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Archive for the ‘rapture’ Category

Addressing The False Dispensational Interpretation Of 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8

Posted by Job on March 19, 2013

First off, allow me to be fair and state that not every dispensationalist adheres to this error. However, the wishful interpretation of this text is common among premillennial dispensationalists who believe in the pretribulation rapture. Now this is not intended to be a denial of the rapture doctrine. I was raised to believe in the rapture, and I am perfectly willing to adhere to this doctrine again the very instant that someone shows me justification for it in the Bible. Now to the text:

“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:”

Now for some following verses, because, well, I like them.

[Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Many rapture teachers frequently use this text as evidence for the rapture of the church. The teaching is that the “until he be taken out of the way” refers to the Holy Spirit’s presence being removed from the earth when the church that is indwelled by the Holy Spirit is raptured away. And – as the teaching goes – without the salt and light that is the church on the earth that acts as a restrainer against evil, the world will slip into evil chaos and great tribulation.

Now two problems with this “Holy Spirit being absent from the world during the great tribulation doctrine” are as follows:
#1. The “tribulation saints” that will be converted during this time (according to the rapture teachers) will somehow experience new birth without the Holy Spirit to accomplish it, and will also brave the vicious persecution of the anti-Christ without the ministry of the Holy Spirit to give them courage and comfort.
#2. A somewhat bigger problem than #1 … as the Bible makes it clear that God’s Spirit is what sustains creation and holds it together, were the Holy Spirit to be removed from the earth at any time, it would disintegrate into nothing quicker than an instant.

So while demonstrating how that doctrine is unworkable when measured against clear Biblical teachings is one thing, I was always unable to arrive at what the text actually meant until now, upon listening to this sermon by R. A. Hargrave, when he preached on the issue of the total depravity of man. Pastor Hargrave shared that it was God’s common grace that withheld man in his fallen condition from becoming as evil as he should, and this evil being reflected in the works of man’s hands, meaning the conditions of the cultures and societies of the nations. He went on to state that in the last days, during the great tribulation, God would remove this restraining influence and mankind would indeed reveal his true wicked nature. And lest there was any doubt, Pastor Hargrave specifically referenced that text.

This also should make one remember Jesus Christ’s prophecy concerning the timing of His second coming: “But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe [were], so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” of Matthew 24:36-39 and a similar passage in Luke 17:26-30, except that text to the Noah reference adds: “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed [them] all.”

Now I have heard it asserted many a time that these texts do not refer to the societal conditions, but rather the fact that Jesus Christ’s coming will catch people completely by surprise. Of course, those who believe in doctrines that deny the literal millennial reign of Christ and instead teach that human conditions will improve as a result of the church’s increasing its influence on the world – postmillennialism especially – have an interest in downplaying the implications of Matthew 24:36-39 and Luke 17:26-30. However, of all the ways to illustrate the point “my return will catch you by surprise”, Jesus Christ chose the days of Noah, where the Bible says that “the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually” and “the earth is filled with violence through them.” And to the wickedness of the days of Noah, the Luke text adds Sodom and Gomorrah, which the Bible frequently uses as a metaphor for the depths of the human sin condition.

So, the fact that the Noah reference is repeated twice and the Sodom and Gomorrah is added to it makes it very difficult to claim that Jesus Christ was only referring to the suddenness of His appearance and not the condition of mankind when He comes again. The reason is a core rule of hermeneutics: we have to consider what the words meant to when the original audience heard them. Jesus Christ was speaking to Jews for whom “the days of Noah” and “as it was in Sodom and Gomorrah” were most definitely references to the human condition. So for Jesus Christ to use both of those (in the Luke version) very strong references to the wicked state of humanity without meaning anything by it would have only resulted in confusion and unintended meanings by the hearer, and it also makes very real the charge that Jesus Christ was trying to confuse and mislead the hearers on purpose (totally different from His parables, whose interpretations were simply hidden from people, not trying to trick or confuse them).

But 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 makes the references to Sodom and Gomorrah and the days of Noah clear. That passage most clearly refers to the last days, the time of the second coming of Jesus Christ, as such is what the entire chapter was about, and it states that the common grace of God that is restraining evil will be removed, which will allow the mystery of wickedness to work its iniquity until it results in the personification of human evil in the form of the anti-Christ (actually the beast). This will result in the last days being a time akin to the days of Noah (wickedness on a global scale) and Sodom and Gomorrah (wickedness on a local scale), so the Luke text in particular reveals the comprehensive encompassing scope and penetration of evil. In this way, it forms a curious parallel with how Luke spoke of the spread of the gospel in Acts 1:8 from Jerusalem (evangelism on a local scale) to the uttermost parts of the earth (the global reach of the great commission).

Now one may ask how this pervasive evil will be possible when the church is present sharing its witness to the world. To answer:
1. We must be humble. It isn’t our witness or example to the world that restrains evil, but rather it is God.
2. Go back to the 2 Thessalonians 2 passage to verse 3: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” And incidentally, yet another parallel to Matthew 24 and 2 Thessalonians 2 that makes the postmillennialism doctrines even more untenable is Matthew 24:10-12′s “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” The more modern translations render verse 10 to be “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another” and “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other”, and the reference to false prophets in verse 11 is obvious. Because of the great falling away, there simply won’t be very many of us left.
3. Please recall that the original Reformers referred to the righteous in the Old Testament, chiefly Israel, as the church of the Old Testament. So in the days of Noah, Noah and his family were the church of that period. Yet the presence of Noah and his being a preacher of righteousness did not stop the globe from descending into evil. And while Lot was most certainly no Noah, even in his “Laodicean” state of worldly compromise he was nonetheless the church of Sodom and Gomorrah, and his presence did not result in ten righteous people being in that city. So though God commands His church to be salt and light into the world, the reason for this is to glorify God, not to influence the world for the better. The world will remain wicked and in rebellion against God and His Son Jesus Christ, and this will be demonstrated when God removes His restraining Hand and allows the world to be exposed for what it is right before His Son returns so that it will be judged.

Now my suspicion is that the real reason why this text is interpreted erroneously by many is the desire for the church to escape persecution. However, this ignores that when the church endures persecution until the very end, God is glorified. We know this from the example of Job, the oldest book in the Bible. God told Satan that Job would remain in the faith no matter what torments Satan aimed at him, and when Job did so God was glorified. So we saints should be after doctrines that result in God’s glory and not our own comfort. We should also avoid doctrines that exaggerate our own power and importance, such as the claim that our presence on the earth is what keeps it from falling into chaos. Or that the Holy Spirit is on the earth only because we are here (clearly contradicted by Genesis 1:2, which states that the Holy Spirit was on the earth long before humankind even existed to make up a church in the first place).

Also, Revelation 13:7 states that the anti-Christ will make war against the saints and overcome them. Matthew 24:22 states that it will only be for the sake of the church that the days of the great tribulation will be cut short. Is our desire to avoid glorifying God by suffering persecution so great that we ignore what the Bible clearly teaches? One of the ways that dispensationalists who have this aberrant and false teaching concerning 2 Thessalonians 2 deals with those texts is claiming that they refer to Israel and not the church, and to the 144,000 Jews and those converted by them. As evidence of this, they correctly note that Jeremiah 30:7 refers to the great tribulation as the time of Jacob’s trouble. However, such teachings ignore that the church is grafted into Israel, and moreover that the combination of born-again Gentiles and believing Jews constitutes spiritual Israel, true Israel, or Israel of God according to Galatians 6 and Romans 9-11. (Yes, some dispensationalists deny this, and even go to the point of claiming that the new covenant is not the one that currently exists with Christ and the church, but is one that Christ will make during the millennium with natural Israel, showing that many dispensationalists are more rabbinic Jews than Christians or even Messianic Jews). This means that Jacob’s trouble is our trouble!

Again, this is not intended to be a broadside against dispensationalism and rapture teachings entirely, especially the partial rapture teachings for which Revelation 3:10 and the typology of Enoch and Elijah can be used to support, as well as perhaps the mid-tribulation rapture teachings. (Note that neither the mid-tribulation rapture or partial rapture doctrines make the totally heretical claim that the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth.) However, it is incumbent upon the adherents to the rapture and other premillennial dispensational teachings to avoid false teachings that tickle the ears, provide false comfort, and glorify man in the place of God.

Ultimately, however, these debates are intramural in nature between Christians. Regardless of one’s eschatological beliefs, being born again means ultimately going to heaven, whether the route is being raptured before the tribulation or being beheaded by the anti-Christ during it. When the redeemed are in heaven, no one will care one bit about who was wrong and who was right concerning eschatological doctrines. And even more so, it will be totally irrelevant to those who are unsaved. Rapture, no rapture, if you have not repented of your sins and believed the gospel of Jesus Christ, your eternal fate is the same as that of those of Sodom and Gomorrah and the days of Noah who did not escape the wrath of God but perished. And the horrible ends of their earthly lives was nothing compared to the eternal torment of the lake of fire that is in store for these wicked sinners.

So now is the time to make sure that you do not share their fate if you have not already. Repent of your sins and believe upon the risen Lord Jesus Christ today! You can do so by:

Following The Three Step Salvation Plan

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Why Does The Media Focus Only On Harold Camping?

Posted by Job on May 26, 2011

Yes, Harold Camping has been exposed as a false prophet, deceiving many as concerning the timing of the second coming of Jesus Christ. Again. Yes, his deception has caused lots of problems and unnecessary harm, especially for his followers. Again. The question is this: what is the big deal? Why has Camping been the subject of such media attention for months when there are so many pressing stories to cover i.e. wars, famines, diseases, natural disasters, economic failures, political intrigues etc. on a global scale? Clearly the media has an agenda, but what is it?

First off, for the sake of sound doctrine, let it be known that the return of Jesus Christ will not occur until A) the gospel has been taken to all nations and B) a great apostasy, a great falling away from the true faith, occurs. As the great commission is a primary duty of the church, it logical to conclude that the falling away will occur shortly after the great commission is fulfilled, or when the great commission’s fulfillment and with it the time of the Gentiles draws to a close. Anyone who extricates themselves from rapture watching and religious right (or religious left) politics long enough to pay attention to the global missions movements knows that barring a fantastic miracle we are at least 100 years from fulfilling the great commission (the 10/40 window alone is an amazing challenge) and – despite the claims of Camping otherwise – far from there being a great falling away, there are more Christians – or definitely appreciable numbers of Christians in more places – today than at any time in history. So, if we can learn anything from this Camping episode, it is that we should heed the words given by angels and recorded by the physician Luke at the direction of God the Holy Spirit “why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” That was an exhortation to cease waiting for eternity and to get on with the business of living for eternity by loving Jesus Christ and walking in His ways.

