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Posts Tagged ‘rapture’

From Handel’s Messiah: Behold I Tell You A Mystery/The Trumpet Shall Sound!

Posted by Job on April 13, 2011

For those not predisposed to Christian rap, perhaps this will be more to your liking :-)!

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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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On The FBI Arresting The Hutaree “Christian” Militia Because They Made Threats Against Muslims

Posted by Job on March 29, 2010

First, allow me to say that nothing in the Bible justifies having a “Christian” militia. Quite the contrary, when Peter assaulted the Jewish temple guardsman who came to arrest Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ rebuked Peter, healed the man whose ear Peter cut off, and told Peter “he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.” The early church faced severe persecution, with the Roman Empire killing millions of Christians over 300 years, yet never at any time was there an armed resistance against the persecution. Those people took the words of Jesus Christ literally when He said that those who would be persecuted for His sake would be considered blessed, and followed the example of Peter and John who considered it a blessing and honor to be counted worthy to suffer mistreatment for Jesus Christ’s Name.

And it goes without saying that threatening violence against a Muslim or anyone else is – as this Hutaree “Christian” militia allegedly did –  clearly incontrovertibly a sin. People like this have to realize that Jesus Christ began His ministry during the time of armed uprisings by Jews against a very evil, tyrannical Roman government. (However, it should be noted that had the Jews not taken up arms against the Romans, the Romans would have generally left them alone.) The Jews were looking for a political messiah to defeat the Romans and re-establish a sovereign, Davidic kingdom. Many false messiahs promising just that came, and many followed Jesus Christ hoping that He was a messiah of that sort. They even mistook the miracles that Jesus Christ performed as evidence that He would use power from God to defeat the Romans.

However, when Jesus Christ made it known that His mission was not to establish an earthly kingdom, many lost interest and followed others, the ones who Jesus Christ referred to as “thieves and robbers”, which in the vernacular of the day referred to the seditious false messiahs leading rebellions. Jesus Christ repeatedly and consistently told His followers that it was wrong to rebel against Rome (especially violently) and that was what the significance of issues like paying taxes to Rome were all about. Later, Paul wrote Romans 13 about submitting to Rome as opposed to rebelling against them, and Peter wrote that Christians should pray for their leaders rather than rebel against them. And in the Olivet discourse, Jesus Christ told His followers not to defend Jerusalem from the attacking Romans, but instead to flee.

Needless to say, Jesus Christ’s words were rejected. He who came in the Name of God they did not follow, but those who came in their own name, including the false messiahs, they followed. This pattern of rejection of the true Messiah and His spiritual message and their embrace of false messiahs who offered a message of this world (i.e. political liberation, which included many economic benefits as well) was best symbolized when the Jews demanded that Pontius Pilate release the seditious murderer Barabbas – one of those involved in the violent liberation movements – in the place of Jesus Christ. By continuing to reject Jesus Christ and follow such people in their violent uprisings against Rome (they failed to listen to not only Jesus Christ but to even secular and Jewish leaders like Josephus and Yochanan ben Zakkai), the Jews brought the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD upon their nation, which resulted in the death of over 1 million Jews and the destruction of the temple (which fulfilled the near term “this generation” prophecies of the Olivet discourse). And in 132 AD, still following false messiahs like Simeon bar Kochba who promised that God would use them to defeat the Roman Empire, the Jewish liberation movement suffered their final defeat by the Romans, who burned what was left of Jerusalem to the ground, renamed it, and made it a capital crime for any Jew to re-enter the city. So, no Jewish liberation projects would exist for over 1700 years until 1897 when Theodor Herzl formally created the Zionist movement (although pre-Zionist movements had existed since at least the French Revolution).

So, by forming “militias” and certainly by threatening Muslims, these people do nothing but reject anything resembling the true literally interpreted teachings of the New Testament. By doing so, they reject Jesus Christ for Barabbas, and for that matter Jesus Christ for the Jews who delivered Christ to the Romans to be killed, and had Barabbas released in His stead. So let it be clear … the teachings of the New Testament and the unfolding of history (not only Jewish history, but the violent, failed “revolutions” of certain Anabaptist and Donatist Christian groups, as well as the violent death of the very vicious Ulrich Zwingli) supports nothing of the kind.

Still, we must wonder why it took mere threats against Muslims to bring the FBI down against these people. Unless, of course, they had evidence that these groups were going to act on their threats. So far, the FBI has everything sealed. Right now, a lot of LEGITIMATE Christians and a lot of conservatives are wondering about the double standards … why were these “Christians” arrested when other groups – including Muslims – who make similar threats all the time go free? I do not deny that there is not some element of this going on, or that the Obama administration does not have a propaganda motive to do this shortly after the passage of health care legislation and during the rise of the Tea Party movement and things of that nature. So, this is as good a time to go after conservative anti-government groups as any, and this provides fodder for anti-Christians who have long wanted the government to start ramping up their activities against Christians, starting with illegitimate Christian movements but only until going after their real targets – legitimate Christians – can be justified.

However, we must have the ability to acknowledge that in general, if armed groups make threats, the government shouldn’t just sit around and wait for them to act on their threats. (For instance, “making terroristic threats” is indeed a crime.) So, the issue should be whether the threats against Muslims made by these groups were legitimate. If the government doesn’t reveal the nature of these threats the way that they did with the many Muslim terror suspects that they have arrested, then that is indeed a cause for concern. Especially since “making terroristic threats” is a common offense, so common that a lot of people don’t even know that it is illegal.

Now as a Christian, my position is always going to be not to make terroristic threats. It is not only a sin in and of itself, and it is also against a legal code that does not cause Christians to violate scripture, which makes it also a sin by violating Romans 13. However, Paul according to the Acts narrative asserted not only his Christianity, but also asserted his Roman citizenship when it was in the interests of the gospel of Jesus Christ to do so. Now again, though this Hutaree group is not a legitimate Christian outfit, as a law abiding citizen of this country I am curious as to precisely what it was that made the FBI go after this group of people making terroristic threats while ignoring the many others. We do have a right to know precisely such a thing, and it is in our interests to pursue these rights to their fullest extent. The reason is that Jesus Christ commanded us to discern the times, and if these charges against the non-Christian Hutaree militia are spurious or are evidence of clear double standards, legitimate Christians can use it to take note of the times that we are entering.

