Ezekiel 38:12 – trying to understand Gog, part 3.

In effect, this is where we ended the last post on Ezekiel.

“This is what the Lord GOD says: ‘This is what’s going to happen on the very day that you begin your invasion: You’ll be thinking, making evil plans, and boasting, “I’m going to invade a land comprised of open country that is at rest, its people living confidently, all of whose inhabitants will be living securely, with neither fortification nor bars on their doors. Ezekiel 38:10-11 ISV

Having read this passage on several occasions, I have asked myself the same question many have asked, how can you possibly call Israel a country that is at rest? Are the people living confidently and securely? Dr. David Reagan, writing in the September 2009 LAMPLIGHTER magazine article entitled, The Wars of the End Times, said,

First, there is a condition for the war of Ezekiel 38 and 39 that has not been met. Three times in Ezekiel 38 — in verses 8, 11, and 14 — it states that the war described in that chapter will not occur until the people of Israel are living “securely” in “unwalled villages.” Israel is not living in security today. It is bombarded daily by missiles from Gaza, and it is constantly under the threat of missile attacks from Hezbollah in Lebanon. There is also the ever-present threat of terrorist attacks, a threat that has forced Israel to construct a 400-mile long wall down the center of the country. In short, it is laughable today to even think of the Jewish people of Israel as living “securely” in “unwalled villages.”

I don’t know how to explain what Gog says, short of it being in direct opposition to a previous condition. We see that previous condition when we read the words of, as a friend pointed out, Nehemiah the Prophet.

Nehemiah 1:3 NASB They said to me, “The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.”

The walls were broken down, and its gate burned with fire. Is that the end of the story? Obviously not, for Nehemiah led a team that rebuilt those same walls and gates. However, those walls and gates were destroyed once again. So, if Israel is a city without walls, what is one of the primary structures conspicuous in Israeli news? The fence along the Southern border with Gaza. Perhaps then our understanding is much to narrow and restrictive, especially, if we can only see things as Dr. David Reagan does. Maybe we are looking at the small picture while God is concerned with the bigger one. This Gog character views Israel as a people living securely in unwalled cities; all of which is in fulfillment of prophecy, and that, is all that matters.

With Israel looking vulnerable our journey continues, as we find Gog saying,

Ezekiel 38:11-12 NASB … I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates, 12) to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world.’

Odd, how the majority of Western centered thinking struggles to see Israel as pictured in the statement above, and yet, Gog understands very well the purpose of Israel and why. Get something defined in your thinking; Gog is NOT the Antichrist. In this case, he’s more of a hothead who only sees utter destruction as the answer. (By the way, Muslims continually make this cry for a total extermination of those outside of Islam.) The Antichrist, in comparison, is found in Daniel crying out for peace. The logical side of me only sees this cry for peace happening after this war.

Daniel 9:27 NASB “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

Contract, peace treaty or a ceasefire, call it what you may, the effect is the same, as Israel gains a few quick years of peace. And, if you are paying attention, this verse says nothing about him making a peace treaty with Israel.

Daniel, in a vision, had seen a ram with two horns and a shaggy goat with one horn between its eyes. The angel Gabriel came and explained what this vision meant. It is a vision of the end of time; a period that takes about seven years. (I say about as many of these things, things that make it all happen, are happening around us now, and are not a direct part of the seven-years of God’s wrath.)

Daniel 8:16-17 NASB And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and he called out and said, “Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision.” 17) So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, “Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end.”

Many translations read like this: “Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end.”

The problem I have with this terminology is that it places Ezekiel 38, 39 within the seven-year period when I am not so sure we should perceive it as such. Can Ezekiel’s prophecy be something that overlaps into the seven-years? Certainly, and since there will be one crying out for peace (although false,) he – the Antichrist will only be exposed to the world after the church is removed. [You can ascertain this information by a careful study of 2Thessalonians 2, particularly verse 8.]

Daniel 8:20 NASB “The ram which you saw with the two horns represents the kings of Media and Persia.

We have already seen the advent of the kings of Media and Persia, as they overthrew and succeeded Nebuchadnezzar’s reign.

Daniel 8:21 NASB “The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king.

This was Alexander the Great.

Daniel 8:22 ERV That horn broke off and four horns grew in its place. The four horns are four kingdoms. Those four kingdoms will come from the nation of the first king, but they will not be as strong as the first king.

After Alexander’s death, in the prime of life and in the height of his conquests, his brother and two sons were all murdered; and the kingdom was divided among four of his generals: (1) Seleucus, who had Syria and Babylon; (2) Lysimachus, who had Asia Minor; (3) Ptolemy, who had Egypt; and (4) Cassander, who had Greece.” The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury

This is just as Daniel described when he detailed the dream of a statue with a head of gold.

  • Nebuchadnezzar was identified as the head of gold;

  • Media and Persia were the chest and arms made of silver;

  • its stomach and thighs of bronze were the Grecian empires,

  • The legs and feet primarily being made of Iron, are empire Seleucus and Ptolemy and what becomes of those two empires. This is detailed in Daniel 11.

    Contrary to what many believe, these were not the Roman empire but remnants of the Grecian empire. When it comes to the toes which are a blended mess of iron and clay, the Hebrew word used to describe the mix is arab.

Daniel 11 is such a precise history of the intrigue and overthrow of governing bodies that happens toward the end of the Seleucid and Ptolemaic reigns, that many suspect it was written after the events took place. All these events play into the scenario described by Ezekiel and Daniel, and should not be ignored.

Daniel 8:23 NIrV “Toward the end of their rule, those who refuse to obey God will become completely evil. Then another king will appear. He will have a mean-looking face. He will be a master at making clever plans.

The Amplified Bible translates this passage in this manner, “when the transgressors [the apostate Jews] have reached the fullness [of their wickedness, taxing the limits of God’s mercy], a king of fierce countenance and understanding dark trickery and craftiness shall stand up.”

This is the same person that we see in Ezekiel 38,39.

Two questions.

  1. Until the day God pulls the plug and sends His wrath upon the nations and Israel, will there ever be a time when Israel is done transgressing?

    I cannot imagine it, and that is why we have allusions to them reaching their fullness or becoming completely evil.

  2. When you look at a world ruler today, do you say, there is a mean-looking man?

    I don’t either unless I am looking at Principe Erdoğan, the President of Turkey. Who, by the way, is a Muslim.

    • A king will arise, Insolent and skilled in intrigue.” (NASB)

      What does that mean?

      Insolent is the Hebrew word ‘az and means strong, vehement, harsh. This could be the description of several totalitarian world leaders.

      Intrigue, the Hebrew is chı̂ydâh and means a trick, conundrum, sententious maxim: – dark saying (sentence, speech), hard question, proverb, riddle.

      Webster’s dictionary defines intrigue as “A plot or scheme of a complicated nature, intended to effect some purpose by secret artifices. An intrigue may be formed and prosecuted by an individual, and we often hear of the intrigues of a minister or a courtier, but often several projectors are concerned in an intrigue. The word is usually applied to affairs of love or of government.”

When I think about the intrigue that went on behind the scenes with the Clinton administration and then the Obama presidency, it turns my stomach. President Obama made secret deals with the Iranians, giving them pallets of cash while requiring little in return. How many deals have been made with the Turkish government? And what is going on behind our backs as we speak? We may never know until it’s too late.

Can I definitely say who this character is? No, as there are so many that fit the characteristics. I just know the end times are like a great puzzle, and the pieces are fitting together as we watch the news.

Daniel 8:25 KJV And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes, but he shall be broken without hand.

  • The NASB tells us, His power will be mighty, but not by his own power,

    Where else do we find this idea of someone or something receiving power, but not his own?

    Revelation 13:2 NASB And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.

So it is not an uncommon idea that a demonic entity – a fallen angel, can and will give it’s power and authority to a human. Another highly visible place we see this is when Satan led Jesus up to a high place and showed him all the kingdoms of the world.

Luke 4:6 NASB And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.

  • and by peace shall destroy many.”

    The BBE conveys this imagery, “in his heart he will make himself great, and send destruction on numbers who are living unconscious of their danger;” It seems this could only happen if you believed you were safe. The Israeli Prime minister proclaims frequently, that Israel can protect itself.

    Again, we have little that tells us of this peace process he initiates. The largest piece of evidence for peace comes from Daniel 9:27, as I pointed out earlier in the text.

  • he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes;”

    Far too many try to face off against God, with no success. It is a pointless and fruitless effort. And, it makes little to no sense when you look at this in terms of a conventional war. The statement itself implies that there is an acceptance of a God that holds order over everything, even if you don’t know his name. And you, O’ Gog, have the audacity to stand against him, the Prince of Princes. Those of us in the Christian community understand this Prince to be Jesus Christ the Messiah. Odd how so many in the world refuse to see that.

  • but he shall be broken without hand.”

    We have not arrived at that point yet, but God sends a firestorm upon those attacking Israel, and Gog is given a burial place on the hills of Israel. This event almost sounds like the weapons, used by God, could be nuclear. I say this based the details we see as people mark the dead and then teams come to dispose of the bodies.

We are told that God does all this to demonstrate his power to the nations – those standing by and watching. Sadly, none of this seems to make a difference as approximately 1260 days later, Israel is attacked once again.

Let me reiterate, we are looking at Ezekiel 38:12 where a vicious, militaristic leader attacks Israel for the purpose of destroying God. That, of course, will not succeed as God himself sends a firestorm upon Gog and his troops, killing them on the hills of Israel, and we will get to that as we progress.

I was asked, a couple of years ago, if we, the church will suffer tribulations. I think the obvious answer is YES. All you need to do is pay attention to what is happening to the church around the world. China is rounding them up and imprisoning the participants; in Northern Africa, in one week alone, estimates are that over 200 have been killed by Boko Haran, and Egyptian Muslims are killing the Coptic Christians in their churches and as they leave. These are all Muslim nations, but do the tribulations only come to those in Muslim nations? No, and the day is coming that here in America it will find you. And, all of this is prior to the wrath of God being poured out upon the earth.

I feel I spent far too much time including excerpts from Daniel 8 but I wanted you to understand how integrated the end times story in this Bible of ours. Some read their Bibles, believing that the New Testament is the only place you should focus your attention. However, you will find detailed information about end times events in Matthew’s gospel; Paul’s writings to the Thessalonian church; Peter’s writings; Jude, and of course The Revelation. So the end times story is all around you. Understanding that God is on your side and wants to save you from the horrors that are to come, perhaps you should avail yourself of His love and accept Jesus Christ, His son.

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Ezekiel 38: 5-12. Part 2 – I am against you Gog.

Having addressed who or what Gog could be in my previous post, we now look at the directive given to Ezekiel to prophecy against Gog (from a great distance, and through time,) about what God’s plan is, for the last days.

Ezekiel 38:3 NASB and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.

Eugene Peterson’s “The Message” gives us this, “Be warned, Gog. I am against you.

Ezekiel 38:4 CJB I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all completely equipped, a great horde with breastplates and shields, all wielding swords.

Why would verse four be immensely significant in the Jewish mind?

If you think back to the story of Jonah you remember that Jonah was asked to prophesy against Nineveh and tell them their days were numbered. While that might seem appropriate, especially if you had an intense hatred for the Ninevehites and wanted them dead because they were sadistically cruel and bloody people.

But Jonah also knew something about God that most of us miss, and that was that God’s nature was one of mercy. The other thing that Jonah understood was that the Ninevehites were a part of the Assyrian nation, just as Gog is, and they had the nasty habit of dragging their victims back to their lands by putting hooks in their mouths, among other places.

  • I will turn you around.”

Another piece of insight for you. Having recently gone to the beach to be with family, I took an ice chest of cold drinks. I dragged that chest from the car, across the beach sand, and now, later in the day, I was dragging it back again. By the time I got to the stairs that lead up to the car, I was exhausted. I could feel the full weight of the ice chest as I went up the first step. Suddenly it got lighter. I actually thought I was going to turn around and see an angel. What I saw was the long-haired young man whom I had just passed carrying a skateboard. My wife, who was about 22 meters behind me, saw the skateboarder and internally had said, Lord, that would be great if that young man helped my husband. With that, the young man stopped, turned, and began to help me without saying a word. You see, God has ways of his will without a word being exchanged; and, the young man, he probably thought it was his great idea.