With that out of the way, let it further be said that the error of Camping does not undermine the authority of the Bible, Jesus Christ or His church but rather confirms it. How? Because the Bible repeatedly warns against false teachers, including those who would lead people into error concerning His second coming. Jesus Christ said that “false prophets shall deceive many” in Matthew 24:5, and that many will be offended by the true faith in Matthew 24:10. Such false teachings were present even while the New Testament was being written, as the apostle Peter referenced them in 2 Peter 3:4, the apostle John did the same in 1 John 2:18, and the apostle Paul did the same in 2 Thessalonians 2.  Further, Jesus Christ predicted such specifically in Matthew 24:4-5! The New Testament makes it clear that we identify false teachers when they teach things that are in contradiction to the Bible. This truth is what drove William Tyndale to martyrdom, when he stated “I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the scriptures than you!” in response to being told that common people didn’t need to be knowledgeable concerning the Bible’s contents, because it was better to obey the pope than the Bible anyway. So, in rejecting Jesus Christ when He stated that none knows the timing of His return save God the Father (Matthew 24:36), and in rejecting Jesus Christ when He stated that the great commission will be fulfilled before He returns (Matthew 24:14) and in rejecting the Holy Spirit’s inspiration of Paul concerning the falling away first in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, this Camping teaches against things concerning God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, and by his doing so and attracting so many followers he verifies the pages of the New Testament when it said that such a thing would happen. So, Camping did not harm the authenticity or integrity of the Bible by being wrong, but rather verified the Bible’s truth! Instead, Camping’s being RIGHT would have been an occasion to challenge the veracity of the Bible, for were Jesus Christ to return before we reach the many tribes in the 10/40 window or while there are tens of millions of believers risking persecution to worship in Africa and Asia, what would be said of those Bible texts?

So, make no mistake, there is nothing special about Camping. Was not just over ten years ago when there were tons of false prophets claiming based on Bible codes and numerology that Jesus Christ was going to return in 2000? (Never mind that the Bible doesn’t follow our modern calendars, and that Bede almost certainly incorrectly calculated the date of the birth of Jesus Christ that we use for “B.C.” and “A.D.” anyway). Or about 25 years ago Jesus Christ was going to return because it was 40 years after of the establishment of the modern state of Israel? (Never mind that Jesus Christ spoke “this generation” to the Jews of His own time concerning the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D., and if the Bible actually does speak of the restoration of the political nation of Israel, it does not link this event to any timetable concerning Christ’s return.) So why all the fuss and the furor? It has to serve some sort of media agenda.

Consider this: how come when the subject in view is Usama bin Laden or some other Muslim terrorist, the media is quick to say “he isn’t a real Muslim” or “he doesn’t represent mainstream Islam that is practiced by hundreds of millions of peaceful followers”, but the media is quick to depict Camping as being in or near the mainstream of evangelical and fundamental Christians? In truth, as Camping rejects the Holy Trinity, he shouldn’t be classified as Christian at all. Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims and Jews all reject the Holy Trinity, a core foundational doctrine of Christianity that sets it apart from other religions that are either polytheistic or present a false teaching on God’s Unity. But while the media does its best to present Islam and increasingly Mormonism as moderate and mainstream, it uses Camping to create a wild eyed, dangerous fanatical face for Bible-believing Christianity.

Another thing: it isn’t as if Camping is the only false prophet or source of wrong information. Far from it. It is just that when so many others get things wrong and are exposed for their false, anti-Biblical thinking, nothing is ever said about it. Instead, the media, the academy, the elites simply move on. (Or they carry on as if the error was never made.) Consider liberal Christianity, such as the critical “scholars.” Barely a year goes by when an archaeological find of a Biblical site or a scientific breakthrough that confirms Biblical truth or discovery of early manuscripts verifying the existence of historical persons, places and the integrity of Biblical texts that the critical scholars challenged, yet the critical scholars are still accepted as scholars, and their methods – which would never be used in any other field because of their ascientific nature – accepted as reliable.

But that is just the Bible, right? Wrong. Take psychology. The theories of giants in that field like Sigmund Freud and Alfred Kinsey have long been discredited. Yet they are still revered as having made great contributions to science, modern thought and human progress, and furthermore their discredited theories are still being taught as fact in our schools and universities. But psychology, save when it is based on experimentation and observation and does not deal with brain’s biology and chemistry, is a “soft science”, right? Sure, except that the theories in the hard sciences like physics and biology turn up erroneous also. Our schools still teach the long-discredited false leads in evolution theory, i.e. the “evolutionary timeline tree chart” that has long been abandoned as unworkable, and fossils allegedly showing primates evolving into humans that were actually either diseased humans or other animals as fact. You would be surprised to know how many of the things that were taught in science class has been quietly abandoned, how much more needs to be pushed from the classroom, and would be if the media held that community to the same scrutiny that it does evangelical and fundamental Christianity.

But that is just arcane science that has little relevance to our daily lives, so what harm does it do? Fine, except that the realm of false prophets also exists in government and policy. Many fantastic, dire predictions have been made and influenced the direction of governments and leaders to who knows what ends. Example? Global warming. Except that they couldn’t call it “global warming” anymore when many places in the world started experiencing prolonged unseasonably cold weather! So, the cause of the cold weather was attributed to greenhouse gas emissions also and “global warming” became “climate change.” I remember a specific prediction from the global warming prophets that had a lot of people frightened: after Hurricane Katrina and other large, powerful destructive hurricanes in 2005, the global warming community (the “climate change” moniker had not yet been instituted) claimed that the increase in the power and severity of the storms were caused by global warming, and that we could expect worse storms – and more of them – thereafter. They predicted that the hurricane season of 2006 was going to be one of the worst in history! All their models said so! What happened? We haven’t had anything approaching Katrina since.

Another example: peak oil. The experts a few decades back claimed that we had maxed out our oil production, that we had exploited the main reserves, that oil production was heading for an inevitable decline, and that we needed to alter our lifestyles and change our way of life to conserve what oil was left or face a global energy crisis. A few years after those dire predictions, some of the largest oil reserves in history were discovered, as well as technological breakthroughs for accessing oil, and possible new sources of oil, such as from shale and sand. (Do not mistake me for an oil company and fossil fuels advocate, quite the contrary I am fully supportive of alternative energy, and believe that a lot of great technology in that area is not being exploited.) And there was also the “overpopulation crisis.” It was promoted by folks who believed that if the world’s population reached 4 billion, it would become unsustainable, and the result would be mass famines and starvation, diseases, wars and environmental degradation. The only solution was immediate global population control programs! Well, now the world population is 6.75 billion and counting.

There is more. Remember when mad cow disease was going to ravage our food supply? Oprah Winfrey said “I’ll never eat a hamburger again!” (Of course, these folks OPPOSE abstinence from fornication as a defense against sexually transmitted disease as the Bible commands, but constantly promotes abstinence from eating the animals that God gave us dominion over and called lawful to eat.) Remember when bird flu was going to kill thousands, or tens of thousands? What about swine flu? Brought to you by the same false prophets who told you to run out and buy cellophane and masking tape to protect yourself from a nuclear terrorist attack after September 11th.

The prophets told us in the 1980s that AIDS was going to wipe out a significant portion of the U.S. population with little or no regard for lifestyle, and needless to say they were wrong, as AIDS rates only increased among homosexuals, the promiscuous and drug users while declining for everyone else. The lead false prophet was surgeon general C. Everett Koop, who used this false information to promote sex education and condom giveaways in schools starting in 3rd grade. Speaking of sex education, the false prophets told us that it would drastically reduce the venereal disease and teen/out of wedlock pregnancy rates, and it did neither. Instead, both shot through the roof, and further there are now new venereal diseases that even condom manufacturers acknowledge their products are useless against (not that you will ever hear that in any public school sex education program).

But wait, there’s more. The prophets told us that abandoning classical education for new education reforms (often based on Freudian or Marxist theories) would lead to markedly improved results and a transformation of society. They were totally wrong, American academic achievement has fallen off the map, and no one talks about it. The prophets told us that divorce and illegitimacy were GOOD for women, children and even most men, but education, poverty, drug use and incarceration rates say otherwise. The prophets claimed that we could eliminate racism through education. How is that working out? They claimed that we could eliminate poverty through government action, and now not only is poverty still a reality (as Jesus Christ said it would in Mark 14:7, not a favorite text among liberal theologians!) but unprecedented numbers of people in America and worldwide are reliant on government assistance of some kind. The false prophets also claimed that the triumph of Soviet communism was inevitable, and the best course of action was resignation, acceptance and learning from and becoming more like them, only to have the Soviet Union collapse and many remaining Marxist regimes like China and Viet Nam adopt more capitalistic economies. Those who predicted that the war on drugs and the war on terror (especially Afghanistan and Iraq) could be effectively and quickly won? Whatever happened to them?

The sociologists who said that eliminating censorship laws and allowing the free trafficking of pornography would make us more progressive and improve relations between the sexes? They have been nowhere to be found as rapists, child molesters and other sex criminals have proliferated, multiplying like rats. The social theorists who claimed that putting criminals in jail wouldn’t lower crime rates because the root causes were economic? Wrong, and verified when crime rates still remained lower despite two severe recessions and deep cuts in social services. (Well, street crime is lower anyway. White collar crime, the rich in their vain attempt to sate their lust for greed, remains through the roof. But the Bible said that this would happen concerning the wealthy also … see the book of James, which is not a favorite among political conservatives or those who teach the false prosperity gospel.) And another example: remember Barack HUSSEIN Obama’s claim that we had to immediately adopt a stimulus package to keep unemployment from hitting 8%? Unemployment has been at or near 10% for over two years! Anti-Christ? Probably not. False prophet? Definitely.

So, on one hand you have ONE Harold Camping, who again due to his rejection of the Holy Trinity and of many Bible texts (he forbids his followers from fellowshipping in local churches in violation of Hebrews 10:25) should not be considered a Christian is a false prophet. On the other hand, you have MANY worldly prophets who due to their embrace of ungodly, anti-Biblical ideas, doctrines, philosophies and imaginations that exalt themselves against God (2 Corinthians 10:5) that are utterly, totally and completely wrong all the time. Now both groups of false prophets are wrong for the same reason: their rejection of Biblical revelation as true, infallible, inerrant, and the final authority in all matters, and not merely things necessary for salvation. But the media and the elites shine the light on Camping to defame and discredit Christians who actually do adhere to the Bible while doing their best to cover up the fact that they so wrong so often on so many issues to the great harm of so many is appalling. It is hypocrisy at best, and a conspiratorial cover-up at worst. If anything, talking about Camping gives them an excuse to keep from having to address the huge mess that these folks have made of the economies, governments and societies of the world. Further, it allows them to transfer the blame from their failed policies – and the rejection of Jesus Christ and the Bible which reveals Him ideology that motivate them – to Christians, as if Christians are undermining their efforts.

