The Books of Life

The Books of Life
Vol: 27 Issue: 22 Friday, September 22, 2017

Yom Kippur occurs on the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Tishri. It is the most solemn and somber day on the Jewish calendar. Even many Jews who do not regularly observe other Jewish feast days make an exception for Yom Kippur. The Jews call it ‘judgment day’.

Jews practice repentance, say prayers, and give charity to obtain God’s forgiveness for the sins of the previous year. Yom Kippur is the culmination of a process that began a month earlier, during the Hebrew month of Elal. It follows Rosh Hashanah and the New Year’s activities.

The ten days from the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) are known as the Ten Days of Awe, or Ten Days of Repentance, offering Jews a chance for spiritual renewal and repentance before the Day of Atonement. During the afternoon prayers on the day before Yom Kippur, a viddui, or confessional, is said. It is repeated during Yom Kippur.

Observant Jews fast for twenty-five hours before breaking their fast with a festive meal. After the meal, two candles are blessed and then lit. There is no more eating or drinking. A series of prayers is said.

Until the Destruction of the Second Temple in AD 70, the focal point of Yom Kippur involved the High Priest entering the Holy of Holies. The high priest sacrificed a bullock as a sin offering for himself and for his house. (Leviticus 16:6)

After filling his censer with live coals from the altar, he entered the holy of holies where he placed incense on the coals. Next, he took some of the blood which was taken from the slain bullock and sprinkled it on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant (Leviticus 16:13) and also on the ground in front of the mercy seat, providing atonement for the priesthood (Leviticus 16:14-15).

Then he sacrificed a male goat as a sin offering for the people. Some of this blood was then also taken into the holy of holies and sprinkled there on behalf of the people (Leviticus 16:11-15). Next, the high priest took another goat (called the “scapegoat”), laid his hands on its head, and confessed over it the sins of Israel.

After the confession, the scapegoat was released it into the desert where it symbolically carried away the sins of the people (Leviticus 16:8,10). The remains of the sacrificial bullock and male goat were taken outside of the city and subsequently burned; the day finally concluded with some additional sacrifices.

According to Jewish custom, three books are opened on the Feast of Trumpets: the Book of Life for the righteous, the Book of Life for the unrighteous, and the Book of Life those for in-between.

If a man is deemed righteous, his name is written in the Book of Life for the righteous at the Feast of Trumpets. If a man is unrighteous, his name is written in the Book of Life for the unrighteous, and he will not survive the year.

If a man is deemed in-between, judgment is delayed for ten days from the Feast of Trumpets to the Feast of the Day of Atonement. It is during that period of time that a man is given opportunity to repent before the book is closed and his destiny sealed.

Assessment:

It is important to remember that rituals of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur were ordained by God and recorded in Scripture. And Scripture was written for all men, in all times.

Even Scripture addressed to a particular group, like the Jews. And, through the Holy Spirit, all Scripture illuminates and reveals God’s purposes and plans as relevant to all men of all ages.

Examined closely, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur rituals constitute a prefiguration of the Church Age, its conclusion, and reveal the ultimate purpose of the Tribulation Period.

Jesus, who had no sin to bear or confess, became the ‘scapegoat’ upon which our sins were carried away into the ‘wilderness’. The names of those who trust to His completed work are already written into the Book of Life.

Then there are those who are ‘in between’. It is for those Jews and Gentiles that are slated to go through the Tribulation Period to have one last opportunity to repent before the books are closed and their destinies are forever sealed.

There are only four types of created, sentient, spiritual beings identified in the Bible. First, there are the angels, both elect and fallen.

Secondly, there are the Gentiles, which is the spiritual state of unregenerate, fallen man. Through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, a third spiritual creation is introduced, the children of Israel, out of whom came the Lord Jesus Christ.

The fourth spiritual creation was created by Jesus Christ Personally.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2nd Corinthians 5:17)

A Christian is an entirely unique spiritual creation, like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. It is a one-way spiritual metamorphosis. The old creation no longer exists.

A Christian can no more turn himself back into the Jew or Gentile he had been before regeneration than a butterfly can turn himself back into a caterpillar.

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” (Galatians 6:15)

The Tribulation’s purpose is to give Jews and Gentiles one final opportunity to repent of their ways, trust Jesus for their salvation and be transformed into the new creation before the Books are closed on them forever.

Note several things. First, our scapegoat, upon Whom all our sins were carried away and our names were written into the Book of Life.

