Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Isaiah 40

This is my first blog in a while, in three months actually, and I hope it will be the first in a series of purely Bible based posts. This first one I'm going to talk about Isaiah 40...well not the entire chapter mainly just verses 27 through 31 but really this is such a great part of scripture I want to at least look at the entire chapter once through

    Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
    Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
        and cry to her
    that her warfare is ended,
        that her iniquity is pardoned,
    that she has received from the LORD's hand
        double for all her sins.
    A voice cries:
    “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD;
        make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
    Every valley shall be lifted up,
        and every mountain and hill be made low;
    the uneven ground shall become level,
        and the rough places a plain.
    And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
        and all flesh shall see it together,
        for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
    A voice says, “Cry!”
        And I said, “What shall I cry?”
    All flesh is grass,
        and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
    The grass withers, the flower fades
        when the breath of the LORD blows on it;
        surely the people are grass.
    The grass withers, the flower fades,
        but the word of our God will stand forever.
    Go on up to a high mountain,
        O Zion, herald of good news;
    lift up your voice with strength,
        O Jerusalem, herald of good news;
        lift it up, fear not;
    say to the cities of Judah,
        “Behold your God!”
    Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might,
        and his arm rules for him;
    behold, his reward is with him,
        and his recompense before him.
    He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
        he will gather the lambs in his arms;
    he will carry them in his bosom,
        and gently lead those that are with young.
    Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
        and marked off the heavens with a span,
    enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure
        and weighed the mountains in scales
        and the hills in a balance?
    Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD,
        or what man shows him his counsel?
    Whom did he consult,
        and who made him understand?
    Who taught him the path of justice,
        and taught him knowledge,
        and showed him the way of understanding?
    Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
        and are accounted as the dust on the scales;
        behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust.
    Lebanon would not suffice for fuel,
        nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering.
    All the nations are as nothing before him,
        they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.
    To whom then will you liken God,
        or what likeness compare with him?
    An idol! A craftsman casts it,
        and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
        and casts for it silver chains.
    He who is too impoverished for an offering
        chooses wood that will not rot;
    he seeks out a skillful craftsman
        to set up an idol that will not move.
    Do you not know? Do you not hear?
        Has it not been told you from the beginning?
        Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
    It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
        and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
    who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
        and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;
    who brings princes to nothing,
        and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.
    Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
        scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
    when he blows on them, and they wither,
        and the tempest carries them off like stubble.
    To whom then will you compare me,
        that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
    Lift up your eyes on high and see:
        who created these?
    He who brings out their host by number,
        calling them all by name,
    by the greatness of his might,
        and because he is strong in power
        not one is missing.
    Why do you say, O Jacob,
        and speak, O Israel,
    “My way is hidden from the LORD,
        and my right is disregarded by my God”?
    Have you not known? Have you not heard?
    The LORD is the everlasting God,
        the Creator of the ends of the earth.
    He does not faint or grow weary;
        his understanding is unsearchable.
    He gives power to the faint,
        and to him who has no might he increases strength.
    Even youths shall faint and be weary,
        and young men shall fall exhausted;
    but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
        they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
    they shall run and not be weary;
        they shall walk and not faint.

(Isaiah 40 ESV)

Is that not just a great section of scripture? It starts off with words of comfort for the exiled or maybe soon to be exiled people of Israel that their warfare is over and that though they have sinned grievously their sins have been pardoned and it gets even better just in the next three verses.

A voice cries:
    “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD;
        make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
    Every valley shall be lifted up,
        and every mountain and hill be made low;
    the uneven ground shall become level,
        and the rough places a plain.
    And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
        and all flesh shall see it together,
        for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

This is messianic! In the first five verses  he has said that Israels sins have been pardoned and that he is making ready for the coming King, the Messiah. The next group of verses 6 though 8 are a reminder that the word of God stands for ever that It is eternal even though the things we know and see around us will wither and fade and turn to ash.

The rest of this chapter Isaiah talks exclusively about the greatness of the one and true God. You could spend hours expounding on this part of the chapter alone and I'm sure have I how ever want to focus on the last five verses of this chapter

Why do you say, O Jacob,
        and speak, O Israel,
    “My way is hidden from the LORD,
        and my right is disregarded by my God”?
    Have you not known? Have you not heard?
    The LORD is the everlasting God,
        the Creator of the ends of the earth.
    He does not faint or grow weary;
        his understanding is unsearchable.
    He gives power to the faint,
        and to him who has no might he increases strength.
    Even youths shall faint and be weary,
        and young men shall fall exhausted;
    but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
        they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
    they shall run and not be weary;
        they shall walk and not faint.

