No Red Union Suits, Either

No Red Union Suits, Either
Vol: 168 Issue: 18 Friday, September 18, 2015

Heaven is a difficult concept to picture in our minds.  It is simply beyond our experiential capacity for us to step out of space and time and imagine eternity.  It is even more difficult to imagine eternity in a place where there is no sin, no conflict, no sickness, no death, not to mention a place of eternal joy that never grows old.

Eternity is a long time, but ‘eternity’ is ‘a long time’ the way a billion dollars is ‘a lot of money’.  It takes a carefully constructed word picture to bring it into focus.

I heard ‘eternity’ described this way, once, and it helped.  Suppose a seagull were to take a grain of sand from the East Coast and drop it off on the West Coast.  Every ten thousand years, our seagull would transport another grain of sand from the East Coast to the West Coast.

When every grain of sand on every beach on the entire East Coast has been transferred to the West Coast (one grain at a time, every thousand years), that would constitute the first ten seconds of eternity!

Mankind is created in God’s Image, according to Genesis 1:26, and after God’s likeness.  But it doesn’t necessarily follow that we look like God, or that God looks like us.

Jesus revealed,

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)

God’s ‘image’ and His ‘likeness’ refer to His eternal nature, not His cosmetic appearance.

Monkeys look as much like men as any of the other lower order of animals.  They look enough like men to argue that, if man is in God’s image, then so are some species of monkeys.

Connecting the dots, then, Jesus tells us that God is a Spirit, and Genesis tells us that we were created in God’s Image and in His Likeness.

Scripture teaches that man was created with an eternal spiritual component.

A Spirit, in His Image, that is eternal in nature, in His Likeness.

That which is eternal is that which, by definition, cannot die, and cannot be killed.  But it can be destroyed.

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)

Note the subtle shift in Our Lord’s Words when He moves from the temporal to the eternal.  The body can die, the soul cannot be killed, but both can be ‘destroyed’ in hell.

There are those who teach that this means that hell isn’t a place of eternal torment, but rather a place where the condemned soul is annihilated.

The Bible speaks as much of hell as it does of Heaven; indeed, in His ministry, the Lord spoke MORE of hell than he did of heaven.  Scripture divides ‘hell’ — as we understand it — into two phases.

There is hell, and then, later on, the Lake of Fire.

“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” (Revelation 20:14)

It is the ‘Lake of Fire’ that some teach is the place of annihilation.  The Scriptures teach otherwise.

We are created with an eternal element, as we’ve already established.  That which is eternal cannot be killed, but it can be ‘destroyed’.  But ‘destruction’ means eternal separation from God, not annihilation.

Jesus explained in the story of Lazarus and the rich man;

“There WAS a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores. . . .”

Both of them died, the Lord explains, and each went to his place, Lazarus to Paradise, and the rich man to hell.

“And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” (Luke 16:19-20-23)

At the time of the story, Jesus had not yet redeemed humanity, and the righteous dead went to Paradise, which, the Lord taught, was separated from hell by a great gulf or chasm;

“And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” (Luke 16:26)

At His Death, Jesus ‘descended into hell’ [which also included at that time, Paradise] in order to liberate the righteous dead and take them to heaven;

“Wherefore He saith, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.)” (Ephesians 4:8-10)

Once the righteous dead were taken to heaven, hell was expanded to make room. Those in hell will be ‘cast into the Lake of Fire’ at the second death, the Scriptures say.

There are those who will point out that the word ‘hell’ (sheol) has two meanings; it means both ‘the grave’ and the place where departed spirits go.  So they argue that hell is not really a literal Bible teaching.

“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.” (2nd Thessalonians 1:8-9)

Note the phrase ‘everlasting destruction’ and reconcile that, if you can, with the idea of ‘annihilation’.  It takes some real imaginative interpretation to get there from here.

‘Everlasting destruction’ isn’t the same as ‘annihilation’ — which is instantaneous and permanent.  And things that are different are NOT the same.

Hell is a place of punishment that the Lord described THREE times, using exactly the same words;

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

When the Lord chooses to repeat Himself, it is because He wants to make sure we get it right.

Jesus said the rich man was ‘in torments’, desiring that Lazarus,

“dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame.” (Luke 16:24)

So, from our Lord’s Lips to our ears, we know it is a place of torment, involving ‘flames’ where ‘their worm dieth not’.  Jude 13 reveals it is a place of eternal darkness.

While those in heaven will meet and recognize their loved ones, those in hell will spend eternity like the unidentified rich man, nameless, alone and in utter darkness.

The story of the rich man reveals hell to be a place of consciousness, a place of eternal remorse, a place without hope, a place of wailing and gnashing of teeth, and a place of eternal flame.

Jesus says of the hellbound sinner that it would be;

“better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” (Mark 9:42)

Jesus said of Judas that;

“woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.” (Matthew 26:24)

Hell is worse than violent death and worse than having ever been born at all.  Jesus’ words make no sense if Judas were facing ‘annihilation’ in hell.  How could NOT existing (annihilation) be worse than never existing?

On the other hand, eternal torment would be MUCH worse than never having existed at all.  The difference is obvious without having to conduct any special Scriptural gymnastics to prove it.

And if the plain sense of Scripture makes perfect sense on its face, why seek a different sense?

Hell is given over to the Lake of Fire at the second death at the conclusion of the thousand year Millennial Kingdom Age.  The beast and the false prophet are cast alive into the Lake of Fire, where, Revelation 20:10 says that “they shall be “tormented day and night for ever and ever’ — not annihilated.

Eternal life and eternal death are two sides of the same coin in that they are BOTH eternal, since we are created in God’s Image, which is eternal Spirit.

It is often argued that, ‘a loving God wouldn’t send people to hell’ — and that argument sounds logical because it is true.  A loving God wouldn’t send people to hell — and He doesn’t.

A loving God would provide an escape from eternal condemnation, which is different than expecting Him to change the nature of the punishment.

Hell was created as a prison and place of punishment for the rebellious angels.  When man joined in the rebellion, he condemned himself to share their prison.

But,

“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Heaven doesn’t require cream cheese to make it heaven, and there are no red union suits in hell.  Both are real and both are eternal because we are eternal and, as eternal beings, we have to continue our existence somewhere.

God prepared a place for those who love Him and who want to spend eternity with Him.  And He created a place for those who reject Him and rebel against His rule.

And He gave us a free choice to decide which we would prefer.

We are the watchmen on the wall.  For those of us that know the truth, that is an awesome thing to contemplate.  It rekindles a sense of urgency for the lost.

“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” (Ezekiel 33:6)

The Omega Letter’s mission is to prepare the saved for the work of the ministry by comparing the Scriptures to the signs of the times and providing evidence of the lateness of the hour and the soon coming of the Lord.

Our secondary mission is to examine the deeper truths of Scripture so that we are better prepared to answer the skeptic’s questions and make clear the choices that are set before him.

It is incumbent upon us to be prepared,

“and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” (1 Peter 3:15)

May God continue to sustain and provide for us as we continue in our mission.

Until He comes.

Originally Published: April 24, 2005

The Judgements and the Crowns

The Judgements and the Crowns
Vol: 168 Issue: 17 Thursday, September 17, 2015

Judgment is a central theme throughout Scripture; the Old Testament is filled with accounts of judgment.

The judgment on Adam and Eve, the Flood judgment, the judgment against the Unfaithful Generation during the Exodus, Sodom and Gomorrah, the various judgments against Israel, the Ultimate Judgment at Calvary, just to name a few.

Some in this generation will face the 21 judgments outlined in the Book of Revelation during the Tribulation Period.

The writer of Hebrews tells us, “. . .it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)

There are five individual judgments identified in Scripture, that differ in five general aspects; the subjects, the time, the place, the basis and the result.

There are two judgments for believers.  The subjects of the first judgment are sinners.  The time of this judgment was roughly AD 33.  The place was Calvary.

The basis for the judgment was the finished Work of Christ.  And the result was justification for the believer.

This first judgment is in three parts; as a sinner, as a son, and as a servant.

The ‘sin’ question is settled at the Cross.  The ‘son’ question is an ongoing series of personal judgments that the Bible calls ‘chastisement’.

