Does Bill Gates want Depopulation through vaccines and health care?

A FB friend posted a snippet of a 2010 Bill Gates’ speech, “Innovating to Zero”, where Gates essentially outlined what he believed are grave environment problems that will guarantee cataclysmic results. He specifically referenced global warming through greenhouse gas emissions as the main culprit. One of his methods to reduce C02 is through global Population (P in the equation below) reduction. Though I have serious issues with Gates’ alarmist environmental claims (which I dealt with in a prior blog), my intent here is to focus on one particular facet of a statement which I shall quote in a moment. 
Because the amount of CO2 emitted correlates to world population (with developed countries emitting far more of the environmental load), Gates briefly mentioned ways to reduce the projected world population (currently at 6.8B headed to 9B), including “reproductive health services” i.e. abortion and contraception, and also the vaccine initiatives. Following is the exact quote from the lecture. 

“Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we lower that [the population] by perhaps 10 or 15 percent”. (article HERE, video below) 

Did you catch that? One can certainly understand how abortion and contraception lower world population, but how in the world can new vaccines and better health services also shrink population. Aren’t vaccines designed to prevent disease? 
Well, not according to the way Natural News and the many other conspiratorial-minded websites, interpreted Gates’ intentions. Natural News reposted just the first 3 minutes of the 30-minute lecture and changed the title to, Bill Gates Wants Depopulation Through Vaccines and Health Care.” And off they went with their NWO (New World Order) diatribe accusingdavos_bill_gates-jpeg Mr. Microsoft of plotting to wipe out millions. But is that truly what Gates meant by the above statement? Even if that was his intent, would he be so brazen to telegraph his diabolical plan to kill off half the world? 
Though I couldn’t disagree with Gates more on his bogus global warming assertions, and I despise (is that a harsh enough word?) his pro-abortion initiatives, anyone with a modicum of common sense should have known that Gates, in that 2010 speech, was not talking about euthanizing large population centers with some sort of killer drug disguised as a vaccine. Talk about confirmation bias!

Admittedly, though he sounded a bit like Mr. Hyde with some severely demented logic, he was essentially saying that reducing infant deaths by using vaccines and providing better health care, reduces a family’s fears of losing their children through disease. Therefore, he argued, that they’re not as apt to have as many children to compensate for the expected infant deaths. And given the following stats, one need not wonder why. 

  • Diphtheria–760,000 deaths
  • Hepatitis B–12,700,000 deaths
  • Measles–96,700,000 deaths
  • Meningitis-21,900,000 deaths
  • Polio–130,000 deaths (and who knows how many permanently crippled)
  • Smallpox–400,000,000 deaths (yes, 400 million)
  • Tetanus–37,000,000 deaths
  • Whooping cough–38,100,000 deaths
Gates wrote in his 2009 Annual Letter, that a surprising but critical fact [is] that reducing the number of [infant] deaths actually reduces population growth.”
He continued by explaining the theory that “parents will have more children when infant mortality is high, so as to ensure that several children will survive to take care of them as they grow old.”
Furthering that argument in a 2008 CNN interview, he said, “If you improve health in a society … surprisingly, population growth goes down. And that’s because a parent needs to have some children survive into adulthood to take care of them when they’re old. And so, if they think having six children is what they need to do to have at least two survive, that’s what they’ll do. And amazingly, across the entire world, as health improves, then the population growth actually is reduced.”
If Natural News had done a simple internet search or called the Gates Foundation directly, they would have preempted this false accusation. And if my friend would have done the same, it would have saved them the embarrassment of propagating a falsehood. One has to wonder if Natural News chose to close their eyes or if they simply wanted to believe the lie since it confirmed their bias against the nefarious “they”. This kind of bogus reporting, which seems all too typical of Natural News and similar conspiratorial “watchdog” organizations, makes the many Christians who share their blogs look rather foolish. But this raises the wider question about vaccines. Are they as dangerous, and are they’re makers as evil as they’re made out to be. 
Consider the fact that Small Pox, Polio, and Influenza have killed and crippled hundreds of millions. Do Natural News and the anti-vaxers really want to return to those days? It has been estimated that nearly 1.7 billion people have died from infectious diseases. Though Dr. Mercola points out that the Gates Foundation vaccination programs are not necessarily what malnourished, dehydrated, children living in squalor, need, vilifying Bill Gates as some sort of a sociopathic monster waging a murderous population control campaign through the use of vaccines, is libelous and irresponsible. Natural News and others who spread this disinformation ought to be ashamed of themselves.

If we don’t do a better job of holding these kinds of organizations accountable, we’re going to continue to look like fools to the world… and not for the right reasons. And the Gospel’s proliferation will be compromised simply because too many Christians are passing along these errant stories lessening our credible by the day.
In closing, let me leave you with some food for thought about vaccines. I apologize in advance for the occasional foul language in the following video, but I offer it to you to dispel some of the anti-vaccine rhetoric that I continue to hear. In my view, too much of what we take at face value from the alternative medicine community is poorly researched. Though I put little trust in traditional medicine in dealing with cancer and immune disorders, I’ve found that I was throwing too many babies out with the bath water. As Bereans, we tend to disbelieve anything and everything coming out of the establishment, but I have found this to be imprudent. Everything should be studied on a case by case basis. Vaccines are no different than anything else.
Posted in Alex Jones, Conspiracy Theory, Vaccines | Leave a comment

Global Warming, Fact or Fiction?

Global warming is a fact, the polar ice caps are melting and industrialization is the root cause. Well, that’s at least what the “experts” are telling us.  

Is our planet really in a dangerous state of warming precipitated by human activity? Are we truly on an imminent and ominous Armageddon type collision course lest we immediately and resoundingly throttle back our greenhouse gas production? One need only listen to the Paul Revere style rhetoric of Al Gore, John McCain and the true believers in this “climate crisis”, to realize that more than science is fueling this movement. It has reached religious fervor and, according to them, only ignorant neanderthals incapable of objective inquiry and open-mindedness could possibly disagree with their conclusions. The facts, they say, stand decidedly in their corner. 

Listen, I have no ax to grind. I want to be a faithful steward of God’s provision. If we need to alter our behavior to save the planet from calamity, I have no problem making the necessary changes. However, in my view, the interpretation of the facts may not be quite as clear as the climate crisis advocates would have us believe. In the “The Mind-Blowing Truth about Global Warming that Nobody Talks About”, blogger Steven Bancarz makes the following rather insightful observation.

Every single planet in our solar system is experiencing the exact same changes the earth is experiencing.   Uranus, Pluto, Mercury, Mars, you name it.  Global warming is not an effect unique to the earth, but is instead a universal phenomenon that is happening throughout the entire solar system in ways that have been documented by Hubble, NASA, BBC, CNN, and mainstream university professors and scientists all over the world.  Every celestial body in our solar system is undergoing dramatic changes, meaning that global warming on earth would still be happening even if it was uninhabited by humans.”

If you are confused by Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and wonder if the global warming denialists are full of hot air, I highly recommend the following videos. I think you will find that science is not as decidedly on the side of the alarmists as they would have you believe.

One closing word of caution. Though some climate alarmists appear to have an anti-free- market agenda, I don’t think it’s prudent to jump on the conspiratorialist bandwagon as so many are prone to do. Every issue must be weighed individually and should not be linked into some web of NWO (New World Order) conspiratorial fear-mongering dogma. You don’t have to believe that 9/11 was an inside job, that the Sandy Hook massacre and the Boston Marathon bombing were false flag hoaxes, to realize that humans are not the enemy of God’s gracious provision. 

Should we be responsible stewards of the earth? Absolutely! However, the fact remains that global warming and cooling are phenomena which have been cyclical since the creation without regard to human activity. So it seems prudent that we ought not assault industry until we have a far better handle on this issue. And after watching the above videos I think you will find that man-made global warming is anything but a certainty. 
Posted in Conspiracy Theory | Leave a comment

Either Convert them or kill them! Islam or Christianity?

Who recently said, “Either convert them or kill them?” An Islamic terrorist or Cleric, right? It clearly sounds like Middle East rhetoric we’ve heard before, but in this instance, it was a famous Christian duck hunter. 
Phil Robertson seems like a very committed believer. In reading the book, “Duck Commander”, I came away with three thoughts. He really, really, really like to kill ducks (never heard of so many varieties), he’s a very simple man who loathes technology, and he loves the Lord. I believe he and his family are bold and courageous in their willingness to stave off political correctness and speak affirmatively concerning Christian values.  

Recently as a FoxNews contributor, Robertson made the statement regarding ISIS, “Either convert them or kill them.”

In reaction, a FB friend’s repost simply stated, “‘Convert them or kill them.’ Congratulations, Phil, you just taught the philosophy of Islam. I found the ensuing debate rather intriguing and invigorating. Many Christians supported Robertson with a “get them before they get us” mentality, The first response was, “He ain’t wrong when it comes to radical Islam. However, since a conversion is unlikely with these radicals, just save time and go to option 2”. Another posited, “If Christians and “Christian nations” do not bring “liberty and justice” to the world, then who the hell will.” Yet another expressed an entirely different point of view when he simply wrote, “He’s Phil’s Christ”, and then linked the following photo of Jesus holding a 50 caliber machine gun. 

To a wildly cheering crowd, John Hagee (video link) has made similar statements regarding the Palestinians, Muslims and what he regards as the terrorist state of Iran. A number of years ago he proclaimed, “It is time for America to consider a military preemptive strike against Iran to prevent a nuclear holocaust in Israel and a nuclear attack in America.” I refer to this as the Hagee commandment, “Nuke unto others before they nuke unto you.” 
The fellow who posted the Hagee video which included the above quote, wrote, “It’s time for all americans [sic] to rise up and nuck [sic] the terrorists in Iran before they come over here and hop on the Al Ciada naval ships and reign down nuckler terror on America! It’s time to say no to the racists and liberal ku klux klan nazi members like Pat Buchannan and Ron Paul who just want us to roll over and surreder [sic] to the terrorists.”
Though this guy (whom I have a great deal of respect for) could clearly benefit from a little spell check (which in and of itself makes him sound extreme), I don’t find his sentiment all that unusual. Perhaps most are not quite as blatant in their militaristic attitudes, but it appears that he’s clearly not out of the dispensational mainstream. Just watch the Hagee video and take a good look at the crowd as they cheer his war cry. 
At another time, John Hagee and Benny Hinn gathered to pray to lead this nation into war… Though the Hagee ministry eliminated this prayer session from public view based upon “copyright infringement”, it can still be found here: John Hagee With Benny Hinn: Praying For War, In the Name Of Jesus. Certainly doesn’t remind me a whole lot of Jesus’ sermon on the mount’s “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called son of God.” How did we get so far from the prayers for peace? 
But as much as it feeds our sense of justice to hold savages and terrorists to an account, is this a Biblically sanctioned response?  ISIS may be out of control, but to pray for the annihilation of a sovereign nation that has NEVER attacked us (Iran), seems less than prudent. 

The question we must answer is if Hagee’s and Robertson’s message is that of Jesus and the NT authors? Where does “love your enemies” and pray for those who persecute you come into the equation? Every last disciple (and yes, I believe John is included) died martyrs. Stephen didn’t even pick up a rock in self-defense and as he was dying said, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.”  And the one time a disciple attempted to use aggression to thwart the enemies of Christ, Jesus rebuked him and restored the ear of the enemy. 
So are Phil Robertson and John Hagee correct? What should we do? Following is an interview with Semse Aydin, the Christian Widow Who Forgave the men who brutally tortured and murdered her husband and two other missionaries in Turkey

 In closing, please consider the following article, “Phil Robertson preaches Islamic doctrine? Convert or die?, as Joel McDurmon of American Vision weighs in on this debate. He wrote, “While Robertson’s sentiment resonates with a lot of people, especially conservatives stirred to outrage by gruesome videos of alleged beheadings and alleged threats to “America,” we must step back for a moment and check our reaction. 
On the surface of this quotation, Robertson’s response is little more than the doctrine of the very Islamic “thugs on steroids” he would confront. “Convert them or kill them,” is no different than the classic Islamic battle cry: “convert or die!” Is this really the response Christians should have? Is this what the Bible teaches? Is this even what the allegedly harsh and outdated Old Testament ethics for war would prescribe? No, it is not.
Posted in Israel, Zionism | Leave a comment

The earth shall SOON dissolve like snow?

One of my all-time favorite songs, John Newton’s 1772 “Amazing Grace”, contains some of the sweetest words ever written. “I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see”. God’s love, grace, and mercy are truly amazing! 

The healed blind man said it first, one thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:25) A whole new world opened up to him. What a powerful metaphor for our spiritual condition prior to faith in Christ.
As you may be aware, Chris Tomlin’s updated rendition of Amazing Grace (My chains fell off), eliminated the last verse and included the following.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
Will be forever mine.
You are forever mine.
What you may not know is that Chris’ version, though a slight alteration of the one found in most hymnals, was, in fact, a revival of Newton’s original (published in 1779). 

John Newton, 1779, Olney Hymns 
Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believ’d!

Thro’ many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promis’d good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call’d me here below,
Will be forever mine. 

Do you notice the difference between Newton’s original and the one in the hymnal below? 

In the mid-1800s, the verse, “When we’ve been there ten thousand years…” replaced the apocalyptic predictions of Newton. 

With that revelation, two questions immediately sprang to mind.

1. Why was Newton’s “the earth will soon be dissolved like snow” replaced?

2. And why did Chris Tomlin bring it back?
Clearly, Newton believed like so many before him, that the current world conditions at the end of the 18th century signaled the end of the planet. And this point is critical because we continue to repeat his error. There is a doom and gloom atmosphere that pervades today’s Church as it has for the many generations before ours. The church seems to believe the worst about everything. The currency, financial markets, and society as a whole are always assumed to be on a crash course. But given the sordid track record of these doomsayers, should that not at least cause us pause?
Since Newton penned this beloved song so long ago (241 years to be exact), is that perhaps the reason this verse was eventually eliminated? Did someone finally realize that an event can’t be perpetually imminent?  That, since the earth did not dissolve “soon” as Newton expected, it became somewhat of an embarrassment? How long will it be before we stop to realize that something cannot be forever on the verge? 

In a sermon, this Sunday morn, the pastor, in his attempt to explain the imminence of 1 Peter 4:7 (“The end of ALL THINGS is NEAR…”), fell all over himself trying to explain what Peter “really” meant by NEAR (Greek eggizo). Surely Peter didn’t mean that the earth was ABOUT TO dissolve as snow, given the fact that he’d penned these words in the earthly AD 60s, almost 2,000 years ago… slightly less than a GENERATION after Jesus proclaimed, “This GENERATION will not pass away until ALL THESE THINGS take place” (Matt 24:34)? 

Even after reading two verses earlier “…to Him who is READY TO JUDGE the living and the dead” (1 Peter 4:5), the pastor immediately dispelled the notion that Peter, an inspired Apostle, meant exactly what he wrote. After all, the pastor quipped, Peter never said that the end of all things would take place in his GENERATION. 

Do you realize what this dear pastor was arguing? Even though Peter’s teacher, Messiah, friend, and Savior, made that exact statement some 3 decades earlier, simply because Peter didn’t use the word GENERATION, “near” basically meant nothing. I’m sorry, but this kind of logic is, well, not logical. This pastor apparently doesn’t understand the ground he’s giving the atheists and mockers of our day. We need to be prepared to give a defense, and this, in my view, is not it. 

The reason Peter made that and other bold time-sensitive assertions was in direct response to the claims of Jesus Christ. Not only had Jesus said that “ALL THESE THINGS” would take place within a GENERATION of His audience, but He made it abundantly clear that He would return before His disciples finished going through the cities of Israel while a few were still alive. (Matt 10:23; 16:27-28). And, in the Revelation, Jesus at this point (approx AD 62) sitting at the right hand of the Father in full knowledge of the events about to transpire, told John “Things which are to SOON take place…for the TIME IS NEAR.” (Rev 1:1,3)  

So, respectfully, we must not continue to make these kinds of excuses for the Word of God. If we will begin to interpret it in context, we will find out how amazing the Bible really is. 

So why did Tomlin remove the one verse (below) that instills the inevitable, our date with death? I can’t answer that but it is, in my opinion, what our focus should be. Our lives will “soon dissolve as snow”. We are here but for an instant. Our life is but a vapor in the wind. 