I can't imagine how much of a comfort and source of strength that this chapter would have been to the believing Jews in exile. This ,again, is such a rich piece of scripture. This reminder that their God is the creator God, that their God care about those who are week an oppressed as they were or were about to be under the hand of the Babylonians and that if they had faith in him, faith in his promises, faith in coming Messiah, much like we're waiting for the messiah to come again. Then he would supply their strength and their endurance and their rest. I love what Matthew Henry's commentary says

"But those that wait on the Lord, who make conscience of their duty to him, and by faith rely upon him and commit themselves to his guidance, shall find that God will not fail them. [1.] They shall have grace sufficient for them: They shall renew their strength as their work is renewed, as there is new occasion; they shall be anointed, and their lamps supplied, with fresh oil. God will be their arm every morning, ch. xxxiii. 2. If at any time they have been foiled and weakened they shall recover themselves, and so renew their strength. Heb. They shall change their strength, as their work is changed—doing work, suffering work; they shall have strength to labour, strength to wrestle, strength to resist, strength to bear. As the day so shall the strength be. [2.] They shall use this grace for the best purposes. Being strengthened, First, They shall soar upward, upward towards God: They shall mount up with wings like eagles, so strongly, so swiftly, so high and heaven-ward. In the strength of divine grace, their souls shall ascend above the world, and even enter into the holiest. Pious and devout affections are the eagles' wings on which gracious souls mount up, Ps. xxv. 1. Secondly, They shall press forward, forward towards heaven. They shall walk, they shall run, the way of God's commandments, cheerfully and with alacrity (they shall not be weary), constantly and with perseverance (they shall not faint); and therefore in due season they shall reap. Let Jacob and Israel therefore, in their greatest distresses, continue waiting upon God, and not despair of timely and effectual relief and succour from him. "

Again as the Kingdom of Israel was instructed to wait up on the Lord, to have faith in his promises and come he did. This was their hope and there strength we too have a hope and strength Colossians three says

    If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
(Colossians 3:1-4 ESV)

This is our hope, to appear with Christ in glory, as well God will lift us up with Eagles wings so that we may not faint or grow weary. That he will raise us up on the last day not just to a temporal peace but to an ever lasting peace if only we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ for our eternal salvation.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

"Well..so much for Mormon prophecy" and other thoughts from this week

     Well Tuesday was  the election, I tried to watch most of the coverage that night, at the time I didn't have cable and it was literally on every channel, but after about two and a half hours I got over it and turned on something else, and curled up on the couch, and fell asleep. I woke up about 45 minutes later thinking it was really late at night, it wasn't it was about a quarter after 10pm, so I sleepily turned it back to the election coverage just in time to see them declare President Obama the winner of the 2012 presidential election and my first thought was not a lament for the country it was "Hmm so much for Mormon prophecy" and I went up stairs and went to bed.

Of course my thoughts the next morning were a little different the next morning. they were a little more like this (from my facebook page)

So...we've had another election come and go. And once again...we chose poorly. Now, I was never a huge fan of Romney he always struck me as a big government Republican though his knowledge of economics and seemingly genuine patriotism and love of our country far more endeared me to him that the our current president whose seeming anti-american and anti-freedom att
itude has done more damage to this country than 9/11. This election was an eye opener to me.

The American people have spoken loud and clear "We Choose Government over freedom", "We choose Government handouts over the chance of prosperity" "We reject American exceptional-ism for mediocrity" The American landscape has very much changed and is not likely to change back anytime soon. It's sobering to hear sound bite after sound bite of those who grew up in east Germany and the Soviet Union lament the direction our country is going, seeing it go down the same path . This is a wake up call...we're heading for a cliff far more dangerous than the fiscal cliff.

And while I still stand by this comment, I think I'm a little less angry about it now then when I wrote this,  I don't think was a complete thought.  I think I would like to add some more thoughts to this.

