Jesus Christ Is Lord

That every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father!

Posts Tagged ‘anti – Christ’

T.D. Jakes Exposed For The Heretical Liar That He Is And What It Means For The Church

Posted by Job on January 26, 2012

All right folks. I said that I was going to give this online discernment ministry thing up. The first reason was that there were too many false teachers and doctrines to keep track of. The second reason was that based on my interactions with those following these false preachers even after their unBiblical scandalous doctrines and behavior had been exposed that folks were going to believe what they choose to believe anyway. The third was that I had felt that I had adequately addressed the issue with the 3 years of blogging that I did dedicate to the topic. The fourth was that I felt that the best way to combat error was with the truth, so I decided to take this site in a more exegetical direction. And the last of those was also chosen for practical reasons: I no longer have the time to answer comments and interact with people that I did back when I made exposing false teachers so writing about scripture’s meaning and application seemed to be a superior use of time (and yes I do need to get back to writing about the Bible).

But the T.D. Jakes issue is timely right now due to Jakes’ recent appearance at a respected evangelical event of some estimation where he was “interviewed” by Mark Driscoll, where the topic of Jakes’ rejection of the Holy Trinity was discussed. Now I don’t mean to attack anybody, but one Christian blogger quickly proclaimed Jakes’s statement satisfies me that he is a Trinitarian and that we should celebrate that Jakes has joined the Trinitarian camp. (Which, er, makes all his time as a false preaching modalist heretic and the people that he deceived during that time “ok” I guess. The truth is that at best he was an unregenerate false teacher when he was in the pulpit before, and even if he believes in the Holy Trinity NOW and is born again NOW, he has no business in the pulpit. His previous experience and service is worthless, and he needs to take his place in the pews learning from an actual Christian pastor. Otherwise, we can go get Jewish rabbis, Catholic priests, Buddhist monks, Muslim imams, and liberal “Christians” who perform homosexual “marriage” ceremonies and put them into the pulpit immediately after they say a salvation prayer.)

Another Christian blogger made a similar – though more guarded – statement: “By far, the session that was most anticipated was the one in which T. D. Jakes was asked to clarify his position on the Trinity. Thankfully, he did so – though perhaps not in a way that would satisfy all of his critics. I believe we should celebrate his affirmation of the truth that there is one God in three Persons.”

The problem with doing so: Jakes own words on the Holy Trinity in the past and present. Now, here is a link to the transcript of the Elephant Room session, judge Jakes for yourself. But what follows is MY evaluation.

Part 1: I used to follow T.D. Jakes. Now … not so much. Without calling him a liar (while actually, you know, calling him a liar) allow me to propose that just because Jakes says something does not make it so. So … just because Jakes says that he believes “One God three Persons” DOES NOT MEAN that we should take it at face value. Jakes has been “less than forthcoming” on many issues in the past, so he does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. Just because Jakes is in the pulpit and calls himself a Christian does not mean that we should believe what he says. So no, listening to what he says and being “satisfied” requires a presumption that he is telling the truth, a presumption that he does not merit. Does that sound harsh, the bitter words of someone who has “church hurt” as it is called? Well keep reading.

Now in one context I can be SYMPATHETIC to Jakes’ views because I don’t like the wording or terminology used by the Cappadocian fathers myself. But this unease with the Cappadocian formulation needs to be addressed by someone other than Jakes. Why? Because Jakes has been known to be less than honest with the truth, and not merely on this issue. Recall that when Jakes was first challenged on the Trinity doctrine by Christianity Today, he submitted a modalist doctrinal statement that he insisted be accepted as Trinitarian!

Do not take my word on this: another ministry came to the same conclusion, that Jakes was dishonestly trying to pass off modalist heresy for orthodoxy. When challenged on it, he dissembled, claiming that his views on the Trinity were adapting and growing, that he was studying and learning more about it, and how Christians need to stop all this infighting and arguing about such things as minor differences in phraseology and get to the weightier matters of the kingdom, and such excuses for retaining and defending heresy as “these things are too mysterious to be comprehended or explained.” Jakes even resorted to race-baiting, stating “Christians will never agree on every theological issue any more than the colors of our skin will all suddenly match.” So, if Jakes was a liar and a demagogue on this Trinity issue in the past,why should we presume that he is any different now? What has changed to make us presume that Jakes has changed? Especially since he is still preaching heresies in other areas, such as the prosperity doctrine and trying to pass off ecstatic babbling done by mystics in many false religions as “speaking in tongues”?

Part II: From the transcript, it really does appear as if Jakes is fine with “persons” in his Trinitarian statement so long as “persons” is synonymous with “manifestations.” Basically, he says, “well, so long as I can call a ‘person’ a ‘manifestation’ then I am Trinitarian.” He says “My doctrinal statement is no different from yours except the word” – and Driscoll finishes his thought – “manifestations.” What he says next is a amazing.

“Manifest instead of persons. Which you describe as modalist, but I describe it as Pauline. When I read…let me show you what I’m talking about…when I read I Timothy 3:16 – I didn’t create this, Paul did.” And then he goes onto the time-honored modalist lying techniques from the pit of hell: “I think it’s important that we realize that our God is beyond our intellect. And if you can define Him and completely describe Him and say you are the end-all definition of who God is, then He ceases to be God. Because the reason Paul says it is a mystery, is that we deify the fact that God does things that don’t fit our formulas. And because people’s formulas and understandings of a description of an unbiblical God did doesn’t make them demonic.”

Let us go to his abuse of I Timothy 3:16. Yes, the King James Version that many oneness pentecostal liars claim is the only translation – and I used to be KJV-Only myself, and still today am KJV-Preferred, but not because of the translation itself but the texts used to produce the translation, as I believe text criticism used to produce the new manuscripts is a false science – reads “manifest” as its rendering of the Greek word  phaneroō. But other versions translate phaneroō to be “appeared” and “revealed!”

Another thing: phaneroō’s definitions: “to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way.”  So, rather than being a “mode” or “state” or “relationship” after the doctrines of the oneness heretics (for example, as water has a liquid, solid and gas manifestation as water, ice and vapor) phaneroō’ in this context merely meant how God was shown to men! That is revelation, after the same manner that the Greek word apokalypsis was used in Revelation 1:1. Paul could have just as easily used apokalypsis instead of phaneroō!

Further, according to the definition, what can phaneroō “reveal” or “manifest”? A PERSON! It is right here in definition 1d in a common Bible lexicon placed online via BlueletterBible.com:

1) to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way

a) make actual and visible, realised

b) to make known by teaching

c) to become manifest, be made known

d) of a person

1) expose to view, make manifest, to show one’s self, appear

e) to become known, to be plainly recognised, thoroughly understood

1) who and what one is

Jakes is exposed as a liar by exegesis of the very text that he used to claim that he was telling the truth! In this Jakes fulfilled the prophecy in Psalm 10:2, which reads “The wicked in [his] pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.”

Now the dictionary entry makes the Cappadocian utilization of “Person” more justifiable in my mind and it who knows, the Cappadocian fathers might have relied heavily on 1 Timothy 3:16 when they formulated their Trinity doctrine (which would make Jakes’ abuse of that text still more ironic) because that text refers to the revelation of the Person of Jesus Christ and not the mere exhibition of a mode of existence or relationship (and moreover this revelation refers to Christ’s existence being shown to the world; for phaneroō to have the meaning that Jakes claims that it does, THE TERM WOULD HAVE TO REFER TO HIS INCARNATION IN THE WOMB OF MARY, NOT HIS EXISTENCE AND WORKS BEING WITNESSED BY MEN, WHICH IS THE TRUE CONTEXT OF 1 Peter 3:16 AS WELL AS REVELATION 1:1, WHICH AGAIN IS WHY APOKALYPSIS COULD EASILY HAVE BEEN USED INSTEAD) but I confess to still uneasy with it. But the difference between me and Jakes is that JAKES IS LYING. That is the bottom line.

But you know what? This is not truly about Jakes anyway. The reason is that anyone who goes and clicks on the T.D. Jakes category on this blog will know why no legitimate Christian pastor should touch Jakes with a 10 foot pole, unless that pastor has been instructed by God to smite Jakes with it. Instead, it is about the people that are embracing him. It is one thing for the decadent TBN (who has their own tag) Pentecostal abomination to embrace Jakes, and please recall that it was TBN who made Jakes into an international figure. TBN is run by a man who paid off a TBN employee with whom he had a homosexual encounter with, and has since been sued by another man making the same charges. These charges and the many other scandals are commonly known by those who patronize that network anyway and … well now you see why I felt that there were better uses of my time than exposing people who have already been exposed because people simply do not care!

But now, TD Jakes is being embraced by the “more respectable” corners of evangelical Christianity as represented by (ironically named) The Gospel Coalition, which includes some of the most prominent pastors and theologians in evangelical Christianity today. Now of course, there was significant “debate” over inviting Jakes. The fears of those objecting were quite founded, as it resulted in Mark Driscoll, himself a very troubling personality, doing very much to rehabilitate Jakes, largely because of Driscoll’s own desire to push his false anti-cessationist doctrines into the Reformed/Calvinistic evangelical movement. Also, those who would have challenged Jakes rather than accommodate him were not allowed to participate.  But the fact that there was even a debate at all shows how far gone the evangelical landscape is! Having Jakes in the Elephant Room should have been as much a nonstarter as having Richard Dawkins or Pope Benedict!

And that brings us to the real issue: further evidence that the evangelical church in America is veering off the rails. (It is such times that even people who MILDLY stand against Jakes and his lies are the ones to be mocked, opposed and condemned.) Is the great apostasy, the great falling away of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 upon us? This event is prophesied in scripture, and will come to pass. It is a very tragic development in and of itself, but 2 Thess 2:3 tells us that the great falling away is a precursor to – or more accurately a precondition for – the coming of the beast, the anti-Christ, the man of sin, which occurs during the great tribulation. It is my position that the church will experience this great tribulation, and not be raptured from or otherwise escape it, as many pastors and teachers propose. So as difficult as things are now for the church as evidenced by its willingness to not only suffer but endorse and promote such false teachers as Jakes, it is only paving the way for even tougher times to come. Christian, watch and discern the times. Pray. Be strengthened and encouraged in the Lord so that you will not be deceived, that you will resist temptation, and stay in the faith.

For those of you not in the faith, realize that the proliferation of false doctrines and those who gain wealth, fame and power by teaching them does not undermine Christianity, but rather is evidence that the Bible is true, for Jesus Christ Himself and His apostles predicted that such a time as this would come thousands of years ago; Christ referred to men such as Jakes as ravening wolves in sheep’s clothing. That many will follow such people is evidence that narrow is the gate that leads to salvation, and wide is that which leads to destruction!