When a believer steps outside God’s permissive will, it brings about judgments designed to bring that believer back into line.

“If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:7-8)

Then there is our judgment as servants, which leads us to the Judgment Seat of Christ, or the Bema Seat.

The subjects are believers.  The time is after the Rapture.  The place is the Bema Seat.  The basis for judgment is works.  The result is reward — or loss of reward.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2nd Corinthians 5:10)

Those who stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ are not there to be judged worthy of entry into heaven. That question was settled at the Cross.

This judgment will be for our works as servants. At the Bema Seat;

“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” (1st Corinthians 3:13)

Think about that for a moment!  Everything you ever did will be analyzed and scrutinized openly by the Lord Jesus Christ.  Every good thing. . . and every bad thing.  We’ll be called on to give account of every word, every deed, every thought.

For most believers, the Judgment Seat of Christ will be an excruciating experience. “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men . . .” Paul wrote.

But, the result of the Bema Seat judgment isn’t to determine if you will enter heaven — that is already assured.  The result is reward.  That is where a believer’s works come into play.  Rewards.  Or loss of them.

“If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1st Corinthians 3:14-15)

There are five possible rewards, or “crowns” that believers can earn for their works at the Bema Seat.

The Crown of Life.  This is the Martyr’s Crown.  You get this one the hard way; “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)

The Crown of Glory.  This the the ‘Pastor’s Crown’ given by the Chief Shepherd when He shall appear to those who serve;

“Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” (1st Peter 5:2-3)

I readily admit that I am working to earn this crown.  Salvation is a gift of grace through faith, and that not of yourselves — crowns you have to work for.

“And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (1st Peter 5:4)

The Crown of Rejoicing.  This is the Soul-winners crown.  Those brought to Jesus by us will be our “crown of rejoicing” at His Coming.

“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?” (1st Thessalonians 2:19)

The Crown of Righteousness.  This is the crown earned by the Watchmen on the Wall who give the warning of His soon appearing.

“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” (2nd Timothy 4:8)

The Incorruptible Crown.  This is a tough one to earn.  This is the “Victor’s” Crown, which is set aside for those who master temperance in this lifetime.

Those who don’t yield to the lusts of the flesh, saturate themselves with alcohol and drugs, and keep themselves separate from the world can expect to be rewarded with the Incorruptible Crown.

The Judgment Seat of Christ takes place concurrently with the Third Judgment identified by Scripture taking place on earth.

In this third judgment, the primary subjects are the Jews.  The place is Jerusalem.  The time is called the ‘Time of Jacob’s Trouble’ or, the Tribulation Period. 

“Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.”  (Jeremiah 30:7)

The basis for this judgment is Israel’s continued rejection of the Messiah, and the end result is the national redemption of Israel.

The fourth judgment identified in Scripture also takes place during the Tribulation.  The subjects are the Gentile nations.  The place is the Valley of Jehoshaphat.  The basis for this judgment will be their treatment of the Jews.

“And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth His sheep from the goats.” (Matthew 25:32)

The nations will be divided into the “Sheep nations” and the “Goat nations”.  The result is the Sheep nations will be permitted to enter into the Millennial Kingdom.  The “Goat nations” will be destroyed.

This judgment takes place at the conclusion of the Tribulation Period.

The fifth and final judgment identified in Scripture is the Great White Throne Judgment.  It will take place at the close of the Millennium a 1000 years after the judgment of the Nations, and before the “Great White Throne.”

All the righteous (saved) dead arose at the First Resurrection, or the Rapture.

Those who are saved and die between the First Resurrection and the Second Resurrection, (like the Tribulation and Millennial Kingdom saints), must rise with the wicked at the Second Resurrection.

The words; “Whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life” imply there will be some saved who will be present at the Great White Throne.  So possibly there will be some whose names will be found in the Book of Life, but they are post-Church Age believers.

I want you to notice something.  This entire outline only works if the Rapture takes place before the Tribulation.  If the Church is on the earth during the Tribulation Period, the entire outline falls apart.

BUT — and this is the important part — this is the only outline there is!  There is only one Bible from which to work, and it doesn’t give an alternative scenario.  

It is the key to understanding the outline of Bible prophecy as it unfolds before this generation.

The Bible identifies five judgments and five crowns.  The judgments are as I’ve outlined them, by those who are subject to them, when, where, why, and how.

I’ve supplied chapter and verse.  Go back and review it all.  It’s the only outline there is.  And for it to work, the Church must be Raptured before the Tribulation begins.

If not, we have the Church on the earth during the judgment of Israel, and not in the air for the Believer’s Judgment, and, in some views, on the earth during the division of the Sheep and Goat nations.

Jesus sets up His Millennial Kingdom at the close of the Tribulation Period.  Before that comes four of the five judgments, all of which He presides over as the Righteous Judge.

When the judgments of the Tribulation are over, all that remain are the sheep nations and the Jews.  Who is there left to Rapture?

The Rapture is the First Resurrection that predicates the Judgment Seat of Christ.  As the Church is judged at the Bema Seat, the twenty-one Tribulation judgments are executed on the world.

They are different judgments, as to subject, basis, place and result, but within the same general frame of time called the Day of the Lord or the Day of Christ.

It is all interconnected — and indivisible from the Big Picture.

The outline of Bible prophecy is deep and complex, and each part is interdependent on all the others in order to complete the Big Picture.

It isn’t about being right. It’s about understanding the times in which we live, so that we can fulfill the commission given us.

“. . .sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1st Peter 3:15)

Originally Published: August 24, 2007

Featured Commentary: Karma or God’s Discipline? ~ J.L. Robb

Predicting the Unpredictable

Predicting the Unpredictable
Vol: 168 Issue: 16 Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Every year, somebody sends me an email predicting that the Rapture will occur this year at the conclusion of the Jewish Feast of Trumpets.

To be sure, each year’s new crop of predictions are based on a new criteria. In 2004, it was based on the fact that for each of the Jewish feast days, there was a corresponding major event in the life of the Church — with the exception of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement which follows the Feast of the Trumpets (Rosh Hashana).

Every prediction has good and solid-sounding arguments behind it. In 1988, Edgar Whisenant found eighty-eight reasons why the Rapture would occur in 1988. Each of his arguments were compelling in their own way — and there were, as I noted, eighty-eight of them!

Whisenant was so confident that he wrote, “If there were a king in this country and I could gamble with my life, I would stake my life on Rosh Hashana 1988.” Whisenant sold over 4.5 million copies of his book, but when the time came and went, he began damage control.

When nothing happened by the end of September 13, Whisenant revised his prediction, suggesting the rapture would come at 10:55 AM on September 15. When that failed, he revised it to October 3.” After that he admitted he made a “miscalculation” of one year and insisted the rapture would occur in 1989. He even wrote another book to “prove” it. (The second book didn’t do so well. His credibility was compromised)

Harold Camping wrote an entire book arguing for a specific date for the Rapture in 1994. (I still have a copy of it somewhere). The book was full of numerology that added up to 1994 as the date of Christ’s return. Once the date came and went, Camping also acknowledged an ‘error’ in his calculations, and came up with 1995 and one last time in 2012. After THAT date came and went, Camping got out of the Rapture prediction business upon his death in 2013.

William Miller predicted the date of the Rapture in 1844. Charles Taze Russell boldly went where no man had gone before, with his group offering predictions for the Rapture in 1914, 1918, 1925 and 1975.

Russell himself stopped predicting the Rapture in 1914 and insisted that we had moved right into the Millennial Kingdom, but didn’t realize it yet. (Charles Taze Russell was the founder of what are today known as the “Jehovah’s Witnesses.”)

Other predictions included those based on the calculations of Bishop Ussher, whose chronologies placed the date of Creation at October 23, 4004 BC.

Using those calculations, some argued that October 23, 1997 would be the date of the Rapture, because it was exactly 6000 years from Creation to that date (when one subtracts the non-existent Year One).

(While I personally find Bishop Ussher’s work to be credible, painstaking, and useful, I draw the line at calling it infallible.)