However...all is not lost. And I'm still not saying that this re-election is a good thing but I think good things can come out of it. Our country has a way of turning hard times and tragedy around. So those who see the direction our country is going must not give up and give in to those who are taking  us down a dangerous road
So...the other thing I wanted to comment on was the spiritual component of this election and there was (and is) very much a spiritual component to this election. I continue to see around the blogosphere and the Twitterverse and the Facebook world how we turned from God by electing Obama and are destined for judgement and how We chose between a fallen christian and a good example of a practicing Christian. 
I have some issues with these statements. First is Obama judgement or blessing from God? Well so far he seems to fall in to the judgement category but for the next four years, we'll see God can and will use all things for his purposes. However that being said. I believe Romney could have been used for judgement just as easily, judgement is up to God. As far as voting for a fallen Christian over a practicing Christian, we did not have a Christian candidate this year. 

Romney was a bishop in the Church of latter day saints, contrary to the name this is not a Christian church. Mormonism is closer to the polytheism of the "New Age" than the Christian church, they believe one can become a God by following the law and doing good works as well they believe the god of the book of Mormon and the Bible is just one of many gods,  These teachings are heretical and antithetical to the teachings of the Bible. Obama on the other hand is actually a little harder to get a bead on. He spent 20 years in a "Black liberation theology" church, which is a heresy in itself, as well he grew up in Islamic Indonesia as well in speeches have confessed to being "one of them" to Muslim audiences yet I know of no reports of him currently being a practicing Muslim. but his actions have only shown an antagonistic attitude towards the church. so.. we did not have a Christian candidate this year. 
But this is ok...we are a secular nation. Would I and many other Christians prefer a Christian candidate, sure, but I think mostly we need a wise, fair, candidate who will actually fulfill his oath to protect and defend the constitution and not toss it in the shredder. 
So the big question on many peoples mind is how did the Republican's loose this election? It seemed to be in the bag, The economy is in the toilet for crying out loud! I've heard many ideas ranging from it was the GOP focus on "social issues" (I agree with this but not for the reasons others do) to Romney was a weak candidate to the election was fixed to the landscape of American culture has just changed after four years of Obama. 
I would say that there is probably a grain of truth in all of these. America has changed. The video game generation is coming of age!. I think Limbaugh had it right we had a choice between Santa Claus and a real president and we chose the Obvious answer...Santa Claus. Not only did we choose Santa but we chose Santa with a warped naughty and nice list. This was pointed out by John McAurthur in one of his sermons before the election that if you compare the Democratic platform to the warnings in the book of Romans, they're the same! The Democrat platform was Pro everything that Romans says brings judgement!

This is where our country is. We call good evil and evil good and I don't think changing presidents would change that.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Holidays: Chrstmas, Easter and Halloween?

Christmas, Easter and Halloween are three of the four biggest holidays celebrated in the United States. The question has come to my mind, what should Christians do with them? These holidays have a lot in common. They're all on the same day as historical pagan holidays, they all still use some historic pagan symbolism and traditions, and they're huge commercial money makers.  They also have some differences, so lets play a game.  Lets play one of these things is not like the others

Let's take a look at the three individually starting with Christmas. Christmas is one of the biggest holidays in the world really. It's celebrated on December 25th which was originally the date of the Roman holiday of Saturnalia it also coincides with the Norse and Germanic Yule festivals and in fact many of the traditions and decorations we use for Christmas are hold over from these pagan celebrations, decorating trees, holly, giving presents, Santa Claus, all these things are hold overs from  paganism

However we have added some things. While the original meaning of these holidays varied we have added what has become a near universal meaning. We celebrate on Dec 25th the birth of Jesus Christ. We have redeemed this day. Many ask why this particular day? Why do we celebrate the birth of Jesus on a day so full of pagan symbolism? The short answer is (and this goes for Easter too) The Roman Catholic church were fantastic at marketing. The Catholic church absorbed pagan holidays and worship site in an attempt to create converts, and it worked, of course in the end I'm sure if the pagans or the Catholics were the ones who were actually converted but that's for a different blog.

Easter is one of the holiest days on the Christian calender yet in the west it has the same problem as Christmas,  it's over flowing with pagan symbolism. The Easter bunny, coloring and hunting eggs, etc.... Again this is a hold over from the eastern European Norse and Germanic traditions and yet again we've attached the holiest of meanings to this day. The resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion. Indeed Christmas and Easter are two of the highest attendance times of the year for churches, both Catholic and Protestant.