Enter into the narrow gate. Be saved in the Name of Jesus Christ. Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus Christ. Follow

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Solomon, Egypt, Democracy, Folly And Liberation Theology

Posted by Job on February 25, 2011

At the time of this writing, for the past several weeks have seen “democracy protests” in the Middle East and in Arab and Muslim nations. They apparently began in Tunisia, have resulted in the demise of at least two governments (Tunisia and Egypt), seem to have Libya at the point of crisis, and show signs of spreading to other nations like Iran, Iraq and Jordan, and have seemed to inspire political demonstrations and rallies in many various places of the world. I haven’t had the spare time required to follow these events with any intensity and detail – whether over the Internet or on TV – as I most certainly would have in years past. Also, I haven’t attempted any detailed speculation to these events “from a Biblical perspective”, especially as it relates to prophecy and eschatology (such as the endtimes, Israel and the coming one world government and religion). So, other than a  personal suspicion totally lacking in factual basis than the American intelligence community (CIA et. al.) has had a hand in coordinating and driving this, with regards to specifics I don’t have much to say.

However, in terms of the general issues that these protests raise, I can and will contribute a little bit, primarily about how so many people, including not a few Christians, are absolutely, totally convinced that these protests are a good idea, that the general wishes of the protesters should be respected, and that it has the potential to lead to good, positive changes in the Middle East. This honestly does seem to be the consensus opinion. Further, the primary basis for dissent from the main opinion – that these protests are good and positive – is that these developments are negative only because it may lead to violent anti-western groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian government to step into the leadership vacuum and assert themselves. Based on this, we can presume that even the dissenters would be supportive of this massive movement to overthrow civil governments if the new governments that resulted were more to their personal liking.

So, most people believe that these protests are a positive development, and most of the rest would also if they could be assured a “pro-western” ultimate outcome. And to me, that is absolutely incredible, and not in a good way. It is appalling, shocking, disturbing, frightening, and any number of “bad ings”. That most people apparently do not share this view – or if they share it, they do so for reasons of self interest – shows just how deep the 1960s protest ideology has embedded itself in our modern culture, so deep that it is no longer oft directly challenged even by Christians. And that is evidence of how our modern culture has so thoroughly embraced a humanistic mindset marked by a complete and total rejection of God and a Biblical worldview.

Let it be known that the Bible does not not endorse rebellion or anarchy. Quite the contrary, the Bible refers to those as evil and sinful, and judges the men and ideologies who promote them the same. And if rebellion, anarchy, lawlessness and violence isn’t what happened on the streets of Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and what have you, what is? Also, we are told what a “great thing” it is that this protest movement is being led by young people in their 20s and 30s, just as was our own 1960s counterculture. Are we not aware that the Bible says that the young should be instructed, trained and led by elders who are prudent and wise, and that societies where the prideful, vain and presumptuous youths cast off and usurp the place of the older, more tested leaders are those that are going to soon collapse? Didn’t we learn ANYTHING from the turmoil in the Old Testament, such as in the time of the Judges, or in Israel (the Northern Kingdom) when they rebelled against the Davidic monarchy in Judah?

And no, the fact that these people are rebelling against authoritarian regimes in favor of democracy does not make things any better. It must be clearly stated: the Bible at no point advocates democracy. Quite the contrary, when the Bible appears to deal with the general concept, it lends a negative judgment to it, as if it is the product of proud people who reject God’s governance in favor of self-rule. I am reading through the late Merrill Tenney’s “Interpreting Revelation” right now, and the author did note the tendency to desire to rule oneself apart from God’s guidance or law was evident in both Cain’s building a city and in the building of Babylon and the Tower of Babel.

Make no mistake: when the Bible calls civil government “the servant of God” in Romans 13 and instructs us to be render under Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to be subject to and pray for our leaders elsewhere in the New Testament, there was no “so long as the governments in question are democracies” caveat. Quite the contrary, the governments in view – and the only governments that the ancient world that produced the Bible were aware of – were regimes that by our modern western standards would be considered brutal, authoritarian, repressive etc. and begging to be overthrown and replaced with a modern, progressive one with a representative parliament, a constitution guaranteeing individual rights and separation of powers, and of course consenting to the ultimate overlordship of the United Nations.

And consider another angle: the Bible clearly speaks of and declares the absolute monarchy of Jesus Christ over the church (and ultimately creation) with pastors as His representatives and the Bible as His ruling document. What better method of subverting this model than promoting a mindset where individual human free will agency is the highest, most cherished prize, and that anything that would tend to limit this – such as a monarchy – is evil and oppressive? Far better to cast off ideas of “organized religion” in favor of self-styled “spirituality” where each person is his own ultimate authority (imagine no pastors, and no authoritative canon of scripture or interpretation thereof!). Or alternatively, ecclesiastical bodies with elected representatives can sit as judges. Women pastors? Won by majority vote! Homosexual church officers! The majority carries the day! Many paths to heaven? The majority sided with the newer, more inclusive hermeneutics. The inerrancy and authority of scripture? Sorry, that idea didn’t get to 50% among the delegates to the convention!

But let us go back to Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and these other places where these brave young democrats are willing to die – and kill – for these new societies, where Twitter and Facebook are apparently changing the world (with the help of . First off, apply this to our own countries in the west … America, France, Canada, Germany, Great Britain etc. Imagine if all of a sudden our own young people took to the streets for a week, a month, a year, or five years and demanded that OUR governments be replaced. Imagine if it were our own high school and college students (helped by the government of Iran or Russia) creating some Facebook page about how we need to get rid of our oppressive, restrictive uncool governments in favor of something proposed by George Clooney and Lady Gaga. And imagine if the other governments of the world – and the United Nations – sided with these kids and told us that we should hand over our own perfectly legitimate and functional governments … or else. Sound like a good idea to you? Of course not. So what on earth makes it a good idea for Egypt or anyplace else? Either the people who are backing this actually WANT the mass confusion (which just may be the case) or we in these last days actually have gotten this far removed from concepts of right and wrong, order and disorder, propriety and impropriety, decency and vulgarity that we now believe that pressuring sovereign nations to hand over control of their governments to a bunch of violent seditious kids somehow represents progress.

And it wouldn’t shock me the least if there wasn’t at least one preacher or pastor out there who would call it just that. And I am not just talking about the liberation theology pastors who believe that overthrowing authoritarian regimes and powerful corporations in order to provide economic, political and social benefits to oppressed populations is the aim of the Bible. Instead, not a few conservative evangelical or fundamentalist Christian pastors would fully support what is happening in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Iran, Iraq etc. so long as the result is a pro-western democracy rather than a sharia law state that sponsors terrorism. That is because so many western Christians have wedded and melded representative democracy, capitalism, individual human rights, and other western ideas into their view of the Bible. Romans 13 and similar? Situational. Open to interpretation. Not the highest or final authority in every society in all times!

In order to try, challenge and prove this “democracy revolution”, we need to go to the streets – or the Twitter pages – and ask these bold revolutionaries what they want. Many will say “We want freedom.” I say “fine, but what is freedom? How will you exercise this freedom? What is it that you want the freedom to do? And the things that you have not been free to do before today, what effect does their absence really have on your life?” How many of these 28 year old men and women that have been willing to face down folks toting guns (or should I say, the legitimate representatives of their legitimate governments!) would be willing to give a satisfactory answer to these questions? I will tell you the answer to: none of them. Why? Because none exists. The reason is that outside of Jesus Christ, no freedom exists. Instead, all there exists is a soul’s bondage to sin, and the soul that sinneth shall die.

OK, so forget about freedom. What else do these MTV generation revolutionaries (assuming that anyone even watches MTV anymore, so I guess I should say “YouTube generation”, and that’s assuming that’s still popular either) care about? They’ll tell you that they want money. Class mobility. The ability to earn money, to earn even more money, to keep and invest it. OK, fine. How much money do you need? $1,000? If I give you $1,000, will you get out of the streets and stop doing your part to allow the United Nations to take over your country? Oh, you want more than that. You want $5,000 and a car. Or maybe $15,000 and a house. Maybe you want $50,000 and a college education. Or $1 million, a yacht, a summer home in Dubai, and VIP status in Las Vegas. Will that make you happy? Truthfully, of course not. Money doesn’t make people happy. You can find more miserable people in an expensive American gated community with million dollar homes than you can in some third world village where everyone is living in tiny mud huts. The reason is that true riches, true wealth, is only through identification with Jesus Christ. Everything else is something that rust can corrupt and thieves can steal. Or something that won’t make a bit of difference to you if you are lying on your deathbed with a few hours to live. I guess in such an instance, a few dollars for drugs to ease the pain in your last moments on earth would have some merit, but we all know that the folks on the streets working to overthrow their governments don’t have that on their minds. Instead, they are convinced that they are going to live forever – or at least a very long time – and want more money to do it with, thinking that it will make them happier with their lot if they do. The prosperity doctrine according to Middle Eastern street revolutionaries. Well, the true gospel of Jesus Christ says that godliness and contentment are great gain.

Or what about the principle of the matter? What about simply wanting a better, more honest, more open system of government? What about justice, fairness and truth? To the revolutionary allow me to ask you the same question that Pilate asked Jesus Christ: “What is truth?” What piece of knowledge or system of knowledge is there that will satisfy you? Will make you truly happy? Will answer all your questions? Will meet all your needs? The answer is simple: outside of Jesus Christ, there is none. All else is an inadequate partial truth at best, or a delusion and a lie.

It is inescapable, then, that this battle for democracy in the Middle East is the same as is all worldly battles: vanity. We know this from Solomon. Freedom? Solomon had it, for he was king. Truth? Solomon had it, for he was the wisest man that ever lived. Wealth? Solomon had it, for he was the richest man in the world. All of those things and more Solomon had, and they didn’t make him happy. Instead, Solomon found them to be vanity. Why? Because God’s Holy Spirit had departed from him because of his idolatry and apostasy. Despite having everything in his hands what these people in the Middle East are killing and dying for and more, Solomon was unhappy. As a result, everything that he had and possessed, everything that he even wanted and aspired to, was worthless. They were worthless precisely because of their very temporal and therefore attainable (at least for some) nature. By contrast, the things of Jesus Christ are the things that truly matter, and they last forever.

So, liberation theology and other religious movements that are primarily concerned with ideas and other things of this world, are vanity. The same can be said with any number of economic, social and political movements: vain, light limited and flawed things that will not last the test of time. Or, as it were, things that will no longer be when time is no more. And that is why despite living in an evil, authoritarian repressive pagan Roman Empire that was wicked to the core, Jesus Christ, Paul and Peter were still able to tell us to be subject to our government and leaders, and even to pray for them. The reason is that these governments only have rule over us for a time. We should be able to endure their inefficiencies, their imperfections, and even their outright wickedness because these things are only for a time. When that time – our time on earth – is at its end, they have no more rule or power over us. Instead, that is when we pass from the temporary, limited flawed rule of man to the permanent, unlimited and perfect rule of Jesus Christ. How is it that we can be counted worthy to enjoy the benefits of the latter if we so reject and despise the cost of the former, even if that cost is persecution unto death?