For centuries, the millions if not billions who have awaited the return of Jesus, have one thing in common. They have all died. So doesn’t it seem that our focus should be on our life that will eventually fade? How precious is this verse?
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,

A life of joy and peace.
Concerning Newton’s last verse, a blogger wrote, “There will come a time when the “earth will soon dissolve like snow” — melting snow is something that we’ve all seen either in person or remotely. 
This comment is a microcosm of the modern-day problem and is not dissimilar to that which the pastor said this morning. The majority have become so desensitized concerning time (the misinterpretation of 2 Peter 3:8 is at the hub) that they don’t recognize this kind of faulty logic. Do you see it how inane this is? They are saying that there will come a time when the earth will SOON dissolve? Really?  Is that what Newton meant by “the earth will soon dissolve like snow”? Was he ambivalent about the timing of the end? Did he mean that one day in the distant future the earth would SOON dissolve? That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. 
If I tell my wife, “I’ll be there soon, honey,” does that mean that at some future time when I finally decide to leave the office, that I’ll be there soon? Can you imagine what she would say if that was my excuse for not coming home when she expected? How do you think this would sell? “Honey, I only meant that when I left, I would be there shortly.” These are the kinds of ludicrous leaps of logic that arise from having to support a very faulty eschatological system.
It has come to the point where words don’t mean a thing. Christians read the first verse in the Revelation, “…things which MUST take place SHORTLY”, and they are so conditioned to ignore the simplest time-sensitive language that they don’t even consider the impact. I’ve spoken to countless folks who have engaged in rather extensive Bible studies on the book of Revelation, and when I ask them what “must take place shortly” means they look at me almost incredulously as if to say, “We all know that shortly can mean thousands of years.” 
The reality is that John Newton, however well-intentioned, joined the long list of false prophets when he wrote, “The earth will soon dissolve like snow, the sun forbear to shine.” 
So why then did Chris Tomlin bring that verse back? 

Perhaps he was motivated by his eschatological presupposition? In my view, Chris made the same mistake as Newton. No doubt Chris believes, that given the state of affairs today, the earth will in-fact SOON dissolve like snow.
However, I want to know why, when he sings this verse, that he thinks soon actually conveys something that is actually AT HAND? If the inspired NT writers weren’t implying imminence when they used terms like “shortly“, “soon“, “at hand“, “quickly” and “in a very little while“, time becomes totally irrelevant and it would be impossible to hold a prophet accountable. So why would Chris use what has so often been characterized as a Biblically ambiguous term? (for a more comprehensive look at the Biblical usages of imminent language click HERE)

The kind of de-creation apocalyptic verbiage Tomlin brought back (earth dissolving like snow) is found in the Olivet discourse (Matt 24; Mark 13; Luke 21), Peter’s Pentecost sermon (Acts 2) and in the Revelation as the 6th seal is opened (Rev 6). So when were all these cataclysmic events supposed to take place? Written in Approx AD 62, Jesus, through the Angel, told John…
Revelation 1:1-3 (NASB) The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, 2 who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.
So, what’s going on? If the calamitous events Tomlin references were imminent 2,000 years ago but never happened, what makes him think they’ll happen soon? Do you see the problem? The issue is not with God’s faithfulness but rather our understanding of what is referred to as “apocalyptic language“. 
When the Bible refers to this kind of judgment de-creation language like the moon turning into blood, the stars falling from the sky, and the sun ceasing to shine, we need to determine if these prophetic words have EVER spoken of the literal/natural? The answer is, not even once. (for a fuller discussion click HERE) Until we understand the context and genre of apocalyptic language, we will continue to get stuck in the eschatological quagmire. 
So what’s actually going on here? What kind of expectations is Tomlin creating? If you expect the earth to dissolve in the near-term, how will that affect your expectations both in the near-term and long-term? Will it cause any lifestyle changes? Will you begin hoarding food? Will it incline you to become a prepper? Will you see any manifestation of societal degradation as an inevitable sign of the end? If you believe the world is on a crash course toward certain implosion, there’s little chance that you’ll have the necessary resolve to effect transformation for God’s ultimate glory? For the past 50 years “occupy until I come” has been the common refrain. Occupy? Is that truly what Christianity has become? 

The Apostle Paul warned the Corinthians that the “time is short…for the form of this world is passing away” (1 Cor 7:29-31). And because they were nearing the end, what was Paul’s admonition? To remain as they were! “So that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none30 and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; 31 and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it…” So why aren’t Christians heeding this message if they truly believe that we only have a short time left? Why aren’t Christians remaining as we are? Because Paul is most obviously warning the recipients of his letter with no regard whatever to us today? Scripture must be read in context lest we develop some very strange conclusions. 
Chris Tomlin is a gifted songwriter as evidenced by the wonderfully inspiring verse (our chains have fallen off and we truly have been set free!), but the problem is that he’s spreading an eschatological system that is simply not supported by Scriptural. Isn’t it rather audacious to say that soon actually means soon today, but it didn’t mean soon when Peter or Paul wrote it?  

The crux of the matter is that the experts have led us to believe that, when Peter wrote, The end of all things is near that he was referring to the end of the planet. Neither Jesus nor Peter were referring to the physical end of the universe, but instead, the end of the Old Covenant age that was growing old and ready to disappear. (Heb 8:13) Consider the following:

Revelation 6:12-17 (NASB) I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14 The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16 and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” 

If this passage is to be interpreted literally/naturally, do you notice the glaring problem? A dark sun, a blood-red moon, stars crashing onto planet earth, the sky splitting and rolling up while every mountain moves out of its place… and yet people are hiding under rocks? Are you kidding me? What rocks? How in the world could anyone hide under a rock after the entire Milky Way has obliterated our planet? This de-creation language is poetic and symbolic but it was never intended to be taken naturally. Yes, judgment was clearly coming upon the generation of Christ-killers and it was devasting just as Peter and the inspired Bible authors foretold, but not a star fell from the sky. 

If you would like proof that these things happened within the predicted timing (this generation), I highly recommend the following short book with a really long title, “The Destruction of Jerusalem: An Absolute and IrresistibleProof of the Divine Origin of Christianity including a narrative of the calamities which befell the Jews, so far as they tend to verify our Lord’spredictions relative to that event. With a brief description of the city and the temple” written in 1805 by George Peter Holford. With titles so verbose who needs to read the book?  🙂

We have unambiguous historical proof that these events did indeed take place “soon” as Jesus returned with both blessings and cursings. The holy city was destroyed along with the temple that will never be rebuilt. The sun never again shined on the Jewish nation that killed their Messiah as 1.1 million Jews died the most horrific holocaust that nation would ever see.
So the next time you sing this song or any song for that matter, ask yourself if each verse is Biblically supported. If truth matters, it seems that we ought to become more theologically discerning. Music is a simply marvelous venue with which to dispense sound theology, but if it is not theologically sound, the danger is that it can easily escape our filters and become inculcated into our views.

Perhaps “the earth shall soon dissolve like snow” should in-fact be permanently replaced with:

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.
Posted in 2nd Coming, Eschatology | 4 Comments

“Gather around, wait for the sound, the King is coming” – Really?

Why do so many of these otherwise inspiring songs, begin or end with lyrics like, “Gather around, wait for the sound, the King is coming”, or other similar, “Jesus is coming soon” type lyrics? Though these kinds of emotionally charged words of imminent anticipation are guaranteed to tug a crowd’s heartstrings and send them into a frenzy, the question is, how long will it be before we begin to seriously scrutinize the underlying eschatological system that constantly produces these failed expectations?

Few seem to wonder why, if Jesus has been imminently coming for 2,000 years, that He still hasn’t returned. Hope deferred makes the heart grow sick, and right now the sickness of failed expectations is causing too many Christians to question the veracity of the Bible. 

Let me be clear that I truly appreciate groups like Warr Acres and their commitment to Jesus. What frustrates me is that these uplifting songs are tainted with what I believe is poor eschatology. I’ve been hearing “The King is coming” since the early 70s. Matter of fact, James wrote, The coming of the Lord is at hand…the judge is standing at the door”, almost 2,000 years ago. (James 5:8-9)

Seriously, I don’t mean to sound disrespectful, but what do you believe Jesus waiting for? Perhaps, according to some, the complete disintegration of our culture? The decline of the Gospel’s influence? If He’s supposedly waiting for a low point, why didn’t He return before the 16th-century reformation? Or why didn’t he return before the Puritans landed at Plymouth Rock just prior to Christianity’s explosion into the new world? Or why not just after the Civil War when brother killed brother to the tune of 750,000? Or after 100 million died due to WW1 and the Spanish flu pandemic?
The fact is that the world isn’t getting worse in spite of the constant insistence by many Christians who have been misled to believe that the worse things become the closer we are to the return of Christ. I’m sorry, but this is just plain bad eschatology. 
Where is the overcoming nature of the Gospel which is found in the Epistles of John? 
What’s interesting is that, in the midst of our eschatological schizophrenia, we sing songs with the following overcoming type lyrics:

Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God…

Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God…

And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
What can stand against?

Yes, indeed, who can stand against? The reality is that many of us don’t believe a word of it because we believe that the Antichrist-led one-world government is coming, natural disasters are about to increase and world chaos will soon overcome us.  

Until we undergo a rather expansive and systematic eschatological makeover and begin to believe that no one can ever stop the advance of the Gospel, our society will continue to decline and we will continue to blindly sing “Gather around, wait for the sound, the King is coming”. The power of the Gospel is being compromised and this is having a rather chilling effect. 

Perhaps those who say they take the Bible literally will one day take the following verse literally instead of trying to rewrite it to fit their eschatological conclusions. In the meantime, how many more hundreds or even thousands of years before the Church figures out how long a generation is?

(Matthew 24:34Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
For an alternative view that maintains the integrity of God’s Word, consider the following podcast in which the events surrounding the close of the Canon near the end of the age are kept in context. Historical Review (AD 64-66) 
Posted in 2nd Coming, Eschatology | 5 Comments

“We are opposed by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy…” ~ JFK

jfk-speechTake a few moments to listen to this famous John F. Kennedy speech. In it, President Kennedy talks about secret societies, secret oaths, secret proceedings and a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies on covert means to accomplish a grand scheme of world domination.

Questions abound. Was he speaking, as many presume, about the machinations of the infamous New World Order? Were shadow organizations like Skull and Bones, the Bilderbergers and the Illuminati, in JFK’s cross-hairs? Was he assassinated because he was exposing the NWO and it’s shadowy FED Reserve banking system?

Was Kennedy warning us of an impending anti-Christ led one-world government? Many believe that a cabal of rich bankers and megalomaniacs, who are secretly plotting and successfully engineering their plans of world dominion,  were directly responsible for JFK’s assassination. Watch this short video and draw your own conclusions as to whether President Kennedy was warning us of this impending NWO takeover or something else more pertinent at the time. JFK has been heralded as the man who exposed these nefariously intentioned globalists. Listen and decide.

Were you aware (as is pointed out at the end of the video) that this April 21, 1961 speech was actually 2,249 words, not just the 181 words that have been carefully edited to foster the above assumptions? Most are as shocked as I was to find that this speech had nothing whatsoever to do with exposing the Rothschilds, the CFR (Council on Foreign Relations) or any of the aforementioned clandestine players. Kennedy’s actual target? Sorry to disappoint you, but he was speaking of the inherent and imminent threat of Communism as the tensions were being played out in the cold war. Don’t believe me? Then listen to the entire unedited speech (below) – (for the text version click HERE).
When I first became aware of this dirty little secret propagated by conspiratorialists like Alex Jones, Edward G. Griffin, and Texe Marrs, I was really miffed. How dare these agenda-driven provocateurs attempt to dupe us into subscribing blindly to their paranoia at our expense and their financial gain! They’ve created quite a cottage industry. And the sad reality is that truth doesn’t sell nearly like sensationalism. So, since this myth fits neatly into our pre-programmed perceptions of a coming one-world government (promulgated by doom and gloom premillennial eschatology), most never bother to do any fact-checking. Christians have become a rather gullible lot.

So, why is this JFK matter important? Because it is one of the NWO conspiracy theory building blocks. If John F. Kennedy gave his life for the cause which conspiratorialists insist was the case, i.e. opposing the monolithic cabal of international “banksters”, then we, who love freedom, should be compelled to take action in fighting this grandiose beast. However, if JFK was actually speaking of the communist agenda, this changes the landscape a great deal. For context, the following is the entire unedited Waldorf-Astoria Hotel speech delivered on April 21, 1961 speech.

As with most conspiracies, certain things must be believed before other things, less demonstrable (coincidental anomalies), will become convincing. In other words, if the cornerstone of a theory is found to be riddled with major cracks, all the peripheral stones (anomalies) laid neatly atop the foundation can no longer be supported and thus the entire structure collapses. (So it is with most conspiracy theories, especially ones with a massive scope.) 

Once the structure ceases to exist, the stones which appeared to have ominous meaning and purpose as part of the overall framework, become nothing more than random, isolated rocks strewn across the ground. And therefore, the beautiful conspiratorial edifice becomes nothing more than a pile of rather meaningless rubble. Such has been the case with the misuse and abuse of the actions and speeches of JFK. 

What I have found is that most who think that JFK was warning us of an impending world takeover by these shadowy overlords, also subscribe to a host of other conjoined false flag conspiracies like:
1. 9/11 was an inside job
2. The Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax (complete with crisis actors)
3. The Aurora movie theater rampage was a hoax 
4. The Boston Marathon bombing was a hoax (complete with crisis actors and fake blood)

Each of the above events, I am constantly told, were nothing more than false flag operations with the sole intent to turn the populous against our 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. And, over the past 13 years since 9/11, because the government bureaucracy has burgeoned while our freedoms have dwindled (this cannot be disputed), one need not wonder why people have become more suspicious, cynical and easily persuaded that “they” are out to get us.  

So, after coming to the realization that this particular speech, and JFK’s presidency as a whole, was not centered around opposing the international bankers, the FED and all the exclusive organizations that are presumed to further their cause, have your presuppositions been compromised as mine were? I began to wonder how many other pieces of the conspiratorial puzzle may have been similarly manipulated? What other issues have been carefully crafted to cause us to buy into this kind of paranoia? 

Listen, I’m not arguing that conspiracies are always confined to active imaginations, forever ordering facts to fit one’s predetermined paradigm. But what I am saying, is that I think we need to be more diligent to put, not only the establishment to the test, but also those who summarily oppose them. It must not be assumed that just because someone or some group is anti-establishment, that they don’t have agendas clouding reality.  

Following is an interview that I found rather intriguing. Yes, both the interviewer and interviewee are decidedly left-leaning (to some this means among other things, untruthful, – and I reject this broad-brush assumption), but I think they expose an underlying narrative that is controlling the perceptions of many on the far right. These conspiratorial views of a nefarious worldwide cabal of evil Bond villains meld quite nicely with the apocalyptic beliefs of many Christians and because of this, we often scrutinize the building blocks of conspiratorialism far less than we ought. In other words, just because some movement opposes the establishment does not make those who do so decidedly and singularly altruistic. Follow the money and you will find that noted conspiracists (who congeal and coalesce everything into a monolithic agenda) have plenty of profit incentives no less than those they constantly attempt to demonize. 

And, as a footnote, I think there ought to be a distinction between being part of the extreme right-wing and being a Libertarian. Standing for free markets and morality-based capitalism doesn’t mean one must necessarily subscribe to the conspiratorial paranoia. Though many libertarians are deeply embroiled in conspiracism (partly because of their distrust of the establishment), this should not, in my view, be an integral component of Libertarianism. 

The “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” appears to be the script which many of the conspiratorialists like Alex Jones are reading.

I have learned to constantly confront my worldview with competing and opposing worldviews. It’s the only way to remain intellectually honest.
But the tendency is to do the opposite. We want to continually reinforce our beliefs, not challenge them. This produces fertile ground for the propagation of false narratives, basically connecting dots that are, in fact, unrelated. Watching the above video is an example of that process being played out. Though I don’t subscribe to very much of what these men believe, I have come to realize that we can learn a great deal from those with whom we disagree.

For a fuller discussion of this entire JFK issue, click HERE and HERE. The latter of these links deals with many JFK misquotes like the one below. 

Posted in 1967, Conspiracy Theory | 2 Comments

Windows Service Center Phone Scam!!! Beware

I just got a call from the Windows Service Center notifying me that my computer was sending out infected files. Holy Trojan Horse, Batman! 

This chap said he was authorized to stop these viruses from spreading. He said, “Are you at your computer right now?” This kind gentleman was about to relieve me of my viruses, trojans and other dangerous files. “I can take care of it quickly”, he said rather confidently, “Just follow my instructions.”

