The Ten Virgins – A parable; A commentary.


I made this in response to the so called “teaching” that we get every week in our men’s Bible study. We just spent two weeks destroying the parable of the ten virgins, assigning every possible maladjusted idea to each of its components, that our leader could come up with.

I needed to set things straight, to the best of my knowledge.

Matthew 25:1-13 AMP

THEN THE kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. (2) Five of them were foolish (thoughtless, without forethought) and five were wise (sensible, intelligent, and prudent). (3) For when the foolish took their lamps, they did not take any [extra] oil with them; (4) But the wise took flasks of oil along with them [also] with their lamps. (5) While the bridegroom lingered and was slow in coming, they all began nodding their heads, and they fell asleep. (6) But at midnight there was a shout, Behold, the bridegroom! Go out to meet him! (7) Then all those virgins got up and put their own lamps in order. (8) And the foolish said to the wise, Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out. (9) But the wise replied, There will not be enough for us and for you; go instead to the dealers and buy for yourselves. (10) But while they were going away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were prepared went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. (11) Later the other virgins also came and said, Lord, Lord, open [the door] to us! (12) But He replied, I solemnly declare to you, I do not know you [I am not acquainted with you]. (13) Watch therefore [give strict attention and be cautious and active], for you know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of Man will come.

Unless otherwise specified I will be using the NASB translation.

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The astute should immediately pick up on the fact that this parable comes mid-thought. We call that thought process context. Jesus responses come out of this regard.

After riding triumphantly into Jerusalem on the unridden colt (the dignitary vehicle of the day,) Jesus did not do what everyone was now anticipating, that is to take control, overthrow the oppressor government, and reign as the Messiah. What he did do was overturn the tables of the vendors and money changers, and chase everyone out of the gentile court area. This action on Jesus part initiated a two-day barrage of questions and accusations from the elders and chief priests.

Finally, Jesus and the disciples get a chance to get out of there, out of harm’s way, to somewhere peaceful; the Mount of Olives. You see this in Matthew 24.

Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. (2) And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.” (Matthew 24:1-2 NASB)

There are other things that were said as they were never alone, and, they were never alone. Asking embarrassing questions would only subject them to more ridicule.

While He was seated on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately and said, Tell us, when will this take place, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end (the completion, the consummation) of the age? (Matthew 24:3 AMP)

As an aspect of His response, we get Matthew 25 and the parable of the ten virgins.

The first premise for understanding any of the parables is what Jesus said to His own disciples – it is for you to know.

You want proof?

Matthew 13:10-12 NASB And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” (11) Jesus answered them, “To you, it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them, it has not been granted. (12) “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.

If understanding has been granted and you are not then whose fault is that? We choose to apply so many things to the church that do not belong, will you disregard this passage. We were grafted in and are family. Adopted children are not second-class strangers and actually, have more rights.

The second premise for understanding is context and more specifically, words.

It is time for a breakdown.

25:1a) – CJB “The Kingdom of Heaven at that time will be like ..”

  • Who has Jesus been talking to? The Disciples; Jews; Jews who are asking Him a specific question about, the destruction of Jerusalem, and, what will be the sign of His coming (as the Messiah), and the end of the age.

  • So, when Jesus says, “The kingdom of Heaven at that time, ” He is talking about – the beginning of the Millennial reign when Jesus will sit on the throne as the Messiah.

    You see, the Jews had no concept of a rapture – the snatching away of the church, because there was no church, and any devout Jew is supposed to see Jesus as an unacceptable creation of the Gentiles.)

    Can this be related to the church? Only as a pointed lesson, as is the case with any passage. The verse for this covers the entire Bible:

    2 Timothy 3:16 NASB All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

Therefore, it is safe to say, this has nothing to do with the church.

25:1b) the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins,..”

  • The word kingdom is basileia and means royalty, that is, (abstractly) rule, or (concretely) a realm.

    While it is true that Jesus is now seated on the throne, that it seems is more of a spiritual reality. The physical reality is yet to come and will be seen by many when He touches down on the Mount of Olives.
    In what way does any of this look like ten virgins? The only thing that makes any sense is the Jewish people themselves.
    The Dake’s Bible comments suggest that this indicates faithfulness and it also conveys that these are friends of the Bride. Since we have nothing to pursue scripturally, this is little more than conjecture and a futile pursuit.

    Since we are talking about Jews and their ways the reality is that Jesus is talking about a male dominated society.

  • To be a virgin in a Jewish community is more likely because all eyes are upon you.

    This does not have to be women and would have had implications for the men as well.
    What is a virgin? One who has kept themselves pure. In this case, the ideal condition has to do with their relationship to Jehovah/God.
    Note: All then maintained this status, and yet, as we shall see, there is a 50% difference. Is it possible to be legalistically committed and yet have no heart investment? Absolutely, and this is the case here. I will show you how in this paper.

  • ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.”

    They all got the same invitation, and, they all went. There is nothing, as yet, that gives us any basis for judgment.
    Here is something to take note of. We, as a Christian community, constantly say, no man can know the day or the hour. And yet, these all, in unison it seems knew exactly the day. Now it is important to note that they had little clue about the hour, but the day was known to all. How and why did they know that information? As yet, they have only gone to meet the bridegroom.
    While it is a good thing to be expectant, what is not good is to put your demands and timings upon the bridegroom.
    One last thing before I move on. We have nothing to indicate that they have done anything out of the ordinary. This will change quickly.

25:2a) “Five of them were foolish, ..”

  • Now we have a distinction. The word foolish is the Greek word moros. It carries the implications of being a MORON. Therefore, we can figure out that half of the number are foolish, thoughtless, and morons.

    What makes them a moron? The GK word also conveys a person who is dull, stupid, heedless, and absurd. All of these can be thought to have made the foolish assumption that the bridegroom will operate according to their standards.

25:2b)..and five were prudent.”

  • Prudent, on the other hand, is the Greek word phronimos; thoughtful, that is, sagacious or discreet (implying a cautious character; to think, have a mindset. Prudent, sensible, practically wise in relationships with others

    Sagacious, as defined by Webster’s means: wise, foreseeing, to perceive readily, and prudent.

25:3) For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them,

  • We already understand the dull nature of the five foolish virgins. Now we focus on the word took. The Greek word is lambánō and means to take in whatever manner. The implications are that they grabbed the lamps in whatever state they found them.

    The oil is irrelevant except that it makes the lamps work.

25:4) “but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.”

  • We already know the characteristics of the prudent: thoughtful, discreet, prudent, sensible, practically wise in relationships with others. Their character motivates them to take extra, not just what is unknown, in the lamp, like the foolish.

25:5) “Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep.”

  • Delaying; the Greek word chronízō; To while away time, linger, delay, defer, tarry.

    I have heard so-called believers say, you are wasting your time waiting for the Lord’s return. We have been waiting for over 2000 years. Evidence that this would happen is found in scripture.

    Matthew 24:48 NASB ”But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’

    2 Peter 3:3-4 NASB Know this first of all, that in the last days’ mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, (4) and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”

    But isn’t that what we have been called to do, wait expectantly?

    One might think that sleeping would be exclusive to the foolish, but it is common for any human. There is NO condemnation for sleeping.

25:6) “But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’

  • A shout? This is the Greek word kraugē and means an outcry (in notification, tumult or grief): – clamor, cry (-ing). This is loud and there is no holding back. It is meant to catch attention.

  • Behold means to look.

  • Come out.” The word for come is exerchomai and means to issue (literally or figuratively): – come-(forth, out), depart (out of

  • to meet him.” Meet means to encounter.

25:7) “Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.”

  • Prudent and foolish, all arose and trimmed their lamps.

    It was then that the foolish discovered that they were out of oil and unable to see.

25:8) “The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps, are going out.’

  • The foolish said.” Said is the Greek word legō; an aspect of the word is an extended or random harangue.

    Webster’s dictionary states, this word seems to imply loudness or declamation. Declamation; a noisy, pompous or irregular address.
    This tells me that the foolish began to demand loudly that the others give them of the oil that they had.

25:9a) “But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too;..”

  • Wisdom knows how to say NO.

25:9b) “..go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’

  • Dealers? It’s the middle of the night. Dealers are the Greek word pōleō to be busy, to trade; to barter.

25:10) “And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.”

  • Ready – hetoimos, adjusted, that is, ready: – prepared, made ready.

  • Door – thura; a portal or entrance.

25:11) “Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’

  • The foolish ones.

  • Came saying – again the Greek word legō, an extended or random harangue.

    They foolish, once again, are demanding.

  • Lord, lord – The word is kurios; supreme in authority, that is, (as noun) controller; by implication Mr.

    The implications are that there was no personal relationship and that is what we saw at the beginning of this commentary.

25:12) “But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’

  • know – oida; to have seen or perceived, hence to know:

    Imagine God telling you, I have never seen or perceived you.

Jesus finishes this phase of His discourse with:

25:13) “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.

  • And yet they did, the foolish and the prudent.

    What aspect could they not know? The hour and minute. And why is that? Because the groom, working hard, taking care of last minute issues, seemed to be hesitating.

Keep in mind that Jesus was talking to Jews, therefore all of this was meant for their understanding, and, He expected the disciples to understand it.

Posted in End times, false teaching, Hearing God, Hope, Matthew's gospel, parables, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | 1 Comment

Skeletonized version of Strongholds


Strongholds:

Those things that entrap us, constantly make us uneasy and keep popping up.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 MKJV For though walking about in the flesh, we do not war according to flesh. (4) For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds,

  • Though we walk about in the flesh,

There is no escaping that condition, and yet the concept is that we can set aside the “flesh.” There are only two situations in which that happens:

      • Death – that state in which you are then separated from the body.

      • Or, the rapture (a moment in time in which we will be changed – an act in which God causes this permanently damaged body to be altered.)

  • We do not war according to flesh.

    Harsh words, swords, and guns are not going to help. This war we are in is a spiritual battle and Satan is the enemy.

The battle you are facing is a spiritual one and it is primarily in the mind.

  • Pulling down – Is the Greek word kathaíresis and means demolition or the destruction of a fortress.

    The enemy (Satan) promotes the building of fortresses in our mind. This process happens slowly through the deceptiveness of words.

    For example: In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he tells us we are:

        • Blessed; holy; blameless; in Him; living in love; adopted; chosen; redeemed, and bought back.