Christian militia group arrested, allegedly threatened Muslims, Hamas-linked CAIR plays victim card

P.S. I purposefully resisted making an issue of the Hutaree militia’s premillennial dispensational beliefs. The reason is that I am 100% certain that there are very many legitimate Christians who are dispensationalists. The Hutaree group is not a legitimate Christian group. So, associating legitimate Christian dispensationalists with people like the Hutaree militia that have rejected the true teachings of Jesus Christ while adopting some themes or ideas … how is that different from associating Christians with Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or, say, Muslims who affirm the virgin birth? Now though I am no longer a dispensationalist, I am not going to use this as an excuse to go after Christians who are.

Now so-called Christians who use their dispensationalist beliefs in a manner like John Hagee (who demanded that George W. Bush attack Iran to “defend Israel”, and gave one of his many failed prophecies that the attack would happen before the end of Bush’s presidency with the rapture to occur soon after) and to whip up a fearful frenzy and hatred against Muslims that may lead to threats and violence … THOSE associations (between one false Christian who rejects the Bible but finds dispensationalism useful like Hagee and another) I can countenance, though I will not pursue them myself at this time. The issue is not differing views on eschatology, but those who accept the teachings of the New Testament versus those who reject it. Using premillennial dispensationalism to have your feet in both camps (meaning the church and the world) is what leads to stuff like this. However, this is by no means limited to premillennial dispensationalism. After all, Ulrich Zwingli, who massacred members of his own Bible study because they refused to join his church-state, was an amillennialist.

Update: Confederate Yankee says that the FBI claims that the militia was plotting to kill police officers. That angle is repeated here. Confederate Yankee is skeptical, but his reasoning for being skeptical – that police officers represent the local and not federal government – is wanting.

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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!

The Three Step Salvation Plan

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Practical Theology: I Am Too Fat To Survive The Great Tribulation!

Posted by Job on September 17, 2009

Recently I abandoned my belief in the secret rapture, instead taking the view that the church will be present for the seven years of great tribulation. My belief is that such will be a very difficult time of the church similar to that of Israel (or more specifically Judah) during the time of Jeremiah. Christians will be in constant physical danger, often having to relocate or flee, and providing for even the bare necessities of life (food, clothing, shelter) will be difficult. We will have to rely totally on God to supply all our needs instead of any country, government, economic system etc. Instead, the nations, governments, militaries, political and economic systems etc. will be united against us. It will be completely the opposite of the easy, decadent living that western Christians have known and enjoyed for hundreds of years … the very same which many Christians are apparently willing to torture and kill other people in order to preserve.

And I regret to say that if these horrible difficult times for the church were to occur any time soon, I have no idea how I would stand a chance! I would be one of the very first to be captured trying to run away! Why? Because like a heavily disproportionate number of evangelical or fundamentalist Christians from the deep south, my health is in terrible shape. Now a few short years ago God miraculously preserved my health by instantly healing my worsening asthma as well as damage to my kidneys caused by my longtime overuse of over the counter asthma medicine. But this is the thing: the need to manage my asthma was my primary motivation for at least trying to keep my weight down. With that sole restraint out of the way, I have now ballooned to about 75 pounds more than I was when I was unloading trucks for a living!

For the longest, I have been deluding myself as to the true seriousness of my physical condition, brought on by the sins of gluttony and sloth (as well as my love for red meat, eggs, cheese, and soft drinks!) but now my eyes are opened. It happened just recently, as my frustration with the messages in my children’s television shows reached the tipping point (specifically the homosexual pagan lemur character in “Penguins of Madagascar” … the person who originally did the voice for this character in the movie versions was Jesus Christ hating Sacha Baron Cohen of the movie “Bruno” … need I say more?) and I decided that the entertainment for my children was going to (as much as possible) be “the great outdoors” as opposed to Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and Disney. Hiking, fishing, exploring … I was even considering challenging my long-held aversion to (fear of!) camping and swimming. And no, I am not ashamed to acknowledge that the idea that Christians JUST MAY NEED SURVIVAL SKILLS motivated me just a little.

Then I was confronted with cold, hard reality. My very first trip to a local park with this nice little mountain trail, made very easy and accessible for THE ELDERLY left me huffing, puffing and sweating (but thank God no wheezing or any other asthma symptoms whatsoever … again the asthma is gone praise be to Jesus Christ, and no I didn’t “grow out of it” but it was the worst that it had ever been right up to the home prayer session that me and my family had!) after 20 minutes. My kids and I had gone MAYBE a quarter of a mile. They were having a great time looking at birds, trees, and the mountain (which is actually a hill, but don’t tell the locals that!) but they had to leave because their old man couldn’t keep up with them! Now I continued lying to myself, thinking “this is nothing that a few trips on the treadmill won’t fix” while driving myself to yet another fast food restaurant. But the very next trip, to a park with a small waterfall, their excellent time was cut short by my physical limitations. So, three thoughts popped into my head.

