Turkey Basting

Turkey Basting
Vol: 160 Issue: 31 Saturday, January 31, 2015

Turkey is one of the great mysteries of modern times insofar as Bible prophecy is concerned. According to the Book of Ezekiel, the pro-Western, legally secular NATO member and aspirant to membership in the European Union is numbered among the Gog-Magog allies that are scheduled to invade Israel in the last days.

“Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:”

“Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.” (Ezekiel 38:2,5-6)

The names assigned to the protagonists in the battle are mainly those of the sons and grandsons of Noah, and correspond to the areas in which they settled.

What Ezekiel prophesied is an end-time battle involving the following nations coming against Israel: Russia (Gog); Turkey (which includes elements of Magog, Meschech, Tubal Gomer, Togarmah); Sudan (Kush) and Libya (Put).

“And thou shalt come from thy place OUT OF THE NORTH PARTS, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army. . .” (Ezekiel 38:15)

Take a look at the map. Turkey is directly north of Israel. Geographically speaking, then, the invasion must go through Turkey.

 

While only these last three regions are openly dedicated to the destruction of Israel, Turkey has traditionally been a major part of the Western military alliance in the Middle East.

Russia is the wild card. Russia is at once with and against everybody, depending on its own self-interests. And Ezekiel clearly says that ‘Gog’ will be drawn, as if it had a ‘hook in its jaws’ into the conflict, seemingly against its better judgment.

But Turkey, while largely Islamic, is Constitutionally secular. Turkey was formerly part of the Ottoman Empire, an Islamic caliphate the ruled the Middle East under Islamic law from 1517 to 1917.

The Ottoman Empire, which was centered in Turkey, had allied itself with Kaiser Wilhelm’s Germany in WWI and fell to the Western Allies when the German alliance was defeated.

Turkey’s Constitution asserts that Turkey is a secular and democratic republic, deliberately breaking from its Islamic past by enshrining the principle that it gets its authority to govern from the people.

In an effort to ensure that it remains secular, the army is charged with the role of guardian of the secular and unitary nature of the Republic. When the Islamic Welfare Party won a significant percentage of seats in the Turkish elections in 1998, the army ordered the party banned, fearing it would replace the Constitution with Islamic Law.

The Welfare Party went through a number cosmetic changes, and, thanks to a minor amendment to its constitution, was reborn as the Islamic Party which now governs Turkey under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Assessment:

Secular Turkey, while still officially secular, has gradually been returning to its Islamic roots, due at least in part to the European Union’s rebuff of its efforts to join the EU.

One secular Turk alarmed at the Islamization of Turkey told the International Herald Tribune;

“In a very quiet, deep way, you can sense an Islamization,” said Bedrettin Usanmaz, a jewelry shop owner in Denizli. “They’re not after rapid change. They’re investing for 50 years ahead.”

For the first time in 70 years, Islam has returned to the Turkish public school system. The government began handing out little red prayer books in public schools containing the message; “Pray in the Muslim way. Get others to pray that way, too.”

By Islamic standards, that is a pretty mild statement, given that Islam’s central message is “Get others to pray the Muslim way — and if they refuse, cut off their heads.”

But by Turkish secular standards, the fact the government is handing out Muslim prayer books, no matter how mild the message, is a warning sign of a shift towards the bad old days of Islamic rule.

“Islam is not like other religions,” Kadim Yildirim, a history teacher in Denizli from an opposition labor union told the IHT. “It influences every part of your life, even your bedroom.”

Yildirim is part of a number of concerned teachers who say that the new teachers hired in recent years, often from Islamic backgrounds, are adding up to a change in the education system.

And THAT is where Islam is most deadly. In the schools. In the Palestinian territories, the students indoctrinated by Yasser Arafat in the 1990’s are the teachers indoctrinating the students of 2007. The result was the electoral victory of Hamas in the last election by a majority vote.

There is no way to turn back the clock once it starts ticking. There are now only two ways to effectively end radical Islam in the Palestinian territories. Reeducate the entire population — or kill every Palestinian under forty.

The former is impossible, the latter is unthinkable.

“They are coming to power, and it scares the hell out of the established elite,” said Baskin Oran, a professor of international relations at Ankara University. The two groups “have nothing in common,” he told the IHT. “Try to find a similarity.”

It should be scaring everybody. Not just the Turkish ‘established elite’.

As a NATO member, Turkey was once the West’s most reliable ally in the Middle East. When the US-led coalition was laying out the invasion plans for Saddam’s Iraq in 2003, the US sent the Fourth Infantry Division north by ship to Turkey.

The US invasion plan depended on a ‘pincers movement’ in which the 4th ID would sweep into Iraq from the north and meet US forces of the 3rd ID coming in from the south through Kuwait.

Turkey was no friend of Saddam Hussein and had functioned as an ally in the 1991 Gulf War. It’s NATO airbase at Incirlik played a crucial role in the 1991 air war. Coalition air forces stationed at Incirlik patrolled the Iraqi ‘no-fly’ zone over Iraq for the next twelve years.

Despite their political differences with Saddam, the Turks unexpectedly refused to participate in the invasion of another Muslim country, and, at the last minute, with troops ships in its harbor, refused to let the Fourth ID disembark or use its territory.

The State Department was literally ‘shocked:’ “They did what?” one official reportedly blurted out at the US State Department on learning of Ankara’s refusal.

One by one, the pieces of Ezekiel’s puzzle continue to fall into place.

It once seemed impossible that Russia could be drawn into an invasion of Israel as part of an Iranian Islamic coalition.

Iran is not Arab, but Persian. Persian-Arab animosity goes back to the days of the Persian Empire of Artaxerxes and Cyrus. Russia, reeling from the collapse of the Soviet Union, was seeking closer alliances with the West.

Turkey was member in good standing of NATO, a supplicant for membership in the EU, and a sworn enemy of Iraq. Turkey was the only Islamic state in the Middle East to have a military mutual defense contract with Israel.

The Islamic world was fractured and in shambles. Radical Islam was shunned by most of the national leaders of Islamic world who feared for their own regimes.

Today, most of those regimes have embraced radical Islam as a way of remaining in power. Russia’s nuclear alliance with Iran almost guarantees a Russian response to any Israeli attack on its shared Iranian nuclear facilities.

Turkey’s secular government is shifting its focus away from the West and embracing Islam once again. And the Persians and the Arabs are uniting under the banner of Islam, overturning thousands of years of ethnic animosity. What does it all mean?

