Thursday, June 4, 2020

Iniquity abounding more and more

Iniquity is abounding and the love of many, or some of us, is growing cold as a result. 

 A policeman killed a black man during an arrest, the policeman has been charged witn murder and others with him charged with aiding and abetting and you'd think that would be justice enough but instead we're getting riots, arson, vandalism, looting supposedly on behalf of the black man George Floyd.  There have been some peaceful protests too but they are being used to launch the violence.  

The incident has been called racism though there is no evidence that it was racism.  Police brutality yes but not necessarily racism.  Yet it's being made into the usual accusation of "systemic racism in America" justifying the wanton destruction of property and killing of police.   An opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal a couple days ago by Heather McDonald makes the case that there is no systemic racism in the country.  And this morning I saw a You Tube video made by Candace Owens  objecting to the celebration of a black criminal as a hero for the black community.  No he should certainly not have died the way he did, everyone agrees on that, but he is no hero and she spells out his long list of crimes for which he spent time in prison.

The nation has been economically damaged by the COVID-19 lockdown and now the destruction of the same busihnesses that had suffered for that reason may be the knockout punch from which America will not recover.

But I don't want to spend a lot of time on this, just want to sketch it out.  It's just the latest manifestation of this fallen world though a very severe one, and possibly one of the last before Jesus comes back.  I can hope anyway.

Unfortunately I'm rather a hothead.  It's hard for me to stay calm when evil is called good and good evil, when criminals are made into heroes while the police are murdered and blamed for it all.  Iniquity is abounding and I have no love left.  

So I need to do somethig to try to recover it.  Tune out the news for a while if I can, pray a lot.

Monday, June 1, 2020

A Clear Presentation of the Gospel of Salvation by Jesus Christ

I found this to be a very touching testimony by an ex-Mormon young man, and since I want to be sure the gospel is preached on my blog I decided this would be a good way to do it.  I chose it because his testimony to the gospel is extremely clear and well-presented.  It's not that he was a Mormon that makes it such a good testimony, it's just a good clear testimony that anyone converted out of any background could make.
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Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Time is Near, Even at the Very Door

Great dey for a Rapture ("snatching away" of the Church).  Chaos galore.  Coming off COVID-19 quarantine to rioting in cities across the nation.  Even Reno.  Supposedly about the police killing of a black man in Minneapolis, George Floyd.  Started with peaceful protest although that by itself makes no sense because this incident happened five days ago and the cop has been charged with murder.   However, the peaceful protest in front ot City Hall eventually got violent, breaking windows and trashing the streets.  Went on for hours here and I gather all over the country.  And we're supposed to believe this is a spontaneous protest over the George Floyd incident.

But the first protests in Minneapolis were exposed as the work of nonlocals, people who were brought in, probably paid for.  Then around six thirtt here local KOLO TV announcer said the same is suspected here, not locals but outsiders involved in the violence.

So this on top of the virus anxiety and destruction of the economy.

I think it was Robert Jeffress at Jan Markell's Understanding the Times conference last October who said he guesses the Rapture would likely occur at a time of internation crisis of some sort.  This isn't international but the virus was and who knows what's coming next.

This is also Pentecost Sunday and I tend to think something as big in Church history as the Rapture has to happen on one of the big holidays.  But there's no way to predict the exact timing despite the accumulation of signs.

The day may come and go of course with no Rapture.

==================

Speaking of the Rapture, however, I was thinking about the first of the Seven Seals of the Book of Revelation, the white horse with its rider who goes out to conquer, with a bow in his hand but no arrows.  The best interpretation of this seems to me to be spiritual deception or a False Christ.  Some think it IS Christ but it doesn't make sense that He would be one of the judgments of God which is what the Seals unleash when they are opened.

There are some who think "the Revelation of Jesus Christ" means that it reveals Him, but that doesn't make any sense.  He has been amply revealed in the New Testament before Revelation, and besides, the whole description says

 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; 

" ...to show "things which must shortly come to pass."