 It was a Pakistani sounding guy who said his name was Benjamin Watson. When I laughed out loud he said, “Why are you laughing?” I said, “What a coincidence. My name is Habib Patel and I’m from Islamabad”. LoL 
After my continued prying (since at that point I was still a bit dazed and confused) he finally coughed up his phone number which he said proves he’s with the Windows Service Center. (832) 426-2444. So he said, “Go ahead and call that number to verify.” So I said, “What does that prove other than the fact that you have a phone number?” (After I got off the phone, I called the number. After 9 rings, some fellow who sounded like he was in a cave with bin Laden said, “Windows Service Center, can I help you?” See, it was totally legit!!! 🙂 
Then, when I asked him how he got my phone number, he said that it was provided at the time I bought my computer. Everybody signs paperwork, right? So I asked him how he got that information and he told me that it came from Microsoft…because the Windows Service Center is a subsidiary of Microsoft. So he went back to his original script and hammered, “If we don’t get this threat removed immediately, it’s going to jeopardize the use of your computer and will affect countless other computers.” 
Lastly, I asked for his URL. Even novices know what that is, right? He said that he wasn’t authorized to give out that kind of information. He clearly thought it was like a badge number or something. That’s how knowledgeable this scammer was about computers. So I asked for his website and he said they didn’t have one. By this point, confident I was in the throws of an elaborate scam, I said, “Repeat after me. Ohwa — tadger — QR.” Then I proceeded to tell him that I would report this to the FBI. 
After I got off the phone I found the following:
This is the scam in action. Amazing how smooth they are. I have to admit, he had me at least questioning for a while. They basically prove to you that you have some problems with your computer (which EVERY computer does and means very little). Then they get you to go to a legitimate website to download a piece of software that gives them FULL control over your computer. After that, you do that you are DONE and I don’t mean that your problems are over. They have just begun and you are in a world of hurt. 
One of the best scams I’ve witnessed in a long time. Please don’t fall for it! 
*UPDATE: Today (January 23, 2018) I received 4 calls supposedly from Apple Computer. Even the caller ID showed Apple Computer Corp. Of course, it was some Pakistani in a boiler room cranking out the same kind of nonsense as mentioned above. He told me that my Apple ID had been compromised blah, blah blah. So I asked him when he was going to get a real job instead of trying to scam people out of their hard-earned money. Click. 
The bottom line: If you receive a phone call from Microsoft, Apple, the IRS or the Social Security Admin, hang up. They will all contact you by mail if they need to get in touch with you.  
Posted in Scam | 1 Comment

Christian Hope through Fulfilled Bible Prophecy!

Charles Meek, a PCA attendee and founder of the first apologetics website (, has written a very challenging book, “Christian Hope through Fulfilled Bible Prophecy.” After attempting to field a constant barrage of eschatological questions, Charles decided to embark on a thorough study of his own. As noted by his subtitle, “Is Your Church Teaching Error about the Last Days and Second Coming?”, Charles believes that the Church needs an eschatological overhaul. This area has been the church’s Achilles heel for far too long. Charles’ arguments are strong and his commitment to the Bible is even stronger. The link below is a short preamble to this most excellent book.


Does this stuff really matter? Yes, I think it does. I believe Biblical inspiration and God’s perceived faithfulness is unwittingly being compromised by today’s most popular view, and something is severely amiss. Taking a quick look at the abysmal record of the “experts” proves that there are serious issues with the current system. Charles does a formidable job of helping to right the ship while restoring Scriptural credibility.

Posted in 2nd Coming, Eschatology | Leave a comment

Crash of 2014?

(click on the image for a larger view)
This chart says it all. Look at the headlines (you’ll have to click on the above chart for a larger view) that accompanied the 2013 Russell 3000 climb. The bad news was everywhere but look at the results. As they say, even broken clocks are right twice a day.
As 2014 dawned, the market went into a correction mode. Then we trudged through a 6% market correction with the possibility that another of even greater magnitude may be imminent. Who knows. But the point is that we need to listen to reason. Being intimidated by sensational headlines might be hazardous to your health. Being a realist means not ignoring negative signposts. However, that also means that one must take a comprehensive, balanced approach while not making decisions based upon ominous-sounding headlines.
In a recent article, “Crash of 2014: Like 1929, you’ll never hear it coming” (Feb 24, 2014), Paul B. Farrell, in his usual doomsday fashion, sounded the alarm. Could Farrell be right? Sure, even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while. He’s listed a number of financial “experts” who agree that this bull run is over. Soros has apparently doubled down on a serious S&P decline. 

But what happens if Farrell’s fear-mongering comes and goes with no crash? How many trillions will be lost if he’s wrong? All he wants to talk about are funds lost in a crash. He mentions the trillions lost in 2008 and early 2009. But if they hadn’t turned so frightful and stayed invested, they not only wouldn’t have lost but would have been rewarded handsomely.

Will Farrell ever own up to his prognostication if the sky doesn’t fall in 2014? Most of these guys don’t. They just wait in the wings before sounding their next alarm. 

Be careful, be informed, but most of all don’t react emotionally. Fear and greed are not the stuff of sound decisions.

BTW, what happened to the plethora of impending crash predictions over the past twenty-five years? How long have they been predicting the U.S. currency collapse?

Back in 1991, financial guru Larry Burkett, in “The Coming Financial Earthquake“, predicted an imminent financial earthquake? What prompted such a godly, astute man, to make such a faulty prediction, which ended up negatively affecting the lives of untold thousands if not millions? Could the answer be rooted in Burkett’s gloom and doom eschatological presuppositions? The pervading negativity over western Christianity appears out of control. Clearly, we have serious economic problems, but are they truly insurmountable? It’s my view that this infatuation with the end of the world, which many believe is imminent, seems to be causing Christians to lose focus and subconsciously raise the white flag.

JANUARY 2018 UPDATE: After hearing nothing but doom and gloom over the past 4 years (actually it’s been never-ending), things have not panned out quite as badly as has been predicted. By the year-end 2013, the DOW was up 26.3% to a close of 16,576, which was the largest increase since 1995. However, 4 years later, with everybody constantly warning of impending collapse, the DOW is hovering just over 26,000. Who knows how long it will ride, but the fact is that many of the precious-metal doomsayers (many of whom have a vested interest in bear markets) have cost those who have heeded their advice a great deal of money.

Posted in Financial | Leave a comment

Scary market chart signaling another crash?

The above market chart superimposes the 17 months of the DOW Jones as it led up to the 1929 market crash, our most recent 17 months (Feb/2014). The implication? Get the heck out of dodge because the market’s about to crash! 
Have you ever noticed that we’re always about to enter the next great depression? That we’re ever on the verge of a currency collapse? Or that food shortages and massive civil unrest are just a few ticks away? Better start buying guns, ammo, water, freeze-dried foods and stock up on your gold bullion! I never really understood the benefit of having a safe lined with gold during periods of anarchy and societal upheaval. It might be an inflation hedge but it’s not all that nutritious. 🙂  But I digress. 

More false dire predictions from John Paul Jackson

Is this “scary parallel” really a reliable indicator warning us of an  impending epic tidal wave? Is it really that simple to predict the future? If it’s that easy, why bother with all the technical analyses and all the financial mumbo-jumbo just scour these mountain charts and begin predicting away! It’s as easy as 1-2-3. And you thought the amazing Ronco slicer/dicer was cool! 
Ever wonder why the chartster who first recognized this “frightening” similarity, used this particular 17 month time frame? Why not compare the period 24 or 36 months prior to the 1929 precipitous drop? What’s so magical about 17 months? Could it be because the comparisons wouldn’t have been as startlingly similar? Inquiring minds wanna know.
So before jumping off the bridge or cashing in your equities, let’s interject a little common sense into the equation. Consider the following analogy:
Johnny Jones just had a massive, fatal heart attack. Johnny was a 53 year 5’11”, 180lb white male, with a body mass index of 26 and body fat ratio of 20%. All pretty average numbers. So, from this can we successfully predict that every 50-55 year old man with similar stats, is about to die of heart failure? Why not? 
Because we haven’t taken into consideration ANY of the vital internal factors that may have contributed to this man’s demise. Did he have coronary artery disease or a heart defect? How about diabetes? Was his blood pressure abnormally high? Did he routinely get too little sleep? Was he under severe job pressures? How about his relationships? Did he exercise regularly?
These kinds of underlying issues are at the heart of the matter. 🙂  So, in comparison, by using one market chart to make predictions, what have we effectively done? We have ignored all the vital factors surrounding the market. Interest rates. P/E ratios. Liquidity. Inflation. Debt ratios. Economic outlook. Legislative climate. Tax policy. Investor sentiment. Fundamentals. Earning growth or decline. 
So which of these many factors are known by simply looking at the above market graph? NONE! And that’s the point. 
Could we be entering shark infested market waters? Sure, it’s possible, but without considering ALL these factors, I’m simply questioning the prudence of using one chart to predict a massive stock market collapse. Investor sentiment could clearly be negatively affected by this sort of headline, but unless we’re shorting the market hoping for a self-fulfilling prophecy, doesn’t this kind of one-note-wonder decision-making, seems rather simpleminded? 
Not only do I believe it’s not prudent but, I think these kinds of headlines are just plain irresponsible. And it surely causes one to wonder what would motivate a long time industry analyst to make such an outrageous insinuation? This chap wrote, The picture isn’t pretty. And it’s not as easy as you might think to wriggle out from underneath the bearish significance of this chart.
Oh really? “Bearish significance” of a time manipulated chart that just so happens to coincide so perfectly? Come on now. All that can be read into one chart with no regard to the zillions of other factors? Something smells rather wharf-like. And given the fact that this 1929 scare piece is still the top story at, proves that sensationalism sells. 
Listen I can’t look into this man’s heart. I don’t know what his motivations are. All I know is that some people are doing everything in their power to sell newsletters, doomsday kits, precious metals and freeze-dried apples. Just because it may prove financially rewarding to shock the world, it seems rather disingenuous to me. 
This market may in fact soon be rushed by ambulance to the ER, but chances are that this “scary parallel” won’t have proved to be all that predictive. This internet driven 24/7 information age, is wonderful in many regards, but it can also seriously skew our outlook. I believe that if we don’t begin to temper or even mute the constant drum beat of doom by these fear mongers, we’re all going to be prime candidates for a myocardial infarction! Obviously it’s not healthy to ignore pessimistic data, but it’s the kind of information that’s used to predict declines that is important. And this, in my view, is not it. Not alone anyway.  
In closing, let me make clear that I’m not in the least suggesting that you buy, sell or hold. Just don’t be frightened by a single, time-manipulated chart. Perhaps a little prudence is in order. 
Posted in 2nd Coming, Eschatology, Financial | Leave a comment

That’s just your opinion

When discussing biblical matters, how often have do you hear the common refrain, “Well, that’s just your opinion”? So what are the often unstated assertions behind this seemingly innocuous statement? Perhaps, that capturing truth is as difficult as nailing jello to a tree? And, only those overcome with arrogance and self-delusion are audacious enough to claim they’ve discovered the doctrinal Holy Grail?

So, are we hopelessly constrained to the land of opinion with no prayer of certainty about anything? Is there anything that can be known?

Is it possible to develop sound doctrinal conclusions? 
Those of us committed to biblical inspiration (2 Tim 3:16) agree that objective truth exists, but the $64,000 question is, how can we KNOW when we’ve found it? To those who believe that the Bible is God’s inspired Word, it’s not just a matter of opinion that Lazarus was raised from the dead or that Saul (the Apostle Paul) was struck by a blinding light before his conversion. But aside from these historical facts, is doctrine relegated to the land of the subjective where it’s always just a matter of opinion?
Considering the following divergence of views, and given the fact that honorable, intelligent believers rest on both sides, developing a degree of conviction may seem daunting and perhaps imprudent. Arminianism vs. Calvinism; premillennialism vs preterism; trinitarianism vs. oneness; infant baptism vs. believer’s baptism; immersion vs. pouring vs. no baptism at all; charismatic gifts are for today vs. the frozen chosen cessantionists…and the list goes on into perpetuity.
Clearly, there are Scriptural issues that, because of complexity, may not warrant dogmatism, but the question remains: Are there bedrock issues which are at least in part, not confined to the land of ethereal subjectivity? In other words, are there building blocks of truth which may ultimately lead one to sound conclusions, or is this the wishful thinking of an arrogant dreamer? 
If theological positions are simply matters of opinion, and firm conclusions are merely the fabric of one’s presuppositional persuasions, what inherent value is there in spending countless hours studying the Bible? Reading it, yes. Hiding it in our heart, yes. But why bother with the in-depth study if at best, we can merely develop what amounts to another opinion that may or may not be true? So, if beyond the historical accounts (and some who say they hold to biblical inspiration even spiritualize them e.g. Genesis 1-11 being considered allegorical), we can’t KNOW anything?  If not, then why bother? 

Seriously, if my conclusions are nothing but a byproduct of my own proclivities,  preferences, and presuppositions, and the Bible is as malleable as Silly Putty (which some seem to think), why toil in endless hours of futility? 
For example, if I state a doctrinal belief and someone disagrees, are we at an impenetrable impasse with no hope of resolution? Or are there objective methods whereby we can determine if our views are errant? 

Let me pause for a moment and offer this disclaimer. I am not talking about the acquisition of truth to either puff one up or to lord over others. There is plenty of mean-spiritedness being passed as a pursuit for doctrinal purity to go around the world twice over. And this makes all of us uneasy. However, regardless how irresponsible and un-Christlike some people act, I do not believe this overrides the fact that, not only does TRUTH exist, but we are exhorted to search for it like a buried treasure.  

Is truth possible to approximate?

I recently heard a famous person (billionaire, actually) speak about “your own truth” as if truth is completely subjective. 
The Greek word translated truth, altheia, is used 98 times in the New Testament and means “objectively, in reality, certainty and in fact.” Consider a few of the 98:
  • Luke 1:3-4 (NASB) 3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; 4 so that you may know the exact TRUTH about the things you have been taught.
  • John 4:23-24 (NASB) “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the TRUE worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and TRUTH; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and TRUTH.”
    John 14:6 (ESV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
  • John 8:31-32 (NASB) So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will KNOW the TRUTH, and the TRUTH will make you free.”
  • 2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB) Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of TRUTH.
If Jesus exhorted us to worship God in truth, isn’t it implied that we should be able to find it? So how can we KNOW THE TRUTH and be set free by it, if all doctrines are simply matters of personal preference? “Accurately handling the word of truth” is the task of all workmen! God apparently wants us to dig and actually find it!
Given these exhortations, there must be objective standards whereby we can know the truth. And further, by following certain objective methods of discovery (hermeneutics), we can make judgments as to what is and is not true. So, how again do we know when we’ve attained even a small portion of truth?
An unhealthy reliance on the experts
A few years ago, excited after undergoing a rather significant eschatological paradigm shift (which revitalized my spiritual life), I presented my findings to numerous people. Instead of the responses I anticipated like, “That’s amazing, let me check it out more thoroughly” or “I’ve never heard that before but it sounds interesting,” many inevitably said, “Who else believes this?” Admittedly, I was dumbfounded. However, I shouldn’t have been, because this is often how many of us determine what to believe. We find those who we believe are eminently more qualified than us and follow them. And it was no different in the first century. 
11 My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12What I mean is this: Individuals among you are saying, “I follow Paul,” “I follow Apollos,” “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?… (1 Cor 1:11-13)
So, if Paul, an inspired Apostle who was personally visited by the living Christ was exhorting the Corinthians to stop this kind of authority worship, should we not heed his poignant words? 
Let’s break down this “Who else believe this?” question which is founded on two beliefs:

1. We don’t believe we have the intellectual capacity and/or educational tools necessary to discover the truth on our own.  

2. There are trusted theological gurus to whom we must rely upon. So we must rely on others who we presume are more gifted. 
I have no problem not being the “go to” Bible answer man. 🙂  The truth is that we don’t need more gurus but rather more Christian who can confidently rightfully divide the Word. The problem is that most Christians don’t have the confidence to search the Scriptures to “see if these things are so”. (Acts 17:11)  They are forced by either laziness or a lack of confidence (I think it’s more often the latter) to rely too heavily upon the opinions of others. And since they haven’t attempted to diligently divide the word of God, there’s not the kind of sincere conviction there ought to be. And one becomes tossed by the winds of the “experts”. So when they find a different guru, their views change. And this fluidity ultimately produces an unhealthy ambivalence.  

But don’t misunderstand me at this point. I believe seeking the counsel of trusted advisers is a must. Matter of fact, it’s only prudent to have trusted advisors. So, I’m not in the least suggesting that should avoid consulting those gifted in a particular field or discipline. I regularly listen to the broadcasts of a wide array of preachers and Bible teachers and I have quite a few mature believers whom I consult on a regular basis. Being influenced by those holding various perspectives is healthy and prudent. However, blindly following strong personalities can be unhealthy. This is a very delicate balancing act. 

So what I am painstakingly trying to point out, is that too many of us may be relying almost entirely on “experts” (pastors, apologists, theologians, and well-known church figures). If we depend on someone else to do our groundwork (I realize we can’t be the master of all trades), the conclusions we acquire never fully become our own. And therefore, instead of becoming convictions these beliefs are easily shattered by our next Bible answer man.
So it’s often not all that apparent to us that we have become conviction-less followers. Sure, we may vehemently defend a particular view as if that view is closely held. But it all should become obvious when we realize how easily we adopt new views when we change allegiances. That’s why I think it’s of vital importance for us to do the work necessary to develop sound conclusions on our own.  

As it currently stands, most of us are content with absorbing the doctrines of those stalwarts of the faith we’ve come to respect. And thus, it most often comes down to credibility. Instead of confidently saying, “Let me study the Scriptures to ‘see if these things are so’”, we tend to line up behind our beloved Bible teacher. I’m of Beth Moore, and I’m of R.C. Sproul and I’m of Charles Stanley or I’m of David Jeremiah. So, with repetitive redundancy let me share this verse once more. 
I have a friend, Ed Ferner (, who, every time I ask him a question, instead of immediately going to the Bible commentaries and/or consulting someone of “stature”, he’s confident enough to fly solo. And he invariably returns with a very well thought-out answer. And this has always impressed me. 