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. . . . Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:28,32)

Originally Published: June 5, 2007

The Hypocritical Christian

The Hypocritical Christian
Vol: 160 Issue: 30 Friday, January 30, 2015

One of the most common challenges one faces when witnessing about Jesus Christ is effectively responding to the question, “Why are Christians such hypocrites?” What makes it challenging is the fact the question is legitimate. Lots and lots of Christians ARE hypocrites.

Before you clobber me, let me rush to say, “Not all of them” (I think). But there are certainly enough for the charge to have legitimacy. And you can bet your skeptic will provide you with plenty of examples, just in case you can’t.

All any skeptic needs to do is turn on his television to see all the evidence he needs to convince himself that Christians have the corner on hypocrisy. Take the ‘seed faith’ doctrine of Oral Roberts, R. W. Shambach or John Avanzini.

This ‘doctrine’ proposes a spiritual LAW that says giving money to a ministry will cause God to return more money to the giver than the actual gift.

More than that, even. It teaches that if you don’t give money to a ministry, God has nothing to work with, but if you give Him money, He will send it back to you 100-fold. Kind of like a spiritual lottery ticket.

It is hard to tell which is the more hypocritical; those who use God to squeeze money out of people, or those who send in money for the purpose of getting more back.

To the skeptic, it is evidence that Christians are not only hypocrites, but also pretty stupid. . . In 1986 Oral Roberts claimed that God appeared to him and said the following;

“I want you to use the ORU medical school to put My medical presence in the earth. I want you to get this going in one year or I will call you home. It will cost $8 million and I want you to believe you can raise it.”

Pleading to his adherents that God would kill him if he didn’t raise the money; Oral Roberts received the $8 million dollars by April of 1987 and claimed he had $9.1 million, which was $1.1 million more than was needed.

John Avanzini teaches that Jesus Christ was a very rich man, who lived in a mansion, wore designer clothes and had a ministry that took in so much money that it had to have a financial manager, Judas Iscariot, which is why he carried the bag of money.

R. W. Shambach tells TBN viewers that they are guaranteed a 100-fold return for every dollar they contribute to TBN. The skeptic asks why Shambach isn’t throwing every dime he can into TBN himself, or why he isn’t a multi-billionaire if he has.

There are no end of examples of Christian examples of hypocrisy, and no end of folks to point them out. “You Christians are all a bunch of hypocrites! Why would I want to be like you?”

Christians instinctively understand both the question and the answer, but often can’t articulate it. The answer is actually pretty simple, as are most things of the Spirit, except for the skeptic. By definition, he cannot discern the things of the Spirit in the first place.

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

The Christian is not a perfect person, and never will be in this life, but wants to reflect the nature and work of Jesus Christ in his life. But, because of the weakness of human nature, the attainment of the goals is not always accomplished.

This is not hypocrisy, it is the sin nature common to all men, saved or unsaved. The world is well tuned to note hypocrisy; hypocrisy is a knowingly conducted act of deception.

Like pretending you are better than you really are, thereby diverting to yourself the Glory due Jesus for using you AS you are.

The skeptic looks for hypocrisy in others in order to justify his own failures, rationalizing his own actions by finding a perceived greater fault in others. That way, he can turn away from the discussion, comfortable in his unbelief.

But the Bible tells us to be “confident of this very thing, that He which hath BEGUN a good work in you WILL PERFORM IT, until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)

That is to say, Jesus BEGAN a PROCESS at the point of salvation that He continues to perform until we stand before Him.

Christians are perfected in the SPIRIT at the moment of salvation, but, as Paul asked the Galatians,

“Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3)

The Christian understands the old adage that, ‘the only entrance requirement for Christianity is that you must first be a sinner.’

The answer to why Christians are such hypocrites because they are people, just like everyone else. The difference is that a Christian has recognized his failures and is being conformed and molded, by a continuing process, into a likeness of Jesus Christ.

But the skeptic holds the Christian to an impossible standard, comparing the Christian’s life to the Life of Jesus Christ.

While they themselves reject Him while asking, “Why CHRISTIANS are such hypocrites?”

Originally Published: June 10, 2004

Featured Commentary: What You Do Defines You ~ Alf Cengia

Higher Criticism — How High Do You Have to Be?

Higher Criticism — How High Do You Have to Be?
Vol: 160 Issue: 29 Thursday, January 29, 2015

Historical criticism, also known by the more grandiose-sounding “higher criticism” is a branch of Biblical criticism that purports to investigate the origins of the ancient text in an effort to understand the world and worldview behind the text.

As it is applied to the Bible, however, “higher criticism” begins with the presumption that the Bible is wrong, and then focuses its effort on proving that presumption.  They approach the Bible as being guilty of error until proven innocent. 

Higher criticism works like this.  When the Bible makes an assertion, such as the creation story, its critics seek some other contemporaneous documents or other evidence that tend to dispute the Bible’s position.  

If none is found, then the Bible account is generally considered to be “undisputed” rather than true.  If another contemporary account differs from the Bible, then the Biblical account is, by definition, disputed. 

“Disputed” doesn’t mean “disproved.”  It means “not agreed upon; argued.”  An undisputed passage simply means nobody has found a way to question it yet.

While “higher criticism” can be applied to any ancient text,  its default meaning is always related to the Bible.  When it comes to the Bible, any dispute — historical, philosophical or interpretative — is sufficient to call a passage into question.

Given the importance of the Scriptures, this makes perfect sense.  The Bible claims to be 100% accurate on all things, past, present and future, 100% of the time.  If any one thing contained in the body of Scripture could be conclusively proved untrue, then the entire testimony of the Bible is called into question.

If Eve didn’t eat of the tree, if Noah didn’t build an ark, if Jonah wasn’t swallowed by a “big fish”, if Moses didn’t receive the tablets, then how can we know that the part that says, “I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never die” is any more reliable?

Bible critics love to point to the story of Creation as absolute evidence the Bible is untrue.  First, they say, if God created the universe in six days, then how is it that the light now reaching us from Alpha Centauri originated millions of years ago?

It’s a trick question.  Their alternative explanation is the Big Bang.  How far apart were those stars five nanoseconds after the Big Bang, when science says the universe was compacted into an area the size of an orange? 

Science says the universe expanded over millions of years, but time functions within the universe, not outside of it.  Space and time are inseparable; if space was compacted, time would be also.   God wasn’t inside the universe when He created it.  