ANYWAY, the first seal does not show Jesus but a False Christ going out to deceive people, as the first part of God's Judgment.  The first six seals are opened in Chapter Six of Revelation, all revealing disasters of one sort or another, paralleling those Jesus describes in Matthew 24 as well as similar passages in Mark and Luke known as the Olivet Discourse.  This is where Jesus is shown answering his disciples' questions about the future.  "Beware ye not be deceived" He starts out, for deceivers will come.  And it goes on from there to wars and rumors of war, earthquakes and other natural disasters and so on, events that are paralleled in the opening of the seals in Revelation.  The white horse of the first seal is understood to reflect the deceivers who will impersonate Him.  

Or in a word, the Antichrist.  The Antichrist is first presented to us in the Book of Daniel as a deceiver and an enemy of Israel who will start out at the beginning of a seven-year period by making a covenant with Israel, which he will then break in the middle of that seven year period.  

The Tribulation which we understand is to follow the Rapture, is to be that seven-year period initiated by that covenant.  It is also understood to be the Day of the LORD prophesied here and there in the Old Testament as the day when God's wrath is poured out on the Earth.   Since the Rapture is understood in the theology I now follow, to occur in Chapter Four of Revelation, the opening of the seals that begins in Chapter Six is where the seven-year Tribulation begins.  No covenant is mentioned in Revelation but the Antichrist is revealed later on in the book.  Taking Daniel as the source we look for such a covenant at the beginning of the seven years.  

That means the identity of the Antichrist needs to be known from the very beginning of the Tribulation, for those who accept the biblical prophecy.  

There continues to be a lot of mystery surrounding this Antichrist, but as I've spelled out in previous posts I believe the best candidate is the one identified by Martin Luther and the other Protestant Reformers along with many others down the centuries:  The Pope.  This interpretation is not accepted by many, if any, of today's churches that I know of, but I want to present the possibility so that anyone who sees this won't be taken by surprise, or remain in confusion and doubt for long if the Pope is that Antichrist, which I believe to be the likeliest possibility.  If it's someone else, he will be identified by the covenant he makes with Israel in any case.

For now, if the Rapture and the following Tribulation are as near as I think they probably are, the rider of the white horse of the first seal is going to be Pope Francis.   

With the Church remoed, which will be composed mostly of Protestants though perhaps with some Catholics, anyone who believes in Jesus' death as our salvation without works, there will be many people who consider themselves to be Christans who were not Raptured, and that would include the majority of Catholics.  This would most likely prompt explanations that deny those removed in the Rapture were true Christians, and the Pope would then emerge as the spokesman for the "true" Christians.  He is already known throughout the world but at this time after the Rapture he would likely emerge as the central spokesman for "Christianity" and rise to much greater prominence in a short period of time.  With such world power he could make the covenant with Israel "for one week," as described in the book of Daniel.  With the Protestants out of the way the Roman Church would reestablish its former power in the West, the power it lost due to the Protestant Reformation, which it has been hoping to regain ever since.  

This fits the prophecies.  The Roman Church IS that "revived Roman Empire" that is to dominate in the Tribulation period.  It was that revived Roman Empire throughout the Middle Ages until displaced by Protestantism, and it will be revived in the Day of the LORD as the same murderous beast it was back then. 

It is possible there will be some variations on this theme to fulfill the descriptions of Revelation, but I think this must describe the basic formula of what is to occur.  Islam is likely to be part of this scenario though it is harder to see where it figures in the story.  Since the martyrs described in the Fifth Seal were beheaded and that is the method of execution of "infidels" used by Islam, that is one place we can look for its influence.  Islam has been regarded by some as the "other leg" of the statue in the Book of Daniel that represents the kingdoms of this world, the Roman Empire being the lower legs and feet and toes.   About the time that the Roman Church was formed in 606 AD by the decree of the Byzantine Emperor, making the Bishop of Rome universal Bishop (which some at the time recognized as creating the Antichrist),  Mohammed was promnoting his new religion, soon at swordpoint when people rejected it.  Islam was then understood by some to BE the Eastern part of the Roman Empire, one of the two legs of the statue in Nebuchadnezzar's dream as interpreted by the prophet Daniel,  dislacing the Byzantine Christian empire.  Islam destroyed Christian and Jewish communities and established Islam by force as the religion of the whole area.  Just as the Roman Church murdered dissidents in what had been the Western leg of the Roman Empire. 

So to my mind all this sets the stage for the resurgence of the Roman Church as the revived Roman Empire that persecutes the true saints of Christ during the Great Tribulation that is spelled out in the Book of Revelation.  Pope Francis is the rider of the white horse of the first seal, and the Antichrist of Revelation wherever he is identified.