And this is not merely New Testament doctrine. Remember David as he was being persecuted by the wicked government of his day as embodied by King Saul and his soldiers as they hunted and sought to kill him, and later by Absalom and those loyal to him when they rebelled against David and tried to do the same. It was in the power of David to personally overthrow the wicked human government of Saul and institute a new government to his own liking by killing Saul and becoming king instead. But David refused to do such a thing, because David knew that by doing so, he was not actually rebelling against a wicked government, but against God. David knew that his own miserable circumstances did not justify taking matters into his own hands to correct them.

Instead, David was willing to let God deal with the problem in God’s time and in God’s manner. As David was a man after God’s own heart, should we not do the same in response to our own turmoils and crises? That is not a popular idea in an American society that glorifies our own Revolutionary War with its tea party and “no taxation without representation” and Declaration of Independence and George Washington, but that is just more evidence that human ideas, Cain and Babylon inventions, are always going to be more popular than what the Bible says. That is why our duty as Christians isn’t to do what is popular with the people as King Saul wanted to do, but instead to do what God commands us as King David did! We are to do what God commands as opposed to what feels good and seems right in our own eyes! What a radical concept!

And allow me to point out with regards to democracy, that Absalom nearly succeeded in deposing and murdering King David because he gained popularity with the people. And that Jeroboam was able to keep the Northern Kingdom of Israel from rejoining the house of David in Judah by appealing to the people. And that during the time of Israel’s apostasy there were a multitude of false prophets who were very popular with the people. And the children of Israel in the desert provoked God to wrath by receiving the wicked report of the ten spies that was popular with the people.

So after all, what is democracy but power to the people who want to seek their own way instead of God’s? Just as it was in the days of the Old Testament, it is so in the Middle East, that very same region of the world today. And just as King Rehoboam rejected the wise counsel of the elders in favor of the foolish counsel of the young when confronted with the first crisis in his kingdom, and had ten of the twelve tribes rebel against him as a result, the rulers of the world are siding with the foolish young leaders in the Middle East today. And how many Christian churches today are following the young because they are desperate to be hip and relevant? As it was then, it is today, and as they are, far too many of us are because we are worldly and carnal.

I cannot speak to the long term results of this Middle East turmoil. Its direct implications on issues like the church, Israel, the world governments and economy I do not know, and those are things that God knows and controls. For now, it is enough to say that the very fact that these demonstrations are being embraced, supported and promoted by so many people all over the world is a very troubling thing. It is evidence of how many rulers, leaders and people of this current world order have completely given themselves over to a strange, evil and wicked mindset that rejects order, decency and propriety in favor of presumptuous decadent confusion. I do not know what age or time this Middle East crisis is leading us into, but it is sufficient to say that the reaction to and support of the rebellious demonstrators in the streets over and against the legitimate rulers and governments of these nations is a judgment of the wickedness, depravity, hypocrisy and moral vacancy of our own times. And all such evil and wickedness is not just against man but also against God, and this is the same God that one day will judge all wickedness.

All one needs to do is read Revelation and realize that this judgment and punishment is a serious matter indeed. What a person must do is come out of this wickedness so that they will not be part of this judgment. When that time of judgment comes, do not be counted among the riotous, the seditious, the rebellious, and of the people who have vicarious pleasure in those who do such things. Instead, be counted among those who love the order and peace, which are those who love and trust Jesus Christ, who when He comes into His kingdom will not suffer any such rebellions but instead will rule the nations with the rod of iron. When Jesus Christ returns for His friends, even the last enemy of God’s system of order and stability, death, will be defeated and cast into the lake of fire. Even so, come Lord Jesus!

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An Issue For Rapture Believers: Will The World Know That You Are Gone?

Posted by Job on January 2, 2011

It is the Christmas – New Year season, which means time for certain Christian broadcasters to air their cache of rapture/endtimes movies. Though I turned away from advocating a belief in the rapture a few years ago, I have never declared the doctrine to be clearly false and stated that its supporters are knowingly adhering to a false doctrine. (Now I should point out that some doctrines by some rapture/premillennial dispensational advocates are abominable heresies, but it appears that few pastors who teach the rapture and even fewer Christians who believe in it consent to them, and many of them are not not aware that these strange, outlandish doctrines exist.)

However, for those who do believe in the rapture, consider the “Left Behind” movies (and similar ones that were made before and since, not to mention a large number of novels) that depict this mass panic that grips the world upon the disappearance of a significant percentage of the world’s population, and that this panic is exploited by the one world government and the anti-Christ. First off, the “global hysteria” doctrine appears nowhere in the Bible, but appears to be based entirely on assumptions. Of course, it is very logical, but God’s works – and not just miracles – often exist outside of the boundaries of human logic. Second, the idea that the global hysteria will cause the one world government, one world religion and the rise of the anti-Christ is problematic, because – according to a literal reading of Revelation that assumes a literal timeline  (the preferred hermeneutic of rapture adherents) the beast does not truly take power until halfway through the seven years. This contradicts popular rapture movies, which show the beast taking over – and in many depictions taking over a pre-existing political/military/economic/religious apparatus – almost immediately after the rapture as a direct response to the global emotional trauma and economic, political, etc. upheaval that it causes.

However, Christians who adhere to this doctrine should consider the opposite perspective: after the rapture, will the world even know that you are gone? Will they miss you? Consider three angles to this question.

1. According to every single survey on religious attitudes and beliefs, the vast majority of Bible believing Christians, whether evangelical, fundamentalist or traditional, do not lead lives that distinguish them from non-Christian people. Every ounce of data exists shows that these Christians exhibit no outward evidence of their faith other than showing up to church on Sunday. Almost none of the fruit-bearing that the New Testament speaks of is present in the lives of such Christians, many of whom do not even so much as invite their neighbors or co-workers to church on Sunday or into their homes for Bible study. So, were the rapture to occur, what is it that would make people notice that it is a rapture of Christians, as opposed to just a bunch of random people going missing? More to the point, if you personally were to be raptured, would most/half/any of the people who know you consider that it might be because you are a Christian?

2. Related to 1, minority of Christians that adhere to the rapture belief only believe in a partial rapture, stating that not all born again believers who will eventually enter heaven will be raptured, but only those who are counted most faithful and fruitful. This view has its advantages, as it does deal with the various Bible references to believers who will be alive and suffer during the great tribulation. (The “complete rapture” believers who espouse such doctrines as the persecuted believers are those who will be converted after the rapture – such as by the 144,000 Jews – do so despite a ton of logical consistencies in this belief, such as the Bible evidence in places such as Romans 10 that it takes an believer’s preaching the gospel to convert an unbeliever, and also that conversion cannot take place without the Holy Spirit, which many/most “complete rapture” adherents believe will leave the earth with the church at the time of the rapture.) It also appears to be the view among the rapture adherents that makes the best use of scripture, including Jesus Christ’s promise to the church in Revelation 3:10, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”

But if this doctrine is true, then only a small percentage of the members of Christian churches and megachurches will be raptured. Instead of the practically empty churches that you see depicted in many of these rapture movies, instead, most or nearly all of these churches will be mostly filled with believers that are lukewarm (i.e. the Laodicea church) or possess varying degrees of the ills identified by Jesus Christ in the other 6 churches. If Revelation 2 and 3 are a guide and should be interpreted literally and mathematically, only 1 out of every 7 Christians will be raptured, and (again using the Laodicea example) virtually none of those will be in the churches that show outward signs of piety (i.e. large size, huge amenities, middle/upper class congregants taught by eloquent erudite pastors with huge support staffs, etc). Again, now this is not to say that these people won’t be saved and ultimately wind up in heaven, but rather that they won’t be raptured. And since the vast majority of people who regularly, faithfully attend Bible-believing churches and even perform good works won’t be raptured because Jesus Christ will “have something against thee” (His common rebuke to 5 of the 7 churches, to all but Philadelphia and Smyrna, and it is pointed out that Jesus Christ didn’t promise to keep Smyrna from great tribulation but rather to strengthen them as they endure it!), how will this be recognized as “a Christian rapture”? Especially since many of the left behind will in fact be Christians who adhere to the complete rapture doctrine, and may likely be ones who deny before the media and the world that a “Christian rapture” occurred because they will (truthfully I might add!) state that if there was a rapture of the entire church, they would have been included! Again, if it is only a partial, seemingly random number of Christians raptured, other explanations for their disappearance may abound, and the continuing presence of born-again Christians will be the main enabler of those alternate explanations.

3. This is somewhat related to the prior point. Consider the great falling away that the Bible states will happen before the return of Jesus Christ. If this is applied to the larger rapture doctrine framework, it fits the teachings of a lot of dispensationalists that the information to the seven churches in Revelation were of 7 church ages, which the last age being the Laodicea one. If the church falls into widespread apostasy similar to that of Old Testament Israel (which was a type that pointed to the church in many respects) just before the northern and southern kingdoms fell to Assyria and Babylon, then whether the issue is a full rapture or a partial one, there will be very few Christians to be taken up in the rapture indeed.

4. Consider that the Bible speaks of a strong delusion being sent by God in the endtimes that will cause people to believe a lie. If this can be interpreted with respect and applied to the rapture, it can either be in terms of 3.) the great apostasy resulting in a very tiny legitimate church when the rapture occurs or the fact that when the rapture occurs, people will delude themselves, lie to themselves about these missing persons in the first place. Many have interpreted this to believe that the strong delusion will cause people to deny the rapture and contrive other reasons for the disappearances (including alien abductions according to one such movie), but it is very plausible that the delusion will be of the nature that denying that the raptured souls ever existed in the first place, something that many in the mental health profession would describe as a trauma-induced dissociation as a coping mechanism.

Add it all up and Christians who believe in the rapture must challenge and question the idea popularized by so many rapture teachers that we are so precious, beloved and important to the world that our presence will cause a worldwide turmoil of the people of this world. Of course, it strokes our own egos and vanity to regard ourselves as being so important … how once we are gone, the world will literally go down the tubes because we will no longer be around to be police officers, bankers, teachers, spouses, parents, community leaders etc., and that people of the world will be so frightened, grief-stricken and left leaderless and impoverished by our loss that they will obviously turn to the anti-Christ and his system!

Wow. Think how that sounds. Think of how that sounds to Jesus Christ, the One who came not bragging about Himself, but who emptied Himself, made Himself of no reputation, humbly submitted Himself to the Will of the Father, and suffered the humiliation and torment of public rejection and public execution. When Jesus Christ died and returned to heaven, the world continued. But we are so important than when we depart this earth, the world spins out of control?

