reference to Jewish believers or a remnant of Jews. And who was Paul “enduring” for? Was it just for Jews? Paul himself gives us the answer in another letter:

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles… “Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:1 and 8).

When Paul wrote to Timothy that he endured everything for the sake of the elect, he was in a Roman prison, and suffering, as he said himself, “for the sake of you Gentiles”. And we know, from the book of Acts, that Paul not only suffered as a result of how the Jews persecuted him, but how the unbelieving Gentiles treated him. In fact, when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive:

He shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, ‘Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles’” (Acts 18:5-6).

In the book of Romans Paul was addressing Gentiles in the same passage which we noted above, when speaking about a remnant of Jews:

I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry (Romans 11:13).

Paul’s “enduring” message was echoed in his letter to the Colossians. This statement clarifies for us who he was enduring for:

Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church” (Colossians 1:24).

PAUL-SUFFERING FOR THE ELECT

Paul is speaking of suffering for the Church. So when Paul told Timothy that he endured everything for the sake of the elect, it seem pretty clear that he was speaking of the Church, and not simply a Jewish remnant. Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. While he must have suffered for the sake of Jewish believers also, he stated plainly that he was suffering for the Church. It’s clear then that when he said he was “enduring” for the sake of the elect (2 Timothy 2:10) he saw the entire Church-Gentiles and Jews and not just a Jewish remnant, as the elect. The Church was and is the body of people who would become heirs of salvation through Jesus Christ, whether Jew or Gentile. They were and are the elect.

THE CHOSEN ARE THE ELECT

Further, the Greek word translated “elect” is at times translated “chosen” by some Bible versions. For example, in Romans chapter 8, the passage frequently used by Gentile Christians as encouragement that nothing can separate us from the love of God, the NIV tells us that Paul asks:

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies” (Romans 8:33 NIV).

Most translations, such as the KJV, use the word “elect” in place of “chosen” in this verse. In this case, Paul’s encouragement which we regularly and rightly apply to ourselves, is directed to the elect. Therefore we Gentiles, along with Jewish believers; we members of Christ’s body, the Church, are the elect:

Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth” (KJV).

It would be a tough job indeed to convince a majority of Christian ministers and Bible teachers that Romans chapter 8 is only addressing a remnant of Jews and not Gentile saints. Therefore, Paul is calling the Church “God’s elect”.

To the Colossians, indisputably a predominantly Gentile church (1:27; 2:13) Paul wrote the following:

Put on, then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts…” (Colossians 3:12 ESV).

The Greek word Paul used here, translated “chosen” is the same as that translated “elect” in the Matthew 24 passage. It would be a mistake to miss the fact that the very same Greek word Jesus used to describe the angels gathering the elect from the four corners of the earth (Matthew 24:31) is used by Paul in the verse we looked at from Romans chapter 8. It’s also the same word used to describe the remnant in Romans 9:11 and 11:28, because the Jewish remnant is a part of that elect.

PETER AND THE ELECT

Peter’s first letter begins by addressing “God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia Cappadocia…” and so on. It would be easy to assume that Peter, a Jew, was addressing Jews in this letter, because Jews were scattered throughout the known world even then. But there are several clues to the contrary. For example, Peter wrote:

Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God (1 Peter 2:10 NIV).

The sacrifice of Jesus opened wide the door of inclusion of Gentiles into God’s kingdom. The people of God were scattered throughout the known world. Not only had these believers as Gentiles become people of God, but they had been “chosen”. Peter used the same Greek word to say this as the word Jesus used, translated “elect” in the Olivet Discourse:

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious… (1 Peter 2:4 ESV);

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession (1 Peter 2:9).

There is unity of application of this word. The elect includes not only a remnant of Jews, but all benefactors of God’s salvation, including Gentile Christians.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the assertion that Jesus Christ in Matthew chapter 24 was speaking of Jews only when he referred to the gathering of the elect at the end of the Tribulation is unfounded. It’s an assumption built on other assumptions, including the conviction that the Church will be taken to heaven even before the Tribulation begins, and that the prophecies of Matthew chapter 24 are for Jews only. This is circular reasoning. Instead, Jesus can be just as confidently said to be speaking of the entirety of the elect: both Jewish and Gentile believers, the Church.

Certainly, many of the prophecies are direct warnings to Jews, particularly in relation to the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. But we must ask if the tribulation is going to affect Jews only. Is it not going to affect the entire world? Yes, it is, in which case, the verse about the angels gathering God’s elect from the four winds-literally from all over the world-can certainly apply to people other than Jews only.

People will come to salvation during the Tribulation (Revelation 14:6) and they will “hold to the testimony of Jesus”. The fullness of the Gentiles will not be completely grafted into the kingdom until Jesus appears to deliver Jerusalem (see part 13). So how can we arbitrarily put an end to the Church age before that?

Thanks for reading this long post. It’s an excerpt from my book “ALL LEFT BEHIND: THE CASE AGAINST THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE”, by Nicholas Fisher, available on Amazon. This post is actually an up-to-date edit. You’re getting a “second edition”, free, on this blog, and in time the entire book will be published here. Follow my blog to get notifications, or get the book to read the whole thing at once. 

TRUSTING IN MAN (OR WOMAN)

I can think of several people within my extended family who are trusting in man. By “man” I mean the philosophies of fallible human beings…

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One is well and truly brainwashed and controlled by a large international cult, so that she has avoided all contact with her family for years, including her own mother. She is, effectively, “gone”, though certainly not unreachable by God himself. The question is, since God has given us free will (right-I’m not a Calvinist) whether she will ever respond.

Another, a born-again Christian for decades, has been following one particular televangelist-a man with a very colored reputation and some very dubious theology for several years, to the point that she now considers him to be infallible, and pressures the rest of her family to do the same. She is, to put it in simple terms, obsessed with him, and has abandoned her local church and her Christian friends. Other family members are ardent followers of other famous televangelists, and refuse to question their wealth-gathering tactics or their banal, un-Biblical theology.

One man who I grew up with, representing perhaps several others in my family, is so convinced of the theory of evolution ex-nihilo that he will not listen to a single word about a loving God. He cannot point to any evidence for his beliefs but he’s immovable anyway.

As I look around at the world, I see literally millions led in their political and religious thought by celebrities, who are now among the high-priests of modern day philosophy, along with angry atheists and a host of other “ists”, whose one common profession is that the God of the Bible is the one which should be ridiculed or ignored completely.

More immediately, many of us have found ourselves on the receiving end of an unfaithful lover or spouse, having once believed them to be the “right” one.

As I wrote in a post titled “Ex-ing the Experts”* my own conviction is that we should question everyone and everything. Yes, we have a lot to learn from others, but no human is infallible, and many are without doubt biased, twisted, or just plain wrong. I’ve been on both sides of faith, and now, certain that the God of the Bible is the One true God and the only One who is true and faithful, I agree with His word and guidance, and His only:

This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD (Jeremiah 17:5).

*EX-ING THE EXPERTS:

https://nickyfisher.com/2017/12/30/ex-ing-the-experts/