  • and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all completely equipped, a great horde with breastplates and shields, all wielding swords.”

In one of my posts on Ezekiel 38, I went into great detail about the people of that region, the Scythians. One of their claims to fame is that they were skillful horsemen and deadly with weapons as they rode. Would Ezekiel have known that? It is highly possible as the line of descendants that produced these people existed long before Ezekiel did and he would have learned this through oral history.

At this point, I only wish to say, that someone attempted to challenge my previous assertions about Gog, saying, Gog was Satan. Based upon verse four alone is that probable?

Not likely seeing as 1Chronicles 5:4 shows us the lineage of a man named Gog, a descendant of Reuben – the disinherited son of Jacob, but then, Ezekiel’s prophecy and the actual occurrence of these events spans well over two thousand years and no one lives that long. The only other thing that has credence is a demonic spirit/ fallen angel that carries that name.

In this battle coming against Israel, who are the players?

Ezekiel 38:5-6 NASB Persia, Ethiopia and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6) Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops-many peoples with you.

  • Persia – Modern day Iran

  • Ethiopia – At one time Ethiopia was known as Cush.

  • Put – Put is the Libyans. While Qaddafi may have been a wild man, since his removal the nation has turned into a violent Muslim nation.

  • Gomer – Sits squarely in modern day Turkey.

  • Beth-togarmah – This was territory from which the Medes emanated. It is the region in which the Armenians resided. At one point in time, the Assyrian nations bordered Beth-togarmah, and it is the Caucasus region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. While Russia has dominated these people at times they seem to be independent of Russia while maintaining civil war amongst themselves.

    There is a strong clue embedded within the verse that says, in the far reaches of the north, with all its troops-many peoples are with you.” Again, this is the Scythian region and one of their claims to fame was Genghis Khan.

Ezekiel 38:7 CJB Prepare yourself, get ready, you and all your crowd gathered around you; and take charge of them.

Consider something here. Ezekiel is writing this while he is in Babylonian captivity; which for him, began around 570 B.C. Now, over 2570 years later, God is finally bringing this collection of assailants together for a horrendous battle. A battle, that for Israel, will look impossible.

Many will add another war in here, the Psalm 83 war. Some even insert it before the events that Ezekiel lays out before us.

Psalms 83:3-8 ISV They plot against your people and conspire against your cherished ones. 4) They say, “Let us go and erase them as a nation so the name of Israel will not be remembered anymore.” 5) Indeed, they shrewdly planned together, forming an alliance against you— 6) the tents of Edom, the Ishmaelites, Moab, the Hagrites, 7) Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, Philistia, and the inhabitants of Tyre. 8) Even Assyria joined them to strengthen the descendants of Lot. Interlude.

Psalm 83 has similarities to what we see in Ezekiel 38 and 39, but what I don’t see is Cush, and Put – Egypt and Libya. I am not sure those nations can be excluded as the descendants traveled extensively.

Ezekiel 38:8 CJB After many days have passed, you will be mustered for service; in later years you will invade the land which has been brought back from the sword, gathered out of many peoples, the mountains of Isra’el. They had been lying in ruins for a long time, but now Isra’el has been extracted from the peoples and all of them are living there securely.

  • After many days have passed,”

    Far too many read this and think it merely means weeks later. This phrase, like “the prince that shall come,” that is defined for us in Daniel 9:26, has several encroachments into history. The problem is, these intrusions are spread across thousands of years.

Many is the Hebrew word rab meaning much, many, numerous, and abundance, among others.

Verse eight is clearly a description of Israel.

Ezekiel 38:9 CJB You will come up like a storm, you will be like a cloud covering the land—you and all your troops, and many other peoples with you.’

  • You will come up like a storm,”

    Sudden and overwhelming. Are all storms sudden? No, in many cases people will say, this is storm weather and it always starts like this. So, the implication is that we have a strong probability of knowing when this will come. Just today (6/29/2018), through the MEMRI website, I learned of a Middle Eastern newspaper that leans heavily toward Erdoğan, publishing an article calling for the Muslim of the world to gather in Jihad against Israel (this article was published in Dec of 2017 – not that long ago. An aspect of the article was a map which showed Israel surrounded on every side with army tanks. Surrounded on every side sounds very much like Ezekiel’s words.

  • you will be like a cloud covering the land.” – Clouds are formed by thousands of drops of water. We are told that the number seems innumerable.

  • you and all your troops, and many other peoples with you.” – These are people of a like mind – Muslims may not be unified in “religion” but they all seem to understand the idea of Jihad.

Ezekiel 38:10-12 CJB “Adonai Elohim says: ‘When that day comes, thoughts will well up in your mind, and you will devise a sinister scheme. 11) You will say, “I am going to invade this land of unwalled villages; I will take by surprise these people who are at peace, living securely, all in places without walls, bars or gates. 12) I will seize the spoil and take the plunder.” You will attack the former ruins that are now inhabited and come against the people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and other wealth and are living in the central parts of the land.

  • When that day comes,” – Question, does God do anything at random? The answer is NO, as everything is part of a precise and well thought out plan; a plan which includes giving man a free will and the opportunity to choose life or death.

    Deuteronomy 30:19 CJB “I call on heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have presented you with life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore, choose life, so that you will live, you and your descendants,

    Regardless of the optional qualities, the plan is still in place and intact. So, is it possible that God would leave the option for Gog to design and plan out “his” own destiny? Not a chance and verse ten is no different, as “that day” is entirely in God’s hands, and, a part of God’s plan.

    Psalms 33:11 NET. The LORD’s decisions stand forever; his plans abide throughout the ages.

    Another consideration is the terminology “that day.” The phrase is attributed to several events; one of which is the return of Jesus as the warring and conquering Messiah, who also fights a bloody battle in the Jezreel Valley; there is the great white throne judgment and the entirety of the seven-years of God’s wrath upon the earth.
    Are any of those events what we are looking at here? I do not believe so as there are always other events associated, which we do not see here.

  • thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil plan,” – 

    The Hebrew word for thoughts is dāḇār and literally means words. I could read this when that day comes, words will pop into your head, you are going to think this is your sinister scheme, but in reality, you will be doing what I have planned all along.

    Mind is the Hebrew word lēḇāḇ and also means heart. In God’s understanding, the heart and the mind are one in the same.

    Devise is from the Hebrew word châshab and means to weave, fabricate, or plot.

    Proverbs 15:28 NASB The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.

  • You will say, “I am going to invade this land of unwalled villages; I will take by surprise these people who are at peace, living securely, all in places without walls, bars or gates. 12) I will seize the spoil and take the plunder.”

    The context of Deuteronomy 3:5 is applied to Israel’s conquer of Og, the King of Bashan. Having destroyed Og’s fortified cities they were never rebuilt by Israel. It also demonstrates that cities were typically fortresses; this is not what you see in Israel today.

    Deuteronomy 3:3-6 NASB “All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates, and bars, besides a great many unwalled towns.

    Zechariah 2:4 NASB and said to him, “Run, speak to that young man, saying, ‘Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls because of the multitude of men and cattle within it.

I like the way the ISV version translates Ezekiel 38:12, “the people … who live at the center of the world’s attention.” Currently, all the world seems to be looking at Israel, once again. Whether Israel is at the center of the world or not is debatable, but God is making that nation the center of attention.

And, although we have not covered the verse yet, it sums up the reason behind all this tumult.

Ezekiel 38:16 ERV…I will bring you to fight against my land. Then, Gog, the nations will learn how powerful I am! They will learn to respect me and know that I am holy.

Posted in Thoughts on scripture | 4 Comments

Ezekiel 38:2; answering a rebuttal.

I wrote about the Gog/Magog war on a previous occasion, but it was painfully long and some time ago. Since that time a brother in Christ, whom I sit with frequently, and loves Eschatology as much as I do, recently brought up Ezekiel 38,39, as it appears to be the preeminent war on the horizon. That quiet conversation caused me to think, I need to be more skillful and knowledgeable about the Word of God and end times subjects. With this fresh motivation, I recently published An extensive look at Ezekiel 38/39 part one. One of the places I post appears to be occupied with legalistic religious types, who like big words. This inclination toward abusive interactions was not detailed in the site’s description, but it quickly became evident. Pharisees, I am told, were purists; they demanded a precise rendering of the Torah and Talmud in their discussions, but anytime you see Jesus in a confrontational situation it is with religious leaders and their legalism.

So, two days later I looked to see if I had any comments about part one. I did, and I want to show you the first three lines of their extensive reply to my post. I, by the way, did not reply to this person as all respondents so far, have, with one exception, proven to be combative and not open to discussion. As this is a typical response, I find it easy to assume that they don’t read their bibles for themselves and are willing to let others be their guides.

My wife asks me when I would come back from the Monday morning study, “why do you go there?” I would search my brain for a logical response, and say, for the fellowship I suppose. (Fellowship apparently does not mean the close congregation of fools.) I do obtain when I go to these fiascoes, is a generalized idea of what most “church” people understand or believe; and I have to tell you, we are in sad shape. It is no wonder few of us can stand our ground against the false and cultist teachings of the world. This post is an attempt at disseminating one persons scrambled Theology.

I have italicized and bulleted this person’s response for clarity.

  • First of all Ezekiel is speaking to Satan [Called Gog]”

So, what does the scripture say?

Ezekiel 38:2 NET. “Son of man, turn toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. Prophesy against him

The Bible is only a mystery to those who do not want to see or understand. I think this is true because the Word of God is filled with truth that slaps you upside the head and challenges you to change, and people don’t want to change. Keep in mind that Ezekiel (a priest and captive in Babylon.) was writing not only to, but about known persons, places, and things; things that not only he understood, but his readers would have understood as well.

If, Gog in this instance, was Satan, is it possible the character would have been given a more descriptive name than “the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.”

Another method of Bible study is to let scripture assist you in defining what you are reading. Note how1Chronicles 5:4 NASB tells us that Gog was a person.

The sons of Joel were Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, Shimei his son,

Consider how Revelation 12:9 refers to Satan as “the huge dragon;” “the ancient serpent;” “Satan,” and, “the devil.” The logic in having Ezekiel say these things much like a taunt to Satan escapes me, especially when we (the church) have this for example.

Jude 1:9 GNB Not even the chief angel Michael did this. In his quarrel with the Devil, when they argued about who would have the body of Moses, Michael did not dare condemn the Devil with insulting words, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

Another translation, the Good News Bible, reads like this, “Mortal man,” he said, “denounce Gog, chief ruler of the nations of Meshech and Tubal in the land of Magog. Denounce him and tell him that I, the Sovereign LORD, am his enemy.” I do not think there is any doubt in Satan’s mind where he stands with God.

One last thing, in the post about Ezekiel 38/39 part one, I detailed how these descendants (from Noah) had gone north to the Caucasus mountain ranges of what is now northern Turkey, and banded together under the title of Scythians.

So, NO, Ezekiel is not speaking to Satan, and NO, this person is not going to live for over two thousand years. So, for this be fulfilled in our present day there has to be someone else to whom this title is ascribed, and he comes from the region of Turkey. The astute will pick up one other strong possibility, in that Ezekiel can also be speaking toward a demonic/fallen angel named Gog. For others to obtain that title across history, should be a good indicator that we are dealing with the demonic. An example of this might come from the probability that Principe Erdoğan of Turkey may well take on the role of Gog, the obvious factor is that Gog is not his name. Therefore Gog is clearly symbolic.

  • It is Satan who will muster the forces that will attack Israel in the future …. the entire effort will fail.”

A friend of mine is quick to respond to outlandish statements with, show me that in scripture! I feel the same way about this incredulous statement. What the respondent has done is combine multiple events into one.

At the end of the thousand-years does Satan deceive the nations and rally them for an attempt at killing God? Yes, he does, and this fails miserably with everyone gathering for war being burned to death. But what we see here in Ezekiel 38 is not that event, nor is at the end of time. This battle is mere minutes away, and we are watching the players gather in Syria as I write this.

Does scripture tell us who it is that draws Gog to the mountains of Israel? Yes, it does.

Ezekiel 38:3-4 NET. and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Look, I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. 4) I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them fully armed, a great company with shields of different types, all of them armed with swords.

Ezekiel 38:16 NASB and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I am sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog.”

This is fairly distinct, “It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me.” There is no Satan involved in this process directly. The chronology of events will happen so fast as the Antichrist persona cries out “peace peace.”