    However, these are not the words we hear; mostly we hear the opposite, such as:

      • You will never be holy; you are to blame for everything; unlovable; unwanted, and that you will have to struggle all your life to attain some state in which God would want you.

  • Strongholds – The Greek word ochúrōma; to hold fast. A stronghold, fortification, fortress.

    The Greek allows for something much less invasive; a holdfast.

    Compare to 3M sticky hooks.

Why use the analogy of a temporary wall hanger?

These issues are often temporary annoyances. The simplest of solutions is to pray.

A verse we did not cover defines these strongholds and where they come from.

2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Again we will dissect this a few words at a time.

  • Casting down

    Casting down is the Greek word kathaireō and means to lower (or with violence) demolish. The Word Study Dictionary adds, “to take for oneself. To take down or away.

  • Imaginations

    The WSD says this Greek word logismós means a reckoning, calculation, consideration, reflection.

    To logismós a thing means that you are giving more than just a passing thought to a matter. The implications are that you are ruminating on the issue at hand. Since not all things are a worrisome bother, then the other application would apply to the voices that tell you that you will never live up to the things God says about you.

    Other translations use the words: reasoning; arguments; intellectual arrogance; theories, and speculations. All of these fit the concept.

  • And every

    Every is the Greek word pas and includes all the forms of declension; apparently a primary word; all, any, every, the whole: – all (manner of, means).

    Declension according to Webster’s dictionary means literally, a leaning back or down; hence, a falling or declining towards a worse state; a trend toward a lesser degree of excellence or perfection.

  • High thing

    High thing is the word hupsōma, an elevated place or thing, that is, (abstractly) altitude, or (by implication) a barrier.

    Who is it that does the elevation? We do, as we put that thought on a pedestal.

  • That exalts itself

    Is the word epairō meaning to raise up.

    Since the context has to do with casting down imaginations and every high thing, then the idea, worry, or promotion you have spinning in your head is trying desperately to exalt itself by raising up; but against what?In reality, the voices, whether they are in your head or fed to from some well meaning “friend,” are intended to exalt themselves above God’s word, nature, and character.

  • Against the knowledge of God

    So, just as I said, the voices are attempting to exalt themselves above God. There is truly, only one person that does that, Satan and his minions.

  • And bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    As I said, you are the one who has to take care of this. It is, by-the-way, your psyche that is being toyed with. Doing nothing only adds to the fortification that is being built in your mind. While it is necessary that you bring these thoughts that are contrary to God into captivity, you must subject your thoughts to the obedience of Christ.

    Obedience is the Greek word hupakoḗ; to obey, listen to something, hearken.

    This is you with purpose resetting your mind to consider with an overriding confidence, the true nature of Christ Jesus.

I get it; there are understandably some people who are so far gone, whether from alcohol, drug abuse, or trauma, that they do not live in a functional state of mental health and may not be able to make these decisions for themselves. With those people in mind, I am reminded of what the Apostle Peter told us Jesus did; and, in so doing, demonstrated not only the character and nature of the Father, but our mission as well.

Acts 10:38 MKJV …and He went about doing good, and healing all those who were oppressed by the Devil, for God was with Him.

So, once again, you are not dealing with the flesh, but demonic forces, in all but rare cases.

Let’s just assume that this is not you and you continue to function with relative normalcy while fighting against these small, annoying mental skirmishes, many of which we lose.

If these strongholds are merely a hold fast and not a fortress in my mind, why I am I continually bothered/tortured by this same problem?

  1. You, with Christ living in you, are a target.

    I know you did not want to hear that, but it is information that you needed to know.

    Ephesians 2:10 MKJV For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus

    There are plenty of people who will say that this does not define us as being in God’s image, so allow me to give you another piece of proof.

    Genesis 1:26-27 MKJV And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. And let them have dominion … over all the earth, … And God created man in His image;…

    Some might say, I don’t believe in this God of yours.

    Their challenge does not matter; the mere fact that we were created in the image of God caused Satan to set his destructive sights upon them.

    A simple hold fast may restrain you for your entire life.

  2. Satan, we are told, constantly accuses us of sins. We see this in Revelation of all places.

    Revelation 12:10 MKJV … For the accuser of our brothers is cast down, who accused them before our God day and night.

  3. Our broken flesh is centered around selfishness; the motivation to satisfy the flesh.

    We quickly and easily call this a sin conscience.

We religious folk, love to fling the word sin around, especially once we’ve decided that you need more restraint in your life. The word “sin” is simply an old English term, taking from Archery, in which the competitor missed the bulls-eye in the center of the target.

Posted in 2 Corinthians, bible study, Freedom from sin, God's character, healing, Hope, In Christ, recovery, strongholds, The supremacy of Christ, Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Strongholds: Those things that entrap us, constantly make us uneasy and keep popping up.


This may seem a little off base, but given the opportunity to teach soon, I asked a friend if he had any ideas. He thought for a second and said, what about Strongholds, those are the things that I need to hear about. I know I do, I battle with aspects of this everyday. These are the notes that I will use to lead the group, however, I have made a skeletonized version that I will pass out to the men, and will post them immediately after this. Do with them as you see fit.

By the way; I am very much aware that there is always more that defines this aspect of strongholds. Think of this as a primer that motivates you to dig deeper.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 MKJV For though walking about in the flesh, we do not war according to flesh. (4) For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds,

  • Though we walk about in the flesh,

There is no escaping that condition, and yet the concept is that we can set aside the “flesh.” There are only two situations in which that happens:

      • Death – that state in which you are then separated from the body.

      • Or, the rapture (a moment in time in which we will be changed – an act in which God causes this permanently damaged body to be altered.)

  • We do not war according to flesh.

    Harsh words, swords, and guns are not going to help. This war we are in is a spiritual battle and Satan is the enemy.

The battle you are facing is a spiritual one and it is primarily in the mind.

  • Pulling down – Is the Greek word kathaíresis and means demolition or the destruction of a fortress.

    The enemy (Satan) promotes the building of fortresses in our mind. This process happens slowly through the deceptiveness of words.

    For example: In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he tells us we are:

        • Blessed; holy; blameless; in Him; living in love; adopted; chosen; redeemed, and bought back.

    However, these are not the words we hear; mostly we hear the opposite, such as:

      • You will never be holy; you are to blame for everything; unlovable; unwanted, and that you will have to struggle all your life to attain some state in which God would want you.

  • Strongholds – The Greek word ochúrōma; to hold fast. A stronghold, fortification, fortress.

    The Greek allows for something much less invasive; a holdfast.

    Compare to 3M sticky hooks.

Why use the analogy of a temporary wall hanger?

These issues are often temporary annoyances. The simplest of solutions is to pray.

A verse we did not cover defines these strongholds and where they come from.

2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Again we will dissect this a few words at a time.

  • Casting down

    Casting down is the Greek word kathaireō and means to lower (or with violence) demolish. The Word Study Dictionary adds, “to take for oneself. To take down or away.

  • Imaginations

    The WSD says this Greek word logismós means a reckoning, calculation, consideration, reflection.

    To logismós a thing means that you are giving more than just a passing thought to a matter. The implications are that you are ruminating on the issue at hand. Since not all things are a worrisome bother, then the other application would apply to the voices that tell you that you will never live up to the things God says about you.

    Other translations use the words: reasoning; arguments; intellectual arrogance; theories, and speculations. All of these fit the concept.

  • And every

    Every is the Greek word pas and includes all the forms of declension; apparently a primary word; all, any, every, the whole: – all (manner of, means).

    Declension according to Webster’s dictionary means literally, a leaning back or down; hence, a falling or declining towards a worse state; a trend toward a lesser degree of excellence or perfection.

  • High thing

    High thing is the word hupsōma, an elevated place or thing, that is, (abstractly) altitude, or (by implication) a barrier.

    Who is it that does the elevation? We do, as we put that thought on a pedestal.

  • That exalts itself

    Is the word epairō meaning to raise up.

    Since the context has to do with casting down imaginations and every high thing, then the idea, worry, or promotion you have spinning in your head is trying desperately to exalt itself by raising up; but against what?In reality, the voices, whether they are in your head or fed to from some well meaning “friend,” are intended to exalt themselves above God’s word, nature, and character.

  • Against the knowledge of God

    So, just as I said, the voices are attempting to exalt themselves above God. There is truly, only one person that does that, Satan and his minions.

  • And bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    As I said, you are the one who has to take care of this. It is, by-the-way, your psyche that is being toyed with. Doing nothing only adds to the fortification that is being built in your mind. While it is necessary that you bring these thoughts that are contrary to God into captivity, you must subject your thoughts to the obedience of Christ.

    Obedience is the Greek word hupakoḗ; to obey, listen to something, hearken.

    This is you with purpose resetting your mind to consider with an overriding confidence, the true nature of Christ Jesus.

I get it; there are understandably some people who are so far gone, whether from alcohol, drug abuse, or trauma, that they do not live in a functional state of mental health and may not be able to make these decisions for themselves. With those people in mind, I am reminded of what the Apostle Peter told us Jesus did; and, in so doing, demonstrated not only the character and nature of the Father but our mission as well.

Acts 10:38 MKJV …and He went about doing good, and healing all those who were oppressed by the Devil, for God was with Him.

So, once again, you are not dealing with the flesh, but demonic forces, in all but rare cases.

Let’s just assume that this is not you and you continue to function with relative normalcy while fighting against these small, annoying mental skirmishes, many of which we lose.

If these strongholds are merely a hold fast and not a fortress in my mind, why I am I continually bothered/tortured by this same problem?

  1. You, with Christ living in you, are a target.

    I know you did not want to hear that, but it is information that you needed to know.

    Ephesians 2:10 MKJV For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus

    There are plenty of people who will say that this does not define us as being in God’s image, so allow me to give you another piece of proof.

    Genesis 1:26-27 MKJV And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. And let them have dominion … over all the earth, … And God created man in His image;…

    Some might say, I don’t believe in this God of yours.

    Their challenge does not matter; the mere fact that we were created in the image of God caused Satan to set his destructive sights upon them.

    A simple hold fast may restrain you for your entire life.

  2. Satan, we are told, constantly accuses us of sins. We see this in Revelation of all places.

    Revelation 12:10 MKJV … For the accuser of our brothers is cast down, who accused them before our God day and night.

  3. Our broken flesh is centered around selfishness; the motivation to satisfy the flesh.

    We quickly and easily call this a sin conscience.