Science knows that the universe is expanding, but we can only reckon time from the inside — if one were standing outside of the universe, how many days did it take for the universe to expand, as viewed from that perspective? 

God says six.  Science has no way of proving or disproving, since it is impossible to calculate.  If it is impossible to calculate, how can anyone know?  Answer?  They don’t.  They are guessing.  There is but one authoritative explanation, because there is only one source that claims absolute knowledge.

That source is the Bible.  Critics slam it as unreliable, until they are challenged to disprove (not dispute) a single substantive fact.   

The Book of Job is believed to be the oldest book, chronologically speaking, written before Moses wrote the first five Books dealing with Creation and the Law.

Job lived sometime before Moses, somewhere in the Middle East. Yet Job records;

“He stretches out the north over empty space;  He hangs the earth on nothing (Job 26:7)

Who told Job that?  Especially since it wasn’t until 1981 that astronomers discovered a huge, unexplained ‘hole’ in space in the direction of the northern hemisphere?

Before the time of Moses, Job explained the earth’s hydrological cycle, writing;

“For He draws up drops of water, which distill as rain from the mist, which the clouds drop down and pour abundantly on man.”(Job 36:27-28)

How did Job know?

The complex nature of how water is supported in clouds despite being heavier than air is clearly implied when God demanded of Job,

“Do you know how the clouds are balanced, those wondrous works of Him who is perfect in knowledge.” (Job 37:16).

“Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, Or loose the belt of Orion?” (Job 38:31).

In the last century astrophysicists have discovered that the stars of Pleiades move in unison with each other, and are thus gravitationally bound, exactly as Job describes.

What else did Job know? 

“For I know that 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: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” (Job 19:25-27)

Note the italicized sections.  Job was not a Jew.  Neither was he a Christian.  Job was born before Abraham and was probably still alive during Abraham’s lifetime.  Before the birth of Joseph.  Before the captivity in Egypt.  Before the Exodus.  Before the Ten Commandments. 

But Job knew his Redeemer was alive at that moment.  Job knew He would stand upon the earth in  “latter days.”  Job knew of the resurrection and knew his own eyes would behold the Messiah – almost a thousand years before Moses penned the first five Books of the Bible.

Here’s a trick question for the skeptics.  Who told Job?

Assessment:

The Bible is the #1 best-seller in history.  It has been translated into 2,123 languages and dialects.  Nine out of every ten Americans own a Bible.

There are plenty of folks who claim they’ve found mistakes in the Bible, but the simple fact is this.  If somebody actually found a verifiable, provable error contained in Scripture, they have yet to demonstrate it.

Christians are used to seeing the world twist and pervert the Bible, deny its Authorship, question its teachings and condemn it as ‘hate literature.’  There are entire collegiate-level curriculums exclusively devoted to Biblical criticism.

Ever notice that other religious books, like the Hindu Upanishads, the writings of Buddha or Zoroaster, and, most particularly, the Koran, are never subjected to a scholarly analysis of their historical or textual accuracy?

Of course, I can’t say “never” since I’ve not read every book ever written.  How many organizations devoted to disproving Zoroastrianism or Islam are you aware of?  Why not?

The Angel Gabriel is said to have told Muhammad: “This book is not to be questioned.”  That is an article of faith among Muslims — subjecting the Koran to the same kind of textual criticism given the Bible would be suicide for a Muslim.

Questioning the Koran isn’t a popular enterprise among non-Muslims, either.  It’s a great way to wake up one morning to discover you are dead.

The Arab scholar, Suliman Bashear, argued that Islam developed over time as a religion rather than emerging suddenly. (His students in the University of Nablus threw him out the window).

Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses” resulted in a fatwa because it was thought to mock Muhammad.  Islamic scholar Naguib Mahfouz was stabbed because his works were said to be ‘irreligious.’

One scholar of Semitic languages, writing under the pseudonym Christopher Luxenberg, published a criticism of the Koran in which he claims the text is both mistranslated and misread.

His work involving the analysis of the earliest copies of the Koran led him to the conclusion that parts of the Koran came from pre-existing Aramaic texts.  These, he says, were misinterpreted by later Islamic scholars who composed the Koran as it is circulated today.

The classic example of this relates to the virgins supposedly awaiting loyal Muslim martyrs.  Rather than ‘virgins,’ Luxenberg observes that in the original text, the Koran actually promises “white raisins” of crystal clarity.

This, one would think, would be a verse carefully scrutinized by Islamists.  Especially those planning to blow themselves up in jihad.  Who would want to commit suicide in exchange for a box of transparent raisins?

Those Semitic scholars who dare to voice an opinion are unanimous in their contention that there is no historical evidence of the existence of the Koran prior to 691 AD, about sixty years after Mohammed’s death.

Much of what is known of Muhammad is based on texts that were written 300 years after his death.  But nobody in the West is particularly interested in disputing the Koran.  Granted, there is the whole “call us intolerant and we’ll kill you” dynamic, but then why just pick on the Bible? 

The four largest religions in the world in order are Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.  Although Christianity is the largest, (2 billion) Islam is a close second, (1.65 billion) and Hinduism is a close third (1 billion).

One could fill a library with all the books written aimed at disputing the Bible.  The books disputing the three other major world religions would barely fill a single shelf. Have you ever asked yourself why?

Christianity welcomes, even invites textual criticism of the Scriptures.  Each effort merely serves to confirm the Bible’s Divine Authorship.  And, logically speaking, who would want to trust their eternity to a God Who might not be real?

(If the Bible wasn’t true, I know that I’d want to know about it).

But examining the Koran for accuracy and textual consistency is not just unpopular, it is dangerous to the point of being deadly.  Islamists don’t merely discourage any scholarly investigation of the Koran.  They fear it. 

There is no real reason to criticize Hinduism —  with three hundred and thirty million different gods, where would one begin?

The Buddha allegedly lived at a time when writing was largely unknown, and so everything about the Buddha was written hundreds of years after the fact.  Where are all the critics of Buddha?

So why does the Bible attract so much more criticism?  There is only one logical reason.  If the Bible wasn’t a true record, then the battle would not be so fierce.  The debate would not be so divisive.

There are no headline-making polls about the existence of Buddha.  And nobody would dare question the existence of Allah or the veracity of the Buddha.  Why not?  

Because they are no threat to the prince and the power of the air.  Jesus Christ Himself explained the principle:

“But He, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand?” (Luke 11:17-18)

It is often said that you can tell more about a person by taking the measure of his enemies than you can by looking at his friends.