Like Ed, we must begin attempting to ferret these things out with the tools God has given us. Never in the history of Christianity have we had so many Bible tools at our disposal. Never have we had this much access and we don’t even need to leave our computer screen to access a goldmine of resources.

So, how can we learn to more effectively utilize Bible tools to develop truth convictions even if they may deviate from the views of our pastor or our favorite Bible teacher? 
The experts have their biases too
Recognizing that no one is void of potentially faulty preconceptions which may derail their conclusions, should spur us to study on our own. And it should be a warning sign that we must not rely solely on them.
What may come as a surprise is that there’s not a living soul among us great or small who is immune from presuppositions and biases that may shield them from the truth. And that includes giants of the faith like Luther, Zwingli, and Spurgeon. These men are no less objectively-challenged than we are. J.I. Packer made that very case in Fundamentalism and the Word of God.
We do not start our Christian lives by working out our faith for ourselves; it is mediated to us by Christian tradition, in the form of sermons, books and established patterns of church life and fellowship. We read our Bibles in the light of what we have learned from these sources; we approach Scripture with minds already formed by the mass of accepted opinions and viewpoints with which we have come into contact, in both the Church and the world. . . . It is easy to be unaware that it has happened; it is hard even to begin to realize how profoundly tradition in this sense has molded us. But we are forbidden to become enslaved to human tradition, either secular or Christian, whether it be “catholic” tradition, or “critical” tradition, or “ecumenical” tradition. We may never assume the complete rightness of our own established ways of thought and practice and excuse ourselves the duty of testing and reforming them by Scriptures. 
And so it is that we all suffer to some extent from false premises that can subliminally derail our objectivity. The first step is coming to that realization. Recognizing that we and those leaders we respect have blind spots allow the Holy Spirit to speak clearly through the Bible. Yes, easier said than done but nonetheless necessary. Truth must not be viewed as illusory.  
So, to the degree any of us are able to circumvent and/or mute our “already formed minds” and extract the truth from God’s Word, we will move ever closer to sound doctrine. Intelligence, training, and expertise can be valuable assets in this endeavor, but they can also become nooses around the neck of truth if one isn’t careful.
Seminary training, for example, can be an invaluable tool, but if the indoctrination that most always occurs, is not recognized, it can be a blinding influence. In my many conversations with seminarians, one thing has been clear; by design, the schools are more interested in graduating students that agree with a specific set of tenets than they are producing free-thinking Bereans. So, although there’s nothing inherently wrong with following one’s past, it must be recognized that former training can hamstring one’s ability to consider another point of view. 
We can be successful Bereans
At this point, I believe we must shed the typical defeatist mindset (which in many cases we’re not cognizant of), which has reached epidemic proportions. So taken are we with our pastor or favorite Bible expositor, that we automatically and immediately assimilate whatever conclusions they reach and make them our own. Rarely is anyone in authority questioned. After all, since they have the training, expertise and the intellect that most of us lack, there’s no wonder why we follow blindly. And, there’s nothing wrong with following. It’s the “blindly” part that is disconcerting. 
Even though we are endowed with the same Holy Spirit as those in positions of influence, there’s an unwritten and unstated policy that we must not rock the boat…lest we become censured or worse. The quest for peace is a very necessary goal. Too many churches have been split over non-essential doctrines. However, shouldn’t it be possible to share competing views while maintaining Christ-like attitudes? Must we maintain the status quo at all costs? At too many churches the subtle overtone if one doesn’t espouse the party line, is there other other churches that may find your views palatable, so please don’t make waves here. This is at least part of the reason things never change and errors are propagated in perpetuity. 

And to be clear, I’m not in the least suggesting anyone be argumentative, condescending or purposefully disruptive. That is simply not God-honoring behavior. However, if challenges are always discouraged because the quest for peace and unity trumps our passion for sound doctrine, truth WILL be sacrificed. I believe respectful dialogue should be encouraged and instead of short-circuiting the debate process, those incapable of maintaining a spirit of love and respect ought to be the ones encouraged to get an attitude adjustment. So, instead of silencing opposing views, it seems better to allow respectful discourse while helping those ill-equipped to handle disagreement. Learning how to dialogue when differences arise, should be part of the maturation process. But, unfortunately, since dissent is rarely tolerated, people don’t learn how to love one another in disagreement. In so doing, both truth and maturity are sacrificed.
As a case in point, consider the various eschatological positions. Although “end times” viewpoints are not considered foundational, premillennialism (the dominant position of our day) has been woven so thoroughly into the fabric of our faith, that to deviate from it is considered heterodox. So daring to espouse another eschatological system, not only puts one at serious risk of being disfellowshiped but if uncovering eschatological truth is perceived as nearly impossible, the risk/reward relationship is simply too great. So at this juncture, most people determine that the benefit (truth) is not worth ostracization. 
Sound interpretation principles
But here’s the good news. There are in fact objective tools of interpretation that will point us to the truth (if we let them). The truth is not only attainable but the Bible exhorts us to find it. And when we do, it must not be expressed in a manner of arrogance or condescension, but with all humility and love. The Apostle Paul, arguably the greatest theologian who ever lived, said love must be at the epicenter of all our doctrinal pursuits. So with that as a backdrop, never forgetting this mindset, let me share some foundational hermeneutical (science of interpretation) tools that I believe are as dependable as mathematical laws.
1.   The Bible is inspired / God-breathed – it has divine origin and is not subject to the whims of man. We need not go outside the Bible to obtain truth. Extra-Biblical sources, though at times beneficial, only enhance that which can be gleaned from Scripture. If those sources are used to override Scripture, they, not Scripture, become the supreme authority.
2.  God cannot lie (He occasionally conceals, but He does not mislead). The implications of this truth are taken for granted, but the fact remains, this fact must not be taken for granted. This is inherent in God’s prophetic word. As He stated through Ezekiel, “and whatever word I speak will be performed. It will no longer be delayed, for in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and perform it,” declares the Lord GOD.'” We simply must not accept any theology that assumes God to be less than truthful.
Titus 1:2 (NASB) in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,
Hebrews 6:18 (NASB) so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.
3. The Bible never contradicts itselfThis is the law of non-contradiction. Contradictory Biblical statements cannot be true in the same sense at the same time. In other words, if A=B, then A and B are mutually exclusive. God operates within the bounds of pure logic. Since there are no contradictions in the Bible, the apparent contradictions must be rectified. The following verse is often used to justify circumvention of this law, but only because it has been seriously misinterpreted. How often have you heard someone use “My thoughts are not your thoughts” to argue that God operates outside the bounds of logic or time? This is not in the least what was being conveyed. Go back and read the below verse in context. You will find that God is telling us simply that He is Holy and righteous and we are not.  
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NASB)  “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
So the above verses are not an indictment against logic. Though God’s attributes and His supreme purposes are clearly not shared by His creatures, this in no way means that God operates in violation of the principles of logic or the chronology of time. The law of non-contradiction must not be violated. Isaiah 55:7, “Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts” makes the intent clear. It has everything to do with the contrast between God’s righteousness and our inherent sinfulness.
4.  Context is king – We must read the Bible through the lens of the author, not through our 21st-century glasses. The Bible cannot mean what it never meant. The recent attempt to read modern day events into the Bible must be nixed. Word meanings are always defined by context. Often verses are excised and cherry-picked from a passage and manipulated to conform to a predetermined paradigm. How often when you come across “you” in the Bible, is it our natural inclination to think we are the “you” to whom the Biblical author is speaking of. We must always remember that, though the Bible was written and preserved FOR us, it was not written directly TO us. Ignoring this fact may be one of the biggest impediments to discovering truth. 

For example, consider the following from Matthew’s Gospel. Notice the number of times YOU is referred to by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse. Not recognizing that the “you” are His disciples, but instead wrongly assuming that the “you” is some sort of generic multi-generational “you”, will make certain you won’t understand this prophetic section of the Bible. 

  • Do YOU see all these things? (verse 2)
  • Truly I tell YOU (verse 2)
  • Watch out that no one deceives YOU (4)
  • ?YOU will hear of wars and rumors of wars (6)
  • but see to it that YOU are not alarmed (6)?
  • ?Then YOU will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death (9)
  • YOU will be hated by all nations because of me (9)
  • “So when YOU see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation (15)
  • Pray that YOUR flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath (20)
  •  At that time if anyone says to YOU, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. (23)
  • See, I have told YOU ahead of time. (25?)
  • So if anyone tells YOU, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. (26)
  • As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, YOU know that summer is near. (32)
  • Even so, when YOU see all these things (33)
  • YOU know that it is near, right at the door (33)
  • Truly I tell YOU, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened (34)
  • Therefore keep watch, because YOU do not know on what day your Lord will come (42)
  • So YOU also must be ready (44)
  • because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (44)
5.  Time is like clockwork – It is never allegorized. In understanding Bible prophecy, time is absolutely pivotal. Not only must the events prophesied take place, but they must occur within the timing specified by the prophet, lest he is labeled a false prophet. Notice the contrast between the next two verses, one from the OT and other from the NT. 
Daniel 8:26 (NKJV) “And the vision of the evenings and mornings Which was told is true; Therefore seal up the vision, For it refers to many days in the future.”
Among other reasons, the vision was sealed because the prophetic fulfillment wouldn’t be confirmed for hundreds of years. Look at the contrast of the next verse. 
Revelation 22:10 (NKJV) And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.
Contrary to what God told Daniel, John’s vision was to remain unsealed because the time was at hand. “At hand” simply cannot be stretched thousands of years. I dealt with this issue extensively HERE. Any eschatological system that disregards this principle is doomed to misinterpretation.
When something was predicted “shortly”, if it did not take place “shortly”, the prophet was found wanting. Perhaps this is the most glaring problem in most eschatological models. If this principle is abused in order to make an eschatological system work, that system must be rejected.
6.  Interpret the unclear through the lens of the clear – Ignoring this principle has created the many cults that proliferate today. The Bible is self-interpreting.
7. Understanding genres of literature within Scripture – Poetic, apocalyptic historical, doctrinal, metaphorical, prophecy and law. Confusing these will cause serious misinterpretation.
Isaiah 13:9-10 (NKJV) Behold, the day of the Lord comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it. 10 For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine… 13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, And the earth will move out of her place, In the wrath of the Lord of hosts And in the day of His fierce anger.
If this was interpreted literally and not apocalyptically, Isaiah would have been charged with false prophecy since neither the heavens nor earth were dislodged from their orbits. God’s wrath was literally poured out against the Babylonians in their destruction at the hands of the Medes but not in the astrological ways it was couched.  
Isaiah 34:3-4 (NKJV) 3 Also their slain shall be thrown out; Their stench shall rise from their corpses, And the mountains shall be melted with their blood. 4 All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; All their host shall fall down As the leaf falls from the vine, And as fruit falling from a fig tree.
Again, if even one star collided with planet earth we would have ceased to exist. There are many similar examples of forms of speech, and they too must be interpreted within the confines of their genre. Jesus was not literally a loaf of bread or a door and He wasn’t telling them to literally drink His blood and eat His flesh. These are figures of speech. Failure to recognize the way God used apocalyptic language has become a major stumbling block to many Christians especially those living in the past 100 years. 
As we consider these things, I’d like to appeal to Jesus as He stood before Pilate. “Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 
Jesus came into the world to testify to THE TRUTH. He was the embodiment of truth.

In closing let me offer one objective lesson that applies some of these principles.
Revelation 1:1 (NASB) The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,

The things that follow verse 1 simply must have taken place a couple thousand years ago. How do we KNOW this to be true and how do we know that others who disagree are in conflict with Scripture? By applying the below rules which I covered in greater detail. 

1. The Bible is inspired. 

2. God is incapable of lying.
3 The Bible is never contradictory.
4. We must consider the context.
5. Time is NEVER allegorized.
6. We must interpret the unclear through the clear.
7. We must consider the type of literature.

So, next time someone says, “That’s just your opinion”, don’t let it ride if your conclusion is based on these objective principles. If they want to argue with Jesus, then that’s their prerogative. It is not a matter of opinion that Jesus, after His ascension while sitting at the right hand of the Father, said, “Thing which MUST TAKE PLACE SOON.” This is not up for debate. If someone says, “Well, you have your verses and I have mine,” challenge them to put “their verses” to the test. Since we know that the Bible is not contradictory, and we must interpret the unclear through the clear, is Revelation 1:1 not supremely clear? 

In my view, we simply cannot allow people to continue to get away with violating rules of interpretation without being challenged. 

We may not like the implication of the above because it might disturb what we’ve been taught and it might throw our paradigm into a tizzy, but we have a choice to make. Are we going to ignore the rules and the referees or are we going to play the game within the confines of the rules? I think it’s time to challenge those who aren’t playing by the rules. Truth matters and the integrity of the Bible weighs in the balance. It’s not a matter of opinion. 
Posted in 2nd Coming, Eschatology, Hermeneutics | Leave a comment

With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, but for us one day is like, well, 24 hours… :)


Come back with me to 1973 when Middle East tensions were overflowing and U.S. gas lines ever growing, and most high profile Christian leaders like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Hal Lindsey, assured us that we were experiencing the last days “birth pangs” which was ushering in the end of our planet. God help the pregnant mother or Sabbath traveler, for these days of God’s imminent wrathful outpouring would plunge the entire world into total chaos.

Armageddon, the Beast and the whole shebang of Revelation were being fulfilled before our very eyes. With Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth fresh in mind, the prophetic events were lined up in harmonic convergence as the antichrist was about to be revealed and all Heaven would soon break loose.

In my daily commute down Fletcher Avenue toward USF, I’d often gaze heavenward wondering if this would be THE day… the most highly anticipated DAY since Jesus’s incarnation. Enduring life’s travails not much longer, in a very little while Jesus would descend on the clouds as He’d meet us in the air. How exciting living at a time when Jesus’ long-anticipated return would finally arrive! Two thousand years of pent-up expectations would be fulfilled at last.

Pat Terry, an early 1970’s Christian musician, put it this way in “I Can’t Wait to See Jesus” (listen below).

I can’t wait to see Jesus
In His glory as he bursts from the sky
I can’t wait to be held in his arms,
and see the glimmer in his eye.
I can’t wait to hear trumpets
’cause I know what they mean when they sound
I can’t wait to cast off my burdens,
and feel my feet leave the ground.
I can’t wait to see heaven
and to walk those streets of gold
I can’t wait to check into my mansion,
and get my sleeping bag unrolled.
And just as exhilarating was the chorus which still gives me goosebumps!
Tell me how it’s gonna be,
read it from the Bible again
I can’t wait to see Jesus,
’cause Jesus is coming again
Oh, Jesus is coming again
Oh, Jesus is coming again.

In the early to mid AD 60s (not the 1960s), a little more than three decades post cross, the Apostles Peter, John and Paul (whom I think authored Hebrews) made three very poignant eschatological statements (pertaining to end times/last days): “The end of all things is near” (1 Peter 4:7); “In a very little while He who is coming will come and will not delay” (Heb 10:37); and Children it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18). So it’s clear that Jesus must be returning soon, right? After all, the end is at hand, isn’t it?

Well, not so fast. This photo was taken only 40 years ago, almost 2,000 years after Peter wrote that verse! And this strikes right at the heart of the eschatological chaos.

The timing of Jesus’ return has wreaked havoc on the Church’s credibility for far too long. Why can’t we get it right? There’s an elephant in the room of our interpretative methods that I ignored back then, and most Christians still ignore today. It’s called “reader relevance” (primacy of the original audience), and though we occasionally give lip service to it, for the most part, we gloss right over it as though it doesn’t exist. When reading Philippians, Hebrews or Jude, we often forget that we’re reading someone else’s mail. Passing over the realization that these letters were written, delivered by courier and read by Christians nearly 2,000 years ago, appears to be at the root of our eschatological confusion. The fact that the New Testament didn’t arrive on our doorstep with the morning’s paper, may seem patently obvious, but it’s at the epicenter of the most common interpretative mistakes.

 This 27 book NT (New Testament) compilation, was not only time sensitive and fully relevant to first-century believers, but if not read in context, cannot be properly understood today. The Bible was penned and preserved for our edification (2 Tim 3:16), but it was NOT written directly TO US. Again, this may seem apparent, but in our constant attempt to make Scriptural application, we often fail to consider the New Testament’s first-century context. And nowhere is this issue more problematic than in our eschatological presuppositions. 

Considering the sign held by this many above, how could something have been at hand in AD 64 and also at hand in AD 1974?  How could “the end of all things” be near then and still be near today?  How could it have been the last hour during the reign of Nero and be our last hour during the presidency of Barack Obama? Unless we have two time continuums, it can’t!  But most of us never consider this huge circus animal with the long trunk, plunked right in the middle of our interpretational reading room.

Have you ever wondered why we attempt to invent so many ways to camouflage the elephant and act as though it doesn’t exist?  I’d be a rich man if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard an excuse explaining why the NT eschatological time indicators (near, shortly, quickly, at hand etc.) had no relevance at the time they were written. 