We religious folk, love to fling the word sin around, especially once we’ve decided that you need more restraint in your life. The word “sin” is simply an old English term, taking from Archery, in which the competitor missed the bulls-eye in the center of the target.

Posted in 2 Corinthians, bible study, false teaching, Freedom from sin, God's character, healing, In Christ, recovery, strongholds, The supremacy of Christ, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where do we go when we die?


Several weeks ago the Monday morning men’s Bible Study opened with:

Where do we go when we die?

The answers were varied and skewed. Some even claimed we go to paradise; yes, the same place that we find beggar Lazarus after he died and he was comforted in Abraham’s bosom. The presumption is that we merely wait for Jesus to call us up into heaven at some later point.

Someone decided that they had to make a distinction and apply this bizarre conversation to primarily the righteous dead. Well, that should make some form of sense seeing as we assign varying levels of righteousness to ourselves. Those who have been “in the way” understandably should have a more righteous status. This, of course, is nonsense as there is none righteous. We find this in:

Romans 3:9-12 MKJV What then? Do we excel? No, in no way; for we have before charged both Jews and Greeks all with being under sin, (10) as it is written: “There is none righteous, no not one; (11) there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God.” (12) “They are all gone out of the way, they have together become unprofitable, there is none that does good, no, not one.”

The short explanation for this verse, we are all on the same playing field as far as God is concerned. Yes, I know, there are rich people all around us and they think they will have special privileges in the kingdom that is coming, but that is not the case. As a matter of fact, we are told that the first shall be last and the last shall be first. So they are apparently getting theirs while here on earth. Sadly, not even the best of plastic surgeons can stop you from aging, and in some cases, looking horrible. I guess money is not the answer to everything.

Why spend time focused on this, when the question is where do we go when we die?

Because, as I pointed out, someone had to imply that only those better off would be able to take advantage of this paradise concept. Plainly, as we see in scripture, and based upon Jesus parable, where Lazarus the beggar, was comforted and not the rich man. Take the time to look this up in scripture. You will find it in, Luke 16:19-31. You will not find the word paradise here, what you will find are words and phrases like:

  • carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom.”

    angels – aggelos; a prim. word; a messenger, angel:

     

  • Mercy

    to be compassionate (by word or deed,)

     

  • now he is comforted

     

    parakaléō; To aid, help, comfort, encourage.

     

  • hades

    properly unseen, that is, “Hades” or the place (state) of departed souls.”

     

  • tormented in this flame

    through the notion of going to the bottom); a touch stone, that is, (by analogy) torture: – torment.

     

  • you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things.

     

    agathós; fem. agathḗ, neut. agathón, adj. Good and benevolent, profitable, useful.

     

Absolutely none of these convey the idea of paradise.

Since the idea of paradise keeps coming up in Men’s Bible study, what we can find to validate or disqualify the idea.

The Greek word parádeisos (paradise) only shows up three times in the Bible, and Jesus applied one of those instances by telling the thief on the cross that he would be with Jesus, this day, in paradise. You can find this evidence in Luke 23:39-43.

And one of the hanged criminals blasphemed Him, saying, If you are Christ, save Yourself and us. But answering, the other rebuked him, saying, Do you not fear God, since you are in the same condemnation. And we indeed justly so, for we receive the due reward of our deeds, but this Man has done nothing amiss. And he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom. And Jesus said to him, Truly I say to you, Today you shall be with Me in Paradise.

The Word Study Dictionary tells us that the word has these origins and understandings: “This is an oriental word which the Greeks borrowed from the Persians, among whom it meant a garden, park, or enclosure full of all the vegetable products of the earth.”

One of the other references is in Revelation.

Revelation 2:7 NASB ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’

The Paradise of God, based upon the OT concept, is the garden of God, an integral aspect of Heaven itself.

You will not find the concept of paradise in the Old Testament, unless, you use a comparison search based on “the garden of the Lord.”

Lacking a “paradise” in which we can rest in peace until Christ calls for his church, where do we go?

One of the go-to verses is:

2 Corinthians 5:8 NASB we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

And yet, Paul’s words are not decisive about the persuasion that, once this body dies we are present with the Lord. As you can see the NASB uses the word “prefer.” In comparing translations you get words like: pleased, as the Amplified states. The choices are split between pleased and prefer.

If we apply the mathematical concept of inverse to the statement, “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (2 Corinthians 5:6 KJV), we should be able to expect that the opposite scenario is logically definitive; and, implies that when, those who are in Christ die (are absent from the body,) then we should be present with the Lord. Paul made it clear that this premise operates by faith and confidence.

Perhaps this entire idea is better defined by the verses I did not include, 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 KJV.

(1) For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

If I lived off of verse one alone I could be content and happy, this is why.

  • For we know

    How do you say something like this without something close to concrete evidence? Faith is supposed to be just that. One of our examples of great faith is Abraham; whom we find in the annals of faith history (the book of Hebrews chapter 11) among others who were strong in faith. And yet, Abraham is also one of our greatest examples of a man that struggled. Regardless of his struggles, did God come through? Yes, and he always has.

    Paul would have known of Job’s struggles, boils and all. We find this in:

    Job 19:25-26 NASB “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. (26) “Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God;

     

    But I have to ask the same questions of Job. How did he know and have this confidence? It does not speak of transitions or times frames; and, both of these men lived in a sense of the present.

  • that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved,

    This earthly house is, for all practical purposes, our bodies. Terminated by whatever means, whether through death and deterioration, or worse.

  • we have a building of God

    Building, is a compound word that effectively means architecture, that is, (concretely) a structure.

    I can take this one of two ways: 1.) We are talking about our bodies; or, 2.) We are looking forward to a home in heaven. Do they both work? Certainly, but the words, we have a building of God, are present tense and not some future hope. This body became the temple, the building of God the day you asked Him to come into it.

There is no transition involved in what Paul is describing.

Let’s keep tearing it apart for a few minutes.

2 Corinthians 5:2-3 NASB (2) For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, (3) inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked.

  • (2) For indeed in this house, we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven,

    Again, I am challenged as I ask, am I clothed with Christ, and therefore a temple of the Holy Ghost, or not? If I am then there must be more, isn’t there?

    1 Corinthians 3:16 NASB (16) Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

     

    Luke 24:49 NASB “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

     

    Clothed with power from on high.” The entire purpose for them waiting in the upper room was to be endued with power. Power was an aspect of the Holy Ghost. The correlation is well demonstrated with the infilling of the Holy Ghost.

If there is more, such as a dwelling from heaven, then what is that? Since we understand that we are to be clothed, then it must be something, perhaps symbolic, or spiritual. Regardless, there is more.

2 Corinthians 5:3 NASB inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked.

Once again, what did we, as followers of Christ and those that long for all that there is in Him, put on? The Holy Spirit, the power of God. This gives us one other promise. One that we debate consistently, our consistent, unchanging life, in Christ. Verse 3 says, having put it on, (we), will not be found naked. This is an unalterable promise. One of the other ways this is described is eternal security. Sadly, to most, this is unbelievable and just wrong.

2 Corinthians 5:4 NASB For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life.

  • while we are in this tent,”

    Alive, and existing in these bodies.

     

  • we groan, being burdened,”

    This is also found in Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. Where Paul tells us that all of creation groans along with us.

     

Romans 8:22-23 NASB For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. (23) And not only this but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

  • because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed,”

    Unclothed? To go or come out of, what? Our skin, the thing we groan about; or, to be separated from the Holy Ghost? The only logical assumption then, would be relieved from the Holy Spirit. However, that is, according to what we see in 2Corinthians 5, impossible.

     

  • so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life.”

    So, currently stuck in this broken body, we await for the entire thing to be swallowed up by life. What does that mean? When we transition into the heavenlies we will not take this broken body and its desires, with us. We are told that in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, we will be changed.

     

1 Corinthians 15:50-53 NASB (50) Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (51) Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, (52) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (53) For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.

(The damage done to us through Adam’s fall, seems to be genetic. Consider this; if, every human, born from Adam, carries a damaged DNA marker, then every man throughout eternity carries that same damaged DNA string. Anyone looking at DNA would then say that this damaged example, is the basis for what we deem normal.)

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Can we know when Jesus will return for…


Monday morning Bible Study, which I typically abbreviate as Monday Morning BS, opened with Matthew 24:42. Ignoring the context and theme of chapter 24, the leader, in typical fashion, spun this to validate the direction he wanted to take and the questions he wanted to ask; in this case – are you ready for His return to catch up the church? And, what bizarre things are your thoughts focused on throughout the day?

Much of the morning was like a stew consisting of conjecture and manipulation, as the leader pushed forward. As he continued to emphasize these horrid questions, he elaborated by asking, how differently would you act if you knew the Lord was coming back in six hours?

Maybe it was confusing situations such as this that motivated Jesus to say,

for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.

Since the Jews standing around him had a skewed perception of what the Lord’s return would mean, I doubt their questions had the same motivation as Jesus’. Since we who have a relationship with Jesus Christ, have a hope in His coming, then we await the day when he comes to gather His church. The problem with this emphasis on waiting is that we, in our religious communities, verbally accost those who express anything that sounds like they are prescribing a time frame.

I happen to think Jesus was very direct with his answers; everything he said was standard terminology and something with which Jesus followers were familiar.

How do I back up a statement like this?

First, let me say that this topic was placed before me by the Holy Spirit just days before. More than just a bit of a coincidence. The topic came in the form of a video excerpt intending to sell a movie about to hit the markets, called, The Coming Convergence. Sorry, I did not pay enough attention to who the speaker was, but the segment took my breath away as he spoke about Matthew 24:36. I give you a piece of that here.

But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.

The speaker in the video was saying the same things that I have been saying for several years now about how this Bible we read is a Jewish book. Let me give you some additional guidelines to help you understand the Bible: Never lose sight that Jesus was a Jew; that he was speaking to Jews, and that he was talking with standard terms and phrases that would mean something to his audience.

The man in the video explained that the expression we see in Matthew 24:36, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone,” was typical of the day. Jesus’ audience would have understood that he was referring to the observance of the New Moon, the indicator of the first day of the month. The express implication, however, applied to the visual sighting of the new moon that would have indicated the New Year – Rosh Hashana, which astronomically will begin at sunset on September 20th.