On April 26, 1989, Doug Clark announced on Trinity Broadcasting Network’s show Praise the Lord that World War III would begin within 3 years.

Christian author Dorothy A. Miller in her book, “Watch & Be Ready! 1992 Millions Disappear?” predicted the “last trumpet” would sound on Rosh Hashanah, heralding the Second Coming.

Mary Stewart Relfe, claiming that God communicated with her in her dreams, predicted the Second Coming in 1997, right after the battle of Armageddon. “America will burn” and be totally destroyed in 1993 or 1994, she claimed.

M.J. Agee predicted the Rapture would occur on May 28, 2001 and the conclusion of the ‘end of this age’ on September 12, 2007. (For those keeping score, Marilyn’s earlier dates were 5/31/98, 6/6/98, 6/7/98, 6/14/98, and 6/21/98).

TBN’s Brother Kenneth Hagin predicted the Rapture would occur in October, 1997 (also based on calcuations about the Jewish Feast of the Trumpets and Yom Kippur.

Peter Hader determined the date of the Rapture as May 31, 1998, basing his calculations on the ‘Bible Codes’ as his source of information.

The number of people who predicted January 1, 2000 as the date of the Rapture are too numerous to mention. They were all quietly wrong.

Fundamentalist cult leader William Branham predicted that the Rapture would take place no later than 1977. Just before this, Los Angeles was to fall into the sea after an earthquake, the Vatican would achieve dictatorial powers over the world, and all of Christianity would become unified.

According to Michael Rood, the Rapture would take place on April 5, 2000. This day “starts out with bloodshed, plagues, and all manner of pestilence”. Ooops.

Jim Bramlett was on record at his website in the fall of 2001 predicting the Rapture, with the 2nd Coming of Christ occurring sometime beween 2004-2007.

Assessment:

As I’ve noted, every year somebody comes up with a new prediction for the exact day of the Rapture, and, as one can see, most of those dates fall sometime around the conclusion of the Jewish Feast of Rosh Hashana or coincided with that year’s Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).

Every year around this time, I find myself explaining why I don’t believe there is any way for a believer to determine the exact date for the Rapture, together with the reasons that I believe such predictions are dangerous.

First, for those who accept it, it turns ‘faith’ to ‘sight’. If the Rapture is going to be October 4, 2005, there is little incentive for believers to get right with the Lord until October 3rd. On October 5, what had been, to them, a ‘blessed hope’ becomes a bitter disappointment.

It holds up God’s Word to ridicule by unbelievers. Unbelievers look forward to the latest effort at date-setting so that they can use the failed prediction to ‘prove’ the Bible isn’t true or that God wasn’t listening.

And it distracts believers away from the work of the Gospel, which is to introduce the world to the Savior; God come in the flesh, “Who cannot lie,” which is their assurance of His promise of salvation.

Believers are instructed to await the return of the Lord for His Church, but our emphasis is supposed to be on Who is coming, not when. If the predicted date of the Rapture takes place on schedule, the timing is irrelevant, since the Church Age is over.

If it doesn’t take place on schedule, the predicted date is only relevant in that it provides the skeptics with more ammunition to discredit both the Message and the messenger.

In many cases, when the date comes and goes without incident, it just means readjusting the Rapture from pre-Trib to pre-Wrath to make it relevant again.

1 Thessalonians 1:10 admonishes us; . . . “to wait for his Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” We are to be waiting for the Deliverer from wrath, not the wrath itself.

To the lost the Lord will come unexpectedly like a thief. But to believers who are expecting Him and do not sleep, Christ will not come “as a thief.”

This does NOT mean that we are prepared because we KNOW the date of His return, rather, we are not surprised because we are EXPECTING an IMMINENT rapture.

It is the job of the Church to prepare the world for the coming of Christ, not to warn the world of His exact itinerary.

Titus 2:13 tells us that we are to be; “Looking for that blessed hope, AND the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Our Blessed Hope is the imminent return of Christ in the rapture. We are to look for Christ Himself, not the date He is due to arrive.

If the Rapture had taken place on any of those dates, then the dead in Christ shall rise first, and we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds. There will be no dispute, no cause for division, no harm or foul, and those who are caught up will spend a joyful eternity with Christ, no matter when they think the Rapture was supposed to take place.

If it does not, then those who advanced their theories will be discredited and be less effective for God. In effect, date-setting become
s a case of a believer having so much faith in his own ability that he is willing to risk his credibility and compromise his effectiveness for the Gospel in order to make an argument that, if correct, will be eternally meaningless (unless he plans to announce ‘I told you so’ when he arrives in heaven.)

But if the date comes and goes, that believer who put his faith in his own, (or someone else’s) ability to rightly divide the Word, will have that faith shattered and will have subjected both the Word of God and Bible prophecy to ridicule by the world.

Jesus said, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matthew 24:36) If somebody guesses right, then bully for them.

If they guess wrong, there is no earthly way to calculate the spiritual damage done by using the Bible to advance what will then have been proved to be false doctrine to one’s witness for Christ.

If there is a Biblical precedent for someone calculating the date of the Rapture, I cannot find one. If there is a unambiguous Biblical precept that encourages the Church Age to peek behind the veil God has clearly drawn around ‘that date and hour’, I cannot find that, either.

The debate raging in the forums over the date of the Rapture has already driven at least a dozen members to demand refunds for their subscriptions and their names to be stricken from the OL membership rolls. From the tone of other emails, I expect to receive more subscription cancellation requests in the near future.

It doesn’t seem that complicated to me. Jesus said, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” The anger, recriminations and disharmony resulting from these pointless debates don’t seem all that Godly or uplifting to me.

Maybe I am missing something, but if we are all still here on the predicted “date”, what will all the anger and recrimination evident so far have accomplished? (Apart from having caused some to break fellowship and the rest to be grieved in their spirit by it.)

And if we are all Raptured on schedule, what difference will having guessed right have made? It won’t mean more decisions for Christ — that time will have passed. If one doesn’t believe in Jesus, why would anybody think that person would be convinced by a proposed date for a Rapture?

If you don’t know Who is coming, what difference does WHEN make? And if you DO know Who is coming, the same question applies: What difference does knowing WHEN make? If one already has their faith in Jesus, what good is that information in the first place?

(If one puts their faith in the Rapture as a substitute, they aren’t seeking redemption, they are seeking fire insurance.)

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

Scripture is clear: The Lord will come for His Church when He is ready.

Not when WE are. Even if we get mad about it.

Originally Published: August 2, 2005

Israel’s Feasts: Foreshadows of Redemption

Israel’s Feasts: Foreshadows of Redemption
Vol: 168 Issue: 15 Tuesday, September 15, 2015

It is easy to see why secularists — and even many Christians — have a hard time getting their heads around the idea of what is called the Rapture of the Church.  When you take a step back and look at it, it does sound a little, er, weird.

Describe it without using Bible terms and see how it sounds:  People will suddenly disappear without warning, and will be transported — alive — into the air, and from there, it’s off to heaven.

What people?  Only the ones that believe. . .  if you aren’t a believer, you will be left behind.  If you aren’t a believer, how does that sound to you?  A little nuts, right?

Some years ago, I appeared on a National Geographic program called, “Doomsday: The Book of Revelation” that pitted “believers” against “experts” over how literally one should take doctrines like the Rapture, the Tribulation and Bible prophecy in general.

“Fundamentalists who believe in the apocalypse call it the Rapture,” the narrator intoned.  Nat Geo played the whole thing strictly for laughs, I thought, taking the Rapture about as seriously as it does Nostradamus.

Is the Rapture doctrine something made up by believers?  Or is it a legitimate part of the whole endtimes’ scenario?  How far back can we trace it?  Is there evidence that God had it planned from the start?

Or is it, as the skeptics say, a recently-invented doctrine from the early 19th century?

Assessment:

In the Book of Leviticus, God issued instructions to His chosen people, the children of Israel, concerning how they were to worship Him.  Leviticus gives instructions regarding the priesthood, the Law and the system of sacrifices.  God also issued instructions for seven designated feasts that Israel was to celebrate each year.