A) I was actually in much better shape when I had asthma. Even if I did have to take a few puffs of my inhaler from time to time, I was actually capable of walking all day. Now, I can barely walk for 30 minutes! For my to practically reject God’s gracious and merciful healing of my body by allowing myself to get in such poor physical condition that I cannot realize the benefits of the blessing is a terrible commentary on my spiritual (not physical but spiritual!) condition. I recall the man that Jesus Christ healed to whom Christ said “stop sinning or else something worse will come upon you.” Well, anyone needing evidence that gluttony (both eating too much and eating the wrong things) and sloth are sins only need to look at my person, for again I am actually in worse condition than I was when I had asthma. Paul Washer regularly mentions how so many Christians are killing themselves with our eating and exercise habits, and it appears that he was talking directly to me!
B) I was thinking “wow, if U.N. secretary general/global leader were to give the ’round up all Bible believing Christians’ order, I wouldn’t even be able to grab my kids and make it to the car, let alone run up the side of some mountain!” Begging the indulgence of all amillennialists and preterists, remember Matthew 24 when Jesus Christ said “escape to the mountains!” when the time of sorrows comes? I am too fat and out of shape to comply with that commandment!
C) Also, without even needing some endtimes scenario, I realized that it would have merely taken our being pursued by some desperate criminal or some rabid raccoon (or any emergency which would have required my grabbing my children and carrying them while outrunning something or someone somewhere) to expose how reckless and irresponsible I have been with my health and in this way would not be able to fulfill the physical requirements of being the steward, the head of my family as the Bible requires.

And yes, I also recall having read this book on evangelism whose author stated that overweight evangelists, missionaries, pastors etc. are often not taken seriously, especially in areas of the country and world where physical fitness, by the people that they are attempting to minister to. So, I am immediately going to start incorporating diet and exercise as part of my personal approach to Christian living. If nothing else, it would exhibit wisdom and self-control, and against such things there is no law!

P.S. No, this is not an endorsement of the “health” portion of the prosperity doctrine. Nor do I endorse the increasingly common practice of churches calling themselves “family life” or “whole person” centers and building fitness centers and doing things like offering dance aerobics (to gospel music of course!). Just as 1 Corinthians 11:34 says “if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation” then it follows that we should do our EXERCISING at home (or at least at someplace other than church!) also. After all, if going to go to church to lose weight, who is going to evangelize the overweight people that go to the gyms?

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Atheists offer to care for Christians’ pets after the Rapture

Posted by Job on August 29, 2009

Well, prominent rapture advocate Jack Van Impe claims that our pets will be with us in heaven, but this is still strange nonetheless. From Sermon Audio:

Atheists offer to care for Christians’ pets after the Rapture

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How Does Premillennial Dispensationalism And Covenant Theology Interpret The Parable of the Tenants In The Vineyard Matthew 21:33-44?

Posted by Job on August 26, 2009

The parable of the tenants of the vineyard of Jesus Christ is as follows.

Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

The Word of God for the people of God, praise be to God.

Now, this is a parable that should cause trouble to both covenant theology and premillennial dispensationalism. First, regarding covenant theology “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” has to point to a clear distinction, a clear demarcation between Israel and the church. Further, the fact that there were 12 apostles does so as well. The 12 apostles clearly supplant the original 12 tribes of Israel. It is the apostles and prophets that are called the foundation of the church, not the patriarchs of the 12 tribes, and even Moses is only included in the church’s foundation inasmuch as he is a prophet. Further, when Jesus Christ stated that he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist, whom Jesus Christ called the greatest of prophets (meaning greater than Moses) then the church age prophets would have been greater than the Old Testament prophets. Now, it is true that there is one people of God; one elect people, and further that everyone in this elect group was justified by the work of Jesus Christ. However, this group does not only include Israel and the church. It also includes Seth, Enoch, Noah, Job, Melchizedek, Jethro/Reuel, the Queen of Sheba, and many others that cannot be called “Israel” in any sense. Just as Job and the Queen of Sheba were most certainly not Israelites, having no part in the Sinai covenant or Abraham’s lineage, the Israelites are certainly not part of the church. Also: the Bible makes it clear that everyone who is in the universal, invisible church, the actual body of Christ, is born again and thus heaven bound. It is self-evident from scripture that every Israelite was not and is not heaven bound. Yet, covenant theology maintains that “Israel was the church of the Old Testament” because covenant theology was created to support the concept of the state-church where everyone in a given jurisdiction was initiated into by paedobaptism (infant baptism) as opposed to a confession of faith and subsequent believer’s baptism (which is the method that the Bible actually commands and gives examples of whereas there is not a single instance of paedobaptism recorded or commanded in scripture despite the best attempts of paedobaptists to claim that the command “believe and be baptized and you will be saved, you and your house” to the Philippian jailer justifies this doctrine, ignoring the critical “believe” portion of the formula which precludes sprinkling babies) and state church advocates openly acknowledged that not everyone in these churches was born again, that only the ecclesiola within the ecclesia (the hidden invisible smaller subset within the larger church) was going to heaven. Keep in mind: there was never any denial that the state church was one where people were joined to by compulsion (with death or banishment to those who refused) and was maintained not for political purposes but because of the belief that a single religion was necessary for political and cultural unity and stability, not for religious reasons. So, with the need to maintain such political-religious institutions, the notion that baptizing unregenerate and non-elect infants into the church was the same as circumcising non-elect Jews under the old covenant was a natural progression. However, once one actually obeys James 4, Romans 12:1-2, John 14-17 and learns from the typology of the sacrificial system (where it wasn’t even lawful to use tools to cut the stones for the altar or else the altar would be rendered ritually impure by the tools and the hands that used them … the seed of the “by the gracious work of God and not the works of men” doctrine) and removes the holy sanctified church from the unholy and defiled state and larger society, the whole “Israel is the church of the Old Testament” idea falls apart, and the concept of the theocracized government and culture with it.

Now for premillennial dispensationalism. The first servant rejected by the tenants was Moses, which happened when Israel refused to enter Canaan, choosing to believe the evil report over the good report of Joshua and Caleb. The second servant rejected by the tenants was Samuel when Israel asked for a king. Then Israel – or at least the northern kingdom – rejected the line of David. The subsequent servants rejected were the prophets who warned Israel of their apostasy and called them to repent, but ultimately were not heeded. And finally, Israel rejected the Son Jesus Christ. Now a key here is this portion: “When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.” Please note that while Jesus Christ did not emphasize their interpretation, He did not deny it either. Rather, He assented to it, and moved on to the main point that He was trying to make. Yet the Holy Spirit inspired Matthew to recall and include this answer – which was in no way wrong – for a reason. The destruction of the wicked men who rejected the Son of God was a reference to the destruction of the Jewish temple and the nation in 70 A.D., a topic that Jesus Christ gave more detailed attention to in the Olivet discourse. (While I am not a preterist – whether partial or full – this is the portion of “this generation” of Matthew 24:34 and similar that was fulfilled in 70 A.D. Of the range of meanings of “genea”, it cannot mean “nation or race” for the Jewish nation will never be destroyed, and whether it means “age” or “generation” is of no consequence, as the Jewish age did come to an end at 70 A.D., and it happened within that generation, the people living in that time.)

