Spiritual Schizophrenia

Spiritual Schizophrenia
Vol: 104 Issue: 22 Saturday, May 22, 2010

Most people, when they think of schizophrenia, associate it with a mental condition called Multiple Personality Disorder.  In reality, schizophrenia has nothing to do with multiple personalities. 

The dictionary provides two definitions for schizophrenia.  The first is that of a severe mental disorder technically known as dementia praecox.  Dementia praecox is the severest condition, where the victim becomes delusional; hallucinations, voices, that kind of thing.

The second definition is a mental state characterized by the coexistence of contradictory or incompatible elements.   That’s the working definition I had in mind when I titled today’s briefing “Spiritual Schizophrenia.” 

Every Christian understands what I mean by ‘spiritual schizophrenia’ by experience. 

There is a TV commercial running currently for an allergy medicine in which the main character, an allergy sufferer trying to decide which allergy medicine to take, talks with two tiny representations of himself, one on his left hand, the other on his right.  

The one on the left side of the screen is the competitor, the one on the right is the Their Brand.  When Their Brand’s little guy announces that they last twelve hours and the competitor only six, the little guy on the left stamps his foot angrily and disappears in a puff of smoke.

That is Madison Avenue playing off the instinctive and experiential acknowledgement of the twin natures of man.   They don’t need to explain any of it — the symbolism is instantly recognizable to any culture.

In the old cartoons, it was a little winged angel with a halo on the right hand and a little red devil on the left, each whispering contradictory messages into the main character’s head. 

It is so universally-recognized as a symbol of the spiritual schizophrenia that afflicts us all that little kids watching cartoons grasp the concept instantly.   They’ve experienced the two natures long before anybody told them about it.

But experiencing it without being able to account for it is much like suffering undiagnosed schizophrenia.  It brings much sorrow and discouragement until you know what it is and how to treat it. 

Christians who fail to understand how spiritual schizophrenia afflicts them suffer the most discouragement. 

Here you are, rejoicing in your newfound relationship with Christ.  You have turned your back on the world, the flesh and the enemy.  You are walking on air.

Jesus has taken possession of your life and opened the door to a fresh, new existence.  You are cleaner than you’ve ever felt.  The old man is crucified with Christ, the old way of sin is gone forever.  The pathway to God seems a perfect pathway to peace.

Your desire for that ‘besetting’ sin, that one habit you never seemed to be able to kick, seemingly falls away by itself.

Then, BANG! The old forces of sin come back as strong, if not stronger than before.  That besetting sin, once merely a habit, becomes almost a necessity of existence.

Your spiritual tendencies are suddenly paralyzed. You want to move in the direction of the Spirit, but you are overwhelmed by the needs of the flesh. 

You are at first amazed at the power of the flesh, then distressed by your spiritual weakness, and finally discouraged and wondering if you were ever really saved in the first place.

This is where, for many Christians, there is a departure into that half-and-half existence, concluding that having been tempted and fallen, they are back in bondage to sin. 

They no longer have any confidence in themselves or hope of winning anyone else to Christ.

Some conclude that they must not have been saved in the first place, wondering if there really even is such a thing as conversion. 

Their “brethren” reach the same conclusion, teaching that salvation without growth and change is faux salvation — they couldn’t have been saved in the first place.   

The Bible teaches that salvation is by grace through faith.  But faith in what?  Faith that Jesus existed?  Faith that Jesus died?  Faith that Jesus rose again? 

How does faith that Jesus did all that translate into saving faith?  The answer might surprise you.  It can’t. Knowing the Gospel story doesn’t impart salvation.  The Apostle James writes:

“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19)

Believing that Jesus died and rose again — by itself — is simply an acknowledgment of fact.  Satan knows that Jesus died and he certainly knows that Jesus rose again.  And he just as certainly isn’t saved by that knowledge.

Neither is anybody else.

Assessment:

I knew ALL that when I was a kid growing up in Catholic school. I had Catholic cathechism class every single school day.   I knew a ton about Jesus and the Cross and the Apostles and the Gospels.   

But I wasn’t saved.  And I already had lots of experience with spiritual schizophrenia — long before I came to Christ. 

Once I knew the difference between right and wrong and discovered that no matter how hard I tried, I still couldn’t keep myself out of trouble, that cartoon devil kept kicking the angel right off my other shoulder.

Saving faith isn’t faith that Jesus rose again, saving faith is found in knowing why

Jesus was the only One qualified to pay the penalty for my sin.  He paid my penalty at the Cross.  His resurrection is proof that the payment was all-sufficient and my faith, and my salvation, rests in that truth.

Spiritual schizophrenia is not just part of the human condition; it is a bedrock doctrine of Christianity.  The Book of Romans has long been recognized as the blueprint for salvation; most missionary tracts contain all or some of “Romans Road.”

The message of the Book of Romans is salvation, what it means, and how it works in the Christian experience.  In Chapter Seven, Paul outlines the doctrine that both diagnoses and treats spiritual schizophrenia.

Paul begins by explaining the Law of Moses as understood by the Jewish authorities of the time.

“Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?”  

An observant Jew had to keep the Ten Commandments — plus some 615 other rabbinical commandments derived from the Torah by the sages and religious authorities.

“For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.”

“Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law by the Body of Christ; that you should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”

We are dead to the Law by the Body of Christ.   That explains how.  I want you to see why.  “That we should bring forth fruit unto God.”  

Recall those unfortunates discussed above who, having been tempted and fallen, have no confidence in their own salvation.  They question whether they were ever really saved themselves — and they certainly have no testimony to share with others.  No fruit unto God.

That is why we are dead to the Law.  Because of our dual nature.  Otherwise, salvation would be impossible, as Paul testifies:

“For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.”

 “But now we are delivered from the law, being dead to that in which we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”

‘The work of The Law was to bring fruit unto death.’ Is that right? 

“What shall we say then? is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, you shall not covet.”

Nobody ever kept the whole Law.  The purpose of the Law was to demonstrate the need for a Savior and only He that was without sin could deliver them from that bondage.

What caused the Fall of Adam was the Law.  Adam had but one law to obey. It was too much for him.  Sin operates on the Principle of the Forbidden Fruit.

“For I was alive apart from the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.”

Something isn’t sin until it is forbidden. But once it is forbidden, the flesh can’t keep away from it.  That is the essence of the sin nature.  

Babies can’t grasp sin, so they are “alive” spiritually.  They don’t need to be ‘born again’.   Babies who die don’t go to hell, they are innocent of personal sin.

 “And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.  For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.”  

But when the “commandment comes” (they understand right from wrong) the Principle of the Forbidden Fruit kicks in, sin revives and they die spiritually.

There is no doubt that the Apostle Paul was both saved and Personally indwelt by the Holy Spirit.   But Paul also suffers from spiritual schizophrenia. 

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”

“For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.”

Sounds a lot like the guy who, having once been enlightened and had tasted the gifts of the Spirit, was tempted, fell, got up, fell again, and finally concluded that he couldn’t perform as a Christian.  

“I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.”

If we were stop right here, what we would have is Paul confessing that he is discouraged by his sinfulness and looked forward to a pretty fruitless Christian testimony, if he were really saved at all.  

Here we have the diagnosis of spiritual schizophrenia laid out in plain and simple terms.

“For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”

Paul’s diagnosis is followed up with the lament of the defeated and discouraged Christian still struggling to come to grips with his disorder:

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

But then Dr. Paul outlines the treatment.  It isn’t a cure — spiritual schizophrenia is a life-long incurable condition.  But there is good news. 

Properly understood, it can be treated and its sufferers can enjoy a full and fruitful life in Christ.  