Christians, for instance, are blamed for illegitimacy by opposing sex education. Christians are blamed for AIDS by opposing homosexuality. Christians are blamed for poor educational performance for opposing evolution. Christians are blamed for global warming for opposing climate change legislation. Christians are blamed for the wars and tension in the Middle East for supporting Israel and not a Palestinian state (by the way, I reject Zionism, and “Christian” Zionism is especially repugnant to what the Bible actually says, and John Hagee and not a few other false prophets follow this flawed school of interpretation). Christians are called misogynist for adhering to what the Bible says about the roles concerning men and women in the church, in marriages and homes and in society, and for opposing the murder of abortion. Christians are blamed for “Islamophobia” and “anti-Semitism” and “anti-Mormonism” for refusing to deny that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, and accused of undermining cultures with our missionary work. And the list goes on and on.

And it is only going to increase. As more and more ideas based on a rejection of the Bible and even of general revelation (see Romans 1:18-32) causes still more decline and failure, anger will increase against Christians. As the world continues to reap the fruit of the sin and wickedness that it sows, it will increasingly see Christians as scapegoats. Instead of repenting of their sins and acknowledging those as the true source of the misery and calamity, the blame will be on Christians for failing to get with the program.

This will climax in first sporadic but then general and organized attempts to silence Christians and remove us from their midst, in the hopes of keeping us from hindering their “progress.” This is far-fetched, you say? Not in the least, because it has already happened. An example is not merely the brutal repression and murder of Christians on a massive scale in the Soviet Union, China, Germany, Sudan and other totalitarian (whether Marxist, Muslim or fascist) regimes in the last century, but the experience of the church in the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire’s wealth, power and culture were declining due to the decadence and incompetence of its ruling classes, and from Nero to Decius, they saw Christians as a scapegoat.

The legitimate Christians refused to join in their state religion (an odd mix of paganism and patriotism not dissimilar from what goes on in our country today, including in not a few churches) so the Roman “gods” were angry. The Christians refused to join in their public activities (regrettably this is not a mark of contemporary Christianity!) so they were called “divisive” and were accused of undermining the common culture (in addition to not being patriotic!) that was allegedly needed to have a cohesive, strong empire. And Christians preached and taught against the immorality, wickedness and depravity of the people, the rulers and the times. They preached against the rampant adultery, homosexuality, violence and child molestation. They preached against the wanton excesses of the upper classes (again, not a mark of contemporary evangelical Christianity, unless the upper classes in view are Hollywood, government bureaucrats and other liberal elites). And they preached against paganism, not only by the people but the official state religion (again, the evangelical Christian preacher who even speaks of the freemasonry and occult that was vital to this nation’s founding and has been influential in it ever since is rare).

Then, the persecution began as sporadic and localized, but climaxed in a brutal, sustained attempt to completely rid the Roman Empire of Christianity. And despite the estimated ten million Christians that were killed by the Roman Empire (something that you will never see mentioned in history books or depicted in movies, as they are more wont to depict Christians as murderous crusaders and the like) and the carnage of the past hundred years, that is only a shadow of the real bloodbath to come. You see, unlike Harold Camping, I do not adhere to a rapture belief. Instead, I believe the Bible when it says that when the anti-Christ comes, it will be given to him to make war against the saints, and to overcome them. I believe the Bible when it says that the time of tribulation, of great sorrows, will be of such severity that it will be cut short so that the saints, the elect, will survive it. And I believe that the saints that were mentioned in Revelation and Matthew 24 that will see that horrible time are not Jews, or those converted by Jews during the great tribulation, but Christians.

And that is what it is all about. That is why turning an obscure preacher with questionable doctrine into an international news story lasting several cycles was done. It is why Westboro Baptist Church, a cult that has existed for decades, is only now becoming international news. It is why Terry Jones, an obscure leader of a small congregation, became an international pariah for burning a Koran when not only Muslims but the United States military routinely burns Bibles!

It is why terrorists attacks committed by atheists like Timothy McVeigh and Eric Rudolph are attributed to Christians. It is why violence against abortion clinics and doctors is an issue oft raised against Christians despite the fact that less than 5 such incidents have occurred in over 20 years, and only 1 in the past 10. The Hutaree militia drew headlines and a massive sting operation from the federal government as a Christian terrorism threat to rival that posed by Al Qaeda, and it turned out to be just a bunch of guys spinning yarns over the Internet.  Yet, the Marxist “liberation theology” types, not a few of whom were trained Soviet infiltrators, fanned the flames for any number of bloody murderous third world Marxist coups with their organizing and “preaching”, and the truth about their activities – and the level of support that they received from their ideological and religious fellow travelers in the U.S. – has never been documented by the media, Hollywood or our schools. Neither has the true history of our own “civil rights movement” – how it duped the black church and many well meaning white Americans into supporting Marxist subversive tactics, and how that movement was also organized by and rife with Soviet agents and sympathizers – been told, and nor can you expect them to spill the beans on their own false prophets.

The agitation propaganda against Christians will continue in the future just as it did in the Roman Empire. Christians should be heedful of the times, which means that we must be aware of what is going on, aware of where it is headed, and aware of whose agenda it is serving. That is why Christians should end these “battles” over “being represented in Hollywood” and the “culture wars” and “religious right politics” (and religious left politics) in favor of opening our eyes to the true state of affairs. Instead, we should study our Bibles, study about the early church during its time of persecution before Christianity was co-opted by the Roman Empire so that by learning about the church’s past, we can learn about the future – our future. Of course, the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ will win in the end and vindicate and save His church. But make no mistake: just as Jesus Christ suffered Gethsemane and His passion before His resurrection and glorification, the church, being less than its Master Jesus Christ, must also suffer many things. Christians must be prepared so that we might stand during the time to come, and endure to the end. This is a battle that will be won not by guns, money or governments but by faith in the God who is fighting on our side and prevail.

It must be asked: which side are you on? The side of God, or of the wicked? Though Camping was wrong, his error only proved the Bible to be correct. The Bible makes it clear that the wicked perish and that Jesus Christ and those who believe in Him will triumph. If you do not believe in Jesus Christ, make no mistake, you will be counted among the wicked, because no matter how good you perceive yourself to be, before a holy and perfect God you are a sinner. I urge you, repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.

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Does 2 Thessalonians 2:7 Teach A Rapture Or A Great Apostasy?

Posted by Job on March 30, 2011

This is in response to a most excellent comment. As the reply was getting lengthy, I decided to throw it out as a post.

2 Thessalonians 2:7 is cryptic, and likely purposefully so. My first opinion, based on this website, was that the King James Version’s rendering of  “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way” was wrong, and I favored some of the other translations that had a softer, more passive rendering of ginomai ek (he be taken out of), including the New Living Translation (“steps out of the way”), the English Standard Version (“until he is out of the way”) and the International Standard Version (“gets out of the way”).  Then I saw that the Geneva Bible favored the King James Version’s rendering, and for that matter so does the NASB. Also, some of the Bibles that had alternate renderings, especially the International Standard Version, had problems, including being far too strong in their translating “arti“, translated to be  “he who now”, as “the person who now.”

So, as, I am not a Greek expert, and moreover those who are Greek experts would have fits with coming to a precise meaning of this text because of the ambiguous nature of it in the original language. A major problem is that there does not appear to be other Bible texts that deal with this precise topic, the one who restrains being removed from the way, that would aid us in coming to a more definite interpretation.

The solution is to try to interpret 2 Thessalonians 2:7 with other texts, including 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, and 1 John 2:18, 1 John 2:22,  1 John 4:3 and 2 John 1:7.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.””Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.”

“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.”

“And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”

More texts in this general area would be helpful, but other than the references to the abomination of desolation that are more helpful to 2 Thessalonians 2:4 than to this text, I do not know these at this particular time. So, at this time I know of are the Johannine texts, which can be used to say that the mystery of iniquity of 2 Thessalonians 2:7 is the spirit of anti-Christ is that which denies Jesus Christ as He is pretended to us in the Bible. So, put 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 with the anti-Christ passages of 1 and 2 John, and you have a heretical movement that denies necessary doctrines concerning Jesus Christ taking over the church, and the anti-Christ appearing soon after.

Regarding said heretical movements, combating those was a major concern of the New Testament epistles, including Jesus Christ’s warning to His church in Revelation 2 and 3, and as the current climate in Protestant Christianity tends to denigrate those who stand for orthodoxy (see here and here, although this is not exactly a totally new problem, as Charles Spurgeon was heavily criticized for taking on heretical movements in his day) and the increasing tendency of Christians to choose “science” over the Bible (not just evolution, but pseudo-science such as the “critical scholarship” that is applied to – and used to attempt to discredit – nearly every New Testament verse that is used as the basis for core doctrines) as well as the willingness of a great many Christians to allow worldly concerns (i.e. politics) to distract them from evangelizing and discipleship, it is not difficult to imagine – from a human perspective anyhow – a wave of heresy sweeping through the church.

Incidentally, the “taken out of the way” of 2 Thessalonians 2:7 does not necessarily mean “removed from the face of the earth”, and it especially does not necessarily mean “taken from the face of the earth immediately and dramatically.” Those seeking to find support for a rapture in the Bible will say that it does, and then apply that text to 1 Corinthians 15:51-52′s “we shall all not sleep but shall be changed.” The irony is that the context of 1 Corinthians 15 is not the endtimes at all, but rather Paul’s rebuking the false doctrine in the Corinthian church that there would be no resurrection of the dead, and that there was no resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now if you juxtapose those texts and their context, it would then 1 Corinthians 15, 2 Thessalonians 2 and 1 John 2 and 4 refer to false teachings concerning Jesus Christ that could cause the great apostasy, after which the anti-Christ appears.

That puts the abomination of desolation predictions of the Bible in a spiritual context. If “the holy place” refers not to a Jewish temple (the first and second temples having been destroyed, and Judaism is now a false religion for a host of reasons that are beyond the scope of this topic, which would make claiming the third temple as “a holy place” – as opposed to a tower of Babel erected in rejection of and defiance against Jesus Christ – very theologically difficult!) but rather than the hearts of Christians which are in this era of grace the temple of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 6:19-20) then perhaps this abomination of desolation refers to the church’s embrace of a false postmodernist Jesus Christ as opposed to the real One of the Bible?

Suppose that the abomination of desolation – the visible church’s embrace of a false Christ – causes a great apostasy among this same visible church. Further, suppose that this occurs after the Great Commission has been fulfilled, or when it is down to its final stretches, when or immediately before right before the fullness of the Gentiles has been reached according to Romans 11:25 (after which the spiritual blindness of the Jews is lifted). Then, it is possible to use those Bible texts to propose that it is then when the anti-Christ will appear. Of course, the visible church will follow the anti-Christ that they have already erected and worshiped in their own hearts just as Old Testament Israel in the time of their apostasy and fall to Babylon during the ministry of the prophet Jeremiah worshiped Baal in her heart. So, the apostate church would then join the anti-Christ in persecuting the remnant, the legitimate church. That would be the time of Jacob’s trouble as prophesied by Jeremiah 30:7 and fulfilled in Revelation 4-19.

But back to the original topic, “he that restrains being taken away”; that cannot refer to either the Holy Spirit or the church. Jesus Christ makes it clear that the church will persevere until He returns for it, and that the Holy Spirit will do the same as the church’s minister and comforter. (There are bigger issues with the Holy Spirit’s being removed from the earth, as the Holy Spirit is the presence of God, and it is the presence of God that sustains creation … without the presence of God, the universe would disintegrate immediately … see Colossians 1.)