And this brings us back to “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” What of the premillennial dispensationalists calling “replacement theology” an evil, anti-Semitic heresy? Who was the kingdom of God taken from but the Jews? Who was it given to but the church? In particular, this is a problem for the premillennial dispensational “Jewish millennium” doctrines, which states that after the church age ends, a newer, better Jewish age will begin with Jesus Christ ruling from the Jewish temple, the sacrificial system and priesthood reinstituted (which completely rejects or ignores virtually everything in the book of Hebrews), and all nations and people serving Israel. If the kingdom of God was taken from Israel, then the millennium will not be Jewish but Christian, and Jews will participate only inasmuch as they become Christians and join the church.

Premillennial dispensationalism, however, rejects this and states that the millennium will be one of Messianic Judaism (or what Messianic Judaism is fast becoming, see exhibit 1 and exhibit A, exhibit B and exhibit C and exhibit D and many more!) and not Christianity hence the true Messianic age. In that case, what does that make the church age? A type or foreshadowing of the Messianic dispensation? If that is true, what does that make Old Testament Israel? Premillennial dispensationalism makes Israel the center of God’s salvation-historic plan, and the church goes from the mystery planned but kept secret from the foundation of the world that the prophets spoke of whose true nature will not be revealed until the seventh trump sounds in Revelation to being a “make-work keep busy project” between the two Israel ages, and Christianity becomes an inferior and temporary – though suitable for Gentile purposes – form of the true eternal revelation and religion, which is Judaism. This rejects even the Suffering Servant songs of Isaiah, which states that rather than Israel being the center of God’s salvation-historic plan, the purpose and role of Israel in redemption was transferred to the Son of Israel Jesus Christ, which in these days is accomplished by the Body of Jesus Christ, which is the church.

Now of course, Paul the Benjamite did say that God has not cast aside His people and that all Israel will be saved after the times of the Gentiles are done. However, a contextual reading of Romans (and everything else that Paul wrote, not to mention everything else that Peter, James, John, Luke, Jude, the writer of Hebrews etc. wrote) makes it clear that all Israel will be saved by virtue of hearing the gospel, which means that all Israel joins the Gentiles in the church to form one new man. Premillennial dispensationalism does give a plausible explanation for why the millennium will be a Jewish one: the church will have been raptured. This allows premillennial dispensationalism to interpret the Kingdom of Heaven parables to refer to the Jewish nation during the millennium as opposed to the church age. (Seriously, that is what this system teaches. So, “the pearl of great price” under this system does not refer to either a man giving up everything – his old nature – to become saved or Jesus Christ’s lowering Himself and going to the cross to redeem the church, but rather the Jewish remnant during the great tribulation.) So, while it is possible that Paul’s prophecy “all Israel will be saved” will occur during the millennium, the idea that it will happen with the restoration of the Jewish kingdom directly conflicts with Jesus Christ’s statement that the kingdom was taken from the Jews and given to another nation (the church) and its fruits. Indeed, “all Israel shall be saved” will be counted as the fruits of the church.

The bottom line: Jesus Christ specifically stated that the kingdom was transferred from the Jews to the church, and this message was modeled by His choosing 12 apostles to replace the original 12 patriarchs of Israel, and it was repeated by the writers of the New Testament. Though the Bible does say “all Israel will be saved”, at no point does it say that the kingdom (meaning the focus of God’s economy, the people of God, the people that give God prayer, worship and praise that He accepts, and the people that God works through to carry out His purposes) would be transferred back to Israel. No scripture text that can be interpreted as claiming that the kingdom would revert from the church back to Israel can be found in either the Old or the New Testament, and no doctrine based on scripture can be formed to even explain why this will have to take place. Now the kingdom was taken from Israel first for their breaking the Sinai covenant terms in Deuteronomy (read first where Deuteronomy predicts that this will happen, and second where Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and other prophets state that the old covenant was broken and will be replaced) and second for their rejecting Jesus Christ. The new covenant will not be broken and the church will not and cannot reject Jesus Christ because of A) the promises of the new covenant and B) the church is Jesus Christ’s own Body and as such is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and God the Father, and no part of the Godhead can reject or be divided against Himself. So, the only way that the kingdom of God can revert back from the church to the Jews is the rapture of the church. With the church out of the picture (meaning out of the way) things can simply revert back to how they were in the Old Testament, right? Pardon me, but that would mean rejecting the cosmic effects of the incarnation, the cross of Jesus Christ, and the resurrection. Like time itself, salvation history only goes forward, it cannot go back. Moreover, the book of Hebrews describes the ultimate relevation of God to be through Jesus Christ by way of His incarnation, cross work, resurrection, and return. Premillennial dispensationalism makes the salvation of Israel during a second age of grace the ultimate revelation of God, and removes Jesus Christ’s own Body in order to facilitate it!

It really is no surprise that premillennial dispensationalism is so attractive to Messianic Jews who want to retain the essentials of their old system. It treats the church age as just an interstitial intermediary between the first Jewish age and the second Jewish age, and further one that happened not because it was God’s plan and the climax of His salvation plan all along, but only as punishment for the Jews for first failing to keep the Torah and second for failing to accept Jesus Christ. Once these errors are atoned for, things go right back to where they should have been all along! Further, premillennial dispensationalism re-instates the wrongheaded ideas about the millennium/Messianic age that Jesus Christ corrected! This is probably the one good point that the amillennialists do make: that the Jews in the time of Jesus Christ were expecting a political liberator and ruler who would usher in the Messianic age and institute a global Jewish theocracy and a time primarily for the benefit of Jews, not the God-man Saviour who would usher in an age of grace for the benefit of all nations. The Jewish religion still teaches the error of the Pharisees and Sadducees to this day, and premillennial dispensationalism – which includes most strands of Messianic Judaism – tells them that they are right about everything save the timing.