“I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”

Is Paul saying that from now on, he can sin all he wants to and just serve the law of God in his mind?  No.

And neither am I.  Recognition of a condition is not justification for not treating it.  It is merely recognition that it exists.   

But since it exists, and since it is an incurable condition in this life, saved, Blood-bought believing Christians do sin after salvation.  

Some sinners seem to sin more than others, but if there is a line drawn in the sand somewhere that Christians cannot cross, the Bible doesn’t reveal where it is.  

The Bible says only that all sin is equal in God’s eyes and that all of our best efforts at good works are as ‘filthy rags’ before the Lord.

Our spiritual schizophrenia is well-known to God.   That is why our justification had to be complete — we are as incapable of maintaining it as we were of obtaining it in the first place.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”  (Jeremiah 17:9)

Because all our good works are as filthy rags before the Lord, there is only one way we can bear fruit unto the Spirit.  A full understanding of our condition demands a total reliance on faith that by His blood we are justified forever.

Our condition is not Life-threatening and we needn’t be ashamed of being in treatment. It  is a lifelong condition we were ALL born with.  

You aren’t unique.  And you aren’t hopeless.  But you are desperately needed on the battlefield.  You don’t need to go find it.  Just get up and stop nursing your wounds. The battle will find you.

“And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2nd Corinthians 12:9)

That is — by itself — a testimony worth sharing. 

Controlling the Agenda

Controlling the Agenda
Vol: 104 Issue: 21 Friday, May 21, 2010

I am trying to think of a single policy decision made at the federal level over the past fourteen months that benefitted America, rather than hurting her. 

I’m drawing a blank.  How about you?   It would seem that whenever there is a choice of two ways to go, the administration always takes the path that does the country the most damage.

We now embrace our enemies and repel our allies. I don’t have to rehash the number of times Obama has already either apologized or bowed to our enemies or how many times he has sabotaged relations with our friends.

It seems like each day provides a fresh example.

The Left gave Mexican President Felipe Calderon a standing ovation when he both criticized openly mischaracterized (lied about) Arizona’s immigration law.

Every federal official that stood to applaud Calderon offered a direct slap in the face to every Arizona law enforcement officer, not to mention every Arizona voter. 

Arizona’s law mirrors federal law and forbids racial profiling.

The assumption that law enforcement officers can’t be trusted to obey the laws they are charged with enforcing betrays each federal official that applauded that assumption.  They don’t obey their own laws unless it suits them, so they assume that the police don’t either. 

I don’t think that is a partisan assessment — since it is shared by a significant plurality of Democrats.   According to Real Clear Politics, the president’s job approval rating is split almost down the middle, with 48% approving and 46% disapproving.

When you look at RCP’s stats, be sure and notice how the polls break down.  CBS has Obama’s approval at 51% and disapproval at 39%.  ABC NewsWashington Post’s last poll has Obama at 54% approve, 44% disapprove.  NBC shows it 50% to 44%.

FoxNews’ polling data shows 45% for and 46% against.  

Neither CBS nor ABC bothered to poll presidential approval ratings for May.  They’ve invested all of their journalistic integrity and credibility in Barack Obama being the nation’s last, best hope. 

It will take a lot for them to admit not only that they have been had, but that they are primarily responsible for his election.   Obama has seemingly made so many rookie mistakes that it gives pause to wonder if he has a clue about what he is doing, so the mainstream media is extending him the benefit of the doubt.

I am beginning to believe that is a disguise — Obama knows exactly what he is doing.  It is the mainstream media that is clueless. 

The liberal media still refuses to look too closely at the Obama administration — it simply can’t afford to.   But it ignores Obama at its own peril — what they don’t realize is that they are standing in front of Obama’s bulls-eye. 

They are assisting in their own involuntary suicide, but they are too heavily invested in The Legend to acknowledge the reality.   But every time Obama goes off-script, he lets a bit more of his real agenda slip out.  

Like at Hampton University where he complained that the American people were being exposed to “all kinds of arguments” that according to Obama, “don’t rank that high on the truth meter.” 

Obama’s ‘Diversity Czar’ is a fellow named Mark Lloyd.  First off, let’s examine what a “Diversity Czar” actually is.   Lloyd is in charge of enforcing ‘diversity’.  I looked up ‘diversity’ in my thesaurus and discovered diversity’s antonym. 

The thesaurus says the opposite of ‘diversity’ is ‘unity’ as in the United States of America.  The Diverse States of America would be Canada, the US, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, etc. 

America needs a Diversity Czar like Moscow needs more Communists. If anything, America needs something to unify it.  Which is why Obama is taking us the other way.

Lloyd’s vision of ‘diversity’ includes reviving the woefully misnamed ‘Fairness Doctrine’ that would require equal time for opposing points of view on virtually every subject.  

That sounds fine on paper.  But what it means is two things.  The first is that Christian networks will have to present opposing (anti-Christian) points of view.  Secular networks will have to either drop Christian programming or find and broadcast opposing programming, whether they want to or not.

The administration denies it, but it is impossible to imagine that Mark Lloyd would issue an exemption to Christianity, which leads to the second point. 

From the media producer’s point of view, it is easier to drop opinion and religious programming than it is to meet Fairness Doctrine standards.  That’s why Obama wants the Fairness Doctrine reinstated.  His guy gets to pick what’s ‘fair’.

Elena Kagan, Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court, is on record complaining about an “overabundance of ideas” — allow that concept to sink in for a second.   Moreover, Kagan believes it is up to the government to ‘unskew’ certain ideas. 

The administration’s ‘Net Neutrality’ plan sounds as innocuous as the ‘Fairness Doctrine’ does, but in reality, it is an effort to control content on the internet. 

There are a lot of things are broken and need fixing; illegal immigration, the economy, Afghanistan, Iran, foreign relations with Israel and the UK, the list is long and the threats they pose are manifest.

The internet, however, works exactly as advertised.  It is truly neutral in that every point of view is represented.   The internet needs a Net Neutrality Act like a butterfly needs a Harley.  Any effort to regulate internet neutrality will necessarily accomplish the opposite.

The administration has also declared total war on Fox News, singling out both the network and individual commentators from the presidential podium, an unheard-of practice for a country founded on the principle of freedom of speech as the only way to keep the government honest.

President Obama’s open contempt for the Tea Party movement is more than a little baffling.  The Tea Party consists primarily of independent and conservative swing voters — and they are the ones that decide elections.

Partisan Republican voters vote the straight-Republican ticket.  Partisan Democrats vote the straight Democrat ticket.  To these voters, it doesn’t matter who the candidate is. All that matters is that he belongs to the right party.

So the Democrats needn’t worry about their own voters and they know they aren’t going to get any from the other side.  And neither party commands a majority of the voters.  The electorate breaks down to about a third for each party and a third conservative-leaning independents.

So for either party’s candidate to win in national elections they need the swing vote. Obama’s contemptuous dismissal the 20% of independents that identify with the Tea Party should be political suicide in November. 

In a normal world and a normal electoral year, Obama should have put the rest of his controversial agenda on hold while he went to work on charming the Tea Party.

Instead, he mocks the very voters he needs to prevent losing the Congress and spending the last two years of his presidency as a lame duck.

It’s like he knows something that the rest of us don’t.

Assessment:

The very first step on the road toward totalitarian government is controlling the agenda by controlling the media.  Obama has managed to maintain total control over the mainstream media, excepting talk radio and some programs on Fox. 

I find the O’Reilly and Glenn Beck segment on “The O’Reilly Factor” is growing increasingly bizarre in that O’Reilly simply dismisses Beck’s horrifying conclusions out of hand, without offering a shred of contradictory evidence.