Second, the penning of our names into the Book at salvation is part of our transformation into a new spiritual creation. Like a caterpillar into a butterfly, a Christian’s spiritual transformation is permanent.

One cannot, by an act of his own will, revert back to his old spiritual form, whether Jew or Gentile, anymore than one can become an angel. All four are distinct and different from one another.

Third, the Tribulation Period is the ‘time of Jacob’s Trouble’ — a last chance for Jews and Gentiles to turn to Christ and be saved. All three books are open. Those who enter into the Tribulation are those whose names are currently written into the Book of ‘In-Between’ — unregenerate Jews and Gentiles.

One can accept Jesus and have one’s name written into the Book of Life, as the Bible says the Tribulation saints and martyrs will do.

It is also a time during which one can write his name into the Book of Unrighteousness by accepting the Mark of the Beast.

The Church, having already been written into the Book of Life, has no role to play in the Tribulation Period. The Bible says that God will ‘seal’ 12,000 of each of the 12 tribes of Israel as His chosen evangelists during the Tribulation (Revelation 7) who will carry on the work the Church does during the Church Age.

We find then, a number of truths confirmed. First, our eternal security. One cannot revert back to his or her previous spiritual state, since, at regeneration, the old man no longer exists to revert back TO.

Instead, “he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Second, it is obvious that the Church has no role to play during the Tribulation. The task of the Church is given to the 144,000 Jewish evangelists.

Third, the Tribulation Period is the time when the Book of ‘In-Between’ is opened. Rosh Hashanah is the Feast of the Trumpets, and the feast concludes with the blowing of the last trumpet.

After Rosh Hashanah, there is a ten-day period during which one has an opportunity to have his name registered in the Book of Life before the Day of Atonement when the Books are closed for the Day of Atonement.

The Body of Christ is already recorded in the Book of Life. All our sins were atoned for before the last trumpet sounded. To the Church, all the Books are already closed. We don’t belong. A pretribulation Rapture isn’t a ‘great escape’ for the Church, it is an utter necessity to the Plan of God moving forward.

Without a pre-trib Rapture, the purpose of the Tribulation Period reverts from a final opportunity to write one’s name in the appropriate Book to a period of indiscriminate judgment inflicted on a trusting Church, who by virtual of irreversible spiritual transformation, cannot possibly benefit from the ‘last chance’ period between the ‘last trump’ and the Day of Atonement on the plains of Megiddo at the Second Coming.

In fact, if one moves the ‘last trump’ into the middle or to the end of the Tribulation, it no longer has an discernible purpose apart from punishing the inhabitants of the earth indiscriminately.

Think of it this way. If the purpose of the Tribulation is to punish the wicked, it seems like a case of overkill, since the wicked are already slated for eternal punishment. On this side of the Tribulation, God doesn’t punish evildoers on earth.

As far back as David, believers lamented, “how long shall the wicked triumph?” (Psalms 94:3) Psalms 73 asks the same question, before answering it in verse 17:

“Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.”

If God reserves punishment for the wicked until eternity on this side of the Tribulation Period, why would He design a seven year period that, apart from a last chance at redemption, constitutes a special, dual punishment for one wicked generation out of all generations in human history?

Bottom line: Salvation is an eternal condition that begins at that point when one trusts Jesus. Once becoming a new spiritual creature, the old one no longer exists to revert back to, even if one were so inclined.

Those who are saved are written in the Book of Life. Those in the Book of Life have no further need of a last opportunity at atonement during the Tribulation Period.

The work of the Church during the Tribulation Period is carried on by Jewish evangelists chosen and sealed by God for that purpose.

The Church has no purpose assigned to it during the Tribulation, apart from being martyred, which makes Paul’s admonition to ‘comfort one another with these words’ [of the Rapture] somewhat meaningless.

Without a period between the last trumpet and the Day of Atonement, there is no opportunity offered for those whose name is written in the ‘Book of In Between’ to choose either the Book of Life or the Book of the Unrighteous.

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the LAST TRUMP: for the trumpet SHALL sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:52)

The ‘mystery’ must happen first, before the Tribulation can begin. And NOW, Paul’s admonition finds a context:

“Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 5:18)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on September 4, 2008

Featured Commentary: Remembering Nabeel Qureshi ~Alf Cengia

Bucking a Stacked Deck . .