The core of premillennial dispensationalism is that God ceases dealing with His temporary vehicle the church and begins dealing with the Jews anew. However, unless premillennial dispensationalists can identify a part two of the parable of the tenants that describes when this will happen (and more importantly, how and why such a thing will happen in a manner that makes it consistent with New Testament doctrines and promises) this area of their doctrine is Biblically unjustified. Premillennial dispensationalism teaches that their doctrines concerning the millennium allows for the fulfillment of all the promises made to Abraham, David and Israel under the old covenant. However, in order to accomplish this, their doctrines require breaking the promises made to the church under the new covenant!

So, just as the parable of the tenants is very problematic for covenant theology by declaring an explicit distinction between the church and Israel, it is even more so for premillennial dispensationalism by explicitly proclaiming that with regards to their place in God’s economy, just as the the second temple could not match the glory of the first (for it did not include the ark of the covenant with the rod that budded or the tablets of the law), for the Jews the former things are no more, and their only place in the latter things (which are greater than the former because the latter is founded on better promises, bought with the Blood of Jesus Christ and hence incorruptible) will be inasmuch as their place is found alongside the redeemed and grafted in Gentiles in the church.

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Amillennialism 11: The Rapture

Posted by Job on April 15, 2009

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The Origins And Danger Of The Rapture Doctrine

Posted by Job on October 7, 2008

Secrets Revealed; The Mystical Rapture Cult and Its World-wide Power and Dominion

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Hebrews 9:28 Says Jesus Christ Will Only Return ONCE. What Does That Mean For THE RAPTURE And The Endtimes?

Posted by Job on August 2, 2008

Hebrews 9:28

King James Version: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

NASB: so Christ also, having been (A)offered once to (B)bear the sins of many, will appear (C)a second time for (D)salvation (E)without reference to sin, to those who (F)eagerly await Him.

ESV: so Christ, having been offered once(A) to bear the sins of(B) many, will appear(C) a second time,(D) not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly(E) waiting for him.

YLT: so also the Christ, once having been offered to bear the sins of many, a second time, apart from a sin-offering, shall appear, to those waiting for him — to salvation!

There is a bit of context in the book of Hebrews which along with this verse states that after His ascension to heaven, Jesus Christ took His seat on the right hand of the Father where He serves as the Advocate and Intercessor for God’s elect. Jesus Christ will leave the Father’s side ONCE AND ONLY ONCE: on the day of the Lord. Some say that the day of the Lord precedes Jesus Christ’s millennial reign, amillennialists say that the millennium is now with Christ ruling the earth and the rest of creation from heaven, and that Christ’s singular return will come at the final resurrection prior to the great white throne judgment. The debate between post – tribulation (or post – wrath) premillinnialists and amillennialists is one for another time and place. In this instance, let me state that both groups would tend to interpret Hebrews 9:28 and the scriptures influencing it correctly: that Jesus Christ will only return once.

Please note how Hebrews 9:28 makes a direct correlation between Jesus Christ’s being sacrificed once and His returning once. In that light, people who allege that Jesus Christ will return more than once are all but claiming that Jesus Christ’s work on the cross was insufficient. Such people may not directly claim that Jesus Christ needs to die on the cross and redeem creation a second time, but as Hebrews 9:28 clearly correlates Christ’s one death to Christ’s one return, suggesting that Christ will return multiple times does directly infer that Jesus Christ’s work on the cross did not quite get the job done, and that other things – other works – must yet be done to redeem God’s elect and through the elect all creation. And who will do these works? God the Father? God the Son? God the Holy Spirit? OR WILL MAN DO THESE WORKS? It is a question that those who believe in endtimes doctrines that require multiple returns of Jesus Christ must answer. 

If anyone wishes to comment, I would ask that they first follow and read the link below, which presents endtimes comparisons in an easily understood, quickly read, and unbiased table format, before doing so. 

Comparison Of Four Eschatological Positions

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The Truth About The Rapture: Its Significance And World Control

Posted by Job on July 22, 2008

From Joeland7s Sword of Truth site.

(My failure to properly credit this initially was a MAJOR ERROR on my part … will do my best to prevent it from happening again.)

The rapture theory is not Biblical and was founded as an Anti-Reformation tool of the Catholic Church. The purpose of the rapture theory was to destroy the reformation or control protestantism, recapture the Holy Land and establish the New Word Order and the One world government.

Barbara Rossing said in her book The Rapture Racket,

” the Rapture is a fraud of monumental proportions, as well as a disturbing way to instill fear in people.

“Whether prescribing a violent script for Israel or survivalism in the United States, this theology distorts God’s vision for the world,” Rossing writes. “In place of healing, the Rapture proclaims escape. In place of Jesus’s blessing of peacemaking, the Rapture voyeuristically glorifies violence and war …. This theology is not biblical. We are not Raptured off the earth, nor is God.

Where did the rapture theory originate and why?

Reformers such as Luther, Calvin, Huss, Zwingli, Melanchthon, Bullinger and others had identified the Catholic Church as Mystery Babylon in Revelation and the Popes as the Anti-Christ. Millions of sincere Catholics were leaving the mother church and joining the reformation movement.. The church set out to neutralize and destroy the protestant movement.. What they could not do through brute force and the military inquisitions they did through political espionage, spiritual intrigue, and using mind control techniques by secret societies. Most of the books published on the rapture are brainwashing the readers mind. All of the books writen by Tim Lahaye’s, John Hagee, Jack van Impe, Jerry Jenkins , John Walvoord and movies such as the Omega Code and Megiddo are design for mind control. This anti-protestant doctrine is taught in many universities and seminaries such as Dallas Theological Seminary, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southwestern Assemblies of God, Zion Bible College, Moody Bible Institute, Global University, Liberty and Regent University and well as a host of other leading colleges and universities The rapture cult has the largest following than any cult in the US or Europe.