2Thessalonians tells us

2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 GNB Yet there is something that keeps this from happening now, and you know what it is. At the proper time, then, the Wicked One will appear. 7) The Mysterious Wickedness is already at work, but what is going to happen will not happen until the one who holds it back is taken out of the way. 8) Then the Wicked One will be revealed, but when the Lord Jesus comes, he will kill him with the breath from his mouth and destroy him with his dazzling presence.

There is no reason to cry peace unless there is a war, and, you are losing.

  • This war will take place at the end of the coming tribulation period …. the battle of Armageddon.”

Revelation 19 paints a picture of Christ coming back to earth as the warring Messiah that Israel longed for, and in some cases, is looking for.

Revelation 19:15 NASB From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the winepress of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.

It tells us that He will strike down the nations. Is this all people, for if it is then how do we have anything but the Jews and the church in the millennial reign, and where do the nations come from when Satan deceives so many of them at the end of time? Certainly, this describes a war, as does Joel 3:11,12.

Joel 3:11-12 NASB Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, And gather yourselves there. Bring down, O LORD, Your mighty ones. 12) Let the nations be aroused And come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, For there I will sit to judge All the surrounding nations.

This next set of passages can apply to the battle at the end of the seven-years, or it can apply to the final battle where the deceived nations are burned to death. Why it may even apply to both seeing as God likes to use the same scenario to describe several events. For example the desecration of the temple. Without a doubt, this has happened, and yet we know it will happen again.

Revelation 16:13-16 NASB 13) And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; 14) for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. 15) (“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.”) 16) And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon.

As you read this passage there is a huge clue embedded within it, “I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs.” Since we know that the false prophet does not do his damage until 1260 days into the seven-period, then we also know that the armies being gathered would either apply to an immediate onslaught against Israel, or they apply to the time when the Messiah returns. Again, we have a tremendous clue when it says, “gather them together for the war of the great day of God.” Those not paying attention will miss this because it says the great of God and not the Messiah specifically. This is not a problem because we know that Jesus is God.

Armageddon. i.e. hill of slaughter, *S# G717. i.e. Mount of Decision or Sentence (Lange). Valley, a symbol of defeat; and, the hill, of victory.

A simplistic answer as to whether this battle, we see in Ezekiel 38, is the battle of Armageddon, is that many Ezdecisive battles have happened in the Jezreel Valley; and, at this time, we understand that there will be at least three more; one of which includes the battle against the deceived nations at the end of time.

Posted in 70 weeks, antichrist, bible study, Deception, deception, Dispelling myths, End times, Ezekiel, Ezekiel 38, false teaching, gentiles, Gog, invasion, Islam, Israel, Jerusalem, Jews, Magog, Peace, Prophetic, Revelation, Thoughts on scripture, war | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ezekiel 38 and 39, a detailed look at the prophecy against Gog. Part 1

I was asked by my pastor why I study eschatology (end times events.) Ignoring the negativity of a challenge like this, I find that “end times events” are tied in with almost everything I read in scripture. Ezekiel 38 and 39 is such an event, as it speaks of a horrific situation that may happen at any minute.

Try opening a conversation about what you find in Ezekiel 38 and 39 and the eyes of your audience will glaze over and you can watch them begin to look at their watches, wondering if there isn’t somewhere else they need to go. There are reasons behind this lack of interest, and they stem from confusion; a lack of understanding; the inability of the speaker to put flesh and blood on the characters; and, the worst part is that there is a veil over the eyes and ears of the hearer so that they cannot comprehend. Along with those factors, there is a multitude of answers as to who the players are and when this event will take place. Ambiguity plays a role in the disinterest because an honest dissertation of an end-times scenario will typically put you in the ballpark, perhaps even provide the audience with the team name, but at this point, I am not sure we specifically say who the main characters are. Furthermore, two simple sentences can inspire books of commentary. I am going to try and condense but still give you an understanding of this prophecy.

An introduction to Ezekiel:

He was a priest, the son of a priest, and he was taken captive into Babylon. Already, you should be thinking, odds are not in his favor. Ezekiel was one of the few that give us precise dates.

According to Dr. John Gill’s commentary, chapter 38 gives an account of an enemy of the Jews, under the name of Gog, that shall invade their land, and disturb their peace after they are settled in it;

J. Vernon McGee, in his commentary, demonstrates some classic old-school thinking as he tells us the theme of Ezekiel 38 is Russia’s invasion of Israel. McGee is making his case for Gog to be Russia.

I happen to think McGee’s assessment is wrong and we should not be focused on the Russian President Putin. You have to keep in mind what was going on in the world that would have inspired the McGee’s particular emphasis on Russia in his commentary. For example, The United States was deeply entrenched in the Korean war; the Vietnam conflict, with the cold war with Russia waiting just around the corner. I too assumed that Russia would be one of the major players (and no doubt they are, but we are trying to think biblically while paying attention to the context.) as we lived with the verified threat of Russian missiles 90 miles off our coast in Cuba – a Russian ally, as children.

The Summarized Bible commentary conveys that “God does not only see those who are now the enemies of His people, but foresees those who will be so in the last days, and lets them know by His Word that He is against them, and will make their movements to serve His own purposes.”

I know, every generation has had those that have said, “we are in the last days,” and I would tell you that they were right.

Now how would I come to the understanding that every generation comprehended that we are in the last days?

  • Daniel chapter 9, spells out a seventy-week decree against Israel. Sixty-nine of those weeks have been fulfilled. The seventieth week of years (7years) has been on hold for over 2000 years. Therefore, we, the church, have been in the last days for over 2000 years.

  • Peter, on the day of Pentecost, filled with Holy Spirit, preached to the thousands milling about the streets of Jerusalem that day. An aspect of what Peter said came from Joel chapter 2 which speaks about the time of God’s wrath which the seventieth year portrays. However, within that period, people are acting out in the power of the Holy Spirit as the prophets of old did. Peter said this part of Joel’s prophecy had been fulfilled in your hearing.

What did he say? We are living in the last days.

Since the last days seems to be very focused on the seven-years of wrath, are we, at the moment, living in the seventieth week? No, and that will not come until the church is removed from the earth. 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8

The NASB opens our look into Ezekiel 38 with:

Prophecy Against Gog

Ezekiel 38:1-2 NASB And the word of the LORD came to me saying, 2) “Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him

Note how the passage provided has no appropriate punctuation at the end. That is because the thought continues and we will pursue that shortly. But for the moment let’s dissect the verses.

  • Son of man,”

    Is there any question as to whom the Lord is talking? The answer is Ezekiel.

  • set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him,”

Okay, what just happened? Ezekiel was told to prophesy against two entities:

        • Gog;

          this person also happens to be the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.

        • And, the land of Magog;

If Ezekiel is told to prophesy against him, and “him” includes the land, then we should be considering the possibility that this is:

  • A nation?

  • A people group?

  • A demonic operation that controls a people group?

As I try to understand, I turn my attention to my concordances and look up the word Gog.

BDB Definition: Gog = “mountain” –

  1. A Reubenite, the son of Shemaiah (1 Ch 5:4)

  2. The prophetic prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and Magog (Read Ezekiel 32)

Strong’s concordance merely adds Gog, the name of an Israelite. The KJC keeps us in Ezekiel with one exception:

1 Chronicles 5:1-4 MKJV And the sons of Reuben, the first-born of Israel (for he was the first-born; but since he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel, and the genealogy is not to be counted according to the birthright; 2) For Judah prevailed among his brothers, and from him came the chief ruler, but the birthright was Joseph’s); 3) the sons of Reuben the first-born of Israel: Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 4) The sons of Joel: Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, and Shimei, his son.

The dishonor carried by the family due to Reuben’s indiscretion, which excluded them from any rights of birth, surely plays a role in all of this.

The Word Study Dictionary tells us this about Gog:

  • He is pictured as a great enemy against God’s people.

    Ezekiel 38:9 NASB “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.”

  • He is from the land of Magog or possibly “from the land of Gog.”

    Gog. i.e., mountain, in reference to the Caucasus mountains, the chief seat of the Scythian people. Note: Rather, “Gog (the prince) of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.” The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury

  • The Lord sets Himself against Gog (Eze_38:2).

  • Gog will lead a coalition of nations against God’s people who are then dwelling securely in the land of Israel (Eze_38:14-16).

    With the addition of the words, God’s people who are then dwelling securely in …Israel. They have turned this so that we are looking at the church and not Israel, which is incorrect.

  • But God, in fact, will bring Gog forth and will destroy him and his people.

    Ezekiel 39:1-2; Ezekiel 38:19-23

  • The Lord spoke about this through other prophets (Eze_38:17-18).

    Ezekiel 38:17 MKJV So says the Lord Jehovah: Are you he of whom I have spoken in former days, by the hand of My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days and years that I would bring you against them?

  • The multitudes of Gog will be buried in the Valley of Hamon Gog, that is, “multitudes of Gog” (Eze_39:11),

    Ezekiel 39:11 CJB ” ‘When that day comes, I will give Gog a place there in Isra’el for graves, the Travelers’ Valley, east of the sea; and it will block the travelers’ passage. There they will bury Gog and all his horde, and they will rename it the Valley of Hamon-Gog [horde of Gog].

The Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature informs us that:

They are the name of a mixed race dwelling in the extreme north, comprehended by the Greeks under the name of the Scythians; (2.) to the center and representative of their race, i.e. their king (Ezekiel 38:39). Gog comes forth from the distant north (Eze_38:15-23; Eze_39:2), … And, if you are stickler for history – Interpreters have given very different explanations of the terms Gog and Magog; but they have generally understood them as symbolical expressions for the heathen nations of Asia, or more particularly for the Scythians, a vague knowledge of whom seems to have reached the Jews in Palestine about that period. Thus Josephus (Ant. 1:6, 3) has dropped the Hebrew word Magog, and rendered it by Σκύθαι;

Classic Bible Maps

Of the maps, I looked at to better understand this ancient classic version shows me more and divergent details than any other map, as it points out Gog and Magog, and where they were located. I have also provided a link to Wikipedia which continues to fill in the blanks in understanding and prophecy with highly detailed information about the Scythians. Because of the quantity of information found there, which all seems important, I am only going to suggest that the interested pursue that there. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scythians]

As you read the information, consider where Gog might come from. It may help you to understand more clearly how the Turkish “president” Recep Tayyip Erdoğan might best fill the role of Gog.

Just for the fun of it, I searched the internet to find out if Genghis Khan could have been a Scythian. The Headline read, “Not Just Genghis Khan – Scythians Show Genetic Blending With Europe 2,000 Years Ago.” http://www.science20.com/news_articles/not_just_genghis_khan_scythians_show_genetic_blending_europe_2000_years_ago-96314

Here is was I gather so far.

Gog, from the disinherited family line of Reuben, moves North and becomes a nomadic, mounted, a warring nation known as the Scythians. They ranged into China, Siberia, Egypt, Asia Minor and as far south as the Northern African nations, however, they seem to be centrally located around Turkey and the Caspian Sea. They are heavily influenced and integrated by the surrounding nations such as Persia, Syria, and the Caucasus regions. They conquered Nineveh, the Assyrians, and the Medes. Having relations as violent as Genghis Khan one can assume that slaughter was their general theme. This is the people that God sees as one of Israel’s few remaining thorns in the flesh.

Posted in 70 weeks, Assyrians, bible study, Daniel, End times, enemies, Ezekiel, false teaching, gentiles, Gog, Islam, Jews, Magog, Prophetic, war | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

To people who are feeling guilty and condemned. I John 2:1-2

I opened the Bible program on my computer this morning, and this is the first thing I see, the headline leading into 1John chapter 2:1-2.

To people who are feeling guilty and condemned,

It goes on to say, John (the disciple and revelator) offers reassurance.

Why, after all these years, do I still struggle with guilt and condemnation? Perhaps you do as well.

I sat down one day with my Pastor and talked openly and honestly about things going on around me; things like family members that moved back in and live with us, and how they do not seem to understand what the word boundary means; or, what it means to take care of your dogs. That might seem trivial to some, especially when they are firebombing the church you go to or torturing you for your beliefs in a God other than Allah; but I can assure you it feels real to me.