Bucking a Stacked Deck . .
Vol: 27 Issue: 21 Thursday, September 21, 2017

In the world according to the UN, the world’s two worst serial human rights abusers are the United States of America and the State of Israel. 

More UN resolutions have been passed condemning Israel than any other state — far more than those passed against all Islamic states — including Saddam’s Iraq — combined. 

There are 52 Islamic states. But of the 700-plus General Assembly resolutions passed since the UN’s 1945 establishment, nearly 450 condemn Israel. 

There are 190 nations in the United Nations. And over sixty percent of all General Assembly resolutions condemn just ONE member, Israel!

Here are a few examples of the kinds of Israeli actions worthy of global condemnation;

# General Assembly Resolution 250 “calls on Israel to refrain from holding military parade in Jerusalem.”

# General Assembly Resolution 251 “deeply deplores Israeli military parade in Jerusalem in defiance of Resolution 250.”

# General Assembly Resolution 252 “declares invalid Israel’s acts to unify Jerusalem as her capital”

# General Assembly Resolution 271 “condemns’ Israel’s failure to obey UN resolutions on Jerusalem”

# General Assembly Resolution 476 “reiterates’ that Israel’s claims to Jerusalem are null and void”

# General Assembly Resolution 673 “deplores Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the United Nations”

In 2002, the State of Israel voted WITH the United States in 92.6% of all matters the US put before the UN. It is instructive to compare Israel’s loyalty to Washington with some of America’s other ‘allies’. 

Great Britain, our allegedly ‘closest’ ally, voted WITH the US about 60% of the time. Australia 56% France about 54%. 

Neighbor and trading partner Canada voted with the US about 49% of the time. America’s second largest trading partner, Japan, sided with Washington about 42% of the time. 

As to our Islamic and Arab ‘allies’, the UAE voted AGAINST the US 88% of the time. The Saudis, 90%. Pakistan, 87%. 

Egypt (who receives $2 billion in annual US aid) 86%. Jordan, representing ‘moderate’ Islam, votes against the US at the UN 88% of the time. 

In May, 2001, the United States was kicked off the UN Human Rights Commission. Amnesty International concluded in its 2002 report to the UN that the United States “leads the world in human rights violations since September 2001.” 

It is important to remember that, while the UN Security Council passed resolutions demanding Saddam’s compliance with existing resolutions, the General Assembly has NEVER issued a condemnation of an Arab state, including Saddam’s Iraq. 

Sudan held a seat on the UNHRC while simultaneously conducting genocide against its non-Islamic population. The same year the UN kicked the US off the UNHRC, it elected Khadaffi’s Libya (33–3) to serve as the Commission’s chair. 

The United Nations opposed the US invasion of Iraq, claiming the invasion was an ‘illegal violation of the UN Charter’ — a position it maintains to the present time. 

One can hear it repeated in virtually every liberal news report. What is virtually buried, however, is the UN’s multi-billion dollar stake in keeping Saddam in power and the Oil-For-Food money flowing into the UN’s unregulated ‘trust’ fund. 

China, France, Germany and Russia led the opposition, demanding that the UN be allowed to continue its ‘peaceful, diplomatic efforts’ — something else that makes nearly every liberal news report dealing with the events leading up to the war. 

What doesn’t get mentioned is that China, France, Germany and Russia were all up to their necks in illegal deals with Saddam Hussein. 

US forces found brand-new German chemical-warfare suits, brand-new French communication equipment, brand-new Chinese and Russian military equipment, and even some brand-new GPS jammers that would confuse US smart bombs into hitting the wrong targets. 

In the interests of global international relations, Washington is keeping a low-profile about the serial violations of existing UN sanctions by our ‘allies’ and the UN’s rape of Iraq’s treasury. 

America’s only genuine ally is Israel. Israel’s only genuine ally is America. 

Interestingly, they are the only two nations denying what is, to the rest of the world, conventional wisdom. 

Assessment:

Both the United States and Israel are bucking a stacked deck when it comes to the international community. 

In the case of the Sudan, it took the UN almost four years to acknowledge that an Islamic regime wiping out it’s non-Islamic population was a human rights violation. 

So far, the UN has done nothing except talk about it as the massacres continue unabated. 

In the case of the United States, the UN has concluded that Guantanamo Bay is a place where “illegally held detainees are routinely tortured” and no less a personage than Kofi Annan himself has demanded the prison be closed. 