Beck says that Obama is deliberately leading the country down the road to ruin as part of a globalist agenda to control the world.  And Beck fills an hour each day providing evidence to support that view. O’Reilly laughs at him.

If Beck is nuts — and O’Reilly clearly thinks that he is — then why not question Beck’s evidence?  Or provide evidence that counters Beck’s charges?

And if Beck isn’t nuts, then why isn’t O’Reilly taking up the cause?  After all, if Beck is right, the cause is America’s continued existence.

O’Reilly can’t afford to — even if he agrees with him.  Even if O’Reilly believed it was all true, O’Reilly wouldn’t dare admit it.  The administration and the media have made Glenn Beck so radioactive even O’Reilly has to maintain some distance.

I picked on the O’Reilly/Beck segment because it demonstrates the level of media control the administration already enjoys.  The first step in controlling the agenda, remember, is to stifle the opposition.

If Beck is right, nothing less than the survival of the United States as we know it is at stake — yet O’Reilly dare not exhibit anything more than bemusement at his demented friend.  

Beck can get away with it because Beck is already marginalized as a screwball.  O’Reilly can’t afford to take the risk.  Even if his country is at stake.

A totalitarian scheme can’t work without the willful ignorance of the public.  The public must be conditioned to accept the unacceptable without admitting that they accept it.  That is how political correctness works. 

“Undocumented worker” is PC for “illegal alien.” Undocumented worker describes a guy who goes to work and forgets his wallet.  Illegal alien describes a foreign-born national illegally in the United States.

One must be willfully ignorant to believe they mean the same thing.  

It is not ‘racist’ to enforce immigration laws. What race are Canadians? They are subject to the same US immigration laws.  It takes willful ignorance, bordering on the delusional, to believe that US immigration laws are racist with a mixed-race immigrant sitting in the Oval Office.

Indeed, I believe it is as politically incorrect to observe that Obama is of mixed-race as it is to mention his middle name or question his undocumented background, is it not?   

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:” (2nd Thessalonians 2:11)

Casa Blanca

Casa Blanca
Vol: 104 Issue: 20 Thursday, May 20, 2010

According to a report on PBS, Mexican drug violence has claimed 22,700 lives since December 2006.  That is more than the total deaths on both sides so far in the Afghan War.  It is just under half that of US losses in Vietnam.

I did the math, rounding up to four years, and it was pretty scary.   It works out to a murder every two hours!  And that is an underestimate since it doesn’t include the murders that will occur between now and December.

A total of 18 people were killed and 15 wounded in a twelve-hour period in the northern Mexican states of Durango and Coahuila.   Four of them had been decapitated. I found this gruesomely revealing line in the Latin American Herald report:

“The authorities said the heads had not been placed in refrigerators, as has occurred on other occasions.”

 Mexico is a failed narco-state where the police are either in the pockets of the drug lords or they end up like Police Chief Martin Castro.  Castro’s head was found in an ice chest together with the bodies of six of his men. 

The bulk of the police force of the Mexican town of La Union resigned enmasse following a drug-cartel ambush that wounded two of their officers.   

Residents on the outskirts of Mexico City, recognizing that they are on their own, are taking justice into their own hands. Two thugs mugged a young couple using a knife and a toy gun, robbing them of 200 pesos and a cell phone.

About 300 people pursued the two men, caught one and beat him so badly with sticks and fists that he died in an ambulance, officials said.

Human Rights Watch reported a jump in military abuses of civilians including charges of murder, rape and torture, which were ‘handled’ by secret military tribunal rather than open court.

Mexico is a horror show bigger than its borders can contain. From 2000 to 2008 the number of illegal aliens in Arizona skyrocketed by 70 percent.

Arizon’s a population of 6.6 million includes an estimated illegal alien population of 500,000 and a prison population that includes nearly 6,000 Mexican nationals (14 percent of the inmate population). 

(In California, where many cities have ‘sanctuary’ laws, passed in defiance of federal immigration law, 36% of prison inmates are Latino).

Phoenix has earned a reputation as the kidnap-for-ransom capital, second only to that of Mexico City.   There were 370 reported kidnappings in Phoenix in just the past year. 

In March, an Arizona rancher named Robert Krentz was fatally shot on his own ranch by an illegal alien.   Krentz had lived on the Arizona border all his life. But Google warns that if you try to read all about it from the Guadalajara Reporter, it might ‘harm your computer’.

Google does not warn people away from the sites that claim Krentz’ murder was really an American — there are about seven sites, all liberals, including the Huffington Post, making that claim. 

How do they know he was an American?  They don’t. They just made it up.

Krentz’ killer is still unknown.   

Assessment:

No other nation on earth permits this kind of foreign disrespect for either its borders or its citizens.  The estimated 12 to 30 million illegals living in America threaten to overwhelm the system. 

One in seven children in public schools is a direct or indirect product of illegal immigration.  The same number applies to hospital emergency room visits.

The federal government continues to drone on about ‘immigration reform’ with the word ‘reform’ used as a euphemism for ‘amnesty’ — while claiming the exact opposite.  

The Congress authorized the construction of a border fence, but it was never completed.  Despite the new Arizona law, illegal immigration is up by 6% according to the Border Patrol, (who doesn’t really know anyway). 

They base it on how many they stop — not how many get by them.

The liberals argue amnesty on the grounds we can’t round up and deport every illegal. Walter Williams of George Mason University published this brilliant response that argument:

“That argument differs little from one that says since we can’t catch every burglar, we should grant burglars amnesty. Catching and imprisoning some burglars sends a message to would-be burglars that there might be a price to pay. Similarly, imprisoning some illegal immigrants and then deporting them after their sentences were served would send a signal to others who are here illegally or who are contemplating illegal entry that there’s a price to pay.”

Williams offers this ridiculously simple solution.  Start strict enforcement of immigration law.   Enforce border security and laws against hiring illegal aliens. More than 70% of Americans agree with Williams, according to a recent Rasmussen Poll. 

But the Obama administration rolled out the red carpet for Mexico’s Felipe Calderon as if Calderon was an important ally of the United States, rather than an important ally of the Obama agenda, which I am now convinced is to bring about the collapse of Western civilization in order to replace it with something new.

Calderon’s government is facilitating an illegal, secret invasion — directly funding groups that aids migrants of any origin heading north to cross illegally.   The first thing Calderon did when he arrived in Washington was to complain about the Arizona law mandating the enforcement of existing federal immigration law.

And the first thing Obama did in reply was apologize for Arizona’s action as if he were explaining away a hyperactive problem child.

The law in question mirrors federal law, but evidently, nobody in federal government read it before pronouncing it discriminatory or racist.  

The reason they don’t have to read it to know it is a bad, racist law is because Arizona police are apparently so corrupt and racist that they will harrass people taking their kids out for an ice cream cone. 

(Who knew?)

Actually, the law prohibits police from questioning someone’s immigration status unless they are already under arrest for some other crime. But President Obama thinks that Arizona police will routinely violate that provision of the law.

But Obama did everything but declare Arizona police to be as corrupt as he declared Cambridge police “stupid” last year.

“I think a fair reading of the language in the statute indicates that it gives the possibility of individuals who are deemed suspicious of being illegal immigrants being harassed or arrested,” he said. 

There is that possiblity with ANY law.  But only if the police charged with law enforcement are corrupt.

For his part, Calderon had nothing but praise for Obama for distrusting his own police as much as Calderon distrusts his.

Mexico will “continue being respectful of the internal policies of the United States,” Calderon said, but he rejected the idea that “people that work and provide things to this nation will be treated as criminals.”

One thing Obama said during the press conference I found particularly striking. 

“I have confidence I can get the majority of Democrats — both in the House and Senate — to support a piece of legislation. . . But I don’t have 60 votes in the Senate. I’ve got to have the support of Republicans.”