We are told in scripture to confess our sins one to another, and maybe how I feel could fall under this idea of confessing our sins, especially when “sin” is merely missing the mark – up to and including, some substantially ugly stuff. In truth, I am not even sure what this idea of confessing our SINS looks like, as there are people that you should NOT reveal any of your secrets too. I suppose this idea of confession requires that you spend some time with random people to find out how trustworthy they are.

In recovery there is a constant barrage of instructions that goes something like this, what is said here, stays here!

That is what you would hope you find in the real world as well. I can tell you from experience, that even with such counsel your so-called friends will walk up to your wife, right in front of you, and ask, “are the things he says about you in the group, true?”

James 5:16 CJB Therefore, openly acknowledge your sins to one another, and pray for each other, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

I suppose in a way, confession is what I did when I talked with the pastor, but I was not looking for a verbal beating. What I wanted was a compassionate and hearing heart; what I got was, “I can’t believe that you, being a follower of Christ for all these years, would feel this way.” My internal reaction was, are you kidding me; you didn’t just say that to me?

What does scripture tell us?

Galatians 6:1 MSG Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out.

When you consider that SIN is merely the missing of the small center of the target, then we all sin daily.

But what happens when someone falls into sin?

Translations vary from the word sin to the sad reality of being caught in and overtaken in a fault. At least with phrases like being caught in sin and overtaken in sin, you immediately can tell that there is much more than a gentle push from the wind while trying to hit a target. The phrases can imply being too casual about the problem, or a non-caring attitude because you think you can handle whatever it is; unfortunately, sin can be deadly.

To be overtaken is the Greek word prolambanō and means to take in advance, that is, (literally) eat before others have an opportunity; (figuratively) to anticipate, surprise (Strong’s concordance)

The words that the Greek conveys cause me some grief, for how do I understand this idea of being captive when the strongest implication comes from the phrase, to take in advance? If I were to collect my earnings before payday, it would either be by permission (most employers would look at you warily from that point on,) or, you stole the money thinking they owed you anyway. None-the-less, you took it in advance. The second option being theft. If what I am trying to understand is this idea of being caught in sin, then perhaps some of the other words available make more sense; such as to “have an opportunity,” or to “surprise.Having an opportunity indicates some thought has been applied, quite possibly for some time, while the word surprise alludes to something that is suddenly before you. A car crash on the motorway can undoubtedly be a surprise, but the result can be a terrible chain of events, with appalling consequences, all of which contribute to the idea of being taken in a snare.

John MacArthur’s commentary tells us that to be overtaken is literally to be “caught,” which may imply the person was seen sinning or that he was caught or snared by the sin itself.

A fault is the Greek word paraptōma and means a sideslip (lapse or deviation), that is, (unintentional) error or (willful) transgression: – fall, fault, offense, sin, trespass.

Paul goes on to say,

Galatians 6:2-3 ERV Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. 3) If you think you are too important to do this, you are only fooling yourself.

We should, at this point, understand that the potential for help and comfort is there. The guest speaker at our church sat and talked with me, saying, we the church should be the place where we can go, take our hurts, and be accepted. I laughed as I said, sadly, that is not reality.

But, what if your guilt and condemnation have been drilled into you through parents, caretakers, childhood, bullies: (many times these can look like church leaders.)

1 John 2:1-2 NASB My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2) and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

Note the words, “if anyone sins.” Of course, we are going to sin; it’s built into us.

But 1 John 2:1-2 gives us hope, for:

  • we have an Advocate with the Father,”

    Advocate – paraklētos – An intercessor, consoler: – advocate, comforter.

  • Jesus Christ the righteous;”

    What gave Jesus His ability and right to stand on our behalf? One, you should understand that He is God, and two, His willingness to pay the price on the cross. He repurchased us, and, He bought our redemption. At one point, He told the disciples and those listening, that this same advocate would come in His place if He went back to the Father, and He did. Therefore, the comforter/advocate has come.

John 16:7 NASB “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

  • and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins;”

    Propitiation – hilasmos atonement, that is, (concretely) an expiator: – propitiation.

    This atonement is what I spoke of when I said, “He gave His life on that cross.” Jesus, we are told, poured out His own blood on the heavenly altar, just as the priest would. In so doing He became our high priest. And, God raised Him up and seated Him at the Father’s right hand.

  • and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

    His atonement covered, not only those of us who believe but everyone – the whole world. This blanket forgiveness seems to be the hardest thing for the religious to understand. This lack of belief or understanding is proven out by comments indicating how everyone caught in sin is going to hell. Logic would ask, what sins, seeing as sins have been forgiven. Taking this idea one step further, what then condemns the world? A lack of belief in Jesus Christ.

There it is, this Jesus has taken all the guilt and condemnation onto Himself. He purchased us back from the debt WE owed. (If you are a movie fan, then the movie adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, tells this story, as Aslan had to make the secluded deal with the witch, as they met in the tent. Aslan, a symbol of Jesus, gave His own life in place of Peter’s. And, just as Aslan did, Jesus rose from the dead, with great power, and, He was unstoppable.

What is required of me? Faith.

Can I believe that someone, namely Jesus, would do that for me? Yes, and I did, and so can you.

What’s to keep the entire world from accepting such salvation? Nothing, as He simply asks us, in this age of grace, to believe.

Back to this problem of me, struggling with “sins” after so many years in the Lord.

An aspect of what makes me work is the voices in my head. No, I am not nuts, we all have voices in our heads. To some, they sound like a drill sergeant; to others, like me, they sound like my dad or mother; often they sound like some moral authority, especially when acting moral is very inconvenient.

Fortunately, after all these years, I can definitely say that one of those voices belongs to God/Holy Spirit. While I just admitted that I hear from God, I also argue with Him, and that bothers me. Recently I heard Him tell me to go to another fast food stand instead of the one we typically go to on Tuesdays because I was going to have trouble there. Now, in my defense, He did not explain why I would have trouble, but I think I knew why and I saw an image of them. My foolish, manly response was that I could handle problems. It turns out I couldn’t and just about had the police called on me – I sound like a large bear when I get that angry. And yes, I let anger and rage get the best of me. Having spent some time in recovery because of the anger, I have come to the determination that, like the alcoholic, I will fight with this for the rest of my life. (This understanding is really the sanest approach. I like to call it honesty.)

At this point in life, my conclusions are that I (just like all of you) have built-in damage that tries to motivate me to live out of my self-motivated desires; and, I have sustained damage from others that have wounds deep enough to be an active cause of my griefThere is, unfortunately, the third cause of troubles in our lives and that is the enemy, Satan.

Paul speaks to this idea of being snagged by the enemy.

2 Timothy 2:25-26 NASB with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26) and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

Were you aware that people were caught in snares set by the devil, at his will?

It sounds like a hopeless situation and would be if Christ had not purchased our redemption, and that is why we have the freedom of confession (one to another;) an advocate – Jesus Christ; The Word of God, and Galatians 6:1 which admonishes our brothers and sisters in Christ to come to our aid.

Galatians 6:1 NASB Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself so that you too will not be tempted.

This passage came up after the leader of the Monday morning group said, “I believe that if you have fleshly thoughts when the rapture comes, that you will have trouble making it through the pearly gates.” This unsubstantiated statement was his attempt at not adding to scripture, and he informed us so right before he said it. What it shows is this man’s grievous lack of understanding about God’s: word, character, and nature – as the group leader, in effect, is condemning all who sin, to hell. Do you see Christ’s paying the penalty and doing away with the handwriting that was against us, in this leader’s statement? NO.

Moments after making these statements the 92-year-old co-leader asked me directly what I thought about what the leader said; it became a habit with this guy to challenge people in the group by saying, “do you have a problem with that?” I can tell you that he is not looking for a correct answer, he is merely siding with the leader and looking to humiliate someone; this time it was me. I paused to think about this for a moment, and this man called my name out once again. With that, I said, “an alcoholic, if they are honest, will admit that they are an alcoholic and will be for the rest of their life. So, when it comes to human reasoning, I can’t perceive of “fleshly” thoughts any differently than the alcoholic, as I will deal with, in my case, anger, for the rest of my life.

How does one not have human thoughts?
How does a preacher deal with the scantily clad ladies that come to church? Do they only look at the ceiling lights as they are preaching or teaching in order to avoid such “fleshly thoughts?  
And what of the hellfire and brimstone television preacher Jimmy Swaggart (whom many of these men adore) who sinned, multiple times? We only know of his sins because he got arrested.

And yes, once again, in my response to this guy, I let my anger get the best of me. No, I did not cuss, I merely pushed this sacred cow called Jimmy Swaggart down and effectively kicked it in the head.

I was, as I expected, accosted for my statements. However, another pastor in the group brought up Galatians 6:1. He did this because there was no kindness or gentleness in the leader’s response to me.

So, what have I/we learned? That we, as followers of Christ, have an advocate, as does Jimmy Swaggart, and, so does the false teacher of our group.

1 John 2:1-2 NASB My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2) and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

Posted in 1 John, advocate, bible study, caught, comfort, condemnation, false teaching, forgive, Freedom from sin, Galatians, God's character, grace, guilt, Hope, Jesus, Law of liberty, Mercy, overtaken, recovery, restore, strongholds, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The man of lawlessness and what it means to me. 2Thess 2:7-12

I ended the last post with this verse –

2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 WNT 7) For lawlessness is already at work in secret; but only until the man who is now exercising a restraining influence is removed, 8) and then the Lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will sweep away with the tempest of His anger, and utterly overwhelm by the awful splendor of His Coming.

I keep running these concepts through my mind, and, when possible, talk with my wife or a few close friends about what I think I see. Recently we had finished eating, and once again I brought up 2Thessalonians 2:3 where it says

2 Thessalonians 2:3 NASB “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,”

I find myself breathing a heavy sigh as I read this passage. For me, the heaviness comes out of a sincere desire for the church body to be firmly grounded in an understanding of end times events and how those events will fall into place, but it also comes out of the reality that all these years later we are no more confident in our faith and comprehension that they were all those years ago. During a fifteen year period, I attended three churches, and I can tell that it is rare to find anyone that has a firm grasp on what Paul is saying here in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. When you begin talking to them about Paul words here, some respond with confused or distorted views of “the day,” while others seem to feel that you have challenged their long-held beliefs and therefore attack with a loud and caustic defense that demonstrates no logic, that they do not read for themselves, or that they choose not to think.

The other side of Paul’s teaching, not spoken of in verse three, is “hope.” Our comprehension that Jesus is coming back for His church is a part of this anchor we call hope. Since hope is integrated into our faith in Jesus’ words that He will come back for us, wouldn’t it be beneficial to understand why we have this hope, and where we place our assurance?

John 14:3 WNT And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will return and take you to be with me, that where I am you also may be.

[In case you did not notice, Jesus did go already]

I primarily use the NASB and it refers to this man that is to come, as the man of lawlessness. Since verses three and eight have a common thread, the man of lawlessness, let’s ponder this person for a few moments.

The man of lawlessness

He is also known as the son of perdition; the man who separates himself from Torah; the man of sin; the man of evil; the son of destruction; the wicked one. One last example comes from the Weymouth New Testament, a translation that, in this case, gives much more definition.

Thayer’s definition of lawless: Greek anomos 1) destitute of (the Mosaic) law; 2) departing from the law, a violator of the law, lawless, wicked

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 WNT 3) Let no one in any way deceive you, for that day cannot come without the coming of the apostasy first, and the appearing of the man of sin, the son of perdition, who sets himself against, 4) and exalts himself above, every so-called ‘god’ or object of worship, and goes the length of taking his seat in the very temple of God, giving it out that he himself is God.

What do I know about this guy?

  • the appearing of the man of sin, the son of perdition.”

    This is merely an explanation and a title at this point; however, he will fulfill every aspect and detail of Biblical prophecy about himself in time.

  • who sets himself against, and exalts himself above, every so-called ‘god’ or object of worship,”

    To set oneself against God doesn’t seem so bad, and yet we do it all the time. We do it with our money; vehicles; homes, and for some, trophy wives. First off you need to understand that EVERY thing in this world works in opposition to God. And yes, that includes religion. So what we are doing is committing adultery with the world. This guy takes it to the extreme as he exalts himself above God, and, every so-called ‘god’ or object of worship. Not even the Catholic church does that; there is, however, an ideology that does, and it is called Islam. Every nation in the world where Islam exists, the Muslim’s that live there are under a mandate to infiltrate and put that nation under the Islamic laws of Sharia. Islam’s ‘god,’ invented by Mohamed, is called Allah.