And now Halloween, celebrated on October 31st. It was the end of the Celtic calender. It was many things. It was a celebration of dead ancestors. It was a day when the veil between worlds was said to be at it's thinnest and demons and ghosts would roam amongst the living. People would dress up as animals and demons hoping to confuse the wondering spirits. I've heard several different origins for "trick or treating" and Jack o lanterns. This was a time of divining the dead and worshiping the gods of the death and the underworld. However today we in the western Christian world have...done nothing with this day.

The traditions of Halloween have no other meaning than these. I would say most Christians in the United States celebrate Halloween in some fashion, but why? Why do Christians celebrate Halloween? It's not ours. Practicing Jews don't celebrate Christmas. We as Christians don't celebrate Yom Kippo or Ramadon. So why do we celebrate Halloween. It has nothing we can link back to Christ. To This day it's purely a pagan holiday...so Why?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Illuminati at the Movies

     The Illuminati at the Movies...Some short reviews of some fairly popular movies and the illuminati messages found in them.

   The first one is Batman: The Dark Knight. This has been a fairly prominent meme in the "Truth" community or at least part of it.

Well this image was fairly popular but I believe the truth movement and all those promoting this meme have it completely backwards. The Illuminati puppet Obama is obviously dangerous but the Joker is all wrong. The Joker was probably the strongest symbol of freedom and Individualism in the entire movie.  The Joker is a consummate anarchist who is completely against the establishment so far as to shun monetary gain from his exploits. And yes while the Joker was the extreme and extremely nuts he was not the Illuminati symbol of the movie. The Illuminati symbol of the movie was non other than the title character him self Batman!

I know, shocking right? Really if your think about it it makes sense, an ultra-wealthy tech magnate who masquerades at  night as an occult creature taking the law in to his own hands yet handing them over to the establishment without so much as a warrant or reading them their rights. In fact in this movie he goes so far as to go across country boarders to get the "bad guy".  And at the end of the movie he bugs every bodies cell phone so that he can conduct his black op to take out the Joker. 

If you ask me Batman is a clear symbol meant to show the Illuminati works in occult secrecy to terrorize the populous in the guise of their "savior".

    Now for something a little more contemporary "The Avengers" This one is one is actually one of my new favorite movies and it's over flowing with an ANTI- Illuminati message. Yep that's right...this is probably one of the clearest anti-illuminati movies since "Serenity" 

Now this one is easy to miss ...First off you've got the Avengers themselves numbering 7. 7 is Gods number, the number of perfection. This is the first symbol and the easiest to miss. 7 heroes representing the entirety of humanity. 

The next I'm surprised that many will miss is enemy army that the Avengers fight at the end. A cyborg species of aliens led by Loki an occult god of magic and mysticism aka the Devil. If guys like David Icke and Alex Jones is correct this can represent nothing but the Illuminati.  A group of transpecial Aliens (obviously refering too the alien hybred origins of the Illuminate and the transhumanistic goal of many of it's operatives) lead by the devil to enslave humanity. But this movie, unlike many others movies produced by the elites, this movie has a happy ending. The good guys win. The small group of Avengers representing humanity quickly defeat the greater army of the Illuminati aliens.  It's clear that humanity has an ally in Joss Whedon inside the Illuminate saturated movie business. 

But this is just a small sample of the anti-illuminate symbolism scattered throughout the movie. 

More examples to come...but if you look closely you can find many many other examples of Illuminate and Anti-illuminate symbolism in Hollywood..


What does your god wear?

     "There's only one God Ma'am and I'm pretty sure he doesn't dress like that!" -- Captain America from the Avengers movie

    It's odd that such a simple statement could be so packed with meaning in this day and age, especially coming from a comic book movie. We live in an age when so many religions are merely claim to be Christian including some that are actually regarded by the mainstream to be Churches. Churches that are presenting a "Jesus" that bares no resemblance to the Jesus of the Bible and yet people flock to these so called "churches" Many of the offending churches are some of the largest in the country or even the world! I'm pointed to a very applicable verse.

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 2Timothy 4:3

    We are living in these times. Churches preach a Jesus of their own imagination to bring in multitudes of people (and piles of cash). So we all must ask our selves..."What does my Jesus wear" and more importantly What does he do and what is he going to do?