Also, it rejects a key thing about what Jesus Christ teaches about the church: we are not loved, cherished, exalted, embraced, even liked by the world. Instead, we are despised, hated and rejected by it. The world hates, persecutes and rejects us just as it does to our Head and Master, Jesus Christ. If we are Christ’s own body, how can the world love us while hating Christ? If the world hates Jesus Christ because His light exposes that the world’s deeds are wicked, then how on earth can the earth love our light?

Again, we are beloved, treasured and adored by God. We were important enough to God that He sent His only Son for us, and we were important enough to Jesus Christ that He obeyed and died for us. But the world views us as precisely the opposite. The world’s father is not God but Satan, the prince of the power of the air, the same who was a murderer from the beginning and the truth is not in him, the same dragon who persecutes and afflicts the church.

So have no prideful delusions of our own importance, or of anyone loving and treasuring us but God. If the rapture doctrine is true and the event does occur, when it happens, rather than being driven to anguish and grief over our no longer being present, the world will rejoice and say “Good riddance … now we can REALLY get on with what we need and want to do!”

Any false notions otherwise are the product not of honest Bible study and interpretation but of human pride. Well please recall that pride comes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. This includes the fall of Satan, and the fall of Adam as well. Do not walk in their ways, but instead in the ways of Jesus Christ, who humbled Himself, lowered Himself, gracefully accepted His hard task, and never at any point deluded Himself about how hated and despised He was, not only by His own people, but even by one of His very own twelve that betrayed Him!

As Jesus Christ is our Master, those who adhere to the rapture doctrine must take a step back from what is commonly being taught and instead seek interpretations and applications of this doctrine that is consistent with the teachings of our Master and honors our Master.

If Jesus Christ is not your Master, then Satan is your master. If that is the case, when judgment day arrives, you will receive from Jesus Christ, who is Lord, the same punishment that Satan receives, which is eternal destruction in a lake of fire with no hope whatsoever of reprieve. Please turn away from your sins and submit to Jesus Christ as your Master. Do not delay, but do it quickly, for why would you wish to delay such a blessed thing as entering into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ? What is it that the world offers to make any delay worthwhile?

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A Question For Premillennial Dispensational Rapture Believers Focused On Israel: How Long Is A Generation?

Posted by Job on September 25, 2009

For those who believe in the rapture and also believe that the modern state of Israel is the fulfillment of Bible prophecy and a sign that the end of the church age is at hand and the great tribulation draws nigh, I must ask you: how long is a generation? This is relevant because premillennial dispensationalists have seized upon the “this generation shall not pass until all these things are fulfilled” statements of the Olivet discourse endtimes prophecy of Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:34, Mark 13:30, Luke 21:32) to assert that the the great tribulation will start within a generation of 1948 when Israel became a nation again.

Now first, this poses a problem. Finding a Bible prophecy that would support the idea that Israel would re-established as a nation in the year 1948 is difficult to support. I will say categorically that no such prophecy exists in the New Testament, and it takes very creative interpretations to support the existence of such prophecies in the Old Testament. Further, the fact of Israel’s being established as a nation in 1948 is not something that was declared or revealed by God through a Christian prophet or by an angel delivering a message to a Christian. So, the basis of Israel’s existence as a nation does not come from any divine authority, not the Bible or any prophetic utterance!

Now this has nothing to do with the debate on whether Israel has the right to exist. Instead, it has everything to do with the beginning of the prophetic calendar with respect to this nation. If the great tribulation must happen within a generation of Israel’s being established as a nation, on whose authority did this event happen in 1948? Why, not God’s authority, BUT BY THE AUTHORITY OF THE UNITED NATIONS! Indeed, by man’s authority. Where it was AN ACT OF GOD that declared Israel’s status as a nation at the time of the Exodus, it was AN ACT OF MAN THAT AS FAR AS WE KNOW HAS NEVER BEEN CONFIRMED BY GOD TO THE CHURCH that declared Israel to be a nation in 1948. And it is the height of irony that many of the very same people who consider the United Nations to be a tool of the coming anti-Christ (but not America, even though America is a charter member, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, and the U.N. headquarters is in America, and America is the #1 source of funds for this body, no America is “a Christian nation” with Christian – actually most freemason, deist, unitarian, and enlightenment rationalist – founding fathers!) accept the UN’s testimony that Israel is again a nation rather than God’s, and start their prophetic clock based on Israel’s the date of recognition by the same anti-Christ UN!

But alas, that is another issue altogether. But let us take for granted that the U.N. was acting on God’s behalf and doing God’s will, and that their recognition of Israel in 1948 happened according to God’s providence. (I readily admit that there is much precedent for such a thing happening all over the Bible. The key difference: those things were declared as such by prophets and were able to be verified as fulfilled prophecies. For instance, the prophets gave the exact time that the Jews would remain in Babylon AND the name of the king who would free them. It is because of the precise and literal nature of these fulfillments that God-hating atheists claim that said prophecies were written after the fact.) If that is so, when does the generation time clock expire? How long is a generation?

Now this issue has gotten some premillennial dispenationals into trouble. First premillennial dispensationals went by the modern western idea of a generation – 20 years – and stated that the great tribulation would begin by 1968. After it did not, it was revised to the older and better – but still worldly and western – idea of a generation, which was 40 years. So, it was stated that the great tribulation would start in 1988.  An example of this trouble:

“Only if the Bible is in error am I wrong, and I say that unequivocally.  There is no way Biblically that I can be wrong; and I say that to every preacher in town. ( Edgar Whisenant, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1988).”

But even calling a generation 40 years is wrong, because it is not the Biblical definition. So the question must be asked: what is the Biblical definition of a generation? The answer: there isn’t one. At least, not one that can be described in a hard fast set number of years. Example: consider the time that Israel spent in Egypt, a period of about 400-440 years. According to Genesis 15:15-17, that was four generations! Genesis 15:16 in particular: “But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” So in this instance, a generation would have had to have been at least 100 years, possibly longer.

So does that settle it? Well, no. The Bible also speaks of the time spent by Israel wandering in the desert as a generation See Numbers 32:13 and more specifically see Psalm 95:8-11 “Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.”

So obviously a Biblical generation does not refer to any fixed period of time. Some Bible scholars have tried to resolve this by claiming that a generation refers to everyone living during a period of time. When the last person who was alive during that period dies, then the generation ends! Well, Bible examples make that problematic. For one, when the Israeli exodus generation passed, Joshua and Caleb were still alive. Further, to use the preterist/amillennialist view, there were most certainly still Christians alive after the generation or age of which Jesus Christ was addressing in the Olivet Discourse ended in 70 A.D., as they included none other than the apostle John! In addition to John, it is well known that the many Jewish Christians did not die during the Roman siege of Jerusalem, but remembered the warnings of Matthew 24-25 and similar, obeyed Jesus Christ and fled, many of them taking the gospel with them. We know this because the refusal of Jewish Christians to die defending Jerusalem (and yes, the fact that the Jewish Christians were told to leave Jerusalem and obeyed doing so should give modern dispensationals who put so much modern emphasis on that city some pause!) was one of the primary reasons why Jewish Christians were made the scapegoat for the destruction of the nation, expelled from the synagogues, and ostracized by the Jewish people a few decades later.

Now there are some who refer to a generation as an age, specifically an age in salvation-redemptive history. That is consistent with the idea that the sojourn in the desert constituted a spiritual age, as did the end of the Jewish age with the destruction of the second temple in 70 A.D. Regarding the latter, the church age had not yet started when Jesus Christ spoke for He had not yet gone to the cross, resurrected, ascended, and sent the Holy Spirit. However, that still leaves the problem of the four generations in Egypt! Had it been referred to by scripture as a single generation, it would have been easy to harmonize that reference with the generation in the desert and the generation of the time of Jesus Christ’s first advent as major periods in salvation history. However, it does not, so we cannot.

Thus, the conclusion must be reached is that there is no way to know how long a true generation is, that is one that fits Biblical and prophetic purposes. For that reason, we should respect Matthew 24:36, Matthew 25:13, Mark 13:32, and perhaps best Acts 1:7, which reads “And he [Jesus Christ] said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” Thus, even if the creation of Israel in 1948 was the beginning of the generation that will include the great tribulation, none of us has any idea how long that generation shall be. Instead, only the Ancient of Days, God the Father Himself, knows! So, it is best for Christians to be content with the duty of comfort ourselves with and sharing with others the gospel of Jesus Christ! Repent sinners for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!

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A Question For Premillennial Dispensational Rapture Believers: Explain The Fifth Seal In Revelation!

Posted by Job on September 25, 2009

Revelation 6:9-11 reads

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

The Word of God for the elect people of God. Glory be to God.

For my premillennial dispensational brethren who believe in a pretribulation (or prewrath) rapture that spares the church from the time of sorrow, please explain this text. Who are those slain for the Word of God? Are they Christians? And when will these Christians be slain for their testimony? Does it refer to those believers slain in times past, whether in the Old Testament or at the time that Revelation was written? Or does it refer to believers slain during the great tribulation? (If so, how can any Christian stand under persecution, even martyrdom, without being emboldened by the Holy Spirit, which according to premillennial dispensational doctrine has to be taken from the earth along with the church? Please recall the difference between Peter and the apostles before the Comforter – cowering and fearful and running from their lives – and afterwards – bold and brave witnesses even unto death. As a matter of fact Peter himself went from being the worst – the one who denied Christ three times – to being the boldest. And how can anyone even be saved during the great tribulation without the work of the Holy Spirit? Recall: the Holy Spirit was indeed present during the time of the Old Testament saints. Indeed, the Bible states that the earth’s very existence cannot so much as even be sustained without the Spirit of God.) Or does it refer to believers slain during all ages, from the first (Abel) until the last before the return of Jesus Christ?

To interpret this passage with scripture, let us go to another one in Revelation that touches the martyrdom of the saints, which is Revelation 18:24. Please recall that this chapter refers to the fall of Babylon,  which since the Tower of Babel incident and particularly since the destruction of the temple in 586 has been used to symbolize people and systems that rebel against and oppose God and persecute His elect covenant people, and that Revelation extends this symbolism with personification, describing all that opposes God as a harlot (prostitute), which in this verse is called “her”:  And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. Now as much as I love my King James Version, allow me to quibble with their translation of “kai” to “and” in the phrase “and of all that were slain upon the earth.” Many times, “kai” is just used for emphasis, as an amplifier of degree or a focus of attention. This text should probably read:

“And in her [Babylon] was found the blood of prophets and of saints, indeed all [prophets and saints] that were slain upon the earth.”