The report was issued by a UN group who refused to even visit Guantanamo Bay when invited to do so by the Pentagon. 

In its refusal, the UN gave some bizarre explanation that visiting Gitmo would “contravene UN principles of human rights investigations.” 

The investigators particularly denounced the use of excessive violence, citing photographs that show how detainees were shackled, chained, hooded and forced to wear earphones and goggles. 

Since none of them ever visiting Gitmo, the investigators don’t know if the photos were OF Gitmo, but that doesn’t matter, since the UN declined to identify the source of the pictures in the first place.

“They also showed beating, kicking, punching, but also stripping and forced shaving’ of detainees who resisted, the report said. ‘It is of particular concern that some of these violations have even been authorized by the authorities,” the report claimed without citing specific evidence. 

The investigators also mentioned ‘plentiful evidence’ (again, never specified,) that prisoners suffered serious mental health problems. 

Remember, the UN never visited. The source of the ‘plentiful evidence’ is evidently former detainees whose credibility the UN accepted without question. 

There is one Jewish state in the UN. Its only ally is a nation widely criticized as the world’s only Christian nation. 

There are fifty-two Islamic states, with the remainder being avowedly secular. Virtually ALL of them stand in lockstep opposition to both Israel and the United States. 

The press calls it a ‘coming war of civilizations’ — but only someone with an incredible capacity for self-delusion could fail to recognize it as a war between the God of the Bible and the god of Islam. 

The prophet Daniel had received his vision of the ‘Seventy Weeks’ (see “Daniel’s Seventieth Week“) but it greatly troubled him. 

“In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision. In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.” (Daniel 10:1-2)

Daniel had seen a vision of the antichrist’s peace deal with Israel, and his abrogation of it halfway through. He prayed and fasted for three weeks as he waited for the angel to return to complete the vision. 

When the revealing Angel returned, he explained he had been held up in battle with the ‘Prince of Persia’ [Iran] until ‘Michael one of the chief princes, came to help me . . ” (Daniel 10:33) 

The Angel further reveals that Michael is “the great prince which standeth for the children of thy (Daniel’s) people.” (the Jews) (Daniel 12:1) 

But
Daniel was concerned about the unveiling of the antichrist, an event Daniel acknowledges “was true, but the time appointed was long.” 

Daniel’s understanding of the vision was delayed by the Prince of Persia. On the other end of the timeline, in this generation, we are like Daniel in that respect. 

Daniel was sick about the events of the tribulation as revealed to him. He waited for an explanation of the event itself, just as we are waiting for that event to take place in this generation. 

But the revelation to Daniel was stalled by conflict with the Prince of Persia. 

On this end of the timeline, the current Prince of Persia (President Ahmadinejad of Iran) has outlined his intent to use nuclear war to start the conflict he believes will bring about the return of the Mahdi, whom Islamic scholars identify as the rider on the white horse of Revelation 6:3. 

The rider on the white horse of Revelation 6:3 is the same coming prince that threw Daniel into a three-week depression. 

What about Daniel’s Revealing Angel? Daniel describes Him thusly: 

“His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.” (Daniel 10:6) 

John describes the risen Christ in Revelation 1:13-15: 

“. . .One like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; And His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters.” 

America is the world’s national Christian representative, in this generation, whether Americans want to accept the title or not. And Daniel’s Revealing Angel is the pre Incarnate Christ, the Head of the Church, according to the Apostle John. 

Israel is the world’s national Jewish representative. Israel’s guardian, as revealed by the pre-Incarnate Christ, is the archangel Michael. 

America and Israel are the two most hated nations on earth, currently locked in an existential war with Islam, ‘the prince of Persia’. 

There is no other nation on earth that ‘holds with’ the United States at the UN with the consistent reliability of the Israelis. 

Now, take all this information and plug it into Daniel 10:21 and see what YOU come up with. 

“But I will shew thee that which is noted in the Scripture of Truth: and there is none that holdeth with Me in these things, but Michael your prince.” 

The deck is stacked, all right. But against the other side.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on March 13, 2006

Featured Commentary: Where Have All the Palm Trees Gone? ~J.L. Robb

Who Wrote the Bible?

Who Wrote the Bible?
Vol: 27 Issue: 20 Wednesday, September 20, 2017

There are two answers to that question. The short answer, and the easiest to defend, is also the most obvious. God did. The Bible says so.