If the Bible isn’t true, then there is no Satan.  If the Bible is true, then it stands to reason that the only sacred writings Satan would inspire attacks against would be the ones that point to the real God of salvation.

He certainly wouldn’t attack the religions and scriptures that serve him.   If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand?  He isn’t.  Because it couldn’t.  But it does.

For now.

Featured Commentary: Auschwitz: What Makes One Man Kill Another? ~ J.L. Robb

Why Did God Create Man?

Why Did God Create Man?
Vol: 160 Issue: 28 Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Bible tells us that it is the Lord Jesus Christ Who is the Creator of all things, including the heavens, the earth, and even hell.  This mystery is revealed in the first chapter of the Book of John.

John takes us back to creation, saying,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (1:1)

In John’s Gospel, the ‘Word’ (logos) is capitalized as a proper noun, since it is used in the sense of a title.

“The same was in the beginning with God.” John also reveals that, “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:2-3)

That John is referring to Jesus is made clear when he writes,

“He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto his own, and His own received Him not.” (10-11)

That can only be describing Jesus Christ, Who came first to the Jews, as Jesus told the ‘woman of Caanan’. (Matthew 15:24-28)

So, following the logic that Jesus is the Creator of all things, we must also conclude that He created Hell.  This presents what appears to be an impossible theological conundrum.

Jesus describes hell as a place of eternal torment, describing it three times as the place;

“Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:44,46,48)

The conundrum arises when one tries to solve the apparent contradiction between a compassionate Christ Who shed His Blood to provide a way for me to avoid the horrors of hell and the Creator of Hell Who knew at the time He was creating it that there would be some who would go there.

Assessment:

Jesus says that it would be better not to have ever been born than to end up in hell.  So, why create man in the first place, then?  The Bible answers that question, but, to the skeptic, the answer only prompts more questions.

According to Revelation 4:11, we were created for God’s pleasure.

“Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.”

So, if man was created for God’s pleasure, but a significant majority of mankind is destined to go to hell, does that mean God takes pleasure in sending people there?  The Scriptures say no.

“For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” (Ezekiel 33:11)

“Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11)

Jesus says in Matthew 25:41 that hell wasn’t created for man, but rather was “prepared for the devil and his angels.”

But that still doesn’t fully address the question.  IF the place of ‘everlasting fire’ Jesus is referring to was ‘prepared for the devil and his angels’, and if man was created for God’s pleasure, AND, if God is all-knowing, then He knew some of His creation would end up there.

AND, if it would be better for man to never have been born than to end up in hell, then WHY create us in the first place?

The universe is considerably more than just man, and while the salvation of man is an integral part of God’s program, we are not the only part of God’s program.

Eons before man was created, God’s anointed angel, Lucifer, rebelled against a decision of God’s (most likely over the creation of man himself).

In describing Jesus’ decision to take on human form, the writer of Hebrews says that Jesus “was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death.” (2:9)

Psalms 91:11 tells us that,

“He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”

But Paul writes to the Corinthians,

“Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” (1st Corinthians 6:3)

One can imagine Satan rebelling against the concept of the creation of a new, puny, human spiritual being, made ‘lower than the angels’, that God decreed angels (including Satan and his followers) would serve in this life, and then be judged by in the next.

Isaiah outlines Satan’s rebellion as a series of five “I wills”.

“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Isaiah 14:13-15)

When God cast the rebels out, it was incumbent upon Him to prove Himself just in His decision to those angels who remained loyal.  After all, eternity is a long time, and hell is a terrible place.  Wasn’t God being a bit hard on them?

So, in a sense, humanity serves as a kind of living courtroom in which angels can observe the consequences of unchecked sin on the natural order of the universe.

Hebrews 12:1 tells us we are “compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses.” (the angelic hosts).

God created man initially with only one rule: avoid the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.  To the astonishment of the angels, man broke that rule, introducing sin into the world.  Then God allowed man to ruled by his conscience.

(That worked out so well that it took a world-wide flood to repair the damage.)

So God went to Abraham and spoke with him directly.  The angels must have been dumbfounded to witness Abraham’s sin with Hagar, knowing that Abraham KNEW better.  God told him so directly.  They also saw the consequences of sin beginning to pile up, embodied by the ongoing conflict between Abraham’s descendants, Ishmael and Isaac.

To further prove God’s judgement of sin was just and fair, God set aside a Chosen Nation, gave them ten little rules to follow, and allowed the scenario to play out before the heavenly jury.

What began as ten rules for living in harmony for God resulted in the development of a religious system so corrupt that Jesus came to earth Personally to replace it with an even easier method of reconciliation with God — trusting in the shed Blood of Christ alone for salvation.

Remember, the angels who are witnessing all this have seen sin go from a bite of fruit to the horrors of Adolph Hitler, Josef Stalin and Saddam Hussein.  Knowing first-hand what an unimaginable Gift was extended mankind from the Cross, can you imagine their astonishment when that Gift was almost universally rejected by what is now a sin-sodden world.

Finally, the Bible says, Jesus Christ returns at the end of the Tribulation Period, binds Satan for a thousand years, sets up a physical Kingdom in Jerusalem from which He personally rules the earth.

During that time, Scripture says, man will live in perfect harmony with nature, as God had originally intended in the Garden of Eden.  Isaiah says that a person who dies during the Millennial Kingdom at age 100 would be mourned as one who died in his youth.

Lions will lay down with lambs, little kids will be able to play with deadly snakes, men will beat their swords into plowshares and war will be abolished.

Scripture then says that, when the thousand years are finished, Satan will be loosed for ‘a season’ to tempt those human beings who KNOW Jesus, have lived a THOUSAND YEARS under His Personal governance, and are perfectly certain of His Power and Authority.

“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” (Revelation 20:7-8)

At this point, the angelic jury is convinced, and the prosecution rests.

“And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” (Revelation 20:9)

Then comes the judgement.

“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (20:10)

Why did God create man if He knew that some would choose hell?  Because He also knew that some would choose Heaven.

And in any case, it is man’s choice to make.  As declared the citizens in the parable of the nobleman in Luke 19:14,

“We will not have Him to reign over us.”

When such people are cast in hell, it is literally what they asked for.

God has a purpose for every detail of our creation.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

God created mankind to prove His justice.  He created mankind for His pleasure.  And He created mankind so He could save them.

