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I’ve studied Bible prophecy for 37 years, and in that time I’ve become increasingly disillusioned with those claiming to be “prophecy experts”…

REMAINS OF THE SECOND JEWISH TEMPLE, WITH ISLAMIC DOME OF THE ROCK BEHIND IT

One by one, the most influential people, the biggest names in Bible prophecy, have proved themselves to me and to many others to be painfully wrong and mistaken. They get entrenched in some kind of prophetic political correctness and refuse to budge from it for fear of denying their faith and of going against the grain of current interpretation. Even the big-wigs, those with international names and a list of formal qualifications a mile long, say and write things which can be shown to be wrong by anyone with discernment, an open mind and an open Bible.

Perhaps it’s understandable, though frustrating, that the most common words and phrases emitted by such people for decades include the following: the stage is being set; it looks like; probably; just about to happen; fulfillment; on the horizon.

Of course, interpreting Bible prophecy can be a tricky pass-time, but it doesn’t have to be. The mistake so many make is in attempting to force their faulty ideas into present-day events and future ones.

Whenever I write on Bible prophecy I get fewer views than I do on any other subject. I see the reason for that to be the fact that people are so numbed to it all by all the many false predictions made in over-confidence, the ridiculous non-Biblical event and date-setting, and sometimes the hands grasping for money which “we badly need to continue this vital ministry”. Ha! I can write here and reach people all around the world, without spending or asking for a penny…why can’t the experts?

Why does it matter? It matters because there are huge numbers of people in the West who see that the world must indeed be headed towards what has been foretold in the Bible, or at least towards some sort of date with destiny, but who are either badly misinformed or uninformed, and fail to ” search the scriptures”. There are millions of others who have no knowledge at all of what is down the road for planet earth, and need to be warned with correct information.

So don’t get me wrong-I’m not mocking the idea of the Second Coming. In fact I’m convinced in my own mind that it certainly is coming…soon. But what does “soon” mean in this context? Does it mean next year, next decade, or in another thousand years or so?

And what gives me the right to find fault with the experts? Who am I and where did I learn my theology and get my ordination? The answer to that is simple: God has not commissioned those self-proclaimed experts to pass on the message while forbidding the rest of us from figuring it all out for ourselves. As Vernon McGee said, God put the cookies on the bottom shelf so that everyone could reach them. The experts are no more “right” than we can be if we simply look into Scripture and look at our world.

As in the dark days when the Bible could only be read in Latin and interpreted by the “experts” in the Church, so now we have such people and their admirers in the Christian media claiming to be the proper proponents of truth while the rest of us…. the ignorant masses… need to pay attention to them and believe every word they say. That’s not God’s truth. We have every right, as believers, to test what we hear and to hunt down the truth for ourselves. In fact we’re obligated to do so. I’ve done plenty of it over the years, and I’ve concluded that there are no experts that I fully trust now. Test everything, I say. Either they’re in it for the money or the prestige, or because they don’t want to have to go out and get a proper job. Or perhaps they’re just plain wrong.

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Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem ends a long string of broken promises made by US presidents. It didn’t cause the political and international upheaval predicted by some, but it certainly helped fuel a lot more hot discussion on the subject, all around the world.

THE WESTERN WALL

I heard one radio caller today pour blame on the “Christian Right” for the move, as though the move itself is intrinsically wrong, and the “Christian Right” is an evil section of society. He said that the Christian Right pushed for it in order to precipitate the Second Coming.

That isn’t true: he’s misinformed by someone, a common malady today. The Second Coming is not at all dependent on any US presence in Jerusalem. And why should there be “blame” anyway? Israelis had Jerusalem as their capital beginning three thousand years ago. Jerusalem was not mentioned once in the Koran, but is mentioned 800 times in the Bible. The Romans under Titus pushed the Jews out of their city and their land, killing over a million Jews and destroying the city in 70 AD, renaming the land “Palestina” as a last insult to the Jew. Since then, Jews have wandered the earth under constant threat and hatred. The hatred continues to this day.

In fact, the hatred is growing. The hatred is growing in Europe particularly, where the presence of millions of Muslims, who claim that the city belongs to them, is helping to turn opinion vehemently against Israel, a tiny nation wanting only to survive. Please note that I am not saying that all Israelis are worthy and all Muslims are bad: I am not.