This observance of the New Moon had to be accomplished by two reliable witnesses and announced to the High Priest at the Sanhedrin. After evaluating the witnesses, the Sanhedrin would then declare the New Month, or the New Year. The thing that makes Jesus statement so valid and yet variable is that weather could obscure the sight of the New Moon. The priests had a contingency for this variability. Since the Jewish calendar worked off of thirty day months, knowing that the moon should have been there, they would, on the next day, decree the new month or year, making that month 31 days.

While I have yet to find a direct reference that associates this phrase “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone,” with Rosh Hashana. I simply applied some logic to what I just shared with you, and found it to convey a similar message to what I see in scripture – variability.

The speaker went on to say that in effect, Jesus told the disciples exactly when He would be returning, on the New Moon of the New Year, Rosh Hashana.

Now, please don’t stop reading, choosing to respond to the adverse voices in your head. Instead, try applying another piece of logic.

The problem with such a challenging and yet simple subject was that the leader of the Monday morning Bible study had no intention of entertaining challenges from the group. Avoiding questions, although there weren’t many, the leader moved rapidly forward through chapter 24 and on into Matthew 25. I am staying focused on Matthew 24:36.

So let’s say that you agree with the idea that Christ could return at the Jewish New Year, the ‘head’ of the year.

  • Even if you are correct and Jesus has the logical arrival time of September 20th of 2017, try sharing that information with most any religious person; you will have an intense fight on your hands, and they will not believe you. I might add that they will use this same phrase, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone,” against you.

  • If you are unlucky, they may merely call you a false teacher as they ignore obvious scriptures which tell us that we are not in the dark, and, that we should not know when that day will come.

Do we have scriptures that tell us that we can have a strong clue as to when Jesus will returnYes.

Although Isaiah tends to answer the question in reverse, it will lead me to another scripture, along with the same vein, that speaks more specifically to our knowing when the end will come.

Isaiah 6:9-12 NIrV So he said, “Go and speak to these people. Tell them, “‘You will hear but never understand. You will see but never know what you are seeing.’ (10) Make the hearts of these people stubborn. Plug up their ears. Close their eyes. Otherwise, they might see with their eyes. They might hear with their ears. They might understand with their hearts. And they might turn to me and be healed.” (11) Then I said, “Lord, how long will it be like that?” He answered, “It will last until the cities of Israel are destroyed and no one is living in them. It will last until the houses are deserted. The fields will be completely destroyed. (12) It will last until I have sent everyone far away. The land will be totally deserted.

The context applies to Israel, although it could easily speak to the modern church.

Having been spoken to, by an authoritative source: The Word; prophets; evangelists; pastors, and teachers, why would they not listen?

Jesus was asked by the disciples about why he used parables. I suppose that is because they too did not understand. Look at the interaction in Matthew 13:10-11.

Matthew 13:10-11 NASB And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” (11) Jesus answered them, “To you, it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them, it has not been granted.

Regardless of whether they understood or not the sentence still stands to this day. “To you, it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.”

I just pointed out that Israel was blind to the mysteries, but here in the letter to the church at Colossae, we have Paul telling us that God’s mysteries have been manifested to us, His saints.

Colossians 1:25-27 NASB (25) Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, (26) that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, (27) to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

I get it. Clearly, there was a time when I might even say. We could not understand. (I could easily debunk that statement because of the Magi. You remember them, foreigners from another nation, who were able to ascertain Christ’s arrival, and, explain this information to the elders of the Sanhedrin.) “For to us God revealed them through the Spirit,” now I will give you some grace on this, for the Spirit was not sent until Jesus ascended the last time into the heavenlies. [You should comprehend that we are talking about the Holy Spirit of God, the comforter.]

1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NASB (9) but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” (10) For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

Times and the epochs are certainly an aspect of what we are talking about. Paul writes, “you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you, yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.” He is saying what Jesus said, but there is a distinct difference, in that he is no longer talking strictly to Jews. Paul and the Holy Spirit know full well that this letter will be spread to all the languages that comprise the body of Christ, and that we too “are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief.” Jesus, carrying out God’s plan, is not sneaking up on anyone, unless they are choosing to remain in the darkness; refusing to accept the truth in God’s Word, not mine.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-5 NASB (1) Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. (2) For you, yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. (3) While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. (4) But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; (5) for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness;

It would seem that the Apostle John, in conveying the Revelation, understood that we could know the hour Jesus would come; either that, or it is a rhetorical statement and means nothing at all.

Revelation 3:3 NASB ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.

Unfortunately for those that hold this rhetorical point of view, we find that there is nothing in scripture that is unimportant. The Jewish community has held to this idea so much so, that even the spaces between the letters carry great meaning and we see this in the study of Kabbalah. If what John says is true and they who do not wake up will not know the hour, then the inverse must be true and those of us who are awake must be able to ascertain the hour with some certainty.

What then are some of the major clues in scripture?

  • Jesus responded to disciples question with this:

Matthew 24:32-34 KJV Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: (33) So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. (34) Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

The fig tree is Israel becoming a nation, and that happened in 1948. What I cannot say with certainty is how many years it takes to define a generation. In an effort to figure out what a generation might be I went to the definitive source – the internet. I am kidding, sort of, and found this, (http://www.bible-codes.org/old-prophecy_5c-Yeshua-codes.htm)

“As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there… In the fourth generation, your descendants will come back here… (Gen 15:16)

God said to Abraham that after 400 years He would deliver Israel, “…in the fourth generation”. A generation in the Bible is normally 40 years. However, here a generation is 100 years (4 * 100 = 400 years). This is understood by virtue of the fact that Abraham had his promised child when he was exactly 100 years old (Gen. 21:5); it is evident, therefore, that the age of a man when his first child is born is the raw definition of a generation.

Nevertheless, notice that the full number (400 years) is exactly ten times that of a regular generation of 40 years. Both 100 years and 40 years are a generation in the Bible. However, the average of these two, 70 years, is on occasion also found in the bible, (Psalm 90:10). But “70 years” is a generation according to the average age of a man at his death, rather than when his first child is born (as with the example of Abraham).

40 + 100 = 140 years. 140 ÷ 2 = 70-years as a generation. (Significantly, king David died at age 70 and reigned 40 years.)”

Let’s assume then that the average age is seventy. A bit of quick math: 2017 – 1948 = 69 years. Interesting, especially since we right on the verge of a multitude of fascinating, scriptural, and prophetic events, most of which we “Christians” do not have a clue about, but the Jewish community does. Israel, by the way, is, as we speak, celebrating their 69th birthday as a nation.

Continuing with scriptural clues, that tells us if we can know when the end of time is soon upon us.

Luke 21:34-36 KJV And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. (35) For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. (36) Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Key words and phrases in Luke 21:34-36:

  • take heed to yourselves”

What does that mean? You are responsible for yourselves, no one else.

  • Or, as the Complete Jewish Bible puts it, “your hearts will become dulled.”

Dulled? A dull knife is useless. Try cutting a tomato with one; you might as well be using a rock. The Websters dictionary defines dull as Stupid; doltish; blockish; slow of understanding.

  • SurfeitingOppressing the system by excessive eating and drinking;

So it is not just drunkenness that clouds your mind, but an obsession with food can do it as well.

  • And the “cares of this life.”

These take on every shape and form and will create enough anxiety within you to kill you. Since this is an aspect of deception, it is easy to ascertain that it is a weapon of the enemy, Satan.

Although the context of this verse is directed at the Jewish community, as a direct answer to when the Kingdom would be restored, this phrase And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares can speak to anyone. Sadly, the religious can read this and have one or both of these reactions: I have never tasted alcohol and therefore cannot be included in this paragraph, or, they are blind to the overall context, choosing to ignore it.

Perhaps it is best summed up by the Easy-to-Read Version

Luke 21:34 ERV “Be careful not to spend your time having parties and getting drunk or worrying about this life. If you do that, you won’t be able to think straight, and the end might come when you are not ready.

Can you see that life and things will make you unaware through distraction?

Once again, mathematically speaking, there is an inverse to this equation. The obvious answer is that doing your best to steer clear of distractions should put you in a position to be aware of when that day should come.

One of the things I wanted to do was to keep our focus with the New Testament, effectively Paul’s letters. We want to believe that Paul’s writings supersede the Old Testament allowing us to ignore God’s word there. That isn’t always true because most teachers and preachers will gladly dip back into the OT for the purpose interweaving some guilt and manipulation into their teaching. This type of manipulation comes out deception and distraction from Satan. I am not saying the Old Testament is wrong by any stretch – Jesus and Paul both pulled segments from the Law and the Prophets to demonstrate some freedom hidden in it, this is why Paul calls it a mystery. The Law and the Prophets are only a mystery to those who choose not to dig for the treasure buried there.

Jesus, knowing full well that most of the audience was symbolically blind and deaf, spoke to them in parables. He was not trying to confuse them further, he was speaking plainly, openly, and, in language, they should have been familiar with. Much of what he said was directly pulled from the OT. This is one of those cute parables. (There is nothing cute, hidden, or insignificant about the parables. Most of them are a slap in the face of those who choose to play the Pharisee card.)

Mark 13:28-30 KJV Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: (29) So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. (30) Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.

You find this same theme in Matthew 24:35. I feel as though I cannot say this enough; Jesus said these things to his Jewish followers/disciples, as an answer to their question about when He would restore the kingdom and take the throne. This information is not exclusive to Jewish ears and can be easily applied to the modern church age.

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What about the hardening of the heart?


The question was posed to our small group, what about the hardening of the heart?

The question is not the problem, and neither is the answer if you think about it; the problem is the heart of the man asking the question because the underlying theme is the lack of understanding about the nature and character of God.

In general, the religious concept of God is that He is merely looking for ways to reduce the population count in heaven by sending people to hell. I say that because I sit with them twice every week, and virtually every time we meet they spin God’s word to convey some anger in their hearts, which allows them to send multitudes to hell.

How can I prove that God’s desire is for us and that he does not want to send any to hell? Let’s start with Matthew 18. Here is the parable in which the shepherd seeks out that one lost sheep. The idea is that they are all valuable and none, it seems, are worthy of ignoring or throwing away. However, the parable goes far beyond that, and we see this in verse 14.

Matthew 18:14 ERV in the same way your Father in heaven does not want any of these little children to be lost.

First – Though readable, the ERV seems to be lacking concern in its translation when you compare it with the NASB.

“So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish. (Matthew 18:14 NASB)

The NASB seems rather straightforward in saying, “it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven..”. However, there are greater implications. When I look up the words little ones, I find a meaning that takes on a larger scope.

mikros; small, little: – least (4), less (1), little (13), little ones (6), little while (10), short (1), small (8), smaller (2), smallest (1).

