I saw this conversation in a chat room between an atheist and a Christian back in 2006. The atheist, hereon known as Jim, was trying to show that morality was inspired by religion whereas the Christian, hereon known as Jack, found his reasoning to be flawed.
Jim: "Morality is religious in inspiration and situational in application. No self-respecting Freethinker should even consider such a concept. Theistic notions such as "good" and "bad" are based on their pet superstitions without rhyme or reason."
Jack: "What you said makes no sense to me. Morality is not solely based on religious precepts (though virtually all religions have a set of rules for one to follow) and the precepts of good and bad are not solely theistic in nature, but based on experience and common sense. If we look back on man's history all over the world and in every culture, there has been a group of wise elders (government) who have come up with a set of rules based on the principle "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Think about it. If someone kept robbing from you, would you say it was a good thing or a bad thing? Of course you would say it was a bad thing. So logically if you saw this happening to a good neighbor / friend, you would feel the same as if it had happened to you, since you had experienced it. So you make up a rule that stealing is wrong ... that it is immoral. So morality is humane, immorality is inhumane. What separates and distinguishes us from the lower form of animals on this world is that we can use our mental powers of reason and make intelligent choices based on our experience and the experience of our elders, peers and teachers. However it is just as true that a human being must be taught to be human from birth by his parents and peers. If a human baby is raised by wolves, it will run on all fours and bay at the moon. This is why a parent's roll is so important in the development of a child. Children cannot become fully human unless those who teach him are fully mature humans. I base someone’s maturity on their moralistic values. The more immoral and debase someone is, the less human they are. Immoral people are anti-social and self-serving. I find it offensive, and I am sure many atheists would find it offensive, if someone says that if you choose to be an atheist, you can do whatever you want and not fear any consequence for it. That kind of thinking is devoid of human reason and more along the lines of basic survival instincts of a lower life form (I'm thinking of the suicidal march of the lemming)."
Jim: "Ethics which are absolute in application and based on reason alone should be our credo. For example: Under my system of Ethics it is wrong to take another life. Period! It is to be shunned at all cost. Justifications are not a part of the formula."
Jack: "By your code of ethics, this would mean that if you accidentally took someone’s life you would be treated the same as if you did it deliberately. So this means that on the a battle field, a comrade who had his arms & legs blown off and his guts were hanging out and is begging you to shoot him and end his suffering, you would just watch this man suffer and not act on his request? It is easy to say what you would not do so now that you are in your "comfort zone", but what if you were thrust into that scene ... I think you would (if you were humane) end his suffering. It is easy to judge, if you have never walked in the shoes of the one you are judging."
Jim: "Under the Judaeo-Christian system of morality thou shalt not kill unless someone really, really pisses you off and does something you don't like. See: the US system of Capital Punishment. See: Abortions in cases of Rape and Incest."
Jack: "Actually I don't think this is true at all. Jesus taught that you are to turn your back to the smitters ... that you are to love your enemies and do good to them, and not repay evil with evil. You may say that Jesus was a sissy-wuss and that all those who follow Him are spineless cowards. Well I see it differently. It takes a real man to take the abuse from an enemy and show kindness and love in return. It is far easier to lash back, to do the eye for an eye thing. That is Old Testament, where the Jews were under the Law. Christians are under the new testament ... we are under grace. Big difference … like NIGHT & DAY. Many atrocities have been done in the 'Name of Jesus', by people who thought they knew His will. Well, rest assured that on judgement day they will stand before Him and say 'Look at all the 'good' things we have done in Your name', and He will turn to them and say 'Depart from me you evil doers, I NEVER knew you. I was starving and you did not feed Me, I was thirsty and you did not give Me a drink, I was a stranger and you did not take me in, I was naked and you did not cloth Me, I was sick and/or in prison and you did not visit me'. And the self-righteous 'goats' (Matt 25:32) will answer 'When did we see you in these situations Lord?' And the Lord will answer, 'Whatever you have done (or not done) to the least among you, you have done it to Me'. Matthew 7:21 - 23; 25:31 - 46
Jim: "If it's wrong, it's wrong all the time in my book. As a Christian I was a chronic justifier, my morality shifted with the prevailing winds of my opinions and judgements. Ethics which are ruthlessly applied has been my personal salvation."
Jack: " 'As a Christian I was a chronic justifier' ... are you saying that you are not professing to be one now? Many say they are Christians, when they are not. A true Christian is to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and imitate Him and remain in Him until the end ... only then will they receive the crown of salvation and be clothed in the white robe righteousness. We can't do that in our own strength. If we try, we only get frustrated. I've been there myself, so I know. Our pride has to be swallowed hard before we can ever move forward in Christ. It isn't easy. It is an uphill battle all the way. It is easier to take the low road, through the valley of the shadow of death, but you know even when I felt furthest from God, He was always there to answer when I cried out to Him. So even if I go through the valley of the shadow of death He will never leave me or forsake me. I do agree with you that sin is sin ... but it is not for us to judge others ... we might be able to sit on a jury or sit in the seat of judgement and say that the person on trial is guilty of breaking the law ... and even call for the death penalty ... but we do not have the authority to pass judgement on that person's soul ... only God can do that. NO one can say that anyone is deserving of the eternal fires of hell ... for in truth we all stand guilty before God if we are not clothed in Christ's righteousness. Only those who are spiritually reborn ... whose spirits have been revivified by the Holy Spirit and are being conformed to the likeness of Christ will be redeemed from all their sins and live forever in His love. For those of you who have been called upon to serve on a jury ... if you do not love the person you have been called to pass judgement on and pray for them asking God that His will be done and your verdict on the person's guilt be God ordained ... then your judgement is biased."
Jack: "And peace I return to you. Okay, you are probably saying, 'If Christians are to be the way you have described, should there still be capital punishment? Should we turn the cheek when someone steals from a bank or kills someone in cold blood'? I think this is an area where church and state should not now nor ever be governed by true Christian ethics as long as the planet is governed by sinful men and ruled by Satan. It may be good for an individual Christian to "love his enemy" as a witness and part of his walk with Christ, but for the authorities to abandon the Law and not punish the wrong doers isn't what God had in mind at all. Remember... Jesus said He had not come to abolish the Law and that the Law would remain in force. Christianity is a personal walk. The only one who can decide where you go is you yourself. No one can force you to believe in a certain doctrine or ideology. The government's role is to protect the freedoms and rights of its citizens and to punish wrong doers, with the death penalty if necessary. Without the Law there would be anarchy. Without the Law, there would be no knowledge of wrong doing, no knowledge of sin. We would all be living in a totally inhumane world. Thank GOD this isn't the case. Even Jesus said that He had NOT come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it (His sacrificial death fulfilled the requirements of the Law) and that the Law would be preserved until His return. Once the Lord returns, since He is the embodiment of the Law (Jesus is the Word made flesh) those who have chosen to remain faithful to Him will remain obedient to Him (The Law) for all eternity. They will be given new sinless bodies ... ones not cursed by the sin of the first Adam ... and will be like the angels ... neither male nor female ... so no more lust of the flesh to entice us to sin.
In addition to what Jack wrote I would like to point out that man was created in the image of God. God created intelligent beings like Himself with which He could share HIs love and who would be able to choose whether or not to return that love. God could have created obedient slaves unable to think freely for themselves or make choices for themselves ... like so many pre-programmed robots, but He made us into "Free-Thinkers" ... with the freedom of choice ... just like Himself. We cannot make anyone love us ... love is a free-will decision. The only difference between us is that God is the embodiment of Love and Truth and is true to Himself so cannot sin, whereas man is inherently sinful and imperfect because of the sin of the first man who first walked this earth. The apostle John states that God is the Word (the Law) and that He became flesh and died on the cross of Calvary so that our sins would be covered and communion with God would be restored. I do not know of any god who did that for us ... there is no god like Him. He is the only One. We are free to choose to believe or not to believe ... but must be willing to accept the consequences of our decision (though to be sure methinks there is not one unbelieving soul who will be willing to accept their awaited fate).
Receive this word from the Lord and live... "Behold I stand at the door and knock. He who opens the door to me I will never cast out. Now is the time for salvation" (See John 6:37, Revelation 3:20, 2 Corinthians 6:2, Romans 13:11).
I want to share with you some true stories about the miracles of God in our present age. It is my hope that they give you hope and increase your faith in the God of Truth.
It was a sunny summer day. Norma was busy doing the housework and keeping a close eye on her newborn baby boy who was asleep in the basinet on the kitchen table. All of a sudden she heard popping sounds outside. Curious she went over towards the kitchen window to see what the noise was. As she did so her little boy woke up and started to fuss. She picked him up out of the basinet and approached the window. She looked out at the field behind their home and caught a glimpse of a couple of boys moving about behind the hedge. As she gazed out she noticed an apparition materialize in front of her and as she tried to focus, all of a sudden “pop – tink – chew”, a .22 calibre bullet pierced the first pane of glass and cracked the second pane. She was standing right in front of the window with her baby in her arms. The police said had the bullet gone through both panes of glass, which it should have considering the short distance from where it was fired, it would have killed her baby for sure and possibly even her. They were curious why they could not find the bullet. It left a hole in the first pane of glass but only cracked the second pane, so all they could do was surmise that it ricocheted out the hole the bullet made in the first pane even though a 180 degree ricochet seemed rather impossible. To this day she claims it was an angel she saw that stopped the bullet that the two young neighbor boys who were playing around with their father’s .22 caliber rifle inadvertently shot through her window that day.
Our daughter was born with a strawberry birthmark on the top of her head. It was the size of a quarter and because she had fine blonde hair it really stood out. The Happy Hunters were in town (a husband/wife evangelical team) and my wife and I decided to go with some friends. During the service, they asked that if anyone wanted prayer for anything to go up. I suggested to my wife that she take our daughter up and have them pray about that birthmark. So she started to walk up … our daughter howling all the way up there (she was very colicky). I got distracted and started talking to my friend about other things. All of a sudden his wife yelled …”LOOK … LOOK”. I turned my head and noticed that Mrs. Hunter had our daughter in her arms and she was out cold ... like her eyes were closed like she was asleep. “That’s impossible” I thought, “She was crying all the way up there, she should still be crying”. After Mrs. Hunter prayed for her she handed her back to my wife and next thing I knew she fell back onto the floor with our daughter in her arms. “WOW … I thought … what is going on?” Eventually she got back up and as soon as she did our daughter started howling again as if nothing had happened. I couldn’t wait to ask her what had happened. No sooner had she sat down next to me I was drilling her with questions. I asked if anyone had pushed her … but she said no one did. She said as soon as Mrs. Hunter handed our daughter back to her, she felt an immense power go through her and she could not stand. A few weeks later … the strawberry birthmark was gone. Unbelievers have said that we were all under mass hypnosis or something. The thing is I cannot be hypnotized … too strong willed apparently, not to mention I wasn’t even paying attention at first till someone told me to look. I cannot deny what my two eyes saw. They say that seeing is believing … so I say that was one genuine miracle. ^_^
Joan was raised Catholic but did not know who Jesus was. She was told by her peers that the Bible was just a religious book written by a bunch of men and that not everything written in it was true, so she never read it. There was one person she knew that she made fun of who was a born-again Christian and who prayed for her. She got into Satan worship as a teen and has a scar and a streak of white hair to prove it. The scar she got when a demon touched her. She was terrified and called out to God … even though she did not know who Jesus was, she still believed in God. The demon left her and she stopped dabbling in the occult. Several years later she met someone online who shared the gospel of Christ with her and she started to go to an evangelical church, where she got baptized and grew in the faith. When one particular song was played in church, the power of God would come over her and she would lift her hands to heaven and sing loudly, sometimes the power of God would come over her so heavily that she could not stand and would collapse back into the pew. She is a very shy person and so something like this was out of character, but when the power of God came over her she could not stop what happened. Her online friend told her to try recording the song and playing it back at home while she slept … she did this and during the night she had visions of her youth. She was raped as a baby by her cousin. This almost killed her and she was in intensive care for months. She did not know about this as her family had kept this from her. After receiving this vision she asked her older sister about it and she told her what happened confirming that the vision was true. As God was showing her all the things that happened to her in her childhood, both the bad and good, she noticed Jesus was sitting next to her holding her hand. She could feel the love He had for her, and she felt at peace. God was showing her that even when we go through trials in our lives that He is there by our side. She could have died as a baby and very nearly did, but He chose to preserve her life, for He had a plan and purpose for her life, and nothing can thwart His plans, and nothing can separate us from His love. Shortly after she was baptized she met the classmate who had prayed for her all those years. She met her on Facebook and now they are closer than friends … they are sisters in Christ.