The most brilliant disappearing act (which only seems to fool Christians since atheists use it rather effectively as a blunt force tool to bludgeon the unwitting) is constructed using one lone verse from Peter’s second Epistle, which should be noted, was written a year AFTER Peter wrote, “The end of all things is near.” For decades, that fact alone had me scratching my ever-balding head.

So, on the heels of warning them of their imminent end, Peter, we are told, abruptly reversed course and covered his tracks when he wrote:

2 Peter 3:8 (NASB) But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.
For generations, this one tiny verse has been successfully employed to cloak the elephant… arguing that the plethora of “time statements” (associated with Bible prophecy) scattered throughout the NT, aren’t to be taken seriously or literally. After all, they argue, with God time is irrelevant. 
But if this is truly the case, one wonders why the inspired NT authors would have used any near-term time sensitive words.  Why wouldn’t Peter have simply written, “The end of all things will one day be at hand”? Why risk the potential confusion caused by the possibility that the persecuted recipients might not realize that near could have meant thousands of years?
I heard one pastor reason, regarding the passage, “Be patient for the coming of the Lord is at hand… the judge is standing at the door” (James 1:8-9), that James was merely using inspirational language to exhort believers of all generations i.e. that he was attempting to spur on each succeeding generation with the hope of keeping them/us ever vigilant. So whether in AD 314, 1514 or 2014, was James just challenging us to stay in a steady state of expectancy? Are you beginning to notice the giant pachyderm yet? Is his trunk beginning to knock things off your shelves as it did mine?
Though I realize it wasn’t this dear pastor’s intent, he was effectively implying that God inspired Peter, Paul, John and in this case, James, to lie in order to motivate the beleaguered first century Christians to remain watchful. Is this truly the interpretational road we should be traveling?  Is this profoundly dangerous logic beginning to concern you as it did me? Since we mustn’t subscribe to Biblical contradictions, I believe it is absolutely imperative that we treat this problem seriously. 
So at this juncture, you may be saying, “What’s your point? You seem to be assaulting the integrity of the Bible because it’s clear, since we’re still here, that the end of all things was not near in Peter’s day. Are you questioning the authority and integrity of the Bible?” 

At first glance, It may appear that way, but that’s not in the least what I’m attempting to do. I am simply trying to interject some intellectual honesty into our Bible interpretation, which thereby may force you, as it did me, to reconsider your eschatological conclusions. I realize that this dominant end times doctrine has become so sacrosanct, that to even question any of its underlying tenets, rises to the charge of heresy. However, to ignore the serious problems with a view that has been responsible for error after error seems rather ostrich-like. 

Case in point. At a Bible study a number of years ago, after I offered an interpretation of Matthew 24 that was consistent with the imminent eschatological “time statements”, the leader simply said, “We can’t go there. We can’t go there.” Case closed. But the question that wasn’t answered then and is still outstanding today, is, where can’t we go? It wasn’t as if I was questioning the deity of Christ, the virgin birth, or any of the non-negotiable tenet of our faith. I simply offered an historically-based eschatological explanation that fit the Olivet Discourse (Matt 24; Luke 17; Mk 13) like a glove. And for that, with no further dialogue, I was simply asked, for the sake of unity, to censure myself. 

Is this a truly healthy way to deal with this eschatological differences? Clearly, we need to always be respectful and courteous toward one another, but to cut off dialogue at a Bible study, seems less than prudent. If we were as passionate about truth as we are for avoiding disagreement, we might not be in this mess. And few would argue with a straight face that the current eschatological landscape is not in need of a gross overhaul. The elephant still hasn’t moved!

So when Jesus said, This generation will not pass away until all these things take place”, arguing that Jesus meant no such thing, is not any more Berean-like than censuring dialogue. Sadly, this mindset is far too typical of those within many of our churches. Being a respectful Berean is not well tolerated if one offers another point of view. And that’s why nothing ever changes. Many question the political structure of the Roman Catholic Church and its top-down hierarchical structure that squelches debate, but is the Protestant Church really that much different?

At this point, I need to be crystal clear. Make no mistake, I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God as explained in the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy. And only in that context must these things be challenged. God is neither the author of confusion nor deception and His Word is not enveloped in smoke and mirrors. And hopefully, once you reach this article’s conclusion, you will, at the very least, have a new appreciation for the uncanny accuracy of God’s prophetic Word. Above all, I want to exalt the miraculous nature of the Bible, not tear it down. So, with that as a backdrop, let’s trudge on.
Before looking at five potential scenarios regarding the interpretation of these many eschatologically time sensitive phrases, let me pose a question for contemplation. If time was irrelevant in the manner in which God always communicates with man, why then did He ONLY inspire the NT authors to use words of imminence? In other words, why don’t we find even one phrase like that used by Daniel, “many days yet to come” (Daniel 8:26)? Why do the NT authors ONLY couch prophecy in imminent terms? 

In the OT, we find statements of both nearness and distance. Daniel’s many days yet to come is contrasted with Isaiah’s the day of the Lord is near. Time mattered to the OT prophets, so why do we presume that God stopped communicating clearly and in ways that we understand? Why, if all mysteries since the foundation of the world were revealed in the person of Christ (Eph 3:9; Col 1:26), would the NT time statements be clouded in seeming subterfuge?  
Now, consider this stark contrast between an Old and New Testament prophetic use of time.
Daniel 8:26 (NKJV) “And the vision of the evenings and mornings which was told is true; Therefore seal up the vision, For it refers to many days in the future.”
Revelation 22:10 (NKJV) And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.
Do you see the issue? Daniel was told to seal up the vision because it was “many days in the future” and John was told not to seal up the vision because “the time is near”. What’s going on here? If Daniel’s prophecy was hundreds of years from fulfillment, sealing the vision would seem natural since he/they wouldn’t have been able to understand the context of its fulfillment. However, since most today believe the Revelation’s fulfillment is still future (after nearly 2,000 years), why then was John told to keep it unsealed? And, further, how could the time of fulfillment have been near in the first century? 

Doesn’t this unnerve you even a little bit? At this point, most of us throw our hands in the air and assume that if the experts with years of education can’t come to a consensus, what hope do we have? But the truth is that paradigm, not intelligence, is the greatest obstacle to understanding Bible prophecy. Most of us have developed errant presuppositions that force us to challenge God’s ability to communicate accurately. 

So once we begin to consider the fact that God may have communicated clearly and unambiguously, we can start to deconstruct the false components of our interpretational paradigm. As I mentioned earlier, eight years ago I chose that path deciding that it was time to question this apparent contradiction that “at hand” or “in a very little while” actually meant thousands of years.
Therefore, shouldn’t we wonder why, if time is supposedly irrelevant to God, He would inspire these men to associate their visions with time?  And further, why would these various OT prophetic pronouncements have been fulfilled according to their time-sensitive dictates, if they weren’t anchored to chronological reality? Not surprisingly, the prophecies of Daniel and Isaiah were fulfilled like clockwork. Daniel’s “many days yet to come” was fulfilled hundreds of years in the future, and Isaiah’s “the day of the Lord is near was fulfilled imminently as the Medes dispensed of the Babylonians in Isaiah’s day.

Now that the elephant is in plain view, let’s deal head-on with the potential explanations for the NT eschatological imminence. Anyone reading through the NT even once has been bombarded with these near-term expectations. Although this list may not be exhaustive, it covers 5 major possibilities. Admittedly, explanation #3 seemed too outrageous to include, but because I just heard a pastor use it, I decided to give it a critical review. As you read through the five, choose which one best fits your explanation.

  1. God the Father knew Jesus’ return was thousands of year’s future, but for motivational purposes, He chose to communicate imminence. (2 Peter 3:8)
  2. God the Father didn’t know when Jesus would return. Matter of fact, He also didn’t know that the Jews would reject Christ and that He would therefore have to resort to a plan B, the Church.  (A Dispensationalist view)
  3. God the Father knew the exact day and hour of Jesus’ return, but chose only to communicate the speed in which Jesus would return with no regard to the timing. (translates “tachos” in Revelation 1:1 as fast not soon or shortly)
  4. God the Father knew the exact day and hour of Jesus’ return, but Jesus, in his humanity, was unaware of not only the day and hour but also of the millennium in which He would return. (C.S. Lewis’ argument)
  5. God the Father knew the exact day and hour of Jesus’ return, and unambiguously and accurately communicated the imminence of Christ’s return through both Jesus and the NT authors. While on earth, Jesus didn’t know the day or hour of His coming, but He knew the generation. (Fulfilled view)

Which one do you think is the most Biblical? As you consider these various explanations, you may immediately notice the following potential pitfalls found in these possibilities. 

  • God is not sovereign because His plans are contingent upon the actions of His free moral agents. Therefore, God is reactive not proactive.
  • Because of Jesus’ human limitations, God was not able to communicate everything with Him clearly.
  • Due to God’s timeless nature, He was unable to communicate accurate time-sensitive predictions with His followers.
  • God intentionally misled His beleaguered followers because He determined that it was more important to motivate them in their times of distress than to tell them the truth.
  • Since Jesus’ return in the minds of most is marked by the obliteration of our planet at time’s end, how could Peter’s words “the end of all things is near” possibly be true? 

Most Christians opt for explanation #1 (God knew the day and the hour was thousands of years future but chose to convey imminence) without fully considering the serious implications, some of which we’ve already presented. Sugarcoat it all we want, the truth is that if God knew Jesus’ return wasn’t going to be imminent, but He nonetheless inspired every New Testament author to write that it was imminent, this is simply a lie.

Yes, I realize that probably makes you as uncomfortable as it did me, but this reality must be confronted if we have any prayer of being intellectually honest as we rightly attempt to divide God’s Word. God is not the author of lies or misdirection. If even one of an eschatological system’s interpretational building block presumes God to be a liar, the implications will be staggering.

Hebrews 6:18 (NASB) so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. 

Titus 1:2 (NASB) in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,

Numbers 23:19 (NASB) God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? 

The atheist who put the below video together, attacks Christians and Christianity at this very point. The vast majority of believers have heard the time is irrelevant to God excuse for so long, they are oblivious to its absurdity. But we must, no matter how emotionally taxing, be prepared to answer the atheist… as well as the confused Christians for that matter.

1 Peter 3:15 (NKJV) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;  
So we can continue to use 2 Peter 3:8 to cloak the elephant, but the fact remains that the integrity of the Bible is hanging in the balance and the elephant isn’t going anywhere. Heavily persecuted 1st century Christ-followers were clinging to the imminent hope of deliverance, and if we assume they were lied to by creating false expectations, we’re playing right into the hands of the atheists. And lest we forget, when stalwarts of the Gospel like the Apostle Paul wrote things like the following, they were received by real people who were eagerly waiting for the revelation of Jesus: “The time is short…for the form of this world is passing away” (1 Cor 7:29-31), “Now these things …were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor 10:11), and “The Lord is near” (Phil 4:5).
In the light of being repeatedly told that these events were imminent, how do you think these AD 60s believers would have responded to Peter’s second epistle, if 2 Peter 3:8 was supposed to wash away all their time-sensitive expectations? “Really, Peter? If time is of no consequence, why have we received a steady diet of near-term promises from all the inspired writers?  And Why in the world did you write, “The end of all things is near” if you had no clue when Jesus would return?” 

Consider this analogy to help drive the point home. Your garage just caught fire and after calling 911, the dispatcher tells you that the fire trucks are on the way and will be there shortly. Would you sing the fire department’s praises if they never arrived and your house burned to the ground? Would it make your misery any less profound to find out that they those trucks were not only never dispatched, but there was never any intent to send them? 

How would you have received the following excuse from the fire department? “We often get busy, and in our line of work, for us a day is a thousand years and a thousand years is but a day. Time is really of no consequence to us.”  Seriously, how would you respond to that excuse? Perhaps a logical reaction might be, “That’s incredibly cruel for giving us false hope. Why would you have said you’d be there soon if you had no such intention?”

How is this scenario any different from explanation #1? How utterly cruel would it have been for God to have promised near-term rescue and vindication if He never had the slightest intention of fulfilling His promises. 

Approx. two decades ago as this kind of eschatological confusion began weighing heavily upon my faith, I subtly started to distrust the Bible. At the onset it wasn’t all that overt, but it, in consort with some other nagging issues, became profoundly debilitating. 

If this was in fact the way God treated His first century followers who lives were in constant peril, then I wondered about His faithfulness to me. In other words, if the ones who received the short-term promises were intentionally jilted, why should I have any confidence that God would be faithful to me and my family in the light of never receiving such promises? I’m happy to report that I finally worked through this intense struggle, but not before undergoing a significant eschatological paradigm change that began at this very point. 
And lest we not realize how intense the first century anticipatory hopes were, let’s look at the eager expectation that the Apostle Paul recognized among his readers. “…to those who eagerly await Him” (Heb 9:28); awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (1 Cor 1:7); “…from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;” (Phil 3:20); “…waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” (Rom 8:23)
Since we know that “hope deferred makes the heart sick”, how sick and weary is the body of Christ after 2,000 years of this kind of unfulfilled expectation…if in fact we presume that Jesus’ second coming was as it has been characterized, speaking of the world’s end (and not the end of the age)?
So, if Peter was inspired to write 2 Peter 3:8 to placate the scoffers who insisted Jesus was not only late but He would never return, then why a year earlier would Peter have written, “The end of all things is at hand”?  Was Peter truly in effect saying, “All bets are off fellas, I was wrong? When I wrote you my first letter I really didn’t really mean the end was imminent, because, after all, God’s timing is not our timing.”
Consider Peter’s other statements carrying imminence lest we think 1 Peter 4:7 was an red herring:
1 Peter 1:20 (NKJV) He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you
1 Peter 4:5 (NKJV) but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead 
1 Peter 4:17 (NKJV) For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
1 Peter 5:1 (YLT) Elders who are among you, I exhort, who am a fellow-elder, and a witness of the sufferings of the Christ, and of the glory about to be revealed a partaker,
2 Peter 3:11-12 (NKJV) Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?
As we read through all these statements implying imminent expectation which should have been weighing heavily upon their conduct, does it make any sense that Peter was attempting to use the “time is irrelevant” argument against the scoffers? Was he really waving a magic wand at all of the eschatological time references throughout the NT (many written by him), attempting to make them disappear? If this was the intent of 2 Peter 3:8, then the following is an addendum that could have been attached to Peter’s 2nd epistle.
“I know Jesus told us that He would come before we finished going through the cities of Israel (Matt 10:23), while some of us were still alive (Matt 16:28) and all within a generation (Matt 24:34), but we all know that time is relative in God’s economy. At the time I wrote that first letter warning you of our near-term end, I actually believed that the end was very near. But then the Holy Spirit brought Psalm 90:4 to mind, telling me that “near” to God could be very far off to us.
“Now, I realize how incredibly confusing this may be and that it may appear like an excuse… so, since many may have been misled by my first epistle which was riddled with imminent expectations, I simply have to set the record straight and get the word out to all those who are actually anticipating Jesus’ soon return. I must correct the errant presumptions that I and others have created. Many of you persecuted believers who received letters from James, John and Paul, are losing your lives and even worse and I don’t want to give you false hope. And to be quite frank, no help is coming. Yes, in some other distant generation many days from now, but no rescue is planned in your lifetime.
“I realize that the Apostle Paul promised our embattled Thessalonian brothers vindication, but I now realize that He was referring only to their metaphorical absolution at the end of time. Even though he said he would give relief to YOU, he wasn’t really speaking directly to the Thessalonians, but actually only to those living in a time many days to come.
2 Thessalonians 1:6-8 (NASB) For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict youand to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
“Further, it must be that when Jesus spoke of the eschatological end within “this generation” while some of his larger contingency was still alive, He must have been communicating allegorically. He had to have meant “that generation” or “some distant generation” even though for emphasis sake He prefaced “this generation” with “Truly I say to you.” I realize that Jesus never used time metaphorically and that the Bible has never allegorilized time (and God expressly prohibited it in Ezek 12:21-28), but since Jesus is God, and God is not bound by time, that’s really what He must have meant. After all, He made those definitive statements while still restricted by His humanity.
“So, the scoffers have every right to scoff because they are correct. It’s been 34 years since Jesus said,“this generation will not pass away until ALL of these things are fulfilled,” and the truth is that His return is nowhere in sight. Jesus won’t be coming in the time all of us expected.
“Therefore, in the future, though we must admit that their scoffing is justifiable, as long as we don’t take any of the time constraints literally, we will negate their vain attempts to discredit Jesus’ words. So whether God says something is going to happen either near or far, well, we just can’t hold God to this kind of human standard. 