It also applies to those who are not on the forefront; insignificant; perhaps those with downs syndrome, or those who just not as aggressive in business and lacking in competitive skills. The Word Study Dictionary implies those not: “Of magnitude (Mat_13:32; Mar_4:31; Jas_3:5); of stature (Luk_19:3; Sept.: Eze_17:6); of age meaning small, young, not grown up (Act_8:10; Act_26:22; Heb_8:11; Rev_11:18; Rev_13:16; Rev_19:5, Rev_19:18; Rev_20:12).”

The same definition applies to the word perish that we see in the NASB, as it does to the word lost in the Easy Read Version.

apollumi and it means to destroy, destroy utterly:

Of the thirty Bibles, I have immediate access to, the word choices are about half/half between lost or perish. To be lost frequently holds out the hope that you will eventually be found, but to perish conveys a permanent condition. Since we should understand that the one aspect of our lives that lives forever is our soul/spirit, then our next logical assumption is that this idea of perishing has little to do with the cessation of breath. To rewrite the sentence using the words of Wilbur Pickering; Wilbur N. Pickering, ThM Ph.D., the one stand out from the crowd, I might say,

..it is not a desire, in the view of your Father in heaven, that one of these little ones should be wasted.

What is to be wasted?

It is to be thrown aside while someone or something still had use? We now see ordinances being enforced which prohibit markets from throwing out food products that could still find some useful benefit, like feeding the homeless. We often see no value in some people and are more than willing to cast them aside.

Again I rewrite the sentence:

So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should be destroyed utterly.

What are we talking about when we say to destroy utterly? Isn’t it to be separated eternally, from God and His presence. In Revelation 20 we are told those whose names are not found in the book of life are thrown into the lake of fire. Being tossed into a lake of fire should demonstrate an utter destruction/separation from God.

Revelation 20:15 NASB And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

And, 1 Corinthians 6 explains in more detail than I wish to give right now, that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9 NASB Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?

So far I have pointed out God’s heart, in that I believe He does not wish to lose anyone. If I can give you one more piece of evidence, it would be the old standard, John 3:16, 17.

John 3:16-17 NASB “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (17) “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

You have to be blind to not be able to see that God desires eternal life for all, and that he, in contrast to what I hear every week, did not send His Son into the world to judge it, but save it through Him. There are no limitations and restrictions in that statement.

As Bob Dylan use to sing, you might serve the devil, or you may serve the Lord, but you are going to have to serve somebody! Those who by choice serve the devil will follow their master to his appointed, eternal destruction, while those who choose to serve the Lord will follow Him into an eternity of peace and joy.

Now, that being said, what do we do with statements and situations like this?

Exodus 4:19-21 NASB Now the LORD said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.” (20) So Moses took his wife and his sons and mounted them on a donkey, and returned to the land of Egypt. Moses also took the staff of God in his hand. (21) The LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.

Moses murdered an Egyptian; however, we do not see God’s judgment upon Moses or any implication that God wipes Moses’ name out of the book of life because of his “sin.” (I can explain and validate this, later on, should I choose.) God does, however, tell Moses that those who sought his life for the murder are dead. So, even though Moses is not our focus, he too has the potential to harden his heart. After all, didn’t he just spend 40 years in the desert, something that would turn many against God?

When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power, but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.”

God, it would seem, is going out of His way to get Pharaoh’s attention, not merely kill him. We assume, and probably historically so that Pharaoh had a first born son who was killed on the night of Passover, the last draw. And yet, in spite of all this, Pharaoh’s heart did not turn to God but was hardened by Pharaoh himself.

Look at the word hardened.

Hardened, is the Hebrew word chāzaq. The Word Study Dictionary tells us that it is a verb meaning to be strong, to strengthen, to be courageous, to overpower. The verb chāzaq is widely used to express the strength of various phenomena, such as: the severity of famine (2Kings 25:3; Jeremiah 52:6); the strength of humans to overpower each other: the condition of Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 7:13); David and Goliath (1Samuel 17:50); Amnon and Tamar (2Samuel 13:14); a battle situation (2Chronicles 8:3).

Pharaoh certainly played the game of dominance with Moses.

Another commentary that says something comparable to the idea that it is man that hardens his heart is the NNIBC.

In the following passage, Pharaoh, most likely Amenhotep II (c. 1447-1421 B.C.), is not simply the king of Egypt, but a symbol for all who resist God, for all of God’s enemies. I will harden his heart: Some interpret these words as meaning that God would confirm what Pharaoh had stubbornly determined to do. In the first five plagues, the hardening is attributed to Pharaoh (Exo_7:13, Exo_7:22; Exo_8:15, Exo_8:19, Exo_8:32; Exo_9:7). Then for the sixth plague, God hardened a heart that Pharaoh had already hardened (Exo_9:12).” Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary

Do we forget that God also said he would punish Israel for their sins,

Exodus 32:34 NASB “But go now, lead the people where I told you. Behold, My angel shall go before you; nevertheless, in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin.”

and then went about bringing nations and people against them.

Isaiah 13:4-5 NASB A sound of tumult on the mountains, Like that of many people! A sound of the uproar of kingdoms, Of nations gathered together! The LORD of hosts is mustering the army for battle. (5) They are coming from a far country, From the farthest horizons, The LORD and His instruments of indignation, To destroy the whole land.

Who then is doing the punishing, God or man? The answer is both. Now, is it God that does the hardening of the heart or does He merely allows the man to do his thing, while God, at some point, slams the door shut.

You see, the problem is that God’s word and these themes we find are not always so clear cut, are they?

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Commentary and thoughts on Revelation 2:20


The commentaries I have been tossing out here, are the result of my interactions with a mix of men. Some come to Monday morning Bible study, a couple of others I have been introduced to at the various coffee shops we used to sit at.

Call me naive if you wish, but I really am an optimist, believing that other “Christians” would be interested in discussing scripture, or at a minimum, sharing what God has done their lives. One fellow in particular consistently interrupted the flow of conversation with a joke, a story, and a recap of his historical background as a pastor. We, for the longest time, tried to get him to stop with the interruptions, but he would not. The result, I left the group for about six months. (Sometimes you have to get your brain back.) When I was invited back to the group, I found that the trouble maker had taken my admonitions perhaps too seriously, because he appointed himself as the table pastor, thinking he has the authority to control our interactions in the public venues we sit at.

If you have the audacity to assume the position of leader, then you have a responsibility to keep your opinion, which is loaded with conjecture, to a minimum. A second aspect is that you should stick closely to God’s word.

Here is a tip: The Word of God is almost self-explanatory; this is especially true when you do your homework, think like a Jew, and look for the patterns that initiate within the Old Testament.

Our little group, because the “leader” decided he wanted to, has taken us into the Churches of Revelation. That wouldn’t be a problem if we hadn’t just spent almost two years unsuccessfully hashing our way through the Revelation. Never-the-less, these forays always seem to give me fuel to work with. Jezebel is one of those, and we find her in Revelation 2:20.

Revelation 2:20 NIrV “But here is what I have against you. You put up with that woman Jezebel. She calls herself a prophet. With her teaching, she has led my servants into sexual sin. She has tricked them into eating food offered to statues of gods.

What prompts the depression that we see in King Ahab, the husband of Jezebel?
(Look this up in 1Kings 21:7-17).

I will initiate the response with a bit of context. Ahab wanted the vineyard of Naboth, but the man would not sell, and this primed Ahab for his depression. Now read about his interaction with this deadly wife of his.

1 Kings 21:6 NIrV He answered her, “Because I spoke to Naboth from Jezreel. I said, ‘Sell me your vineyard. Or, if you prefer, I’ll give you another vineyard in its place.’ But he said, ‘I won’t sell you my vineyard.'”

After hearing what her husband had to say, she responds with:

1Kings 21:7-17 NIrV His wife Jezebel said,

“Is this how the king of Israel acts?

Get up!

Eat something! Cheer up.

I’ll get you the vineyard of Naboth from Jezreel.”

(8) So she wrote some letters in Ahab’s name. She stamped them with his seal. Then she sent them to the elders and nobles who lived in the city where Naboth lived. (9) In those letters she wrote, “Announce a day when people are supposed to go without eating. Have Naboth sit in an important place among the people. (10) But put two worthless and evil men in seats across from him. Have them witness to the fact that he has called down curses on God and the king. Then take him out of the city. Kill him by throwing stones at him.” (11) So the elders and nobles who lived in that city did what Jezebel wanted. They did everything she directed in the letters she had written to them. (12) They announced a day of fasting. They had Naboth sit in an important place among the people. (13) Then two worthless and evil men came and sat across from him. They brought charges against Naboth in front of the people. The two men said, “Naboth has called down curses on God and the king.” So they took him outside the city. They killed him by throwing stones at him. (14) Then they sent a message to Jezebel. They said, “Naboth is dead. We killed him by throwing stones at him.” (15) Jezebel heard that Naboth had been killed. As soon as she heard it, she said to Ahab, “Get up. Take over the vineyard of Naboth from Jezreel. It’s the one he wouldn’t sell to you. He isn’t alive anymore. He’s dead.” (16) Ahab heard that Naboth was dead. So he got up. He went down to take over Naboth’s vineyard. (17) Then a message from the LORD came to Elijah, who was from Tishbe. It said,

I have a Question, and it’s a huge one, what is Jezebel: is she representative of the historical person, a spirit, or the real thing?

  • It would not be logical to assume that this is the Jezebel that I showed you from 1Kings since Jezebel is long since dead.

  • It is also possible that there is a demon/fallen angel that carries the name Jezebel and has possessed this woman. Since spirit beings live forever then this thing that is controlling her could well be alive today in someone else. Jesus explained all this when he told the group following him, that when a demon is cast out, it seeks someplace to make its abode. Not finding a place it will attempt to return to its last home. Take the time to look this up for yourselves. You will find it in Matthew 12:43-45. (We too are spirit beings clothed in human bodies, and will, therefore, continue to exist/live forever with the person we choose to follow, whether it be Satan or Jehovah.)

  • Our third option is that this person is representative of things that Jezebel stood for (which was nothing good.)

What do we know about the historical Jezebel?

2 Kings 9:30 NIrV Jehu went to Jezreel. Jezebel heard about it. So she put makeup on her eyes and fixed her hair. She looked out of a window.