There are many other miracles I could share but shared these to lead up to what I am about to share now. I found this on the internet written by a pastor who does not believe that the gift of prophecy and other spiritual gifts such as the gift of healing, or the vehicles by which some of these gifts are imparted such as the laying on of hands is for the present day church. He quotes passages from the “New Testament” to support this claim –
“Colossians 2:8-10 tells us Christians are complete in Christ. We have all the supernatural knowledge from God that we need and all He will ever give in the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:3). We have the record of miracles to confirm that message (John 20:30, 31).
1 Corinthians 13:8-10 tells us God did miracles in the age when His written word was not complete. By God’s supernatural power, men revealed His will and confirmed by miracles that it was from God (Mark 16:20; Acts 14:3; Heb. 2:3, 4). Since the written word (that which is perfect — James 1:25) has come, God no longer gives men the power of prophecy.
So, no one today can prophecy by the power of God. Anyone who claims such a power is not doing it by God’s power. Whatever power he claims, it must be a form of occult divination, condemned by God.”
Like many false teachers this uninspired man has his spiritual eyes closed to the Truth. Let us look at his claims in the Light of God’s Word and with the wisdom He imparts to those whom He has chosen.
First you will notice that he uses only the writings of the New Testament to support his claim. This is the mistake of many self-proclaimed advocates of God’s Truth. They form doctrines around what they perceive as being the Truth without the full knowledge of what the Truth actually is. Granted the New Testament writings are inspired by God … but what is referred to as “the Scriptures” and “The Written Word of God” by New Testament writers is actually the inspired writings of “the Law and the Prophets” or the Old Testament (Torah). If a doctrine is not supported by the Old Testament, then it is must be questioned, for we are warned not to add anything to or take anything away from the Word of God that would corrupt it’s divine message (Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 12:32; Proverbs 30:5-6; Revelation 22:18-19; Galatians 1:6-12). Nowhere in the Old Testament does it say that miracles or prophecy will cease before the Lord returns … this alone should be proof that this doctrine is in error. Advocates of this doctrine cite Zechariah 13:1-3 as proof that prophecy ended at the day of Pentecost (others say when the books of the bible were canonized) … and yet Paul says that the gift of prophecy will continue even after that and this is alluded to in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 12:10; 14:1-5,18-25). Also like many false teachers … they take what is spoken of in Zechariah 13:1-3 out of context. If we look back to Zechariah 12 we find that this event will not take place until Christ returns in glory to defeat the armies of the Anti-Christ at His second coming. The prophecy was partially fulfilled by the atoning death of Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, but will be fully realized at His coming in glory. Only those who do not worship God in Spirit and in Truth would be deceived into thinking spiritual gifts and miracles will end before Christ’s return. If this were the case, then what of the two witnesses God will raise up during the reign of the Anti-Christ (the Beast) spoken of in Revelation 11? His word is absolute and infallible, He cannot be unfaithful to His word (2 Timothy 2:13) and so either the apostle John who wrote the Book of Revelation is a false prophet, or God changes His mind like the wind and is not faithful to His Word at all. These false teachers cannot even use simple reasoning to see the error in their teaching, for Satan has blinded them to the Truth and they are ensnared by their own lies to their undoing. They have committed the unpardonable sin … they have slandered the Holy Spirit, by saying that those who prophecy or do other miracles such as casting out of demons or healing through the laying on of hands in Jesus name are doing so by the power of the evil one. It is true that there have been many false prophets and teachers throughout history and one false prophet in particular who will come in the last days during the reign of the Anti-Christ and perform all manner of false signs and wonders to deceive even the elect if possible, but this does not mean that all prophets and workers of miracles are false ones. Only those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh (let the reader understand) are servants of the devil. You shall know them by their fruits. Are they vain and self-seeking or are they humbly doing their good works in accordance to His will and purpose and for His glory alone? Do they display the fruits of the Spirit in their lives? A bad branch cannot bear good fruit! Think about this before you make any rash judgements that could put your eternal life in the balance. Better still, DO NOT JUDGE … for by the measure you use, by that you too will be judged. Only those who have been perfected in love can give righteous judgement. Since only the Holy Spirit is perfect and is at work in every true believer to conform our spirits into His likeness, this perfection will only be fully realized when we are changed at His coming forever putting off the flesh which is at constant war with our spirits. May you be true to your calling until that day. Amen. Note: Jesus did not come to judge and condemn the world but to offer salvation to the lost … are we not called to do the same thing and follow in His footsteps?
But even though we are not called to condemn or judge anyone, we are told to test the spirits to see if they are from God or not. (1 John 4:1) Can light fellowship with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14) No … we can pray for the lost and show them the love of God, but we are told not to fellowship with those who hold to a form of godliness but deny its power. (2 Timothy 3:5) Remember, not everyone who cries out “Lord, Lord” will be saved, but only those who do the will of the Father (Matthew 7:21). And so to those of you who are seeking out the truth take heed … stay away from those who teach that the miraculous spiritual gifts of tongues, prophecy, casting out of demons, and healing are no longer in operation and claim that those that practice these are not doing so by the power of God, but by the power of the devil. These false teachers have committed the unpardonable sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit (see Matthew 12:22-37). This being the case, I am not even sure they can ever be forgiven, but regardless would still pray that God rescue those He has called and chosen from the clutches of this destructive and divisive false doctrine of man that has been inspired by Satan himself, as are all false doctrines. I pray you find the Truth while it may be found.
Now let us look at the passages found in the New Testament used by this false teacher to support his argument that the gift of prophecy has ceased. If you read these in the light of Truth, there is no way they support his false claims.
Colossians 2:8-10 simply says that we are to guard against those who would try and dissuade us from following the Truth through deceitful philosophy and vain traditions of man. For just as the fullness of God dwells in the Son, so too does the fullness of God dwell in those who have been spiritually reborn. We are made complete in Christ, for if you are one with Christ you are also one with the Father and the Holy Spirit as well.
2 Timothy 3:16, 17 simply says that every scripture in the Torah (Old Testament) is God inspired and can be used in confidence to teach others the way God wants us to live our lives. Following the inspired teachings found in the Torah (Old Testament) make it possible to live a life pleasing to God and therefore in our best interests.
2 Peter 1:1-4 simply says that those who have been given faith in Christ now have a deeper knowledge of God and made it possible for them to be partakers of His righteousness.
John 20:30, 31 simply says that the apostle John did not record all the miracles Jesus did and words Jesus spoke during His earthly ministry, but enough so that faith in Christ would be instilled in our hearts.
1 Corinthians 13:8-10 does not “tell us that God did miracles in the age when His written word was not complete” … to fully understand what this passage is talking about we need to look at the entire 13th chapter. 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 has love as its main theme, NOT the gifts of the spirit. It is simply saying that love is more important than the spiritual gifts of knowledge, tongues and prophecy. It is even more important than Hope or Faith. For even if you know the Holy Bible inside and out, and even believe in Jesus, and have hope your faith will save you, if you do not have love it is meaningless, for God is love. If you do not love those you can see, how can you love a God you cannot see? Now concerning 1 Corinthians 13:8-12, it is saying that when we see God face to face, then there will be no need for prophecy, or tongues or knowledge, for everything will be made clear at that time. Let the reader understand, Paul is inferring Christ’s return when the dead in Christ will rise and those faithful believers who are still alive at His coming will be changed and meet the Lord in the air as He is descending with His army of angels and so we will forever be with the Lord. Now we see Him dimly through the veil of our flesh and our knowledge is incomplete, but when we meet Him face to face when He returns everything will be made known to us so there will be no need for the gifts of knowledge, prophecy or tongues, just as the prophet Zechariah prophesied (Zechariah 13:1-3). This false teacher is basically saying that he has reached perfection already … that the Holy Spirit that indwells the believer has already made you perfect in knowledge, that he is all knowing like God, and that he is without sin for Jesus blood has washed him clean. But this is not what scripture says. Anyone who says they are without sin does not have the Truth in them. They are deceiving themselves if they think that they will ever reach perfection while they are in their mortal bodies, for our flesh is cursed with the inherent sin of the first Adam. It is only our spirit that has been revivified (reborn) and is in constant battle with our flesh, which we must crucify on a daily basis. But if we walk in the light of His truth and continue in fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, the blood of Jesus will purify us from all sin. We must continually be washed by His word so must study the scriptures and pray without ceasing, for our adversary is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. So we must remain vigilant and work out our salvation with fear and trembling with the hope of our reward at our journeys end.
Mark 16:20 – Before His ascension, Jesus sent forth his disciples to preach the good news and went with them in the spirit showing forth miraculous signs as proof their words were the Truth.
Acts 14:3 – Here Paul and Barnabas shared the good news at the Jewish synagogue in Iconium (modern Konya in Turkey) and many believed because God enabled them to perform many miraculous signs.
Heb. 2:3, 4 – simply says to avoid the wrath to come we should not neglect the way of salvation first shown to us by the Lord and confirmed by His disciples through many signs and wonders that God enabled them to perform.
James 1:25 – simply says that those who not only study God’s Word (Old Testament or Torah) but put into practice the teachings found therein will be blessed. Here the false teacher used this portion of the letter by James to support his claim that “Since the written word (that which is perfect) has come, God no longer gives men the power of prophecy.” But in reality, James is referring to the Old Testament which was the only thing referred to as “The Scriptures” or “The Word of God” at that time for the New Testament had not been compiled and canonized until much later (4th Century). In reality, the Word of God and The Holy Scriptures which are spoken of in both the Old and New Testaments refers to the writings of Moses and the prophets in the Torah or Old Testament. The New Testament is all the canonized books that were adopted by the Christian church and can be referred to collectively as the Gospel (good news) of Christ, though the book of Revelation seems to be in a class of its own. The books of the Apocrypha are not included in many bibles as they are not considered by many Christians to be inspired. I have read them and have to agree that they have no life in them at all and have ideas in them that detract from the Truth. It is a wonder why the Catholic Church backtracked and later included them in their Canon. What is Satan up to?
Here is a bible study all about angels. There are many misconceptions about angels. One of the most popular ones is that when children die they become angels. The Bible is clear on the point that angels and sons and daughters of man were both created by God and have many similarities but they are totally different and unique creations of God … just as a lion and a lamb are different. They may both be warm blooded mammals, but are very distinct from one another. A lion eats the meat of animals, whereas a lamb is a herbivore and does not eat meat. Although both walk on all fours, a lion has padded paws whereas a lamb has cloven hooves. As you go through this study you will become aware of these differences between angels and men and have a better understanding of God’s purpose in creating angels.
Angels were one of God’s first creations … even before the earth was created. This is alluded to in Job 38:4-7. Angels were present when God created man. Lucifer or Satan (prince of the demons) was in the Garden of Eden already in his fallen state when he deceived Eve and caused her to doubt God’s word which resulted in her disobeying God.
Angels are referred to as stars (figuratively speaking) and sons of God (since they are spiritual beings created by God) … see Job 38:7. In Isaiah 14:12-13 we see Lucifer who is the prince of the fallen angels scheming to overthrow God and rule over the angels (stars of God). Note: Morning stars are the brightest stars in the heavens in order for them to be seen in the light of dawn.
Angelic beings fall into two main categories … holy angels and demons or fallen angels. The holy angels are those angels that did not follow Satan in his rebellion against God and remained faithful to God. The demons, including Lucifer, were cast out of heaven and dwell here on earth and beneath the earth (Hades or hell) and are here to propagate all manner of evil on this earth and keep man bound in sin and from finding the Way, the Truth and the Life. Not included with the demons are angels that fell after the rebellion and are being held in chains until the Judgement. Their crime was that they disobeyed God and did something that is taboo. We gather from God’s word that angels can appear in human form. It would seem that some of these angels were captivated by the beauty of the daughters of man and while in human form as males took for themselves wives (Genesis 6:1-4). The results of these unions were wicked superhuman giants (Nephilim) … they were wicked and were not spared when the flood came … only Noah and his household were spared. It is mentioned that some angels did the same thing after the flood for a short time. All the angels that participated in these unions are now in chains in hell awaiting the Judgement (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6, 7). They are not free like the demons to roam the earth for doing this evil before God. Satan may have been instrumental in causing these angels to fall, for lust of the flesh is one of the things Satan uses to ensnare his victims. By doing this Satan may have wanted to destroy the lineage of Christ by corrupting the blood-lines. Fortunately this did not happen … for nothing can thwart God’s divine plan.