Then I saw #heaven opened, and behold, #a white horse! The one sitting on it is called #Faithful and True, and #in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12#His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are #many diadems, and he has #a name written that no one knows but himself. 13He is clothed in #a robe dipped in# blood, and the name by which he is called is #The Word of God. 14And the armies of heaven, #arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, #were following him on white horses. 15#From his mouth comes a sharp sword #with which to strike down the nations, and #he will rule them with a rod of iron. #He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16On his robe and on his thigh #he has a name written, #King of kings and Lord of lords.  Rev 19 11-16

Has your Jesus sacrificed himself to atone for sin? Is your Jesus returning to judge the living and the dead and rule for ever? Is your Jesus the Son of God that existed from all eternity yet humbled himself to become man? Did he rise to defeat sin, Satan and Death? If not it sounds like this is the Jesus you need!

5For #Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that #the person who does the commandments shall live by them. 6But #the righteousness based on faith says, #"Do not say in your heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?"" (that is, to bring Christ down) 7or ""Who will descend into the #abyss?"" (that is, #to bring Christ up from the dead). 8But what does it say? #"The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9because, if #you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and #believe in your heart #that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved Romans 8:5-10

Monday, July 9, 2012

How to save America!!! or not...

     How can we save America. The good old U.S. of A. The country that so many of us love and treasure. How do we save the greatest country in the world?  REPENT! Repent of our idolatry and all the other stuff that hacks God off. And I don't mean turn the Joel Osteen ,Rick Warren, Ed Young, Rob Bell, man centered Oprahfied non-sense. I mean return to the living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Jesus Christ. REPENT....
     Ok, so that was the blog I originally had in my head but as I got busy with spending time with the wife and kiddo's the blog kept brewing and it changed and I had another thought. Ok first off lets all just agree that America needs saving. The liberals think that the country needs saving from the conservatives and we conservatives pretty much believe that the country needs saved from everybody.  Now don't get me wrong I think it would be great if the first part of this article happened ,but my thoughts went to Romans 13

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. Romans 13: 1-2

    No I know this chapter of scripture has been demonized by those in the so called "truth" or the conspiracy movements and the zeitgeist movement etc... particularity by those branches that are anti-christian. However those of us who are believers believe that all scripture is God breathed and profitable. (2 Tim3:16). I began to think what if America is falling and there isn't a thing we can do about it. Not because we're simply too far gone financially or the government is too large to scale down or because too many Americans are more interesting in "American Idol" or "Big Brother", but what if American can't be saved because it's God's will that America fall? 
      As far as I know there is no covenant between the founders and God for the creation of America. We exist simply by his grace. I can hear some of you now "What if the country goes through a great and true revival?" or "What if we have some God fearing leadership or another true Christian president?" or "Why would God want America to fail? We are a Christian nation. 
      Ok, I'm not God and I have had no "special revelation" these are just my thoughts and my thoughts lead me to a question "What if?"  However I do have some thoughts on the other questions many will have. 
       First what if we do get some God fearing leadership? Fantastic but again God is sovereign if he deems America falls, then we will fall but the next question is who? Mitt Romney? He's not a Christian, he is a mormon and by all Biblical standard that I know Mormonism is not a Christian denomination it is a pagan religion using biblical names and places and twists the Bible to suit it's mythologies. We did have some Christian candidates running yet they were quickly tossed to the side. 
         What if we have a great revival and we kick all the Osteens and Oprahs and Warrens and Bells to the curb? Again...I personally don't see that happening anytime soon but God does work miracles but again what if it's simply our time to fall. We started off as a primarily Christian nation in population at our founding yet we were never truly a Christian nation we have always been a secular nation who's inspirations were the scriptures. 
          And finally why would God want or will America to fail? Well (and again this is just a thought I've had I claim no special revelation or prophecy), our God is a jealous God and does not abide idols (see...pretty much all of the Old Testament) and we are a horribly idolatrous nation and I don't have a hard drive big enough to even start listing them all but maybe just maybe, and I've never heard anybody say this what if we have a 230 some odd Idol we call "The Constitution" or maybe we've got an even bigger Idol, a 3.79 million square mile idol....maybe we've made the country itself an idol, or maybe God could just have something else in mind to fulfill his will and prophecy. Again these are the ramblings my mind comes up with and yet still as desperate as situation as our country seems God could work a miracle and we could be a grand nation that lasts another 500 years or until the last trumpet sounds.

      However I'm not saying Christians shouldn't be politically active. We are the body of Christ doing his work. I am conflicted myself about this election, if you couldn't tell by the post.  
 Either way the the final call is Gods not mine.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Zombie Apocalypse Now!