Each of the feasts is significant both to Israel and to the Church in that both highlight God’s provision for His people.  Both His provision for the needs of His Chosen People and His provision for mankind by the coming of the Messiah and His redemptive Work on the Cross.

The seven Levitical feasts played significant roles in the Lord’s earthly ministry and are symbolic of the whole redemptive story, from His death as the Passover Lamb to His Second coming when He will “tabernacle” (or dwell) with His people forever.

The first three feasts take place almost back-to-back, just as do the events that they symbolize.  Passover recalls the day the Lord visited judgment on all those that rejected Him, passing over those whose homes were sprinkled with the blood of a lamb.

Jesus was God’s Passover Lamb offered as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Jesus died on the Cross and His Body was placed in the grave.  

The Feast of Passover is followed the very next day by the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Feast of Unleavened Bread lasts one week, and it recalls Israel’s hasty escape from Egypt, (symbolic of the world) during which time there was no time to let bread rise. They ate it without yeast.

The Feast of the Unleavened bread symbolizes when Christ descended into Paradise (with the thief), where He led the righteous dead out of their captivity in Abraham’s bosom and into the presence of God.

The second day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is the Feast of Firstfruits.  Jesus is the first-fruits of the Redemption Who conquered death and Hell and rose from the grave on the third Day after Passover.

Fifty days after the Feast of Firstfruits is the Feast of Pentecost.  The Feast of Pentecost celebrated the end of the grain harvest.  Pentecost was also the day that Jesus ascended into Heaven, ending His earthly ministry, but not before promising to send another Helper, the Holy Spirit.

The arrival of the Holy Spirit is a reminder that the promise of salvation and future resurrection is as sure as the harvest and His indwelling empowers believers for ministry to bring in the harvest until He returns.

The Book of Acts records Jesus’ ascension into heaven at Pentecost, saying He rose into the air and was received into the clouds.

“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 1:11)

Pentecost concludes the spring-time feasts for Israel just as it concluded the Lord’s earthly ministry for the Church.  After Pentecost, there is a period of time before the Fall Feasts begin.   This is symbolic of the Church Age — the Lord has fulfilled the first four feasts of Leviticus to the letter.

To recap, the first three Feasts symbolized His death, His time in the grave and His Resurrection. His sacrifice and Resurrection are past, we have received His Holy Spirit and now we await His Return.  

The first three symbolized the major redemptive events of His First Advent — the remaining four tell the story of His Second Coming.

The Feast of the Trumpets is next on the calendar and it celebrates the waning of the agricultural year.  The growing season is over and the harvest is in the barns.   The Feast of the Trumpets, or Rosh Hashanah, marks the start of ten days of repentance, or “Ten Days of Awe.”

There are many that believe Rosh Hashanah symbolizes the “Fullness of the Gentiles” and that the Rapture will occur at some time during this ten-day period. How important is that? 

If there is no pre-Trib Rapture,  then the Feast of the Trumpets has no symbolic counterpart and the whole dual fulfillment interpretation falls apart. 

Recall Jesus’ admonition was that “no man would know the day or the hour,” but we COULD know when it was “near, even at the doors.”

A ten-day window out of one generation, somewhere in time, does no violence to the traditional understanding of either of these relevant Scriptures.  

And it fits perfectly with Paul’s description of the event in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.

“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.”

The Day of Atonement was the day the High Priest would make an offering for the sins of all Israel.  It symbolizes when God will turn His attention away from the Gentiles and back to Israel.

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” (Romans 11:25)

Finally, Sukkot, the seventh feast day on God’s calendar takes place five days after the Day of Atonement.  It is the Feast of Booths, or Tabernacles and lasts for seven days. It recalls the time the Israelites lived in huts made from palm branches prior to entering the Land of Canaan.

It also foreshadows entry into the Millennial Kingdom where Christ will rule from Jerusalem and people from every kindred, tongue and nation will be able to “tabernacle” or dwell in His presence.

Israel is back in the Land of Promise.  The fullness of the Gentiles is almost complete.  The Lord is coming back to reap His Harvest and we can almost hear the trumpet.

What a time to be alive!  Maranatha!

Originally Published: April 28, 2012

Featured Commentary: The Devil’s Chapel ~ Wendy Wippel

Why Didn’t God Just Nuke Lucifer Before the Garden?

Why Didn’t God Just Nuke Lucifer Before the Garden?
Vol: 168 Issue: 14 Monday, September 14, 2015

There is no doubt that evil exists.  In fact, evil is the default state of humanity. (Babies have to be taught not to bite, after all.) Did God create evil?

God is both loving and all-powerful.  Despite this, He seems unwilling or incapable of preventing the vast amount of evil and suffering in this world. That was essentially the question posed in yesterday’s email. 

“I have recently had a question posed to me and I find I am unable to find an answer (if there is even one).  I have been asked why God did not send Lucifer immediately to the place prepared for him and his legions when he rebelled.  Why did a loving God allow him to enter the Garden of Eden to destroy mankind?  I admit my attempts to explain fell short of their anticipated answer.  I know you have most likely addressed this in the past, but could you perhaps address again for us that might have missed this.”

Fair enough.  We’ve all been hit at one time or another with what is a seemingly unanswerable question: “Why didn’t God just nuke Lucifer before the Garden and avoid all the fuss?”

The short answer is, “Because you couldn’t go to heaven if He did!” — but that seldom satisfies the critics.  

The longer answer is because the universe is created in a balance.

For there to be darkness, there must first be light.  Darkness is measured by the absence of light.  Without the prior existence of light, darkness could not exist.  You can’t measure light without darkness.

In order for there to be cold, there must first be heat.  Cold is a measure of the absence of heat.  Without heat, cold could not exist.

Evil is a measure of the absence of good.  Without good, evil could not exist.  Evil is not a creation of God, since it cannot exist outside of the creation of good.  But evil does exist, because good exists.  

Think of it like a battery.  It takes both the positive and negative poles to create power.  Good would have no power to effect change without evil, just as evil has no existence without good.

How could one choose good if there were no evil against which to measure it?

Assessment:

In a sense, good “creates” evil by good’s very existence because good exposes evil for what it is.  The purpose of the Law was to establish what is good, proving we are all sinners, so that we would recognize our need for a Savior.  

“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, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.” (Romans 7:7-8)

In His creation, God never pronounced the universe ‘perfect’ — He found some of His creation to be ‘good’ some of it to be ‘very good’ and even some of it that He pronounced, ‘not good’.

“The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

God created the universe as it exists for the express purpose of allowing free will spiritual beings the opportunity to choose to have fellowship with Him, or to reject Him.  Those who choose to have fellowship with Him will do so in some future, perfect creation.

And if His purpose is to have free-will fellowship in some future creation, then there must also exist some means by which these spiritual beings can make a choice whether or not to enter into this relationship with Him.

“. . . I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” (Genesis 8:21)

The Bible tells us that humanity is desperately wicked and sinful (Romans 3:1018,23).  God allows human beings to commit sin because if He were to prevent it, the human race would not truly be free.

The Apostle Paul outlines God’s fourteen-point indictment against the human race;

  1. There is none righteous, no, not one.
  2. There is none that understandeth,
  3. there is none that seeketh after God.
  4. They are all gone out of the way,
  5. they are together become unprofitable;
  6. there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
  7. Their throat is an open sepulchre;
  8. with their tongues they have used deceit;
  9. the poison of asps is under their lips:
  10. Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
  11. Their feet are swift to shed blood:
  12. Destruction and misery are in their ways:
  13. And the way of peace have they not known:
  14. There is no fear of God before their eyes. (Romans 3:10-18)

It takes an incredible capacity for self-deception not to see oneself mirrored in that list.  Think back to before you were saved.  That is the condition of every lost person you meet.

Paul goes on to point out that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” (3:23) but that there is an offer extended to us to be “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (3:24)

“Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (3:27-28)

So God allows evil to exist in order to allow free will to exist.  Without the existence of evil, there is no choice possible.  God permitted it because it was necessary to His plan.

The Scriptures tell us that God is the Creator and the source of all good, and it reveals that, during this present dispensation, Satan is the god of this world and the source of all evil.