However, if you go with the King James Version, which granted carries much more weight and authority than my own, and all which follow its tradition on that text, then “and of all that were slain upon the earth” simply means that in Babylon was the blood of every person that has been murdered, all innocent blood that has been shed. This means that the prior clause “And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints” means that “the prophets and saints” (a  New Testament idiom which refers to old covenant and new covenant believers) which means that the blood of Stephen and all other Christian martyrs ever since is contained in Babylon. So with reference to the elect the meaning is the same: the blood of everyone killed because of their faith in God is in Babylon.

So, if we interpret Revelation 6:9-11 with Revelation 18:24, when the fifth seal was opened the martyred souls viewed under the altar should very likely be interpreted to include every Christian martyr since Stephen. This would support the idea of a church that has always been under continuous tribulation. Such an interpretation would be consistent with, indeed fulfill the words of Jesus Christ in John 15:18-20.

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

The Word of God for the people of God. Glory be to God.

Now one can hardly claim that those words were only aimed at the apostles. Those words are for all Christians for all time. So what basis is there for believing that there will be a rapture to save the church from a persecution that A) Jesus Christ said that we would face and B) Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit to empower us to withstand? Now this is not an endorsement of the historicist, preterist or amillennial position that there will be no seven year literal great tribulation. Instead, it is to say that if there will be such a seven year literal great tribulation, the church will be present for it just as it has been present for all other tribulations, the “lesser” tribulations.

Now the prewrath (and mid-wrath) rapture adherent does have Revelation 3:10, which reads “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth”, in his favor. However, that could be fulfilled in a number of ways, including 1) a place of refuge (which ironically rapture believers commonly propose will exist for those who will saved during the great tribulation … again these people will have to be saved despite the absence of a church to preach the gospel or a Holy Spirit to perform regeneration) or 2) death. Do not let the “death” option astonish you, but instead study the scriptures, especially the Old Testament but also in the New Testament. It is a consistent theme that death is a way of being preserved, saved, spared from times of great evil … to be absent from the troubles of this world and present with God! Perhaps the best example of this is the death of Abijah, son of the wicked king Jeroboam, who died according to God’s will so that he would not be corrupted by Jeroboam and also not share in their judgment in 1 Kings 14. A New Testament example: at the time that he wrote Philippians 1:20-26, Paul viewed death as being removed from the extremely trying circumstances that he was living and exchanging it for a better fate. In that passage Paul stated “to die is gain”, but it appears that the rapture adherents have transformed it into “to be raptured is gain.”

So, the idea that there must be a rapture in order for Christians to be spared martyrdom seems to be inconsistent with Biblical revelation. It is also an idea that only makes sense for Christians living in the west. Practically everywhere else in the world, Christians face persecution: marginalization, poverty, disease, imprisonment, death. There are two doctrinal systems that have the effect of promoting the idea western Christians should have no part in what Christians in Indonesia, China, Iran, Palestine (and Israel!), India and Mexico (where Roman Catholic/pagan syncretists are persecuting Protestants) by simple right of geography of birth: pretribulation rapture and covenant theology. Pretribulation rapture teaches that Christians not currently under persecution now will never have to face it, because persecution will only come to “the good parts of the world” (i.e. “Christian nations” or “western nations” or “non-socialist nations” … you know, what Glenn Beck was referring to) when the anti-Christ (which 8% of New Jersey residents regard Obama to be) takes over it.

Now ask yourselves … why is it that Christians can be persecuted in some places (including Israel … and read this too!) now without the anti-Christ, but it requires the anti-Christ to happen in others (especially America)? Or that the saints in other places (and times, including in the west … remember the 30 Years War and the Anabaptists?) are not spared persecution, but only the modern American saints are? Only the idea that contemporary western (especially American and possibly British!) Christians are somehow better than Christians living in other times and places, and this fact would be due to America having some special status before God as a unique elect covenant nation, giving us special status within the Body of Christ. Of course, the Bible makes it clear in the Roman and Corinthian epistles that there is no special group or people with a special status, special favor, or special standing before God in the Body of Christ, but instead that we are one Body. Further, the Bible makes it clear that those who are accounted greater according to rank or authority (not standing or value) demonstrate this through being servant roles that cause us to A) serve those who are of lesser rank and authority and B) endure even greater persecution than those who are of lesser rank and authority. So, even if America did have some special standing before God, instead of our being wealthy decadent privileged Laodiceans, we would be poor, oppressed and serving everybody else! If you deny this, read the Beatitudes of Jesus Christ!

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Keep in mind, the version in Luke reads “Blessed are the POOR!”)
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

The Word of God for the people of God. Glory be to God.

Now earlier I mentioned the covenant theologians, from whom the modern concept of the “Christian nation” originated. Covenant theologians believe – or at least believed – that people in “Christian nations” would or should be spared persecution only because in a church-state Christians would control the government, economy, military, police, and religion in a theocracy after the manner of Old Testament Israel. That is why such extreme theonomists and reconstructionists as Gary North and Rousas John (R. J.) Rushdoony deny that the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount apply to Christians, instead stating that it only applied to Jews living in that time. (Curiously, hyperdispensationalists believe the same.) While I believe the covenant theology position to be in error, this statement is aimed primarily at premillennnial dispensationalists.

So if America were this special, Christian nation, it would be marked by our poverty and service, not by our decadent delusions of religious nobility which makes us believe that we are somehow exempt from the sufferings of Christians living in Belarus or Namibia, or for that matter the Christians of the early church. After all, when Paul wrote his statement insisting that those in the Body of Christ were equals, the statements were direct AGAINST two groups of people: the Jewish Christians in the Roman church and the wealthy Christians in the Corinthian church. The Jewish Christians regarded themselves to be superior to the Gentile Christians because of nationality, and the wealthy Corinthian Christians regarded themselves as superior to the poorer believers because of their riches. The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to tell both groups that they were wrong. So, then, how can we justify believing that a rapture will come and rescue us from the type of persecutions and deaths at the hands of Muslims that are going on all over the Middle East, Asia and Africa right now, such as the two million Christians that were killed in Sudan, many of whom were tortured, raped, doused with gasoline and set on fire, had their limbs chopped off, or were sold as slaves because they refused to renounce Christianity?

Ironically, the world, including the media, the activists, and the government of our own “Christian nation”, did their level best to ignore this genocide, choosing instead to focus on Muslims murdering other Muslims in Darfur. And let us not forget that the term for which the word genocide was originally invented and applied to, that of the Armenians by the Turks, is still not recognized as such by the U.N. or by the government of our “Christian nation.” It is still more ironic when you consider that the Armenian genocide happened in the same general area that the letters in Revelation were sent, in the Turkey region. That persecution kicked off what was the bloodiest period of Christian persecution in history, the 20th century, that saw 45.5 million Christians killed!

So if there were any geographical or political entity within the Body of Christ that had special status, it would be those Christians because of their poverty and persecution who would come first, not us . It is those to whom the Beatitudes of Jesus Christ were addressed, and premillennial dispensationalism completely rejects that truth for the belief that the rapture will save Christians not yet under persecution from ever having to experience it because the saints who have it easier are the ones who fulfill Revelation 3:10! Never mind that the rich church that was not facing persecution was Laodicea, and the church that Revelation 3:10 was addressed to was Philadelphia. Why was the promise of Revelation 3:10 given to the Philadelphians? It is in Revelation 3:8, which reads “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” The Philadelphia Christians were being persecuted, and similar to the Sudanese Christians, they refused to yield to the persecution by denying Jesus Christ. In other words, they refused to do the same as the apostle Peter did THREE TIMES before he was empowered by the Holy Spirit, yet dispensationalism teaches that this Holy Spirit will be taken away, and those converted during the great tribulation will have to face the greatest time of sorrows ever without it, and will yet somehow stand? How? Why? Because of their free will? Or because of their inherently good human nature untainted by original sin? Followers of Reformed/Calvinist believers in the rapture like John MacArthur and Albert Pendarvis (the latter’s bookstore sells the Scofield Reference Bible) have to answer these questions! In any event, those who claim that Revelation 3:10 refers to Christians being raptured to escape persecution have to deal with the fact that the text was in reference to a Philadelphia church that was enduring it!

Make no mistake. I believe in a bodily literal return of Jesus Christ which I believe will occur after a literal great tribulation which will include a literal and personal anti-Christ. However, I also believe that the church will endure this tribulation, and that we need to be preparing ourselves and those who will follow us in the faith for it in a manner that is consistent with scripture as opposed to believing that we – or our WESTERN descendants – will have an experience of escaping it that will be unique to Christians living in other times and places. At the very least, someone must explain why western Christians alone should enjoy this pleasure!

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Did Jesus Christ Appear To Hagar? If So, Why?

Posted by Job on June 18, 2009

Reading Genesis 16:7-14 makes me certain of it. “And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; F77 because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me? Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; F78 behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.”

Now “the angel of the Lord” is a common term for the preincarnate Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. However, there are incidents in the Old Testament where references to angels – and other appearances of supernatural beings – are just that … angels (whether fallen or not). So, I came up with a system where if the supernatural being is worshiped i.e. Moses and the burning bush or Joshua on the plain of Jericho, then it is a theophany, an appearance of God in the Old Testament. However, if the supernatural being is not worshiped, then it is an angel. However, this is not foolproof, as Jacob apparently did not worship Jesus Christ, but wrestled with Him and demanded (?) to be blessed by Him, and we only know that it was God whom Jacob wrestled with because A) Jacob said so, B) God warned Jacob that day was breaking and that it was not meant for Jacob to clearly see His face and C) God refused to tell Jacob His Name upon Jacob’s request.

This appears to be a similar incident. In Genesis 16:10, the angel of the Lord states “I will multiply thy seed exceedingly …”.  The angel speaks in first person of an action that he will personally take, not in second person regarding an act of God, or of knowing the intentions of God (in contrast with, say, how Gabriel spoke of God’s actions to Mary in second person i.e. “and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David” in Luke 1:32). As obviously no angel has the power or authority to perform this deed, it had to have been God speaking to Hagar.

More evidence still? Genesis 16:13. “And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me.” So this verse makes it plain: Hagar knew that she was speaking to God, and called God by Name. The Hebrew makes it more explicit: “qara shem Yĕhovah dabar ‘el ro’iy.”  Qara shem means “[She] called the Name.” Yĕhovah is Jehovah, Yahweh, YHWH, or the Name of the Holy Trinity. “Dabar” means “word.” “Dabar” is what the apostle John translated directly into “Logos” in the prologue of the Gospel of John … “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In that verse and elsewhere in reference to God, “the Word” = “Logos” = “Dabar” = “Jesus Christ” are  interchangeable. So not only was it the God of Abraham that Hagar was speaking to, but Hagar knew that she was speaking to the God of Abraham, and – whether knowingly or not – by including “dabar” in her speech, actually addressed the Person of the Trinity that she was speaking to!