I think this of course because I thihk this is all very close.  But if it doesn't come about soon it should still be a Pope.  However, this Pope is the perfect last Antichrist, for reasons I've spelled out in other posts here.

I pray that many will come to salvation before the Tribulation and be with the Church in the Rapture.  Many will be saved during the Tribulatioh but through tremendous suffering.

Nevertheless Come soon LORD Jesus.


Friday, May 22, 2020

Consternation at the New Heavens and New Earth, temporary I hope

This doesn't really deserve to be a blog post and maybe I won't leave it up for long.  It's more like a diary entry from a moment of perplexity that is probably transitory, but nobody reads this blog any more anyway, and if they did I couldn't read their comments.  

I'm having an emotional reaction to something I heard in the John MacArthur study of Revelation yesterday, in the teaching on Chapter 21.   At the end of the Millennium -- not the seven year Tribulation but the thousand year Millennium -- after the rebels gather together against the Lord Jesus and fire comes down from heaven to destroy them all, that's when the "old" heaven and earth "flee away" and are "not found again" and replaced by the NEW heavens and Earth.  What upset me was the biblical line that they will no more be remembered.  That makes me SO sad.  

I'm sure I'm not understanding something rightly because I do believe that the final fulfillment of all these things will be sheer happiness for those of us who are saved.  I do believe that but I nevertheless keep thinking how can anyone be happy if we no longer remember our former lives and the planet we knew so well?

Things are going to be drastically different in the new worlds, and that all by itself is depressing but how can I think I would miss this fallen world as I am thinking now that I would?  I won't miss its fallenness, I know that, I think the Millennium will be more like what I'd prefer to be the end of the story, where all sin and corruption are gone but the world is the same world we know now.  A more productive world, a world that responds to our creative abilities as this one does only more efficiently and productively.  Sheer happiness it seems to me.  All our natural human feelikngs and abilities coming to fullest happiest expression in the use of the physical world we now know.  

Even the Millennium could be hard for those of us who will have been changed into our glorified bodies.  We will have capacities we never dreamed of as well as immortality, but we will also have lost a great deal of our humanness as it is expressed in this world now.  Some believers will go into the Millennium in these same physical bodies and live the same physical life as always, only to much greater expression.  They will marry as usual and have children as usual, but they will live hundreds of years and disease will just about be wiped out.  This will truly be Eden regained.  For them as well as us in our glorified bodies.  Only they will get the highest expression of the normal human joys of this life we are living now while those of us in our glorified bodies will be living something entirely different.

Again I have to assume that it's my inability to imagine it properly that makes me think I'd miss the normal human life or be unhappy in the glorified state.  I know it's impossible to be unhappy and yet I can't imagine what it could possibly be like.  It will be so different.  Won't I miss normal human life, normal human love, normal parenting?  Will the ability to move as the angels move, in any direction I want, never to have to fear death again, could that be enough?  Surely it won't be all there is though, we will have happiness we can't imagine now.  I'm sure that is true but I still feel sad thinking about losing the humanness I know now.

And that is still in this same world, before it is destroyed and no longer remembered and replaced by an entirely new heaven and earth.  No sea in the new one.  Would I miss the sea?  It implies such an enormous difference in things it wouldn't just be the sea I think I'd miss but whatever is implied by a world that doesn't have a sea.  Again it's a failure of my imagination and yet all I have is the imagination I have and it makes me sad.  I can't imagine happily adapting to a kind of existence so utterly different from the one I know.  Again I know there will be immense happiness in the new way of being, but I can't imagine it and the loss of the kinds of happiness possible in this world just makes me very sad.

Life in the Millennium sounds like challenge enough to me since we will be so different already, but the new heaven and earth that will replace it sounds even less like a place or a condition that could make us happy or use any of our created nature.  Again I know I am not understanding something rightly but this is how it keeps hitting me.  Adapting to an entirely different way of being is going to be hard enough, the glorified body we will have in the Millennium, but then to have to forget the old way absolutely is like saying we won't be the same people at all, and how then can the new world be enjoyed if it's not being enjoyed by the same person I am now?  