Why were sincere Catholics, priests and monks leaving the Catholic Church.?

People were leaving because of corruptions in the church. If one look at the Babylonian sun worship, and the present Roman Catholic Mass there are many similarities. Baal worship seem to have taken over the Catholic Church. The icon of the virgin mother and child with halos (representing the sun), Mary as the queen of heaven, (Isis – queen of heaven) confessionals, wafer worship, transubstantiation, and priests as exclusive mediators of God were all derived from the Satanic Babylonian religion. Roman Catholicism became a mixture of witchcraft, Judaism, paganism, and perverted Christianity. When this corruptions was exposed by the reformers, Rome was outraged, and staged Holy Inquisitions, design to rid the world of heretics. The Inquisition included torturing and murdering people who didn’t not agree with the Catholic views. Ten of thousands of people were killed and some historians even put the numbers in the millions. Later, in response to the Vatican’s oppressive dogma, Martin Luther, a former Augustinian monk, nailed his 95 theses to the wall of a church in Germany, heralding Protestantism.  The Vatican was shaken as Protestantism spreads rapidly through Europe. In order to stamp out the spiritual rebellion, Pope Paul III ordered Ignatius de Loyola to found the Order of Jesuits, which would act as the intelligentsia and secret militia of the Vatican. Loyola had already founded the occult Illuminati, which he then placed under the umbrella of the Vatican ” Ignatius a Merovingian Jew from Loyola Spain was a member of the Alumbrados before he founded the Illuminati and the Jesuits. The Merovingian Jews claim to be decedents of Jesus and Mary of Magdalene. Thus you have books and movies like DaVinci Code, Prieure de Sion, Passover Plot, Holy Blood Holy Grail, Bloodline of the Holy Grail, being produced and circulated by Hollywood Kabbalist movie studios and publishing houses controlled by the Illuminati. These books are blasphemous teachings design to nullify the true Gospel of Jesus. Many of the Popes, Cardinals, Bishops and Priest were Merovingian Jews whose agenda was to destroy true Christianity and pervert the true gospel.

The Jesuits Oath:

I furthermore promise and declare that I will, when opportunity present, make and wage relentless war, secretly or openly, against all heretics, Protestants and Liberals, as I am directed to do, to extirpate and exterminate them from the face of the whole earth; and that I will spare neither age, sex or condition; and that I will hang, waste, boil, flay, strangle and bury alive these infamous heretics, rip up the stomachs and wombs of their women and crush their infants’ heads against the walls, in order to annihilate forever their execrable race. That when the same cannot be done openly, I will secretly use the poisoned cup, the strangulating cord, the steel of the poniard or the leaden bullet, regardless of the honor, rank, dignity, or authority of the person or persons, whatever may be their condition in life, either public or private, as I at any time may be directed so to do by any agent of the Pope or Superior of the Brotherhood of the Holy Faith, of the Society of Jesus.”

It was when Pope Paul III convened the Council of Trent that the church formally addressed the protestant reformation with edicts, dogmas and doctrines. A disciple of Ignatius, Francisco Ribera came up with a theory that would take the attention off the Pope as being the Anti-Christ and put it on some future individual. This was the beginning of the Rapture doctrine. The Jesuits infiltrated the protestant movement, developed protestant theology, and purposely mis interpreted scriptures relating to Bible prophecy. They also controlled the educational system and bribe and blackmailed governments of Europe and America to promote their agenda. Two other groups that were instrumental the origin and development of the rapture theory were the Knights Templars (Masons) and the Knights of Malta (Knights of Columbus).

Barbara Aho said in her article (The Merovingian Dynasty) “it was also the The avowed objective of the Templars was to protect the Christians who came to visit the Holy Places: their secret objective was the re-building of the Temple of Solomon on the model prophesied by Ezekiel. “This re-building, formally predicted by the Judaizing Mystics of the earlier ages, had become the secret dream of the Patriarchs of the Orient. The Temple of Solomon, re-built and consecrated to the Catholic worship would become, in effect, the Metropolis of the Universe.”

In my up coming blog I will go into more detail about how the Jesuits and the Illuminati set about to implement the Rapture theory to achieve their goal.. Protestant churches, Evangelical seminaries, and bible talking and Bibleprobe preachers like John Hagee, Jack van Impe, Jack Hayford, TD Jakes, Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Pat Robinson, Creflo Dollar, Bishop Charles Blake, Billy Graham, and masons who promote the rapture have been seduced by Jesuits theology and manipulated by the kabbalist practitioners, thus they are part of the world-wide Anti-Christ conspiracy.

If you are reading this document, I strongly suggest you print it out, send it to your friends and family members, because it would be taken off this web site by the workers of the prince of darkness. May the Spirit of God lead you into all truth. God Bless.

THE FALSE GOSPEL OF JOHN HAGEE: CHRISTIAN ZIONISM AND ETHNIC SALVATION–WOLF IN SHEEP CLOTHING

John Hagee Denies Jesus Came as Messiah who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. Now John Hagee, watch this video and see for yourself… 

JOHN HAGEE BY STEVE LUMBLEY OF APOSTASY WATCH One of the credibility gaps with John Hageeare his associations within the Word of Faith Movement as seen in one of our photographs as he is featured along with Jesse Duplantis and Benny Hinn. In this post Steve Lumbley brings you even 


John Hagee’s Dual Covenant Duplicity Part Three If John Hagee really loved the Jewish people he would tell then that the savior they seek was born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. He would tell them that their adherence to the Torah is worthless without a sacrifice. 