What do angels eat? According to Psalm 78:24, 25 they eat the grain of heaven … Manna, though assume this only applies to the heavenly angels and not the fallen angels or demons. The Word of God is not clear on what demons eat, but they can possess animals and humans and so it is likely they draw sustenance from their host, much like a cancer which is indeed their nature. When taking on a human form the Lord our God and angels can eat the same things we do as we see in Genesis 18:1-8 and 19:1-3. Angels can take on human forms (Hebrews 13:2) …but are not allowed to possess anyone, whereas it seems demons cannot take on human form, but are allowed to possess and oppress people and afflict them with all manner of sickness and disease. Some have reported seeing angels and demons alike ... demons are usually never seen as anything but deformed impish like creatures twisted by evil, but the word of God says that Satan can appear as an angel of light, so we must not trust our eyes for appearances can be deceiving while Satan is ruler of this world.
Angels and the first man were both created perfect and both were given free will. Aside from these similarities there are some major differences in how God deals with them when they choose to disobey His word and fall into sin. When angels sin … there is no forgiveness afforded them … when Lucifer led a rebellion where one third of the angels were beguiled into following him … they were all cast out of heaven and are now the demons on earth who cause illness and whose influence cause all the evil in the world, awaiting the Day of Judgement when they will be cast into the Lake of Fire which God will create for them to spend eternity. When the first man initially sinned, his descendants inherited this sin nature… so no one can stand before God righteous by his own merits … all stand guilty before God. But unlike angels, God is merciful to sinful men who humble themselves and ask for His forgiveness and choose to obey Him and believe on His word. A good example of this is King David. Even though he did not obey God all the time by multiplying wives to himself (Deuteronomy 17:17); and even committed adultery and murder (2 Samuel 11), God did consider him a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14 & Acts 13:22). From reading the Psalms David wrote we see that he had a pennant heart and had great faith in God. However he suffered greatly for the few times he disobeyed God… we see the contention there was between his many wives and their offspring and how one of his sons rebelled against him and tore the kingdom from him for a brief time, we see how he lost the son which had been conceived in iniquity from the one wife he cherished the most, we see how God would not allow him to build a temple for the Arc because of the fact he had shed much blood … this was left for his son Solomon to do, a man of peace (See 2 Samuel 11:1-12:14; 15:1-22 and 1 Chronicles 22:6-10; 28:1-3). Both in Psalms 51:17 and Isaiah 57:15 we find that God will not despise but will revivify the spirit of a person who is truly repentant of their sins. So why is salvation offered to the sons of man and not to angels? The reason can be seen by what Jesus said to his doubting disciple Thomas when he visited them after his death on the cross. Thomas would not believe the reports that Christ had risen until he could see him face to face and touch the crucifixion wounds on his body. Jesus allowed him to do just that and Thomas fell to his knees and proclaimed Jesus to be his Lord and God. Jesus however said that the blessing for those who do not see, but take it on faith and believe in Him would be far greater. The Word of God says that no man has ever seen the face of God and lived (Exodus 33:20, John 1:18) and yet there are angels that stand in the presence of God and see His glory all the time. (Luke 1:19; Revelation 8:2). Even Lucifer, the prince of the demons and ruler of this present world is called to present himself before God (see Job 1:6; 2:1). So man can only see God through the veil of His Son’s flesh and can only come live in His presence forever if they believe that God’s only begotten Son died for their sins and invite His Spirit in and become new creations in Him. They have never seen God face to face and so their salvation is solely based on faith which is counted as righteousness by God. Angels who have seen God face to face and not through a veil of flesh are therefore without excuse and so once they were beguiled by Satan and rebelled against His authority they forfeited their right to be God’s trusted messengers and instead became His eternal enemies. There is some debate over how Satan could talk to God since some advocate that God cannot look upon evil, however there is without question lots of evil in the world. If God could not look upon evil or be in the presence of evil, then Jesus could not have ministered to sinful man. In truth he ate with gluttons and drank wine with drunkards, and was accused of being such, but in truth He was neither a glutton nor a drunkard. If God could not be in the presence of evil, then Jesus could not have been tempted by the devil as scripture clearly teaches. Jesus was indeed tempted in every way we are and yet did not sin (Hebrews 4:15). The teaching that God cannot look upon evil is not scriptural and is a false teaching which has caused many other false teachings to rise up like a proliferant weed choking out the truth. In Truth the one scripture this false teaching is based on (Habakkuk 1:13) is saying that God’s eyes are so pure that He just can’t look at sin and do nothing about it, not that He has to separate Himself from those who are sinful in order to exist as a pure sinless entity. God is light and in Him no darkness can dwell, so even though He can look upon sinful man, or be in the presence of evil, He cannot be changed by it and will remain forever the one and only holy God of love and truth. If you look at the passage in context you see that Habakkuk is complaining to God about Him choosing the wicked Babylonians who don’t even honor or worship Him to be the ones to punish the people of Israel whom he says are better than the Babylonians. “Lord, you have chosen the Babylonians to punish people; our Rock, you picked them to punish. Your eyes are too good to look at evil; you cannot stand to see those who do wrong. So how can you put up with those evil people? How can you be quiet when the wicked swallow up people who are better than they are?” (Habakkuk 1:12b-13 NCV) People who cling onto this idea that God cannot look on sin claim that when Jesus said when He was dying on the cross. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me.” that God could not look on the sin of the world that was laid upon His Son. But this is not scriptural. In Deuteronomy 31:6-8, Hebrews 13:5 we are told that God will never leave or forsake His chosen ones. A look at Psalms 139 will reveal the error in thinking that God would ever forsake His own ... “Where can I go to escape your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I climb up to heaven, you are there; if I lie down in Sh’ol (hell), you are there. If I fly away with the wings of the dawn and land beyond the sea, even there your hand would lead me, your right hand would hold me fast. If I say, ‘Let darkness surround me, let the light around me be night,’ even darkness like this is not too dark for you; rather, night is as clear as day, darkness and light are the same.” Psalms 119:7-12 (Jewish Bible). So why did Jesus say “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me” when he was dying on the cross? This was no doubt a reference to Psalm 22 which He fulfilled at that time, but to say that God turned away from His son because He bore our sins on the cross does not ring true. Remember that Jesus was God in flesh and that the sins of the world were atoned for by the shedding of the blood of the perfect sacrifice ... His fleshly body ... one not tainted by the sin of the first Adam. Remember the first sacrifice ever made which forever set a precedent? God made clothing from the hides of animals for Adam and his wife Eve. Sin can only be atoned for by the blood of an innocent animal. Jesus was innocent … one of the thieves that was being crucified next to Jesus even testified that Jesus was innocent (Luke 23:41). I believe that Jesus said what He did to draw attention to the fact that He was fulfilling God’s promise for a deliverer … not out of the hands of the Romans, but from the bondage of sin and death. No … God did not turn His back on Jesus … for Psalms 119 goes on to say … “For He has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden His face from Him but has listened to His cry for help”. Psalm 119:24 NIV I guess I understand all this because I can relate to what Jesus went through and why He said what He did. There have been times where my journey through life has taken me through dark lonely valleys where I felt God had abandoned me … that He wasn’t listening to my petitions and cries for help… but often it is because we become impatient when we are overwhelmed by our trials in life … but then trials produce patience … and then as we persist we soon see that He has been with us all along. (See Romans 5:3; James 1:3, 4, 12; 5:11; Psalm 46:1). Let us be ever mindful of what God said when he created man …”this is very, very good” (if taken literally would be an exuberant “WOW this is so good … I am so happy I made man”). God so loved the world that He gave over His only begotten Son to be crucified for the sins of ALL men and that those who believe will NEVER perish but have eternal life. NOTE: Only those who believe and be spiritually reborn will enter the kingdom of heaven and so be with the Lord forever.
Lastly … Guardian Angels … what does the word of God say. In fact with the exception for a handful of modern translations, nowhere is “guardian angel” found in the word of God. For example, Acts 12:15 talks about how one of the women saw Jesus after he arose from the tomb and his disciples scoffed thinking her crazy and said it must be His angel (angel of the Lord), and not Jesus himself. Some translations say His “guardian” angel or note it as such. We must be careful not to base a doctrine solely on one vague reference to “guardian angel” which is probably taken out of context or just the opinion of a few translators (not the majority I might add). It is more than likely they were saying she did not see Jesus in the flesh, but one of His (God’s) angels (“malach” - messenger) , whereas in fact she actually did see Jesus in the flesh for He had not yet ascended into heaven … this did not take place until 40 days later on the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:1-12). The tried and trusted King James Version does not make any reference to guardian angels. There are only a few references made to guardian angels in the Contemporary Version, Amplified Version, Expanded Bible, God’s Word Translation, Good News Translation, Knox Bible, Names of God Bible, New Living Translation, and The Voice. However not all agree what verses can be translated in this manner which I found amusing. In Matthew 18:10 Jesus says “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” From this it would seem that God assigns angels to minister to His children (those who believe in Him) … but to call them guardian angels might be stretching things a bit, since the word of God does not specifically call them that. We are to be careful not to add to or take away from God’s word. Although many translations mention that Lucifer was at one time an anointed guardian cherub … the King James Version makes no reference to him being a guardian cherub …but renders it “cherub who covers” and “covering cherub”. The Jewish bible renders it “You were a keruv, protecting a large region” and “protecting keruv” (the Hebrew “keruv” is translated “cherub” or “cherubim”). Lucifer was the chief angel only next to God Himself in authority and power. Little wonder why so many angels listened to him when he decided to rebel against God’s authority after the sin of pride consumed him. The only problem was that the difference between the Creator’s power and the ones He created is vastly different … Lucifer never had a chance and it was the insanity caused by pride that made him think he could ever fill God’s shoes. Pride totally blinded him to the truth … but since there is no truth in him that is to be expected I suppose. I have a nephew that is a chronic liar … he has issues let’s say. He actually believes his lies … I can see a parallel here. I would stay away from paying too much attention to this guardian angel epidemic … some have taken it so far as to actually go into angel worship. I know that is what Satan wants … to be worshiped, but in truth … God wants you to worship Him alone and not His creation … so let’s drop this fascination with guardian angels … it should not be our focus. It is dangerous to get our eyes off Jesus and get sidetracked.
Consider the rendering of “guardian angel” in the following translations as mentioned previously: Note that not all of these versions are in agreement as to what passages should render the word for these angels as “chief princes”, “archangels” or as “guardian angels”. Again it should be noted that the trusted King James Version makes no reference to “guardian angels” … the same is true for many other modern translations.
Daniel 10:21 - But I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth or the Book of Truth. There is no one who holds with me and strengthens himself against these [hostile spirit forces] except Michael, your prince [national guardian angel].
Ezekiel 28:16 - Through the abundance of your commerce you were filled with lawlessness and violence, and you sinned; therefore I cast you out as a profane thing from the mountain of God and the guardian cherub drove you out from the midst of the stones of fire.
Common English Bible
Acts 12:15 - “You’ve lost your mind!” they responded. She stuck by her story with such determination that they began to say, “It must be his guardian angel.”
Deuteronomy 32:8 - that God Most High gave land to every nation. He assigned a guardian angel to each of them,
Daniel 10:13 - But the guardian angel of Persia opposed me for twenty-one days. Then Michael, who is one of the strongest guardian angels, came to rescue me from the kings of Persia.
Daniel 10:20 - Then the angel said: Now do you understand why I have come? Soon I must leave to fight against the guardian angel of Persia. Then after I have defeated him, the guardian angel of Greece will attack me.
Daniel 10:21 - I will tell you what is written in The Book of Truth. But first, you must realize that no one except Michael, the guardian angel of Israel, is on my side.
Expanded Bible version
Revelation 1:20 - Here is the ·secret [mystery] of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the ·angels or messengers; these may be guardian angels, human leaders, or the personified “spirit” of each church] of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
God’s Word version
Ezekiel 28:16 - You traded far and wide. You learned to be violent, and you sinned. So I threw you down from God’s mountain in disgrace. The guardian angel forced you out from the fiery stones.
Good News version
Daniel 10:20-21 - He said, “Do you know why I came to you? It is to reveal to you what is written in the Book of Truth. Now I have to go back and fight the guardian angel of Persia. After that the guardian angel of Greece will appear. There is no one to help me except Michael, Israel's guardian angel.