So, perhaps instead of “taken away” as in “removed completely”, how about what the translation actually says, which is “taken out of the way”? Think of a dam that holds water breaking, or chains that is holding a prisoner being broken, or a box kept closed by lock and key (or seal!) having the key turned or the seal broken coming open, and its contents allowed to escape. Consider the apocalyptic language of Revelation, where demons and such that are bound in the pit or the river Euphrates (including Satan being bound in the bottomless pit for 1000 years during the millennium) being set free.

So, this passage could refer to one of the seals being broken of Revelation 6. After the 7th seal is broken, then the trumpets sound. The fifth trumpet sounds in Revelation 9 (which unleashes the locusts), the sixth also (which releases the demons bound in Euphrates), and it is between the sounding of the 6th and the 7th trumpet that the anti-Christ and the false prophet appear in Revelation 13.

Again, this is assuming that the KJV and the Geneva Bible (on which the KJV was largely based) are correct in their rendering of 2 Thessalonians 2:7. This website does in fact argue that the plain, literal Greek states that this verse should read “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he comes forth out of the midst” (or my preference, until he comes forth from among the nations.) It is difficult to assert how ginomai was translated “to be taken away” instead of the usual “to be come, to be made or be finished.” 2 Thessalonians 2:7, then, could well read

“For the mystery of iniquity is already at work and will work until it is finished and he (the anti-Christ” comes forth from among the nations.”

Again, I am no Greek expert, just a guy with access to Strong’s Concordance! However, this translation does appear to square with 2 Thessalonians 2:3 regarding “the son of man being revealed” and Revelation 13:1′s “the beast rising out of the sea” (and the sea allegorically is a reference to the nations and peoples of the earth). So, basically, people will deny Jesus Christ until the anti-Christ basically appears, particularly when the visible church denies Jesus Christ and becomes apostate.

Sorry for the jumbled mess that is this effort, as it was written on the fly in response to a user comment, and I did not organize, outline or edit it first, and it deals with two separate issues: the possibility that both the KJV and the Geneva Bible did damage to 2 Thessalonians 2:7, and also the meaning of that text when it is interpreted with scripture. I will say that the rapture teaching requires the KJV/Geneva interpretation, but that applying this text to the great apostasy makes good use of both the KJV/Geneva translation and one that more strictly follows the literal meaning of the Greek words.

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Is The Rider On The White Horse Of Revelation 6:2 Christ Or Anti-Christ?

Posted by Job on March 9, 2011

Revelation 6:1-2 reads “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.”

The predominant view in modern western fundamentalist and evangelical Christianity is that the rider of the white horse is the anti-Christ. This was my view until very recently, when I read the John Bunyan allegory “Holy War“, which altered, or should I say enhanced, my view of Jesus Christ (more on that later), just as did reading “Pilgrim’s Progress Part 1” changed my view of Christian living and Part II changed my view of the pastorate and of the church.

Allow me to say that this article provides a good reason why the rider on the white horse cannot be the anti-Christ, which is that the four horsemen are released this eschatological figure is not released until the fifth trumpet. The trumpets do not occur until the seventh seal, and the white horse is released by the first seal. So, the white horse comes at or near the beginning of the events of Revelation (presuming a linear timeline with a literal interpretation) while the anti-Christ comes well into those events. Some interpretations deal with this by claiming that the reference in Revelation 6:2 is the anti-Christ’s laying the groundwork, placing everything in order, for his full unveiling to the earth that is described later.

Well, further arguments against the rider being the anti-Christ are given in this article. It deals with how those who propose that the rider is the anti-Christ deal with the fact that white is always used to represent Godly virtue by making the statement that the anti-Christ comes in this manner to deceive people into thinking that he is Jesus Christ. However, this interpretation requires starting with the idea that the rider on the white horse is the anti-Christ, and then making everything else fit, something often called thesis-driven analysis and also called eisegesis. If your starting point was neutral concerning the identity of this character, then his being on a white horse would immediately disqualify your  associating him with the anti-Christ. But if your starting point was his being the anti-Christ, that is when you have to contrive an explanation for the horse being white, one that seems to violate all rules and standards for hermeneutics used for other passages. The question is: “Why is this done?”

It goes back to one’s view of Jesus Christ. The rider of the white horse is given a bow and he went forth to conquer, and conquer he did! Modern, humanistic, enlightenment thinking does not permit viewing Jesus Christ as the Conqueror. That is, at least not until the last day when Jesus Christ comes to judge the nations for their wickedness. That is the one time that the modern church with its man-centered mindset allows Jesus Christ, who as God is the Creator, Owner and Sustainer of the Universe, to be viewed as a conquering ruler. (And for those who believe in the rapture, this happens when the church is already off the scene, and is spared having to deal with Jesus Christ in this role.) In the modern mindset, Jesus Christ can be viewed as the sacrificial lamb, advisor, “co-pilot”, best friend, psychiatrist/psychologist, enabler, helper, moneychanger (prosperity doctrine), mystic/shaman, errand boy, and even romantic lover, but NOT as a conquerer. This stark, authoritarian, militaristic view runs counter to the modernistic Jeffersonian view that exalts such ideas as civil rights, human rights, democracy etc. above all, and needs a Jesus Christ that will bow and be conformed to it. Thus, Jesus Christ as conquerer cannot exist in the mind of the modernist/postmodernist Christian except for a single day when He is forced to execute that role with respect to the wicked. With the exception of that day, Jesus Christ remains in a construct that the modern mind finds acceptable. And according to that construct, where conquest to set up authoritarian rule is undemocratic is evil, this HAS to be the anti-Christ!

It cannot be Jesus Christ according to this mindset, because this mindset makes Jesus Christ a democrat. This Jesus Christ does not conquer. No, this Jesus Christ is standing outside the human heart like a lovesick teenage loverboy knocking on the door waiting, longing, begging for His sweetheart to come in. And it is only when the person that Jesus Christ’s target makes the free will decision to open the door to his or her heart and invite Jesus Christ in that salvation occurs.

For this to happen any other way, uninvited, unasked, and without consent, is tyranny. For Jesus Christ is not a sovereign king who rules by way of His undisputed dominion over the creation that is the work of His own hands for Him to do as He pleases. No, that is tyranny. Such rule is illegitimate, based on the threat of force rather than the consent of the governed! A true, enlightened philosopher king governs not by power or divine right, but by mutual consent! So, the one who stands at the door and knocks and will not come in without the consent of the “pilot” (for Jesus Christ is merely the co-pilot, not the actual pilot who is running the show and is the true master of eternal destiny, which is man’s free will) is Jesus Christ, the genuine article. The conquerer who does not ask permission, who does not gladly (though under submission) come when asked and does not meekly leave when rejected? Now that has to be the anti-Christ! So says the modern Christian mindset.

Thankfully, John Bunyan did not live in modern Enlightenment times! Therefore, Bunyan presents a different Jesus Christ, one that is actually present on the pages of the Bible before all the modern humanist filters and constructs are placed on it. Bunyan’s rather rough allegory presents a kingdom ruled by Shaddai (God the Father), whose most prominent and prized possession is the city Mansoul, which was built by the King Himself. While the modern mindset reared on democracy would revile the idea that a city is the possession of any king, A) this was in fact the custom of monarchs in times past – the kingdom and all in it were their possessions, and in the east the subjects of the “lord-kings” were considered slaves to the lord-king, and remember the Bible is an oriental book, not a western book and B) the Bible was fully written in the mindset of this custom. Mansoul rebelled against King Shaddai due to the provocation and trickery of Diabolus (Satan) and made Satan its king instead, under the false pretense that they could exchange status as slaves under King Shaddai’s rule to free men under his rule. Of course, Diabolus immediately made the residents of Mansoul his slaves, but so thoroughly corrupted and tricked them that they mistook the slavery of Diabolus and sin for liberation. Their delusion was so strong that when King Shaddai sent His captains (difficult to tell in the allegory, my guess is that they are angels) to liberate Mansoul from Diabolus, they resisted with all their might. The story was explicit: when Mansoul was given a multitude of opportunities to make a free will choice for King Shaddai, they rejected King Shaddai each time due to the depths of their depravity.

So, King Shaddai sent His Son, Prince Emmanuel, to recapture Mansoul. In this allegory, Emmanuel did not conquer Mansoul by standing at the door knocking and being invited in. Quite the contrary, He came with an army of soldiers and overcame the recalcitrant Mansoul, who resisted Him with all the force that it could muster – as it was still dedicated and devoted to Diabolus and its own sinful passions – with mighty force. Make no mistake, in this allegory, “and he went forth conquering, and to conquer” Mansoul! After the conquering of Mansoul was done, Prince Emmanuel had the entire town confess that He took the town for Himself as His prize by force; that when the town had the chance – indeed several chances – to yield itself up to the government of the Prince and His Father by choice, they refused each time. So, Mansoul chose the rule of Diabolus, and Prince Emmanuel gained the rule of Mansoul only by overtaking Diabolus, binding him, driving him out, and “spoiling the goods of the strongman” by declaring and setting up His own rule and domain – and through it re-establishing the same of King Shaddai – by force. Mansoul had no say in the matter, because Mansoul, by decree, election and will of God the Father its Owner and Creator – had declared it to be so. Mansoul did not choose Prince Emmanuel, but Emmanuel chose Mansoul (John 15:16).

Now, Jesus Christ as He is commonly depicted in most modern gospel music is not the rider on the white horse. But Jesus Christ as depicted in Holy War and in the Bible may well be. If nothing else, it is something to consider. Another thing to consider: why would the anti-Christ have to go about conquering the world to begin with? According to the words of Jesus Christ, Satan is already the prince of this world (John 14:30)! 2 Corinthians 4:4 declares Satan to be the god of this world, Ephesians 2:2 declares him to be the prince of the powers of the air. So, the anti-Christ does not need to conquer the world. All he needs is to have Satan’s authority transferred to him. Revelation 13:2 says exactly that: “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as [the feet] of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” Further, Revelation 17 says that the rulers of the earth GIVE their power to the beast, NOT that he conquers them and takes it from them by force.

This may seem like idle speculation, or an excessive emphasis on “last things” when other issues concerning orthodoxy and orthopraxy are more pressing: “minoring in the majors.” However, one’s view of last things often casts a shadow on one’s belief. Many theological liberals and “moderates” de-emphasize predictive prophecy because of an anti-supernatural bias. Others use apocalyptic texts to promote the political and social causes that are near and dear to them. And many Christians are attracted to the rapture doctrines because of their desire not to suffer persecution and rejection by the world as Christ suffered the same.