“In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2nd Corinthians 4:4)

Much of the suffering that exists in this world is a direct result of evil choices made by free-will human beings that impact others.

Natural disasters — hurricanes, volcanoes, etc., are part of the cycle of power required by this imperfect universe in order for it to exist in balance. 

In the new creation, there will be some limits on our free will, since the new creation will not contain evil.  In this life, we have a free will choice whether to agree to give that up in the next.  

That is what it means to turn one’s life and will over to Jesus Christ.  It is the conscious and deliberate choice to surrender our free will to God for eternity.

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:6-7)

Those who refuse the opportunity in this life will not be forced to in the next life, but will instead exist separately from the new creation, and apart from God. The place set aside for those who reject God is the place originally prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41)

Bad things happen in this universe, because that is how it is designed.  No human being has in himself ever been righteous.  Even Adam was not righteous: he was innocent— until God allowed the serpent to test him. 

As soon as the choice was offered, he chose unrighteousness.  

Ultimately, there is not an answer to these questions that we can fully comprehend.  We, as finite human beings, can never fully understand an infinite God (Romans 11:33-34).

Sometimes we think we understand why God is doing something, only to find out later that it was for a different purpose than we originally thought.

We look at things from an earthly perspective. God looks at things from an eternal perspective;

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).

It is impossible for us finite human beings to understand the ways of an infinite God (Romans 11:33-35).  Second, we must realize that God is not responsible for the wicked acts of evil men.

God had to allow the possibility of evil for us to have a true choice of whether to worship God or not.  If we never had to suffer and experience evil, would we know how wonderful heaven is?

We don’t know everything, but we can be confident knowing this:

“And we know that ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

That’s why God allows evil to exist.  So you could choose good.

Originally Published: January 5, 2012

Featured Commentary: Peace of Mind in Perilous Times; 2015 Update ~ Pete Garcia

Hope and Pain

Hope and Pain
Vol: 168 Issue: 12 Saturday, September 12, 2015

Life is pain.  We can’t separate the two.  It is pain that defines life.  Our entrance into the life is characterized by pain; everything about the process involves pain; labor pains, birth pains, delivery pain and so on.

We learn from pain — indeed, there is no more effective teacher.

A person born without the ability to feel pain is a medical emergency waiting to happen, one who is unlikely to survive childhood unscathed.

From the moment we enter this life until the day we leave it, life is an exercise in pain avoidance, bookmarked by pain on both ends.

Physical pain is a necessary element of survival, but that doesn’t make it one millimeter more attractive. One of the most attractive features that heaven has to offer is found in the verse;

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

But notice where in the Book that promise is written.  It is written at the end.  Between now and then, all we have is ‘hope’ — and even for Christians, that hope isn’t always enough.

It is one thing to talk about it, but it is another thing to feel hopeful when all seems hopeless.

Oftentimes, it is because we misplace where our hope is supposed to be centered.

Of all the kinds of pain that, taken together, define our earthly existence, the worst kind of pain is the pain of separation by death.

That pain is different for Christians than it is for unbelievers, but different isn’t the same as non-existent. The Apostle Paul wrote:

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” (1st Thessalonians 4:13)

I can barely recall the tragedy that death was to me as an unbeliever.  Death was the end.  All that person ever was, gone forever.  It was an incomprehensible tragedy.

When I became a believer, the nature of death changed for me, but not the pain of it.  I knew that death was not the end, but the beginning — for the one who has gone on.

My Bible says I should be happy for that person.  And I am, but that doesn’t do much to assuage my own loss.

The pain of separation is (for me) no less intense.

Assessment:

As a believer, my Bible tells me I should welcome death as a new beginning.  But I have to confess that I don’t.  It is part of that Christian dichotomy that notes that “everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.”

Even those who object to the Rapture doctrine on the grounds it isn’t fair, base their objections on our inherent fear of the death process.

They don’t object to the idea of believers going to heaven, or receiving Resurrection bodies, they object to the unfair notion that there are believers who will circumvent the normal death process.

The Blessed Hope of the Rapture is, when broken into its component parts;

a) the Hope that some of us won’t have to die to see Jesus; and,
b) the Hope that we won’t have to endure the loss of separation from our loved ones who will be Raptured with us.

What makes the Rapture attractive to us is entirely carnal —  the avoidance of pain.  Remove that element, and one also removes most of the philosophical objections to a pre-Trib Rapture — the so-called “Great Escape”.

The Promise of the Rapture is our ‘Blessed Hope’ — but if its purpose was simply to ensure a smooth and painless passage into the next life for an elect group of Christians, I would also question its veracity.

The Rapture is our ‘Blessed Hope’ because it is natural for human beings to want to avoid the pain of death and separation.  And by its mechanics, that is what the Rapture offers — but that is NOT its purpose.

Understanding that one fact sweeps away most of the confusion surrounding the question of why God would so bless what is arguably the least deserving and already most-blessed generation in the history of the Church Age.

The purpose of the Rapture is NOT to provide a Great Escape from the pain of death and tribulation.

The purpose of the Rapture is to withdraw the restraining influence on evil that is the Church Age ministry of the Holy Spirit.

How does the Holy Spirit restrain evil?  The Bible says He accomplishes it through His indwelling influence of the Church.

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.”

Of course, the Comforter of Whom Jesus is speaking is the Holy Spirit. (Notice Jesus refers to “Him” rather than to ‘it’)

Notice also how Jesus defines the Comforter’s ministry during the Church Age.

“And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” (John 16:7-8)

During the Tribulation, there is no reference to a Restrainer reproving the world of sin or righteousness or judgment.  The Tribulation is a time of unrestrained evil and unrestrained Divine judgment.

Paul tells us what holds back what he calls “the mystery of iniquity” –or, an evil so pervasive that it causes “all the world” to worship the beast. (Revelation 13:4)  Paul writes,

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth will let [restrain], until He be taken out of the way. And THEN shall that Wicked be revealed. “(2nd Thessalonians 2:7-8a)

The Restrainer is not a thing, but a “He”.  And that “Wicked” is also a person.

Until He [the Restrainer] is ‘taken out of the way’ that Wicked cannot be revealed — because he won’t have the Satanically-energized power to do so.

The power and signs and lying wonders are not manifested until after the Restrainer is taken out of the way.

But Jesus promised the Church that the Comforter will indwell us until He comes for His Church. So we have two conflicting promises.

The first is that the Holy Spirit will be taken out of the way BEFORE “that Wicked” is revealed.  (2nd Thessalonians 2-6-9)

The second is that the Comforter will indwell believers until Jesus returns “in like manner as you see Him go.”

As the Apostles watched Jesus ascend into Heaven after Pentecost, two angels stood by, and addressed them.

“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 1:11)

Jesus did NOT ascend into Heaven astride a white horse, accompanied by ten thousands of His saints, and bearing a flaming sword of judgment.  He ascended into Heaven in secret, witnessed only by His Apostles and the two angelic witnesses.

So, if Jesus is to return for His Church in “like manner” to the way He left it, then He comes in secret, visible only to the Church and the angelic witnesses.

Jesus ALSO promised that the Comforter would indwell us until He returns for us.

If, as I said, the purpose of the Rapture was to provide a ‘Great Escape’ for a single generation of supremely undeserving Christians, then I would share the same problem as others do.

Why wouldn’t the Church have to endure the Tribulation?  What are we, something special compared to all those generations who came before?

In reality, the Rapture isn’t a Great Escape for Christians — it is the promised evacuation of the Holy Spirit — which requires the evacuation of the vessels He indwells.

It might seem unfair from the perspective of man, but therein lies the difficulty.  God doesn’t see things the way that we do.

That is why He expects us to trust His Word.

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5)

Originally Published: August 2, 2012

Fourteen Years Ago Today . . .

Fourteen Years Ago Today . . .
Vol: 168 Issue: 11 Friday, September 11, 2015

Fouteen years ago today, nineteen Muslim males between the ages of 17 and 35 years old boarded four planes on the US East Coast that were bound for California.  Most of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia; the rest from other countries of the Arab Middle East.

The passengers initially believed it was just a ‘routine’ hijacking — they believed that they were to be hostages, it never occurred to them at first that the planes themselves were the prize.  