But He also created mankind so we could CHOOSE to love Him.  There cannot be a choice without an alternative.

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Originally Published: September 29, 2004

Featured Commentary: The Prophecy of Caiaphas ~ Lea Sylvester

The Auschwitz Protocols

The Auschwitz Protocols
Vol: 160 Issue: 27 Tuesday, January 27, 2015

During the Second World War, the Nazis set up extermination camps all over Europe designed for no other purpose except to efficiently murder and dispose of millions of people.

In all, the Nazis murdered somewhere between ten and twelve million people; Gypsies, homosexuals, criminals, the mentally deficient, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Poles, Russian POWs’, etc.

But more than half of Hitler’s victims — at least six million of them — were European Jews. Men, women, children, babies — it made no difference. If they were Jews they were to be exterminated like animals.

Worse than animals, since even in those days, there were humane laws in place for euthanizing animals.

The major camps were located in German-occupied Poland, including Auschwitz, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka. Of the millions who entered these camps, only a handful emerged.

The Nazis elevated mass murder to an art form; almost a million Jews were exterminated at Treblinka — yet Treblinka had a staff of just 120 — of whom only the 20-30 SS personnel did the actual killing.

Can you imagine the outrage, had the Allies known of these camps? Clearly, the moment the Allies discovered that the Germans were systematically exterminating the entire Jewish population of Europe, the entire tenor of the war would have changed.

No matter how critical other military targets may have been, it is difficult to imagine that any of them could be more critical than the death camps. No matter how many lives might have been at stake because of other targets, there was nothing that compared to the carnage of the Nazi death camps.

What a terrible shame that they didn’t know. Think of the millions of lives that could have been saved, had they destroyed those death camps, even as late as the last year of the war!

Except they did know. And they did nothing.

In 1944, as the Nazis began to empty Hungary of its 750,000 Jews and deport them to Auschwitz. Among them was a 19 year-old Jew named Rudolf Vrba.

Together with fellow prisoner Alfred Wetzler, Vrba devised a plan of escape from Auschwitz.

The pair slipped away from their slave-labor battalion and hid themselves in a hollowed out woodpile they had prepared earlier. They sprinkled the area with tobacco and gasoline to fool the dogs.

After hiding for several days, the pair set off on a 80 mile trek to Slovakia, where they met with Jewish leaders. There, they dictated a thirty-page report dubbed “The Auschwitz Protocols.”

It included details of the mass-murder process, maps pinpointing the gas chambers and crematoria and warnings of the impending slaughter of Hungary’s Jews.

“One million Hungarian [Jews] are going to die,” Vrba told them. “Auschwitz is ready for them. But if you tell them now, they will rebel. They will never go to the ovens.”

A copy of Vrba’s Auschwitz Protocols was given to Rabbi Michoel Dov Weissmandl, a rescue activist in Bratislava, who then wrote the first known appeal for the use of Allied air power to disrupt the mass murder.

Weissmandl’s plea to the Allies to bomb the railroad lines between Hungary and Auschwitz reached the Roosevelt administration in June, 1944.

The full version of the Vrba report was actually held up in Switzerland for three months by US diplomats who regarded it as low priority.

And when the report finally reached Washington in October, the Office of War Information opposed distributing it.

Assistant Secretary of War John McCloy responded that the request was “impracticable” because it would require “diversion of considerable air support essential to the success of our forces now engaged in decisive operations.”

He also claimed the War Department’s position was based on “a study” of the issue. But no evidence of such a study has ever been found by researchers.

In reality, McCloy’s position was based on the War Department’s standing policy that no military resources should be allocated for “rescuing victims of enemy oppression.”

(‘Victims of enemy oppression’ was a code for “Jews”. The Allies ACTUALLY had a policy in place to let them die.)

After receiving the Auschwitz Protocols, the Jewish Agency lobbied British, American and Soviet officials to bomb the camps or the railways leading to it. The Allies refused. The murders continued — Jews were still being exterminated even as Allied ground troops were approaching the gates of the camps.

Today in Israel, the wail of sirens brought the nation to a standstill as they observed two minutes of silence for the victims of the Nazi murderers and the indifferent Allies who did nothing to stop them.

During a two-minute silence across the Jewish state for Holocaust Remembrance Day, pedestrians stopped in their tracks, some with their heads bowed, and road traffic came to a halt.

The collective commemoration came a day after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has repeatedly described the Holocaust as a “myth,” stirred a storm of criticism when he described Israel as “the most cruel and repressive racist regime” at the UN conference on racism in Switzerland.

His comments triggered outrage in the West and prompted a walkout by many European countries at the opening of the Geneva conference.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his remarks at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, said;

“If anyone thought that following the horrific events of the Holocaust this malignant phenomenon would vanish from this world, it is today obvious that he was wrong.”

“The sad fact is that while we mark the Holocaust Memorial Day here at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, some chose to attend the show of hatred against Israel held as we speak in the heart of Europe,” Netanyahu said.

“We will not let Holocaust deniers carry out another Holocaust of the Jewish people. This is the supreme commitment of the state of Israel.”

The UN conference, which had already been hit by a boycott by several governments led by the United States and Israel, fell into disarray after Ahmadinejad launched his new outburst against the Jewish state.

Ahmadinejad, who has previously called for the Jewish state to be wiped off the map, said that as compensation for racism in Europe “the most cruel and racist regime” was created in the Middle East after World War II.

“Following World War II they resorted to military aggressions to make an entire nation homeless under the pretext of Jewish suffering,” the mad little mullah told the assembled body.

To the dismay of the UN conference’s organizers, representatives from forty countries got up and walked out.

Assessment:

OK, so more than forty countries walked out. A handful of countries — Canada, the US, Israel, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Italy — boycotted it altogether. (Yes, that’s all of them.)

And lest we become too proud, the US, Germany, the Netherlands and New Zealand didn’t decide until Sunday not to attend. (To their credit, Canada, Australia, Israel and Italy all dropped out of the gathering weeks or months earlier.)

But what of the one-hundred plus countries that refused to join the boycott, that found nothing wrong with having Mahmoud Ahmadinejad serve as keynote speaker and guest of honor of the conference, and that remained in their seats to politely applaud the little Iranian dictator’s renewed call for Israel’s destruction?

Think about it for a second, and in context. This conference was dubbed “Durban II” even though it is being held in Geneva, because the original Durban Conference became so infamous.

The Durban Conference on Racism was so antisemitic and racist that one could scarcely believe that the UN would try it again.