In a similar fashion, the idea that the anti-Christ is the conquerer on the white horse reveals the mindset of a great many Christian theologians, preachers, and laymen concerning the doctrine of original sin. So many Christians SAY that they believe in original sin, or even total depravity, but by adhering to such interpretations as this, it really does imply otherwise. If original sin is true, if total depravity is true, then why is it that Jesus Christ comes only by willing invitation, and the anti-Christ only by force? Is that not backwards? If the anti-Christ, the beast is “the man of sin”, then the fallen, wicked world, if it is not his already, will freely, gladly accept him as one of their own, a kindred spirit! Again, why would a sinful world oppose and resist a man of sin? Why would they not accept him and instead need to be conquered by him? Only if there is some inherent virtue, inherent goodness in him that would cause him to resist the evil rather than accept it.

The idea that the anti-Christ would have to conquer is based on the notion that man is basically good; that the nations are basically good. And is that not what so many seem to adhere to because of their political, cultural and social beliefs? That the nations – especially the pro-western capitalist democracies – are good, and only the exceptions – the anti-democratic, anti-western, authoritarian regimes – are bad.

Isn’t it curious how most of the theories about where the anti-Christ will come is from the “bad” nations? First it was from the “bad” communist regimes. Then it was from the “bad” secular humanist socialist United Nations or European Union. Now speculation centers on the “bad” Islamic regimes. The idea that the anti-Christ could come from – gasp! – America, the shining city on a hill, the nation founded on Christianity and is a beacon of freedom and goodness? Well, MAYBE, but only if he is not really one of us like Obama!

Again, it is based on the idea that there is some inherent virtue in man, and some inherent virtue in what man builds. It is based on a rejection of original sin, a rejection of total depravity. Even the very idea that Satan takes over the earth and installs the anti-Christ only when the church departs after the rapture is based on the notion that Satan is not the god of this world at present! Ironically, people who adhere to this belief are de facto amillennalists believing that rather than being the god of this world in this present age, Satan is currently bound by the church’s presence.

So many Christians who profess to be evangelical or fundamentalist and profess a belief in original sin based on the actions of Adam only apply that doctrine to soteriology. They only apply mankind’s fallen nature to the individual human soul! But when it comes time to apply it to a larger scale, they shrink back! Why? Because of their love of this present world and the things in it! To those people, James 4:4′s “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” applies to liking MTV and the New York Times editorial page and not the entire fallen worldly system! The parts of the world they like, they consider it good, moral, even Christian. It is only the part that they are alienated from, usually because of political or cultural considerations, that they consider to be “worldly.”

But go back to the text and view it in context. Yes, Revelation concerns the last days. But the letter to the Hebrews – and elsewhere in the New Testament – declares that the last days began after the work of Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of God’s plan and the high point of the history of creation. So, the last days – the time period that Revelation concerns itself with – is not merely the last seven years, the “great tribulation.” Instead, it concerns itself with the entire endtimes, which is now, and has been since Pentecost. That is why the letters to the churches are the first part of the Revelation. They are not introductory material to set the stage for the eschatology. Instead, they are part and parcel of the eschatology!

In that context, note that the white horse and its rider come first. It is the first seal! So, after the heavenly visions in Revelation 4-5, the white horse and its rider are the first thing that we encounter when the events shift back earthward in Revelation 6. So, why not strongly associate the white horse and rider with Jesus Christ speaking to and walking amongst the churches in Revelation 2-3? Were the material in Revelation to be arranged topically (i.e. with the things happening in heaven all together and the things happening on earth all together), that is exactly how it would appear … Revelation 6:1-2 would immediately follow the challenge to the Laodicean church!

So then, why not consider the possibility that the rider on the white horse given the bow and the crown and goes about conquering (and as this article states he does not obtain or use these things illegitimately in a manner that is against God’s will … such ideas are missing from the text) is going about to foreign lands conquering souls of sinners for God the Father? Did not Jesus Christ say in the Olivet discourse (i.e. Matthew 24:14) that the end will not come until His gospel is preached in all the world for a witness to all nations? Well, in Revelation 6, though it is certainly the last days, the end is not yet come! So, me must consider that the rider on the white horse is none other than Prince Emmanuel enlarging the domain of King Shaddai through the conquest of souls in every tribe and nation that are hardened with the total depravity of original sin.

Granted, this article does state that the rider is the Holy Spirit, not Jesus Christ. I disagree, but for my purposes the distinction is not a great one, as Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit in His Name to complete His Work through the church which is Jesus Christ’s Body, and the Holy Spirit is the One who performs regeneration. Instead, the main point is to consider the strong possibility that man-centered, humanistic thinking is the reason why the rider on the white horse was ever called the anti-Christ to begin with, especially when one has to be very inconsistent in one’s interpretation of Revelation and the Bible in general to arrive at that viewpoint.

Of course, the main point is that Jesus Christ is returning to judge the world and all its people for their wickedness. The only way to escape this judgment that is certainly to come at a time in the future that has been predetermined by God the Father is to be saved through Jesus Christ. If you have not been, I urge and entreat you that you would be so; that you too would be a conquest of Jesus Christ as was I.

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A Rapture Question: The Bride Of Christ And New Jerusalem

Posted by Job on March 7, 2011

The Bible calls the church the bride of Christ. See Ephesians 5:22-33.

The Bible calls New Jerusalem the bride of Christ. See Revelation 21:2.

So, bride of Christ = new Jerusalem. (Kind of.)

This is the issue. Revelation 21:2 says that New Jerusalem, which is the bride of Christ, which is the church, will come down from heaven. How did the church get to heaven for it to come down from heaven? The rapture?

Not necessarily. For Revelation 21 comes after Revelation 20,  and Revelation 20 is that which describes the last day, when every man is judged. Jesus Christ in Matthew 24 and Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 both appear to state that Christians will survive a great tribulation; that all Christians “will not sleep.” Hence, Revelation 4-20 describes the tribulation, the time of final testing or trial, that the church will endure. And Revelation 1-3 has the purpose of preparing the church for that tribulation by telling it to have faith, be strong, and be holy before God.

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Revelation 12 In Brief: My Proposed Interpretation And Commentary

Posted by Job on July 4, 2010

Upon reading chapter 12 of the Gospel of John, I encountered John 12:31, which reads “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” As “the prince of this world” is a reference to Satan, immediately, I had the notion to cross reference that text in Revelation because it sounded familiar. Thinking that I may have found scriptural support for amillennialism in the words of Jesus Christ, I checked Revelation 20:1-3, which speaks of Satan being bound for 1000 years. However, the two passages did not appear to have anything to do with each other. Then I recalled that the reference to Satan being thrust from heaven was in the “there was a war in heaven” passage, which is contained within Revelation 12.

1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2 And she being with child cried , travailing in birth , and pained to be delivered.

The identity of this woman has been a subject of some debate. Roman Catholics assert that this is “Mary, queen of heaven.” Some assert that the woman is the church. However, this woman obviously represents national or Old Testament Israel. The 12 stars are the twelve tribes of Israel. Please recall that in Joseph’s dream of Genesis 37:9, his brothers were represented by stars. And the child that Israel was carrying was Jesus Christ. God’s purpose was to create Israel as an elect people, give Israel the law, and have Jesus Christ born to Israel as a human and member of their nation and people under the law so that Jesus Christ would fulfill the law perfectly and then surrender His life as payment for the sins of others. And Israel suffered many things (i.e. bondage in Egypt, destruction and captivity by Babylon, brutal subjugation by the Greeks) before Jesus Christ was born to the Jew Miriam (Mary).

3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

The dragon is Satan. The significance of the 7 heads, 7 crowns and 10 horns I do not know at this time. It is interesting that Revelation 13:1, which some manuscripts assert as being the final verse of Revelation 12, describes the beast as having 7 heads, 7 crowns and 10 horns. However, Revelation 13 identifies the beast (popularly referred to as the anti-Christ) and the dragon (Satan) separately. The reference to the 1/3 of the stars of heaven that were thrown to the earth is that to the angels who were not elect (see 1 Timothy 5:21) and therefore joined Satan in His rebellion against God, becoming demons or evil spirits.

5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

This man child is obviously Jesus Christ. The references to Satan’s attempting to devour the man child can refer to the various attempts of Satan to tempt, kill or otherwise thwart Jesus Christ, with an example being Herod’s genocide after the visit from the wise men. It can also refer to Satan’s many attempts to destroy national Israel – either by killing them or seducing them into idolatry – prior to Jesus Christ’s advent. The child’s being caught up to God’s throne refers to Jesus Christ’s ascension to heaven after His passion and resurrection.

6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

This is a reference to the dispersion of national Israel and the end of the Jewish age after the destruction of the temple and nation by the Roman Empire in 70 AD. The times of the Gentiles, or the last days, began. The phrase “where she hath a place prepared of God” seems to refer to national Israel still being under God’s protection though the eyes of the Jews are blinded during the church age. This confirms Romans 11. As far as the time period of 3.5 years, to me that remains a mystery.

7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out , that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down , which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

This would be the portion that correlates with John 12:31. “That old serpent” is better rendered “that serpent of old”, which identifies the Satan that deceived the whole world as being the same that deceived Eve and successfully caused the sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden. Not only was the entire world deceived and sent into a fallen state of original sin as a result of Satan’s dealings with Adam, but Satan has been deceiving the world – those not reconciled to God – ever since. Also, we know from the book of Job that Satan had access to heaven and accused the righteous of sin before God. After Jesus Christ atoned for sin with His death and obtained justification for believers at His resurrection, Satan’s access to heaven and his accusations against believers could no longer continue. Because of the work and victory of Jesus Christ through His death on the cross and His being resurrected from the dead, Satan was defeated. Glory be to Jesus Christ, who reigns and is blessed forever!

12 Therefore rejoice , ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. 13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time , and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

After being cast from heaven, this Satan who in his madness thought that he could somehow exalt himself over the One who created him and sustains his existence was forced to give up any delusions that he might have harbored concerning his battle with God. Knowing his fate – and that time is rapidly ticking towards it – Satan turns his full malicious destructive intentions to humans living on the earth, and especially national (or ethnic) Israel, who despite her current apostasy is still God’s chosen and beloved, and was used by God in the incarnation of the Jesus Christ who defeated Satan through His death and resurrection. From this, one may conjecture that the many calamities that have befallen Israel since her dispersion (including but not limited to the Holocaust) is not – or is not solely – due to her rejection of Jesus Christ; that it is the result of some national sin or curse that Israel bears. Indeed, Jesus Christ prayed and interceded for the forgiveness of Israel as He died on the cross (Luke 23:34). Instead, Israel’s misfortunes are the result of Satan’s concentrated and determined efforts against her. (Please note that while Satan has taken special efforts of cruel malice against Israel, he has not neglected his steal, kill and destroy mission against everyone else either.) Yet despite Satan’s best efforts, Israel endures as a people because of God’s protection. This protection – as well as the 3.5 year time period – is a repeat of what was given in verse 6. God is a faithful God. Though national Israel suffers many things, God has not cast her aside, and one day Israel will be saved.