First the world itself will be different.  No more sea, no more sun or moon.  It will be lit by the light of God Himself from the New Jerusalem.  I am sure we will be happy with that but it is hard to imagine being happy in such a completely different environment.  The New Jerusalem is where we will live but it is a large cube, 1500 miles cubed.  If it is anchored to the new Earth it would occupy about half the area of the current USA.  it is not like any earthly city at all.  How does one live in a cube?  Well we will not be bound by gravity so we can move at will throughout it.  But a cube?  A river from the throne of God that is probably not water, lined by trees that are not rooted in soil, separate dwelling places for all of us but what are they?  Cubed areas within the large cube?  We won't need to sleep, will they have no beds?  We will eat but that's going to be sufficiently different that we will probably not need kitchens or tables and chairs for that matter.  We will have great powers of mind so that we probably won't need things like phones and the internet to communicate with others.  Or TVs to get information.   I imagine an empty space, I don't have the imagination to fill it with anything in particular.  Why does one need a dwelling place at all?  

It feels so alien, so cold, so unhuman.  But again it's my inability to imagine it that makes it so.  All I imagine is losses, the few additions don't seem to supply anything human nature needs, the sensory experiences, the comforts.  New strengths, new powers, justice to perfection, peace to perfection, universal love to all creatures, all desirable in themselves, but lacking something essential, some kind of fulfillment of our human nature, don't know how else to say it.  And then the idea that we won't even remember our earthly life leaves me coldest of all.

No of course I couldn't desire the alterative, the lake of fire.   Whatever this new life will be I take by faith that it will supply supreme happiness to fulfill all my nature.  I just can't imagine it.

Friday, May 15, 2020

The Basics of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture

So here we are trying to cope with this worldwide COVID-19 virus, now at the point where some attempts are being made here in the US to reopen businesses and aim at getting back to "normal" whatever that is going to look like when we do.

This morning I was awakened about 4 AM by an earthquake rocking my recliner and rattling the blinds, which turned out to be a 6.4 Richter centered somewhere north of here.  Since I've been hoping for the Rapture more and more these days, the quake on top of the virus was another reminder that it could be close since Jesus taught his disciples that an increase in such phenomena would be signs of its closeness.

I'm still in the learning stage about the Pre-Tribulation Rapture and the Tribulation itself foir that matter, so I'm becoming aware that Jesus might have been referring to the time toward the end of the Tribulation before His Second Coming, rather than the time just before the Rapture, or even possibly to the time at the end of the Millennium which follows the Tribulation period, the End of All Things coming at the end of the Millennium.  I'm listening off and on to John MacArthur's series on the Book of Revelation on You Tube, and maybe as I continue with it he will yet make all this clear to me.  Meanwhile thanks to MacArthur and others I do have a much better grip on this End Times scenario.

It may have been Robert Jeffress' talk at Jan Markell's Understanding the Times conference last year in October that did the most to clarify some aspects of end times prophecy for me.  At the end of his talk he gave four reasons why he believes in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture that I found particularly illuminating which I'll try to remember here:

1) The reason for the Tribulation which is both redemption of the unsaved and punishment of the wicked.   Since Christians are already redeemed, and we've been promised that we won't go through God's wrath -- it's for unbeleivers anyway -- being Raptured, or removed from the Earth before it all happens makes sense.

2) As a matter of fact there isn't one mention of the Church at all during the Great Tribulation as spelled out in Revelation 6 to 18.  Since the Great Tribulation is also known as the Day of the LORD which has been prophesied for millennia as God's wrath to be poured out on the Earth, it is consistent with the nature of the Church that it isn't there.  The Church is addressed in the first three chapters of Revelation and then comes back to Earth with Jesus at His Second Coming.   In the meantime the Seven Seals of the scroll of God's judgments are opened by Jesus, unleashihng their series of judgments on the Earth.

3)  Revelation 3:10 is where Jesus tells the Church at Philadelphia that because they have "kept the word of His perseverance" He will keep them from the time of trial that is to come upon the whole Earth, which we take to mean being taken off the Earth before the wrath comes.

4)  Romans 8:1 is where Paul tells us that "there is now no condemndation to those who are in Christ Jesus" which also underscores the message that God's wrath is not to be experience by the Church.  After all Jesus paid the price on the Cross for our salvation from God's wrath so the idea that we would yet go through it contradicts the whole idea of salvation.