What I found striking wasn’t what he said so much as the way he said it. In every major piece of legislation so far in his administration, the only thing bi-partisan has been the opposition.  It’s as if he lives in an alternate reality.

A reality where corrupt police eagerly await a chance to show they have as much contempt for human rights as Obama has for those charged with protecting them.  Where anyone who disagrees with his views is racist, ignorant, misinformed, deliberately dishonest or just downright hateful. 

Obama’s “reform” means amnesty for those already here, after they jump through a series of bureaucratic hoops that they bypassed or they wouldn’t be in the country illegally in the first place. 

If they didn’t do it then, what makes Obama think they will now?

This is really a deliberate recipe for further fiscal catastrophe, since they would then be eligible for low-income wage-earner benefits calculated to cost taxpayers some $19,900 per immigrant worker.  It isn’t popular with the public.  It isn’t popular in either House of Congress. 

AND this is an election year in which he is likely to lose both — yet he continues to ignore public opinion as if the November elections will be irrelevant to his agenda.

The pattern continues without deviation.  Whenever there are two possible choices, one which favors the United States and one which does not,  Obama consistently chooses the latter.  

Economy collapsing?  Spend more money.  Unemployment too high?  Grant amnesty to 30 million illegal workers. Losing the war in Afghanistan?  Tell the Taliban what date we’ll pull out. 

During the Tribulation, the Bible identifies four spheres of global power by compass point; revived Rome to the West, the Kings of the South, the Kings of the East and Gog-Magog to the north.

There is no fifth, separate power resembling the United States to be found anywhere in Scripture except for one.  The Apostle Paul warned of perilous times in the last days. 

But Paul isn’t speaking of the Tribulation,  he is addressing the Church during the Laodicean era just before the Rapture.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

That he is addressing Christians is evident from his warning to them to ‘turn away’.  That he is addressing the US as the visible representative of the Laodicean Church is something I believe to be self evident.

“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

Until the turn of the 20th century, the Bible was the most commonly used textbook in America. America’s reputation as the world’s most ‘Christian’ country dates to its founding.   The following passage is rather lengthy, but necessary to my point. 

It was written by Alexis de Tocqueville, a French researcher and historian who was explaining the United States to his European countryment in the 1830’s.

Religion in America.. .must be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of it. Indeed, it is in this same point of view that the inhabitants of the United States themselves look upon religious belief. I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion-for who can search the human heart?-But I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society.
The sects that exist in the United States are innumerable. They all differ in respect to the worship which is due to the Creator; but they all agree in respect to the duties which are due from man to man. Each sect adores the Deity in its own peculiar manner, but all sects preach the same moral law in the name of God…. Moreover, all the sects of the United States are comprised within the great unity of Christianity, and Christian morality is everywhere the same.
In the United States the sovereign authority is religious,… there is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility and of its conformity to human nature than that its influence is powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.
In the United States, if a political character attacks a sect [denomination], this may not prevent even the partisans of that very sect, from supporting him; but if he attacks all the sects together [Christianity], every one abandons him and he remains alone.

De Tocqueville was describing America in her early days.  Paul’s letter to Timothy is a letter-perfect description of American politics in these days.

The Apostle Paul called them “the last days” — and the times are as perilous as one can imagine.

The Debate Trap

The Debate Trap
Vol: 104 Issue: 19 Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Have you ever noticed that every Christian/atheist debate begins with the Christian on the defense?  Such a debate consists entirely of challenges to the Christian to ‘prove’ this part of Scripture, or to ‘prove’ that God exists. 

I’ve yet to hear of a debate in which the Christian demands that the atheist to ‘prove’ his point because it is an impossibly unfair demand.  How does one ‘prove’ an argument that rests on nothing? 

The atheist’s argument is that nothing created everything that exists.  It isn’t too hard to ‘prove’ everything that exists. The fact of existence proves existence.  

But we live in a material universe.  Everything can exist here.  But nothing can’t.  No matter what an atheist trots out as proof, it is only ‘proof’ in that it casts doubt on your position. It doesn’t prove his. 

His argument rests on the existence of nothing, which is an oxymoron of cosmic proportions.  Nothing is the absence of existence.

Nothing cannot exist, because if it existed, it wouldn’t be nothing.   Nothing cannot exist as nothing, since by definition it is the absence of existence.   That isn’t just fun with words — it is the reason why the atheist must argue against God. 

Because God exists.  Nothing doesn’t.  It can’t.  So their entire argument rests on proving your argument wrong.  

Accepting such a challenge is a case of walking into a trap of one’s own making.  While the atheist’s arsenal is as vast as the universe, yours is not. 

Your opponent can draw from science, astronomy, math, geography, history, supposition and hearsay to bolster his argument. 

There is no framework or system around which to attack or defend the creative power of nothing. While your opponent’s arsenal is limitless, your defense is confined within the boundaries of Scripture.

Your opponent is free to use Scripture to attack Scripture — “What kind of loving God would order someone’s death for something as trivial as not keeping the Sabbath?” (Exodus 35:2)

But you are limited to explaining why the New Testament system is different than the Old Testament system.

In short, you can’t just pull something out of left field and dare them to prove it isn’t in the Bible and call it an honest debate. 

But they can.  Because they don’t have to prove anything.  

They just have to disprove you.

Assessment:

I see from our forums that I’ve still left some questions unanswered from our discussion on Dispensationalism.  Dispensationalism is a systematic understanding of Scripture that requires a systematic framework in which to function. 

Within that system, everything flows in an orderly fashion, each element dependent upon the rest.  Whether an event takes place during the Dispensation of Grace or during the Dispensation of Judgment is critical to its understanding. 

I’ve used the example in Revelation 13:7:

“And it was given unto him [the False Prophet] to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”

This is not possible during the Dispensation of Grace.  During the Dispensation of Grace,

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.”  (1st John 4:4) 

Who is He that is in me?  That would be the Holy Spirit, no?   Who is he that is in the world? That would the Satan, the enemy.

During the Tribulation, somebody gives the False Prophet the power to ‘overcome’ the saints.  And not just overcome them, but have POWER over them. What changed?  Did the Holy Spirit become subordinate to Satan? 

If He that is in me is greater, then He can’t be overcome and overpowered by Satan.   And since Jesus promised to come for me before He would leave me Comfortless, it stands to reason that if He isn’t there, neither am I.

If there is no systematic understanding of how the various prophecies interlock, it is like trying to construct a building without a blueprint.  You might have all the necessary materials, but the finished product will be all over the place. 

More often than not the debates seem to follow the same pattern that I outlined in the beginning of this briefing.  The Pre-Wrath and Post-Trib arguments consist more of attacks on elements of Pretribulationism than mounting a case for their own view.  

So I try to avoid the debates — people that want to debate generally don’t want answers to questions. They want to win the debate.   And if I didn’t already believe what I teach was the truth, I wouldn’t teach it.  So debating it seems pointless.  

There was a good question in the forums about the chronology of Mark 13:27 that seems to suggest the gathering of the elect that takes place at the end of the Tribulation is the Rapture.

But it cannot be the Rapture.  It takes place at the end, after Jesus comes with power and great glory.   And these elect are gathered by the angels.

At the Rapture, “the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout and with the voice of the archangel, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. . . .  

He doesn’t send His angels to gather the Church — He comes for His Bride Himself.

But there is a gathering of the elect at the 2nd Coming.   He sends His angels to gather the nations from the four corners of the earth which will be divided into the ‘sheep’ on His right hand and the ‘goat’ nations on His left.

“Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”  (Matthew 25:34)

Another question has to do with the Church of Smyrna suffering persecution for ten days signifies the Church must undergo judgment.  Not so, The Church of Smyrna was a real period of Church history (100-325).

There were ten early periods of persecution of Christianity under the ten Persecutors – the Emperors Nero, Domitian, Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Septimus Severus, Maximus, Decius, Valerian, Diocletian and Galerius.

Another question dealt with the Church at Philadelphia being kept from the hour of temptation that is going to come upon those that dwell upon the earth.

Please explain what is meant by the hour of testing that the other churches are destined to go through.” 

Jesus referenced the “hour of temptation” that was going to come upon those that dwell upon the earth.  That doesn’t include the Church.  The word ‘temptation’ (pierasmos) means ‘discipline’.  The Church is not under discipline — it is under Grace.

Those to face the discipline of the Tribulation are not the Philadelphians of the 1800’s or the Smyrnans of AD 325 or any other part of the Church — they are those that dwell upon the earth after the Rapture. 

The reference to the Church at Philadelphia does not exclude the rest of the Churches.

The phrase, “that dwell upon the earth” is used to describe the people that rejoice over the death of the Two Witnesses. Revelation 11:10

It is used to describe those that worship the beast, whose names are not found in the Book of Life. (Revelation 13:8)

It is NEVER used of the Church.

There is but one Rapture of the Church.  The dead in Christ are raised first.  These are not the O.T saints — they are not the ‘dead in Christ’.   Then those living saints are caught up together with them. 

The Rapture is not the same as ‘resurrection’.  There are several resurrections, Jesus, the dead at the Crucifixion, the Two Witnesses, the OT saints, the Tribulation Martyrs . . . but they are not Raptured.

The Bible is specific in the order of resurrection. 

”For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming. “

The O.T. saints receive their resurrected bodies at the end of the Tribulation. Daniel was told that his people would be resurrected, some to everlasting life, others to everlasting shame and contempt.  

Those resurrected to everlasting life appear in Revelation 20.  The rest don’t make an appearance until the Great White Throne Judgment at the end of the Millennium.

Job confidently proclaimed:

“I know my Redeemer liveth and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth, and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” (Job 19:25-26)

“Thy dead men shall live, together with My dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.” Isaiah 26:19

The last resurrection is the Great White Throne. That is the second death and it occurs after the Millennium. 

There is a rhyme and reason and pattern to Bible prophecy that follows the same systematic theology from Genesis 1:1 to the conclusion of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

It is of no private interpretation, it is there for all to see.  The New Testament mentions the dispensations four times as in Ephesians 3:2:

“If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward.” 

But without specific mention, it is clear that the Bible is a progressive revelation from God sub-divided by dispensation according to each new revelation.  While new revelation does not cancel previous revelation, it sometimes fulfills it.

Jesus did not cancel the Law, He fulfilled it. And therefore in this Dispensation, we needn’t worry about being killed for not keeping the Sabbath.

The Dispensation of Grace is a parenthetical period in the history of God’s people that opened with Jesus ascending into heaven as His Apostles gazed upward into heaven.  It concludes just as definitely and in exactly the same way, as the angels standing by prophesied.

“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

“Wherefore COMFORT one another with these words.”  (1st Thessalonians 4:18)

Special Member’s Note:

Do you still find the OL the website a bit confusing?  Still not sure where everything is or how everything works?  Not sure how to log in?  Not sure if it is worth the trouble?  

Well, maybe we’ve fixed all that. .  (Drum roll, please

At long last (and after only ten years), somebody has finally taken the bull by the horns, so to speak, and developed a simple-to-follow yet comprehensive tutorial.   There is a new link at the top of the menu bar that reads “How Do I?”

Kari’s tutorial covers everything from how to log in to the website to how to post in the forums, use the formatting features, etc. Using simple, easy-to-follow pictures and screenshots, Kari has made navigating the Omega Letter both easy and fun.

Thanks to Kari for all her hard work and in particular, for taking the initiative to put it together.  So be sure and check out the Omega Letter’s new tutorial and discover all that your OL has to offer.

History’s Most Audacious Hoax

History’s Most Audacious Hoax
Vol: 104 Issue: 18 Tuesday, May 18, 2010

“People are more violently opposed to fur than leather because it’s safer to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs.” – Anonymous

The Obama administration’s economic ‘stimulus’ plan sets aside billions of dollars for the creation of so-called ‘green’ energy jobs, like tending windmills and installing solar panels.

According to the government, these “green” jobs are the ones that will put America back to work.  

We’ve already discussed the green job program in Ohio that put hundreds to work temporarily installing “smart” electric meters that ultimately resulted in the loss of hundreds of permanent meter-reader jobs.

These are a lot like that.  The problem with tending to windmills is they don’t require much tending.  And once a solar panel is installed, that’s pretty much it.    

There might be some potential for permanent jobs manufacturing solar panels or windmills — if it weren’t for the fact that we can’t compete with China, who has already sewed up the market.

Stuart Varney interviewed Sam Sherraden of the New America Foundation on Fox Business Channel about green jobs on Monday:

“There is a concern worldwide now that there is a tremendous over-capacity in solar cells – particularly solar cells and wind generating sets,” said Sherraden.

 “The Chinese are producing these things hand over fist – we are a very large net importer of those goods – particularly solar cells – it’s questionable whether or not we want to make those investments into industries where other countries have poured tons and tons of subsides into them. We just don’t know if it’s going to be that profitable – and it’s going to be hard to determine whether or not those are going to create a lot of jobs.”

The biggest problem with wind energy is the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) Factor.  On Cape Cod, the late Ted Kennedy led the fight to prevent construction of an offshore wind farm.  

The overwhelmingly liberal elite on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard are concerned that the windmills might spoil their view of the ocean.   Liberals are big on green energy until it inconveniences them.  Then, not so much.

Taxpayer dollars for government projects that push for alternative energy now number in the billions of dollars. The government is actually creating an industry where there is no genuine demand for growth.

Those that believe that man is responsible for global warming generally expect those who can tell it is a con game to pay for the greening of society and not them.

Barbra Streisand wants you to hang your clothes on a clothesline to save energy she can use for her Santa Monica mansion.  Al Gore could provide energy to 240 families per year just by shutting down his Tennessee mansion.

John Travolta recently urged British moviegoers to ‘do their bit’ to combat global warming.    When asked about the five aircraft he owns that together raise his carbon footprint to about 100 times that of the average citizen, he said he needed his own planes to get around.

He’s a movie star, you see, and so commercial travel is a big hassle.  When it comes down to saving the planet or being inconvenienced in the way that the rest of us are . . . well, how much damage can one little movie star really do, anyway?

Assessment:

There’s a sucker born every minute.” – P. T. Barnum

Thousands and thousands of global warming alarmists converged at for the Copenhagen Climate Conference leaving carbon footprints the size of Paul Bunyan in the process. 

It would be fair to say that the two men most responsible for the global warming hysteria are its two High Priests, Maurice Strong and Al Gore.

Gore buys his carbon offsets from himself–the Generation Investment Management LLP, “an independent, private, owner-managed partnership established in 2004 with offices in London and Washington, D.C.” of which he is both chairman and founding partner.  

Maurice Strong was the Secretary-General of the 1992 UN Rio Earth Summit.   We don’t hear a lot about Strong because he is rich enough to keep his name out of the news.

They have done more than anyone to turn the belief in man-made global warming into a religious faith. 

 Along with former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Strong, currently president of the Earth Council, has been boasting of replacing the Ten Commandments with the Earth Charter, a golden rule guide for how the masses should treat the environment.