Still more evidence: “Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi” of Genesis 16:15. In Hebrew Beerlahairoi is  “Bĕ’er la-Chay Ro’iy”, which basically means “well of the Living One seeing me.” Or in other words, the well where God saw me.

Now the Geneva Study Bible notes on http://bible.cc seems to dance around the issue. Which is strange, because the idea that the Old Testament people knew of the Person and office of Jesus Christ is a major part of Calvinism. However, the Matthew Henry and John Wesley notes that appear on that same site arrived at the same conclusion as did I.

But neither of them deal with the obvious question: what was so special about Hagar (or more truthfully Ishmael) that there was an intervention on Ishmael’s behalf by way of a Christophany? And why was Ishmael the father of 12 tribes, just as Jacob (Israel) was? It is still more curious when you consider the type-antitype regarding Ishmael and Isaac. Isaac was the son of the free Hebrew woman, which generally means salvation and the people of God in scripture. Ishmael was the son of the slave Egyptian woman, with slavery representing bondage and Egypt representing sin in scripture. Also, Isaac represents the church because he was resurrected from the dead (meaning born to a barren womb). Meanwhile, Ishmael was conceived naturally. Isaac = son of God, the supernatural order where Ishmael = son of man, the earthly sinful order?

In a way, it recalls Adam and Eve, with the Godly line originating with Seth (type) and the evil line originating with Cain (antitype). And yes, just as Adam and Eve were the direct father and mother of both Seth and Cain (this isn’t an “obviously” sort of thing, because it would have been very possible for the ungodly line to have originated a generation or three from Adam and Eve), Abraham and Sarah were the father and mother of Isaac and Ishmael. So … Abraham was not just the progenitor, the ancestor of Israel and ultimately the church. He was quite literally the father of “many nations”, including the ungodly Ishmael line! (Incidentally, Israel was not the only Godly line that Abraham started … he also started the Midianite line, who apparently were Godly at least for a time, as Jethro, the father – in – law of Moses, was the Jehovah worshiping priest of Midian, and thus it was acceptable for Moses to marry Jethro’s daughter, and Miriam was punished for speaking against the marriage.)

Yet, just as God directly intervened to preserve the Ishmael line, He marked Cain to prevent him from being killed! So, Seth = Isaac = Jesus Christ = church. Cain = Ishmael = _______ = ______. Now precisely who or what is the opposite of Christ who persecutes – or will persecute – the church? (See Galatians 4 for more of this type/antitype involving Sarah/Isaac and Hagar/Ishmael, and for the direct statement that Ishmael and his seed persecutes the church.) Anyone want to fill in the blanks? It seems clear – to me anyway – that Ishmael and his line were intended for a prominent role in salvation history, and his being the father of a nation/people of 12 tribes plus the contents of Galatians 4 verifies this fact. So, the only mystery is A) who the descendants of Ishmael are (my guess … it isn’t the Roman Catholic Church or some new Roman Empire, nor is it the Jews, although nothing precludes Ishmael’s seed from using one or both) and B) what that role in salvation history will be.

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Amillennialism 9: The Anti-Christ

Posted by Job on April 15, 2009

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Burning Incense To Caesar: Regarding Avigdor Lieberman’s Proposed Loyalty Oath In Israel

Posted by Job on February 27, 2009

Two things.

First, I am thoroughly shocked at the intense and pervasive anti – Israel and anti – Semitic feelings around the globe that has been growing exponentially since the September 11th terror attacks. Now I do have a theory on why SOME of this is taking place, specifically among certain corners of the left. First, there has always been a large anti – Semitic presence on the left, but it has been largely muzzled by an apparently pro – Jewish sentiment in that body. I said “apparently” because it was never legitimate, but rather many of these people’s using the Jews. First, Jews were a bold, intellectually vital, and financially necessary part of the radical left in its early days. Second, it was unbecoming to be an open anti – Semite while simultaneously agitating for equal or special rights for blacks, women, Hispanics, homosexuals, atheists etc. Third, and perhaps most important, Jews were very important as a strategic weapon against conservatives, which at the time was primarily led by anti – Semitic (or at least non – Zionist) paleoconservatives.

Now the situation has reversed itself. The radical left is now mainstream, fully in control of the government and further having made major inroads in our corporate and financial institutions. So, they no longer need the courageous leadership, brilliant ideas, or financial backing of Jewish socialists. Also, multiculturalism and relativism now make it entirely possible – indeed fashionable – to denounce Israel and Jewry as evil while glorifying suicide bombers who target Israeli schoolchildren as freedom fighter servants of “god” through the religion of peace. And most importantly, the left can no longer use the charge of anti-Semitism to attack the actions and motivations conservative opponents, because the paleoconservatism of the recent past has given way to a pro – Zionist neoconservatism, many of whose ideas and leaders come from the ranks of conservative Jews, and much of whose money, numbers, and organizing muscle comes from premillennial dispensational evangelical Christianity. So, where a conservative was often called “anti – Semite” as a political tactic in times past by leftist activists, modern leftist activists now bash Jews and Israel far more overtly, publicly, and viciously than the conservative WASP (or as it were Roman Catholic) bankers and politicians ever did in private, and now use “homophobe” as their weapon of choice against conservatives. The best example of this startling shift: where leftist Martin Luther King, Jr. was a fervent Zionist and employed communist Jews as his speechwriters, organizers, and strategists, Barack HUSSEIN Obama pastor Jeremiah Wright casts his lot with the Palestinian terrorists and counts Louis Farrakhan (and similar) among his support system. Not the Palestinians, mind you, for the overwhelming majority of Palestinians are not violent criminals, but people and groups who have blood on their hands and are thirsty for more of it. And where King was roundly criticized for his Zionist position, Obama and Wright were only challenged – and in an extremely muted fashion – by a few neoconservatives.  This is only explicable by a rapid and amazing rise in the climate of anti – Semitism (both that which exists and that which is tolerated in others) which can only be explained by the activity of evil spirits. 

So, it is in this context that Avigdor Lieberman is being called – amazingly – “Jewish Hitler” in some circles. I will not even bother to explain how such a moniker, such a comparison, is so grotesquely inaccurate and inappropriate that it can either only be made by someone who is unaware of Hitler’s ideology and behavior and is merely used to calling someone that you disagree with “a Nazi” (which does honestly seem to be increasingly the case … the media and the education system seem fine with willfully refusing to educate people about Hitler and the Nazi regime so that any view or ideology that they disagree with, including those in the New Testament, can be accused of either contributing to the Holocaust or leading us to a new one … a columnist for the Detroit Free Press actually claimed that George W. Bush’s proposals to cut taxes and create private Social Security accounts could lead to a state policy of exterminating low income people, and yes people like her often tend to be pro – abortion!).

And what makes Avigdor Lieberman so monstrous? Quite simply, his proposal for a loyalty oath, that all citizens be required to publicly express loyalty to Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish state. Those who refuse have to options: to leave Israel (and if I am correct, it is at Israel’s expense!) or to remain there as a sort of second – class citizen. Lieberman has even stated that a person does not need to declare loyalty to Zionism, which comes with a lot of political and religious implications that a lot of people (including haredi Orthodox Jews!) cannot abide. Such a person merely needs to be willing to declare an acceptance of the fact that Israel exists now and of its continued existence in largely its current makeup and form (a secular western democracy with a mostly Jewish population where Orthodox Judaism plays a huge role – indeed a larger role than Christianity ever has in America, as it is modeled more closely after 19th century Lutheran Germany or Anglican England than America) – in Jewish government and institutions.

Jewish supporters of Lieberman’s proposed oath point out that the United States requires the same of people beocoming  naturalized United States citizens. That is a willfully false comparison, as Lieberman’s oath would be required of everyone, both natural born citizens and already naturalized citizens, as a requirement of retaining their citizenship. In America, it is practically impossible for a natural born or naturalized citizen to be stripped of his status against his will. 

However, Israel is not America. Enumerating the many differences between their legal code and its underlying assumptions and our own would be rather unwieldly, but suffice to say that a Christian could spend a year in an Israeli prison for giving a “Gideon’s Bible” containing the New Testament (as they of course all do) to a Jewish 12 year old. Like all parliamentary democracies, Israel lacks freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and other things that make America much more of a constitutional republic than a pure democracy. 

Also, what Israel chooses to do with its citizenry is ultimately a matter of state, not of the cross. And though I believe Lieberman’s proposal to be exceedingly unwise, as it would be the doings of a democratic state that is not only secular but “founded on and governed according to anti – Christian principles and values” (it is a Jewish state, after all, so cast aside your premillennial dispensational Christian Zionism long enough read the 1, 2, and 3rd John and take its contents seriously) as opposed to the doings of a church or other body of professed Bible believing Christians, my position must be neutral, one of the many things that has happened and will happen in this world until Jesus Christ comes back. 

Yet and still, I cannot restrain myself from considering this policy past and future. It reminds me of the persecution against Christians in the Roman Empire. Christians were required to swear loyalty to the Roman state – and its state religion – with Caesar as head of both the state and religion with the status of a minor god in the religion by signing a document and bowing before either Caesar or his effigy. People who did so received certification of having done so, and people found by authorities in a condition of not having this certification either had to burn incense to Caesar or his statue immediately, or be subject to arrest, torture, and death. This policy resulted in the deaths of Christians in numbers exceeding a million, and the imprisonment or torture of still more.

I think that it is fair to point out that some Christians interpret the “mark of the beast” portions of Revelation to refer to this time, while others – myself included – believe the Roman persecution to be a precursor to the much worse persecution still to come under the great tribulation.

With that in mind: consider this. Were Israel to actually implement Lieberman’s policy (which by the way would take major changes to Israel, including but not limited to a major redirection of public opinion, big changes of Israel’s laws, and a complete overhaul of the composition of their largely liberal courts, which are far more likely to sentence conservative Israelis to 6 months of community service for speech code violations for displaying shirts and bumper stickers with slogans offensive to Muslims – again, Israel has no freedom of speech – than approving a citizenship test), then in order to be viable and practical, the government would have to be able to differentiate between who has taken the loyalty oath and who hasn’t. (After all, Christians had various ways of evading detection and capture by the Romans.) This is not the case of apartheid South Africa, where it was very easy to use physical appearance to determine different treatment by government authorities. Israel is not even planning on automatically deporting those who reject the loyalty oath, but rather giving such people the option of remaining as second class citizens. 

So, how is this to be done except A) completing a national computerized database or registry of people who have  and haven’t declared a loyalty oath and B) requiring people to carry evidence of their loyalty and status with them on their person so that the government officials – and anyone else who decides to enact similar policies of their own, including banks, grocery stores, and other businesses – would be able to differentiate and treat people accordingly? Would it take the form of an identification card that a person would be forced to carry? Well, those can be forged. What about a government – issued microchip? 