Knox Bible version
The Acts 12:15 - Thou art mad, they told her, but she still insisted that it was so; and then they said, It must be his guardian angel.
Living Bible version is “guardian angel” happy … renders angels in 43 passages of scripture as “guardian angels”. If you’re a “guardian angel” fanatic this is the version for you.
Names of God Bible version
Ezekiel 28:16 - You traded far and wide. You learned to be violent, and you sinned. So I threw you down from Elohim’s mountain in disgrace. The guardian angel forced you out from the fiery stones.
New Living version
Ezekiel 28:14 - I ordained and anointed you as the mighty angelic guardian. You had access to the holy mountain of God and walked among the stones of fire.
The Voice version
Psalm 91:5 - Psalm 91 is a beautiful psalm of trust in God. But how does God take care of all His people, all at the same time? Well, keep reading because Psalm 91 is one of just a few places in Scripture that describe what we might call “guardian angels” (Exodus 23:20; Psalm 43:3). Though rare, these passages teach that God is not alone in maintaining and protecting His creation and His people. He has made a host of heavenly messengers ready to do His bidding, and His bidding is often to guard His people throughout their lives and protect them—sometimes from dangers they are not even aware of. You will not dread the terrors that haunt the night or enemy arrows that fly in the day
Acts 12:15 - Praying Believers: Rhoda, you’re crazy! Rhoda: No! Peter’s out there! I’m sure of it! Praying Believers: Well, maybe it’s his guardian angel or something.
Allot of versions render angel in Ezekiel 28:14 and 16 as “guardian cherub”:
Ezekiel 28:14 - You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.
Ezekiel 28:16 - In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
Matthew 18:10 (NIV) - “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” Jesus says we must be like a child (young children are trusting, innocent and readily accept what they are told … pliable in the Potter’s hand) …read this passage in context to grasp the whole meaning. It would seem that God assigns angels to minister to his children … but to call them guardian angels might be stretching things a bit, since the word of God does not specifically call them that. We are to be careful not to add to or take away from God’s word. We are not to worship angels or pray to angels or to place our hope in them or dwell on them… for like us they are only creations of God, created to serve God. It is only Him we are to worship and direct our prayers to and place our hope in … no one or nothing else, for anything else other than divine worship in our creator God is idolatry.
These version do not translate angels in any passage as “guardian angel” … American Standard Version, 21st Century King James, Complete Jewish Bible, Darby Translation, Easy-To-Read Version, English Standard Version, 1959 Geneva Bible, Holman Christian Standard Bible, J.B. Phillips New Testament, Jubilee Bible 2000, King James Version, Lexham English Bible, The Message, New American Standard Bible, New Century Version, New English Translation, New International Reader’s Version, New International Version, New King James Version, New Life Version, New Revised Standard Version, Orthodox Jewish Bible, Revised Standard Version, World English Bible, Wycliffe Bible, Young’s Literal Translation.
Of the above … the following versions have rendered angels as “guardian cherub” in Ezekiel 28:14 and 16 … so basically “guardian angel” …just a different way of saying it :- English Standard Version, Holman Christian Standard Bible, Lexham English Bible, New English Translation, New International Reader’s Version, New International Version, New Revised Standard Version, and Revised Standard Version.
The versions considered “guardian angel” free are in bold lettering in the list above. I was surprised that the ESV version did not make the list, but I still like it. It is one of the better modern translations of the bible in my opinion. The tried and true King James Version of the Bible is the most read and revered translation. It is always good to have one on hand as a cross reference.
The Word of God speaks of how during the three and a half year reign of the Anti-Christ that the church will go through a time of great persecution. Like the time of the Roman Emperor Nero, the government set down laws which made being a Christian illegal … even though they tolerated other religions. The Nazi’s during WW II did the same thing to God’s chosen people … the Jews. Millions of Jews were sent to the gas chamber just because of their ethnic origins and beliefs. Even though there are countries (like Muslim countries) where Christians are persecuted today, many wonder how in a democratic society which prides itself on freedom of speech and religion this would even be allowed.
Over 35 years ago God showed me that homosexuality would be accepted and gay marriages performed as one of the signs that He will be coming soon to set up His millennial kingdom. Also that anyone speaking out against homosexuality which is clearly taught in scripture to be immoral and an abomination to God would be persecuted, that churches would be burned. Well this is happening now in North America and in other countries legalizing sinful practices and making it illegal to say anything against these laws, saying these teachings are a violation of the rights of Gay minorities (homosexuals and lesbians) and those who get and perform abortions. These things must come … but whoa to those through whom they come … those in government who have voted in these abominable laws that allow these evil practices will be held accountable, along with those who are caught up in them. The governments of these countries have and will display hypocrisy to the max by passing laws which protect the rights of minorities at the expense of the rights of the majority … all in the guise that what they are doing is right and forcing the majority who are spiritually blind to accept these laws … a prime example of the blind leading the blind. I know of many who are not gay saying it is okay to be gay, but if they only knew the eternal consequences … they would not wish anyone to be gay or live in unrepentant sin if it meant spending an eternity in the fires of hell.
A prime example of these trends is the recent election in Alberta, Canada. One of the candidates of the opposition party which lead in the popularity polls going into the election was a pastor of a Christian church. On his church’s website he posted his stance about homosexuality … that it was morally wrong … and that those who were trapped in this sin would go to hell. A sympathizer for the ruling party tweeted this on the net and the news media picked up on it … not understanding his position they proceeded to dishonorate him … and was persecuted for his beliefs by the majority. The ruling government even chimed in and encouraged this persecution … they had a chance to honorably defend this candidates religious rights and freedom of speech, but chose not to. It was dirty politics to say the least, and a smear campaign that worked. As a result the ruling party got back into power. “So what?” you may ask … “that’s just politics”. Well from this you can see how ones basic rights and freedoms can be compromised, and it is only going to get worse as time goes on and our society falls even deeper into immorality and under the growing influence of Satan and his demons before the great and terrible day of our Lord.
Now am I saying that I am against gay persons on a personal level? Absolutely not! If I saw someone in need … I would go and help that person, regardless of whether they were gay or not. I remember once a transvestite came into the convenience store I was cashier at in the middle of the night (we were open 24 hrs). Some teens had been harassing him and he came in to the store to escape them. He explained what happened and I offered him a coffee and said I would call a cab for him and saw him safely on his way. After that he would come back at night with some of his friends and would buy things … I suppose in a way to say thanks. Even though I did not agree with his lifestyle … I chose to respect his decision to live the way he had chosen to live, and treat him like I would any other human being. Though now I think back on it … had I been a bit bolder I could have warned him that his lifestyle was not pleasing to the creator of heaven and earth, but at least I got the chance to show him God’s unconditional love and to pray for him. You never know … maybe he is now serving the Lord. That is why you cannot say that just because a person is living in sin now … that he will go to hell … for all that person needs to do is honestly and in all sincerity repent before they die and live out the remainder of their life in obedience to God. Look at the thief on the cross with Jesus. He was a sinner all his life and at first was mocking Jesus with the other thief who was being crucified with them, but then changed his mind and heart towards God and asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom. Jesus said, “Today you will be with me in paradise”. He wasn’t baptized, or spoke in tongues … did not do any acts of righteousness like give his money to the poor … all he had was his faith in God and a repentant heart (he admitted his guilt and said he was deserving of his punishment but that Jesus had done nothing wrong)… that is all it took for him to get into heaven. But don’t think that once you have been convicted of your sins that you can go on sinning with the thought that just before you die you can ask for forgiveness and everything will be okay. God knows your heart, so you cannot deceive Him even though you are able to deceive others. He cannot be mocked in this way … what you sow ... you shall reap. If you continue sowing to the flesh you will reap destruction, but if you crucify the flesh on a daily basis and sow to the spirit instead you will gain eternal life.
I find the BIG BANG theory rather interesting. I am a scientist (major in chemistry and computer sciences) and approach every question analytically. As to the big bang theory, it is only a theory, just like evolution is a theory. There is no conclusive scientific evidence that can prove either of these theories and we are left to speculate and make "educated guesses". No one knows for sure exactly how the universe came into existence. Christians and other groups who believe in a divine creator attribute this creative event to God.
As for the theory that a ray of light caused the birth of the universe, this sounds like creationism to me (God created light before He created the Sun, Moon and stars – see Gen 1:3). You may say that if light started it all, then there couldn't be any matter at all. If you think that then your logic is flawed. You see light is composed of photons which are particles of matter, even though they have very little mass. Light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength that is visible to the eye (visible light) or, in a technical or scientific context, electromagnetic radiation of any wavelength. Due to the wave-particle duality of matter, light simultaneously exhibits properties of both waves and particles.
So matter has always existed. Conservation of energy law states that the total amount of energy (including potential energy) in a closed system remains constant. In other words, energy can be converted from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed. Keep this in your thoughts as you read on.
There was a small independent study done over 25 years ago to find out if the human spirit had mass. They performed tests on several terminally ill human patients and on dogs, cats, and rabbits. It was reported that only the humans lost a small amount of weight when they died. Was this mass their spirit? For sake of argument let's say it was. The Bible says that humans (not any other animal) are created in God’s image and that God is a spirit and is NOT a man. (See Genesis 1:27; Numbers 23:19; Luke 24:39; John 4:24) If you follow this reasoning then we can say that God's spirit has mass and is a form of energy. Matter has always existed because energy cannot be created or destroyed; therefore God has always existed and always will exist. Energy can be changed into other forms of energy ... like nuclear for example. Could God have changed part of His own being to form dense matter and used light (photons) to orchestrate the BIG BANG? Whether or not He did is inconsequential for we are told by divine revelation that all things were created by and through Him (Colossians 1:16; John 1:3; Romans 11:36). His word makes it emphatically clear who created the heavens and the earth at the very beginning. (See Genesis 1:1)
The Bible says that God is so big that even the heavens cannot contain Him (1 Kings 8:27; 2 Chronicles 2:6), so it only stands to reason that there would be enough energy for God to use to make everything and have lots left over. I know that this sounds a bit simplistic, but often the simplest explanations are usually the correct ones. And if this idea of mine is relegated to that of a theory instead of fact, it is in good company … move over Darwin. :)
For further reference as to how big God and His creation is click here.
To those who set dates for Christ’s return (Day of the Lord) or the end of the world I say this … you are false teachers and false prophets ... you do not know the Truth. No one, man or angelic being, knows the hour or day of His return. Even though man is set on setting dates for His return, the truth is only God the Father knows when this will take place and He has never or will ever tell anyone what that day will be until that day comes and is heralded by a trumpet blast and the Lord appearing in the clouds with His angels. What is His reason for not telling anyone? Obviously for the same reason He gave when he explained to His disciples why He spoke in parables to the crowds about the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 13:10-17) If everyone knew when He was going to return, then everyone would be saved for they would make sure all their t’s were crossed and all their i’s doted before the hour arrived. It is like a dishonest gold merchant who uses a balance that under weighs the gold so that he does not have to pay as much for it, and is notified that he will be visited by a government official on a specific day to have his weigh scale inspected. Before that day comes, he adjusts it so that it measures accurately. Let us put ourselves in God’s shoes for a moment. Would you want to spend eternity with someone who only obeyed you out of fear of eternal punishment? What do you think would happen once the danger had passed and they knew they were not going to hell to be punished for eternity … what do you think happened when the government official left after checking up on our gold merchant? He returned to his dishonest ways for his heart had not been changed and was still wicked. Before asking “when will Jesus come back” … we should first ask who Jesus was and why He came to earth and had to die on the cross. Why be concerned about when Jesus is coming back, when you are not even ready to meet Him?