  • goes the length of taking his seat in the very temple of God, giving it out that he himself is God.”

    This idea of someone taking a seat in the temple, has, since 70 A.D., been difficult to grasp as there is no temple. At the time Paul wrote this letter the destruction of the temple was at least 20 years away. Short of a revelation by the Holy Spirit, Paul would not have known this.

    In May of 2018, the Israeli Prime Minister spoke openly that the temple would be rebuilt. As you can imagine, at the time of this writing, this borders on impossible, and if it were restored, the rioting would be horrendous. And yet, scripture tells us it will happen.

    What an absurdity it is to know that this man of sin will exalt himself above God and place himself in the most Holy seat, all the while decreeing himself to be God?

Still under the heading of what we know about the man of lawlessness, comes the Islamic prophecies. Here is just a portion of what they expect to happen.

The ten major signs known as alamatu’s-sa’ah al-kubra (the major signs of the end).[note 56] They are as follows:

    1. The false messiah—anti-Christ, Masih ad-Dajjal—shall appear with great powers as a one-eyed man with his right eye blind and deformed like a grape. Although believers will not be deceived, he will claim to be God, to hold the keys to heaven and hell, and will lead many astray.[35] In reality, his heaven is hell, and his hell is heaven. The Dajjal will be followed by seventy thousand Jews of Isfahan wearing Persian shawls.[note 57]
    2. The return of Isa (Jesus), from the fourth sky, to kill Dajjal.[36]
    3. Ya’joo and Ma’jooj (Gog and Magog), a Japhetic tribe of vicious beings who had been imprisoned by Dhul-Qarnayn, will break out. They will ravage the earth, drink all the water of Lake Tiberias, and kill all believers in their way. Isa, Imam Al-Mahdi, and the believers with them will go to the top of a mountain and pray for the destruction of Gog and Magog. God eventually will send disease and worms to wipe them out.[note 58][37]

This information comes from Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_eschatology

What do Islam prophecies and what Muslims believe, mean to me?

Since we know from scripture that the plan of redemption was written long before Mohamed had this message about Allah delivered to him in a cave, is it possible that this information, much like everything else Satan has done, is a fraudulent and intentional misrepresentation of truth?

While we are aware that someone, in the role of the Anti-Christ, will come, but that is not who Paul spoke of when he used the phrase, the man of lawlessness. We should also be aware that one we know as the false prophet, will show up, but not until the mid-point of the seven years of tribulation. According to Islam, both of these are known to them. The man of lawlessness to us, is the return of Isa ibn Mariam, the Islamic Jesus. This is the information I presented above as the first and second points of their major prophecies.

I will add that Islam believes this man, will be a Jew; a descendant from Aaron and therefore have a legitimate right to the priesthood; that he will pledge his allegiance to the Mahdi (I believe that this Mahdi person fulfills the role of Anti-Christ); he will perform great signs and wonders (Sadly, this will cause many to follow him. In other words, he causes many to also give their allegiance to Islam.) And, this Isa bin Mariam will be the enforcer of Sharia.

What does this last aspect concerning Sharia mean to any of us?

As followers of Christ, the Church will be caught up to meet Him in the air. Now many believe, such as the man who leads our Monday morning Bible study group, that everyone in that room will be able to bypass the wrath that will be poured out upon the earth. Sorry, but that is not necessarily true. I know this because of the parable of the ten virgins. This parable was an aspect of Jesus response when the disciples asked, “when will these things happen and what will the sign of your coming?”

Matthew 25:1-13 NASB “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2) “Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. 3) “For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4) but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. 5) “Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. 6) “But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7) “Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8) “The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps, are going out.’ 9) “But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 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. 11) “Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ 12) “But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13) “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.

Notice, how all the virgins got the same invitation, and, all got ready, but there is an exception, for five of them merely grabbed their lamps off the shelf, while the others took the time to refill their lamps and take extra oil. This oil or the act of taking extra seems to play a critical role in this equation. Sadly, I cannot tell you with precision what that oil represents. It may be in the preparation, as it demonstrates looking intently for Him to come; while for others, it may mean study; and still, others, seem to emphasize desire. My experiences have included a pastor that told me NOT to study eschatology and another brother in Christ who called me a firebrand that momentarily excites people; He went on to say, “besides that, we have been looking for Jesus to return for over two-thousand years.” I suppose that pastor who told me not to study, and that brother in Christ feel as though Jesus will not come back for perhaps another forty plus years. May I say that I believe He is riding upon the winds as we speak. I have seen this imagery in my spirit, and I can hear the sound of the trumpets in the distance (not the phony Haarp sounds the governments are playing with.)

Know this, this man, whatever you wish to call him, will be NOT be announced as the man of lawlessness. Because he is a Jew and will have access to the Holiest of Holies within the temple, he will probably be a high priest, and he probably a well-respected man right now. We are there!

but only until the man who is now exercising a restraining influence is removed, and then the Lawless one will be revealed,” (WNT)

This statement above is an excerpt from 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8. When I read this, there is an intense clarity about the timing in which the church; the restraining force that is removed; and “the man of lawlessness” that will be revealed. Since there is no doubt in my mind that the restraining influence is the Church, then the emphasis, therefore, is on the removal of the church before to God’s wrath is poured out. Because of this information, I cannot for the life of me figure out how people can assert that the time of wrath upon the earth is something that the church must go through.

How do I rationalize verse 3 and verse 8 as they both indicate that this man will be revealed?

As I pointed out, verse three seems to be our introduction to the man, although it will not be as “the man of … .” In a sense, he will be quite normal. Since we understand that he will be a Jew that turns his back on the Law of God, then we can better understand why Jesus would say that “he” will cause the best of them to be deceived, and He meant the Jewish leadership.

2 Thessalonians 2:9 GNB The Wicked One will come with the power of Satan and perform all kinds of false miracles and wonders,

In general, I can safely say that the church will not see unleashing of Satan’s power, because all this is designed to happen 1240 days into the time of wrath.

2 Thessalonians 2:10 CJB He (the adversary/Satan) will enable him to deceive, in all kinds of wicked ways, those who are headed for destruction because they would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them.

This statement “those who are headed for destruction because they would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them,” is primarily speaking to the Jews. Could I apply it to the nations? Indeed, for many of them would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them.

2 Thessalonians 2:11 NASB 11) For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,

Imagine a gathering of Pharisees, like Paul so intensely trained in the laws of God, that God must send a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false. Suddenly, it seems like this is all God’s fault, is that the case? Hardly, as they turned their backs on when He sent a steady stream of mercies coming to their direction. Israel, since Egypt, has been entrenched in the idolatrous ways of the nations around them, and verse 12 proves that out.

2 Thessalonians 2:12 NASB 12) in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth but took pleasure in wickedness.

Posted in 2 Thessalonians, Apostasy, Assyrians, bible study, Deception, deception, End times, false teaching, gentiles, God's character, Gog, Hope, Islam, Jerusalem, Jesus, judgment, Magog, Matthew's gospel, Millennium, parables, Prophetic, Thoughts, wrath. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In his time he will be revealed. 2Thessalonians 2:5-8

I started writing this blog in 2014. I am writing this because I woke up one morning, years ago, and began listening to the late J. Vernon McGee talking on the radio about this very passage. If I heard him correctly, he implied that 2 Thessalonians 2:5-6 was talking about the removal of the church, an event that allows for the man of sin to be revealed. If this is true, and I want it to be, the things that Paul was saying in this letter to the Thessalonian’s make so much more sense to me. Without that understanding is the possibility that the man of perdition can and will show up just before the church leaves the earth. That, of course, opens the door to a world of hurt coming.

As you should already know, Paul opens the second chapter by restating what he had already told the church in Thessalonica on a previous occasion. There will be a point in time, in which we will all be gathered together, as we meet Him in the air, but that has not happened yet. And, Paul seemed to be aware that this event, though it could happen any minute, was for the distant future. I happen to believe that we are living in that “distant future” now.

Paul goes on to admonish the church at Thessalonica that false information should not easily shake them, whether it be from a spirit(??), or a spoken word or letter represented as coming, in this case, from Paul. This admonition causes me to think. Since the only words we have from Paul are embedded in scripture, where might false information come from today?

Paul’s instructions to this church body are, don’t let anyone deceive you, in any manner, “For the Day will not come until after the Apostasy has come and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed.” (What day? In verse three, Paul is specifically talking about the time when Jesus returns to the earth as the Warring Messiah. This time frame is proved out by the terminology used, terminology which becomes more apparent when you see it in the Complete Jewish Bible.)

As you move into the next few verses, you come to understand that something is restraining this man that fulfills every job requirement of the false prophet we know is coming.

2 Thessalonians 2:3,4 CJB Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For the Day will not come until after the Apostasy has come and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed, the one destined for doom. 4.)He will oppose himself to everything that people call a god or make an object of worship; he will put himself above them all so that he will sit in the Temple of God and proclaim that he himself is God.

So, there are two requirements for that day to come.

  • The revealing of the man of lawlessness.

I opened this post by telling you that J. Vernon McGee implied that this information applied to the removal of the church. However, verses three and four do not sustain that theory, as the events, described by Paul, primarily happen at the midpoint of the seven-years of wrath.

There is an exception if this phrase “and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed,” means that the man of lawlessness will be revealed before the church is caught away. Even then the majority of us will not recognize who this man is because we are all looking for him to come from Rome; that or, we think he will pop on the scene moments before his introduction to the world.

Get serious; this is just like cooking a lobster. We are all in the stewing pot with the heat being turned up slowly, and most of us don’t realize it. Having a better comprehension is why I give you the Complete Jewish Bible translation, as it spells out clearly, that the guy we are looking for (to fill the role of the false prophet) will be a Jewish priest that will have access to the new temple.

Just recently 05/28/2018, a headline from a Jewish news source, quoted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as saying, “the temple will be rebuilt.” That’s interesting, but where and when. Knowing that the plans are in place for a tilt-up temple, wouldn’t the plans be in place for a high priest to preside over that temple? Israel has a high priest even now, is he the man?

  • And the apostasy must take place.

Apostasy simply means:

An abandonment of what one has professed; a total desertion, or departure from one’s faith or religion. The desertion from a party to which one has adhered. (Webster’s)

Since what we profess can be taken several ways, including our freedoms, ask yourself, have we lost or given up those freedoms? California, along with several other states, have, or are in the midst of passing laws against “books” and the usage of such, if they advocate or enforce gender change (The implications are that freedom of speech is gone.) So, a school district can force your child and you to endure their attempts at advocating gender identity change, but you cannot stand against them. Sadly, much of this came out modern-day exorcisms, where the person in question is taken a hostage in an attempt to regain or enforce their original gender identity.

There is no doubt about it, we are neck deep in apostasy, and it’s getting deeper.

About “the day”.

I find that, like many of you, I am continually stopping as I try to figure out which day is being referenced. Just off the top of my head, I can think of four clear points in time, each of them being referenced in some way, to “the day.”

Some of the many examples of “the day” are found in:

Ezekiel 30:3 NASB Even the day of the LORD is near; …, A time of doom for the nations.

The Jewish understanding knew it was a day of punishment, but for the nations, and not for them. Why would this be a time of doom? Because, for the most part, the nations will be those rising up against the Lord in battle. Those who choose to fight will cease to breathe in short order. Ah, but what of those who do not fight? They will endure mandatory obeisance throughout the 1000 years. But let’s say, with the veil lifted, they come to acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus. We can only assume that they will be able to partake of the leaves of the tree of life and obtain eternal salvation. I could go on with this for several pages and I prefer not to right now.

Matthew 12:36 NASB “they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.

Jesus, speaking to a Jewish audience, spoke of a time of accounting. While the audience related what he said to the nations, He was talking to Israel as well.

Luke 17:30 NASB “It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.

When will Christ be revealed? At the end of the seven-years of wrath.

1 Corinthians 5:5 NASB so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Paul, speaking about a “Christian” who decided to return to his debauchery, talks like this man has an eternal salvation with God, but is still subject to the pains of this earth.

Ephesians 4:30 NASB by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Since Paul is speaking to the church, albeit a church with the majority being Jewish converts, he would have brought them to the understanding that, for the church, the day of redemption would be the catching away. Outside of the church redemption can only come when the Lord resurrects the martyred saints at the end of the seven years.