It wasn’t until the first strikes against the World Trade Center that some of the passengers started to put the pieces together.

American Airlines Flight 11 was bound from Logan Airport in Boston to LAX when Mohammed Atta’s crew took it over.  Flight 11 struck first, hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 EST, the impact instantly killing all 92 onboard. 

United Flight 175 also departed Logan to LAX before being taken over by Marwan Al-Shehhi’s five-man crew.  Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 EST. 

American Airlines Flight 77 was the third plane hijacked nine years ago this morning.  It was hijacked by Ani Hanjour and his crew and steered into the Pentagon, killing 125 people on the ground and all 60 passengers. 

Among the passengers was Barbara Olson, wife of US Solicitor General Ted Olson.   Olson was able to speak with his wife aboard the plane after the WTC strikes had taken place so both parties knew what the hijackers had in mind for Flight 77.

I don’t know why this particular 9/11 story impacts me the most — maybe it’s because it was the Olsons — it seemed somehow unifying, knowing that the tragedy reached from the streets of New York all the way into the bowels of the White House.

But even nine years later, my heart breaks at the thought of what that conversation must have been like.  I cannot even imagine how I would feel speaking to my wife, both of us knowing she is about to be murdered. 

Flight 93 was bound from Newark to San Francisco when Ziad Jarra and his crew stormed the cockpit and overpowered and murdered its crew nine years ago today at 9:28 EST.  

At 09:28:17 a crew member began shouting “Mayday! Mayday!” over the radio. At 09:35 AM a flight attendant is heard over the radio pleading, “I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die,” followed by a voice saying in Arabic, “Everything is fine. I’m finished.”

It’s the stuff nightmares are made of.

Assessment:

It wasn’t until the second plane hit the towers that it began to dawn on America that this was not a horrible accident, but rather, a deliberate attack.   None of the victims’ bodies were recoved intact.  

In all, it is estimated that 17,600 civilians were working in the WTC at the time of the strikes. Many managed to escape, but 2,606 people, excluding the plane passengers and hijackers, were killed.  Many were vaporized — the dust itself was mingled with the ashes of the dead.

At least 1,366 of the dead were on or above the floors impacted by the plane that hit the North Tower. Another 618 in the South Tower were working above the impact zone.  Ninety percent of those at or above the impact zones did not survive.

At least two hundred people leapt to their deaths to escape being burned to death in the raging infernos. Witnesses said bodies fell from the sky like rain.  The impact of falling bodies could be heard in the background of recordings made at the time.

Debris from the aircraft was recovered from a number of buildings nearby; an engine found on Church an Murray Sts., a section of fuselage on WTC Building #5.  WTC Debris field

A piece of landing gear was found atop the Burlington Coat Factory building, which was also heavily coated with the ashes of the Towers (and of the dead).

This is the building now slated to be demolished and replaced with an Islamic monument to the attacks to be called “Cordoba House.”

It is important to understand how Islamic triumphalism works and the signficance of the chosen name; Cordoba House. 

In 711 the Muslims conquered Andalusia in what is now Spain, including the Christian city of Cordoba.  It’s inhabitants were slaughtered or enslaved. 

The Cordoba Mosque in Spain, ostensibly a memorial to the Islamic Golden Era, was built atop the city’s main Christian cathedral.  It was symbolic of Muslim triumph over the infidel. 

Throughout Islam’s history, whenever a region was conquered, one of the first acts of the conquerors was to erect a mosque atop the sacred sites of the vanquished.  The pagan Ka’ba temple at Mecca was converted into the Mosque of Mecca, Islam’s holiest site, following that city’s conquest by Mohammed.

When Jerusalem was conquered by Islam in the 8th century, the al-Aqsa Mosque was built directly atop the Temple Mount and surrounded it by madrassas  (Muslim schools) administered by a Waqf (council) to handle its expenses.

When the Muslims conquered Damascus, they destroyed the Christian basilica of St. John the Baptist and replaced it with the Umayyad Mosque. 

The mosque contains a shrine that still allegedly contains the head of John the Baptist as well as the tomb of Saladin. And of course, the various madrassa and waqfs and so on and so forth.  

When the Muslims conquered Constantinople, they tore down the Byzantine Hagia Sophia Cathedral and replaced it with a mosque. Sultan Mehmed II surrounded the mosque with madrassas administered by a Waqf.

In 2006 when the Pope visited the Hagia Sophia, there were warnings of Islamic fury if there was “any pereception within the Muslim world that the Pope was trying to reappropriate a Christian center that fell to the Muslims. 

The extent to which the Pope avoided offending Muslim sensibilities was unprecedented.  Wrote LA Times blogger Raymond Ibrahim in December, 2006;

“He refrained from any gesture that could be misconstrued as Christian worship and merely took in the sights of the museum. Moreover, when he was invited into the Blue Mosque nearby, he respectfully took off his shoes and prayed, eyes downcast, standing next to the the grand mufti of Istanbul like a true dhimmi — a subdued non-Muslim living under Islamic law and acknowledging Islamic superiority.”

Speaking of true ‘dhimmi’ fashion, during yesterday’s rambling news conferences, the president told the nation “From a national security interest, we have to be clear about who the enemy is here.”

Obama led with three main points.  The first was that the hijackers distorted the real Islam.

“We are not at war against Islam. We’re at war against terrorist organizations that have distorted Islam or falsely used the banner of Islam to engage in their destructive acts.”

The second is that opposing the construction of the Cordoba House is tantamount to ‘turning on each other’ and practically accusing Cordoba’s opponents of anti-Islamic bigotry:

“This country stands for the proposition that all men and women are created equal, that they have certain inalienable rights . . And what it means is that if you could build a church on a site, you could build a synagogue on a site, if you could build a Hindu temple on a site, then you should be able to build a mosque on the site.”

Having lectured America on the Muslim right to build a mosque only yards from Ground Zero, he turned his attention to the 1st Amendment rights of an American citizen to burn a Koran on private property if he wants to.

“The idea that we would burn the sacred text of someone else’s religion is contrary to what this country stands for. It’s contrary to what this country was founded on.”

Nobody has at any time, to my knowledge, questioned the right of Muslims to build Cordoba House anywhere they like.  And nobody has questioned the right of an American citizen to burn a Koran on private property.  

Having rights means having the liberty not to exercise them.

The choice of “Cordoba House” is doubly significant, however.   The message of “Cordoba” is well understood in the Islamic world.   So too, is the designation of “house”. 

To us, the designation of ‘house’ carries with it the flavor of hearth and home, shelter, intimacy, and so forth.   An inn is a ‘public house’, for example. 

But Cordoba House in Arabic is dar al Cordoba. In Arabic, ‘dar’ is used more in the divisive sense, as a separation, as in ‘dar al Islam’  (the Zone of Islam) or ‘dar al Harb’  (the Zone of War).   The Cordoba House is slated to open as an Islamic school (madrassas) and cultural center (waqf) on 09/11/11.  

“God hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur’an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than God? Then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.” The Koran –Sura 9:111

This is one of the Koran’s jihad verses.

If there is anything historically analogous to the choice of the name Cordoba House that might portend some good news for America, it is in the memory that ultimately, the West managed to recapture Cordoba.  

But only following years.  

It was only nine years ago today that nineteen Muslim hijackers murdered 2,977 innocent people, wounding at least six thousand other individuals and destroying uncounted families and lives in the process.

Nine years ago today, enraged commentators were paraphrasing Admiral Yamamoto’s comment following the successful attack on Pearl Harbor — “I fear that all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

Who would have believed back then that America would simply roll over and go back to sleep?

Originally Published: September 11, 2010

Featured Commentary: The Pretribulational Rapture Bullies ~ Alf Cengia

Laws of God? Or Laws of Men?

Laws of God? Or Laws of Men?
Vol: 168 Issue: 10 Thursday, September 10, 2015

Civil disobedience is a touchy subject among Christians.  There is so much in our world that screams out for it.  And we are all sick and tired of being pushed out of the public arena, marginalized and mocked, and sick to death of the Obama.  It is difficult to know when is the right time to stand up and shout, “Enough!”