Not only did the UN decide to go ahead with the second conference, it chose such champions of international human rights as Libya to chair it and Iran to serve as a vice-chair.

The draft document upon which the conference was based affirmed the preceding conference’s concluding statement vilifying Israel, demanding Western reparations for slavery and making blasphemy against Islam an international crime.

The date selected for the conference not only coincided with the eve of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day — it ‘just so happened’ that it opened on Hitler’s birthday.

So, what did the attending nations expect? They expected exactly what Ahmadinejad offered them — a vicious attack against Israel as a racist state — followed by a justification of racism according to the principles of Islam.

A number of delegations, mainly from Arab or Muslim countries, applauded his address, welcoming his claim that the creation of Israel had led to a “totally racist government in occupied Palestine.”

Although they claim Israel’s existence as a Jewish State is ‘racist’ they are completely comfortable with the Palestinian demand that its state be Judenrein (Jew-free).

Most mainstream Islamic countries have either expelled their Jewish populations or created such a hostile environment that they were forced to emigrate. It is difficult to imagine a more racist regime than that of Saudi Arabia, birthplace of Islam.

A Jew caught inside that country would face immediate execution — for being a Jew.

A few Islamic countries (like Iran) refuse to let their Jews emigrate so that they can use them as propaganda to show “how well they treat their Jews.”

(Don’t assume the world won’t buy into it. Hitler had a special camp — Theresienstadt — that was used as a ‘model’ camp to show the Red Cross how well the Jews were treated by the Nazis. The Red Cross never raised an eyebrow.)

The United Nations was created, ironically enough, for the same reason that world Jewry banded together and created a Jewish state in Israel. “Never again!” was Israel’s foundational slogan. The United Nations was created to prevent another Hitler and another Holocaust.

The UN exists now for the sole purpose of extending legitimacy to the haters of this world. It has been hijacked by global Islam in much the same way that the 1930’s League of Nations was hijacked by the fascists.

In 1944, the world had a chance to stop the genocide when Rudolf Vrba’s Auschwitz Protocols exposed the Nazi extermination plan for all the world to see. The world didn’t want to know anything about it until it was all over.

Despite the lessons of the Holocaust, the world learned nothing. The burden of Jerusalem remains as heavy today as ever it has over the millennia.

“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” (Zechariah 12:2-3)

The UN’s Conference on Racism’s keynote speaker presented the world, in no uncertain terms, with his plan to finish what the Nazis began. Only forty countries — out of more than 190 — found Ahmadinejad’s speech unacceptable.

More than 100 countries applauded politely.

Originally Published: April 21, 2009

Featured Commentary: Banner of Adamant Love ~ Wendy Wippel

‘True Stories About Converts To Islam’

‘True Stories About Converts To Islam’
Vol: 160 Issue: 26 Monday, January 26, 2015

We examined Islam’s Jesus in previous Omega Letters and saw that to Islam, Abraham was a Muslim and that both Judaism and Christianity are perversions of the primordial faith — Islam.

There are entire websites dedicated to the topic of Jews converting to Islam. According Jews for Allah, “More and More Jews are Realizing That Judaism and Christianity are Lighthouses Leading to Islam”.

One such example of a Jew converting to Islam comes from “Moshe,” who discusses the need for Jews to reevaluate the Tanakh [Bible] and the Koran: “I am Jewish who converted to Islam because Islam is the rational choice. I wanted to believe the Torah is true and like most Jews I tried to block out reality, thinking if I ignore the Koranic revelation it would go away and the facts which the Koran mentions like the universe was formed with a big bang and the planets by the contraction of early gases.”

The following Hadith (tradition) is an example of Jews historically converting to Islam.

“Safwan Ibn Assal relates that a Jew asked his fellow to take him to the Prophet (peace be upon him), and when they came to him they inquired from him about the nine clear signs (as stated in the Qur’an 17:101) ‘after stating them, they kissed his hands and feet and said: We bear witness that you are a Prophet.’

Assessment:

How Islam reaches the conclusion that it is the primordial religion out of which the perversions of Judaism and Christianity sprang is not easy to follow.

The Promise was given to Abraham about 2100 BC. A thousand years later, King David ruled the most powerful kingdom of the ancient world — Israel.

A thousand years after that, Jesus Christ shed His blood on Calvary, was raised from the dead and seen by more than five hundred witnesses before ascending Bodily into heaven.

Over the next three hundred years, the Books of the Old and New Testament were codified as the Bible and Christianity had become the state religion of the Roman Empire.

Six hundred and twenty-two years after Christ, sixteen hundred years after Solomon built the first Jewish Temple, a thousand years after Nebuchadnezzar destroyed that Temple, eight hundred years after the Temple was rebuilt, and more than five hundred years after THAT Temple was destroyed by the Roman legions and the Jews scattered into the world — Islam was born.

But the Koran says Islam was here first. How did they reach that conclusion? Simple. Mohammed simply declared Abraham a Muslim, effectively rewriting history with no regard to fact. That revised history of the Middle East is the one upon which the world relies when evaluating current political conditions. Which is why the world sides so easily with the Arabs on any question of what belongs to Israel and what belongs to the Arabs.

Arafat’s claim that Israel has no historical presence on the site of the Jerusalem Mosque is swallowed whole by both his constituency, and the court of world opinion, despite the evidence.

Since the Koran says Abraham and Jesus were both Muslims, modern Palestinians were the ancient Israelites.

It is on this teaching that the myth of Israel being the usurper to the Promised Land rests. Islam represents a sixth of the world’s population. It is no surprise that the UN follows this same line of revisionist history. After all, there’s nobody alive to ask if Jesus was really a Muslim, and if the Koran is right, the Bible is all made up out of Islamic tradition anyway.

That is why a billion Muslims want to see Israel destroyed and Jews and Christians either killed or converted.

Islam’s goal was, is and will remain the forced conversion of the world to Islam and the destruction of those who refuse.

Strong words, but that’s what the Koran teaches. It’s what history demonstrates. It’s what contemporary Islamic thinkers teach. It’s the central theme of Islam — submission.

I am not saying all Muslims follow the fundamentals of Islam. Many Christian denominations don’t follow the fundamentals of Christianity. But concluding that peace-loving Muslims represents true Islam is like concluding Jehovah’s Witnesses represent true Christianity.

I don’t believe Islam is the religion of the antichrist. The Bible divides the world into four distinct spheres of power in the last days, but from a decidedly Euro-centric perspective.