She had ordered Naboth to be killed. She did this through deceit, attributing her actions to her husband, and distributing the guilt among many. I suppose the alternate motive here would be an attempt to remove guilt from yourself. Does this sound more familiar if I include the name Benghazi? It should as Hillary Clinton, the then, Secretary of State, knowingly sacrificed good men so that she and our president’s sins would not be found out and tied back to her.

2 Kings 9:22 NIrV When Joram saw Jehu he asked, “Have you come here in peace, Jehu?” “Your mother Jezebel worships statues of gods,” Jehu replied. “She also worships evil powers. The evil things she does have spread everywhere. As long as all of that goes on, how can there be peace?”

  • Jezebel worships statues of gods,

  • She worships evil powers.

  • The evil things she does have spread everywhere.

Look once again at Revelation 2:20 where it says, “But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman, Jezebel,”

Tolerate? We tolerate uncomfortable shoes because we think they make us look better. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthian church, addressed a group of people who tolerated some open perversion within their body of believers.

1 Corinthians 5:2 NIrV And you are proud! Shouldn’t you be filled with sadness instead? Shouldn’t you have put the man who did that out of your church?

The obvious answer to Paul’s question is, YES, they should have, and why? Because cancers, left to grow, will kill the body.

In continuing to find the nature, character, and identity of this “Jezebel,” I continue.

1 Kings 18:19 NIrV “Now send for people from all over Israel. Tell them to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the 450 prophets of the god Baal. Also, bring the 400 prophets of the goddess Asherah. All of them eat at Jezebel’s table.”

We do not immediately perceive from Revelation 2:20 that “she” had a deep influence upon the church in Thyatira, but what we do understand is very blatant:

  • She has led my servants into sexual sin.

Since the marriage bed is blessed by God, there would be no sexual sin, unless you brought in outside perversion.

  • She teaches.

This implies teaching people within the church body, that it is okay to indulge in perversity – thinking that it played some role in worship. Ah, but of what?

  • And she has tricked them into eating food offered to statues of gods.

Let’s create a scenario. Having been invited to a home, with the legitimate purpose of espousing the gospel more clearly. Dinner is served, whatever that looks like. You eat it and enjoy.

Having been to Tijuana Mexico on a “missionary” trip, we were escorted in Mexico by two pastors from the area. That evening they took us to a house with no doors and windows where we had the best tacos I can remember. I never asked what kind of meat they put in the tacos, or what the sanitary conditions were because I did not want to ruin the meal I was enjoying. And besides, the pastors were wholeheartedly eating their tacos.

Now back to this home we have been invited to. You might make a statement like, “this is delicious, how was it prepared so that I might make it also?” In many cases, you can go into a home where you are immediately confronted by Buddha statues, or the Indian god of war, Kali. I go to a Chinese, fast food restaurants and there is almost always a small cat-like god by the cash register and fruit is sitting there clearly offered up to this thing. The point being that the indulgences of others are not always so obvious. Having asked your host the question, they tell you that they are Muslims, and all their meats are Halal, offered up to Allah. (Take the time to look up what makes food Halal.)

Now, aware that you are eating meat specifically offered to some fallen demon angel named Allah, are you knowingly worshiping Allah in your participation? I presented this hypothetical question (Costco sells Halal certified meat in the deli department) to the men I sit with, just to hear what they would say. While some struggled with making a decision, another came back immediately with, I would eat and not feel guilty about any of it. He added, Paul gave us the freedom because all things are legal for us. I tossed in my thoughts, saying, I refuse to buy meats sacrificed to Allah, if for no other reason than to not support what they potentially do with that money.

Not everything is so black and white, is it?

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A short commentary on Revelation 6:4


And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him. (Revelation 6:4 NASB)

Compare the NASB with Complete Jewish Bible translation:

Revelation 6:4 CJB Another horse went out, a red one; and its rider was given the power to take peace away from the earth and make people slaughter each other. He was given a great sword.

One claims it was granted to this rider to take peace from the earth and that men would slay each other with the sword. The other, “its rider was given the power to take peace away from the earth and make people slaughter each other.”

They are both correct. Being given the power to take away peace does not mean that you do. However, both translations convey violent and bloody imagery. One correctly describes making people slaughter each other with the sword. If, as I have stated on many occasions, this is Islam their primary weapons of death seem to be the sword and bombs. These weapons are not only directed at those they deem infidels but each other as well – this killing of each other is Biblical and can be found in reference to the descendants of Ishmael.

If, as I have stated on many occasions, this is Islam, their primary weapons of death seem to be the sword and bombs. These weapons are not only directed at those they deem infidels but each other as well – this killing of each other is Biblical and can be found in reference to the descendants of Ishmael.

Genesis 16:12 AMP And he [Ishmael] will be as a wild ass among men; his hand will be against every man and every man’s hand against him, and he will live to the east and on the borders of all his kinsmen.

Let’s assume for a moment that you don’t understand what this verse is telling you. I will attempt an explanation.
Any decent Middle Easterner will claim his heritage back to Abraham, and that would be correct. They mistakenly, however, claim Abraham’s blessings as well, as that was promised to the child born from the pledge God made concerning Sarah. Since Ishmael was born out of something other than God’s direction, there is no blessing given to Ishmael like the one granted to Issac, except for the quantity of descendants. As you can see above, God is not all that worried about your sensitivity to words and references, telling you like it is.

The other aspect of Genesis 16:12, is the fact that they will always scrap with each other.
This might surprise you, but this scenario about their inability to work with each other was also conveyed in Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue dream. When Daniel gets to the feet, he calls them mixed, a mixture of iron and clay.

Daniel 2:40-44 NASB “Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces. (41) “In that, you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. (42) “As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong, and part of it will be brittle. (43) “And in that, you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery. (44) “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.

The word mixed is: ‘arab: An Aramaic verb meaning to mix, to mingle, to join together.
Do you seriously think this is a coincidence?

Sects within Islam

Within Islam there are many sects; the two major factions are, Sunni and Shia, and yet one, the Wahabis’ of Saudi Arabia, hold most aggressively to the tenets of Islam. How do the various sects handle this internal struggle? They try to kill each other. So, what Daniel explained, “his hand will be against every man and every man’s hand against him,” is very true.

Take note of some other aspects of the verses from Daniel 2:40-44. The kingdom that is associated with the legs of the statue, and, then integrates into the toes, is made of iron; very strong, yet brittle. An obvious factor is that iron combined with clay is useless, and yet, that is the overall effectiveness of this undefined kingdom; but is it undefined?.

I can tell you that it feels like peace has been removed from the earth, and yet, this is nothing compared to what is coming. How fast all this will happen can only be experienced. I believe that much of this killing will be carried out by Islam, but considering the shift we have seen in the United States, it looks like the government will gladly be killing us off.

How fast will all this happen can only be experienced first hand. I believe that much of this killing will be carried out by representatives of Islam, but considering the shift we have seen in the United States, it looks like our government will gladly be killing us off.
If we were to be given a choice by God as to how we get to die, I believe I would choose a quick and relatively painless death. Seeing as that does not play into the equation of our lives, then we take what we get.

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End times wars of the Bible. Part two.


What did I establish by the time I finished “The End Times Wars – Part One? That God didn’t bother to give us exact times and dates; he did, however, leave us with clues, logical clues.

What do we have for clues?

  • A plainly stated, upcoming war with a man referred to as Gog.

  • And that Gog does not come alone. Ezekiel 38:2-18 NASB

    (15) “You will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army;

    Do not make the mistake of assuming that the statement which includes the word all means that they all come from the North.

      • Persia, Ethiopia, and Put

        These are at the extreme opposite ends of the country Israel. And, just to make your head explode, Persia is northeast, not in a direct line north – an aspect that we love to focus on.

      • Gomer with all its troops. (“All its troops” are kinfolk.)

        1 Chronicles 1:5-6 NASB (5) The sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. (6) The sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz, Diphath, and Togarmah.

        The short of it, Togarmah is historically aligned with Armenia, Turkey, Russia. This fits Ezekiel’s description, for Turkey is directly north of Israel

The other war, many seem to find in Psalm 83, and attribute to the early days of the Great Tribulation or sooner, may well be what we see in Ezekiel 38, Israel surrounded by enemies.

Psalms 83:2-8 NASB For behold, Your enemies make an uproar, And those who hate You have exalted themselves. (3) They make shrewd plans against Your people, And conspire together against Your treasured ones. (4) They have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more.” (5) For they have conspired together with one mind; Against You they make a covenant: (6) The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites; (7) Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; (8) Assyria also has joined with them; They have become a help to the children of Lot. Selah.

Psalm 83 gives us the names of those who will attack; are they so different than what we see in Ezekiel 38?

  • Edom, the older son of Issac. –

Genesis 25:30 NASB “and Esau said to Jacob, “Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.” Therefore his name was called Edom.

Genesis 36:9 NASB Shows them living “in the hill country of Seir.”

Esau and the Edomites supplanted the previous occupants the Horites. Mount Seir is the high range from the S. of the Dead Sea to Elath N. of the Gulf of Akabah, on the E. of the Arabah, or “the plain from Elath and Ezion Geber.” Keep in mind that Edom refused Israel access through their land.

  • Ishmaelites, the firstborn son of Abraham. – The descendants of Ishmael became the Ishmaelites.

Genesis 25:13-16 NASB and these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the firstborn of Ishmael, and Kedar and Adbeel and Mibsam (14) and Mishma and Dumah and Massa, (15) Hadad and Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. (16) These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their villages, and by their camps; twelve princes according to their tribes.

Genesis 16:12 AMP And he [Ishmael] will be as a wild ass among men; his hand will be against every man and every man’s hand against him, and he will live to the east and on the borders of all his kinsmen.

From Genesis 16:12 it may be inferred that it was applied to the Bedouin of the desert region east of the Jordan generally, for the character there assigned to Ishmael, “His hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him,” fits the habits of Bedouin in all ages. Such was the character of the Midianites as described in Jdg 7, who are again identified with the Ishmaelites (Jdg_8:24). These references show that the Ishmaelites were not confined to the descendants of the son of Abraham and Hagar, but refer to the desert tribes in general, like “the children of the east” (Jdg_7:12).” The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia

  • Moab – was the district East of the Dead Sea, extending from a point some distance North of it to its southern end. The eastern boundary was indefinite, being the border of the desert which is irregular. Now central Jordan.