Jewwatch Critiques John Hagee’s Heresy Frank Weltner discusses John Hagee’s heresy. Will Christian Zionists listen? Not if they’ve chosen to worship Jews rather than Christ.

Rothschild – NWO – Israel and Masonry

israel today > Word from Jerusalem > Foursquare Church comes to Israel 

HAS REV. SUN MYUNG MOON BROUGHT THE TOP RIGHT-WING EVANGELISTIC …JACK HAYFORD

How much false doctrine or practice does a false religious leader have to exhibit ….. (Catholic) Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore, Jack Hayford

False Prophets & Teachers

The Truth About the Lord’s Day – Saturday (7th day) or Sunday (1st day) TD Jakes Sabbath Sermon Video

Posted in Christianity | Tagged: , | 28 Comments »

Dispensational Pre – Tribulation Rapture Christians Will You Go To The Third Temple In Jerusalem And Pray?

Posted by Job on July 21, 2008

Pre – tribulation rapture dispensationalists are not only anticipating, but in many cases actually actively working to bring about the construction of the third Jewish temple, the recreation of the Levitical Aaronic priesthood, and the re – institution of the sacrifices to take away people’s sins. In this temple, Jews – reflecting the religious pluralism of modern rabbinical or synagogue Judaism – will make sacrifices and prayer intercessions for all people of all faiths, and will invite representatives of all faiths to come pray and worship on their outer court, the court of the Gentiles, which in their view will fulfill the Old Testament prophecies and help establish the Messianic age (paving the way for the coming of their Messiah) by getting more Gentiles to pray to their god and consent to becoming Noachide Gentiles.

Now it is no shock that liberal Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, New Agers, etc. who accept the “many paths to heaven” falsehood of religious pluralism will flock there, and yes this includes the Roman Catholic Church. But the issue is whether dispensational pre – tribulation Christians will as well? Quite frankly, I see no reason why not. The current mindset as exhibited by said Christians that operate in the religious sphere (see popular televangelists), the entertainment sphere (see the books and films which are by no means limited to “Left Behind”, “The Omega Code”, “The Late Great Planet Earth”, etc.), and the political sphere (not just John Hagee and Pat Robertson but Ann Coulter) has basically accepted the idea that Jews and Christians worship the same God. I picked Hagee, Robertson, and Coulter because the former publicly advertises his refusal to proselytize Jews and the latter two told Jewish men on national television that they could get to heaven by faithfully practicing Judaism without accepting Jesus Christ. (Ironically, these very people have no problem consigning liberal Democrat Christians who publicly profess faith in Jesus Christ to the lake of fire, but open up heaven to Jews that reject and revile Jesus Christ.)

Now this is not to say that all or even most of these sorts agree with Hagee, Robertson, and Coulter, and the other fellows who must publicly espouse such beliefs to protect their political and financial interests. Still, if pre – tribulation rapture dispensationalism teaches that Jews and Christians worship the same God and that there is still great spiritual value in Jewish rituals and traditions, and that Christians should take seriously a lot of the things written in the Talmud and such, then why not go to the third temple and pray? Now again, it is one thing to believe that God will never break His promise to Abraham, and to believe the writings of the Benjamite Saul (Paul) in Romans when he stated that God had not cast Israel off. However, it is another thing to totally reject everything else that the New Testament writers (including this same Saul) said about Jews – and everyone else – that reject Jesus Christ.

In other words, it is one thing for God to keep His promises to the biological descendants of Abraham. It is another thing to sit around and pretend that the Jewish religion still has spiritual efficacy, is still pleasing to the sight of God, when the same New Testament that speaks of Jesus Christ called it a shadow of things to come. When even the Old Testament – the book of Jeremiah – spoke of a new and better covenant with the old passing away. Holding that God is honoring two religions according to separate lines of revelation and conflicting truth claims is asserting that God is double – minded, unstable, unreliable, indeed a liar and a charlatan. But that is precisely what supporting the construction of the third temple is claiming. It is based on the notion that Jews and Christians worship the same God, but that the worship of Jews is merely flawed and incomplete. Still, despite their flawed, incomplete worship God still honors it, and will honor their temple as God’s house. And since it is God’s house, it will be perfectly acceptable for Christians to go pray at the Jewish temple. And quite unlike the Benjamite Saul, who suffered great personal sacrifice to visit with and raise and give an offering to the suffering Jerusalem Christians (leading directly to his being arrested I might add!) in the process of going to the Jewish temple to pray the Left Behind folks will ignore all of the impoverished and oppressed Christians – especially the Messianic Jews – in Israel for fear of offending the temple rabbis. Of course, slighting the Jerusalem Christians in this manner would be perfectly fine because they will be raptured up and we will all be together again in heaven, right? So that will make disobeying the book of James all fine and dandy. 

Now maybe I am wrong, but when I hear the Left Behind advocates preach, they really do seem to seldom deal with the epistle to the Hebrews. Take this passage from chapter 7:

11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?  12For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. 13For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. 14For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.  15And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, 16Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. 17For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.  18For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.  19For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.  20And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: 21(For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)  22By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.  23And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:  24But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.  25Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.  26For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;  27Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.  28For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.”

Summary? The Aaronic priesthood is dead, and has been replaced by the priesthood of Jesus Christ. It and things pertaining to it are dead and have no spiritual value, including the rituals and the temple. You might ask why the Jerusalem Jewish Christians still went to the temple to pray. Well, THAT temple was God’s house because GOD told the Jews to build it during the time that God was still dealing with the Jews as His unique people that He was using to accomplish His purposes in the world and revealing things to them through His prophets. So not only did the Jewish Christians worship in that temple, but Jesus Christ did Himself for that temple was God’s house built by God’s people. Hebrews 1:1 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets” … it was in times past that He through the prophets told His people to build the second temple. But the new temple will be constructed by people that have REJECTED GOD when He came in the flesh as Jesus Christ. Hebrews 1:2 “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.