     The scene opens, in the distance the sprawling layout of a suburban neighborhood. The camera focuses on the front of one of the many carbon copy houses. The door opens and out comes a robed man in his mid thirties or early forties who lazily saunters out to collect his Sunday news paper. He opens it up and begins scanning the headlines in the early morning sun when, what's that? The smell of smoke touches his nostrils
.   He lowers his paper and looks around. A pillar of smoke rises over the houses, several doors down. He slowly begins to notice all is not right. There are several cars in the road yet they are not moving. The windows are broken and some smeared with blood. There are no lights or sirens urgently rushing to fight the fire that brought him out of his morning fog. He begins to back slowly to his house his eyes wide with uncertainty. What could possibly be going on? Was there a terrorist attack or some sort of invasion and he slept through it?
       As he approaches his door he begins to hear noises off to one side. It's a moaning or a low growling. He quickly turns to open his door to the safety of his home but  to no avail, some how he's become locked out his own house he pounds on the door yelling for his wife or child to let him in. As he shouts, from around the side of his house the source of the noise begins to come in to sight. Several horrifying creatures covered in blood, their eyes milky and dead. Their cloths torn and stained. He realizes as the come close, they're his neighbors, moaning and growling coming closer towards him.
     He's startled by a smack at the window, he turns it's his wife, her eyes milky white in her hands a lump of raw flesh she's ravenously gnawing on. Finally the synapses in his brain fire, forming a coherent thought, probably his last one...."ZOMBIES!!!" he shouts. Yes, the zombie apocalypse has begun.
      If you've ever seen a one of the numerous zombie movies this scene probably sounds familiar. An unsuspected and seemingly uncaused outbreak of flesh eating zombies, ravage and take over the world. These movies have been both cult favorites and near blockbusters for decades and recently even a highly popular cable t.v. show.  Even recently their has been an outbreak of very zombie like activity, one man nearly died when a man high on synthetic drug commenced eating his face and would not stop till a cop put a bullet or three in him.
     What is our fascination with these cannibalistic, voracious, mindless, base, vile, nightmare creatures? Is it the fear or the gore factor? Simply a symptom of a declining society? I would say that's a good analysis as any. Maybe it's more sophisticated maybe there a dark artistic theme or social commentary on commercialism or racism or a commentary on our society's decline layered in to the gruesome stories?
I think it could be any of those depending on who's doing the writing however I think more over the stories are simply about us. The human race ,in general, in our natural state.  (Actually if you can take a look at Ted Dekker's "Circle" books he does an excellent job illustrating this)
      The apostle Paul writes in the letter to the Ephesian;
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body  and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Eph 2:1-3 esv 

      We are zombies! We are the walking dead, spiritually anyway. We are not born good or even neutral as the world claims, we are born with Adam's sin. We are the stillborn children of wrath and death by our father Satan.  We are enslaved to the passions of our flesh like mindless beasts. Doomed to Gods wrath and given over to our depraved and debased mind (Romans 1: 18-32) We are not even born free no matter where you are born, you are born a slave!
        And I think we know this.  I know we know this or we wouldn't have things like religion, self help, psychiatry, and mood altering drugs to try and make ourselves seem alive or try to try and work our way in to life with God or on to Gods good side. God even sent us the law to show us this. Gods law was never sent to save us or bring us to life. It was sent to show us that we were dead and sinful creature. The law cannot be kept in whole because if you break one law it is as if you have broken them all. (James2:10) And this is the essence of human nature. We aren't dead and heading towards death because we sin. We sin because we are dead and walking towards death.
        So what is to be done about this state of ours. What can bring us out of our slavery to sin and our walking death? 