    The Assyrian Empire

2 Samuel 8:2 NASB He defeated Moab, and measured them with the line, making them lie down on the ground; and he measured two lines to put to death and one full line to keep alive. And the Moabites became servants to David, bringing tribute.

  • The Hagrites

1 Chronicles 5:10 AMP In the days of [King] Saul they made war with the Hagrites or Ishmaelites, who fell by their hands; they dwelt in their tents in all the land east of Gilead.

Genesis 31:22-23 AMP But on the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled. (23) So he took his kinsmen with him and pursued after [Jacob] for seven days, and they overtook him in the hill country of Gilead.

The Region of Gilead

  • Gebal

Joshua 13:5 NASB and the land of the Gebalite, and all of Lebanon, toward the east, from Baal-gad below Mount Hermon as far as Lebo-hamath.

“Probably the inhabitants of the country, around Gebal (Eze_27:9), or Byblos, as the LXX render, a city of Phoenicia, situated on the Mediterranean, between Sidon and Tripoli, on the north of the river Adonis.”[Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge]

  • Ammon

Genesis 19:36-38 NASB Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father. (37) The firstborn bore a son, and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day. (38) As for the younger, she also bore a son, and called his name Ben-ammi; he is the father of the sons of Ammon to this day.

Their territory is East of the Dead Sea and north.

  • Amalekites

Exodus 17 tells us that Joshua defeated the Amalekites. The book of Numbers tells us where they live.

Numbers 13:29 NASB “Amalek is living in the land of the Negev, and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan.”

  • Philistia – This is effectively the area of the Gaza strip.

  • Tyre – North of Gaza, mid-coast.

  • Assyria – North and East of Israel; the opposite end of the map from Philistia.

While I find it easy to associate the Gog/Magog war with a time very close to the Rapture of the Church, I find it difficult to place the Psalm 83 war, if that is a separate battle, unless it goes here, at the midpoint of the Great Tribulation.

While Islamic tradition is not the basis for our understanding of scripture, but it gives you tremendous insight and fills in some of the blanks. A prominent factor in our understanding is that Satan has mimicked God and His plan of redemption at every turn. Knowing that God would send His Son, Jesus, into the world, Satan, it seems has the stated intent of doing that as well. Islam tells us precisely what that plan is.

I give you and excerpt from Wikipedia that speaks about this Jesus for which Islam is looking.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_in_Islam

In Islam he is called:

Isa ibn Maryam (Arabic: عيسى بن مريم, translit. ʿĪsā ibn Maryām, lit. ‘Jesus, son of Mary’‎),

Muslims are appalled at the idea that God would have relations with a woman, so, although there are no real explanations as to how Mary had a child, Allah still acknowledges him and gives him a supremacy over this Christian Son of God.

“According to Islamic tradition which describes this graphically, Jesus’ descent will be in the midst of wars fought by al-Mahdi (lit. “the rightly guided one”), known in Islamic eschatology as the redeemer of Islam,”

Although al-Mahdi is not the point here, he is the precursor to the Islamic Jesus. As you will see in the excerpts, al-Mahdi gets replaced by Isa ibn Maryam, but who is this Mahdi that we should care about him? Or, perhaps a better question would be, what impact does he have on the followers of Christ?

This Mahdi is the antichrist we focus on. Daniel chapter 7 tells us this:

Daniel 7:24-25 NASB ‘As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. (25) ‘He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.

Again, the critics will not make the association, so let’s try to fill in the gaps.

  • ten kings will arise;” while I cannot make a direct connection between this and individual “kings,” there is, however, ten nations aligned against Israel in Psalm 83. The common factor in all these nations is that they are Muslim in the majority and hate Israel and the Jewish people.

  • another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones.” The fact that “he” arises after them, tends to imply that he is king or ruler of a similar nature. And yet, “he will be different from the previous ones.” What does that mean? Presidents and prime ministers could also be considered kings and yet have no similar religious backgrounds. Islam, on the other hand, values those that follow strictly after the harsh measures of the Quran.

  • Because he “He will speak out against the Most High,” we can, along with the scriptural context, assert that “he” is most likely a Muslim, as they brutally react to anyone who exhibits opposition to Allah.

  • A feature of the scenario is that he will, “wear down the saints of the Highest One.” This is an aspect of the time of wrath/the Great Tribulation. The saints are those who come to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah during this horrific time period. We see these in Revelation 7:9-15. It is rather long, and so I will leave up to you to read The short of it is verse 14, where it says: “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” In reality, the wearing down equals death.

  • he will intend to make alterations in times and in law” – This is a goal and purpose of true followers of Islam. They wish to make the calendar match the Muslim calendar, and make Sharia law the law of everyone.

  • and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.” Time, times, and half a time is a phrase we understand from scripture to equal three and one-half years. Suddenly this should promote a question or two; why? Because the Great Tribulation lasts for seven years and it is clear that people are martyred the entire time. Even as we speak followers of Christ are being martyred, so this is not a new pattern, merely an escalation of what they as Jihadis do now. The implications tie this phrase in with the last half of the Tribulation when the Islamic Jesus shows up. One of the stated purposes of the Muslim Jesus is that he is the enforcer of Sharia.

Enough about the Mahdi, let’s get back to the Islamic Jesus, the false prophet of Scripture.

Islam believes that Jesus did not die on the cross, but was merely taken away and will come back again. When Isa comes again, he, though understood to be a Jew, will give his allegiance to al-Mahdi. His Jewish heritage is of the lineage of Aaron, and will, therefore, be entitled to be a high priest within the recently built temple. The possibility that he is a currently in line to be a high priest would certainly give him access to the inner court where the image of the beast is to be placed and made to talk.

Notice the word redeemer in the quote above. Do we not also have a redeemer.

Isaiah 43:14 KJV “Thus saith the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel;..”

Even Job, whom we know so little about, acknowledges God as the redeemer.

Job 19:25 KJV For I know that my redeemer lives, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

Who is it that we will see standing upon the earth, in a dramatic fashion?

Zechariah 14:4 KJV 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.

“against al-Masīh ad-Dajjāl (the Antichrist “false messiah“) and his followers. Jesus will descend at the point of a white arcade, east of Damascus, dressed in yellow robes—his head anointed. He will say prayer behind al-Mahdi then join him in his war against the Dajjal. Jesus, considered as a Muslim, will abide by the Islamic teachings. Eventually, Jesus will slay the Antichrist, and then everyone who is one of the People of the Book (ahl al-kitāb, referring to Jews and Christians) will believe in him. Thus, there will be one community, that of Islam.

Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 43: Kitab-ul-`Ilm (Book of Knowledge), Hâdith Number 656:

When it says, “against al-Masīh ad-Dajjāl (the Antichrist “false messiah”) and his followers,” about whom or who are they talking? The answer is Jesus the Son of God, and anyone who is a follower of Christ. However, it is important to understand that Islam considers anyone who does not follow the tenets of Islam to be an infidel and worthy only of death or slavery to their whims. In opposition to God’s word and design, they have assigned the title of false messiah to Yashua/Jesus.

Look at the phrase, “his head anointed. He will say prayer behind al-Mahdi”. “al-Mahdi” equates to the antichrist described in Revelation. But what does the Islamic Jesus do? Submit to the will of Allah and pledge his allegiance to the al-Mahdi, the 12th and missing Imam who returns. Strangely, many have claimed that title as well. I suspect that he is alive and well, and once again, someone will claim that title again.

Allah’s Apostle said, “The Hour will not be established until the son of Mary (i.e. Jesus) descends amongst you as a just ruler, he will break the cross, kill the pigs, and abolish the Jizya tax. Money will be in abundance so that nobody will accept it (as charitable gifts).”

Our Bibles tell us when this will happen, half way through the seven year period of wrath. Ask yourself what keeps this from coming any sooner? There are two witnesses sent from God, standing in the streets of Jerusalem. How would this help anything? They can call down fire from heaven; stop the rain; unleash plagues, much like Moses did, and send fire out their mouths upon anyone who would attempt to hurt them. It seems they act as policing units, perhaps protecting those who build the temple.

A somewhat cryptic description of what happens from the mid-point of the tribulation forward is found from approximately Revelation 11:18-12:17 where it says, So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. Did you notice how the name changed from Antichrist to the dragon? The reality of this story line is that a demon, a fallen angel that indwells a willing servant, takes on the personification of a demon.

Another aspect is this line, “abolish the Jizya tax.” This tax is comparable to paying protection money that allows you to continue a life under Islamic rule; it will be, at the least, tenuous, and, there is no guarantee that Muslims will not just simply torture you and kill you.

After the death of al-Mahdi, Jesus will assume leadership. This is a time associated in Islamic narrative with universal peace and justice. Islamic texts also allude to the appearance of Ya’juj and Ma’juj (also known as Gog and Magog), ancient tribes which will disperse and cause a disturbance on earth.

While the scenario is very similar to God’s, there is no guarantee that Islamic prophecies will hold true. For example consider the line, “After the death of al-Mahdi.” Based on what we know from scripture, antichrist does seem to disappear from the scene with no great explanation and does not exclude his death.

Isn’t it peculiar that Islamic prophecies would also include Gog and Magog? However, this mention of them says nothing of when they show up, merely that they are players in end-times events. The thing that makes them worthy of note is that they are Islamic also. For the critics: Scripture tells us that God will draw Gog from the north, and north runs right through Ankara, the capital of Turkey, a Muslim nation.

As for other wars, there seems to be only two:

Jesus returns to the earth with church riding with him.

Stick with me for a second because I want some clarity, just as you do.

“The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. “These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast. “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.” (Revelation 17:12-14 NASB)

This is not going to be some long, drawn out war. This will be over rather quickly.

The second piece of evidence and testimony is Revelation chapter 19. Revelation 19 is an expanded version of Revelation 17:12-14. The thing to note is that prophetically, this has been repeated and it is intentional in drawing our attention to this event.

Revelation 19:18-19 NASB (18) “so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.” (19) And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.”

And, the final war to end all wars, after Satan’s last attempt at deceiving the earth.

When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. (Revelation 20:7-9 NASB)

the camp of the saints and the beloved city,” is 1500 miles square, built on a flat plain. How many people does it take to encompass something like this?

Merely because we see the names of Gog and Magog associated with the final conflict does not mean this is the war we see in Ezekiel 38, 39. Evidence to support a differentiation is found in the peculiar tagging of the bodies and burial of the dead, as though there was a nuclear war, and the burning of weapons for fuel and fires, again, none of this would be an aspect of the heavenly realm.