Here’s a rather enlightening quote from the Hadith, a collection of phrases attributed to Mohammed. It was written many centuries before the nation of Israel was re-born in 1948:

The day of resurrection will not arrive until the Muslims make war against the Jews and kill them, and until a Jew hiding behind a rock and  tree, and the rock and tree will say: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!’ (Sahih Bukhari 004.52.176)

The Koran does not contradict the Hadith:

Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends (Surah 5:51).

So the claim that Israelis have caused all the hatred by their actions in recent decades is false: the animosity was there long ago. This claim is the song of the promoters of political-correctness, whose ultimate aim is world government. There, in that promised land of theirs, will be the most wonderful liberal utopia in which there will be no Christians, no morality, no boundaries or hindrance whatsoever to human proclivities, and of course, no Jews.

The dreamers don’t seem to be aware that Muslims, having certain moral standards of their own, will not stand for the liberal agenda any longer than they have to. But no matter, because Muslims for now serve their goal of dismantling and diluting Christian influence in the West, where a few bastions like the US, Poland and Hungary attempt to preserve at least a loose form of Christian culture and belief.

The city of Jerusalem, with or without Donald Trump or an American embassy, has a very specific event on its horizon:

 

I will gather all nations to Jerusalem to fight against it…Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives…(Zechariah 14: 2-4).

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem, the earth and sky will tremble. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel (Joel 3:14-16).

In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land (Joel 3:1-2).

Notice the words “my land” in that last verse. The city and the land belong to God, and he can lease it to whoever He wants. Notice also the words “my people”.

HUMILITY

Some valuable words, common not so long ago, have almost passed out of use completely in the Western world. As a boy I was taught that “humility” and “modesty” were important words to know and indispensable principles to live by. Deference and mutual submission were common social values and attributes, whether in the sacred or secular worlds.

Now modesty and humility are not considered desirable or positive traits. In fact we’re encouraged to be quite the opposite by pop-culture, advertisers, movie directors, media celebrities and politicians. Our heroes are attractive, confident, aggressive and arrogant. They want to flaunt what they have. They’re successful, and they don’t stand for any nonsense. They’re beautiful and sexy, and we’ve been led to think that if we’re not at least trying to be the same way, we’re of little value. The mood of our time is self-exaltation in any way possible.

The Oxford Dictionary defines “humble” as follows:

1 having a modest or low opinion of your own importance

2 of low rank

3 not large or important

The word “modesty” is a synonym for “humility”.

I’ve been disappointed to find that if Christian ministers do ever mention humility-because it rarely happens-they’ll skirt around its real definition. Its original, traditional meaning is very unpopular, even in many churches. I’ve heard a few declare that humility isn’t about putting yourself down, and it’s not allowing people to walk over you, and it’s got nothing to do with weakness. Instead, they say, humility is a “quiet strength” and an inner confidence. They may admit that Jesus was meek and mild, but he was so in an assertive way, with a deep, powerful voice, a sexy hairstyle, and a big muscular chest. Nobody messed with tough, manly, strong Jesus!

Neither am I saying that Jesus was effeminate: he was not. Is there not a middle-ground between the two extremes?

I agree that all believers need to have an inner confidence which comes from faith in the will, power, faithfulness, Truth and goodness of God: if God is for us, who can be against us? This confidence, however, is not the same thing as humility, though the two can and should go hand in hand.

Paul encouraged the Philippians to imitate the humility of Christ (Philippians 2: 1-11). What did that look like to Paul?

He wanted them to be like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose (verse 2). That means a genuine love for each other: treating one another as equals. He wanted them to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit” (v 3a), but to consider others better than themselves (3b). He wanted them to be concerned about the interests of others, and not just about themselves (v 4).

Paul then went further, by giving Christ as the perfect example of humility:

“Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross” (verses 6-8).

So we see that Jesus, though he was God in the flesh and had the right to parade around and vaunt himself,  instead “made himself nothing,” and lived his life as a servant to others. He didn’t go around boasting about who he was, and he didn’t look for public acclaim, and he wasn’t interested in being sexy or “cool”. In fact, Isaiah said that “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men…” (Isaiah 53: 2-3).

I’m not saying that it’s wrong to look your best, as long as you aren’t trying to elevate yourself above others. But the present day obsession with appearance and image, even in some Christian circles, is not godliness. It’s up to each one of us as believers to imitate Christ, not what we see on TV.