 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  Eph 2: 4-10 esv

     The wages of sin is death and in the days of the old covenant God gave us the sacrifice of bulls and goats and pigeons to cover the sin of the people. A covering of death so that God would not look upon their sin. Even with this the people were still dead, still slaves too their sin.  However these were still not good enough to bring the people to life. The sacrifices did not remove the sin and remove the death. Still however the answer to our problem of death was death. The perfect death, or rather the death of the perfect one, the death of God
      The answer was and is Jesus Christ.  Jesus came not conceived by a man but by the Holy Spirit and he did live the perfect life and kept God's  law perfectly and as the the Godman, both fully God and Fully man, he was the innocent sacrifice by both Jews and Gentiles at his crucifixion. The sins of man past, present and future were laid on him. He overcame this curse of walking death and the wrath of God by rising again and he now sits at the right hand of God as our perfect high priest. 
      Through faith in him and by the grace of God given to us  we can die to our curse of death in sin and rise to life with him. We can die to our old slave master of our flesh and bestial mind and become adopted sons and servants of the Living God and be zombies no more. 
       Their is one problem though but the problem is not with God or is offer or his plan. The problem is with us. Most of us don't know we're zombies. Especially in the western world, we are told that we are free, that we are mostly good that all we need is to be just a little bit better or that we just need to accept our selves as we are. But acceptance never comes...the "just a little bit better" is a carrot on a stick. What we need is the Holy Spirit to drag us kicking and screaming in to light and life. Because truth be told we don't really want to go.
        There is one sober realization in all of this and it's death.  While we are all born spiritually dead one day, two things are going happen. You are going to be physically dead and Jesus Christ is going to return to Judge the living and the dead. If you are in Christ you will be welcomed in to eternal life with him or you will condemned to eternal death. 
        So are you ready for this? Do you know where you will spend eternity? 

 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.6 But the righteousness based on faith says, "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down)7 or "'Who will descend into the abyss?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.11 For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame."12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.13 For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."  Romans 10 :5-13 esv


The Time of the Gentiles

20 "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it,22 for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written.23 Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people.24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Luke21: 20-24 ESV
     This is a very poignant prophecy by Jesus Christ just days before his crucifixion. This was a prophecy both for his contemporaries and for the future. He foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and it's recovery by the Jews. The destruction of Jerusalem and the temple happened roughly forty years after his death and resurrection. The reclamation of Jerusalem happened forty five years or so ago during the "Six day war".  So if I read Jesus correctly, the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled. So what's next? Jesus continues his prophecy

25 "And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." Luke 21: 25-28

     Ok, so the first section of verses is fairly clear. Jerusalem is going to be destroyed. The second group of verses is a little more vague and if you continue to read the NT seems that Jesus is giving a summation of the events of his second coming. Jesus does continue to give revelation to his disciples in the following years and they are passed down to us in the letters written to the early churches. Events such a great falling away in the church (which I believe we're seeing the beginnings of) and the revelation of the man of lawlessness,aka The Anti-Christ,. (2 Thessalonians 2:3) 
      Another thing that I believe will happen and I think you can support this from Biblical history will be the rebuilding of the temple. If you look back at the books of Ezra and Nehemiah one of the first things that the nation did when it returned was rebuilt the temple. I've heard arguments against this saying that it's not necessary, that the people don't really want it etc.... However  have been and are plans to do this, they are currently looking for a suitable site.(see www.templeinstitute.org and others)
        I know to the world and probably many in the Church I sound nuts, like I'm trying to set a date or I'm some sort of conspiracy theorist, but the signs are there. The clear sign from Jesus is that the time is drawing near. I don't know when, maybe in my life time, maybe in my children or grand children's lifetime but we are near.  

29 And he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.30 As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near.31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.32 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place.33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
 "But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."
37 And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet.38 And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.

    In this next section Jesus tells us to watch for the signs of his second coming and he says this generation will not pass away till it all has taken place. Now this is a highly disputed segment. The Preterists (those that think Jesus's prophecies are applying to the first century church) believe that he's talking for his disciples and those listening however is you follow the context he's not. He's clearly talking about the generation that is alive after the time of the gentiles ends (He's God he can do that) and clearly the time of the gentiles doesn't end until Jerusalem is in the hands of the Jews. 
     But I digress, This next group of verses is warning us to watch for the signs and be prepared for his coming. I'm not going to make any real predictions. I don't know when Jesus is coming back but by looking at his own words, it's going to be soon, real soon. When the signs in the moon and the sun and the stars begin happening I don't believe there is going to be any doubt for the vigilant believer about what is happening and there will be no doubt when the Son of Man comes again. 

 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed,21 nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you."t
22 And he said to the disciples, "The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.23 And they will say to you, 'Look, there!' or 'Look, here!' Do not go out or follow them.24 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.t 25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.26 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man.27 They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building,29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all—30 so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed.31 On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back.32 Remember Lot's wife.33 Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left.35 There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left."t 37 And they said to him, "Where, Lord?" He said to them, "Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather."  Luke 17 20 - 37

      So are you ready for the second coming of the Son of Man? Again I don't know when it's going to happen, nobody but God does. But whether it by the second coming or by natural causes we will all stand before Jesus Christ. Are you ready?