While the antichrist rules the ‘world’ the Bible also speaks of the 200 million strong army of the Kings of the East, the Muslim/African alliance of the “Kings of the South” and the Gog-Magog confederation, all of whom ‘trouble’ the antichrist from his seat of power in the revived Roman Empire.

The ‘world’ controlled by antichrist is the Western world — the Bible makes that clear. Israel is a part of the Western world by virtue of its culture, values and political system.

But Daniel makes it clear that the antichrist reaches some kind of alliance with the Arab world. Daniel 9:26 says he confirms a covenant between Israel and her enemies, Daniel 8:25 says that ‘by peace’ he will ‘destroy many’.

We are seeing the shadows of what the Bible says is to come developing form and substance.

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

Originally Published October 24, 2002

Featured Commentary: The Twist of Cain ~ Pete Garcia

Perspectives on the Rapture

Perspectives on the Rapture
Vol: 160 Issue: 24 Saturday, January 24, 2015

You wouldn’t know it to listen to a debate on the subject, but all three parties in the Rapture Debate believe that they are the ones who have the right position and have the Scriptures to back them up.

Whenever I write on the subject of the Rapture, I get email from those holding a different view and it never ceases to amaze me how nasty some of them are.

I’ve been called a false prophet (for the record, I’m not any kind of prophet, false or otherwise), a false teacher, a liar, a purveyor of the doctrines of demons and more.

More than one has accused me outright of knowing the truth (their position, naturally) and deliberately spreading deception to some nefarious end that never quite gets explained to me.

But the fact is that those who believe in a pre-Tribulation Rapture are no more sincere than those who believe the Rapture comes at the midpoint in the Tribulation.

The mid-tribulational view divides the Tribulation into two periods of 1260 days each, according to Daniel 9:27 and Daniel 12:7 and sees the Rapture of the Church occurring at that mid-point.

There are plenty of Scripture verses that can be used to support a mid-Trib Rapture.

“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Matthew 24:9-13

It would seem to indicate here that Jesus is exhorting us to “endure to the end’ tying our endurance to being saved from the Great Tribulation.

Similarly, Jesus’ reference to the Abomination of Desolation (Matthew 24:15) is followed by a warning to flee, (21)”For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

(40-41)”Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”

The mid-tribulationist equates the beginning of the Great Tribulation when the antichrist abolishes Temple worship and begins his persecution of Israel with Rapture.

The problem with the mid-Tribulation view is it fails to explain WHY the Church endures the first half of the Rapture. The final week of Daniel is clearly set aside for the national redemption of Israel. (Daniel 9:24)

In order to make the mid tribulational view work, Jesus must be speaking to the Church when He is answering the question posed Him in Matthew 24:3 “What will be the sign of Thy Coming and of the end of the world?”

If Jesus were addressing the Church in the last days, why would He say, “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath Day:” (20)? The Church is under no Sabbath Day restrictions.

Jesus makes plain the perspective from which He was speaking and to whom, saying, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in JUDAEA flee into the mountains: (15-16)

Jesus warning of being delivered up to be afflicted, and killed, and to be hated of all nations for His Name’s sake isn’t a reference to the Church. He is addressing Israel, who has been delivered to affliction for 2000 years as ‘Christ-killers’.

He is NOT addressing the Church. The Church is not here at that time.

But Jesus WAS addressing the Church when He said:

“In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:2-3)

In Rev. 2 and 3 we have Jesus talking to the Seven Churches, but what I want you to notice is where Jesus is in relation to these churches. “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;”

Now, from Chapter 4 to 19, Jesus is no longer on earth, but in heaven. So, if Jesus is no longer on the earth during the Tribulation period and He promised us we would always be with him, it would seem to indicate that we are going to be in Heaven with Jesus during the Tribulation period.

No matter how many ways I look at it, I just can’t overcome a few problems reconciling Scripture with the mid-tribulation view.

What purpose is served by having the Church participate in the first half of the Tribulation but not the second if the whole ‘week’ is set aside for Israel? Why have a Rapture at all?

Why would Jesus be positionally in the midst of the 7 Churches for the entire Church Age, but positionally in heaven from Revelation 4:1 forward if the seven golden candlesticks remain on earth during Daniel’s 70th Week?

Why is there no reference to the Church from Revelation 4:1 and forward?

These are serious problems from my perspective.

But again, that is not to say that those who hold to a mid-tribulational Rapture haven’t searched the Scriptures and found answers that satisfy those questions in their minds. They are as sincere as I. We simply disagree.

Assessment:

The third possible Rapture view is called post-tribulationism.

The third possible timing of the Rapture would take place at the end of the Tribulation. This is called the post-tribulational view.

In this view, the Church goes through the entire Tribulation Period, together with the ‘earthdwellers’ and Israel and is Raptured to meet the Lord in the air as He is returning at the 2nd Coming.

As in the case of the other views, this view can be supported by Scripture. As I mentioned before, I’ve received email accusing me of deliberately spreading error and of being a false teacher because I espouse a different Rapture scenario than they do.

Such nonsense is just that – nonsense. Believers are believers BECAUSE they believe. If someone is a sincere, Blood-bought, born-again believer, why would they adopt a position they don’t believe is supported by Scripture? Beyond that, why would a believer teach a position they KNEW to be wrong?

Supporters of the post-Tribulation position are sincere, as are those who hold to either the pre-trib or mid-trib scenarios.

In Matthew 24:30-31, Jesus speaks of a great gathering.

“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

It certainly sounds like the Rapture, and it sounds like it occurs at the end of the Tribulation. But Matthew 24, as I pointed out previously, is given, not from the perspective of the Church, but from the perspective of the Jews.

Jesus spoke of the abomination of desolation (25:15) — a distinctly Jewish blasphemy, followed by a warning to those in JUDEA (16) to flee, and for them to pray their flight be not on the Sabbath Day (20).

Now compare Matthew 24:30 with Zechariah’s description of the coming of Christ from the perspective of the Jews. “and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for His only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his Firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:10)

In Matthew 24:31 we see that the ‘elect’ gathered by His angels are gathered, not from the earth, but from ‘one end of HEAVEN to the other’.

Revelation 19:14 says “And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” As we’ve already seen, those in white linen are the Bride.

The post-trib position is that ‘one end of heaven to the other’ really means the Rapture of earthbound believers at the end of the Tribulation Period.