The Life Application Study Bible says:

Gog and Magog symbolize all the forces of evil that band together to battle God. Noah’s son Japheth had a son named Magog (Gen_10:2). Ezekiel presents Gog as a leader of forces against Israel (Ezekiel 38-39).”

This statement above is precisely what we need to keep in mind. It is an example of what I am trying to convey. The LASB’s contention that the Gog we see in Ezekiel 38-39 as a leader of forces against Israel, leaves the opportunity for there to be another Gog in the last battle.

I have seen authors identify up to nine end times wars. Do I really care; what does it really matter?

It only matters when the people you come in contact with at church espouse every manner of garbage about the end times and preach it adamantly to others. In so doing they create more ignorant and lost sheep, who in turn pass their misconceptions on to many others. One of those misconceptions is that God is evil, short tempered, and is willing to send as many people as He can to hell. And that is totally against His character and nature. I know this because He came to save the lost, and especially the lost sheep of Israel.

For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. …” (Luke 9:56 KJV)

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (1 Timothy 1:15 KJV)

There is obviously so much more I could say, but I have exceeded my self-imposed page length limitations. My suggestion is that you pursue these wars on your own, with a heart that longs for understanding. Read the Revelation; Daniel; Ezekiel, especially chapters 38 and 39; Psalm 83 – paying attention to the names listed. Do word searches, if you have the resources, for appropriate words, such as war, in your Bible. And, above all, look for the nature and character of God, all-the-while, keeping in mind that the entire book of Revelation is about Jesus the Christ.

God’s speed my friend; the end is upon us.

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End times wars of the Bible. Part one.


Almost all my blogs originate from horrific teachings or conversations which demonstrate how little we know or understand. The Wars of the End Times is no exception.

There are a number of wars connected with the end times. Names associated with these wars include God and Magog; Armageddon. Locations are the mountains of Israel and the Megiddo valley.

The Gog/Magog war of Ezekiel 38 and 39

What are the questions that concern us as we try to answer when this battle takes place and who is involved?

Where does this person or army come from?

Ezekiel 38:15 NASB “You will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army;

Magog is considered to be in the North, and it is often defined as Moscow, the capital of Russia. However, there are other nations that lie directly north of Israel, and they are Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey.

Ezekiel 38:2 NASB “Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him

Although traditional generalizations point to Moscow, there is another city, which fits in many compelling ways, called Ankara; this just happens to be the capital of Turkey. Because they are a Muslim nation, they may easily exceed Russia in their hatred for Israel.

So when does this war take place?

All we seem to have is a logical assumption. Verses 19 and 20 may give us some clues, though.

Ezekiel 38:19-20 NASB “In My zeal and in My blazing wrath I declare that on that day there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. (20) “The fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all the creeping things that creep on the earth, and all the men who are on the face of the earth will shake at My presence; the mountains also will be thrown down, the steep pathways will collapse and every wall will fall to the ground.

Because these events sound much like the events we find in Great Tribulation – God’s wrath, it is easy to assume that they take place within this time period.

There are some considerations we have to entertain:

The temple must be rebuilt, and as yet, there is no clear decision where to put it. There may be a solution for that, and we find it in Ezekiel 39:1-6

Look at phrases like:

    • I am against you and will bring you against the mountains of Israel.”

    • I will strike your bow from your left hand and dash down your arrows from your right hand. And, I will send fire upon Magog and those who inhabit the coastlands in safety;”

    • On that day I will give Gog a burial ground there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea, and it will block off those who would pass by.

The strongest potential for a war like this would be now or right after the rapture of the church. And yet, if you apply logic to scripture, where you see the Antichrist crying peace peace, you know must be a reason. Just look around you, and all you see is an escalation of violent talk and actions. As I pointed out, Magog will descend upon the mountains of Israel when the fire from God comes down. The potential for that fire destroying the Mosque that sits there is good, and, this may allow for immediate action in building the third and final temple.

All these considerations have a time frame, and therefore it makes sense that this Gog Magog war is poised to happen quickly and soon.

Do yourself a favor and read Ezekiel 38 and 39.

Another contender for last days Wars is Psalm 83

When you read this, you have to ask, is this present tense or a future event. This question is one of the main reasons why people will say that understanding the Bible is so difficult. The question, however, is necessary; will prompt you to study further, and, give you a greater understanding, should you pursue the answer.

Psalms 83:1-18 NASB A Song, a Psalm of Asaph. O God, do not remain quiet; Do not be silent and, O God, do not be still. (2) For behold, Your enemies make an uproar, And those who hate You have exalted themselves. (3) They make shrewd plans against Your people, And conspire together against Your treasured ones. (4) They have said, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more.” (5) For they have conspired together with one mind; Against You they make a covenant: (6) The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites; (7) Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; (8) Assyria also has joined with them; They have become a help to the children of Lot. Selah. (9) Deal with them as with Midian, As with Sisera and Jabin at the torrent of Kishon, (10) Who were destroyed at En-dor, Who became as dung for the ground. (11) Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb And all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna, (12) Who said, “Let us possess for ourselves The pastures of God.” (13) O my God, make them like the whirling dust, Like chaff before the wind. (14) Like fire that burns the forest And like a flame that sets the mountains on fire, (15) So pursue them with Your tempest And terrify them with Your storm. (16) Fill their faces with dishonor, That they may seek Your name, O LORD. (17) Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever, And let them be humiliated and perish, (18) That they may know that You alone, whose name is the LORD, Are the Most High over all the earth.

The common assumption is that Psalm 83 is segregated from all other wars; but is it?

Ezekiel 38:8-10 NASB “After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them. (9) “You will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you.” (10) ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “It will come about on that day, that thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil plan,

Does the following statement, extracted from the paragraph above, have the potential for demonstrating that Israel will be surrounded?

“You will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you.”

Certainly, it does; the problematic aspect is the lack of mountains in the Southern regions of Israel and the idea that Gog would be brought down upon the mountains of Israel – in the north. But we ignore verses like:

Ezekiel 39:5-6 NASB “You will fall on the open field; for it is I who have spoken,” declares the Lord GOD. (6) “And I will send fire upon Magog and those who inhabit the coastlands in safety; and they will know that I am the LORD.

This verse also speaks of God’s wrath falling upon those in the fields and the coastlands. Many see the coast lands as the islands of the Mediterranean. If that is the case, then the scene has been expanded far beyond the limitations of the mountains of Israel.

Since we like to see parallel evidence, then let’s consider some other examples that demonstrate multiple nations arising against Israel.

Ezekiel 30:3-6 NASB “For the day is near, Even the day of the LORD is near; It will be a day of clouds, A time of doom for the nations. (4) “A sword will come upon Egypt, And anguish will be in Ethiopia; When the slain fall in Egypt, They take away her wealth, And her foundations are torn down. (5) “Ethiopia, Put, Lud, all Arabia, Libya and the people of the land that is in league will fall with them by the sword.” (6) ‘Thus says the LORD, “Indeed, those who support Egypt will fall And the pride of her power will come down; From Migdol to Syene They will fall within her by the sword,” Declares the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel 38:4-5 NASB “I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them splendidly attired, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them wielding swords; (5) Persia, Ethiopia and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet;

Jeremiah 46:7-10 NASB 7 Who is this that comes up as a flood, whose waters are moved as the rivers? 8 Egypt rises up like a flood, and his waters are moved like the rivers; and he says, I will go up, and will cover the earth; I will destroy the city and the inhabitants thereof. 9 Come up, all of you horses; and rage, all of you chariots; and let the mighty men come forth; the Ethiopians and the Libyans, that handle the shield; and the Lydians, that handle and bend the bow. 10 For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts has a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates.

A quick overview of potential nations are:

  • Persia (Modern day Iran, however, the range was must larger encompassing all of the Assyria.)

  • Ethiopia, Put (Most associate Put with Libya)

  • Lydiaalong with Caria, Mysia, and Phrygia, a part of the Roman province of Asia (see ASIA). Chief among its cities were Smyrna and Ephesus, two of the most important in Asia Minor, and Smyrna is still the largest and wealthiest city of that part of Turkey.” (Morrish)
  • Lud, Ludim [Lu’dim] and the Lydians are one and the same. They are said to have inhabited northwest Africa. This may align with the Sudan.

Nations that come against Israel and where they come from.

If it helps with understanding a look at genealogies will clear things up.

And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. (Gen 10:6)

If this sounds familiar, that is because Ham was one of Noah’s sons, and, he was the one who “saw” his father’s nakedness and was cursed for it.

Son of Mizraim

Gen 10:13 (UKJV) And Mizraim brings forth Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim,

1 Chronicles 1:11-12 NASB (11) Mizraim became the father of the people of Lud, Anam, Lehab, Naphtuh, (12) Pathrus, Casluh, from which the Philistines came, and Caphtor.

Mizraim’s descendants are mentioned with Phut and are held to have inhabited the northwest of Africa. Isa. 66:19; Ezek. 27:10. The same district is called LYDIA (though the Hebrew is simply Lud) and its inhabitants, LYDIANS, in Jer. 46:9; Ezek. 30:5. (From a commentary by Moresh)

The Sons of Shem. Gen. 10:22; 1 Chr. 1:17. See SHEM.

Shem had five sons:

  • ELAM — originally settled in the province of Persia, of which Susa was the capital.

  • ASSHUR — strictly Assyria, but in an extended sense may have included Babylonia and the land of the Chaldees.

  • ARPHAXAD — recognized by Josephus and others as the father of the Chaldees. The name is supposed to have been preserved in the province Arrapachitis in northern Assyria.

  • LUD — said by Josephus to have been the father of the Lydians of Asia Minor (these are distinct from the Lud and Ludim in Africa).

  • ARAM — the name of Syria, but more especially, referring to the high land of Lebanon. Gen. 5:32; Gen. 9:18-27; Gen. 10:21-31; Gen. 11:10, 11; 1 Chr. 17:24. In Luke 3:36 the same name is called SEM.

All of these have had deadly results upon Israel and played various roles in their captivity and dispersion among the nations.

So, we have one decisive battle, the Gog/Magog war, and one possibility, an unnamed war in which Israel is surrounded; however, Israel is and always has been surrounded by enemies. The descriptions we see in Psalm 83 could easily apply to the Gog/Magog war.

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