Monday, June 11, 2012

Some thoughts on the Book of Revelation


The Bibles book of Revelation is one of the if not the most enigmatic books in the Bible. Indeed it is a book that has fascinated me pretty much my entire life. I have read it more times than any other book in the Bible or otherwise. It is a book that has gained world wide fascination, there have been books, movies, television shows, and much much discussion about this book.

Why? Why is this particular book such a book of such fascination? Well lots of reasons. The Subject matter for one, is a controversial one. It's about the return of Jesus Christ, his judgement on the current fallen world and the collection of the church. The way it is written is another, it's piled with symbolism and poetic language. It's riddled with heavenly and hellish imagery, death and destruction, hope and completion. As well I am not convinced that anybody from any of the four predominant interpretations of the book have a complete and satisfactory explanation of the book.

The four predominant explanations of the book are historical, futurist, allegorical and partially historical. I personally do not believe that any of the views completely explain the book. This is my personal opinion, I am not a Bible scholar but just a believer. I have however have my own view of the book. Perhaps some would say my view is a cop out from someone who doesn't understand it or who isn't schooled in Biblical hermeneutics, but my view is a little bit of all of them. My view of the Book of Revelation is historical, allegorical, futurist and literal. You might call it a layered view.

Layers and layers of prophecy and fulfillment, type and shadow cycling until a final fulfillment of prophecy and judgement resulting in a final time of prophecy fulfillment and the return of Jesus Christ. I think this can be defended by taking the Bible as a whole rather than slicing up the layers.

One of the big problems with the historical views and the allegorical views is Revelation 20. I think that this is a chapter that has stuck many and as such many have firmly put it in the "it's obviously symbolic" category.

"Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pitt and a great chain.2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.
4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years." Rev 20

I have heard this interpreted three ways though I'm sure there are other. That this is a actual 1000 year reign, that we are currently in the symbolic 1000 years and this this is completely symbolic for eternity. Now I'm not saying I have the answer where other highly educated scholars do not but I stick firmly in the, this is an actual 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ on earth and I'll tell you why. Because it makes sense. To say this is an allegory for the resurrection and the eternal reign of Christ is actually saying the same thing as that we are in the 1000 years meaning that right now Satan is bound in the abyss and not able to effect us. Unless I've completely misunderstood those who have said this I actually find this completely unbelievable As well it takes it out of its own context. The context being that Jesus Christ is going to physically reign on this Earth for 1000 years while Satan is bound.

This view naturally lends itself to a futurist view though it doesn't discount a layered historical view of the Book. As it specifically mentions those who did not take the mark and were beheaded for their faithfulness. The mark of the Beast being a layered an mysterious thing in and of itself. It is probably the most debated part of the book.

The "Mark of the Beast" is given to us as a number, 666 or reportedly in some manuscripts as 616.

.16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave,t to be marked on the right hand or the forehead,17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.18 This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.t Rev 13 16-19

 It being the beast of out of the sea causes all to take his mark. Now I'm going to ask a question that the historists like to ask. Does all mean all or does all just mean those under the rule of Nero as the preterist like to assume. What about those in 1st century China or India or the Native Americans? Did they they too bow to Nero or Domitian, no. To say that the prophecies of the Book of Revelation were all fulfilled in 70ad I believe reveals, not to be insulting or denigrating, but a narrow view of the Bible.

But what about Nero or Domitian ,depending on when the book was written, Didn't they have a mark and demand to be worshiped as a god? Well yes and I can ask the question, What about Hitler? Wasn't he essentially worshiped as a god, Didn't he persecute and desecrate and demolish the population of the Church (those that didn't go apostate) and the Jews? Could he not be call a "Beast" or and Anti-Christ as well did he not have a mark? Did any of these rally 200 million on the plain of Meggido to fight against Jesus Christ come again? If so then we're currently on the new earth...if that's the case than we worship a deficient god. The case those of us who worship the Living God don't worship a deficient god. We worship the perfect and almighty Creator who has told us what his new earth is going to be like and this isn't it. (see Revelations and Isaiah)

Again I'm not sure my ideas are even sufficient to explain fully the images and prophecies and these are just a couple of examples of where I believe the historical views of the Book of Revelation fall short. I will probably this with a couple more posts but I hope this at least provokes some thought.