Yes, I realize that means there’s no true test for a prophet since all prophets are exempt from these kinds of time restrictions, but these are harsh realities that must be conveyed…lest the scoffers continue to repeat their accusations charging Jesus and the rest of us as false prophets. So move along and be about your business to love the Lord. And remember, when God says renders a time-sensitive declaration , He may or may not do it within the time He specifies. It’s His divine prerogative!”
Do you see how ludicrous this excuse is when it is broken down and exposed? Does God really need us apologizing for Him? In an attempt to do the opposite, those who interpret 2 Peter 3:8 in this manner, do nothing but assault the integrity of God’s Word and accentuate His unfaithfulness. It strikes at the heart of inspiration. I truly can’t think of a more abused and heavily manipulated verse than 2 Peter 3:8. So, since I hope it is clear to you that option #1 is simply not viable, let’s move on to the other possibilities.
Explanation #2 (God the Father didn’t know when Jesus would return) proves that God is not ultimately sovereign. If God is subject to the whims of His creation, and has no idea what they will do, He clearly is not sovereign. Some dispensationalists have argued that the prophetic time clock stopped when the Jews rejected Christ, only to be restarted when Israel became a nation in ‘48. This excuse is so riddled with problems that I don’t have time to deal with them here.
Suffice it to say, I hope we all reject any option that denies God’s sovereignty. He never resorts to a plan B. What I find truly baffling is that those who hold this view apparently haven’t stopped to realize that if we, as free moral agents, could stop the prophetic clock once, we can do it again and again. Once man is elevated to this kind of supremacy, God is relegated to position of inferiority. 

So how could any prophet declare a prophetic event if it can always be short-circuited by non-compliant men? What would have happened if the Medes had chosen not to comply with God’s sovereign plan and therefore never attacked the Babylonians? Wouldn’t that have made Isaiah a false prophet? I realize how ludicrous this possibility is, but felt it was necessary to include it since people actually believe it.
Explanation #3 God the Father knew the exact day and hour of Jesus’ return, and only communicated how fast it would be, with no regard to the timing. This one appears even more outrageous than the God can’t tell time option.  Recently I heard a pastor who began a new series on the book of Revelation, espouse this very point. How did he arrive at this conclusion you ask? He began with Revelation 1:1 and instead of translating “tachos” as “soon”, he said it meant “fast”.
Revelation 1:1 (NASB) The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon (tachos) take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, 
So, according to this view, the timing of the Revelation was never in plain view. So, God was telling John that, once these things began to take place, Jesus would return with lightning quick speed. Tachos (where we get tachometer) can, in fact, mean the speed in which something is executed, but, based upon the context of all its usages, this is not primarily how the word is used throughout the New Testament. Also, it must be noted that all words must always be interpreted in context. All one has to do is drop down two verses to realize that this has nothing whatsoever to do with the speed of execution and everything to do with the timing of the events. I’ll come back to that thought in a moment.
Consider the parable of the widow and her persistence in obtaining legal protection from the ruthless judge. Though this parable clearly concerns prayer, many have missed its eschatologically-based subject matter. This “end times” parable, referenced “the elect” who would cry to the Lord for justice against their oppressors. Pay particular attention to the timing of the promised vindication as well as the usage of tachos.
Luke 18:7-8 (NASB) now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? “I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly (tachos). However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” 
Is there an interpreter on the planet (who isn’t trying to sell their stash of Left Behind books) who actually believes “quickly” means, that when God finally gets around to avenging His elect, he’ll do it really fast?  In other words, once God began His avenging, He was supposedly going to do it faster than a speeding bullet? 🙂 But this simply doesn’t fit the context of the parable. Jesus’ use of quickly (or some translations render it “speedily”, is in reference to the time of “delay” mentioned in verse 7. Would God continue to delay forever? No, He would bring about justice soon! What value would it have been to the elect for Jesus to have delayed a few thousand years after they were dead and gone and then vindicated them with amazing speed? I think it’s clear from the context that this passage has nothing whatsoever to do with “How fast?” and everything to do with “How long?”
Notice the same theme in Revelation 6’s opening of the fifth seal. This question of “How long?” is reiterated by the martyred souls who are under the altar. This scene is depicted some 32 years after the Olivet, not 65 years as too many presume. (Those who believe the Revelation was written in the mid AD 90s, please go HERE. There is far too much internal and external evidence which points to an early AD 60s date)  
The following passage is a recapitulation of the above parable, but at that moment in the vision it was only a short time from fulfillment. The saints had already been martyred.
Revelation 6:9-11 (NASB) When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.
During the Olivet, the plight of these souls who had suffered severe persecution to the point of death had already been predicted.
Matthew 24:9 (NASB) “Then they will deliver YOU to tribulation, and will kill YOU, and YOU will be hated by all nations because of My name.
So, again, the outstanding question is, “How long, Jesus? The dead saints were under the altar asking how long before their blood would be avenged. And what was Jesus’ answer? “When I come it’s going to be really fast!” No, that’s not at all what was promised. Jesus said only “a little while longer”! And this has nothing whatsoever to do with the speed of Jesus’ return and everything to do with the time before the martyrs would be avenged. “A little while longer” cannot possibly be misconstrued with the speed of the avenging.
The “How long?” answer has staggering implications which are totally ignored in the various versions of Leftbehindology. In Circa AD 62 (the approx. date of the Revelation), Jesus told them how long until their avenging (shortly), yet instead of believing Him, some attempt to change the plain meaning of words simply to conform the Bible to their paradigm.
Nobody was asking how fast they would be avenged. Waiting a little while is not a function of speed but of time. I don’t mean to be condescending or mean-spirited, but how can anyone read Revelation 1:1 and believe that Jesus is ignoring the “How long?” question and answering “How fast?”. For the sake of redundancy lest we lose focus, let’s look at the text one more time.
Revelation 1:1 (NASB) The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon (tachos) take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,
It must take place FAST? For those who adhere to this interpretation, let me ask you a question. Why would it have been important for Jesus to have said how fast He was going to avenge the martyred saints? Was Jesus correcting their understanding? Did they think He was going to return slowly? If there has already been a 2,000 year delay, what difference would it make how fast Jesus returns? So, even if one could finagle “tachos” to mean speed, how in the heavens can one cram the speed of His return into verse 3?
Revelation 1:3 (NASB) Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near (eggus)
There’s no possibility whatsoever that one can force eggus to fit into this speed motif. It simply means “the time is near”. So at this point, hopefully you will reject this 3rd excuse as well.

So, on we trudge to explanation #4, forever attempting to find yet another way to disguise the elephantGod the Father knew the exact day and hour of Jesus’ return, but Jesus, in his humanity, was unaware of not only the day and hour but also the millennium in which He would return.

Jesus’ “no man knows the day or the hour” statement, has been so thoroughly exaggerated and contorted that what people say it means bears no resemblance to reality. How can neither knowing the day nor the hour be used to argue that no one would have a clue within centuries or millennia of Jesus’ return? Matter of fact, during Jesus’ entire Olivet monologue, since Jesus specifically answered the disciple’s when question, why do we continue to insist that Jesus had no clue? In a recent blog post, “The End of the Beginning”, I thoroughly dealt with this issue and put to bed the notion that Jesus had no idea when He would return. Please take time to read it. I think we do the Bible injustice by propagating this myth. 
So, for the sake of brevity, I won’t deal in great detail with this false assumption here. Suffice it to say, the disciples asked Jesus one question, not three (as some have insisted), and got one very detailed answer culminating in a specific time frame. After Jesus told the twelve that the massive temple complex would be utterly obliterated (“not one stone left upon another”), the natural question was, “When will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matt 24:3)
Why is it that so many appear to either miss or ignore Jesus’ very first sentence of explanation? It set the tone for everything that was to follow. What was it? Did Jesus immediately begin detailing the litany of events that would follow? No. He offered a simple warning that, in and of itself, set the timing of fulfillment.
“See to it that no one misleads YOU.”  Wait a minute! Do you see the issue? How many times have you heard pastors and teachers say that the things contained in the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation are still future to us? If that’s the case, what difference would it have made to them? If “all these things” pertained to a distant generation removed from the immediate context by 2,000 years, what relevance would any of it had on the disciples? As we hearken back to Daniel’s vision, there was never any concern that Daniel be misled. Why? Because the prophesied events would take place well after Daniel was pushing up daisies. So the mere fact that Jesus warns His followers about being misled, tells you when those things were expected to occur.
The truth is that everything Jesus said was absolutely vital to the disciples because it applied directly to them and their generation. That’s why He cautioned them to be diligent so they wouldn’t be misled.
Matthew 24:34 (NASB) “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
I’d say that’s a rather emphatic time-sensitive answer, wouldn’t you? So, again, how is it so many pastors try to argue that not knowing the exact day and hour is equivalent to not having a remote idea within a few millennia? The answer is actually rather simple. They don’t like or understand the implications. So just like they attempt to explain away the meaning of “soon”, “shortly” and “at hand”, they play all kinds of extracurricular games with the above verse. C.S. Lewis called it the most embarrassing verse in the Bible. And for good reason, if none of the events outlined in the Olivet actually transpired within that first century generation.
Just before Jesus finished detailing the events that would take place within that generation, He offered the following analogy of the fig tree (Luke adds “and all the trees”).
Matthew 24:32-33 (NASB) “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; 33 so, you too, when YOU see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.
No, Jesus never knew the day nor the hour of His return while He was living on planet earth, but as can be seen above, if His disciples were to “see all these things” and be able to “recognize that He is near, right at the door”, He clearly knew far more than He is credited to have known. In approx. 3 decades, James would corroborate those very words when he wrote:
James 5:8-9 (NASB) YOU too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is nearDo not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.

If that doesn’t make the hair on the back of your neck, nothing will. Yes, the implication may startle you, but it is certainly contrary to what C.S. Lewis wrote in “The World’s Last Night. “He shared, and indeed created, their delusion. He said in so many words, ‘this generation shall not pass till all these things be done.’ And he was wrong. He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else.”   

Jesus was not only not wrong, but when He was sitting at the right hand of the Father after His ascension. At that point He knew the day and the hour of His return and He revealed to John that the contents of His vision would soon take place because the time was near. So, don’t let C.S. Lewis, your pastor or anyone else convince you that Jesus didn’t have a clue when He would return.

Well, that leaves us with explanation #5: God the Father knew the exact day and hour of Jesus’ return, and unambiguously and accurately communicated the imminence of Christ’s return through both Jesus and the NT authors. While on earth, Jesus didn’t know the day or hour of His coming, but He knew the generation. After His ascension He knew how short the time really was.
I’ve not found too many who aren’t at first extremely uncomfortable with this possibility, especially since it shatters their paradigm and means that “all these things” had to have taken place within that generation. It strikes at the heart of so many issues that most simply refuse to seriously consider it. So they limp back to option #1 in full knowledge that, untenable as it is, many others believe it so it must somehow have merit.
Let me offer one more word of caution from Ezekiel 12 lest you still cling to one of those first four explanations. 
Ezekiel 12:21-23 (NASB) 21 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 22 “Son of man, what is this proverb you people have concerning the land of Israel, saying, ‘The days are long and every vision fails‘? 23 “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “I will make this proverb cease so that they will no longer use it as a proverb in Israel.” But tell them, “The days draw near as well as the fulfillment of every vision. 
God was sick and tired of Israel constantly distorting His time sensitive promises. He would tell them that something was about to happen and they would ignore Him and say, “the days are long and every vision fails”.  They were incessantly thumbing their noses at God just like spoiled children saying that though God said things were near, they were actually very far off. Sound familiar? Isn’t this today’s approved interpretational method?
For this reason, God, in diametric opposition, said, “The days draw near as well as the fulfillment of every vision.”  They were trying to use the old “a day is as a thousand years” to God, slight of hand. And God became angry because they weren’t heeding his timely edicts.
Ezekiel 12:24-25 (NASB) “For there will no longer be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. 25 “For I the Lord will speak, and whatever word I speak will be performed. It will no longer be delayed, for in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and perform it,” declares the Lord GOD.'”
God said that whatever He spoke would take place in the time span predicted.  “It will no longer be delayed”!  This was decried by God almost 700 years before the birth of Christ.  Yet, what do most Christians say today about the plethora of time sensitive prophesies in the NT, ALL of which are accompanied by these time sensitive words like “shortly”, “at hand”, “soon” and “in a very little while”?
“Hath God really said?”  Sounds kind of like the serpent, doesn’t it?  God supposedly didn’t really mean shortly, soon or at hand when speaking of his coming, for He was speaking in His own eternal timelessness. This makes me tremble. The only way to judge a false prophet was to decide whether what they predicted took place in the time period predicted. If the timing of the prophecy was to be summarily ignored because time was irrelevant, then how could anyone claiming to speak for God be deemed a false prophet? If a prophet said something was going to happen soon and it didn’t, all hell broke loose against them. So it’s clear that the timing of a prophecy is every bit as important as the nature of what was predicted. But you wouldn’t know it by the way we interpret the Bible today.
Are we not unwittingly calling these NT authors false prophets by assuming their prophesies have been delayed thousands of years? I have gotten plenty of things wrong throughout my life but one thing’s seems abundantly clear, “will not delay” and “must take place shortly” simply cannot mean anything other than what they imply. This “God can’t tell time” mantra is striking at the very nature of God’s inspired Word and is unwittingly challenging God’s faithfulness.  Notice what God says next as he spoke through Ezekiel
Ezekiel 12:2-28 (NASB) Furthermore, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 27 “Son of man, behold, the house of Israel is saying, ‘The vision that he sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies of times far off.’ 28 “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “None of My words will be delayed any longer. Whatever word I speak will be performed,”‘” declares the Lord GOD. 

Could God have been any more redundantly emphatic?  It seems that God was sending a very clear message that His prophesies would come to pass in the exact time they were predicted. So how is it that the accepted eschatology of our day is in such direct contradiction to these words given to Ezekiel?

Our last order of business is to deal directly with the context of 2 Peter 3:8. Two things are usually missed. One has to do with considering only half the verse and the other regards the very next verse. 

2 Peter 3:8-9 (NASB) But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one dayThe Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 

If we take this verse to mean that “shortly” can mean thousands of years, then we must consider the fact that in the second part of the verse would turn Daniel’s “many days yet to come” into one day.  

So, in other words, any reference to time (near means far and far means near) would be so ambiguous that it would have no relevance whatsoever. Is that truly what Peter is arguing? Should Daniel have expected the things that would not happen for “many days yet to come” to occur “shortly”? This is simply ludicrous and makes a complete mockery of God’s Word.

If we consider the context of Second Peter, it had been approx 34 years since Jesus’s emphatic statement that He would return in a generation. Time was running out and the scoffers were mocking the fact that, since it had been so LONG (since Jesus made that statement), it was clear (to them) that Jesus wasn’t going to ever return. The scoffers were fully aware of the stated timing of the Lord’s parousia.

So Peter was in effect saying, “Listen fellas, yes, this generation is coming to a close, but the fact is that Jesus is still right on schedule.” That’s why Peter followed with “The Lord is not SLOW” to fulfill His promises? If Peter was arguing the way most have interpreted 2 Peter 3:8, he would have said, “The Lord is not FAST” to fulfill all that He promised. 

Peter wasn’t hedging his bets. He was all in. He was fully convinced that the end of all things was even nearer than they were when he wrote a year earlier. He knew that the timely vindication of the martyrs was absolutely crucial to the integrity of God’s prophetic word. I think there’s something very wrong when those who believe God are censured and considered heretical, while those in the mainstream Church are deemed “orthodox”. The first century Jews missed the timing of Jesus incarnation because they didn’t understand the nature of His first coming. Is it possible that 21st century Christians are making the same mistake with regard to Jesus’ 2nd coming because we are confused as to the nature of His coming?

There are those who have so flippantly and ignorantly mocked people for believing that God can tell time and God did fulfill His promises like clockwork. My hope is that they will realize the implications of their scoffing. People holding their eschatological feet to the fire are not the problem. So bent on holding on their view, they are unwittingly scoffing at the faithfulness of God. If the first-century scoffers gained traction and provoked Peter’s rebuke because it had been 34 years and Jesus was late, how should those who believe that Jesus is 1,984 years late and counting view their own unbelief? Because that’st he crux of the matter. Faith to believe that no matter how it seems because of the confusion, that God was abundantly faithful to His beleaguered first-century followers.

So how could we have possibly gotten this far afield where up is down and left is right? I realize that the implications make us uncomfortable. However, shouldn’t our end game be to exalt and honor the integrity and the inspiration of God’s Word rather than to merely attempt to preserve our eschatological presuppositions?
Eight years ago, after finally acknowledging the elephant in the room, I determined that the song I began this blog with, would have been more appropriately sung by those heavily persecuted AD 60s Christians who were promised near-term vindication and heavenly glorification. Their endurance was about to be rewarded. And they could not wait to see Jesus!
I can’t wait to see Jesus
In His glory as he bursts from the sky
I can’t wait to be held in his arms,
and see the glimmer in his eye.
I can’t wait to hear trumpets
’cause I know what they mean when they sound
I can’t wait to cast off my burdens,
and feel my feet leave the ground.
I can’t wait to see heaven
and to walk those streets of gold
I can’t wait to check into my mansion,
and get my sleeping bag unrolled.
Tell me how it’s gonna be,
read it from the Bible again
I can’t wait to see Jesus,
’cause Jesus is coming again
Oh, Jesus is coming again
Oh, Jesus is coming again.
1 John 3:2 (NASB) Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.