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2nd Peter 1:21)

I say that is the easiest to defend because Christians don’t need much more evidence than that. The Bible is a living Book to those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

To a Christian, the mere fact that there are people who devote their lives to arguing its Authorship is evidence of its Divine inspiration. It makes perfect sense to a Christian — it makes no sense at all to an unbeliever.

While it is a totally unsatisfactory answer to the skeptic, 1st Corinthians 1:18 proves itself to the believer every time he picks up the Book and ponders its truths:

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

Frankly, I don’t think it is possible to convince a skeptic by debating the truth of the Scriptures vs. their chosen ‘truths’ — it would be like debating whether something was red or mauve with a person blind from birth.

It takes a spiritual ‘operation’ to remove that blindness, but we can only point a person in the direction of the Surgeon. After that, they have to request the ‘operation’ for themselves.

But the Bible’s Authorship is proved by its very existence. There is the testimony of the forty different individuals chosen by God to record His Word. There are the acts of the Apostles;

2nd Peter 1:16 explains;

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His Majesty.”

The Apostle Luke begins his testimony to Theodophilus;

“Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the Word.” (Luke 1:1-2)

To deny the historical truth of the eyewitness testimony of the Apostles is tantamount to denying the historical accuracy of the eyewitness testimony of the witnesses to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Each of the Apostles was an apostate Jew in the eyes of their friends and families. They were ostracized, insulted, beaten, run out of town, arrested, imprisoned, and generally hounded everywhere they went. Each of them was given an opportunity to save his own life by renouncing his testimony of Jesus.

And with the exception of the Apostle John, every single one of them chose a brutal, torturous death, instead. (The Apostle John was tortured by being boiled alive, but somehow survived and was exiled to the Island of Patmos. He was later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey. He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.)

The skeptic denies their eyewitness testimony, but fails to give any reasonable explanation for why. Why would they all accept a life of misery and deprivation, culminating in a torturous death, just to spread a myth?

Does it seem reasonable that twelve guys would sit around a campfire and make up a story that ruined their lives (in the natural) just so they could be known by their first names 2000 years later?

Assessment:

Nobody denies the accuracy of Plato’s writings. Or Tacitus. Or Homer. Or Suetonius. Or Flavius Josephus (except the part where he refers to Jesus as an actual historical figure).

Before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls our earliest Hebrew copy of the Old Testament was the Masoretic text dating around 800 A.D. The Dead Sea Scrolls date around the time of Jesus copied by the Qumran community, a Jewish sect living around the Dead Sea.

We also have the Septuagint which is a Greek translation of the Old Testament dating in the second century B.C. The oldest existing original manuscript of a New Testament book dates to 125 A.D. and was found in Egypt, some distance from where the New Testament was originally composed Asia Minor). In all, there are more than 24,000 ancient manuscripts against which to compare our modern Bible.

The number of manuscripts is astonishing, when compared to other universally-accepted ancient historical writings, such as Caesar’s “Gallic Wars” (10 Greek manuscripts, the earliest 950 years after the original), the “Annals” of Tacitus (2 manuscripts, the earliest 950 years after the original), Livy (20 manuscripts, the earliest 350 years after the original), and Plato (7 manuscripts).

New Testament manuscripts agree in 99.5% of the text (compared to only 95% for the Iliad). Most of the discrepancies are in spelling and word order.

A few words have been changed or added. There are two passages that are disputed but no discrepancy is of any doctrinal significance. Most Bibles include the options as footnotes when there are discrepancies. How could there be such accuracy over 1,400 years of copying?

Two reasons: The scribes that did the copying had meticulous methods for checking their copies for errors. 2) The Holy Spirit made sure we would have an accurate copy of God’s word so we would not be deceived.

Skeptics, liberals, and cults and false religions such as Islam that claim the Bible has been tampered with are completely proven false by the extensive, historical manuscript evidence.

But it doesn’t matter. The skeptics continue to assault the Bible on any and all fronts, applying the most unreasonable standards for accuracy imaginable.

They hate it, and they can’t even explain why. That is also, to the Christian, evidence of its Divine Origin.

That hatred is so blind, so unreasoning, and so irrational that it cannot be explained in any other way.

“Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.” (Luke 6:22)

“Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” (1 John 3:13)

“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2nd Peter 3:3-4)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on August 29, 2004

Featured Commentary: Fighting with Physics ~Wendy Wippel

” . . . And the Other on a Banana Peel”

” . . . And the Other on a Banana Peel”
Vol: 27 Issue: 19 Tuesday, September 19, 2017

As far back as 1970, humanist writer Alvin Toffler chronicled the development of a social phenomenon that he called ‘Future Shock’ in a book by the same name.