Of course humility doesn’t just relate to what we look like, but far more importantly it’s about obedience and submission to our Father, and recognition of our spiritual condition. You see, if we go around thinking “I’m better than that person over there”, we are calling the sacrifice of Christ unnecessary, because “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3: 23) and “there is no-one righteous, no not even one” (Romans 3:10). Without Christ we are all lost and separated from God, no matter what our income, our occupation, or our appearance.

Didn’t Christ say that the first will be last and the last first (Matthew 19: 30)? Why then would we want to be considered “first” in this world? Didn’t he say that “he who exalts himself will be humbled” (Luke 14:1)? Why then would we want to exalt ourselves?

I find that when I realize I’m thinking too much of myself, or thinking too little of someone else, it helps to pray something like this:

“Lord, I am no better than anyone else, in fact I’m as guilty as anyone else, and I’ve failed you in so many ways.  I’m probably the most sinful man I know – please have mercy on me, and forgive me for what I was thinking, and please bless that other person”.

It’s not wrong to recognize sin in the world and gently and lovingly point it out. However, admitting my own spiritual condition to myself and to God brings me down to the level of others in my mind and in my actions, and brings others up. I realize that Christ loves them as much as he loves me.  Now it’s easier for me to love them.

How do you lead people to conclude that there’s only one truth, without showing them any real evidence to support it? Answer: you keep them from all dissenting alternatives…

blindfold

I was listening to a BBC radio discussion on the subject of parasitism recently (1), the panel being a gathering of very learned and highly credentialed evolutionary scientists. One of the comments which stood out to me was from Steve Jones, Emeritus Professor of Genetics at University College, London. In the course of the discussion host Melvyn Bragg asked the Prof:

So you’re definitely saying that sometimes parasites can have a positive and good effect?

The answer:

Well the trouble is that words like “positive” and “good” don’t really belong in biology-it turns into “theology” then.

In Nick Fisher-ese, the answer was, Hey, lay off of that filthy religious language, and stay well away from that “God” thing: we’re talking “science” now, and the two things  are and must remain separate…

We can sum this up in one word: bias. Or we could call it “intentional ignorance”. Or we could call it the language of propaganda.

I went to school: I was taught the state-sponsored view of our origins. I’ve seen all those glossy, realistic TV specials promoting and pushing the pill of evolution ex-nihilo down our throats with the sugar of awesome special effects and incredible extinct animals . But I’ve also been fortunate and blessed enough to see the other side, and in my view, God is the master-scientist. No God-no science. In fact, no God, no universe. Great scientists of the past such as Isaac Newton had no mind to censor or hide their beliefs, and no motive to do so.

Don’t forget that according to honest evolutionary philosophy you are just another animal, no more important in the universe than a tape-worm, a tadpole, a tomato, a tree or a tic.

In science-if we really want to see science and evolution as being synonymous-there’s no such thing as “good” or “bad” in any absolute sense. Remember, according to the learned Prof quoted above, words like “positive” and “good” don’t really belong in science. At least he’s being consistent with his beliefs. So all this whining about who colluded with who and who gassed who and who shot who is superfluous and unnecessary, since there is no such thing as “good” or “bad” but only what we decide is good or bad at any given time in history. Hitler and Stalin were no more “wrong” than we are. Death is not a “bad” thing, since it weeds out the weak.

FISH

Picture Copyright © by Nick Fisher

We’re led to believe that scientists have disproved the existence of God-which is actually impossible-and instead they’ve scientifically shown that everything came into existence by itself and evolved all on its own. The truth is that scientists, including those who may quietly be questioning the politically correct view of origins and evolution (and there are some) are all but forbidden to even suggest the possibility that there could be the remotest chance that there may just be something to that “God” thing, for fear of loss of employment, of tenure, of recognition, or of funding.

Stephen Meyer, a leader in the Intelligent Design movement, with a PhD in the philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge, writes about a principle of evolutionary science in his book, “Darwin’s Doubt” (2). “Methodological naturalism”, aka “methodological materialism” is a presumed rule of science, he says. It asserts that to qualify as scientific, a theory must explain phenomena and events in nature…by reference to strictly material causes only:

“According to this principle, scientists may not invoke the activity of a mind or, as one philosopher of science puts it, any “creative intelligence”.

Evolutionary science intentionally dismisses the remotest suggestion of Creation and possibility of intelligent design. No researcher or professor who wants to keep his job or his funding can factor any hint of divinity or design into his work or his pronouncements. The most polite designation by evolutionists for these two views of science and anything like them, held by many fine scientists and scientifically trained individuals in the Creation and Intelligent Design movements, is that they are “unscientific”.