Gore, who has given sermons at the United Nations sponsored Cathedral of St. John the Divine Church in New York City, is a promoter of Gaia worship.  “Gaia” is the Earth Mother to whom Gore dedicated a chapter in his book, “Earth in the Balance.”

The two environmental prophets also share a belief in radical Malthusian population reduction. According to them, too many people, particularly in the U.S. are polluting the planet, emitting excessive Freon through their refrigerators and jacking up the air conditioning.

Gore is the author of the “carbon credit scheme” whereby the easily-led buy permission slips for the use of air.  

Strong is on the board of directors of the Chicago Climate Exchange, allegedly “the world’s first and North America’s only legally binding greenhouse gas emission registry reduction system for emission sources and offset projects in North America and Brazil.”

In addition, his credentials include membership in the UN funded Commission on Global Governance. This body’s 1995 report called “Our Global Neighborhood” contained a number of ominous proposals including:

1. the establishment of a global tax, UN control over “global commons,”

2. expansion of the powers of the World Bank,

3. expansion of the jurisdiction of the International Court,

4. removal of U.S. veto power in the Security Council and,

5. creation of an Economic Security Council to oversee the world’s economy.

Strong and his wife run “The Baca Center, which is essentially the global headquarters for the New Age Movement.

Located at this New Age Mecca are a subterranean Zen Buddhist center, the Haidakhrndi Universal Ashram, a facility for Native American shamans and a Vedic temple where devotees worship the Vedic mother goddess.

The Rockefellers, the McNamaras, the Kissingers, the Rothschilds and other international bureaucrats conduct regular pilgrimages to this center for global spirituality.

The amount of money that has been redirected to combat man-made global warming by reducing greenhouse gases is incalculable.  And up until now, it was easy to succumb to their siren song.

Until the volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull Glacier in Iceland erupted.

The clouds of gas and ash now blanketing Europe have all but crippled the airline industry because the air is too thick with debris to fly through.  

It also nullified every human effort to curtail greenhouse gases in the atmosphere up to this point and it will take decades to clear the volcano’s emissions. 

All the money spent to green the economy?  Wasted.  The efforts to undo past damage?  Wasted.  The speeches and warnings and threats and charts and graphs and stacks of books and weeks’ worth of global warming propaganda programming?  Lies.

One volcanic eruption was all it took to expose the whole house of cards — if anyone cared to look, that is.   There is no point in buying carbon credits to prevent pollution if God can undo all of man’s collective efforts in a single stroke.

The global warming hoax will continue as long as there are enough suckers out there to buy into it, but from here on out it will have to rely on willful ignorance — a willingness to believe what they know is a lie.

You cannot believe that man-made global warming will destroy the planet in fifty years unless we do “something” when a volcano can undo whatever that “something” is –virtually overnight.

But willful ignorance is precisely what the Bible predicts for the last days.   The Apostle Paul warned of strong delusion in the last days, a lie that people will embrace because they preferred the lie to the truth. 

We see examples of it all the time.   The fact there is a liberal media and a conservative media demonstrates our propensity to seek out the liars whose lies we prefer, because if the media tilts either left or right, so does its propaganda — and we KNOW it!

You see, that is the issue.  We KNOW when we are being lied to.  But we have grown so used to it that we just don’t care.

NOBODY believes Obama — but his approval ratings are hovering around 50% — meaning half the country prefers the lie.

The fear of man-made global warming operates on the same principle as the Freddy Krueger “Nightmare on Elm Street” movie franchise.  The reason they are so popular is because some people like to have the pants scared off them — provided they know the threat isn’t real.

There can’t be many thinking, intelligent people that truly believe that man’s impact on the planet is a threat to its continued existence when a volcano can dwarf man’s greenhouse gas output and nullify decades of emissions reduction efforts in a matter of days.

It must be that vicarious sense of fear — like the kind some people get from slasher movies — a sense of living on the edge while still completely safe in your seat.   That is the only logical explanation.   And it is in complete harmony with the Bible’s outline of the signs of the times.

“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:25-28)

I Only Have One Watch

I Only Have One Watch
Vol: 104 Issue: 17 Monday, May 17, 2010

Saturday’s Omega Letter Briefing  “In Which Day?. . .” raised quite an uproar in my email box as well as in the forums.   

It led to speculation that Saturday’s column was written to rebut another thread in the forums.   It wasn’t.  From their emails, several thought the column was written to rebut arguments they had advanced to me privately.  It wasn’t.

Several others have suggested that the idea was to stir up a hornet’s nest in the forums.  That’s not it, either.  My intention isn’t to provoke.  It is to lay the groundwork for teaching what I believe the Holy Spirit is leading me to teach.

And finally, there were at least two comments suggesting I’m really teaching a ‘Great Escape’ primarily to those who are fearful of facing martyrdom at the hands of the Beast. 

The ‘Great Escape’ criticism is the least accurate and most insulting of all.  It insinuates that pre-tribbers didn’t reach that conclusion following careful, contemplative prayer and study.  

Instead, they are pretribulational because they are too cowardly to contemplate facing the first six Seal Judgments or martyrdom for refusing to take the Mark of the Beast.

Saturday’s OL was not even the OL I had begun to write.  I usually compose the OL in Microsoft Word, but for some reason, on Saturday I found myself writing it directly online. 

I was all finished and was editing and formatting the piece when my browser froze.  When I restarted it, I discovered to my horror that I hadn’t saved it since beginning the assessment section.   And since I was composing live online, there was no clipboard buffer or recovery feature.  

It was gone, replaced by a blinking cursor. (No, not me. Another blinking cursor –  but I was pretty mad, too).

Clearly what I had planned for the OL wasn’t what the Holy Spirit had in mind. He led me off in another direction, so that instead the focus I had first intended, the final OL ended up focusing on the subject that it did.

I think part of the reason there is so much debate and misunderstanding on this topic is because it is so close.  It is like trying to get a mental picture of the dimensions of a house when you’re standing two feet away from one wall.

The mere suggestion that the Lord will remove the Church before the unveiling of the antichrist is enough to send some Christians into orbit – but I’ve never been able to figure how why.

The most common answer to my ‘why’ question invariably comes in the form of another question – why should one generation of Christians think they are more special than all the Christians that faced martyrdom in the past?

It’s a good question. 

Assessment:

While there appears to be no end of objections to a pre-trib Rapture, (not the least of which is the so-called “Great Escape”) not one critic has yet to offer me an alternative explanation for WHY there is a Rapture in the first place.

The Pre-Wrath Rapture Theory is all about a “Great Escape.”  There appears to be no systematic or theological reason for Rapturing believers after the breaking of the Sixth Seal Judgment — other than to preserve them from God’s Wrath.  

Why Rapture them after the Mark of the Beast?   Is it to reward them for being faithful unto death, as one of my critics suggests?  Why them?  What theological purpose is there for evacuating the Church halfway through the Judgment Period?   If they are there for the first half, why take them out at half-time? 

To protect them from God’s Wrath?  Isn’t that a Great Escape?  

I don’t believe that the Tribulation Period will be any worse than the Roman persecution – from the martyr’s perspective, that is.

A 1st century believer who chose to be thrown to the lions or boiled alive rather than deny his faith is no less deserving than a 21st century martyr that chooses decapitation.   If there was no Great Escape then, why should there be a Great Escape now?

It’s not like the last days’ Church of Laodicea is more deserving of mercy than the 1st century Church at Ephesus.  Is it?   

So what is the purpose for Rapturing the Church after the Sixth Seal Judgment?  It can’t be to preserve the Bride of Christ from judgment – the Bride is already being judged — for a second time— along with the Christ-rejecting world. 

That would mean the judgment for sin rendered at the Cross applies to all believers — except this generation’s, since we must undergo the first six Divine judgments for sin before the Rapture.