1 Corinthians 13:12 (NASB) For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.

Philippians 3:21 (NASB) who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.
 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (NASB) Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.Romans 8:18 (YLT) For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be revealed in us; Did you know that there is historical precedent for all these things taking place in and around AD 66 leading up to the destruction of the Temple in the fall of AD 70?

In closing, think about this. If God was not faithful to THEM (persecuted 1st century Christians who were promised near term vindication), why do you think He will be faithful to YOU. If we so frivolously disregard the plain meanings of Biblically inspired words simply to fit our eschatological preconceptions, how can we expect to look the liberal Bible critics in the eye? You may think this is about eschatology, but the fact is there’s a whole lot more at stake. This is a fight for the inspiration and integrity of Bible.For those who continue to insist that near can mean far and soon can mean many days in the future, I’ll leave you with this famous quote from a former president. It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’, is. Hold on to your eschatology if you must, but please stop using 2 Peter 3:8 to hide the elephant. He’s making quite a mess of our interpretational reading rooms and he’s severely compromising the credibility of God’s infallible Word.

p.s. If you truly want to see how the world sees us through the lens of our eschatological failings, check out the following from an atheist blog review of Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth. I don’t condone their conclusions, but I think they make some valid points that we all should consider.

If you’d like a straightforward Biblical answer to the seeming conundrum I’ve presented here, I would highly recommend Christian Hope Through Fulfilled Eschatology. Written by friend and PCA Elder, Charles Meek, this very readable and well argued eschatological masterpiece, presents a Biblical case that keeps the “time statements” intact while proving God’s real-time faithfulness. This book clearly and completely answers both the atheist as well as the premillennialist. If you are willing to consider a viable alternative to the failed system that has dominated the Church for a century, this book will provide answers to your most perplexing eschatological questions. Charles began, one of the first apologetics websites, to defend Christianity from skeptics and to bolster the faith of those committed to Christ. In so doing, he was confronted with the eschatological issues that have plagued the church. This book arose from a time of concerted study and introspection. Charles just mentioned that he received an email from a Dallas Theological Seminary grad letting him know that he left behind Left Behind (after reading this book).

Posted in 2nd Coming, Audience Relevance, Eschatology, Hermeneutics | 2 Comments

Let Us Remove Hence…

Are we living in the last days? Most Christians would say, yes, absolutely. So, since most believe we’re nearing the end of time when signs and wonders are expected to abound, in what time period would you assume the following would take place? A vision of chariots and armed squadrons in the heavens; a sword of fire hanging over Rome, the temple door that took 20 men to move it, opening by itself; and a great noise comprised of many voices saying, “Let us remove hence.” 21st century or the 1st century? Did you know that all of these amazing wonders occurred in AD 66?  

I just finished listening to G.A. Henty’s For the Temple, a fictional story based upon the historical record of Israel beginning just before the war broke out between the Jews and the Romans in the AD 60s. After 12 hours assimilating this amazing history, it’s fascinating how perfectly this period fit the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation. 

After years of not understanding how it was possible for the first three verses of the Revelation, “things that MUST take place shorty…for the time is near” (Rev 1:1;3), to have in fact taken place shortly, this serves as a poignant reminder of God’s timely fulfillment. Most Christians are either unaware of these things or have chosen to ignore them as though they never happened. 
I captured an audio snippet, added a few images and created the video below. The reason I chose this particular section was due to the last 30 seconds which are captivating.

The unusual signs and wonders reported by Josephus, Tacitus, Eusebius, Yosippon, and Hegesippus would be quite puzzling were it not for their connection to the events expected to close out the Olivet Discourse. Sadly, most Christians are not only unaware of these strange occurrences and their revelance to Bible prophecy, but they are also ignorant (as I was) of Palestine’s historical record between AD 60 and AD 70. 

If you’d like to know more about what these things might have meant, click on the following pdf’s. “Let us remove hence”: chart; quotes; notes; article; and more. And if you’d be interested in some lectures highlighting the historical context that surrounded the New Testament writings, I highly recommend the Ed Stevens’ podcasts. 
Posted in Updates | Leave a comment

Signs and Wonders! Normative for Today?

In a former blog post, “Has the Gospel Been Preached to All the World?”, a dear brother in Christ sent me the following comment/rebuke. Although I haven’t had enough time to fully develop my thoughts in a way I’m totally comfortable with, I thought his comments were worth a more timely response. This is what he wrote:
Wow, I have been having so much fun studying this material! I have believed much this way for a long time. But I have to tell you I am now very concerned because of your statements about healing. How can someone understand the Word so much and yet miss this? I get infuriated when I have leaders make statements about no healings, limbs growing out, blind eyes open, deaf ears healed. 
Have you been to one of the trips I have been on to Guatemala in the last 3 years where I have seen many blind eyes opened, deaf hear, bones set that were broken, kids speak that have never spoken and on and on. Above that, we have a stream of people who are healed on a regular basis just in our church.
Just because you have seen nothing in the area of healings, doesn’t mean that they aren’t happening all over the world today. By the way, I know of several people in Mexico that a friend has seen raised from the dead. You also don’t believe in prophetic ministry etc. That list makes me feel less confident in everything else you teach.
Sorry, but I have videos of my trips I have been on where people are being healed by the Lord on the video. Our last trip to Guatemala in November of 2013 there were 100’s of healings that we witnessed. We also have seen God heal (many times after family has been called in or given a heads up that their love one has days to live) cancers of all types. We have doctors say more times than we can remember, it’s a miracle, we don’t understand this etc.
Though I appreciated his comments, from my perspective, they turned a bit harsh. I think his statement, That list makes me feel less confident in everything else you teach lacks both balance and perspective. I’ve learned to NEVER throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. Even in disagreement, we press on toward the upward call, constantly attempting to renew our minds through the Word.  And although I admittedly have plenty of blind spots, am I alone? Obtuse though I may occasionally be, I am constantly attempting to do my very best to be objective, not allowing personal experience to unduly override Biblical exegesis. In our fervor to “believe all things”, is it possible to be lead astray into the weeds of the subjective?    
Let me say at the outset that I think this kind gentleman has made some invalid assumptions i.e. that I believe God CANNOT heal.  Any correction with chapter and verse is welcome, but I do not believe I’ve ever written, said or even implied, that God was/is unable to do anything. If someone is healed, to ascribe that wonderful gift of God’s grace to anyone or anything other than God, would be an utter travesty.  And the Bible specifically warns against such an attempt. 
My position at this moment regarding the sign gifts of the Spirit (and my views are always subject to change due to the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment), is that I do not believe these gifts as manifested in the first century, are of the same nature today. When’s the last time someone was healed by a garment’s shadow? When have you seen a 4-day old dead man walk out of his tomb?  To argue that today’s recipients of God’s healing mercy, prove that the charismata as manifested throughout the transition period (AD 30-70), is normative for today, is problematic at best.
We live in a nation of 350,000,000. There are Christian churches on every corner, many of which would characterize themselves as “charismatic”. Does anyone find as I do, it at least a little bit curious that almost all of the miraculous signs and wonders occur abroad? We have literally thousands of weekly healing services throughout this fruited plain, and yet we are hard-pressed to document a single limb grown out, a blind man receiving sight or a deaf person hearing. Why?  Why, if this ministry of the Holy Spirit is still in operation today as it was in Jesus’ day, do we not have thousands if not millions of clearly documented cases of miraculous healing? 
If the “sign gifts” manifested today are of the same magnitude, scope, and intensity as those regularly manifested by Peter or Paul, there would be no room for debate. The mere fact that we have disagreements regarding all things miraculous, proves something is amiss. If it was indeed so obvious that “many blind eyes opened, deaf hear, bones set that were broken, kids speak that have never spoken,” then there would be no question. So why are there so many skeptics?  Are all the doubters simply faith-challenged?  Are those who don’t believe the gifts are normative for today, as blind as this brother thinks we are? 
At this juncture, let me share some personal insights, lest anyone think I am completely ignorant of that which has been spoken of by this brother. I may not have been to Guatemala but I have been in and around the world of the charismata for quite a few years. Many years ago in our small Presbyterian church, in the blink of an eye, we went from “frozen chosen” Calvinists to card-carrying ambassadors of the Holy Spirit’s new wave of power. After being convinced by Terry Fullum, an Episcopal rector from Connecticut who wrote “Miracle at Darien”, of the Holy’s Spirit’s readiness to heal and prophesy through us on command, I began to eat and drink all things charismatic.
Multiple times I read John Wimber’s books, “Power Healing” and “Power Evangelism”. After scouring the pages, I regularly attempted to “do the stuff”, which was John’s endearing term for blessing others with the sign gifts. The word of wisdom, word of knowledge, prophecy, tongues, and healing were all in razor-sharp focus. We (the pastor and a fellow elder) attended and participated in Vineyards “Signs and Wonders Seminars”, after which we became integrally involved in Wimber’s ministry.  In the midst of our fervor I was taken aback when John died of a massive heart attack. At the time it seemed like the irony of all ironies. 
We were empowered, or so we fully believed, to do even greater works than the Apostles. Nothing would stop this new move of the Holy Spirit as we could now do all things through Christ! Millions upon millions were going to be healed and converted as this “Last days” movement swept across the globe.
We began regular healing services modeled after Fullam and Wimber. At a Presbyterian church, no less! Talk about making us black sheep among our cessationist friends within the PCA.  And during our regular Bible studies, in addition to the consistent practice of laying on hands for physical healing, we added the component of “inner healing”, which was a concept first brought to our attention by Francis and Judith McNutt. Healing of the memories, as they called it, was a supernatural counseling process facilitated by the pray-ers but accomplished by the Holy Spirit, where God would reach back into our most painful memories, even ones only embedded in the subconscious, and He would remove the crippling emotions associated with those paralyzing memories. 
I remember quite vividly attending a C. Peter Wagner healing conference in Orlando, for the express purpose of learning how to more effectively channel this new wave of the Holy Spirit’s power. It was an experience I will never forget. 
Over the ensuing weeks and months, if we prayed for one we prayed for thousands with the full faith that God was going to do miraculous works through our obedience. I had no doubt that we would eventually make our way to the local hospitals and clean them out!  Just as in Jesus’ day, the infirmed would be healed by the throngs. This new chapter in our lives was going to be nothing short of amazing! I had been blind to the Holy Spirit’s potential for far too many years.
But something happened on my way to the revival. Not only did a paltry few prayed-for souls show any signs of improvement, none with serious, obvious ailments (as were mentioned by the responder above) ever became well. Sure, occasionally people with sinus headaches and lower back pain said they received relief, but nothing like the limbless growing new limbs, paraplegics discarding their wheelchairs, or stage 4 cancer victims immediately and permanently being made well. Sure, there were times when people thought they were healed, but invariably the symptoms would reappear…hopes were dashed and faith was challenged.  
And I am saddened to report that this “movement” (for lack of a better term) had a seriously deleterious effect on my spiritual life. Something had to be wrong with me and/or my connection to God. Why wasn’t God moving as we had been told? Did God not love me or us?  Was He really there?  My expectations that had been at a fever pitch, were summarily throttled. Perhaps God was distant and not nearly as involved in the affairs of His followers as I’d presumed. Doubts abounded. 
These mountains of frustrations, coupled with the underpinnings of leftbehindology (which teaches basically that God wasn’t faithful to His first-century followers) and some very unfortunate personal events (my wife’s 6 miscarriages for starters), sent me to the front of the agnostic line. I went from elder/teacher, confident Christian (prior to engaging in this “move of the Spirit”) to a pathetic excuse of a skeptic. So deep and so long did I plunge spiritually, that I cringe at the mere contemplation. My relationship with Jesus went from vibrant and vital to pitiful and pathetic. 
And like I said, though I don’t attribute my spiritual decline to any one issue (things are always more complicated than that), I can unequivocally report that failed expectations of the charismata played a significant part in my plunge into skepticism.

As my heart grew dimmer and dimmer, I remember attending Bible studies where for years I didn’t contribute a word, much less pray. But because I didn’t want my spiritual struggles to weigh too heavily upon my impressionable teen children, I went through the motions participating in the usual church activities.

So, although my faith had grown weak, because I maintained an outward facade of spiritual health, other’s never fully grasped my seriously decrepit estate. Some of my closest friends knew that something was amiss, but they did not detect the extent of my skepticism. Back in 2003, a few months after burying my father, I wrote a paper, “Through the Eyes of a Skeptic” and had anyone read it they may have been convinced that I had completely departed from the faith. 
Bringing things forward slightly, less than a decade ago, my life took a 180. Far from being where I wanted to be (in terms of my walk with the Lord), I finally began trusting God in a way that I hadn’t previously, even before my time attempting to “do the stuff”.  It took one colossal eschatological paradigm shift to pluck me from the abyss of spiritual ambivalence into a renewed life of faith. Once I realized that God was indeed faithful to His first-century followers, I knew that there was hope for me. And as my heart softened, I spent exponentially more time in the Word…which of course had a very positive rippling effect. 
Some use eschatological debate like a political football. I, however, view eschatology pragmatically. To me, fulfilled eschatology represented God’s undying faithfulness as He vindicated the souls under the altar who were constantly asking, “How long, Oh Lord?” Most today still believe those crying dead believers in Revelation 6 are still waiting. And that grieves me no end. 
In fulfillment, I finally had the Biblical certainly to know why we were not able to perform the same kinds of signs and wonders as Peter, Paul, and Jesus.  Just as there were amazingly miraculous events that took place during the Exodus, there were similar kinds of manifestations during the Exodus between the cross and the parousia.
1 Corinthians 13:8-13 (NASB) Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
I believe the perfect came in the form of the parousia of Christ (an extended visit), which lasted from 66-70 AD. Most see the parousia as a one-time moment in history. I see it as a prolonged presence or visitation. In an Ed Steven’s podcast, he excerpted an Arthur Melanson radio program where he shared his understanding of Hebrews 11:30-40. (well worth the listen)  As Ed rounded out the Melanson clip, he gave great Biblical support for the ceasing of prophecy, tongues, and knowledge after the perfect came. The Canon was completed before the fall of the temple in AD 70, and therefore I do not believe in continuing revelation, characterized as an ongoing gift of prophecy. 
I do, however, believe that God still speaks to His children.  And I further believe that there are special times when He may reveal certain future events that will help us with our daily walk. Does God still work through dreams?  I have no doubt. But to expect this to be the ordinary course seems less than prudent and inconsistent with Scriptural expectations. 

Quite a number of years ago, my wife received a warning from a woman of stature, that there would soon (within the next year) be a great famine in our land. So certain was she of her dream’s fulfillment, that her email was almost apoplectically startling. That food shortage never came. Could it still come?  Perhaps. Anything is possible. I can’t judge the woman’s heart nor can I know how the Holy Spirit is working in her life. However, when people like this dear woman are steeped in the apocalyptic expectations of our day, there should be no wonder why they dream such things! When people are told that the worse things get the closer Jesus is to coming back, they will most definitely develop a glass-half-empty outlook.

The point is that these kinds of supernatural expressions need to be metered by Scripture. That said, I highly I recommend the following lectures from R.C. Sproul, “Are Miracles for Today?” and “The Gifts of the Spirit”.  Whatever we experience needs to be put in a Biblical context. If we neglect to do that, I think we open ourselves up to serious error and in my case a disintegrating faith. 

I’ve run out of time to do all that I intended, but suffice it to say, if a healing is documented and proven authentic, it must be attributed to God’s mercy and grace. God can obviously use any means possible to bring about His will and as long as all power and glory are attributed to God, and those praying believers aren’t exalted in any manner, I’ll always give God the credit.  
We agree that God CAN do anything at any time. So perhaps both the cessationists and the charismatics should be diligent to avoid putting God in their own box. Those who insist that God is moving today as He was in the first-century, may be in danger of doing the very thing I have been accused of. Just because we witness or hear about something attributed as miraculous, does not mean that these things are normative for today. And that’s the key takeaway. 
It puzzles me that it apparently doesn’t bother the sign gift proponents even a little bit that the most amazing testimonies of the miraculous i.e. raising the dead, are predominantly witnessed in foreign countries such as Guatemala and Mexico. I have heard these kinds of claims for years. I remember hearing Benny Hinn tell of a dead man being raised to life right on the speaking platform. But, I’ve neither the time nor the inclination to deal with brother Hinn’s issues. I’ll save that for another time.

If in fact, God is doing wondrous things in other parts of the world one must wonder if there an anti-spiritual force-field over the U.S.? Christian illusionist Andre Kole presents some serious challenges to the authenticity of the charismatic movement. For the serious Bible student, I would consider the following DVD: The Signs And Wonders Movement: Exposed

In closing let me say unequivocally that I am not skeptical that God CAN do the miraculous. The question is, is He working in the same manner today, as He did through the Apostles? So, is the move of the Holy Spirit as manifested through tongues, prophecy, and healing, normative for today?  I have serious doubts that He is, but that doesn’t mean that I doubt the Lord capabilities for even a microsecond. Faith believing that God can heal is not the same faith that believes He must heal upon our command. Personally, I think it’s far more important to develop faith in God’s sovereignty than to have faith in a specific outcome. 
Posted in Charistmatic, Healing, Signs and Wonders | Leave a comment

The End of the Beginning!