The world did not end on Dec 21, 2012 nor will it in 2013, or 2014, or even 2015. The world will end for some … those who are appointed to die during this period of time, but the whole world will not end any time soon. We get these people who are all hung up on predicting the end of the world who really are not happy with this world and allot of people who are not happy with their life believing them, stockpiling food or building underground shelters as their way of preparing for some unforeseen calamity that will happen on such and such a date, and that afterward somehow their lives will be better. Instead of wishing your life or world will end … why not chose to change your life for the better now? Make your life a life worth living, by living life the way God intended for you to live it. And instead of fearing what may happen in the future, comfort yourself in the knowledge that God guarantees the future of those who choose to believe on Him and make His words their own. So how do I know that the world is not going to end any time soon? The Word of God says that it will not end in this century or even this millennium, so anyone who thinks that the world will end soon is wrong, unless they are thinking that 1000 years is soon. You may ask, “Where does it say that? … Well read the following portion of scripture and you will see – Revelation 20:1-6
The end of the world will not come for quite some time … first you have the reign of the Anti-Christ where the church will go through a period of global persecution - a time of great trouble. This is said to last for a period of just over three years. At the end of this time Jesus shall return on the Day of the Lord (no time limit on the events) - first the sun turn red and the moon not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven after which Jesus and His army of angels appear in the clouds. He sends out his angels to gather the elect, both the living and the dead, then fight the forces of darkness, defeating the armies led by Satan in the Battle of Armageddon. After God has poured out His bowls of wrath on the wicked there will be 1000 years where the nations (survivors of God’s wrath) will be ruled by Jesus and His saints … Satan will be bound during this time and there will be peace on the earth. At the end of the 1000 years, Satan will be released and deceive yet again the objects of God’s wrath for one final battle. Then after that the world will be destroyed by fire and a new heaven and new earth will be created, and only those individuals whose names are written in the Book of Life will have a room in the New Jerusalem hotel forever. So you see this world will not end soon and will be around for at least another 1000 years.
Note: The “Day of the Lord” has several aspects to it – first signs in the heavens (sun be darkened and the moon not give it’s light, stars falling from sky, then Jesus appearing in the clouds with His army of angels); the gathering of the saints … both the living and the dead … who will meet the Lord in the air at His coming; the Battle of Armageddon where Satan and his armies will be defeated by God and His armies; the wrath of God poured out on the wicked. We are not told exactly how long the Day of the Lord is … is it a 24 hour day, or a much longer period? Remember the Sun and Moon and the stars in the heavens used to measure time and the seasons will be taken out of the equation. To God a 1000 years is like a day (Psalm 90:4; 2 Pet 3:8) and is not bound by time… so not sure how long the “Day of the Lord” will actually be.
I imagine everyone has heard the word “AMEN” ... but not everyone knows what that word means or how it should be used. This word is misused allot and can get rather annoying when it is said too often especially with a question mark after it. I find it is often used when it shouldn’t be ... almost like it is being used as a word which imparts some special blessing or holy ascent. I have heard some preachers at the many churches I visited in my quest for Truth use this word as one would generously use a salt shaker. For some reason I did not have a good feeling in my spirit about it, but I never understood why I felt that way until I recently did a study on the biblical word "Amen".
I found out from my study that when someone says Amen, they are either affirming from their heart that they believe that what God said is perfect, absolutely true, and faithful; or making an affirmation in agreement to what is being read or preached as the gospel truth to which they are dedicated; or affirming the certainty that their prayers and petitions, when asked in accordance to God's will being done, are pleasing to God and will be heard by Him. So when you say Amen, it really should be considered a solemn oath of agreement before God, which should never be uttered lightly. Unfortunately I have heard pastors frivolously misuse this word thinking that the frequent use of this word gives what they are saying holy ascent.
If a pastor says “Amen” at the end of every sentence in his sermon often as a question ... it is almost like he is looking for affirmation from the congregation. If he is so uncertain of his message, whether it is from God or not ... should he even preach it? If you hear a message that speaks to your heart and you say “Amen” that is okay ... you are affirming before God and the congregation and the one giving the message that for you this is true ... so in this case it is appropriate to say “AMEN” ... or after a corporate prayer which you are in agreement with. This word should be used reverently since it is one of the names given to God ... and as you are aware the Lord’s name is never to be taken in vain. (See Revelation 3:14b “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” Also see Isaiah 65:16 "That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes." Both these words that are translated “truth” are the Hebrew word “amen”. Thus, he is declaring this by the God of Amen, the Jehovah God who cannot lie (Titus 1:2). In this context this word is expressing God's faithfulness. That He alone is the Amen, the God of Truth.)
Now that I know this ... I now understand why I felt so uneasy in my spirit whenever I heard a pastor say “Amen” so irreverently. How would it sound if instead of “Amen?” he said “Jesus” or “Lord” or “God” in this manner? All these words are interchangeable ... for Jesus is the Lord our God, the Amen, the God of Truth. So in future whenever you say the word "Amen" ... say it with the same reverence as you do when you call upon the name of our blessed Lord Jesus. To Him be all glory and honor for ever and ever. Amen.
For further reference:
Being a rather gullible person it has been my constant prayer that God would show me His truth and expose doctrines of demons and men. It is for this reason I believe that I have never been able to accept the Calvinist doctrine of Eternal Security - "once saved always saved" (amongst a few others). It was great that there was a spiritual revival with the Calvinist movement back then, but it seems with every good seed sown by God.... Satan comes along and sows in some weeds in an effort to pollute and bring to not the works of the Holy Spirit. We are to guard ourselves against these false doctrines and test them to see whether they are from God or not. I have found many such doctrines where once their influence has been removed ... the Word of God is seen in a new light ... which is actually not new at all for it is the light of Truth which has always been there ... but has been hidden by the weeds Satan has sown to blind us to God's Truth.
I have never been a proponent of OSAS even though I went to a Bible College and churches that taught this doctrine. I did not grow up in a charismatic church (raised in a United Church of Canada) and so Calvinistic teachings were foreign to me ... yet God had His hand on me and I accepted Christ into my life in my early 20’s. Let me tell you a bit about my journey.
I grew up in a small town in western Canada and faithfully went to church with my parents even into my late teens. I was sort of an altar boy as I was in both the junior and senior choirs. Although I was a member of the United Church (took catechism) ... I was spiritually dead. I did not know that Jesus the Son and God the Father and the Holy Spirit were the same person. Even though they talked about the Trinity ... it went over my head. The bible was never read in our home and church was like a social club. At 18 I began questioning God’s existence. So I prayed (something I rarely did) and asked Him how He could exist before time and forever more and how He made everything from nothing and if the bible was His infallible word. No sooner had I asked Him I knew the answer and it was this answer that kept me believing in God and the Word of God. I have shared this answer with others who are seeking ... some it has helped ... others it has not ... possibly because it is meant only for those whom God has chosen, or perhaps it was only meant for me. I was forced into being an introvert because I was ostracized by my peers at a very young age which went right up to my senior years at school and had few friends. I thought no one loved me or cared ... even my parents did not hug me or tell me they loved me ... but I did learn in Sunday school that “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so”. Thirsting for this love I began reading the Bible. Of course you always read a book from the beginning so I was a Jew for a while ... I even tried to eat lamb on the Passover but it was too woolly for my taste. At age 24 after I got out of the military I decided to go to a Bible College. God lead me to this charismatic college where I found and accepted Christ as my saviour ... I met and married my wife Karen the next year. Anyway ... when I was in my first year Bible College something amazing happened, something that has kept my faith alive all these years and has humbled me to the point where I can see God’s grace clearly. Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” What is the gift of God they are speaking of? Faith of course ... it is one of the spiritual gifts. This is simply saying that there is nothing we can do in our own effort to save ourselves ... for our righteousness is but filthy rags ... there is no good that dwells in us save the goodness of God since all goodness and light comes from Him. So we can do no good on our own for all have sinned and fall short of His glory. It is only those who accept Christ’s atoning death on the cross and believe that He is the Lord God Almighty who have the right to become children of God ... but believing is not enough ... for even the demons believe that Jesus is the Christ and that God is One (James 2:19) We must invite Him into our lives and take up residence in our temple ... our bodies.(1 Cor 3:16) We need to become bond servants with Him and allow Him to live through us. (Philippians 1:1) We need to spiritually eat His flesh and drink His blood in order to live forever in His presence.(John 6:28-69) In Him we live, move and have our being. (Acts 17:28) If you do not abide in the VIne you cannot produce fruit that will last. Without works faith is dead.(James 2:14-26) So what am I saying ... faith is from God, grace is from God, love is from God, goodness is from God. All have sinned and have the inherent sin of Adam ... all are guilty and deserving of death. Only those who believe in the salvation offered by God through the shed blood and broken flesh of His Son Jesus Christ as an atonement for our sins will see life. Yet it is not through our righteousness ...but through His that we are saved. He is the One who has called us and given us good works to do all for His glory. The only thing for us to do is to choose whom we are to serve ... who will be our master ... mammon, our fleshly desires, Satan OR Jesus our Lord and King. There are many on the road to destruction ... we all start out there on that road ... only a few find and stay on the narrow road to life thanks to His leading and guidance and unfailing faithfulness and love.
I have heard proponents of OSAS say that Salvation is a gift of God using Ephesians 2:8-9 as a precipice. In fact this is one of the main verses used by OSAS advocates. However in all the translations I have checked...salvation is never referred to as a gift ... anything but. The only one I found is Ephesians 2:8-9 and only because this passage is misinterpreted. I like the NIV rendering of this passage:
Ephesians 2:8-9(NIV) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.
Many have taken “this” as referring to the process of salvation itself ... but if we compare this passage to other scripture we find that “this” is referring to “faith” which is indeed a gift from God and stated as such ... it is one of the gifts of the Spirit. In fact this theme is carried over into a debate over faith versus works ... “faith without works is dead”. The “gift of Salvation” or “Salvation is a gift of God” or “salvation is given” is not found anywhere in scripture (even the word “salvation” with either “given” or “gift” are not found in the same passage of scripture) and the only passage that could make people even think this is Ephesians 2:8-9. It has been claimed that if any portion of scripture was removed from the bible that the gospel would not be affected ... but if this portion of scripture were removed, no one would be saying Salvation is a gift given by God and the OSAS doctrine would not be around since I heard it was based on the misinterpretation of this scripture and people are vainly trying to use other portions of the Bible to support this false doctrine ignoring the overwhelming passages of scripture that shoot this doctrine full of holes.
How can Salvation be a gift when we are told we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling? What is salvation? In scripture it either refers to the act of redemption or the person through whom that redemption comes from. What does the bible say about salvation?
The Lord our God is our salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
2 Samuel 22:3
My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior— from violent people you save me.
The LORD is my strength and my defense ; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.
Salvation is the end result of our faith.
1 Peter 1:8-9
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Jesus will bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him at His return in glory
so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
1 Peter 1:4-6
This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
Salvation is offered to everyone ... offered not given.
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.
And notice it is not God who is doing the offering ... it is the grace of God that offers salvation to all mankind ... for it is by grace you have been saved through the gift of faith which God has given a measure to all He has called and not by anything you have done in your own strength, knowing that any good works you have done have been wrought by the Holy Spirit that indwells you ... His servant. Whether you are a worthy servant or a lazy, wicked one will be determined by what kind of fruit you produce (or if you don’t produce any) and if that fruit lasts till the harvest. For if you go on living in unrepentant sin, you crucify Christ anew and you are still a slave to sin ... so your branch will wither and your fruit fall to the ground and rot ... be warned ... God is not mocked ... you will surely reap what you sew ... only those who remain in Him will inherit the kingdom, because aside from Him you can do nothing.
Anyway ... whenever I heard someone say “salvation is a gift” I always asked ... “where does it say that in scripture” and they always quoted Ephesians 2:8-9, yet it is really a misquote isn’t it?
So now that you know about my understanding of being saved by grace ... let me share what happened that fateful day so many years ago.
One day when I was going to Bible College (a long, long time ago), an evangelist visited our school. He sat in on our class. Prayer and worship spilled over into class time as the evangelist felt there was a need. My friend who was sitting at the table next to me began speaking in another language (he had never done this before). I began to tremble and I heard myself proclaim that my friend had just been baptized with fire. I heard myself say these words, but I knew nothing about these things. How then could I utter this with such conviction? My friend fell into a deep sleep. Our class was the last class of the day, but I stayed behind with a few others until my friend woke up. He said he had been with Jesus. He said he had such love for everyone and gave everyone there a hug. He had a radiance about him I had never seen before. Anyway, I asked him what had happened. He said that as he was praising God, a blinding light enveloped him. As the light subsided he made out a figure of a man dress in white robes. Although the man's face remained hidden by a blinding white light, when my friend saw the man's feet and hands, he knew it was Jesus. Jesus gently took his hand and led him to a booth beside a long and wide road. Many people were walking along the road. Suddenly a glowing crystalline amber hand began pushing people off the road here and there. These people resisted and some even managed to scrabble back onto the road again. At this the vision ended and my friend awoke. This vision had greatly perplexed my friend and he asked me what I thought it meant. I offered ... “The road is the road to heaven and Satan is trying to snatch people off the road". But he could not accept that explanation.