But that is just Israel, you say? Wrong. Various interests in America have been promoting “national ID cards” and “national registries” for years to combat everything from legal immigration to voter fraud (not to mention databases of people allowed or not allowed to buy firearms, and also of sex crime offenders … are “hate crimes” offenders next?).  If Israel adopts a national registration and ID system to implement their loyalty oath policy, then other western style governments are very likely to emulate it for their own national ID systems to address their own (real and perceived) problems. As a matter of fact, dictatorships and other authoritarian regimes are even more likely to. 

So, for no other reason than that, Lieberman’s proposal is something to watch and think about, along with the many similar proposals in our own country, especially those who prefer national ID cards over simply building a border fence, or people who claim that there aren’t simple and local solutions to voter fraud.

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Will The Anti – Christ Come From The Line Of Ishmael?

Posted by Job on February 16, 2009

Whether the anti – Christ will come from the line of Ishmael has to be considered. Of course, he may be a figurative or spiritual descendant rather than a natural one. And there are probably more physical descendants of Ishmael about than those within the Muslim faith, and it can certainly include former Muslims that did not become spiritual descendants of Abraham by becoming born again Christians. Still, a bit of Biblical evidence has to be considered.

Genesis 16:11 reads “And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”

Genesis 17:20 reads “And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.”

Genesis 21:21 reads “And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.”

Galatians 4:22-29 reads “For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.  But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.”

Interesting that both Ishmael and Isaac are descendants of Abraham. However, scripture has always depicted the line of Isaac as being supernatural, born of the spirit, and representing the world to come that will reign with Jesus Christ. The line of Ishmael, on the other hand, represents the natural, the sons of the earth, and representing the world or this current order. So it is interesting that just as the Godly spiritual order or kingdom is represented by the 12 tribes of Israel for Judaism and the 12 apostles for Christianity, Ishmael, the one born after the flesh that represents the natural order, had 12 princes as well.

Now realize that the best defintion of the word translated as “Satan” is “opponent” or “adversary.” Satan opposes God and God’s people. Also, consider, type/anti – type, what the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles that replaced them represent, and consider the 12 of Ishmael the opposite of that. The Godly 12 of Israel and of the apostles represent God’s people, first Israel and then the Body of Christ, on the earth, so Ishmael’s nation of 12 represents its opposition; supernatural versus natural. Finally, consider that the number of the man of sin, the beast, is the number of a man, which could be a reference to Ishmael’s being one after the flesh and not of the promise. 

So if Jesus Christ was the descendant of the 12 dukes of Israel, how sensible would it be were the anti – Christ the descendant of the 12 dukes of Ishmael? Either way, the type and anti – type, the Redeemer and opponent, will have come from Avraham (Abraham). 

Also, Paul stated that just as Ishmael persecuted Isaac (and the world has persecuted true Christians!),  he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit. That also falls in line with the prophecies in Revelation that refer to the beast, the man of sin, persecuting the church during the great tribulation. 

So then, this is something for Christians to ponder as we watch and pray for the return of our Lord and Savior Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus Christ.

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Will Obama Support The United States of Africa?

Posted by Job on February 2, 2009

DAKAR, Senegal — President Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya was named chairman of the African Union on Monday, wresting control of a body he helped found and has long wanted to remake in his pan-African image. His installation as the new head of the 53-member body resembled more of a coronation than a democratic transfer of power. Colonel Qaddafi was dressed in flowing gold robes and surrounded by traditional African leaders who hailed him as the “king of kings.” Colonel Qaddafi is an ardent supporter of a long-held dream of transforming Africa, a collection of post-colonial fragments divided by borders that were drawn arbitrarily by Western powers, into a vast, unified state that could play a powerful role in global affairs. He has repeatedly proposed immediate unity and the establishment of a single currency, army and passport for the entire continent. He pledged Monday to bring up the issue for a vote at the African Union’s next summit meeting, in July.

Qaddafi, as New African Union Head, Will Seek Single State 

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Want To Work For The Anti – Christ Globalist Money System? Here Is The Company To Apply For!

Posted by Job on November 13, 2008

This is an actual advertisement targeted to college students forwarded to me by a ministry supporter. I regret that the graphics that were in the email do not show up correctly. I have used “@” to replace some information that would reveal the college that the sender attends, I bolded a section that shows that our government is behind this scheme, everything else is as I received it. By the way, the name of this company, Denarii, is a plural form of denarius, which was the currency of the Roman Empire in the time of Jesus Christ. (To you King James Version bigots like myself, it is commonly translated as “penny” in the New Testament.) Oh yes, and this “be a part of true change” business? Hope! Change! Obama! Classic. 

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What Is The Most Holy Place Part 2

Posted by Job on October 28, 2008

This is a second part to A Challenge To Pastors, Teachers, Preachers, Prophets, And Exegetes: What Is The Most Holy Place That The Anti – Christ Will Defile?

A lot of very good responses were to the effect that the most holy place is the new temple, the believer. That would conform to the teachings of the book of Hebrews. However, are we speaking of individual believers or of a collection of believers as a whole? Some Christian scholars have created works such as Robinson’s “Corporate Personality in Ancient Israel”, Klein’s “The New Chosen People: A Corporate View of Election”, Best’s “One Body in Christ”, Shedd’s “Main in Community” and Malina’s “The New Testament World” (among others) which assert that the temple that God’s spirit now dwells in is the corporate body of Christ. That we are one body of Christ that together constitutes one temple, not little individual temples. (From that viewpoint, which is very spiritual, as opposed to the naturalist concept that the Holy Spirit dwells in a manmade institution i.e. the the Roman Catholic Church, makes the doctrine of the indwelling Holy Spirit easier to grasp. Or at least it does for me.)

Now if this is the case, then does the abomination of desolation refer to the apostasia, the falling away of 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4? “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.”

If so, then this is a very difficult thing for me to get my mind around indeed. It is actually easier for me to conceive of the anti-Christ entering a rebuilt Jewish temple! But the best that I can come up with at this time is A) the great apostasy occurs, resulting in a false church of people who are only Christian externally and B) then the anti – Christ comes onto the scene “entering” or taking advantage of such a church i.e. that described in Laodicea in the warnings of Revelation 2 and 3? The ending of the sacrifices then would refer to Christian worship stopping, again even if this worship was only superficial. Is it replaced by the worship of the anti – Christ, or the false religion that the anti – Christ and the false prophet will set up?

Also, it is fair to presume that even during this time a tiny number of believers will yet remain on the earth to represent the church during the great tribulation. The 144,000 perhaps? Now it is interesting, the Philadelphia church Jesus Christ states will be spared the hour of temptation. Rapture adherents seize upon that verse, Revelation 3:10. But they ignore that no such promise is given to the other churches! Quite the contrary, Jesus Christ explicitly stated that the Smyrna church WOULD suffer, and note that the Smyrna and Philadelphia churches were the only ones that Jesus Christ did not criticize. (By contrast, the Laodicea church was the only one that Jesus Christ did not praise!)

However, where Jesus Christ states that the Smyrna church was strong due at least in great part to their POVERTY, the Philadelphia church had only “a little strength” left, only that required to not deny the Name of Jesus Christ. “I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.” So, how will the Philadelphia church escape tribulation? Rather than rapture (or going to some earthly place of refuge) the answer will likely be martyrdom, death. The Smyrna church will be left to endure the final purging, trying etc. as representatives of the body of Jesus Christ before the mystery is completed, Jesus Christ returns, and the perfection takes place.

Please keep in mind that both the martyred Philadelphia church and the Smyrna church will have to endure their portion during that awful time as part of their duty as representatives of the entire church. It is interesting to note, also, that of all the apostles John was the only one to see a natural death. 1 out of 12, how do you like that ratio, and what does that mean for the church in terms of how many are Smyrnans versus how many are Philadelphians? And as for the number of Laodiceans that will be in the false church that Jesus Christ spits out of His mouth – apostasia or falling away – right before the beast waltzes in … well again I will leave that to speculation.

Please remember: the depiction of the Laodicean church in Revelation 3 is indeed one where its members are preoccupied with gaining wealth and political power and perceiving those things to be godliness in and of itself or evidence thereof. The Laodicean church is worldly, but not in the usual contemporary sense. It is not just a description of Christians that have forsaken sound doctrine and personal holiness. If anything, those less than perfect but not apostate Christians are described by at least 4 of the other 6 churches (and remember with the Philadelphians their sole attribute or for that matter sole characteristic seems to be their lack of flaws, a not insignificant thing to ponder … it is better to humbly merely lack flaws than to be great in this area while having flaws in another area). No, the Laodicean church is one that has intermingled itself with the harlot mystery Babylon the great, and has woven into its doctrines and practices a regard for and love of the power and wealth of the world. These aren’t Christians who simply like money and power (or other things of the flesh) but instead rather Christians that have made the love and pursuit of money and power part of their theology; given it an exalted position in their sanctuaries and pulpits.

Make no mistake, this power does include civil power. Military, economics and culture if you are on the right. Government, social welfare and civil rights if you are on the left. Either way, it is Babylon, and if you bring it into your church then your church is either Laodicean or well on its way there. If that is the case, then the place where the anti – Christ will enter in, declare himself as God and commit the abomination of desolation will not be in any Jewish temple, but rather in your own heart.

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Another Reason To Question Whether The Roman Catholic Church Is The Anti – Christ

Posted by Job on October 20, 2008

The fact that the reformers (and those who rejected Catholicism in times prior) frequently called the Roman Catholic Church the anti-Christ is often used to give theological and historical weight to people holding onto that view. While you will not find a bigger opponent of those that have cast aside the Bible for manmade tradition in order to facilitate their idolatry of images, the host of heaven, and humans (including “saints”, the pope, and “Virgin” Mary), I still have found the idea to be quite suspect. My prior reason for believing so is because the anti – Christ will deceive and lead the whole world. While thanks in large part to the new world order forces doing their best to promote religious pluralism, mysticism, syncretism and secular systems masquerading as religion (including liberation theologies of Barack Hussein Obama and Martin Luther King, Jr.) there is nowhere near the opposition to Roman Catholicism as there once was, chiefly among Protestants but also among other religions, we are nowhere near the day when the whole world will be deceived by and follow the so – called bishop of Rome, who has the same title, pontifus maximus, that Roman emperors such as Constantine held in their pagan state religion. (Constantine merely moved from being pontifus maximus in the prior pagan state religion to being pontifus maximus when the empire adopted “Christianity”, a fact which people who defend the decision of the church to acquiesce to Constantinism rarely mention. My suspicion is that Protestants tiptoe around this fact because Constantine called the Nicea ecumenical council that defended the truth of the divinity if Jesus Christ from Arianism. In doing so, they ignore the fact that even if any human had the spiritual standing to convene an ecumenical council Constantine certainly was not that human, a fact later borne out when Constantine called ANOTHER ecumenical council to adopt Arianism and immediately began persecuting people who believed in Jesus Christ’s deity. Constantine’s motives were political and military,  not religious. Even if Constantine did actually see a cross in the sky with the famous “in this conquer” slogan, it was a demonic deception in a pagan society that was utterly demonized. Protestants should be truthful enough to declare that nothing good came out of Constantinism and have enough faith to state that the true apostolic faith over issues like the deity of Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity would have won out without needing a pagan state to call ecumenical councils whose edicts were imposed with the sword.)