Toffler’s book addressed the speed with which technology was changing, back in the age of microwave ovens and beta VCRs.

He defined the social response to the shattering speed of 1970’s technological and social advancement this way:

“Future shock is the shattering stress and disorientation that we induce in individuals by subjecting them to too much change in too short a time.”

Toffler explains,

“Man has a limited biological capacity for change. When this capacity is overwhelmed, the capacity is in future shock.”

It is interesting to note that Toffler’s book was published the same year as Hal Lindsey’s “Late, Great Planet Earth“. Toffler’s book explained a social ‘symptom’ — Hal’s book explained what future shock was a symptom OF.

The prevailing feeling of impending doom that existed in the early 1970s was real enough that both books were instant runaway best-sellers. In those days, that sense of ‘something’ was vague and undefined, but it was there.

Toffler tried to define it, Lindsey tried to explain it, movie franchises like ‘The Omen’ and ‘Mad Max’ tried to capitalize on it, but one thing is certain:

Whatever ‘it’ is, ‘it’ made it’s presence known with enough impact to make “The Late, Great Planet Earth” the best-selling Christian-themed book in history (excluding the Bible), it embraced Toffler’s term, ‘future shock’ so completely it is now part of our vocabulary, and made ‘The Omen’ and ‘Mad Max’ franchises among the most successful of their time.

There was a sudden awakening to the fact the Bible gave certain signs for the last days; discernible, chartable, undeniable and precise signs.

The 1967 Six Days War awakened the world to Israel’s existence and thrust her onto the world’s stage. Jerusalem, a city which most people thought of more in mystical than bricks-and-mortar terms, was suddenly the most important city on earth.

Although Bible prophecy was seldom discussed among Christians, suddenly, people started to connect some of the dots. Some ran to guys like Toffler for answers. Others ‘whistled past the graveyard’, turning their fears into entertainment.

When Hal Lindsey connected the dots for the secular world through Scripture, millions turned to the Bible for the answers, instead.

Assessment:

That was more than forty years ago, and many of you remember when it began. That spiritual awareness of ‘it’. Hal’s book created a firestorm within the mainstream churches, fanning the movement away from mainstream denominationalism and toward small, independent Bible churches that taught Dispensationalism and Israel’s role in the last days.

In the early 1970’s in my home town, there were little front yard signs all over town. They looked like political signs; you know — “Vote I. Cheatum for Treasurer” but, on closer inspection, all they said was, “I Found It”. The phrase was on bumper stickers, signs and even buttons.

I found out was ‘it’ was from my older sister when I was twenty-four. She had one of those signs in her front yard, and when I asked her what ‘it’ was, she gave me a copy of Hal’s Late, Great, Planet Earth.

To shorten the story, I found out what ‘it’ was that everybody else had found. ‘It’ wasn’t finding out about Jesus. I had been raised Catholic, as had my sister (and most of those sporting the “I Found It” signs) and we already knew a lot about Jesus.

What we ‘found’ was salvation through Jesus — but what made us all start looking at the same time in the first place, was that sense of what Toffler called ‘future shock.’

The point is, as already noted, that was more than forty years ago. An entire generation has grown up in a world where everything they learned yesterday is obsolete information tomorrow.

If you were born in 1970 and went to college and majored in geography, for example, when you graduated at 22 in 1992, everything you spent the last four years learning was wrong. There was no Soviet Union, and there were about forty extra countries that didn’t used to be there.

Technology changes so fast last year’s TV is as obsolete as last year’s computer. Last year’s car let you talk on an integrated cell phone through your car’s stereo speakers — this year’s car gives you GPS-guided verbal directions to any destination on the globe.

As all this takes place, that sense of an impending ‘something’ continues to build, as we look for ways to explain it.

It sits somewhere at the back of the consciousness; — like wondering whether or not you turned off the iron before leaving for church.

Consequently, there has been an explosion in interest in things spiritual, extra-terrestrial, occultic, and scientific as people look for an explanation for what amounts to a global ‘nagging’ feeling. Apocalyptic-themed movies like “The Omen” and “Mad Max” broke new ground in the 1970’s — today they are their own genre. Every third movie deals, in some fashion, with the end of the world.