Which of course is not to say we won't suffer in this world.  Jesus also clearly taught that "in this world you will have tribulation" but this is a kind of tribulation that is not God's wrath.

I think it is John MacArthur who explains why the Church is to be raptured before the Tribulation and not at Jesus' Second Coming, which is one interpretation some hold, and this is because we are to be changed into our glorified bodies at the moment of Rapture, which wouldn't make sense if we are only going up to meet Him in the air in order to escort Him to Earth, but would make sense if we are being fitted for Heaven where we are with Jesus while the Earth is undergoing the Day of the LORD.  Also, at the Second Coming there will be this other great multitude of saved people who came through the Tribulation and are to repopulate the Earth during the Millennium when Christ rules.  Those believers will have normal human bodies, marry and have children, but those of us who were raptured will be in our permanent glorified bodies which don't procreate.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Can We Reverse the Great Evangelical Disaster?

Lately I've been thinking of my various blogs as all tending to a single message:   the reason the culture is deteriorating so rapidly is first of all due to the Church's deterioration over the last few decades.  I've collected some topics here that I'd argue are part of the deterioration, and the reason we aren't having revival and won't have revival until we have a reformation and correct these and other problems.

In researching these things I've run across such a wide and deep area of similar problems, as seen by various Church leaders, any hope of reformation appears beyond the possible.  The proliferation of false teachers who have a following even in what seem otherwise to be good churches, is depressing.  I'm thinking of the Word of Faith teachers like Joyce Meyer and Beth Moore, who are popular with members of many different denominations and congregations.  This seems to be tolerated by the leadership of these churches in spite of doctrinal conflicts.   And there are many other heresies that have taken hold in churches these days, some even foundational to gigantic megachurches.

All these things should be spelled out in great detail at some point, but at the moment I'm asking myself the question if there is really no way out of this, as first seems to be the case.  Where do we start?   I would ask first why the leaders of the churches mentioned above aren't soundly denouncing the alien teachings followed by some of their members, and disciplining those members if they won't give them up?  Wouldn't that be one place to start?  In other words, individual church bodies need to start by purifying themselves.

But what about the whole church bodies given over to false teachings?  There are voices raised in protest here and there, and ministries devoted to warning Christians about them, but shouldn't there be some kind of official doctrinal statement that definitively separates the sheep from these goats?

There have been books written on the sad state of the Church over the last few decades, mostly identifying areas of compromise with the world, or "accommodation" as Francis Schaeffer put it in the book he wrote in the eighties, The Great Evangelical Disaster.   Why have such exposes failed to make the impact on the Church they should have?  Why are they being ignored?

This is just a sketch of some thoughts on this subject that I'm mulling in my mind these days.

Dissing the People's Will

Wow. I've again been trying to give up my addiction to EvC Forum, and can only wait and see if I'm succeeding this time. Meanwhile a post appeared on the thread about the Brexit problems in the UK, in which it is being suggested that the vote of the people should just be overridden in favor of the obviously superior opinion of the ruling elites.

Well, that's been happening here too, though it's done by a court that calls the people's will "unconstitutional" based of course on their Leftist revisionist definitions of what's constitutional.  So much for "Of the people, by the people, for the people...."    And down down down we go.
Isn't the margin in favor of Remain 8-10% lately? Aren't the devastating downsides of Brexit that have gradually become apparent over the past couple years a call to Parliament to carry out their leadership responsibilities and do what is best for the country, regardless of how the electorate voted in 2016?

It is this blind adherence to the 2016 referendum, including some dunderheaded idea that an issue can only be voted on once, that is a big part of the problem. The members of Parliament know a Brexit vote today would be far more informed than the one in 2016, and they should make sure it happens.

In all representative governments it is reasonable to ask, "If the electorate voted for the country to jump off a bridge, should the government do it?" In my opinion we elect our public officials not to blindly do our bidding but to represent our best interests, even when we have a misguided understanding of what those best interests are. Unfortunately most representatives today care most about getting reelected. Rather than leading they slavishly mold their behavior to public opinion in their district. Love of country must take precedence over love of holding office, even when it means you'll lose that office. Integrity demands this kind of behavior, but little of it exists today.
----- Percy at https://www.evcforum.net/dm.php?control=msg&m=847068#m847068