15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

This could be a reference to the nations and peoples of the earth whom God has raised up and used to protect and defend ethnic Israel. From the nations that accepted Jews when they were expelled from Spain to the people who shielded Jews from Hitler’s holocaust, God has used various people and nations to preserve a remnant of the natural descendants of Abraham.

17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Now the woman is national Israel. (By this I mean ethnic Israel, the physical descendants of Abraham, not the current nation of Israel, or necessarily the nation of Israel in the Old Testament.) Descendants of Abraham who believe the gospel of Jesus Christ excepted, national Israel does not keep the commandments of God or have the testimony of Jesus Christ. So, the “remnants of Israel’s seed” referred to in verse 17 is the church, spiritual Israel, the true descendants of Abraham because of the faith of Abraham. Abraham had faith in the revelation of Jesus Christ just as does the church. It is the church that is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and is carrying out the mission of God. And just as Satan is at war with national/ethnic Israel, he is at war with spiritual Israel, the church. Note that this passage does not refer to the church having the protection of God during this time, only the woman (Israel). In this, we are reminded that the servant is not greater than his Master, therefore the church must suffer many things just as Jesus Christ did.

This interpretation would appear to be at odds with some points of both dispensationalism and covenant theology. Regarding covenant theology, a clear distinction between Israel and the church is made and maintained, and Israel is still under God’s protection, in blindness until the day that it joins the church (though the church was grafted in) in salvation through Jesus Christ. So, the attempts by John Calvin and others to assert that “all Israel will be saved” and other points in Romans 11 actually refers to the church cannot be supported in Revelation 12. As far as dispensationalism goes in general and the rapture doctrine specifically, you have often heard the allegation that no reference to the church appears in Revelation after chapter 3. Not only does Revelation 7:9-17 refer to martyred Christians “who have come out of great tribulation” (and hence the 144,000 also refers to the church), but Revelation 12:17 can only refer to the church, and Satan’s wrath against it.

And as noted earlier, the reference to Satan’s wrath against the church in Revelation 12:17 leads directly to the passages concerning the beast, popularly referred to as the anti-Christ, in Revelation 13. The agent of Satan’s wrath against the church mentioned in Revelation 12:17 will be this beast, and it will be given to this beast to make war against the saints and overcome them (Revelation 13:7). And recall what was stated earlier: Revelation 12 does not mention the church as having the same protection as does national Israel. So, do not be deceived into thinking that these saints will be Jews, or people somehow converted during the great tribulation. (How can these conversions be possible if – according to dispensational doctrines – the indwelling Holy Spirit is gone?)

So during the end of the last days, the great tribulation, both Israel and the church will be present and figure prominently in it. The church during this time will glorify God through its suffering after the manner of Jesus Christ. Israel will glorify God through her continuing to exist despite all efforts to destroy her and the ultimate joining of national Israel with spiritual Israel in salvation through Jesus Christ.

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Rapture Ready: The Coming Tribulation

Posted by Job on January 22, 2008

The Coming Tribulation by Britt Gillette

The bible states that in the time just prior to the Glorious Appearing of Jesus Christ, the world will experience a time of unprecedented trial and tribulation. This seven year period is referred to by most Christians as “the tribulation.” But the bible refers to it by many names, including “the time of Jacob’s trouble,” “the seventieth week of Daniel,” and “the day of the Lord’s vengeance.” Regardless of the phrase used to describe it, the tribulation will be a time of great testing for every person on earth as it will be a time of enormous pain and suffering.

When asked by His disciples to describe the signs of His coming and the end of the age, Jesus pointed to this time period as a time of anguish greater than any since the world first began:

“‘The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about – the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place.’ (Reader, pay attention!) ‘Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat. How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. And pray that your flight will not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again.’” Matthew 24:15-21 (NLT)

While the tribulation will be a worldwide experience, it will strike the nation of Israel and the Jewish people with particular severity. The last three and a half years of the tribulation are a time period the bible describes as “the Great Tribulation,” and it will be a time of unrivaled persecution of the Jewish people.

Given our generation’s firsthand experience of the Holocaust, it’s difficult to fathom that a time of greater horror is yet future for the Jewish people. But according to the bible, this will be the case. Nevertheless, hope still exists, because this time period will end with the Glorious Appearing of Jesus Christ and the establishment of His Righteous Kingdom.

Daniel’s 70 Weeks

The Book of Daniel, written over 600 years before Christ was born, provides some of the clearest and most detailed prophecies concerning the tribulation period. During one of his heavenly visions, Daniel learns the following from the angel Gabriel:

“A period of seventy sets of seven has been decreed for your people and your holy city to finish their rebellion, to put an end to their sin, to atone for their guilt, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to confirm the prophetic vision, and to anoint the Most Holy Place.” Daniel 9:24 (NLT)

What does this passage mean? Let’s examine it piece-by-piece:

1) Seventy Sets of Seven: This phrase is sometimes translated as seventy sets of weeks, and it can be confusing to the modern reader. Nevertheless, bible scholars are in full agreement that the original Hebrew word for “week” is best translated as “seven years,” much like the English word “decade” is best translated as “ten years.” Therefore, seventy sets of seven (70 sets of 7 years), in the context of this passage, is 490 years.

2) Your People and Your Holy City: In this context, “your people” means Daniel’s people, and “your holy city” means Jerusalem. Therefore, this passage is in reference to the Jewish people and the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Knowing these two things, Gabriel’s message from God to the Jews is this – 490 years have been decreed to:

1) Finish their rebellion against God (accept Christ as the Messiah)

2) Put an end to their sin (make a conscious decision to stop sinning)

3) Atone for their guilt (accept the blood of Christ as payment for sin)

4) Bring in everlasting righteousness (witness the establishment of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom)

5) Confirm the prophetic vision (witness the fulfillment of all Messianic prophecies)

6) Anoint the most Holy place (witness the anointing of the Temple by means of the physical presence of the glorified Messiah, Jesus Christ)

According to the angel Gabriel, God has promised the Jewish people that all six of these objectives will be achieved within a 490 year period, and that 490 year period would begin with the decree to rebuild the Temple. However, what the prophecy didn’t reveal is that the final conclusion of the 490 years would be interrupted in year 483 by the most significant event in human history – the arrival of the Anointed One who will be killed “appearing to have accomplished nothing.”

483 Years Until the Messiah Appears

The heavenly message Gabriel relayed to Daniel provides one of the clearest biblical proofs that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God:

“Now listen and understand! Seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of seven will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler – the Anointed One – comes. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defenses, despite the perilous times.” Daniel 9:24-25 (NLT)

According to the Book of Daniel, 483 years [(7 sets of 7 years) + (62 sets of 7 years)] will pass between the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One (the Messiah) comes. Since a biblical year is 360 days, we’re actually being told that 173,880 days will pass. To calculate the exact date of the Messiah’s arrival, readers of this prophecy would need to count forward 173,880 days from the time of the command and look for the Messiah’s arrival in Jerusalem at that time.

The date of the command to rebuild the Temple is recorded in the Book of Nehemiah.

According to Nehemiah 2:1-8, the command to rebuild Jerusalem was given in the 20th year of the reign of Artaxerxes (446 B.C.) during the month of Nisan (March/April). Counting forward 173,880 days from both the first day and the last day of Nisan (since the bible isn’t clear of the exact day), one will calculate a target arrival date for the Messiah of somewhere between 13 April A.D. 31 and 12 May A.D. 31.

Did anyone appear in Jerusalem between those dates who fulfilled the prophecies of the Messiah and was killed, “appearing to have accomplished nothing”?

Yes.

During the Passover festivities in Jerusalem in the year A.D. 31, Jesus of Nazareth was killed in such a way, thus fulfilling the prophecy given to Daniel:

“After this period of sixty-two sets of seven, the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple. The end will come with a flood, and war and its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end.” Daniel 9:26 (NLT)

The latter part of this prophecy was fulfilled in A.D. 70, thirty-nine years after Jesus was crucified. In that year, the future Roman Emperor Titus led his armies into Jerusalem where they destroyed the City and the Temple.

7 Years of Tribulation Remain

Following the crucifixion of Jesus, the final seven years of the 490 years decreed were put on hold. Many explanations have been offered as to why these final seven years have been put on hold and recounting them all is beyond the scope of this article. But regardless of the reason, we can be certain these final seven years are yet future. Why? Because Jesus Himself said so.

While speaking to His disciples in reference to the end of the age and His Coming, Jesus said:

“The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about – the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place.” Matthew 24:15 (NLT)

This verse describes an event which has not occurred. Therefore, it is yet future.

“Immediately after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Matthew 24:29-30 (NLT)

Obviously, this verse also describes a future event, and it’s a key verse in determining the length of the tribulation, when it will begin, and when it will end.

When Will the Tribulation Begin?

According to the Book of Daniel, the tribulation will begin when Israel and the Antichrist confirm a covenant:

“The ruler will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven, but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. And as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration, until the fate decreed for this defiler is finally poured out on him.” Daniel 9:27 (NLT)

This treaty between the Antichrist and Israel will signal the beginning of seven years of tribulation. Three and a half years later, the Antichrist will break this covenant by entering and desecrating the Jewish Temple.

How Long Will the Tribulation Last?

According to Jesus, His return will take place immediately after the turmoil and tribulation which follow the abomination of desolation. This particular period of the tribulation (the last 3 ½ years) is known as the Great Tribulation, and it will be the most horrible time in human history. The fact that this time period will last 3.5 biblical years (or 1,260 days) is evidenced by numerous scriptural references (italics added are mine):

“He will defy the Most High and oppress the holy people of the Most High. He will try to change their sacred festivals and laws, and they will be placed under his control for a time, times, and half a time.” Daniel 7:25 (NLT)

“Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months.” Revelation 13:5 (NLT)

“And the woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place to care for her for 1,260 days.” Revelation 12:6 (NLT)

“There she would be cared for and protected from the dragon for a time, times, and half a time.” Revelation 12:14 (NLT)

“They will trample the holy city for 42 months. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will be clothed in burlap and will prophesy during those 1,260 days.” Revelation 11:2-3 (NLT)

“Then I, Daniel, looked and saw two others standing on opposite banks of the river. One of them asked the man dressed in linen, who was now standing above the river, ‘How long will it be until these shocking events are over?’ The man dressed in linen, who was standing above the river, raised both his hands toward heaven and took a solemn oath by the One who lives forever, saying, ‘It will go on for a time, times, and half a time. When the shattering of the holy people has finally come to an end, all these things will have happened.’” Daniel 12:5-7 (NLT)

Jesus Offers Hope

The bible is clear. The tribulation will be a time of unprecedented suffering and horror. Nevertheless, humanity’s future is not bleak. The Lord Jesus Christ offers hope to all who trust in Him, and He offers the following promise:

“Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world.” Revelation 3:10 (NLT)

Those who commit their lives to Jesus Christ before the arrival of the tribulation will experience the blessed hope of the rapture, rather than endure the judgments of the tribulation. This is because God has appointed those filled with the Holy Spirit to enjoy His salvation, not to endure His wrath:

“For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9 (NLT)

This wonderful blessing is not due to any great feat on the part of those who receive it, but is, by all accounts, evidential proof of God’s merciful grace.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, while those filled with the Holy Spirit will escape the tribulation by means of the rapture, the nation of Israel will be left to endure the final seven years of her 490 year purification process. In fact, Israel will bear the brunt of the tribulation. Nevertheless, the tribulation should be viewed as a time to rejoice. Its arrival, just like the pain of childbirth, foreshadows a time of indescribable joy. For the tribulation signals the imminent return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and the eternal exaltation of Israel.