In Acts 4:15-20 and 5:27-29, when the Sanhedrin demanded that the Apostles cease preaching the gospel, it was a clear-cut case of the dictates of man contradicting the commandments of God.

Jesus had sent the Apostles out to preach the gospel (Matthew 28:19,20); to disobey Him would be sin. The Apostles had to make a personal choice; they chose to obey their Savior.

In Acts 16:35-40 Paul explained that he was concerned about future opportunities to preach the gospel.  He insisted on his legal rights as a Roman citizen.  This is a unique situation, but from it, we learn that Christians CAN stand up for their legal rights, especially when the cause of Christ is involved.

On the other hand, the Apostle Paul writes that we are to submit ourselves to the governing authorities.

This is where it gets complicated.  The two most important passages on this subject are Romans 13:1-5 and I Peter 2:13-17.  The Holy Spirit lays out for us the following truths.  First, every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities, for God has appointed those authorities (Romans 13:1).

It is worth of note that as Paul wrote these words, Nero was the Roman Emperor, and his kingdom was based on anything but Biblical principles.

Nero certainly was no God-fearing man, yet Paul gave instructions to submit to the government in that anti-Christian historical context, and included no conditions.

Many advocates of Christian civil disobedience base their views on the assertion that a government based on anti-Christian principles, carrying out unjust policies, forfeits its right to command obedience from its citizens.

But the Roman government Paul lived under was no less humanistic and wicked than is ours; and yet Christians living under it were commanded to submit to it.

“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient” (Titus 3:1).

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men, whether to the Kings, as the supreme authority, or to governors” (1 Peter 2:13-14).

Note that Peter does not say, “every authority except one that is humanistic” or “every authority except those not based on God’s law” but “every authority.”

Second, to resist God-appointed authorities is to resist God and invite His judgment on our lives (Romans 13:2).

Third, ruling authorities are the ministers of God for our good. It is amazing that God is using even unsaved political leaders to accomplish His purposes, without their consent or knowledge (Romans 13:3,4).

Fourth, we are to submit to authorities not only out of fear of punishment, but also in order to have a clear conscience before God.

Consequently, the believer will seek to obey the laws of society even when he is not likely to get caught for committing a crime. Our ultimate reason for obedience is to please God (Romans 13:5I Peter 2:13-14).

Fifth, obedience to authorities is a good testimony before unbelievers (I Peter 2:15).

And sixth, we are to honor those who have authority over us (I Peter 2:17).

Some argue that the Roman Christians were practicing civil disobedience when they refused to sacrifice to the emperor as they were commanded.

Civil disobedience is not refusing to obey a command that would cause us to sin. Christians are free to disobey the government, and indeed must disobey the government when it commands us to do something contrary to God’s Word, or forbids us to do something Christ commands.

For example, if a government forbids us to preach Christ to unbelievers, we must disobey, as Peter and John did (Acts 4:1-20).

A true act of civil disobedience by the Roman Christians would have been their refusal to pay taxes as an act of protest against the Roman government’s corrupt policies – such as, supporting slavery, encouraging idolatry, and sponsoring cruel spectacles in the Colosseum.

Yet the New Testament instructs believers to pay their taxes: “this is also why you pay taxes, because authorities are God’s servants … if you owe taxes, pay taxes, if revenue, then revenue” (Romans 13:6,7).

This is the crucial difference: civil disobedience is refusing to obey a law as an act of protest against a government policy one believes is evil.

This is what troubles me.  Is the Alabama cause the cause of Christ?

Paul said the Cross freed us from the bondage of the 10 Commandments, since no one except Jesus ever kept them all. 

Paul writes in Romans Chapter 7:8-11,

“But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. 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.”

As Paul already observed in Romans 6:14, thanks to the Cross,

“we are not under the law, but under grace. . .”

If Paul is telling the truth, the Ten Commandments are the reason that the Jews remain lost to this present time. The fact we are NOT under the Ten Commandments is the reason you and I can hope for eternal life.

Boiled down to basics, the unsaved world came away with the image of Christians, protesting the removal of a monument to the Law, the same Law that necessitated Christ’s crucifixion in the first place. A Law that Christians themselves cannot keep.

This is what troubled me. What kind of message does that send to the unsaved?

They don’t know that Christ set us free from the Law. A missed golden opportunity, since nobody got a chance to hear about that on TV.

Instead, the world saw the images on the television of Christians prostrate before the monument, like pagans worshipping at an altar. With a faith (in the Law, from the perspective of the unsaved) so powerful an Alabama Supreme Court Justice would defy his own court.

Should anything be more important than leading the lost away from the spiritual bondage of the Law and into the liberty procured by the Lord at the Cross?

Did anybody see anything in this debacle for the lost sinner, the skeptic, the seeker currently dabbling in drugs, the occult or paganism, that would convict them of their sinful state and turn them to Christ?

Anybody know anybody who got saved as a consequence of this hugely publicized Christian gathering? Anybody?

I could have gone with the majority on this. In fact, I wanted to. This is a juicy issue, if all I wanted to do was attract subscribers by piling on a popular topic and championing the popular view.

But the Bible and logic both say this isn’t right.

We’ve addressed it from the Biblical perspective, now let’s look at it logically. Because spin is spin, no matter who is doing the spinning.

Suppose the idiots who sued to have the monument moved had lost, then exhausted all their appeals. Having lost, they then took a sledgehammer to the monument anyway, in defiance of the court. Having removed the monument, they announced they did so because the ruling was unconstitutional (as they saw it).

I don’t want to offend anyone. I love you all as family. I hurt about this as much as you do. I am as infuriated by the anti-God efforts of the courts as any of you.

The Bible said this is what would happen in the last days. God Himself ordained the collapse of society, the rejection of godly principles, a system that would have a ‘form of godliness but denied the power thereof’ and He told the last days believers, ‘from such turn away’ — not emulate their tactics.

I gave you my word I’d unspin things and let you decide what the picture looks like when it is standing still. Even when it hurts.

Believe me when I say this one hurts.

A lot.

Originally Published: September 1, 2003

Thy Word IS Truth

Thy Word IS Truth
Vol: 168 Issue: 9 Wednesday, September 9, 2015

As we progress through what can only be understood as the West’s post-Christian era, it becomes increasingly hard to accept the clear teaching of Scripture on faith.

The Scriptures tell us that salvation is a gift of grace through faith, so if there are parts of the Bible that may not be true, then how can anyone be sure that the parts dealing with salvation are not reliable?

Put another way, how many errors does a book have to make before it is unreliable? In the case of the Bible, one would have to answer, ‘only one.’

That is a pretty high standard to maintain, but it is the standard the Bible sets for itself.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2nd Timothy 3:16-17)

Similarly, the Bible imposes a demand of 100% accuracy, 100% of the time, on any who presume to prophesy in the Name of the Lord.

“When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.’ (Deuteronomy 18:22)

This particular verse gets allegorized and spiritualized away whenever some TV evangelist offers a ‘word from the Lord’ on TBN that is later disproved. But the standard has not been dumbed down since it was given by God Himself to Moses.

It is often said by skeptics that to be a Christian, one has to leave his brains at the door of the church before going in. The implication is, of course, that nobody with any intelligence would believe in God or believe the Bible is His inspired work.

One of history’s greatest scientists was Nicholas Copernicus.

Copernicus was the astronomer who mathematically proved that the earth and the other planets revolve around the sun, and not the other way around. Copernicus believed in God, and often cited God in his works.

Sir Francis Bacon was a philosopher who is known for establishing the scientific method of inquiry based on experimentation and inductive reasoning. Many atheists actually cite Sir Francis Bacon as having advanced atheism as a logical philosophy.

Bacon established his goals as being the discovery of truth, service to his country, and service to the church. Although his work was based upon experimentation and reasoning, he rejected atheism as being the result of insufficient depth of philosophy, stating;

“It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion; for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate, and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity.”

“…for as God uses the help of our reason to illuminate us, so should we likewise turn it every way, that we may be more capable of understanding His mysteries; provided only that the mind be enlarged, according to its capacity, to the grandeur of the mysteries, and not the mysteries contracted to the narrowness of the mind.”