I told my friend that God wouldn’t show him this without a reason, and to go home and pray and ask God to reveal what the vision meant. As he was approaching his home he did not notice that the fence along the front of his yard had blown down. He walked right over the top of the gate and up to his front door where his wife met him. She pointed out that the fence had blown down. He turned and said he hadn’t even noticed as he was still drunk with the Spirit. He then asked when it happened. She told him and he realized it was at the same time he had been baptized with fire at the Bible College that morning. That night he prayed as I instructed and during the night God roused him and revealed to him what the vision meant. The road was the road to destruction and the Hand of the Almighty was mercifully pushing people here and there off the road. These stubborn people resisted and some even managing to get back onto the road again. Well, I couldn’t accept what my friend said as my pride would not let me, for the longest time. But after studying God’s word, I have to admit that we are all too readily led astray by our fleshly desires and by the temptations this world offers. By our very nature we are prone to sin and it is only by God’s grace and loving sacrifice on our behalf that we are even able to obey the Father at all. For most that is just too humbling to accept … “Lord, pour contempt on ALL our pride”.
Note: My friend did not even know he had spoken in tongues the day he was baptized in fire, but could now pray in tongues. It is funny but I told him the previous day that since he had spoken in tongues (even though he couldn’t remember doing so), he now had the “gift”. Sure enough what I said had come to pass. I find it incredulous because I was a “baby” Christian and didn’t really know about these things, yet I spoke with authority. Was it the Holy Spirit using me? – No doubt, it surely wasn’t me. Sadly, I became rather jealous of my friend. Here he experienced a wondrous thing that I had never experienced myself. I didn’t even speak in tongues, and still don’t. I have never had a vision from God. I have seen genuine miracles, where one could not refute the fact that these were real and from God, but have never experienced any real miracles myself (at least none of significance). None-the-less, I have seen them happening to others and I suppose that is enough. God has given me insight into His Word concerning many of His truths, but I have not really shared these insights with anyone other than my wife as they are rather contentious and I don’t really like confrontation. Concerning my views on working out your salvation with fear and trembling, I have always been in congregations where the “once saved always saved” doctrine reigned supreme and so I have kept my thoughts to myself. I did finally share it with my pastor and a few months later my pastor announced to the whole congregation that he no longer believed in this doctrine. I predicted that more and more Christians would come to this conclusion as the End draws nearer, and it is happening. The sad part is that many left the congregation, but only immature Christians do this. I guess it is true … if you make a stand for God’s truth … you will lose the world’s respect. It is true that false doctrines divide, but so does the Truth ... it separates the light from the darkness. We are being sifted like wheat before the great day of the Lord. (Note: This event happened about 10 years ago whereas I went to Bible College over 35 years ago ... I shared this same story to the present pastor in 2011 and to my shock he announced to the congregation a few months ago (Jan 2012) that he no longer believes in OSAS. Fortunately there is no division as there was 10 years ago as our church has matured and our present pastor is sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. I have noted a real change in my pastor since then, almost as if he has rededicated his life to Christ and moved onto higher ground ... there is a fervor there I've never seen before ... it is like someone turned on a switch ... the church is alive and actually growing ... to God be all the glory.
I want to thank WHATZTRUTH.COM for offering me the chance to share this with you. The only persons who I have been able to share this with have been 2 pastors from my church, my wife and 2 online friends. Back 30 years ago when the Lord first showed me this I was unable to share it ... I often asked God why He would show me this if I refused to share it with anyone. It took allot just to share this with the two pastors ... I really didn't want to ... but I felt compelled to ... so I did. I felt bad about what happened the first time so actually ran away and stopped going to church for years. I did not want to be the cause of any division in the church because of my testimony. But then the Lord told me that He was coming back soon and to prepare myself ... to go back to church. So I did and then I gave my testimony again to the present pastor and he went and did the same thing as the former one, but this time I don't feel bad about telling him since no one left the church because of it this time and in fact good has come from it. Even if they did, I have made up my mind to stay regardless and to prepare myself for the Lord's imminent return as He commanded me to. God bless you all, Ron.
For further study on what Ron has talked here about we suggest you go here.
A few years ago I was a member of a very interesting MSN Community called "Christians VS Atheists". I saved my first submission to the community and enjoyed my time there but found it spiritually draining so left after about a year to pursue other ventures. I thought I would share my first submission to show everyone what this group was like and answer the questions brought up by an atheist member concerning the scientific accuracy of the Bible. I have quoted it here exactly how I wrote it.
Hello everybody. I am new to the site and was invited by one of your members. I guess I will start on this thread as I noticed the fur flying and wanted in the fray, though it looks like the host has abandoned the fight. I say "fight" since this is Christians VS Atheists right?
Let us start at the beginning (yes I have read every post from the beginning). In the beginning after Kaitlin5910 made her initial statement, SensitiveNewAgeYob said "Scientifically accurate my arse. It can't get the value of pi closer than one significant figure (i.e., 3). It says bats are birds. It thinks insects had 4 legs. It claimed that there were 4 corners to the world, that on a high hill you could see it all, that the flood happened, that some god or gods created the universe and everything in it, that men were created before women and only then as an afterthought. As a treatise on ethnic cleansing and all round barbarism it is excellent, for science, look elsewhere." It would seem the poor boy never got any answers and the chant for the answers was taken up by other members, still no reply. I will attempt to answer the questions as best I can.
Well, I wasn't really certain at first about the math problem with pi, but I really think what Kaitlin5910 was trying to show is that many statements in the Bible that could be scientifically proven, have been. Never-the-less let us take a look at it. SensitiveNewAgeYob provided us with 2 Chron 4:2 "Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about." One must refer to the Greek and Hebrew texts and also good old Webster. We find that "brim" means the inside top edge of the cup where the water (seas were used to keep water and were just huge cups or reservoirs) touched the edge of the cup. If one would care to do the calculations, one could then find out the thickness of these "seas" (fairly thick, but they would have to be to hold the weight of all that water). The bat is not a bird but a winged creature that can fly, so therefore it was included with the list of birds (they did not classify a bat as a mammal as they do today). Actually the description of the locust, walking on all fours is accurate. It has six legs but only uses the front and middle ones to move about. The third pair is used for hopping great distances. Leviticus 11:21-23 is referring only to insects that are clean that walk on four legs along the ground, all other insects were considered unclean and not fit to eat. Locusts & wild honey was a delicacy I don't think I could stomach myself. Actually science has proven that the world does have four corners, areas of the earth that project out further than the rest of our globe, but I don't think that these scriptures are talking about this. The word translated "corners," is the Hebrew word, KANAPH. Kanaph is translated in a variety of ways. However, it generally means extremity. Isaiah 11:10-12 describes how the Messiah, the Root of Jesse, shall regather his people from the four corners of the earth. They shall come from every extremity to be gathered into Israel (i.e. from all parts of the Earth). Most scientists agree, and archaeologists have confirmed that there was a flood, actually two in fact, in the worlds history (yes, I found that interesting too, and have a pet theory about the other flood). Most ancient civilizations and many religions record the occurrence of a great flood, so there probably was one. As for God creating the universe and everything in it, even scientists agree that the world had a beginning and it will have an end someday. They have their "Big Bang" theory, but where did the matter for the universe come from in the first place? I mean look at all the wonders of life; I think atheists take it all for granted. When I consider the intricate nature of creation, I can see the handiwork of a higher being. Most people in the world agree there is a creator, they just can't agree on who or what He, She or It is. Well, I can safely say men were not created before women, it was only one man Adam that was created by God, and from one of his ribs God created the first women, Eve. There are many ancient and current religions that adhere to a story of beginnings that resemble the Bible's revelation of Adam & Eve. I see man being the first to be created without woman indicates that mankind is a special creation of God unlike any of God's earlier Creation. All of the plants and animals were created male and female to reproduce "after its own kind." Man being by himself was incomplete because he did not have a companion. God then gives the purpose of woman in stating He would create for man a "help meet." The words "help meet" can be properly translated, "suitable helper." It literally means "a helper like man." The Hebrew word is "ezer", and means "help, support, or helper." The word helper is not a demeaning term. It is used in reference to God in Psalm 33:20, 70:5, 115:9. The term denotes purpose. Woman was created to assist man in life. It was God's stated plan in the beginning and not an afterthought that man and woman should be together working with a common purpose in life.
Kaitlin5910 mentioned something about "the unpardonable sin" in message #133. I was curious as to what she thinks this is? Did anyone ask her? I didn't see anyone do so, or was that in one of the many deleted messages?
Sorry, but I found the cantor between MENSAROB and Kaitlin5910 rather counterproductive and getting personal to the point of distraction. I did however agree with MENSAROB in message #205 where he says: "Kaitlin, you mentioned: 'I'm looking for the one on the fence, hoping that one will read and consider, precept upon precept, stone upon stone.' It sounds like you're trying to roll back the stone. We always thought you fundies were coming here searching for truth, while all the time you've been trying to convert us. It might work on Pizza, look where he lives, he's ready to fall off the edge of the earth already. You've heard of rice Christians, right? If you listened to a sermon, you get a free lunch or bowl of rice. I think you're on the wrong board for converting. Look for a more gullible group of people. You won't find them here. But stick around, it's refreshing to read your posts and replies. Maybe we can get you to come over to our side of the fence. We're still evolving and a lot more interesting. If you can get Pizza to convert, I'll follow." Everyone has a right to their beliefs and everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of their beliefs. I for one, although I am a Christian, refuse to think any less of my friends who do not share my faith or my views, and in fact I find them refreshing. Even Jesus said to the hypocritical religious leaders of His day, "I wish that you were either hot or cold, but because you are lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth." Hey man, He said that he wished they were either sinners or saints, atheists or true believers. The Pharisees held to a form of religion, but denied its power. They said they were of their Father Abraham, but Jesus called them sons of the devil, because He knew their hearts ... white washed tombs full of dead men’s bones. Nothing worse than a proud and arrogant man who is not true to himself or what he teaches. He is only deluding himself, and unfortunately anyone who follows him (if the blind lead the blind both will fall into a pit).
No offence, but I found allot of what radagast_23 said rather over-the-top or vague. I had a hard time following everything he said. Keep it simple and to the point radagast ... please and thank you. I did notice that you had taken up the chant about the unanswered questions, and rightly so. I also noted that you do not believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. I hope you don’t mind if I do believe that it is? I do have good reasons and maybe you will let me relate them to you sometime, as long as you don’t criticize me too harshly.
I don't think anyone on this board or on this site wanted Kaitlin5910 to jump ship, and although I agree with allot of her doctrines, I did not agree with the way she responded to the criticism that some of you gave her and found her to be a little preachy. The fact she wouldn't answer the questions asked at the very beginning bothered me also and I have tried to remedy that. I realize I may not convince everyone (or anyone for that matter), but even if she had said that she honestly didn't know the answer, I am sure that would have satisfied everyone. Was she afraid of losing face? No one has a corner on the truth, and no one knows it all. What is the point in having this site if people come in here with that attitude? How can anyone learn anything if they are so closed to the opinions of others? Even the Bible says that a wise man listens to council, and that a fool despises wisdom. Just to let everyone know, no matter what you believe, I will listen and weigh everything you say and think before answering in all honesty and thoughtfulness to you and your opinions even if you call me a dumb blonde for believing the way I do. I look forward to our tête-à-têtes.