God makes this promise in the Book of Jeremiah:

“In all history there has never been such a time of terror. It will be a time of trouble for my people Israel. Yet in the end they will be saved!” Jeremiah 30:7 (NLT)

As well as the Book of Daniel:

“Then there will be a time of anguish greater than any since nations first came into existence. But at that time every one of your people whose name is written in the book will be rescued.” Daniel 12:1 (NLT)

The people of Israel will be rescued by the Glorious Appearing of Jesus Christ:

“Immediately after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Matthew 24:29-30 (NLT)

After destroying Israel’s enemies, He will establish a Kingdom that will never be destroyed:

“Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:3-4 (NLT)

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!Britt Gillette is founder of BrittGillette.Com, a website examining the relationship between bible prophecy and emerging trends in technology. For more information or to sign up for his email alerts, please visit http://www.brittgillette.com

Posted in anti - Christ, beast, Bible, Christianity, endtimes, eschatology, great tribulation, prophecy, rapture, the beast | Tagged: | 11 Comments »

The New Jerusalem By Britt Gillette Of RaptureReady.com

Posted by Job on January 22, 2008

Original link: The New Jerusalem by Britt Gillette

One of God’s most wonderful promises to those who love Him is the creation of the new Jerusalem, a place of unimaginable beauty and perfection. In fact, Jesus promised to go ahead of His followers and prepare a place for them in the new Jerusalem, and the Old Testament heroes who exhibited unwavering faith in the Word of God had their eyes trained on this future city, a place where justice would reign and righteousness would endure for all of eternity.

“All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:13-16 (NLT)

The same New Testament chapter points out that Abraham himself confidently looked forward to the new Jerusalem:

“Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.” Hebrews 11:10 (NLT)

So when will this city arrive?

It will arrive in the aftermath of the Glorious Appearing of Jesus Christ:

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” Isaiah 9:6-7 (NLT)

As history proves, this child has already been born to us, and He freely offers the gift of eternal salvation to all who will accept it. Unfortunately, the entire world can see that His government and its peace have not yet arrived. But just as surely as the first part of this prophecy was fulfilled, it is a certainty that the rest of this prophecy will be fulfilled. And someday soon, those who love Him will witnesses the following:

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” Revelation 21:1-2 (NLT)

The Promise of Jesus

In a conversation with His disciples, the Lord Jesus said the following:

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.” John 14:1-4 (NLT)

Where is this place that Jesus is preparing? What does His Father’s home look like?

The bible provides us with a number of details. The place, of course, is heaven – His Father’s home, the place where God dwells.

Just as whatever plane the President of the United States occupies is known as Air Force One, wherever God chooses to dwell is known as heaven. And the bible clearly states that God will one day dwell with human beings in the new Jerusalem. Biblical descriptions of the new Jerusalem are descriptions of the place Jesus has prepared for us. The new Jerusalem is heaven.

So let’s examine what the bible says about this place:

The Pearly Gates

The physical description of the new Jerusalem paints the picture of a city beyond compare in its magnificence and enormity. The apostle John provides us with some details:

“So he took me in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious stone – like jasper as clear as crystal. The city wall was broad and high, with twelve gates guarded by twelve angels. And the names of the twelve tribes of Israel were written on the gates. There were three gates on each side – east, north, south, and west. The wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” Revelation 21:10-14 (NLT)

The new city will shine with the glory of God, perfect in its beauty. And, as revealed in the following passage, its enormity will be unprecedented.

“The angel who talked to me held in his hand a gold measuring stick to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. When he measured it, he found it was a square, as wide as it was long. In fact, its length and width and height were each 1,400 miles. Then he measured the walls and found them to be 216 feet thick (according to the human standard used by the angel).” Revelation 21:15-17 (NLT)

The length, width, and height of the new Jerusalem will all be 1,400 miles in length. To put this into perspective, this is a distance equivalent to almost half of the continental United States! Opinions differ as to whether the new Jerusalem is shaped like a cube or a pyramid. Whether a cube or a pyramid, it would still be the largest city any human being has ever entered. And its beauty is accentuated by the following construction materials:

“The wall was made of jasper, and the city was pure gold, as clear as glass. The wall of the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve precious stones: the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.” Revelation 21:18-20 (NLT)

The human mind cannot begin to imagine the true beauty of the new Jerusalem. Pure gold as clear as glass? An entire wall made of jasper? Its foundation stones will be inlaid with some of the most colorful and exotic stones ever created, and to top it off, the twelve gates will each be constructed from a giant pearl:

“The twelve gates were made of pearls – each gate from a single pearl! And the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass.” Revelation 21:21 (NLT)

Almost everyone has heard of the pearly gates of heaven. But unlike most of the artist renderings we’ve seen, the actual pearly gates will each be composed of a single pearl.

God Will Dwell Among Us

But the most glorious aspect of the new Jerusalem has nothing to do with its material splendor. The best part of the new Jerusalem will be that God Himself will dwell among men:

“I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.’” Revelation 21:3 (NLT)

In the new Jerusalem, physical and spiritual life will be illuminated by the presence of the Lord Himself. There will be no need for the sun, the moon, or the building of a temple:

“I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light.” Revelation 21:22-23 (NLT)

In the new Jerusalem, we will see the very face of God:

“No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there – no need for lamps or sun – for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.” Revelation 22:3-5 (NLT)

The new Jerusalem will be heaven, the place of final destination for those who believe in Jesus Christ. For He Himself will live among us:

“But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.” Philippians 3:20 (NLT)

The River of Life

In addition to the presence of God, a river filled with the water of life will flow from the throne of the Father and the Son and down the main street:

“Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.” Revelation 22:1-2 (NLT)

The river will be flanked by a tree of life, bearing a new fruit each month, and its leaves will be used to heal the nations. The prophet Ezekiel witnessed this same vision:

“Fruit trees of all kinds will grow along both sides of the river. The leaves of these trees will never turn brown and fall, and there will always be fruit on their branches. There will be a new crop every month, for they are watered by the river flowing from the Temple. The fruit will be for food and the leaves for healing.” Ezekiel 47:12 (NLT)

The scriptures describe a new Jerusalem bursting with life, sustained by the living water of Christ:

“Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland. The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land. Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish where desert jackals once lived.” Isaiah 35:6-7 (NLT)

To all who wish to drink from this water, the Lord Jesus Christ issues a free invitation to come:

“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ Let anyone who hears this say, ‘Come.’ Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.” Revelation 22:17 (NLT)

More Characteristics of the New Jerusalem

The aforementioned aspects of the new Jerusalem don’t even begin to offer a comprehensive view of what God’s city will look like. Below are a few verses which provide further illustration of the new Jerusalem’s characteristics:

No More Disabilities

“And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!” Isaiah 35:5-6 (NLT)

No More Death or Crying or Pain

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4 (NLT)

“I will rejoice over Jerusalem and delight in my people. And the sound of weeping and crying will be heard in it no more.” Isaiah 65:19 (NLT)

“Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.” Isaiah 35:10 (NLT)

No More Darkness

“The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory.” Revelation 21:24 (NLT)

“Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there.” Revelation 21:25 (NLT)

Conclusion

The descriptions of the new Jerusalem provide a laundry list of the very things which mankind longs for – fellowship with God, the presence of justice, the achievement of everlasting life, the admiration of exquisite beauty, and the absence of fear, crying, and pain. By every account, the new Jerusalem is the paradise of which mankind has dreamed since the fall of man. How then, does a person become a citizen of this new Jerusalem?

The bible tells us that citizenship is freely granted by the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ:

“And the one sitting on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making everything new!’ And then he said to me, ‘Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.’ And he also said, ‘It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega – the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.’” Revelation 21:5-7 (NLT)

To all who are thirsty, Christ will give freely from the springs of the water of life. However, certain people will not be allowed to enter the city:

“But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars – their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Revelation 21:8 (NLT)

“Outside the city are the dogs – the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie.” Revelation 22:15 (NLT)

The reason these people will never be allowed to enter the new Jerusalem is because nothing evil can ever be allowed in the presence of the Holy God, and God will reside in the new Jerusalem:

“Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty – but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” Revelation 21:27 (NLT)

Unfortunately, the list of those who are not allowed to enter provides an accurate description of mankind:

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:23 (NLT)

In spite of our shortcomings, not all hope is lost! A person can be made new again by belief in the living Son of God, Jesus Christ. Known as the Lamb of God, He gave His life as a sacrifice for our sin so that God can call us righteous and allow us entry into the new Jerusalem:

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NLT)

If a person believes in Jesus Christ, that person will not perish, but will have instead, eternal life. And this eternal life will be lived out in the confines and vicinity of the new Jerusalem, where God dwells among men:

“All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of my God, and they will be citizens in the city of my God – the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God.” Revelation 3:12 (NLT)

This is a promise from the Lord Jesus Christ. May His coming be soon!

“He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’ Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people.” Revelation 22:20-21 (NLT)

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
Britt Gillette is founder of BrittGillette.Com, a website examining the relationship between bible prophecy and emerging trends in technology. For more information or to sign up for his email alerts, please visit http://www.brittgillette.com

Posted in Christianity, endtimes, eschatology, prophecy, rapture | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Matthew 24 From A Post Tribulation Rapture Perspective

Posted by Job on November 6, 2007

 

geocities.com/~lasttrumpet/matt24.html

Posted in Christianity, endtimes, eschatology, post - tribulation rapture, pretribulation, prophecy, rapture, rapture mentioned in bible | Tagged: , , , | 33 Comments »

Did Jesus Christ Teach The Rapture?

Posted by Job on September 22, 2007

Granted these guys are pre – tribulation, but still:

The Three Step Salvation Plan

Posted in Christianity, endtimes, eschatology, harpagesometha, rapio, rapture, rapture mentioned in bible | 7 Comments »

Juanita Bynum At Barack HUSSEIN Obama Fundraiser Held By New Age Witch Oprah Winfrey?