Galileo, who was persecuted by the Catholic Church for his theories that the solar system was centered on the sun, expressly argued that the Bible cannot be in error, arguing instead that his theory was simply an alternate (and ultimately proved correct) interpretation of Biblical texts.

Rene Descartes was a mathematician, scientist and philosopher who has been called the father of modern philosophy. It was Descartes who formulated the ‘system of thought’ by asking what could be known if all else were doubted – suggesting the famous “I think therefore I am”.

Descartes is another famous thinker often cited to support the concept of atheism. However, Descartes conclusions actually established the near certainty of the existence of God – for only if God both exists and would not want us to be deceived by our experiences – can we trust our senses and logical thought processes. God is, therefore, central to his whole philosophy.

Isaac Newton was an historical figure of undisputed genius and innovation. In all his science (including chemistry) he saw mathematics and numbers as central. What is less well known is that he was devoutly religious and saw numbers as involved in understanding God’s plan for history from the Bible. In his system of physics, God is essential to the nature and absoluteness of space.

Far from finding atheism in science, Newton found the evidence of God’s existence in the perfect harmony of predicted and fulfilled Bible prophecy. In fact, he indulged in a little prophecy himself:

“About the time of the end, a body of men will be raised up who will turn their attention to the prophecies, and insist upon their literal interpretation, in the midst of much clamour and opposition.”

Albert Einstein is another scientist often quoted by atheists as having proved the validity of atheism as a logical philosophy. There is no evidence that Einstein was a Christian, but there are his own words to disprove any argument that he believed in atheism.

The Encyclopedia Britannica says of him: “Firmly denying atheism, Einstein expressed a belief in “Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the harmony of what exists.”

This actually motivated his interest in science, as he once remarked to a young physicist: “I want to know how God created this world, I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details.”

Einstein’s famous epithet on the “uncertainty principle” was “God does not play dice” – and to him this was a real statement about a God in whom he believed. A famous saying of his was “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

Assessment:

Putting one’s faith in Christ is not in harmony with the concept one has to ‘check his brains at the door’ of a church. The greatest scientific minds in all history found no contradictions between science and the Bible. If anything, the more they discovered about science, the more they saw the harmony that exists between science and Scripture.

Every generation in history has had its share of great thinkers, philosophers, scientists and debaters. Since the Bible claims 100% accuracy, 100% of the time, the Bible has always been the most tempting target to attack.

If one single fact in Scripture were conclusively disprovable; historical, scientific, geographic, or even biological, then the Bible’s central claim of authority — that is, its Authorship — would crumble, together with the foundations upon which both Judaism and Christianity are built.

The philosopher, debater or scientist who accomplished such a feat would be the most famous who ever lived. Keeping in mind all the generations, in all the countries in all the centuries since the Bible was assembled, who was that single, brilliant individual?

Nobody has ever claimed the title.

There have been usurpers who have attempted to disprove the Bible by using the various translations of the Bible, but the best they can actually do is cast doubts on the abilities of the translators. The translators didn’t pen the Scriptures, nor did they inspire them.

The Bible was written using the two most specific languages civilization has ever devised, and not a single word of the Hebrew or Greek texts has ever been conclusively disproved.

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 declared to Job,

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

God asked Job;

“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.

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)

Then, we have Isaiah’s profession that the earth is round, 2000 years before Columbus proved it.

“It is He who sits above the circle of the earth . . .” (Isaiah 40:22)

Einstein regarded the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics as the most immutable law of the physical universe. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics states that all systems degenerate from order to disorder.

Hebrews 1:10-11 confirms the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics two thousand years before Einstein proved it.

“You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment. . .”

To accept the theory of evolution, which is the foundation of the atheist argument that there is no God, one has to throw Einstein out the window and argue the exact opposite.

Who checked whose brains at the door?

Originally Published: October 16, 2010

Mystery Babylon

Mystery Babylon
Vol: 168 Issue: 8 Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A question was posed in one of our forums asking if it could be that America is actually Babylon the Great of Revelation.  It’s an excellent question and well worth looking into.

“And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.” (Revelation 18:21)

As one reads through all of Revelation 18 it certainly sounds like a word picture describing America; with her multi-billion dollar drug habit, multi-billion dollar porn industry, addiction to oil, and so forth.

Revelation Chapter 17 describes the great scarlet whore, a word picture of the decadence debauchery and prostitution of religious Christianity upon the earth. 

“So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”

“And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.” (Revelation 17:3-6)

Daniel spoke of four world empires, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome.  John speaks of seven — and then speaks of an eighth.   

“And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come, and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eight, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” (Revelation 17:11)

History records six great empires; two before Daniel (Egypt, Assyria) and four afterwards (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome).

Confused yet?  Wait. I’m not done.  Five have fallen, John says, and one is.   The one in existence in John’s day was the Roman Empire.  

John says the next empire, the seventh, which is not yet come, will be short-lived. John appears to say that the seventh is also the sixth, and simultaneously the eighth.  It’s not as confusing as it sounds. Not really. 

Revelation 17:2 interprets the ten horns on the beast as, “ten kings which have yet received no kingdom” these are future kings, not kings of John’s day.

The future beast is a government of ten kings who yield their power and strength over to the center, to an arch-regent, as described by the Prophet Daniel.

“And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.”

John pictures the beast as an empire. Daniel’s horn had eyes and mouth speaking great things.  Which is right? Actually, both are right. 

The beast is a system, personified by a man, but actually administered by two men, separated according to specialty.

Revelation 13:1 introduces the political beast, who rises up out of the sea (of nations).  Revelation 13:11 introduces the religious beast, “coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.”

Both the first beast and the second beast derive their power from “the dragon” or Satan.   In John’s day, the seat of secular authority was Imperial Rome. 

By the 3rd century AD, Rome had become the seat of religious authority when Emperor Constantine declared Christianity the state church of Rome and the Emperor as Pontifex Maximus of the Christian Church.

“Pontifex Maximus” literally means “the greatest bridge builder” and was the title conferred on the high priest of the College of Pontiffs in ancient pagan Rome. 

The College was ancient Rome’s most sacred priesthood of advisors to the Roman Emperor-god.

The Pontifex Maximus has been applied to the Roman popes since at least the 3rd century.  When political Rome collapsed in the early 5th century, it transferred much of the political power from the state to the Pontifex Maximus. 

The Roman Empire which in John’s day was present tense (beast that is) became the beast that was and is not and yet is. 

The papacy openly ruled Western European Christendom from early 4th century until well after the French Revolution and continues to be the single most politically powerful religious figure on earth.

Is the False Prophet the Roman Catholic pope?  I don’t know.  That often gets me accused of Catholic bashing, but that’s not a fair assessment. I believe the Rapture takes place before either the political antichrist or the False Prophet show up.  

What is a Church after all the Christians are gone?

Assessment:

Whether one wants to take issue with me over the Vatican being the seat of Satan’s power after all the Christians have been Raptured or not is secondary to the question I originally set out to answer. 

Could the Babylon of Revelation be America?  Revelation’s Babylon is presented in two parts; religious Babylon, as described in great detail in Revelation 17, and economic Babylon as described in Chapter 18.

The fall of economic Babylon could easily be interpreted as a description of America in decline:

“And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;

“And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.”

It sounds like America, home of Nashville, Hollywood and Wall Street, breadbasket to the world and home to the great merchants of the earth.   Certainly, one could line America up with the deception of ‘sorceries’ (Greek, pharmakea, or use of drugs), but that’s as far as one can take America before the Bible shuts it down.

“And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” (Revelation 18:22-24)

America is not soaked in the blood of prophets and saints – that honor belongs to Rome.

It is just as difficult to find a major role for America during the Tribulation Period as it is to find a role for the Church.   The Bible makes it clear that during the last days, all eyes are on the battlefield.

God’s attention will be turned to Israel and Satan’s attention will be focused on Europe.  America isn’t the Babylon of Revelation. 

Laodicea, maybe.  But not Babylon.

Originally Published: November 19, 2010

Featured Commentary: The Days are Evil ~ Wendy Wippel