Concerning the "circle" controversy, I did a little research and found out the following:
Some Bible critics have claimed that Revelation 7:1 assumes a flat earth since the verse refers to angels standing at the "four corners" of the earth. Actually, the reference is to the cardinal directions: north, south, east, and west. Similar terminology is often used today when we speak of the sun's rising and setting, even though the earth, not the sun, is doing the moving. Bible writers used the "language of appearance," just as people always have. Without it, the intended message would be awkward at best and probably not understood clearly. In the Old Testament, Job 26:7 explains that the earth is suspended in space, the obvious comparison being with the spherical sun and moon. A literal translation of Job: 26:10 is "He described a circle upon the face of the waters, until the day and night come to an end." A spherical earth is also described in Isaiah 40:21-22 - "the circle of the earth" (the Hebrew word for 'circle' can also mean a 'sphere'). Proverbs 8:27 also suggests a round earth by use of the word circle (New King James Bible and New American Standard Bible). If you are overlooking the ocean, the horizon appears as a circle. This circle on the horizon is described in Job 26:10. The circle on the face of the waters is one of the proofs that the Greeks used for a spherical earth. Yet here it is recorded in Job, ages before the Greeks discovered it. Job 26:10 indicates that where light terminates, darkness begins. This suggests day and night on a spherical globe. The Hebrew record is the oldest, because Job is one of the oldest books in the Bible. Historians generally [wrongly] credit the Greeks with being the first to suggest a spherical earth. In the sixth century B.C., Pythagoras suggested a spherical earth. Eratosthenes of Alexandria (circa 276 to 194 or 192 B.C.) calculated the circumference of the earth "within 50 miles of the present estimate." [Encyclopaedia Britannica] The Greeks also drew meridians and parallels. They identified such areas as the poles, equator, and tropics. This spherical earth concept did not prevail; the Romans drew the earth as a flat disk with oceans around it. The round shape of our planet was a conclusion easily drawn by watching ships disappear over the horizon and also by observing eclipse shadows, and we can assume that such information was well known to New Testament writers. Earth's spherical shape was, of course, also understood by Christopher Columbus. The implication of a round earth is seen in the book of Luke, where Jesus described his return, Luke 17:31. Jesus said, "In that day," then in verse 34, "In that night." This is an allusion to light on one side of the globe and darkness on the other simultaneously.
I know I haven't addressed all the issues that were presented in the 300+ posts, but hopefully I have given everyone a little insight as to where I stand on certain issues and a little about me as a person. Call this my intro to all you CVA members ... my breaking the ice as it were.
For further study on what Kalisha has talked here about we suggest you go here.
I wrote this to my dear sister-in-Christ and now I am sharing it here with all of you with some minor changes. She found John Darby’s dispensational doctrine of pre-tribulation rapture confusing and I did my best to explain my views about this doctrine … she said this helped her greatly. I hope this will help you as well.
Well here it is ... my mini-study about the pre-trib rapture doctrine. There is allot more I could share, but I think this will be good enough for now. Hope it helps you. Not sure if you can change staunch pre-tribers minds ... this doctrine is pretty popular. But just because it is popular ... doesn’t make it true ... as I have found. As the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. " (2 Timothy 4:3 NIV) We are indeed living in the last days for what Paul spoke about is happening with more and more regularity. I am fully convinced that the pre-trib doctrine is a false doctrine that has crept into the church and should be exposed for what it is. Eventually the church will see it is a lie ... but at what price? Some may ask ... what does it matter? Well Jesus said that those who worship God MUST worship Him in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24) ... so if something is not true it should be exposed for what it is ... a lie from the evil one ... for Satan is the father of all lies and the deciever of the world. It is our duty as embassadors for Christ to expose false doctrines and be careful not to propogate them. The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth if you do not lean on your own understanding, but listen to His still small voice. Often we miss what God has to say because we will not quiet our hearts before Him and expectantly and patiently wait for an answer to our petitions. Often impatience is a sign of unbelief, for if we believed in our hearts that God would answer our prayers, we would patiently wait upon the Lord.
There was one woman on You-Tube who asked who would be alive during the millennium so I answered her as best I could. She responded and I found out she was a pre-triber (I refer to persons who believe in Darby’s pre-tribulation rapture as pre-tribers). Here is how I responded to her questions. Her name was Linda.
Now concerning your quest for an answer about the millennium ... our God is a merciful God. I don't know where you get the idea that everyone is raptured at the end of the tribulation ... only the faithful elect of God are (dead and living) ... so that leaves the children of the unsaved and the unsaved who are not in the armies of Satan/Antichrist at the battle of Armageddon (I am assuming there are no survivors in that battle). But to be honest am more concerned I am ready before the millennium is here and pray for my lost family and friends that they are ready for His return. As for me, I went to Bible College as an unsaved sinner in search for the Truth ... saw many miracles and know Jesus is God and that He is coming back soon, but never was able to swallow the pre-trib rapture theory. I always pray before I read His word and ask His Holy Spirit to guide me ... this hasn't failed me yet. I remember when God asked Solomon in a dream what he wanted and would give him whatever he asked for ... Solomon believed and asked for wisdom. (see 1 Kings 3:1-28). Jesus also told his diciples that if they asked anything of God believing it would be done for them. (Matthew 7:8-9; 21:21-22) So ask God to guide you into all Truth believing and He will do just that ... but you must have faith and not doubt ... this is the key to having your prayers answered.
When I went to Bible College I did so because I was looking for the truth ... I was not spiritually re-born and baptized until much later. God has had His hand on me throughout my life and has miraculously kept me, and would be a fool to deny His existence ... the evidence is too overwhelming, but only those with child-like faith can see it. Yet I do not accept every doctrine I run into. They taught pre-trib in the college I went to ... but also studied about false doctrines sown by man under the evil ones influence ... so always prayed asking God to show me His truth. Have read Revelation and studied it ... but rest on the teachings of the Old Testament and words of Christ in the New. When Jesus and His disciples spoke of the written Word of God ... they were talking about the Old Testament because the new one hadn't been written yet ... that is why He had me start reading His word right from page one and have read it through many times with the Holy Spirit's guidance. He has shown me many truths but do not share them to many ... only to those who will listen ... for the only ones who accept what I say are those who have not rigidly fastened themselves to what they consider to be the truth … let God be true and every man a liar. (Rom 3:4) Truth is only found if you keep an open mind and heart to what the Spirit has to say and everything you hear must be verified by the Word of God ... which is in fact the Book of the Law and the Prophets. The Old and New Testament are in agreement and where they are not (if there is any such place) the Old takes precedence. Let His Spirit guide you into all truth and may you be willing to be pliable clay in the Potter’s hands.
Well Linda ... you say that when Christ comes and sets up His millennial kingdom that those who have the Mark of the Beast will not be there. Where does it say that? I have never found it say that anywhere except when they are talking about the Great White Throne Judgement which takes place at the end of the 1000 year reign of Christ on this old earth when Satan is released for the last battle ... then a new earth and new Jerusalem will come into being. It is true that those who bear the Mark of the Beast will not have their names in the book ... but it doesn't say anything about them not being there during the millennial reign of Christ. Also I never saw how the 144,000 Old Testament Jews chosen by God to see Christ at His coming and accept Him as their Messiah do any witnessing at all.
You have brought up several points and I want to make sure I understand them. Also I expressed several points to you but not sure if you just skimmed over them and did not understand what I was saying or not. I will over the next few weeks discuss these points. I would ask that you not respond till I am done. I am sorry I can't address all these points at once, for my life is not my own and my time is limited.
First Point: You said: "It never says He comes to earth, it says He calls out from Heaven with a loud shout." The Word says this "And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south." (Zech 14:4) This is alluded to in the writings of Paul ..."while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly 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. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a Sabbath day's journey."(Acts 1:9-12) So indeed Jesus will come the same way He left ... He will come and stand on the Mount of Olives. When will this happen? Well Zechariah mentions in the previous verses about the Day of the Lord directly following the gathering together of nations against the city of Jerusalem. We are not told the reason for this, but many think it could have something to do with the reconstruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The original temple was built by King Solomon in 957 BC and was detroyed by the armies of King Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC when the Kingdom of Judah was taken into captivity. After the fall of the Babylonian Empire, Cyrus, the King of Persian Empire allowed a remnant to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple and continue with the religious sacrifices (the temple was completed under the rule of King Darius). Both Daniel and Jesus prophesied the destruction of this temple which happened in 70 AD by Roman soldiers. Jesus may have alluded to the construction of a third temple, something many Jews would like to see happen. He mentions the prophesy of Daniel which spoke of "the abomination of desolation". (See Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14) The apostle Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians possibly refers to what this is ..."Do not let anyone deceive you in any way, because that day (Day of the Lord) will not come, unless there first comes a falling away (departure from the faith), and the man of sin (anti-Christ - the Beast) is revealed, who is the son of perdition. This is the one who opposes and exalts himself over everything being called God, or object of worship, and he is to sit in the temple of God, as God; in order to show that he is a god".
If you notice throughout the Bible, it seems God always needs to repeat events because we are so dull witted ... but in a way it is good that He does because if you follow the signs and compare the ways God used in the past you can see how He will meet things out in the future ...for He is the Lord and changes not. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. To be honest I do not care if you believe what I do or not, or if you wind up accepting what God has so graciously shown to me and many others. As long as you believe that Jesus was God in flesh and that He died for your sins and that you can do nothing on your own to obtain salvation (even your faith is a gift of God) for He paid the total price for your sins ... then that is all that matters. I don't see why people get all hung up on the Book of Revelation ... because it is not the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel of Christ is more important than the Book of Revelation ... and the Old Testament more important than the New ...for you see Jesus and His disciples quoted from the Word in order to bring salvation into the hearts of man ... Jesus is the living Word and the Old Testament comprises the written Word ... for that is all they had during Jesus time and after ... the New Testament was written many years after Christ's death and resurrection and comprises the Gospels, the early acts of the apostles, and the letters of Paul and a few others to the various churches and of course Revelation ... but the Old Testament must agree with anything in the new ... if it does not then perhaps the interpretations are wrong. That is why it is so important to let the Holy Spirit guide you into all truth and not accept every doctrine that comes along. As for the Book of Revelation it is a mystery ... and was written not for the unsaved but for the church. It can only be spiritually discerned to be sure, and was for a sign and warning to the churches. I find it interesting that many people in the insane asylums read the Book of Revelation and not the gospel of Christ. I know this because my daughter is bipolar and has been in the mental hospital ... she said God showed her she was going to be the white horse that Jesus rides on in Revelation (when she was ill). She said all her friends there read Revelation ... and that is all they read from the bible. Makes you wonder what Satan is up to.
Second Point: You said that ... "Only the saved who made it through the Tribulation Period will go into the Millennial period with Mortal bodies." But how can this be? There is only one coming of Jesus and at His coming the dead in Christ will rise first then the bodies of those saints who are living shall be changed instantly. This happens before the wrath of God but immediately after the Tribulation where I expect that the church will go through a time of persecution and purification (Matthew 24:23-31) (2 Thessalonians 2:1-8) (Revelation 6:11,17) It has already started in many areas of the world ... but once the anti-Christ is revealed it will become even more widespread ... because Christians will refuse to take the mark of the beast the technology for which is already present in the world and will result in them being persecuted by others who receive the mark. You will not be able to buy or sell without this mark ... but as in WWII when the Nazis were persecuting and hunting down the Jews (God's people) ... there were those who hide them and got them out of Germany through the underground ... history repeats itself and we can take from its example that no doubt the same thing will happen to Christian's who go into hiding during the time of the anti-Christ (3.5 years according to scripture). That is a long time, and was supposed to be 7 years as recorded in Daniel's prophecy ... but if the anti-Christ's rule is not cut short ... no Christian would be left when Christ returned, this is how bad the persecution will be. You may ask ... do you want to be persecuted? Of course not ... don't want to be imprisoned or killed ... but refuse to believe in the doctrine of pre-trib rapture just to get out of something that Jesus said we should be expecting if we are His servants. (Matthew 5:11; 10:18-22; 24:9) (Mark 13:10-12) (John 15:19-21; 16:2-3)
The cross is an offence and the world should hate us as it hated Him and if we are not being persecuted for our faith ... then what are we doing wrong or maybe it is just that we are not doing anything and being complacent? God gave to each of us His spirit and love to share with the world and faith according to our abilities. Look at Jesus parable about the talents ... I don't want to be like the lazy servant who did nothing ... of course he didn't get persecuted or put down, because he hide the light from the world and kept it to himself what God had given him. Also during the first great tribulation under Nero Caesar ... many Christians gave their lives ... but there were others who denied Christ in order to avoid death for their faith was weak. He who denies the Son ... denies the Father. But look at Peter who denied Him three times ... Jesus said that Satan wanted to sift Peter like wheat but that He would pray for him that he would make it through this time of testing and once he had done so to go and strengthen the other disciples. (Luke 22:31-32) I think because of that, God can keep us till the end (2 Timothy 1:12 & Jude 24-25). But I know many shall fall away (Matthew 24:10) ... especially those who think that they are going to be raptured and not face persecution ... will they be the ones who did not bring enough oil for their lamps? Will this time of sifting cause them to lose what little faith they have? It seems so according to Matthew 25:1-13.
Third Point: You said this ... "Now, I want you to look at Paul's description of the rapture and I want you to look at Jesus description of the angels gathering the saints. Can you honestly say that these two descriptions are the same? Not to me, Paul says in a twinkling of an eye, and Jesus says the angels gather the saints....doesn't sound the same to me."