In a recent church newsletter, the congregants were informed of a new series entitled, “The end: Understanding the Book of Revelation”.  In this upcoming set of sermons, the is “going to help make sense of this often confusing book of the Bible.” As one considers the first installment, “?The beginning of the end”, a few questions immediately flooded my slightly warped (some say very warped 🙂 gray matter.  

To what
 end is the pastor referring? The beginning of what end?  Though many would automatically presume it to be about the last days of planet earth and the end of human history, did you know that nowhere in John’s vision is such an end stipulated. 

Matter of fact, since most presume the book of Revelation to be a more comprehensive treatment of Olivet Discourse found in the synotpics (Matthew 24; Luke 21; Mark 13), it may come as a surprise to some (it shocked the heck out of me!) that the end of the world (kosmos) is not only never mentioned in the Gospels, but is not found in the entire Bible. Jesus frequently referred to the “end of the age” (Matt 13:49; Matt 24:3; Matt 28:20) but never the end of the world. And though that may seem like hairsplitting, it is anything but. Since the KJV (King James Version) wrongly translated “aion” as world, most Christians throughout the past hundreds of years, have mistakenly thought that the end of the kosmos was plainly in Jesus’ cross-hairs.  So, though the Revelation may in fact be about the “beginning of the end”, it’s extremely important to determine what end is actually in view. 

Based merely upon the sermon title, “The beginning of the end”, quite a few additional questions immediately spring to mind: 

  • Isn’t this an awfully long ending if ?”The beginning of the end?” began in the first century? (Acts 2:16-17; Heb 1:1-2) Both Peter and the author of Hebrews (I believe to be Paul) made it clear that the “Last Days” began in the 1st century. 
  • Doesn’t 2,000 years seem like an ?very long “last days”? 
  • Weren’t the last days, which were 
    first spoken of in Genesis 49, supposed to be at the tail end of the Old Covenant age which began at Sinai?,? 1,600 years before the last days began? If you’re like me, you might have to read that again to get the full impact.
  • If the first verse of John’s Revelation speaks of “things which MUST take place SHORTLY”, what in the world does “shortly” really mean if we’re still looking for these events to take place? 
Confused?  You should be. 🙂  And that’s probably why most people stay clear of this highly sign-ified book. 
So let’s get this straight. The ?Mosaic age ?in which ?the last days were supposed to modify, ?were? to last longer (2,000 years) than the entire Mosaic period (1,600? years)? Does that make any sense? That’d be like Babies R Us (which is selling off it’s inventory as we speak) having a “last days” liquidation sale,?last longer than the entire time the store had existed. LoL
Since the apple rarely falls far from the tree, it’s my educated guess that this pastor will present a somewhat typical version of premillennialism. Dallas Theological Seminary, the place where he received his degree, has been the hotbed for premillennial dispensational eschatology, which  was founded at approx the same time (1830s) as were the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Millerite… all of which share a common eschatological framework. Not the best of bedfellows. That alone should make one a bit nervous.
In this week’s sermon notes the first verse quoted, “…things which must take place shortly”, is listed under the subtitle: “The Revelation is an autobiography.” Though this verse and the other two verses quoted on page 1 (of the sermon notes) all contain imminent time references (Rev 1:3 “for the time is near; Rev 22:7 And behold, I am coming soon?…?“), I find it curiously telling that the pastor followed with the main bullet point exhortation, Why is a predictive approach to Revelation not the best? • The Bible warns against it… while quoting “but concerning the day and hour no one knows” 

Yes, the Bible clearly warns against “private interpretations”, but since John is told repeatedly in the first and last chapters in the Revelation of the “things that MUST take place shortly”, I’m not certain why it would be wrong to determine if these things did in fact take place shortly. Matter of fact, I think it’s imperative that we do that. 

When pastor warns against a predictive approach, is this not an indictment against the entire premillennial schema that he subscribes to? Just wander through your local Christian bookstore (after purchasing one of my wife’s wonderful books! 🙂 and notice how the plethora of apocalyptically-based novels and commentaries are warning us of our impending end. This is the drumbeat of this entire eschatological system that has dominated the evangelical community since the 60s.  
So when one references tsunami’s, earthquakes (one yesterday in Cuba), Middle East strife, school shootings and moral disintegration, as proof that we are nearing the end, aren’t we in a sense violating this edict against this predictive approach?  Though few go so far as the date setting of Harold Camping or Edgar Whisenant (88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will be in 1988), the winds of impending doom are constantly swirling throughout the church. I sat in a north Florida Sunday School some time ago and as the class neared its end, the leader said something like, “Men, things may be bad now, but they will only get worse. Get ready!”  
As I have heard pastors and others allude to the fact that things are only going to get worse, I have to wonder what impact this is having on our resolve to win the world for Christ? Matter of fact, in a rather sordid sort of way, some go so far to revel in the disintegration of our culture as proof that Jesus is closer to returning. (Kirk Cameron addressed that very issue in Monumental – short clip below.) 

Although I would wholeheartedly concur that today’s prophetic speculators have brought undue scorn upon the Bible’s credibility, I don’t think this is what Jesus was warning His disciples about. Jesus had just spent His entire Olivet monologue with the express purpose of telling them what was about to take place and when it would happen. Was Jesus truly dodging the disciple’s question, “…when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Not at all. Jesus answered that question with great certainty in verse 34 “This generation will not pass away until ALL THESE THINGS be fulfilled”. So why when we read verse 36, do we assume that Jesus had no clue when He would return? Not knowing the day and the hour is one thing. Not knowing the millennia is quite another!
Matthew 24:36 (ESV) “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 
Was Jesus really telling his disciples that neither He nor anyone would ever have a remote clue when He was going to return? Is that really what this verse was supposed to convey? Jesus said He didn’t know the specific day or the specific hour, but He also emphatically stated that “all these things would come upon this generation” (Matt 23:36) and “This generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matt 24:34)??. 

C.S. Lewis thought verse 34 was so misleading that it was really embarrassing (World’s Last Night). So much so that it called it the most embarrassing verse in the Bible. Most, instead of being embarrassed by it, do everything in their power to ignore it or alter it’s plain meaning. C.I. Scofield tried to do a little slight of hand, writing that “generation” (genea) actually meant “race” (genos). However, since that effort has been so summarily discredited, people choose other avenues like, “It’s the generation that sees the signs”.  It never ceases to amaze me, the excuses people try to come up with to make the Bible fit into their little box. The disciples asked one question, not three, and Jesus gave one definitive answer. At that point we have a choice. We can either attempt to change what Jesus actually said, or we can believe Him. 

So would you characterize Jesus’ statement “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have come to pass”, as having no idea? Sure, 40 years (a Biblical generation) is a heck of a long time, but it is still a clearly delineated time frame (from the cross in AD 30 to the destruction of the Temple in AD 70).  Jesus had already stated that He would return before his disciples finished going through the cities of Israel (Matt 10:23), while some in his larger flock were still alive (Matt 16:27-28), so adding “this generation” to the mix was really just a reaffirmation of what He had already told them.  
By the time we arrive at Matthew 24:34, ?Jesus had finished a rather lengthy explanation, detailing the events that would precede His return (at the end of the age) culminating in the temple’s utter obliteration (Matt 24:2-3).  
So to say that Jesus had no clue when He would return is, well, ludicrous. That may sound harsh, but Jesus made it abundantly clear that His disciples were to stay vigilant and should prepare for His return. That was the intent of the parables that followed Matthew 24. In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus even gave the birth pains analogy, which made evident that although a mother wouldn’t know the exact day or the hour of her child’s birth, she would know that in approx 9 months she’s have a baby… so, once the birth pains arrive, she’d know that her baby’s birth was imminent. The point is that in both instances (Jesus’ coming and childbirth) there is a fixed, known time period, which was to end shortly after the birth pains began. 
That’s why Jesus prefaced His emphatic statement concerning “this generation” with the following:
Matthew 24:32-33 (NASB) “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near33 so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door

?Does this sound as if the disciples were not to know the season of His return? 22 times in the first 44 verses in this Matthew’s 24th chapter, Jesus referred to “you” as He warned them (His beloved disciples) of the impending events that would lead to the end of the age and the razing of the temple. So what hermeneutical (science of interpretation) principle would license us to assume that the “you” in “when you see these things” is not specifically referencing the disciples, but instead is some sort of generic “you” representing those of us living in the 21st century? 

When I was first confronted with the interpretive principle, “reader relevance”, I was shocked to notice the number of times Jesus referred specifically to His disciples. From start to finish there is a contiguous reference to Jesus’ disciples. So to make this passage about us seems arrogant and myopic. 

  • Do YOU see all these things? (verse 2)
  • Truly I tell YOU (verse 2)
  • Watch out that no one deceives YOU (4)
  • YOU will hear of wars and rumors of wars (6)
  • but see to it that YOU are not alarmed (6)?
  • Then YOU will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death (9)
  • YOU will be hated by all nations because of me (9)
  • “So when YOU see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation (15)
  • Pray that YOUR flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath (20)
  •  At that time if anyone says to YOU, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. (23)
  • See, I have told YOU ahead of time. (25?)
  • So if anyone tells YOU, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. (26)
  • As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, YOU know that summer is near. (32)
  • Even so, when YOU see all these things (33)
  • YOU know that it is near, right at the door (33)
  • Truly I tell YOU, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened (34)
  • Therefore keep watch, because YOU do not know on what day your Lord will come (42)
  • So YOU also must be ready (44)
  • because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (44)
Watch Matthew 23-24 (below) to get the full impact of “audience relevance”. Skip to the 9:22 mark of Matthew 24.
Is there any question to whom Jesus was speaking and is there the slightest doubt that Jesus was preparing His disciples so they would remain vigilant? “YOU must also be ready,” Jesus exhorted. Why would Jesus exhort them to “be ready” if none of this pertained to them, but rather was targeting a distant generation 2,000 years future? I realize that, in their/our arrogance, every generation thinks they are the most important in all of history, but this is not only not the case, but it’s also bad logic. 
Now, notice how Jesus’ brother James used the same language as Jesus did 30 years earlier. 
James 5:8-9 (NKJV) You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at handDo not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!
Jesus had said, “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; 33 so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door(Matt 24:32-33)
Is this just coincidental language?  James stated that Jesus’ return was not only near, it was ?”right at the door”!!!  And the closer they came to the end of the age, the more we see this language of imminence intensify. The passages below were written in the early AD 60s just a few short years from the destruction of Jerusalem. 
In Hebrews 10:37, 1 John 2:18 and 1 Peter 4:7 we read, “for in a very little while He who is coming will come and will not delay“; “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour; and The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.”
?Is there any doubt that these apostles were keeping track of the signs? Surely they neither knew the day nor the hour, but, given the anticipatory language above, it’s apparent that they knew the “last days” were coming to a close. John didn’t say he thought it might be the last hour, he said that he knew it was the last hour. 
According to the Apostle Paul, only those who were not paying attention to the unfolding events laid out in the Olivet were to be consumed by the wrath of God as He poured out His vengeance upon the Christ-killing generation. The thief would ONLY come as a thief in the night to those who were not vigilant. To the Christians who did not live in darkness, they would not be overtaken by the thief. They were sons of the day! 
1 Thessalonians 5:2-6 (NASB) For YOU yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But YOU, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake YOU like a thief; for YOU are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let US not sleep as others do, but let US be alert and sober. “But YOU are not in darkness that the day would overtake YOU as a thief, for YOU are all sons of light and sons of the day.” 
So, when anyone tries to argue that Christ’s return in judgment against that wicked and perverse generation, was shrouded in so much mystery that no one should have a clue when He would return, you will know that they are in error because the Bible proves differently. If one ignores the timing, because they don’t understand the nature of His coming, confusion will abound. And once we ignore the context of the timing, the Bible becomes an interpretive Mr. Potato Head. ?It can be manipulated to fit our paradigm. 
The first century Jews missed Jesus’ first coming. Why? Because they expected a warrior prince to deliver them from their political bondage while vanquishing their oppressors, not a suffering servant who came to set them free from sin and death. So they crucified Him.
Is it possible that 21st Christians have made the very same interpretive mistake by misunderstanding the nature of Christ’s return? Jesus had already warned his followers not to be misled. “So if anyone tells YOU, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.” But why? How could they be certain that at some point Jesus would not be found among them again?  For the same reason Peter attempted to resist Jesus’ arresting party.
John 18:36 (NASB) Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” 
The Kingdom, Jesus told them, is not of this world. It’s spiritual in nature. The Kingdom was not coming with “signs to be observed”. 
Luke 17:20-21 (NASB) 20 Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!‘ or, ‘There it is!‘ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
Just a few chapters later, Luke, writing to a predominantly Gentile audience, wrote:
Luke 21:20-22 (NASB) 20 “But when YOU see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near21 “Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; 22 because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled.    
Is there any wonder why so many Christians have missed this when we’re so rooted in earthly/physical/temporal expectations?  If we miss the timing of His visitation (and I don’t know how much clearer Jesus and the the NT authors could have been), how will we understand the nature of that coming? Is there perhaps a reason why, after 2,000 years, Jesus has still not arrived in the manner expected, given the fact that, in the second to the last verse of the Bible, He said Behold, I am coming quickly? (Rev 22:20)  
I realize this brings discomfort to some (as it did me), but if we don’t begin to take God seriously when He said He was going to do something, aren’t we unwittingly entering into a state of disbelief simply because we want to hold on to what we’ve been told?
Let me add one more thought regarding this supposed second coming “mystery” and the exhortation to avoid prophetic speculation. It should be noted that Jesus said (while still in human form before His ascension) that His parousia (Greek word usually translated “coming”) would be in “this generation”. At that time, because of His human restrictions, only the Father knew the day and the hour of his return.  

However, would you not agree that once Jesus ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father (AD 30), that at that very moment He knew the day and the hour of His imminent visitation? Jesus’ glory was clearly restored to that His prior status before the foundation of the world. So to argue that, even after His ascension, He would never know the day or the hour of His return, is to assault the deity of Christ and the oneness of the trinity.

John 17:5 (NKJV) And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

Jesus had already been glorified and was no longer encumbered by human constraints. So, when the Revelation was written (approx AD 62-64), I’m not certain how we can argue that Jesus was still unaware. Therefore, when we read the first 3 verses of the Revelation, what should our conclusion be? The King is telling us WHEN He will return. This is not a guess. “MUST soon take place” gives us no wiggle room. When the Creator of the universe says something must happen, do we have the nerve to question like the serpent did i.e. Hath God said?… 

Revelation 1:1-3 (NASB) The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.
The word Revelation is the Greek word “apokalupsis” which means the uncovering. Not the concealing! Many today seem to believe that the Revelation was never meant to be understood by actual recipients, but only properly understood by us. Wouldn’t then, the vision has been named the parakalýpt?, which means concealed? 
Luke 9:45 (NASB) But they did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they would not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this statement. 
Jesus, through the angel, told John of the impending events that were about to follow. So why is the sci-fi language about beasts, dragons and strange creatures with horns seemingly shrouded in mystery and intrigue?? To protect the recipients against their adversaries, both Roman and Jewish. This book was not a mystery to those steeped in the Old Testament. It only appears to us like a document concealed in secrecy because we have so little grasp of the Old Testament. 
Twice in the first 3 verses, and 5 times in our Bible’s last chapter, Jesus told them that His return was imminent. Personally, though I realize it’s not popular, I prefer to believe Jesus than the self-appointed experts who will not take God at His word. 
So is it true that no one was or is to have a clue when Jesus was to return? Clearly the Disciples didn’t know the day or the hour, but is it possible for us to know the exact time of His visitation? 
American Vision Founder, Gary DeMar, in the forward to Francis Gumerlock’s “The Day and the Hour: Christianity’s Perennial Fascination with Predicting the End of the World”, wrote:

“Trying to make the Bible say something that it does not is the point of Frank Gumerlock’s The Day and the Hour. Its historical documentation is overwhelming. We read how decade after decade of prophecy writers, over two millennia, assured their followers that their generation was the last generation. How could so many well-intentioned and seemingly well-informed Christians be so wrong on such an important topic? Is the Bible that unclear? Not at all. The Bible is not at fault. The fault lies with those who refuse to take it’s The result is that God ends up being a liar.

The Day and the Hour forces us to reevaluate the constant claim that today’s signs are certain indicators that Jesus is coming soon, that He is returning in our generation. Some might say, “Well, today is different. Conditions of the world are much worse than they were 500 years ago. There are more earthquakes, famines and wars. As you read The Day and the Hour, count how many times this same argument is used to support the claim that the end was near for Christians in long-past generations. 

The Day and the Hour is an ever-present reminder that if the history of date setting teaches us anything, it teaches that everyone who has ever made a prophetic claim has been wrong. In the final analysis, the Bible is the true standard, not the prophetic prognostications of prophetic speculators.”

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