Posted by Job on September 7, 2007

I must ask: have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? If not, follow this link: The Three Step Salvation Plan

See it here!
ajc.com/news/content/metro/gwinnett/stories/2007/09/06/bynum_0907.html?cxntlid=homepage_tab_newstab

So here you have a woman raised in and representing Pentecostal/charismatic Christianity speaking at a fundraiser to support the ambitions of one such as Obama who supports abortion, homosexuality, and a number of other abominations? At an event hosted by the best known proponent of the New Age false religion in America (yes, Barbra Streisand, Oprah has surpassed you, and what makes her worse than you is that Oprah promotes mixing New Age and Christianity … after all, she and Barack Obama are both members of the same “church”)? See Is Oprah Winfrey’s New Age “The Secret” The Same As Word – Faith Prosperity? It just shows you that the Bible is true yet again: Amos 3:3 says “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?“ So you supporters of Juanita Bynum and all of these other false preachers when there are so many good hard working legitimate preachers out there … who are YOU walking in agreement with? I will say this: someone who thinks so little of you that they are so bold enough to lie to you on worldwide CHRISTIAN television while knowing full well that her lies will be exposed: Juanita Bynum Lies On TBN! Oh yes, and how that “Christian” TV station TBN just sat back and allowed her to lie like that unchallenged because she is one of their top moneymakers? It is time to stop walking in agreement too. We really do need to consider contacting the legitimate ministries that appear on this network and urge them to stop giving legitimacy – and money – to these people. You would have hoped that they would have done so after Paul Crouch personally endorsed ‘ heretical dual covenant theology: that Islam is just as legitimate as Christianity, but maybe they need some action by the rank and file faithful first. What do you think? And do you think that contacting the legitimate preachers on TBN to ask them to disassociate themselves from these evil people would be effective or worthwhile?

Posted in abortion, Apologetics, Barack Hussein Obama, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, CAIR, charismatic, christian broadcasting, Christian hypocrisy, Christian Persecution, christian television, christian worldliness, Christianity, church hypocrisy, church scandal, church state, church worldliness, corrupt televangelism, discernment, education, evolution, false doctrine, false preacher, false preachers, false prophet, false religion, false teachers, false teaching, generational curses, George Bush, global warming evangelical christian, Hal Lindsey, homosexuality, illegal immigration, innocent blood, Islam, James Dobson, Jehovah's witnesses, Jerry Falwell, Jesus camp, Jesus Only, marriage, Ministry Sites, Muslim, Muslim Brotherhood, New Age, occult, oneness pentecostal, oneness pentecostalism, Pakistan, Palestinian Christian persecution, political correctness, politics, population decline, post abortion syndrome, rapture, reprobate, Republican, Russia, sex crime, sexual exploitation, somalia, spiritual deliverance techniques, spiritual warfare, steps to salvation, syncretism, TBN, televangelism, Tim LaHaye, trinity broadcasting network, warning given to churches in Revelation 2 and 3, women preachers, Y'shua Hamashiach, Zola Leavitt | 16 Comments »

Juanita Bynum Lies On TBN!

Posted by Job on September 6, 2007

She says “I will not break the covenant” on TBN and talks about how she still loves Thomas Weeks III, because he is a man of God. Unbeknown to the 100% supportive studio audience and the viewing audience (but almost certainly known to TBN, who had set her up with the most favorable interviewer possible), SHE HAD ALREADY AUTHORIZED HER LAWYER TO FILE FOR DIVORCE! Now I believe in exploring all angles, so in the interests of fairness, she could be just keeping that option open and performing due diligence, as divorce petitions can be withdrawn at any time. But that does not change the fact that she totally misled her audience.

What was most amazing was the brazenness of this woman. She KNEW that people who were not her regular audience would be watching – including the media – and that they were going to catch her in a lie. But you know what? She doses not care about being caught in deception. Why? Because she has been deceiving people all these years and still keeps her supporters. If she has been lying all this long and none of her supporters care, why should they start caring now? It is obvious based on the comments on this very weblog that the supporters of Juanita Bynum will continue to be so, and even make railing accusations and “prophecies” of doom against all who speak the truth. I can already predict what defenses I will get. Folks are going to say “I am not breaking the covenant” does not mean “I will not divorce my husband.” While that is true, it ignores that Juanita Bynum has been playing this game for a long time and is very crafty; choosing her words to give herself – and her supporters – a line of defense; plausible deniability, just like lawyer Bill Clinton did when he said “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.” (Now do not lump me in with those Rush Limbaugh “blame everything on Clinton” types … if anything those people were all in it together … after all both Clinton and his “number one enemy” Newt Gingrich are members of the same Council of Foreign Relations that the owners of TBN as well as many prominent ministers like Rick Warren and TD Jakes are either members of or run with … all committed to the same global agenda. Just do a Google search on “Council on Foreign Relations” and “Center For National Policy” and include the names of Paul Crouch, Rick Warren, TD Jakes, etc. and see what you come up with. But none of that changes the fact that CLINTON WAS LYING THEN AND JUANITA BYNUM IS LYING NOW.)

Yet we will continue to speak the truth, because we serve not man but the Spirit of Truth; the very same God whom people like this – and their supports – mock with their lies and doctrines. But do not worry, God is not mocked! Judgment day is coming. If this whole ugly episode has convinced you of the need to get right with the one true God, follow The Three Step Salvation Plan right now! By the way … thanks to Independent Conservative for the clip, which he used in the original link:

False Teacher Juanita Bynum to Divorce False Teacher Thomas Weeks III

Posted in Apologetics, CAIR, charismatic, christian broadcasting, Christian hypocrisy, christian television, christian worldliness, Christianity, church hypocrisy, church scandal, church worldliness, corrupt televangelism, discernment, education, evolution, false doctrine, false preacher, false preachers, false prophet, false teachers, false teaching, generational curses, George Bush, Hal Lindsey, innocent blood, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Jesus Only, marriage, Ministry Sites, oneness pentecostal, oneness pentecostalism, Pakistan, political correctness, population decline, post abortion syndrome, rapture, Republican, sex crime, sexual exploitation, somalia, spiritual warfare, syncretism, TBN, televangelism, Tim LaHaye, trinity broadcasting network, warning given to churches in Revelation 2 and 3, women preachers, Zola Leavitt | 46 Comments »

Hindus Trying To Get British Goverment To Force Yoga On Christians

Posted by Job on September 4, 2007

christiantoday.com/article/hindu.council.attacks.illegal.church.ban.on.yoga/12812.htm They are claiming that a church barring yoga is a violation of the Religious Equality Act. While some of you religious right sorts would prefer to see this as multiculturalism/political correctness, I see this as a clear church – state issue. The state has authority over the church in Britain and most other nations of the world, so they have the right to do this. Of course, at some point down the line the state in Britain is going to act in favor of the Hindus with the logic that sycnretism in general will lead to less religious discrimination and social unrest. They are going to claim that fundamentalist exclusive claims of any one religion are the cause of all the problems, and demand that all religions become universalist. Of course, you Christians that are for one reason or another demanding that the wall of separation between church and state in America are just asking for the state to come and stamp out true Christianity. Then again, since the correlation between religious belief and adherence to true Christianity is not as strong as some people would like to believe, maybe that is your agenda to begin with. The text of the article is below:

The Hindu Council UK (HCUK), the largest national network of Hindu organisations within the UK, is considering whether a ban on yoga classes at St James’ Church and the Silver Street Baptist Church in Taunton, Somerset, may breach the Equality Act 2006.

Lawyers for HCUK are exploring whether comments made by both The Reverend Tim Jones, Vicar of St James’ and The Reverend Simon Farrar of the Silver Street Baptist Church that yoga is a “sham”, a “false philosophy” and “unchristian” may indicate they have acted contrary to the ‘Religion and Belief’ section of the Act, specifically those parts relating to discrimination in providing goods, facilities and services.

HCUK is also considering whether to ask the Commission for Equality and Human Rights to investigate whether the priests’ comments amount to “instructing or causing discrimination”.

Along with other faith bodies, HCUK debated and contributed to the Equality Act before it became law. In these debates it was agreed unanimously from an interfaith perspective that the hire of religious premises should not restrict multi-cultural events without good reason, and that faiths themselves should participate in such activities.

HCUK General Secretary Anil Bhanot said: “These priests might appear to be advising Christians not to practice yoga because they believe it is based on a ‘sham’ and a ‘false philosophy’ but what in effect they mean is that Hinduism is a false religion.

HCUK’s spokesperson on Yoga, Amarjeet-singh Bhamra added: “Yoga is one of the oldest known medical systems enshrined in the Atharva Veda, the most ancient Hindu book on wisdom, and it is now at the forefront of holistic and integrated medicine in the West.

“It is very disappointing that such medieval-like irrational prejudice is still allowed to flourish in the Christian Church in 21st Century multicultural Britain.”

“Hinduism is an ancient religion that is the source of many different theologies, philosophies and sciences,” adds Anil Bhanot. “Many Hindus believe the source of all music can be found within one of our most ancient scriptures, the Saam Veda. It will be interesting to see, now they have been apprised of this, whether those church leaders who reject yoga will now announce a ban on all music on their premises too.” (Christianity teaches that Jubal was the father of music in Genesis 4:21; it is amazing that this fellow automatically presumes that we would take his scriptures and traditions as being somehow more valid than our own. This is clearly an attempt to coerce Christians into accepting and practicing Hinduism, spiritual imperialism.)

Rev Farrar of Silver Street Baptist Church has previously said: “We are a Christian organisation and when we let rooms to people we want them to understand that they must be fully in line with our Christian ethos.

“Clearly, yoga impinges on the spiritual life of people in a way which we as Christians don’t believe is the same as our ethos.

“If it was just a group of children singing nursery rhymes, there wouldn’t be a problem but she’s called it yoga and therefore there is a dividing line we’re not prepared to cross.”

The Rev Tim Jones, vicar of St James’s, supported the decision, saying: “Any alternative philosophies or beliefs are offering a sham – and at St James’s Church we want people to have the real thing. Yoga has its roots in Hinduism, and attempts to use exercises and relaxation techniques to put a person into a calm frame of mind – in touch with some kind of impersonal spiritual reality.

“The philosophy of yoga cannot be separated from the practice of it, and any teacher of yoga, even to toddlers, must subscribe to the philosophy.

“Yoga may appear harmless or even beneficial, but it is encouraging people to think that there is a way to wholeness of body and mind through human techniques – whereas the only true way to wholeness is by faith in God through Jesus Christ.”

Well, we know what side people like TD Jakes and Rick Warren are on: the anti – Christ Council on Foreign Relations agenda of religious syncretism: see HERETIC TD JAKES ENDORSES YOGA AND CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER! and Rick Warren And Other Emergent “Christians” Support Harry Potter. (I may have to study Hinduism more, but I am beginning to form the opinion that the more liberal strains of that belief system holds that one can be a Christian and a Hindu simultaneously. We already know that many liberal Christians believe that it is possible to practice two religions simultaneously, see “Christian Muslim” Suspended. ) The question, Christian, is what side are YOU on?

Posted in anti - Semitism, beast, Bill Clinton, China, Christian Persecution, Christianity, church state, corrupt televangelism, Council on Foreign Relations, cult, eastern religion, EU, gay marriage, generational curses, Hinduism, illegal immigration, Left Behind, liberal, Middle East peace process, multiculturalism, New York Times, political correctness, politics, rapture, Rick Warren, sex demon, sexual violence, syncretism, TD Jakes | 6 Comments »

 
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