Previous generations of believers were not under judgment for sin. Were they?

What systematic reason does the Scripture offer for removing the Bride after the judgments have begun?   The pre-Wrath argument posits that it is to preserve the Bride from God’s Wrath. (But not from God’s judgment?) 

By the time the Fifth Seal judgment has been broken, a quarter of the earth’s population – perhaps two billion people are dead. They don’t all die nobly, bravely standing up to the antichrist and boldly proclaiming Christ. 

They die by the sword, by hunger, by the beasts of the earth — but not by boldly facing down the antichrist.  The Mark of the Beast doesn’t happen until AFTER the Fifth Seal is broken – by which time those billions (presumably including believers) are already dead. 

I’m ok with the argument that the Rapture is in keeping with God’s promise, but why did He make that promise in the first place?

What is the purpose of the Rapture?  Is it to keep us from ‘the hour of temptation that will try the whole earth’ as Jesus said in Revelation 3:10?  What IS that temptation?

In English, temptation has only one meaning.   Not so in Greek.  The word translated temptation in this verse is pierasmos, meaning primarily, “discipline (by provocation); adversity, temptation.” 

“Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of pierasmos,(discipline, adversity) which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”

My intent and purpose is not to provoke others to wrath by insisting on a Pretribulation Rapture.  It doesn’t even matter if you agree with me – but if you don’t, my job is to make sure you know why you don’t agree with me.

It isn’t because a Pre-Trib Rapture is a “Great Escape.” A Great Escape is the only reason for the Pre Wrath Rapture.   There IS no other discernible, theologically sound reason for Rapturing the Church after the Judgments for sin have already begun.

That is because the Pre-Wrath Rapture, like the mid-Trib and post-Trib views,  is independent of any discernible system or purpose, APART from a Great Escape.

There is no other purpose for taking out the Church during the Judgment Period.  Is there? 

Does it fulfill Jesus’ Promise that “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”? (John 14:18)

Is the Church still indwelt by the Holy Spirit before the Sixth Seal?  When does the Holy Spirit’s indwelling ministry come to an end?  When Jesus returns at the Pre-Wrath Rapture?  

Chronologically, Revelation 7 must take place before the breaking of the 5th Seal since the antichrist’s war on the saints takes place during this time.  If the Holy Spirit is still indwelling the Church, then there is little explanation for sealing 12,000 of each of the Twelve Tribes with the Holy Spirit separately.  

They would have been indwelt when they got saved, like everybody else before the Rapture did.  

Let me say it again.  There is no rhyme, no reason, no purpose and no systematic Biblical explanation for evacuating the Church after the Sixth Seal Judgment apart from providing a Great Escape for one select group of Christians.

There is, however, both a systematic explanation and a Biblically-defined purpose for a Pre-Tribulation Rapture that fits the overall theme of Bible prophecy for the last days.

Jesus promised that He would send the Comforter, (which is the Holy Spirit).

Jesus said the Comforter would not come until Jesus ‘went away’ and that the Comforter would abide with us ‘forever’. 

 Now look at the Comforter’s ministry:

“He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness and of judgment. Of sin, because they believe not on Me; Of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”

The word “reprove” elegcho means to convict, rebuke and admonish.   That is His ministry to the world.  To convict them of sin and to reveal that it has already been judged at the Cross.

The ministry of the Holy Spirit prevents the antichrist from being revealed prematurely.  (2nd Thessalonians 2:6)  Paul says that until the Holy Spirit’s elegcho ministry is withdrawn, ‘that Wicked’ can’t be revealed.

Paul says the mystery of iniquity (the spirit of antichrist) is already at work in the world, but it is the indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit that keeps it at bay.

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:7)

All this works within a system that is generally understood as the Dispensation of Grace.  The system of Grace is unique, having only been extended in the past individually. . . “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord”  but since Pentecost, Grace is now extended to all who choose to accept it.

The Tribulation Period is the Dispensation of Judgment.  Judgment is not grace. Grace is withdrawn and replaced by judgment.  The first judgment is the 1st Seal Judgment.

If judgment can run concurrent with Grace, then there is no systematic reason for withdrawing the Church at all.  There is no logic to the Rapture other than a Great Escape.

The Rapture as a necessary part of the withdrawing of the Holy Spirit’s ministry (together with the vessels He indwells) so that judgment can begin finds Scriptural support within a system of Grace.  But a system of Grace operating concurrently with a period of Divine judgment isn’t in there.

“And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” (Romans 11:6)

PreWrath demands that the Church remains to face the antichrist’s Mark of the Beast — but does not explain why, theologically, the Church escapes the remainder of judgment.

Without a systematic theological framework, out go the rules of exegesis.  If there is no identifiable system, then the rules of the Law and Grace must both be in simultaneous operation now

“Then shall they call upon Me, but I will not answer; they shall seek Me early, but they shall not find Me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:  They would none of My counsel: they despised all My reproof.  Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.” (Proverbs 1:28-31)

“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;  And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:” (Revelation 6:15-16)

That doesn’t square with the Dispensation of Grace during which time, “whosover shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.  The purpose for teaching the divisions between the Dispensations is because without a system of interpretation, Revelation can mean whatever somebody wants it to mean.   

The reasons for judgment don’t apply to the Church.

“Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.” (Revelation 9:21)

Outside of a system, there are literally hundreds of different Tribulation scenarios of varying lengths, purposes, involving various groups, etc., etc. 

Look at the vast difference between the ways the Tribulation is viewed by preTribulationists vs. Catholics vs. Jehovah’s Witnesses vs. Pre Wrath vs. Mid-Trib or Post Trib.  

But only one view can be right.  

The reason that I can’t simply let go of this subject is because the entire outline of Bible prophecy follows a system of progressive revelation from God, separated by Dispensation.

Without a system, the best one can offer is an opinion — and there are no shortage of those.   A systematic view of theology provides a God-given context in which to understand Bible prophecy — and against which to measure opinions.

I don’t defend Dispensationalism because I want everybody to become a Dispensationalist.   It is because without that framework as a guide, Bible prophecy means whatever the most convincing speaker says it means. 

Paul told Timothy:

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

If there is another way to “rightly divide the word of truth” nobody has yet demonstrated it to me.  Many have demonstrated that they believe they have rightly divided the word of truth, but can’t coherently explain why they divided it where they did.

But if the Word is ‘rightly divided’ then where to divide it should be reasonably obvious — it shouldn’t need a lot of explaining.  Drawing that line between the periods of Grace and Judgment is both obvious and in keeping with the whole counsel of Scripture.

It is said that a man with one watch always knows what time it is.  A man with two watches is never quite sure.

I only have one watch.

Special Report: ”In WHICH Day . . ?”

Special Report: ”In WHICH Day . . ?”
Vol: 104 Issue: 15 Saturday, May 15, 2010

 “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come..” – (Joel 2:31)

The Old Testament prophets speak of the “latter times” and “That Day” – the Prophet Joel calls it the “Day of the Lord.”  But the Bible also speaks of the “Day of the Lord,” the “Day of Christ” etc.  

The Scriptures speak of four distinct “Days” – all of which apply to the overall “latter times.”  Let’s get the “latter times” out of the way, first.   

The “latter times” and “last days” don’t refer to the Tribulation Period.  The terms refer to the times of the New Testament – the entire Dispensation of Grace from Pentecost until now.

What we would think of as the last days is actually what Daniel terms the “time of the end.”  What I want you to see is that without an understanding of exactly what each term means, it is impossible to rightly divide the Word. 