Evolutionists, who hold the political and legal upper hand in all areas of education and the media, intentionally bar the slightest hint of any evidence, opinion, interpretation or line of inquiry which points towards a designer or a creator. In other words, you-and your children, with the help of your tax money, are purposely kept from considering any alternative interpretation of science to the politically correct one which may lead you to conclude that there is a Designer, unless it’s a controlled exposure designed (!) to ridicule and belittle.

Meyer relates a now famous (or infamous) quote by Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin, laying out his own version of the “ban God” rule:

“We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs…because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism…for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door”

Over nineteen hundred years ago the apostle Peter described this blinkered attitude by saying that people are “willingly ignorant” (KJV): they “deliberately overlook” (ESV) the facts of creation…and the judgment to come (2 Peter 3:5-7).

Thanks for reading. This post is an edited version of one I wrote last year.

NOTES

1: BBC Radio 4 “In Our Time”: “Parasitism”-broadcast January 26th 2017.

2: DARWIN’S DOUBT: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design. See also the follow-up, “Debating Darwin’s Doubt” in which Meyer answers his critics.

 

The efforts of mankind in and out of “religion” are aimed at shrinking God to a manageable size, so that he’s no longer God but “a” god, and only one of many…

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THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING GOD

Even in the professing Christian world there are many individuals and organizations claiming to represent him who want the rest of us to see God as they do: small, ineffectual, effeminate, powerless, weak-minded and irrelevant. He can’t create and he certainly couldn’t do it in six days. He can’t say anything truthful and he has no ability or will to preserve even what he does say. He has no power over death, he doesn’t know his own mind, his promises are empty and vacuous, and his standards sway in the winds of time, opinion and fashion. In the words of a certain world-leading, head-of-the-Church type person, God “doesn’t have a magic wand”.

The message of the Bible is totally opposite to this attitude of “experts”. God, according to everyone from Genesis to Revelation, is unimaginably huge, powerful and holy. He is so amazing in his being, his character and his standards that were we able to get a glimpse of him in our present form we would immediately die-if only from the shock and awe of seeing him.

…who is able to build a temple for him, since the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain him? (2 Chronicles 2:6).

The most intense target of the “Make God small” movement is Jesus Christ. Entire religions and pseudo-Christian cults fiercely contest and deny the idea that Jesus was anything more that a prophet, a teacher, a radical, a revolutionary…a man.

 

Any reading of the New Testament to an open mind demonstrates the complete antithesis of this view. Not only is Jesus Christ declared to be the Son of God, but God incarnate, and the creator of all that exists:

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him (Colossians 1:16).

800px-po_vodam

The diminishers not only work to wipe away or allegorize indispensable Old Testament books such as Genesis, but fundamental New Testament books also. John’s gospel, they say, is a fantasy. Paul’s writings are faulty. The gospels are flawed and need to be hugely edited, or to use a popular political tool these days-“redacted”. It  makes me wonder why people claim to even be Christian when they don’t actually believe anything of it. Why don’t they take up Buddhism or origami instead?

John Doe’s writing are far more reliable they say, and proceed to create their own version of the ancient Scriptures, when the originals claim to be the very Word of God…a dangerous risk and miscalculation.

John wrote,

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

Paul said that Jesus Christ is:

“The image of the invisible God…” (Colossians 1:15).

Philip, one of the twelve disciples, said to Jesus one evening:

“Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered:

“Don’t you know me Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8-9).

The present-day deniers of Jesus’ divinity claim that John’s gospel is unreliable, so we can’t believe what it says. Really? Then take a look at the other gospel authors, and the writings of Paul, who all preached the same message. In fact, Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God and therefore God was the reason he was crucified:

“The high priest said to him, I charge you under oath by the living God: tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”

“Yes, it is as you say, Jesus replied. But I say to all of you: in the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? What do you think?”

“He is worthy of death,” they answered (Matthew 26:63-66).

Jesus Christ was crucified because he was claiming to be God’s one and only Son. He was “blaspheming”. Therefore, in their minds, he had to be shrunk. The fact that he had worked incredible miracles meant nothing to them. After all, anyone can walk on water, right? Anyone can turn water into wine and make a blind man see and a lame man walk, right?

I’m so glad that my God is much, much bigger than theirs. And I’ll say to him, with Thomas,

“My Lord and my God!”

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