The most popular Christian literature today is Tim LaHaye’s ‘Left Behind’ series. The most popular Christian books are books dealing with Bible prophecy.

The most popular forms of entertainment are movies that deal with apocalyptic themes. (As evidence, I offer the success of “The Matrix” Trilogy).

The Bible predicted the rise of a revived form of the Roman Empire, led by ‘ten kings’ that will eventually fall under the spell of the coming antichrist.

(The newly-expanded European Union is fighting over the wording of their new Constitution. Leading the fight against the inclusion of any mention of Christianity are the leaders of the ten-nation WEU).

It predicted the restoration of Israel, and said that Israel would be in a constant state of war with her surrounding neighbors, necessitating a peace treaty to be confirmed the leader of revived Rome.

Daniel said all this would take place in the midst of an explosion of knowledge and a sense of disorientation (future shock?), writing;

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” (Daniel 12:4)

At about the same time that Alvin Toffler wrote of the ‘to and fro’ nature of exploding knowledge and gave us the term, ‘future shock’, Christians like Hal Lindsey, Dwight Pentecost and others were taking note of the fact that the words of Daniel were starting to unseal themselves.

As Israel took her place among the nations, the Arab-Israeli conflict took global center stage, and Daniel’s ten toes began to wiggle as old Europe began to pull itself together, Daniel and Revelation became less about symbols than literal truths beginning to reveal themselves.

The world has one foot on this side of the Tribulation, and the other foot is on a banana peel. The secular world knows that instinctively– it can’t help itself. Everything in our culture since about 1970 testifies to that awareness.

But it would prefer to believe the lie. And so it does.

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient . .” (Romans 1:28)

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:” (2nd Thessalonians 2:1)

“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” (1 John 2:22)

“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)

“But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” (1 Thessalonians 5:4)

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

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on June 2, 2004

Knowing The Day and The Hour

Knowing The Day and The Hour
Vol: 27 Issue: 18 Monday, September 18, 2017

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matthew 24:35-36)

The text itself, at first glance, seems simple and unambiguous. Jesus is explaining that nobody, not even He, knew the precise hour and day in which the Lord will return for His Church. But He offers a clue, saying conditions will be similar that those experienced by Noah and his family.

Before moving on, let’s look quickly at conditions in Noah’s day, according to the Scriptures. First, Noah, himself.

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.”

We immediately see four key points. Noah was the recipient of an unmerited gift – “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” God extended His grace to Noah, who, in spite of being a sinner, trusted the Lord’s word.

Consequently, Genesis tells us, “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations.”

Noah was a ‘just’ man. Only God can justify sinful man. Note that it wasn’t Noah that was perfect — instead, Noah was ‘perfect in his generations.’

What does that mean?

Genesis Chapter Six opens with an explanation:

“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. . . (6:1-2)

The reference to the ‘sons of God’ is a reference to angels:

“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.” (Job 1:6)

“When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:7)

These angels, according to Genesis 6, produced hybrid, half-angelic and half-human offspring, polluting the human bloodline.

“There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. ” (6:4)

At the Fall, God pronounced both the curse and a Promise of a Redeemer, saying to the serpent, Satan,

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His Heel.”

By the time of Noah, the seed of Eve had been so polluted by this hybrid bloodline that only Noah and his family remained “perfect in his generations.”

And God’s promise was specific — mankind could only be redeemed by the seed of Eve.

Wipe out Eve’s ‘seed’ and God’s word is broken, and Satan wins his case on the grounds God is not perfect and therefore not qualified to stand in judgment over him. Finally, we see that Noah “walked with God”.

Noah is a picture of the Church in the last days. The Church is redeemed, and therefore justified, not by its own merits, but by God’s grace. Covered by the Blood of Christ, the Church’s ‘bloodline’ is perfect and unpolluted by the world.

Noah was preserved alive out of judgment, not necessarily because God loved him best, but because it was a necessary element in God’s unfolding plan for the ages.

Had God not preserved Noah and his family alive out of judgment, mankind would have perished and there could have been no Virgin Birth, no redeeming life, atoning death or Resurrection unto life.

Only Eve’s seed could qualify according to God’s Promise, so some perfect, untainted, purely human remnant of Eve’s seed had to be preserved for God’s plan to move forward.