1 Thessalonians 5:4 NASB are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief;

Again, Paul is speaking to the church. The modern church will tell you that we are in darkness, not having a clue when Christ will return for the church, but that is not what this says, is it? Although we may not know the precise timing, we can indeed be in the ballpark. This ability to understand the times and seasons will give us the advantage as we put wisdom to work and speak intelligently about what is going on in the world around us. While this can be taken two ways my first logical assumption would the catching away of the church. Lacking that understanding, then I would have to be looking for Jesus to come back as the conquering Messiah at the end of the seven years.

2 Peter 3:10 NASB the day of the Lord will come,… the heavens will pass away … the elements will be destroyed … and the earth and its works will be burned up.

And this too will be a day.

1 Corinthians 15:52 NASB 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.

The point of writing this was to comprehend what is going on in 2Thessalonians 2:5-8, so let’s continue our pursuit of understanding.

2 Thessalonians 2:5-6 NASB 5) Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6) And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.

The Greek word for restrain is katechō and means to hold down (fast), in various applications (literally or figuratively): – have, hold (fast), keep (in memory), let, make toward, possess, retain, seize on, stay, take, withhold.

  • “And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.”

What restrains him is the church, plain and simple. Remove the church and the onslaught is unleashed. What do I mean by the onslaught? While God’s wrath is being poured out upon the earth, so is the wrath of mankind.

Daniel 12:1 NASB “… And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; …

Why would any of this be the least bit important to any of us?

  1. We need, now more than ever, to understand the importance of our prayers and actions. In other words, we need to be proactive in our opposition toward the enemies actions.
    But, it also tells us that, based upon verse six, there is a time in which nothing will restrain the man of lawlessness/the man who separates himself from the Torah.
    Should that information cause us to stop resisting? Not unless you have no breath in you.
    You must understand that God has a plan and nothing will stop it. His plan and intent all along were that all things would be redeemed and restored and that the church would resist the enemy.

  2. The second reason this is important is that there is so much confusion.
    I know this because I sit with men who have been involved with religion for fifty plus years, and they are no less confused than the person on the street who has no religious comprehension. Why would that be, because they have allowed themselves to be shaken by a spirit or a message? We, as a Bible study group, get this perverted teaching every week. When Paul instructed them to not “be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us,” what were the chances that someone would show up 2000 years later, with a new letter from Paul, stating something in opposition? Not likely, so what do we hear constantly?
    “Now what Paul is saying it this.” That’s odd since Paul’s words, (which may not make much sense to our Gentile ears with their Western mentality,) are printed right there on the page. Having listened to many of these, when they say, now what this is saying, I start voraciously looking up words in my concordance, and find that the speaker has frequently skewed those words to make their point. So, the “teacher” is presenting their interpretation, as though it is Paul’s heart.
    For the angry skeptic, not all teachers are false teachers, but if I feel something is amiss, I check it out, as I will not accept anything as though correct unless you can back it with the Word of God. Even then, I will examine the context of the scripture they used.

If I wanted a passage that spoke powerfully about an entity holding back the man of lawlessness, it would be this one.

2 Thessalonians 2:7 NASB 7) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.

You have eyes allowing you to see that the world is falling apart and lawlessness is taking control. How long any of us live in civilized nations, is hard to say, but I can see the anarchy coming. Sadly, the methods of control will turn each nation into a police state under martial law. The obvious thing is that no one person is restraining the enemy. The Murdock translation puts it this way.

2 Thessalonians 2:7 (Murdock) For the mystery of the evil One already, begins to be operative: and only, if that which now hinders shall be taken from the midst;

Simply put, whether we read of the ones doing the restraining as “he” or “that” there will be a point at which the hinderer will be taken from the midst; this is a direct association with the snatching away we call the rapture.
For the next couple of verses, I am going to use the
Complete Jewish Bible. There is a strong reason for that, and I will explain momentarily. I include verse seven because it uses the terminology “For already this separating from the Torah is at work secretly.”

2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 CJB For already this separating from Torah is at work secretly, but it will be secretly only until he who is restraining is out of the way. 8) Then the one who embodies separation from Torah will be revealed, the one whom the Lord Yeshua will slay with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the glory of his coming.

Try to grasp the complexity of what is being said here. Everyday life goes on, while in the background, this horrific, Satanic plan, is already happening.

I always assume that I have new readers, and, that they have not read anything like what I am about to say. Consider that we are talking about a somewhat unified, global entity. The explanation of what is to come was defined as, a kingdom, but it is a kingdom that is not like any other. Is the Islamic empire like a standard kingdom? NO, it is more like a chain of department stores, in which there are independent managers; most of whom don’t even like each other. History has demonstrated that the Ottoman Empire most closely fulfills almost every definition of this last beast/kingdom. The Ottoman Empire lasted the longest, only to be stopped to the point that many presumed its demise. Founded in the 1300’s the Caliphate was effectively abolished on March 3, 1924. Unfortunately, it rose again. In previous posts, I have mentioned that Islam has its own set of prophecies, one of which includes a man who is a descendant of Aaron and will function in the temple. This man will turn his allegiance away from Jehovah to Allah. It also informs us that this man will do powerful miracles, signs, and wonders and that he will become the ENFORCER of Sharia. Many followers of Jesus Christ will die because of this man.

Revelation 13:12 NASB He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.

In Daniel 7:17-27 we see that Daniel desired to understand what he saw, and the explanation came. ‘These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the earth.

The standard explanation for the fourth kingdom typically points to the Roman Empire; however, that does not work. Daniel desired to know the meaning of the ten horns that were on its head and the other horn which came up. A part of the explanation concerning the last horn was that it had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts.

What was described to Daniel parallels Revelation 13:5 NASB

There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.”

That horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them.

Revelation 13:7 NASB It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.

Under the leadership of the horn with a mouth, the saints were being killed in horrific numbers until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom.

Daniel 12:1 NASB “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.

Revelation 11:18 NASB “And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”

The explanation continued, ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. ‘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. ‘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.” Daniel 7:24,25.
The idea of making alterations in times and law, come out of Islamic Sharia law. Islam has only one desire that the world submits to Allah and Sharia Law, this, of course, means that we all run on the Islamic calendar. ‘But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever.

Revelation 19:20 NASB And the beast was seized, and with him, the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. ‘Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’

Posted in 2 Thessalonians, antichrist, Apostle Paul, bible study, Daniel, Deception, deception, End times, false teaching, Islam, Jesus, Jews, judgment, Our being caught up, Revelation, the fourth kingdom, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture, wrath. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Questions and challenges: Revelation 20 and the Great White Throne.

Questions and challenges: Revelation 20 and the Great White Throne.

The premise, posed far too many times, is that God sends everyone appearing before this throne to the lake of fire and it’s eternal hell.

Question: If all you used for your argument was Revelation 20 verse 15, could you find God showing anyone mercy there?
The mercy is there, but you have to look for it, and you have to take in the entire context of an aspect of God’s conversation that he is having with John, as he describes the judgment taking place there.

Before we dive in, there are some considerations to keep in mind.

  • The entirety of the Revelation is about Jesus Christ.

Revelation 1:1 KJV The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

  • This reference to a Great White Throne is only found here in the Revelation.

However, you can find references to, the throne of His kingdom; a great throne of ivory, covered over in gold (1Kings 10:18); the Lord’s throne (Psalm 11:4); His Holy throne (Psalm 47:8); Isaiah 66:1 says, Heaven is My throne; Jeremiah 17:12 calls it a glorious throne, and, Matthew 25:31 which declares that He will sit on His Glorious Throne.

  • This throne represents judgment.

Isn’t that odd, our introduction to Matthew 25:31 is presented by the translators of the NASB as the throne of judgment as well, and that idea is seen here in Psalm 9:7.

Psalm 9:7 But the LORD abides forever; He has established His throne for judgment,
In opposition to the throne of judgment, Psalm 76:9 tells us that His purpose is to save the humble of the earth.

To the Jews he said,

Jeremiah 2:35 Yet you said, ‘I am innocent; Surely His anger is turned away from me.’ Behold, I will enter into judgment with you Because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’

Ezekiel 20:35 and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face.

Ezekiel 39:21 “And I will set My glory among the nations; and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed and My hand which I have laid on them.

But to those who have placed their hopes and lives into His hands, He says,

John 5:24 NASB “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Jesus, as recorded in John 5:25-27, tells us the same thing we see in Revelation 20. There is, however, a difference as he says, “when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” Perhaps this can explain how the dead are now standing before the throne.

John 5:25-27 NASB “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26) “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27) and He gave Him authority to execute judgment because He is the Son of Man.

Note how many of the aspects of this statement from 1 Corinthians parallels Matthew 25:31

1 Corinthians 4:5 NASB Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.

One last thing I want to consider as I ponder the potential for mercy in Revelation 20:15, is that all judgment has been given to Jesus and that all punishment for sins was placed upon Him, on the cross.

The evidence for this statement comes from several locations throughout the Bible; here are just a few.

Ezekiel 16:62-63 NASB “Thus I will establish My covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the LORD, 63) so that you may remember and be ashamed and never open your mouth anymore because of your humiliation, when I have forgiven you for all that you have done,” the Lord GOD declares.

Jesus declared and established this new covenant when He ate the last supper, with the disciples. For us, the cross was sealed with the blood of that covenant, His blood.

Colossians 1:20 NASB and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

To reconcile is to bring a thing back into harmony. Did that happen that day on the cross? Without a doubt. I know this because Colossians 1:20 tells me it happened through the blood of His cross.

Colossians 2:13-14 NASB 13) When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14) having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

So, with all that being said, what then are these people being judged for, as they are brought before the “Great White Throne”?

Perhaps the answer to that could easily be summed up with a verse or two.

John 12:44 NASB And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me.

Believe in Jesus and believe in the Father who sent Him. While there is always more to such a simplistic statement, the premise is just that simple. Here is a bit more depth.

John 14:10-13 NASB “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11) “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. 12) “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13) “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Romans 4:21-25 NASB and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22) Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 23) Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, 24) but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25) He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.

Your belief in Jesus is tied in with your faith in the Father. That Father is Jehovah, Elohim, not Allah.

Occasionally, our men’s study leader takes a few weeks off and switches topics, but eventually, the judgmentalism creeps back in. When it does most of the men that attend the study, side with the leader and demand that all before that Great White Throne are sent to hell. While there is no doubt that some in that crowd get sent to hell, but it is only because they have chosen, in their arrogance, to go there.

2 Peter 3:9 NASB The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

As you can see from above, that God is not looking for reasons to punish anyone; and, He is certainly not going to penalize us merely because we currently have this built-in ability to create and participate in iniquity. I understand this based on the passages I have already shown you. If your actions include breaking the laws of man, then there is a prescribed punishment met out here on earth, and it often includes jail time. But God has set all sin aside, by putting the sentence and payment upon Jesus. Since that time God is looking for one thing, did you, in any way, act in the nature and character of God who created you?

Revelation 20:15 – We will start this dissemination here, with the KJV, as that was shoved in my face recently.

Revelation 20:15 KJV And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

As I have pondered these words a bit more, I can see that the KJV is not so ominous and that it does demonstrate some variability.

The phrase, “and whosoever was not found,” indicates that there was a serious look, in this case, into the Book of Life. Obviously, there were some who did not have their names written in that book. There is nothing about the phrase that indicates an all-encompassing number. It does, however, open the door to some quantity that was found there.

As I have talked about this Great White Throne scenario with a few open-minded people, I pointed out how this becomes little more than a cruel joke when you bring people before this throne of judgment, with the possibility that you might gain entrance into the kingdom of God; only to find that God knew all along that there was no hope for you. What I have described in this paragraph, is in complete opposition to who God is and how He acts. God already knows whether your name is there or not, and some of these people are found in God’s books. Look at this interaction between God and Moses.

Exodus 32:32-33 KJV Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. 33) And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.

Without the assurance of salvation which we obtain in Jesus Christ, how did Moses understand that his name was written in God’s book? And then, God’s response, whosoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. The implications are that we are erased, not written in.

How did King David know that his name was already in the book?

Psalms 139:16 CJB Your eyes could see me as an embryo, but in your book, all my days were already written; my days had been shaped before any of them existed.