Look, even if you could show me where Jesus Christ ever told the Jews to rebuild the temple in scripture – and you cannot – making the claim that their rebuilding the temple has anything to do with the person that they REJECTED as their Messiah and God is ridiculous. It is equally ridiculous to claim that their building the temple has anything to do with Revelation, the eschatological writings of Paul, or the CHRISTIAN interpretations of the writings of the Jewish prophets. No, their rebuilding the temple HAS NOTHING TO DO with anything that Jesus Christ said or that followers of Jesus Christ believe. We must remember that while it is true that these people have not been cast away, but they are still – as Saul stated – spiritually blind, and as such are doing not the things of God but rather following the contents of their own hearts. As a result, the new temple will not be a place fit for a Christian to go pray and worship. Why? Because this temple will be an abomination produced by those determined to defy and reject Jesus Christ. So how can Christians participate in this worship or support it in any way without being participants in the desolation of abomination? 

Further, let us go back to Hebrews, which was a warning to Jewish Christians in danger of reverting to Judaism and rejecting the uniqueness and exclusivity of Jesus Christ as expressed in Hebrews 6:1-8. 

1Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,  2Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.  3And this will we do, if God permit.  4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,  5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,  6If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame7For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:  8But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

Interpretation: for a Christian to pretend that there is spiritual value in the Aaronic priesthood and things pertaining to it is for a Christian to run the risk of an apostasy for which there is no coming back; a sin unto death. My position has been and is that Christians who are going after these prosperity doctrines trying to receive blessings under the old covenant and making no effort to understand or mature in what is available to them under the new covenant are playing with hell fire. The book of Hebrews is all about enduring to the end. Take 3:12-19, which reads “12Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; 15While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. 16For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 18And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? 19So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”

The doctrine of perseverance of the saints promises that the born again will endure to the end. However, the ministry of the Holy Spirit in this area is hindered in Christians that insist on forsaking the new covenant – the covenant under which terms the Holy Spirit is operating at present – in order to go try to practice Judaism, of people who are trying to mix the priesthood of Jesus Christ with the priesthood of Aaron in their doctrine and practice. Hebrews says that people who do this never learn through sound Christian living right from wrong, and as such never attain spiritual maturity, but instead remain spiritual babies. Why? Because it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit that matures a Christian, and resisting the Holy Spirit by going back to the old covenant resists that ministry. And again, since it is the mature Christians that will endure to the end, again Christians that are content to play games in this area are playing with hell fire. This is true whether you are a prosperity doctrine Christian or a Christian that is conferring righteousness on the practices and institutions of those that have rejected the Jesus Christ priesthood in order to keep the dead Aaronic priesthood going because of your own endtimes doctrines and hopes. 

If chasing after old covenant blessings with the prosperity doctrine is playing with hell fire, I cannot see how going to the third temple to pray does not violate Hebrews 3:12-19. That is why I have real problems with what some Messianic Jews are advocating. It is one thing for them to advocate that Christians keep Passover, the Sabbath, the feasts, etc. in full view of how these observances typologically represent Jesus Christ, were fulfilled by Jesus Christ, and are only being done in remembrance of and in worship of Jesus Christ. In other words, so long as they know and teach that doing these things apart from Jesus Christ is not only meaningless but evil and spiritually harmful, and also teach that if a person has Jesus Christ then he has no need to do these things but should only practice them if he wants to (again, the message of Saul the Jew in Colossians 2:16) then that person is fine. But I often see Messianic Jews referring to and promoting teachings from the Talmud and other books written after the period of revelation to non – Christian Jews had ended by hard – hearted people that rejected the Holy Spirit. Some of the things in the Talmud are 100% true. But some of it is only 50% true (or more or less), and some of it is 100% lie. How can we tell which is which? The answer: we cannot. So why use it? Mixing Jewish tradition with the Bible really is no different from mixing Roman Catholic tradition with the Bible. If it is not infallible, the final authority, inspired, unchanging, and without contradiction or inconsistency, what good is it for use in instruction and doctrine? Claiming that 2 Timothy 3:16 only acts to give authority to scripture while not also invalidating the traditions and doctrines of men is the same trick that Roman Catholics use. If we are not going to accept that nonsense from Roman Catholics who at least PRETEND to accept Jesus Christ, why would we pay respect to the interpretations and doctrines of people who are brazen and open in their rejection of Him? 

Just yesterday on a Christian television network, I saw a Messianic Jewish program showing devout people kissing, crying, and praying at the wailing wall. What is the wailing wall? It is alleged to be the last surviving remains of the Jewish temple. (Yes, I do say ALLEGED because the synoptic gospels assert Jesus Christ’s prophecy that nothing of the temple would be left standing in Matthew 24:2Mark 13:2Luke 21:6). By showing AND PROMOTING Christians and Messianic Jews worshiping not with each other in churches, homes, prisons, and Messianic synagogues but with rabbinic Jews at the alleged remains of what Jesus Christ said would be destroyed according to the provident will of the Father … I cannot see how many Christians would NOT be influenced to take a sojourn to Jerusalem and pray at the third temple and thereby risk apostasy. It is good to know that not all Messianic Jews support this madness: this is a post from a Messianic Jew that takes Hebrews seriously. But sadly, fellows like this are not among the ones that you see represented on Christian television.

Make no mistake, I do believe that there will be a literal third temple, and that a literal anti – Christ will enter into it halfway through the great tribulation, and an abomination of desolation will take place in the temple when the anti – Christ declares himself to be God. But Christians should realize that the third temple will be an abomination in and of itself; the last and greatest attempt by mankind to deny the existence of the priesthood of Jesus Christ and erect a false human priesthood in its place. As a result, unlike the people that defiled and desecrated the first two temples in the past, the anti – Christ will feel right at home in the third temple made by the L’oammi (not my people, see Hosea). Really, the third temple will be nothing more than A SECOND TOWER OF BABEL! So, pre – tribulation rapture Christian, if you think that you can go pray at the tower of Babel without committing apostasy, you had better think again. Or better yet, go home and read your book of Hebrews.

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