God’s plan for the last days includes preserving a remnant out of judgment, not because He likes this generation best, but because it is necessary for His plan to move forward. Noah and his family were ridiculed for 120 years, until “the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.” (2nd Peter 3:6)

Jesus likened the Rapture to the Flood, saying,

“And [they] knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:39)

Assessment:

How do we know that Jesus is referring to the Rapture in his passage about Noah, and not His 2nd Coming? Jesus said no man could know the hour and the day.

The Prophet Daniel gives us the hour and the day of the 2nd Coming of Christ — or at least, Daniel gives us the ability to calculate it.

Daniel predicts a prince of the revived Roman Empire would negotiate a peace settlement between Israel and ‘the many’ and that part of that settlement would include the restoration of Temple worship.

The peace agreement, according to Daniel, has a set term of one “week” (Heb – shabua) which is a week of Biblical 360-day years. Seven biblical years equals 2,520 days.

Daniel says that agreement will be broken when “the abomination that maketh desolate is set up.” (Daniel 12:11) The Apostle Paul identifies the “abomination” as taking place when the antichrist, “as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:4)

It is this claim of godhood that causes the Jews to reject him, which results in his tearing up the agreement, closing the Temple and launching his persecution of Jews.

So, let’s quickly recap. Daniel 9:27 predicts a period of seven years time from the agreement that restores Temple worship to the 2nd Coming of Christ. Daniel also says that, from the time of the abomination of desolation until the 2nd Coming would total 1,260 days — or exactly half of 2,520 days of Tribulation.

Since the event that begins the countdown is the antichrist’s seating of himself on the Mercy Seat in the Temple, anybody will a Bible could mark that date and start counting down 1,260 days to His Second Coming.

Therefore, it seems entirely logical to deduce the following: The Tribulation Period (Daniel 9:27) lasts for 2,520 days, or seven Biblical years. It is divided into two parts, 1,260 days of Temple worship, and 1,260 days of persecution.

It concludes on the 2,520th day from the date of the peace deal on the plains of Megiddo at the Second Coming of Christ.

Since Daniel also predicted the precise date and hour in which Jesus Christ would ride into Jerusalem on the back of a colt and be received as King of the Jews, it is reasonable to expect the same kind of precision in Daniel’s prediction of 1,260 days from the abomination to the 2nd Coming.

Therefore, the only secret coming is that of the Rapture, not His triumphant return as the Righteous Judge at the close of the Tribulation Period. A secret pre-Trib Rapture is the only event that cannot be calculated.

A mid-Trib Rapture can be calculated — it is 1260 days after the peace deal. A post-Trib Rapture can be calculated, 2,520 days after the peace deal, or 1,260 days after the abomination.

A pre-Wrath Rapture, that is a Rapture that takes place at some point after the peace deal but before the abomination, makes the inclusion of the 2,520 and 1,260 day time frames superfluous and unnecessary, begging the question of why God included them in the first place.

But despite Jesus’ stern warning that the timing of the Rapture cannot be calculated, I predict that within the next couple of weeks, somebody will be predicting the Rapture will occur on September 24, 2007 with the blowing of the last shofar (trumpet) at the end of the Jewish Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashana).

It is a safe enough prediction; it happens every single year at this time. And it makes logical sense. The only major Jewish feast day for which there is no corresponding miracle performed during the Lord’s earthly ministry is Rosh Hashana. So many conclude that when the Rapture does come, it will come at the conclusion of Rosh Hashana.

For that reason, I am absolutely convinced that, of all the possible dates for the Rapture, it won’t be Rosh Hashana, despite the twenty-page emails I am certain to receive shortly explaining somebody’s exhaustive and comprehensive calculations.

Why? Because the same Jesus who said we couldn’t calculate the Rapture also said any calculations that are made will be wrong.

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

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on September 1, 2007

Featured Commentary: The World That Was ~Pete Garcia

The Debate Trap

The Debate Trap
Vol: 27 Issue: 16 Saturday, September 16, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They just have to disprove you.

Assessment:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is NEVER used of the Church.

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

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

The Bible is specific in the order of resurrection. 

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

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

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

Job confidently proclaimed:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Wherefore COMFORT one another with these words.”  (1st Thessalonians 4:16-18)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on May 19, 2010

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

Why Didn’t God Just Nuke Lucifer Before the Garden?
Vol: 27 Issue: 15 Friday, September 15, 2017

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.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on January 5, 2012

Featured Commentary: Our Will Be Done ~Alf Cengia