When I was challenged about Revelation 20:15, it was an attempt to draw me into an ongoing argument with my father and another bible screamer who was a part of the dinner crowd that night. My dad pushed his phone at me, which was the KJV and said read it. I responded by bringing up the NASB and thrust it at him and said the same thing. My version reads, “if anyone.” This phrase takes no effort on my part to see that it is a variable. I used see statements like this in math. The variable is that He does look for their names and finds many.

I believe that what we see here in Revelation 20:15 is the same story as Matthew 25:31, only from a different perspective. The major differences are,

  • The Revelation focuses on Jesus as God, while the story in Matthew 25 focuses on Jesus as a gentle shepherd.

  • In Matthew’s account, it merely says that all the nations shall be gathered before him, while the Revelation tells us that all the dead are brought before Him.

How do you rectify the differences between the two versions? Walk through the known factors.

  • The church was caught up, and the dead in Christ rose first.

    This act, on God’s part, eliminates the church from the equation.

  • After the rapture, the wrath of God is now being poured out upon the earth, and people are being slaughtered for the testimony which they held. There is little to protect these people from 100-pound hailstones, and the other onslaughts being poured out and are therefore killed by God’s wrath and the wrath of humankind.

Those who die for their testimony are resurrected at the end of the seven-years and reign with Christ throughout the thousand years. So, they are not included among the nations or the dead we see before this throne.

So, who is left?

Keep in mind that since Christ formed the church, there have only been three people groups in the world: the Jews; the nations, and the Church. Since the church has been caught up, leaving only the Jews and the nations those who’ have not accepted God’s leadership, then you are left to fall under the category of the nations – those outside of a relationship with God. We know from the Revelation that the number of people who come to a relationship with Jesus Christ is innumerable.

From the beginning of time there have always been those outside of relationship with the Father, and these are the focus here at the Great White Throne, but the assumption is that you have to be alive to stand there, and that is not what we see in Revelation 20:12 “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God.”

The next question you have to ask is, do we ever really die? The answer is no. God then, brings in all those who have previously ceased to breathe, and, have no standard religious form of salvation, as the church requires. Some would argue that NO ONE comes to the Father except through Jesus and their path through the religious form would prove their acceptance into the kingdom.

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

Again Matthew’s gospel recorded one of Jesus responses which we find in Matthew 25:1-13. Here Jesus told us about the ten virgins, all receiving the same invitation to the wedding. However, half were not prepared and therefore missed the entry. If this is an allusion to the church, then next time you sit among your congregation look around, for half are not prepared and will prove their allegiance to the Father, during the time of wrath, with their lives.

Since the book of Revelation is the revealing of Jesus, then this is none other than Jesus sitting upon this great throne. Should they obtain mercy, then yes, they are only coming to the Father through Jesus, and the dilemma is solved.

Matthew 25 speaks only of the nations being brought before his throne of glory. I point this out in contrast to Revelation 20 where we only see the dead being brought before the throne. Once again, the church was taken out of the way, and the martyred saints were resurrected to reign with Christ, leaving only the Jews and the nations. This throne of judgment is set up at the end of the thousand-year reign, immediately after the mass deception where the nations have risen against God and the Holy City. Here, all those deceived are killed (caused to no longer breath.) While this number makes up a vast portion of those standing before the throne, there will be others and may include some Jews and pretend church people.

Since we can’t tell who the pretenders are most of the time, perhaps the best approach is to educate them on and in, God’s word.


Posted in bible study, End times, false teaching, gentiles, God's character, Jerusalem, Jesus, Jews, judgment, Matthew's gospel, Mercy, Our being caught up, Revelation, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A topic far too familiar and yet do we know how to study the Bible?

It’s not just that we don’t know our Bible but that we have so fragmented, dissected, and compartmentalized the Bible that we have lost sight of its great overarching story.”

Hugh Whelchel i

Occasionally I ask myself, what motivates me to write. In response, I would have to say it’s religious opposition and a deeply seated desire to see the church walking in truth. The idea of walking in truth, in my mind, means a church that is trained appropriately in the Word. I don’t see that happening at any of the churches I have been a part of.

An aspect of that opposition recently occurred as a “brother” in Christ, told a friend of mine, that I believe life has to be one-way, mine. Have you read any of my posts? Do I present myself like that? Hardly, I attempt to show God’s word as the only basis for truth, and, in a manner that people can understand. I suppose, to some degree, that means adding my commentary to what I write in an effort to promote understanding, but leaving the decision-making process to the reader, as they accept or reject God’s word. With that understanding you are not rejecting me, you are denying God’s truth and mercy, as you refuse what God’s word says.

Elijah, the prophet, bemoaned his situation and cried out that he was alone in Israel.

1 Kings 19:9-10 NASB Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10) He said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”

And yes, that is the way I feel some days. God’s response.

1 Kings 19:18 NASB “Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

I realize that I am not alone, but the number of those who are passionate about God are few. I am fortunate to sit with a few of them on a weekly basis.

Having had someone say of me, “he believes it has to be, his way or no way,” is somewhat like a slap in my face, and I can tell you I am highly intolerant of actions like that. So, why would someone say something like that about me? Perhaps it is because I am very passionate about truth and God’s word.

Sending everyone to hell at the Great White Throne has nothing to do with truth; it merely demonstrates how adamant this man is about judgment, something we are to leave to Jesus, [especially since ALL judgment has/or will be given to Him.]

The Apostle Paul was not put off by the scholars of the Berean community. In fact, he thought highly of them. This body of believers did their research and found that Torah and Tanakh validated what Paul was saying. Having legitimized Paul’s statements they believed. When you consider the limited resources, these men had, our accolades for them should be even more significant.

Let me give you an example of what this opposition to, and the rejection of, the truth looks like.

The man who leads the Monday morning study, once again pointed out that he was an ordained Bible study leader, not a pastor. As the leader, he has just about every week, exclaimed that everyone brought to the Great White Throne judgment is sent to hell. If you are a reasonable student of the Bible you should be asking, is that a correct statement? The answer is NO, but why would you know that?
Because you have read the Word of God, as you should; you looked at the context; compared alternate texts and scenarios, and, like a hungry pet who has, awaited you to come home so they can eat, chewed on and ingested every word so that you could understand the depth and meaning of the Greek words being used and their Hebrew origins. But here is where the problem lays, as statistically, no one does that?

The statistical work I am going to show you were undertaken by Lifeway Research in 2014. Here is an excerpt from Christianity Today.ii

Some Stats to Consider

Bible Reading

Americans read the Bible on occasion—churchgoers a little more. In a recent LifeWay Research study, we learned the following about our Bible reading habits among church attendees. They indicated that they read their Bible as follows:

19% – Every day

26% – A few times a week

14% – Once a week

22% – At least once a month

18% – Rarely or never.

There are a couple of interesting takeaways from this study. Almost 60% of churchgoers open our Bibles at home during the week at least once. And for every person who is reading his/her Bible every day (19%), someone isn’t… at all (18%).”

Do you think, in this condition of apostasy, that the numbers would improve any as time progresses?

I was pondering this idea before pulling up the statistical information. My guess/estimate would have been about 20% of the “church” actually reading their Bibles every day. But even then I could see a problem with that number because I sit with some of these 20% per-centers, and know for a fact that they will not move off their traditional interpretations and understandings regardless of what you show them in scripture. Are you beginning to see a problem? Illiteracy has no option but to run rampant through the church; And, it is not just the church. I just read yesterday, 5/10/2018, that schools have found they are going to have to take down the analog clocks on the schoolhouse walls and replace them with digital clocks because no one can read them.

Let’s go back to the significant false teaching of the morning “bible” study – how that everyone coming before the Great White Throne goes to a fiery hell.

The first question is: how does one study the Bible? It seems to me that everyone should know how to do this; in truth, I had to learn how.

Every student should:

  • Read the text without a premise.

    As you read ask, what is this passage supposed to be saying to me?

    Do not merely assume that the teacher standing before you, saying things like, “What Paul is saying here,” is the truth. [Here is a heads up. Paul, a former Pharisee, a man who was very skillful at what he did, had no problem speaking to JEWS, about this new life and grace found in Christ. This is the case as Saul/Paul spoke about the Hebrew wording within the Law and the Prophets and pointed out the evidence in those words, which led to an understanding, in those who chose to listen, that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah they longed for. Paul made it clear that our acceptance of Yahshua brought about this life and the hope we have come to understand.]

    The idea of reading without a premise can be applied to my pastor’s sermons since he has a motive and a point to be made. In pushing his motive, he has created a premise and is working to make the scriptures fit his premise. These directed efforts often work in opposition to my understanding of Bible study.

  • Look at the context.

    An example of this applies to what I am going to analyze momentarily – Matthew 25, where we see the sheep and the goats at the throne of judgment. The context surrounding this word picture begins in Matthew 21, when Jesus rides into Jerusalem, on the back of an unridden donkey – the Rolls Royce of the day, and He is perceived as the Messiah Israel hoped for. Unfortunately, He did not do what the disciples, nor the people expected, as He overturned the sellers tables, chairs, and loosed their merchandise where they had been selling, in the court of the Gentiles. And then, Jesus got into a verbal confrontation with the elders and Pharisees. All this activity shook the disciples and prompted them to ask, “when will all these things come to pass, and what will be the sign of your coming as the Messiah.

    I am always analyzing the scriptures even as the pastor speaks. I examine the context and what the interlinear Greek or Hebrew dictionary says the words mean. Occasionally, the pastor is preaching in opposition to what the words mean. As a side note: Pastor and I had a bad moment one day, as he challenged me about my intensive focus on end times and the eschatology books of the Bible. In his indictment of me, he said, “Notice how in my sermons, I present the gospel in a manner that brings about change in people.” I try not to overthink the pastor’s words that day, but isn’t that what the Word of God is supposed to do, change people?

  • Look for a comparative text.

    Many of the Calvary Chapel pastors, like Don Stewart or the late Chuck Smith, used to say, “allow scripture to define scripture.” What does that mean? As I read the Revelation, I see where John, on two occasions, in speaking to the churches, uses the term the Synagogue (Rev 2:9, Rev 3:9.) Why is this significant? Because John, was not writing in code as some would ascribe, he was writing to Jewish converts/followers of Christ. And therefore, spoke in a language they would immediately understand. Greek, of course, was one aspect of this language but the other carried the oral history and word stories from the Old Testament. The evidence for this is rather extensive and is demonstrated in the writings of James (James 2:2) and the Apostle Paul. Read Acts 18. In every city we find Paul entering the local Synagogue and preaching. For over fifteen years Paul preached, almost exclusively, to Jews. It was only after years of abuse at the hands of religious Jews that Paul finally said, and I am taking this message to the Gentiles.

    The Apostle John, James, Peter, and Paul focused their attention on the Jewish community. Peter, although he had a brief exchange with the Roman Centurion’s family, maintained, as did James and John, a focus on Jews. [Read Paul’s account in Galatians 2,] Many of these believed for years that this gospel of Jesus was meant exclusively for Jews. Peter, in 2 Peter 3:10 says,

    But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” NASB

    This passage has clear and definite associations with Isaiah 13:9; Jeremiah 46:10 among others.

    In conjunction with the idea of comparative texts, was the indication that everything, aside from direct revelation from the Holy Spirit, came out of the Torah and Tanakh. Paul’s letters; James words on wisdom, and the Revelation that John conveyed, all came from the Old Testament. We can put this idea of comparative texts into action where Revelation speaks of a multi-headed beast with crowns and horns (Revelation 13:1). This imagery is found in multiple locations but primarily in the words of the prophet Daniel (Daniel 7:7).

Matthew 25:31-45, where we see the sheep and goats, is a comparative text. The words Jesus spoke were in response to questions His Jewish disciples ask him, and those words made sense to a Jewish audience. If you had been a student in Synagogue school you were expected to memorize the Old Testament teachings. Therefore, one might expect that these people were looking for these events to happen.

  • Try to take in as much of the background wording into consideration as you can.

    When I look at Matthew 25:31-45 in the NASB, the segment that speaks of the sheep and goats carries the headline, The Final Judgment. That headline in itself gives me nothing of value except as a reference point. If I were looking for a direct association to the final judgment, there is nothing within these verses that define this explicitly by using that terminology.

    Can I find an inference of final judgment in verse 31?