Yet how far are we from the day that the whole world will follow the so – called bishop of Rome? It would require 1) a major theological move on the part of the Roman Catholic Church and 2) for the nations of the world who have suffered at the hands of Rome or who themselves have major religious objections to forget or abandon them. While both (or either) are certainly possible when God sends the spirit of strong delusion, the truth is that said delusion can cause the whole world to follow any institution or leader. So while that does not preclude the Roman Catholic Church, there is no reason to definitely say that it will be them when it could just as easily be some secular political leader or entity, or the leader of some now obscure eastern religious movement such as the Tibetan ones that are oh so popular among the left (keep in mind that jainism was equally obscure until first Ghandi and then Martin Luther King, Jr. popularized its tenets). 

So what of the position of the reformers and those similar? Well keep in mind that the reformers were adherents to amillennialism, whose first major exponent was Origen and which was cemented in the Constantine church (and ultimately a great many churches that splintered out of her, including not only the Roman and Orthodox Catholic churches but also many Protestant churches, especially the state and liberal churches) thanks to the work of Augustine. Though its modern adherents deny the extent to which it is true, amillennialism relies on allegorical interpretations of the covenant, prophetic, eschatological and apocalyptic passages of the Bible. (Otherwise, Origen’s theories that everyone, including possibly Satan and demons, would be saved and that there could be an endless number of falls of mankind and creation into sin requiring an endless number of redemptions throughout eternity; in other words there was no permanency to Jesus Christ’s work because as Origen was working from a naturalist pagan structure as opposed to a Jewish spiritual one – please read Why The Early Church Fathers Were Millennialists And Why The Gentile Church Quickly Rejected It For Sadduceeism and he Early Church Fathers: Amillennialism and Universalism, would have been impossible.)

Therefore, it is extremely unlikely that the amillennial reformers, who to one degree or another accepted an allegorical or nonliteral interpretation of not only the millennium but a great many other prophetic and eschatological concepts to give them a temporal meaning and fulfillment, believed in a literal beast, man of sin, anti-Christ, etc.

When you consider the dominionism aspect of amillennialism, this becomes even more so the case. Dominionist amillennials (and this incontrovertibly included Roman Catholics but Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, the Church of England, and all others who basically rejected a separation between church and state, advocated the right of the state to use violence and other measures to enforce church doctrines and accepted infant baptism as a method of initiation into the church – state system) believe that we are in an allegorized nonliteral millennium now where Jesus Christ is ruling the earth from heaven through the church, which happens through the transforming moral and cultural effect that the church has on societies as well as any influence that the church exerts on civil magistrates. 

With that view in place, “anti – Christ”, then, becomes anything that opposes the church’s dominion over the earth. In particular, it results in a false Christianity or a false church that takes dominion of the earth over the true church instead. Thus, when the reformers and like minded amillennialists spoke of Roman Catholicism being the anti – Christ, it was only in a nonliteral allegorical sense. Further, it was based on the Roman Church having the same position that the reformers wanted for their own churches. Make no mistake, the churches set up by the reformers were not merely spiritual and religious competitors, but also political, military, and economic rivals. The result was not only well over one hundred years of warfare between Roman Catholic church – states and Protestant church – states both calling each other anti – Christ for opposing each other’s desires for amillennial dominion of state and culture that was allegedly in the Name and to the glory of Jesus Christ in heaven but in reality was a violation of James 4:4 and a host of related scriptures that say that there is no marriage between sacred and secular, Christian and worldly. Now recall, this was something that God used the hard line of demarcation between holy and defiled in the Jewish law to teach the church … if the Jews could not even use tools to cut stones to build an altar for sacrifices because the tools were unholy and their touching the holy altar would defile it and make it unholy, what made them think that the church could come into such intimate contact with pagan cultures and adulterous rulers?!

And as a direct result of this worldview, both Roman Catholic AND reformation church – states persecuted Anabaptists and others who rejected infant baptism and the lack of separation between church and state. Consider this: the amillennial dominionists in the Roman Catholic and early reformation churches grotesquely misinterpreted such Bible events as Hagar’s being subjected to Sarah, the lord of the estate compelling people in the hedges and highways to come to the wedding feast, and Peter picking up two swords to coerce people into membership of “Christendom”, or the church – state in which membership was usually initiated by infant baptism. (Which is why it was called “Christendom”, or kingdom of the christened or infant baptized, as opposed to Christiandom, or kingdom of confessing Christians.) These abominations were institutionalized by Augustine at the very latest but almost certainly existed before then. The worst was the “two swords” when Peter (as always until his indwelling by the Holy Spirit) misunderstood the teachings of Jesus Christ and responded “here are two swords” in response to the words of Jesus Christ to which Christ, frustrated by their inability to understand and having His mind occupied with other things at the time (His very soon trip to the cross) replied resignedly “it is enough.” The dominionist allegorists claimed that Peter’s erroneous notion of believing that Jesus Christ was somehow speaking of a violent overthrow of the Roman Empire (and likely also the Pharisees and Saduccees if they resisted!) was correct in the sense that one sword of Peter referred to the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the second sword of Peter referred to the power of the state to compel people to (externally of course) submit to the former!

So, you had Catholics and reformers calling each other anti-Christ because they were both claiming that the other were wielding a false gospel sword and a false state compulsion sword. But please realize that both Catholic and Reformed states persecuted certain Anabaptists and other groups who A) rejected the notion of church states, B) rejected the coerced initiation into said states including but certainly limited to infants baptized by their parents and C) especially rejected the church’s getting the state to heavily fine, imprison, or even execute those who rejected their religious AND civil authority. This was why Reformers often persecuted and killed Anabaptists who agreed with them on every doctrinal point save those regarding the church using the coercive power of the state (or possessing such power and authority itself by having its own police and army), and particularly why many Reformed states followed the policy of Roman Catholics by making the rejection of infant baptism by getting rebaptized as adults (which is the origin of the term Anabaptist) which in addition to being an act of sincere religious dedication to the gospel was also public rejection of state church authority or dominionism a capital crime

This is, after all, why some scholars claim that Michael Servetus was burned (the Roman Catholic AND Reformed church states twisted yet another set of scriptures to justify the practice of burning heretics, and furthermore the typical method was to use green wood so that the victim would die very slowly, often over the course of hours!) was primarily initiated by the civil magistrates of Geneva for his opposition to infant baptism (making him a subversive to civil authority) rather than by Calvin over his rejection of Trinity. But make no mistake, Calvin fully believed in the right of the state to execute Servetus based on Calvin’s dominionist convictions (even if Calvin’s true motives were Trinity he nonetheless testified against Servetus in a proceeding where a city state considered him a political subversive based on his opposition to infant baptism, the primary method which people were initiated into Genevan citizenship, please realize that Calvin himself was never a Genevan citizen as he was never born or baptized there) and therefore fully participated. And keep in mind: where Servetus was the only heretic killed during Calvin’s tenure, many dominionism rejecters were imprisoned, expelled, or executed by other Reformed states. 

Note that while the Reformers did call Anabaptists heretics and frequently sought their suppression and persecution to the pain of death, they seldom if ever called them “anti – Christ.” Why? Because Anabaptists and similar had no designs on civil power, indeed they rejected it. (Please note that I am aware that certain Anabaptists did have designs on civil power and were willing to use subversion and violence to get it; Anabaptist was a wide, poorly defined category, and it was helpful to the cause of the rulers of Reformed states to associate all of their opponents with the subversive radicals who would violently take control over an area and then forcibly redistribute wealth and property.) So because certain Anabaptists rejected any claim on the second sword of Peter, the one which Augustine and those who came after (indeed including the reformers) claimed belonged to the true church – state, they were not a competing religious – civil power system, and hence were not a false or anti – Christ system competing for power. Instead, they were merely “heretics”, a religious system competing for souls, because of their rejection of “Christendom.” If they were “anti – Christ”, it was only due to their promulgation of doctrines that opposed not only the right but the theological imperative of the Reformation to set up church states, and also because their movements were drawing the Roman Catholic expatriates that the Reformation church states badly needed in their rival system with Rome. After all, if you are competing with earthly systems, it is all about having enough citizens to A) create capital for your economies – please note that Calvinism is credited with spurring the development of modern capitalism – and B) produce soldiers to fight in your armies. 

So, the next time you encounter someone that asserts that the Roman Catholic Church is the anti – Christ, see if that person is rejecting a literal interpretation of Daniel, 2 Thessalonians, Revelation, etc. in favor of an allegorical one and merely resents the Roman Catholic Church for having the huge numbers and political, cultural, economic, etc. influence, the second sword of Peter, that he wants for his own church, and by the way you had better believe which Islam also wants and which communists and Hugo Chavez socialists want as well. (Incidentally, Hitler and Mussolini wanted it also. With Hitler in particular, please consider the rumors of his “the spear of destiny” occultism but do so with a grain of salt.) In other words, someone who wants to exchange the Roman Catholic anti – Christ system for his own. 

Or it may simply be someone who is unaware of this history. If so, that person needs to be reminded of the awful history of both Catholic and Protestant dominionism. And that person also needs to be reminded that in these last days, Catholic and Protestant dominionists are now marching hand in hand, with the American and western religious – political movements (the religious right and the religious left, and by the way these movements even include people from other religions such as Mormons in the religious right and Muslims like Keith Ellison in the religious left, and Jews in both, and we have already mentioned the incorporation of doctrines of jainism – similar to Buddhism – in the religious left) leading the way. How ironic that so many of the politically affiliated evangelicals and fundamentalists who do interpret the prophetic, eschatological, and apocalyptic passages literally (with the appropriate hermeneutics of course!) and believe in a literal anti – Christ are at present supporting movements that are setting the world stage for the coming of the man of sin just as the amillennialists are. The two sides that are supposed to represent different doctrinal systems and in many cases believe themselves to be opposing each other (especially in the case of the religious right versus the religious left) are in fact being manipulated by those behind the scenes to work together! Well, when you consider that scripture prophesies that the anti – Christ will deceive the whole world, it is not a surprise, but instead may yet be a manifestation of it.

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