The Scriptures speak of four “Days” relevant to understanding unfolding Bible prophecy.  1. The “Last Days” means the entire span of this present Dispensation.  (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17)   It is separated from the “former things of old” (Isaiah 46:9) separating the former things “come to pass” from “the new things” to be declared.

“Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.” (Isaiah 42:9)

The “former things” refers to the Dispensation of the Law, which concluded with the start of the Dispensation of Grace.  Just before His ascension into heaven, the Apostles asked Jesus if this was when He would restore the kingdom to Israel.   

Jesus told them instead to get to work on building His Church.  He said they would “receive power after the Holy Ghost has come upon” them, instructing them to bear witness to the “uttermost part of the earth.”

“And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)

2.  The Day of Christ is the day that the two angels were talking about when they said that Jesus would return in the same manner in which He went up into heaven. 

There are two “brackets” that are on either end of the Church Age. 

It begins with Jesus quietly ascending into heaven witnessed only by His Apostles and the angelic witnesses.   This brackets off the Dispensation of Grace from the Dispensation of the Law.

The Lord’s final words were not addressed to the world, but only to those charged with bearing witness to his Gospel, the “Apostles whom He had chosen.”

The two angelic witnesses provide a clue to the other ‘bracket’ telling the Apostles that it will end the same way – with the Lord descending from heaven for His Church at the Rapture. (Philippians 1:10, Philippians 2:16, 2nd Thessalonians 2:2)

3: The Day of the Lord refers to the Day of the Vengeance of Our Lord.  It refers to the Tribulation Period which begins at some point after the Day of Christ.   The Tribulation Period, the Apostle Paul writes to the Church at Thessonika;

“. . .  is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:” (2nd Thessalonians 1:8)

The Prophet Daniel’s vision of the 70 Weeks is similarly divided.  After sixty-nine weeks, the Messiah was “cut-off” stopping the clock and leaving an unfulfilled ‘week’ of years. 

That final ‘week’ begins with the covenant between the antichrist and Israel referenced in Daniel 9:27 when God turns His focus to effecting the national redemption of Israel.  Jeremiah calls it the ‘time of Jacob’s Trouble.’

Revelation separates the purpose and destinies of all three spiritual creations of God.   To the new creature, (the Christian) Jesus promises,

“Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” (Revelation 3:10)

Note that Jesus said that it would come upon ALL ‘that dwell upon the earth’.  Beginning with John’s translation from earth to heaven in Revelation 4:1, the only ones pictured as dwelling upon the earth are Israel and the Gentiles.

That is consistent with the time of Jacob’s Trouble and the Day of the Lord’s Vengeance.  What would be inconsistent would be the inclusion of those already purchased by the shed Blood of Christ.  

The Day of the Lord and the Dispensation of Judgment begins with the breaking of the first seal of judgment as recorded by Revelation 6:2:

“And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” 

The Rider on the White Horse is the antichrist and his ride does not begin until after the brackets are closed on the Age of Grace.  Grace and Judgment are mutually exclusive.

This is further confirmed by the sealing of the 144,000 servants of God in Revelation 7.  They are the only ones in the Tribulation that are specifically sealed (not necessarily indwelt) by the Holy Spirit. 

They are not the Church or leftovers from the Church Age, since the sing a new song that ONLY those 144,000 who ALSO have the special status of being “redeemed from the earth”.   (The Church was redeemed from sin.)

If there are any living saints depicted on the earth after Revelation 4:1 apart from the 144,000 of Revelation 7 and the saints overcome by the antichrist in Revelation 13, I have been unable to locate them.

Note also that the Gospel is carried, not by the Church, but by an angel.

The Day of God: The “Day of God” begins with the conclusion of the Dispensation of Judgment with the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:4).

The Day of God continues through the Millennial Kingdom Period and through to the destruction of this present creation and its replacement with the new heaven and the new earth.  (2nd Peter 3:12)

Assessment:

One of the most important doctrines concerning the last days is the doctrine of immanency.    The doctrine of immanency says that the Lord’s return is a signless event that cannot be calculated.

Jesus explained it using the example of a thief coming to burglarize a house.

“And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.” (Luke 12:39)

The lesson is clear.  If it were possible to calculate when the Lord was to return at the Rapture, then there would be no reason to watch.   Therefore, there are no signs that precede the Rapture.

The Rapture could have occurred in the 1st century like the Church at Thessonika feared had happened. 

If the Rapture were dependent upon definite signs, then no generation in history would have been looking for it except the generation that saw the signs. 

So instead, the Scriptures give signs pointing to the Tribulation.   While every generation could be the generation of a signless Rapture, only one would be the generation that would see all the signposts of the approaching Tribulation. 

So the Bible extended the Blessed Hope to every generation, but to the generation that sees the signs of the Tribulation there is an added sense of urgency.

The Dispensation of Grace began with the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven after having given His Own the Great Commission to occupy until He comes. 

The Dispensation of Grace concludes, according to the bystanding angels, in ‘like manner’ as He left.  He ascended in a cloud, seen only by His own and the angels.

He returns with a shout and the voice of the archangels for His own, —  the dead in Christ first, then we which are alive and remain.   (2nd Thessalonians 4:16-18)

But the Dispensation of Judgment – the Tribulation Period – begins with the breaking of the 1st Seal Judgment in Revelation 6:2.

The Day of Christ does not take place during the Day of the Lord. They describe distinct and separate events.  The Day of Christ makes way for the onset of the Day of the Lord.  

The Rapture cannot take place, as Pre Wrath postulates, with the breaking of the seventh seal judgment –without making Jesus a liar.

“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” Matthew 24:44

According to the Pre Wrath Theory, that verse cannot be true.  Instead, the Rapture is triggered by the breaking of the seventh seal. That isn’t such a time as I think not, but a very definite time, indeed.

It is no longer a signless event, but is preceded by six very definite signs, including the Revelation of antichrist and the deaths of a quarter of the population from famine, pestilence, war, persecution and death.

Do you see the problem?

In this view, the Rapture will coincide with the opening of the Sixth Seal, the great earthquake, the sun becoming black as sackcloth and the moon as blood.   It certainly must take place after the first five seal judgments. 

It could NOT have taken place at any time in history past — and it cannot take place tomorrow.  Or even the next day.  There is no need to look up and lift up our heads, for our redemption is NOT nigh — it is still an antichrist and five more judgments way.

There is a reason why understanding the divisions between the Dispensations is so essential.  Without Dispensational truth, there is no explanation for why we are no longer under the Law.

The rules under which the Dispensation of the Law worked are different than those of the Dispensation of Grace, which are different than the operational rules of the Dispensation of Judgment, which are AGAIN different than those in operation during the Millennial Kingdom.

Is it an eye for an eye?  Or is it turn the other cheek?  Stone blasphemers and adulterers to death? Or love the sinner and hate the sin?  Do lions eat lambs?  Or lie down beside them and smell flowers? 

Without a clear division between the Dispensations it is not possible to reconcile these different and seemingly contradictory spiritual economies.  

The Rapture belongs to the Dispensation of Grace – it signals its conclusion.  It occurs at such a time as ye think not – that disqualifies the breaking of the 7th Seal  since that event is preceded by the Blood Moon. 

In the Pre Wrath view, the Rapture CANNOT happen until after the Sixth Seal.

But the Rapture is not triggered by a judgment for sin – the Rapture concludes the Dispensation of Grace. 

Judgment for sin cannot begin until Grace is withdrawn.  

Grace has no place in the Dispensation of Judgment.   The Dispensation of Grace ends with the Rapture.

The Dispensation of Judgment begins with the breaking of the first seal judgment.     

“Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2nd Timothy 2:14-15)

It is often pointed out that the rain falls on the evil and the just alike.  But judgment is more like lightning.  It hits what God aims it at.