Matthew 25:31 NASB “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.

  1. Here you see the Son of Man coming in His glory.

    This is the same Jesus that Stephen saw, as he stood before the Jewish council (Acts 7:55-56,) and it is the same Jesus that Daniel saw in Daniel 7:13.

  2. And, He will sit on His glorious throne.

    There is a passage in Joel 3:12 that would cause the audience listening to the speaker that day to take note. Joel 3:12 LITV Let the nations be awakened and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat. For there I will sit to judge all the nations all around.

This passage in Joel can easily be associated with the judgment we are about to see in Matthew 25. These two points alone do not convince me, as we see Jesus coming in Revelation 19 prior to Him being seated for judgment, and, there is no account of Him sitting upon His throne in Revelation 19.

To be honest, I have to stretch my mind a bit to see the final judgment. However, if I look at the next verse, the finality suddenly becomes clearer, especially if I have an understanding of Joel 3:12. [Mat 25:32 And before Him shall be gathered all the nations;]

There is only one glorious throne.

Is this the same throne that we see in Revelation? We have to look at Revelation 20:11 and see if there is something here that matches.

Revelation 20:11 NASB Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.

    • A great white throne

      Our only references to a white throne come from 1 Kings 10:18 and 2Ch 9:17, and they are effectively the same story

      1 Kings 10:18 NASB Moreover, the king made a great throne of ivory and overlaid it with refined gold.

      Ezekiel tells us what he saw, Ezekiel 1:26 NASB Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man.

lapis lazuli – Sapphire – Clear heavenly blue. Apparently, the color is insignificant.

In 1Kings 10:18 it is clear that this is a great throne, and in Daniel 7:9 Daniel sees the throne as being fiery flames.

Although you don’t see this happening in Matthew 25, Revelation 20:7-8 tells us that after the thousand years, Satan is released from his prison and he deceives the nations. Those nations, in turn, surround the city of God in an attempt to kill God and His people. Those gathered are killed in an instant. The next event scripture shows us is the gathering of the nations, or, as Matthew 25 puts it, the dead are brought before this great throne.

Although my methods of sorting out what I read, and disseminating the false teachings I hear, might be different than what you learn in seminary, they work for me. You also just got the added benefit of some insight into a false teaching that seems to enjoy sending all who approach the throne of judgment, to hell. A serious look at scripture will demonstrate that such a teaching is blatantly false and damaging to our understanding of who God is.

iThe Church’s Secret: Biblical Illiteracy in the 21st Century, Hugh Whelchel, writing for the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics. March 13, 2017. https://tifwe.org/the-churchs-secret-biblical-illiteracy-in-the-21st-century/

Posted in Apostasy, bible study, Cult teachings, deception, false teaching, gentiles, God's character, grace, healing, hypocrisy, In Christ, Jesus, Jews, Law of liberty, Mercy, Peace, Prophetic, recovery, The supremacy of Christ, The Word was God, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A study/commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-4

I primarily use the NASB, but occasionally I find it deficient; I will insert other translations if they can clarify the context. Those translations will be duly noted.

Chapter one was an appropriate greeting, but chapter two stands alone and begins to immediately address fears that have come as the result of some false teaching.

This theme was not a new to Paul as he had written to the Christ-followers in Thessalonica on a previous occasion.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 NASB 13) But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15) For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16) For the Lord, Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17) Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

Considering the years between these two letters, the new members that had been added to the church body, and the addition of some false teachings, the fear has had a chance to creep in. I see the effects of false teachings frequently in the church bodies I have had dealings with, as people espouse things they know so little about; all the while continuing to cloud the issue.

So let’s dissect the passages and see if we can understand all that Paul is trying to say.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 NASB 1) Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,”

Coming – is the Greek word parousia; a being near, that is, advent (often, return; specifically of Christ to punish Jerusalem, or finally the wicked.) Strong’s concordance.

In the explanation above I see two distinctly different things.

  • One being Jehovah’s return in the clouds to catch His church away. This catching away is called the harpazo, but it is also known as the advent or return.

  • The second possible understanding is this idea of the punishment of Jerusalem or the wicked. This concept pertains to the wrath of God being poured out. One of the keys to understanding the difference between Jesus return for His church and His coming as the conquering Messiah hangs on this phrase – “ the day of the Lord.” Using the NASB concordance, the expression shows up in 22 verses. 18 of those references are found in the Old Testament. Since the Tenach is designed for a Jewish audience then the language and references are expressly Jewish; that means that the phrase – the day of the Lord, is almost exclusively about the return of the Messiah.

    Of the four verses left and found in the New Testament, three of them are exclusively about the catching away of the church. This catching away is that time when Jesus comes back in the clouds for His church, and they will be caught up to meet Him in the air. 2Peter 3:10 leans more toward the time of the end, as it tells us that, “the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” While all of these things are a part of the seven-year period the implications are that this will happen almost all at once when Jesus returns to the earth for the final time. You see, this is one of those areas that are not that black and white.

    So, let’s see if the context of the passage answers the question about when this event will happen.

While I understand that Paul was addressing the body of believers in Thessalonica (a primarily Jewish audience,) these words also apply to us. I do not hear this complaint or question anymore, but I am aware that many do believe that Christ has already returned. If that is the case, what are we doing and why are we wasting our time?

But Christ has not already returned. How do I know that? Well there are markers, or some might think of them as guideposts along the way, and Paul spells them out.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 NASB 3) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

  • The apostasy comes first.”

    Since apostasy means a falling away, I ask you, has that happened? Absolutely, and at an exponential rate.

  • and the man of lawlessness is revealed,”

I want to show you some alternate readings.

This second selection is from the Complete Jewish Bible, and it translates this passage entirely different from anyone else. Why is this significant? Because even the Muslims have prophecies, and one of them describes such a man;

2 Thessalonians 2:3 Darby Let not any one deceive you in any manner, because it will not be unless the apostasy have first come, and the man of sin have been revealed, the son of perdition;

2 Thessalonians 2:3 CJB Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For the Day will not come until after the Apostasy has come and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed, the one destined for doom.

  • A man who is a descendant of Aaron –

    The priests were to come from the lineage of Aaron. Since we know that the temple will be rebuilt, then practically every preparation would have to be made at this point, for a high priest to be installed. He then would be the one to enter the Holy of Holies and sprinkle the blood of the lamb.

  • The Muslim prophecies tell us that this Jew will reject the Torah, pay homage to the Mahdi, and follow him.

    Do you grasp the depth of this action? Many who have esteemed this Jew enough to appoint him as the high priest over the new temple will be deceived, turn from the true God, and follow his actions as they too will bow to the Mahdi in worship. This Mahdi appears to be the Islamic religious leader that will soon be saying peace, peace. Most of this takes place 1260 days into the time of wrath upon the earth.

I am always concerned that people will see my words as unbelievable.

If, you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then, you are under a mandate to study to show not only, yourself, to be approved by God, but to judge the words being said to you, as to whether they are true or not. You are not doing this type of study to bash people, although I sometimes think that many should shut their mouths, but you are studying these things so that you can know what is right.

Let me show you an example: I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture, regardless of the poor choice of words we traditionally use. Although there is a voluminous amount of those in opposition to this understanding, I did my homework and became even more thoroughly convinced that Jesus is coming back for His church that is waiting for Him, and, He is going to do so before God’s wrath is poured out upon the earth.

Specific reasons why I believe in a pre-wrath rapture.

  • Matthew 3:7 NASB But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

    The obvious thing I see here is that Jesus just acknowledged that it is purposeful to flee from the wrath, and, that there is wrath coming.

  • Luke 21:23 NASB … for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people;

    Here we can see that the intended target is the land and these people. Now the statement, “to this people” is relatively generic and needs some clarity. Luke 21:24 NASB tells us that “they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations;”

    It is easy enough to see that a part of this fulfillment comes upon Israel and it’s people, the Jews. However, pay attention, and you can see one other group, the Gentiles. The Gentiles and the nations are the same. If you are not a Jew, and you are a follower of Christ, then you have been engrafted into the vine and no longer fall under the category of being a Gentile in God’s eyes.

    Those with a veil over their eyes will not get this concept. Since we are “in Christ” then we are part of the church and not subject to this wrath.

  • Romans 1:18 NASB For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

    What is evident to me is the terminology, the wrath of God. Pay attention to the words being used and upon whom they are directed. Romans 1:18 can be taken as a somewhat broad spectrum statement.

    An example of this broad spectrum idea – I know a man who came to church for a time and did all the appropriate things. He came down front, cried his eyes out, made sorrowful and repentant statements. Why he even got baptized in a swimming pool as a symbol of this new and changed life he wanted to live. That didn’t last long. Does he belong to God and is therefore not going to be subject to this wrath because he is part of the church. I do not know, because any fruit he produces is rotten and stinks before it falls off the tree. This pattern has been going on for years.

  • Ephesians 2:3 NASB Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

    The Apostle Paul taught that we were formerly children of wrath, and no longer subject to the “wrath of God.”

  • 1 Thessalonians 1:10 NASB 10) and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.

    1 Thessalonians 1:10 is one of the most specific examples that Paul gave us. Since we are in Christ, Jesus has rescued us from the wrath that is to come.

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:9 NASB 9) For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

    Many think that we deserve punishment. Well, that might have been true, but as followers of Christ, we are of those who have agreed to and accepted His salvation. You see, you need to have a firm grasp on what Jesus did. I am continually trying to remind people that all sins were forgiven – past, present, and future. Then what are people being punished for? Look at what Colossians 3:5-6 tells us,

    Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6) For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, NASB

    Simply put, you either follow Jesus, or you follow the god of this world, Satan. He will go to an eternal punishment, as will all those who choose to follow him. This punishment, as many want to believe, is not the end-all statement, as God is a merciful God beyond everything else; ask Jonah. And that is why we have the sheep and goats of Matthew 25. Take the time to study that.

  • Revelation 6:14-17 NASB 14) The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15) Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16) and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17) for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

    There are three things I want you to see here. Verse 15 gives us a description of some of the people affected by what is happening: kings of the earth; great men; commanders; the rich and strong, and every slave and free man. No one upon the earth is left unscathed by what is coming.

    In verse 16 we see them crying out to be hid from the presence of “Him who sits on the throne, AND from the wrath of the Lamb. This lamb is Jesus Christ. Since I used an example from the Revelation, let me point something out to you. This entire book is a Revelation of Jesus Christ. Even the rich, in this scenario, understood that God played a hand in this, and at the same time, they are acknowledging Jesus. It’s all about Jesus.

    And the last thing, although I have already intimated it, is that this wrath is coming from God/Jesus.

Since we are going to be like Bereans, a people who had enough sense to verify that what Paul was teaching was right, what then do we use as a basis for what is true? Keep in mind, that the Bereans did not have Bibles, they had some scrolls. Those scrolls were so valued that only a limited number of priests could handle them, and so the Torah and Tanakh were read aloud. This idea of scrolls changes the whole idea of Bible study. The Bereans had no New Testament, it was being spoken in their ears by Paul and lived out right in front of them. I, on the other hand, have over thirty translations of the Bible on my computer, and over forty commentaries that I can glean from. I have no excuses.

The answer to the question is The Word of God. Now, since we know that there are errors across translations, is it wise to merely open the NIV for example, read it, and then say, “this is how that is supposed to be understood!” NO, because, as I said, there are errors. (Do not for a moment think that these errors are on God’s part, as God’s wisdom has been substantiated by His ability to get His message across plainly to those who choose to pursue this wisdom.)

So, what am I saying to you? Be open but alert; trust the Holy Spirit to guide you; judge everything against the word of God, and, remove yourself, if you can, from false teachers. They will corrupt you with the simplest of things, such as David conquering Goliath when David was only four foot tall. That is not even close to the terminology used in the descriptions of David. King Saul, who knew David well for David was his ARMOR bearer, called him a youth. But what does that mean? Are these things critical to the story? NO, but if you are willing to build false images about the nature and character of David, what else will a false teacher do with God and His word.

I can tell you what some will do, for I have experienced this first hand. These false teachers send everyone that comes to the Great White throne judgment to hell. There is nothing about that scenario that definitively points to that happening; these same teachers refuse to see that Matthew 25 and the story of the sheep and the goats, is just another picture of the Great White Throne. In other words, they will twist the gospel so tightly that in time, you will not be able to understand what is true.

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