But reading what Scripture SAYS, rather than interpreting what it ‘really means’, indicates the elect gathered AFTER the Tribulation are gathered FROM heaven, which is consistent with the pre-trib view that says that is where the Church was all along.

Bible prophecy is unfolding according to a systematic theology that shows that God dealt at different times throughout history in different ways through a system of progressive revelation. This systematic theology is called Dispensationalism.

The main points of dispensationalism are:

1. The recognition of a distinction between Israel and the Church.

2. A consistently literal principle of interpretation — particularly of Bible prophecy.

3. A basic working and conception of the purpose of God as His own glory rather than as the single purpose of salvation.

Dispensationalism demands:

1. The O.T. prophecies of the restoration of national Israel to the land in the last days will be literally fulfilled. (Any newspaper confirms that prophecy is being fulfilled before our eyes.)

2. The 70 weeks of Daniel spoken of in Daniel 9 refers to a period of 490 years and apply only to Israel. The first 69 weeks have been fulfilled historically, ending at the first coming of Christ.

3. When the Jews rejected the Messiah, the 70 weeks were suspended and a new age or dispensation called the Church age began. The Last or 70th week of Daniel, the last seven years, has yet to be fulfilled.

4. This last week will immediately precede the second coming of Christ.

The book of Revelation after the letters to the seven churches is a prophecy concerning events that will occur during the last seven years before the second coming or 70th week.

This 70th week is called the tribulation period. The last half of this week (the last 3.5 years) is the Great Tribulation spoken of in Dan. 9 and in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24). This tribulation period is a time when God will pour out His wrath on a sinful world (earthdwellers).

It is at this point that the mid-tribulationists believe the Rapture occurs.

The coming of Christ will occur in two phases. The Rapture, and His Second Coming at the conclusion of the Battle of Armageddon.

Dispensationalism concludes the Church cannot be here during the tribulation period because God has ended the Church age and resumed dealing with Israel.

The Church is also raptured to keep the Christians from the wrath of God which according to Romans 5:9 Christians will not experience.

The second phase is Christ’s second coming at the end of the tribulation with His saints to begin the Kingdom Age dispensation.

History consists of different dispensations or ‘economies’. A dispensation is a period of time during which man is tested in respect of obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God.

Systematic theology reveals seven distinct Dispensations of God.

Creation to fall – Innocency

Fall to flood – Conscience

Flood to Abraham – Human Government

Abraham to Moses – Promise

Moses to Christ – Law

Church Age – Grace

Millennium – Kingdom

A new period or dispensation begins when God introduces a change in the principles or ordinances valid up to that time. For example a number of ordinances are introduced at the time of Noah. With the coming of the Church Age, the Mosiac Laws or ordinances are annulled.

In order to hold to a mid or post position it is necessary to deny Dispensationalism, claiming it is a recent invention. But at the same time, all three scenarios recognize the Church Age as a distinct dispensation.

We began this series with the intent, not to change anybody else’s view, but to explain why we hold to the view that we do.

Our mission at the Omega Letter is to equip the saints with evidence and hard facts that point to the reality that these are the last days, not to engage in a pointless debate.

The Rapture will happen when it happens and nobody will know for sure who was right until it doesn’t matter any more anyway.

Our purpose was not to argue FOR a pre-tribulation rapture so much as it was to clearly outline what we believe and why we believe it.

We view unfolding prophecy through the systematic theology of Dispensationalism because, without rightly dividing the Word, prophecy makes no sense.

For example, Jesus said the Comforter would remain with the Church until He comes. Yet the only reference to the Holy Spirit during the Tribulation is Revelation Chapter 7 when Jewish evangelists are miraculously ‘sealed’ (indwelt) by the Holy Spirit the way Church Age believers are now. That indwelling gives the Jewish evangelists ‘power’ to preach.

Together with 2 Thessalonians 2:7 we see the Restrainer is taken out of the way, saying that once that is accomplished, “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” (8)

If the Church goes through the Tribulation, then Jesus’ promise of a Comforter until He comes needs rewriting to say, “I will send you a Comforter Who will stay with you until you need Him most, and then you are on your own for seven years.”

Without an understanding of the divisions between the Dispensations, (like the Church Age and Daniel’s 70th Week) prophecy is contradictory.

Jesus promised the Church in Matthew 16:18 that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” But we then read in Revelation 13:7 “And it was given unto him (the religious beast) to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.”

Which is it? Do we prevail, or does the antichrist? Apart from Dispensationalism, the two statements contradict.

But if the Church Age is over and the Tribulation period is the time of ‘Jacob’s Trouble’ and judgment against ‘them that dwell upon the earth’ rather than for the Church, then Scriptural harmony is restored.

As I pointed out elsewhere, the major problem with the mid-trib view is that it fails to explain what role the Church plays in the time of Jacob’s Trouble — even the first half.

The major problem in the post-tribulational view adds to that problem the problem of mathematics.

Revelation 13:15 says of those who do not worship the beast and accept his mark that he would “cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed”.

So we see two kinds of people in the Tribulation period. Those who take the mark and those who are killed. When the Tribulation is over, where are the living believers who get raptured?

For there to be believers left to Rapture, they will have to escape the antichrist’s global positioning surveillance systems, satellite thermal imaging systems, police and military dragnet, unable to buy or sell, living in caves for seven years.

A couple of decades ago, that seemed at least possible. But not so likely today. We saw how effective a strategy that was for al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. And the antichrist is unlikely to follow the same civilized rules of engagement Washington must observe today to avoid global condemnation.

We conclude the Pre-tribulation Rapture scenario is the view that is most harmonious with Scripture, particularly when given the added dimension of actually watching the preparations unfold before our very eyes.

But our faith isn’t in WHEN Christ comes, it is in the fact that Christ IS coming soon. And the Rapture Debate is one more evidence of that fact.

Notice that the debate isn’t over whether or not the Lord will come in this generation. For most, that is not even an issue.

A century ago, they were debating over whether He was coming at all. Today, we’re fighting over His coming within a seven-year time frame.

Regardless of what you believe concerning the timing of the Rapture, the soon coming of the Lord is proved by the fact such a debate exists at all. And no matter what you believe about the timing of the Rapture, and no matter who turns out to be right in the end, the important thing to remember is WHAT we are debating.

We are living in the last generation in history. There are people reading my words — right now — who will never, ever die in the traditional sense, but will be caught up bodily to be with the Lord.

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

Originally Published: October 8, 2005