Well to me it is the same event and do not have trouble seeing this. Let's look at the context of both scriptures and look at some others that talk about the same thing.
Matthew 24:30-31 "Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other."
Mark 12:26-27 "At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens."
So when Christ returns and appears in the clouds with his angels before He sets foot on the mount of Olives and defeats the anti-Christ and his armies ... the trumpet will blast and his angels will be sent out to gather the elect ... both the dead (heavens) and the living (earth).
1 Corinthians 15:50-54 "I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed — in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 "According to the Lord's word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."
So the angels will gather the elect and those saints who are alive on the earth shall be changed ... in a twinkling of an eye (instantly) ... and the angels will bring the saints ... both those who had died and were raised to life and those whose bodies were changed "in a twinkling of an eye" to immortal ones to the Lord ... and we see this in Revelation 6:11,17; 7:9-17
As for pre-trib rapture ... a "secret" coming of Christ ... well Jesus said in Matthew 24:15-31: "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel (Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11) then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equalled again. "If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Messiah!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the wilderness,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather." (so not a secret coming at all, will be quite obvious). "Immediately after the distress of those days" (The Great Tribulation) "'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' (Isaiah 13:10; 34:4) Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. (Daniel 7:13-14) And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." (Gathering of the saints - the resurrected dead and the changed living and sealing of the 144.000 Old Testament Jew's who accept Christ as Messiah upon His return ... all this before God's wrath is poured out on the earth). So when will the church be gathered? According to what Jesus said in Matthew 24:15-31... after the Great Tribulation ... not before it ... and it will not be a secret ... just like lightning arcs across the sky ... everyone will see it.
Here is something you may find interesting. Paul had to quash a rumour that the rapture had already happened and that the day of the Lord had come and gone and these poor disciples were distraught because they thought they were left behind and now objects of God's wrath and their faith was shaken. "Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God." (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4) So just like God never changes ... seems Satan the great deceiver doesn't change either and is still up to his old tricks.
Fourth Point: Linda ... you said ... "Now as to the 144,000 Jews and their job on earth. They are called the Servants of God. The Greek Word means Bond Servants, which means they sold themselves to Jesus for the purpose of serving." There is also the angel proclaiming the Gospel...Now what do these 144,000 do? You are right when you say it doesn't say exactly what they do, so the only thing we can do is look at what a bond servant was. Paul called himself a bond servant … what did Paul do? He went around proclaiming the gospel and started churches in various cities. Since the Tribulation Period is a time when the Gospel will be preached to every nation, it's pretty conclusive that these 144,000 will be going from town to town proclaiming the gospel."
144000 proclaim the gospel? This is an assumption and not founded by scripture. The Tribulation period is a time when the church will undergo persecution but indeed the gospel is to be preached right up till Jesus returns ... persecution or no persecution. Jesus said that He would not return until the gospel had been preached into every corner of the world. It therefore does not surprise me that a ministering angel would be in charge of this operation and cover areas missed by evangelists (See Revelation 14:6). I heard of this tribe in Africa ... when the missionaries came to proclaim the gospel they found that they already knew Jesus. Apparently an angel of God had visited the local witch doctor in a vision and he accepted Christ and converted many of the villagers. Gives new meaning to what Jesus said in Matthew 25:26 ... "you reap where u have not scattered seed".
So who are the 144,000 found in Revelation 7 and 14? Well ... these servants of God were sealed. This is of great significance. It sets them apart from the multitude of saints who are seen wearing the white robes of righteousness. Whenever a seal was used it had to do with the provisions of law. The idea of law is inseparable from a seal. The thing is ... Christians are not under the law ... we are saved by grace ... so who are these Jews? God made a promise to save a remnant of Israel. These Jews are special in the fact that they are blameless before God under the old covenant ... otherwise they could not be first fruits of the harvest nor fulfill God's promise to save the remnant of Israel when He returns. If they are bond servants as you say ...they are bond servants to Jehovah, the Father of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (as this was an old covenant promise God made to Israel). Notice it says that they are all men ... and are virgins and blameless, called and kept by the power of God. They may even now be in the world waiting for their Messiah to return. Remember Jesus had said the first shall be last and the last first ... so in order for them to be first fruits of the harvest, they have to be the last ones saved ... so when they see Christ in the clouds will receive Him as their Messiah. Perhaps that is too simple, but oft times the simplest and most obvious explanation is the correct one.
Final Point: Here is my final point and I pray it answers your initial question. I suppose I could have told you this in the first place, but I never like doing things half-measure, and I know that nothing is by chance and all is done according to His design ...even our chance meeting on You-Tube. Normally I do not share things God has revealed to me to people I don't know, but for some reason felt compelled to share this with you. I know you may not accept what I have said ... I have rejected the truth on first hearing it as well, so understand if you don't, but you asked a question I knew the answer to ... ask and you will receive. Glad you asked and I am glad to have shared this with you regardless of the fact you may reject what I say, but I do hope you pray and give it serious consideration.
You said ... "You need to read Matthew 25, where Jesus Himself explains what happens to those who are not believers when He returns. He will separate the sheep (those who are saved) and the goats (those who are not saved) and the goats will be sent away, not to live during the Millennium." Actually this chapter of Matthew has two trains of thought here ... versus 1-28 talk about the kingdom of God and deals specifically with the servants of God ... whereas 31- 46 talks about what will happen after Christ's return and about the Great White Throne judgement. I must point out here that when Christ returns and before the wrath of God is poured out on the earth, He will separate the wheat from the chaff ... the righteous in Christ from the wicked who were deceived by Satan. The righteous will be gathered and meet Christ in the air as He ascends from heaven with a shout and with the last trumpet of the archangel Gabriel. The rest of those left will go through the bowls of wrath God has prepared. Those who are still alive after this will go through the millennium ... at the end of which Satan will be released from the pit and deceive all those who are objects of God's wrath for one final battle. For whose benefit is this 1000 year reign of Christ on this old earth for? For one ... to give the earth it's day of rest after 6000 years of satanic oppression (a day is as a 1000 years to the Lord) ... for Satan will be bound for 1000 years after God's wrath has been poured out on the unsaved (whether or not they have received the mark). Another reason is to keep His promise that we will rule and reign with Him. I do not believe that anyone will be saved during the millennium, especially not those who have received the mark of the beast, for they have been chosen to be objects of God's wrath. I do wonder though if there is an escape clause somewhere concerning the mark of the beast. Jesus had mentioned cutting off your hand if it caused you to sin ... now He may have been talking figuratively ... but I wonder if someone who had the mark of the beast in his right hand only (not his forehead) cut off his hand and threw it away in order for God to have mercy on him ... for he could not go into the House of the Lord with the mark of the beast on his body. So it would be better that he cut of his hand and threw it away than for his whole body to be cast into the pit. I would not advise getting the mark of the beast at all ... because God did not show me this ... it is just something that seems plausible. Again though, I know that God will be able to keep us and give us the strength we need if we put our trust solely in Him and only those whose faith is not firmly grounded in Him will fall away. I don't think God will take lightly anyone denying Him and receiving the mark to avoid persecution with the thought they can cut off their hand when Christ comes and everything will be ok. But for someone who did it without knowing God and then later repenting and cutting off his hand before Christ came ...that would be different. Whether that will ever happen I don't know, but I suppose it is possible, for we are to be a witness right up until the end ... and God will raise up two witnesses during the reign of the anti-Christ before His return and they will prophecy against the Beast ... but at the end of the 3.5 years the Beast (anti-Christ) will kill them and have the world witness it on all TV channels (Rev 11:1-14) and set himself up as god in the Temple of God. Now the Book of Revelation is full of symbolism and so it is hard to say who these two witnesses will be or represent. Some say they represent the Church, some say Elijah and John the Baptist, but personally I think the Book of Revelation is like a flower that is slowly opening and as it opens those who are watching will see how it all fits together. As I said before the Book of Revelation was written for believers who worship God in Spirit and in Truth ... they are the only ones who will see this Revelation unfold ... the rest of the world will not be able to understand it because Satan has them trapped in spiritual darkness. Now as for the abomination that causes desolation ... many do not know what that is ... could it be the Anti-Christ setting himself up as God in a rebuilt Jewish Temple? ... Jesus and Daniel made it sound like an idol being erected in the temple (which has happened in the past) ... and Revelation mentions that the Beast will have an image made in his likeness and demand that the world worship that idol upon punishment of death ... now will this image of the Beast be set up in a rebuilt Jewish Temple and be the abomination that causes desolation? ... only time will tell.
So are you still thinking that the unsaved will not be around during the millennial reign of Christ? Let us look at what the prophet Zechariah has to say about that. Read Zechariah 14 ... the whole chapter. Notice that after the battle of Armageddon and the wrath of God that is poured out on the inhabitants of the earth ... the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain. If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The LORD will bring on them the plague He inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.
So we will rule and reign with Christ for 1000 years over the survivors of God's wrath and the world will rest and be at peace ... but then at the end of the 1000 years Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations of the earth to gather them together to battle one last time. They will surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city. But fire will come down from God out of heaven and devour them. Satan, who deceived them, will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Immediately after this the Great White Throne judgement will take place ... the old heaven and earth will pass away and a new heaven and earth with a new Jerusalem will come into being and we chosen few whose names are written in the Lambs book of life will live forever with God our Father and His son Jesus Christ ... while those whose names are not found in the book of life which make up the vast majority will be sent into darkness into the fiery pit with Satan and his angels who will torture them for eternity. AMEN, AMEN and AMEN
So dear Hanah, I hope this helps clear up the misunderstandings that Darby’s false doctrine of pre-trib dispensationalist views had caused for you. You said yourself you found it confusing ... as did I ... and God is not the author of confusion. So we all know where this doctrine came from. It is sad so many have been deceived by it and are still being decieved by it. (But this is all happening according to prophecy regarding the last days).
Now there were a few scriptures that pre-tribers use to deceive people ... and they are not doing it knowingly of course ... we fight not against flesh and blood but against the forces of darkness. One is the scripture where Jesus said that He will come like a thief in the night at an hour we are not aware of, and so they say from this that He will come secretly. Personally I don’t see how they come to this conclusion. Read all the scriptures that talk about His coming like a thief and you will see what I mean. All I get is that He will come like a thief to those who are not watching and waiting for Him and are caught up in worldliness ... who are not being faithful in their walk with God. For those who are ready for His return ... it will be no surprise for they will be ready ... but not the rest of the world which is in spiritual darkness ... including those who say they are Christians but who do not have enough oil for their lamps (their lamps have gone out and they are in darkness and the coming of the Lord has taken them by surprise ... for they are not ready ... these will be those who fall away during the Great Tribulation - 3.5 years persecution by the anti-Christ) . Daniels seventh week will be shortened in accordance with Jesus word ... so the anti-Christ’s reign will only last 3.5 years and then the Lord will return after the Great Tribulation before His wrath is poured out on the ungodly prior to His millennial reign. Not sure why pre-tribers will not accept simple logic and complicate things. All we can do is pray for them and hope they do not fall away when persecution comes.
"Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?” The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
“To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
First Thessalonians 5:1-11
But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.
Second Peter 3:1-14
Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to 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 creation.” For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;
There is one thing that is often missed ... Revelation was written to the Church of Christ ... what would be the point in writting it if the church was secretly raptured before Christ returned? Has God ever removed the church during times of persecution? Why would He all of a sudden change His way of doing things? Jesus said that we should expect to be persecuted and even martyred for our faith, because the world would hate us just as the world hated Him.(Matthew 10:27-31; 24:9) Although we are to try to live at peace with all men and to love our enemies and do good to them ... we are not to do so to gain man's favor. Jesus said “ Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26)
Another thing pretribers miss ... who are all these people that Satan decieves after the 1000 year reign of Christ if only believers are raptured when Christ comes (both the dead and living) and the rest of the dead do not come back to life until the judgement? Remember ... the saints will not marry or be given in marriage for they will have new spiritual bodies like the angels ... not of flesh and blood. (Matthew 22:23-30). And it can't be the 144,000 Jews because they are all male virgins and blameless before God. This is what confused Linda too even though she still fought tooth and nail to preserve her belief in this false doctrine. When Peter says that Satan goes around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8) ... he wasn't kidding. Once you allow Satan to get his teeth into you ... it is not an easy task to break free, and it is impossible to do so in your own strength. But with God all things are possible.(Matthew 19:26). I never heard back from Linda, but I hope and pray she is free of this decieving, divisive and destructive doctine of man.
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