What about the hardening of the heart?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

apollumi and it means to destroy, destroy utterly:

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

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

What is to be wasted?

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

Again I rewrite the sentence:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Look at the word hardened.

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

Pharaoh certainly played the game of dominance with Moses.

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

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

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

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

and then went about bringing nations and people against them.

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

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

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

Posted in Apostasy, bible study, End times, God's character, Hope, In Christ, The Word was God, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Commentary and thoughts on Revelation 2:20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Is this how the king of Israel acts?

Get up!

Eat something! Cheer up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do we know about the historical Jezebel?

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

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

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

  • Jezebel worships statues of gods,

  • She worships evil powers.

  • The evil things she does have spread everywhere.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • She has led my servants into sexual sin.

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

  • She teaches.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not everything is so black and white, is it?

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A short commentary on Revelation 6:4

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

Compare the NASB with Complete Jewish Bible translation:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sects within Islam

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

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

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

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

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End times wars of the Bible. Part two.

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

What do we have for clues?

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

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

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

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

      • Persia, Ethiopia, and Put

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Edom, the older son of Issac. –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Assyrian Empire

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

  • The Hagrites

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

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

The Region of Gilead

  • Gebal

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

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

  • Ammon

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

Their territory is East of the Dead Sea and north.

  • Amalekites

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

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

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

  • Tyre – North of Gaza, mid-coast.

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

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

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

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


In Islam he is called:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zechariah 14:4 KJV And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus returns to the earth with church riding with him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Life Application Study Bible says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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End times wars of the Bible. Part one.

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

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

The Gog/Magog war of Ezekiel 38 and 39

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

Where does this person or army come from?

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

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

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

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

So when does this war take place?

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

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

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

There are some considerations we have to entertain:

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

Look at phrases like:

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

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

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

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

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

Do yourself a favor and read Ezekiel 38 and 39.

Another contender for last days Wars is Psalm 83

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A quick overview of potential nations are:

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

  • Ethiopia, Put (Most associate Put with Libya)

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

Nations that come against Israel and where they come from.

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

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

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

Son of Mizraim

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

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

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

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

Shem had five sons:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Millennial Kingdom – How did all these people get here?

This is a heavily edited reblog from 2012.

If you read my blogs, then you know that I grapple with much of what I write. Another way to put this is, I sit with guys who wrestle with understanding and fail to get clear answers from the group leaders.

Here goes another one. Let’s assume a scenario; I just happen to think this is how it will happen (based on what I see in scripture):

The Rapture comes – The great snatching away of the church (that is a whole other issue) takes place. The rapture, as I see it, is on the cutting edge of God’s wrath, and God’s wrath is an integral part of the Great Tribulation.

Sadly this is also an argument that I encountered, as the group leader of another group could not handle the idea that the “great tribulation” was exclusively God’s wrath being poured out upon the earth and it’s inhabitants. The inhabitant’s aspect has very specific targets: Israel and the nations. Here is why.


2 Kings 22:13-17 NASB “Go, inquire of the LORD for me and the people and all Judah concerning the words of this book that has been found, for great is the wrath of the LORD that burns against us, because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.” ……. “Behold, I bring evil on this place and on its inhabitants, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read. “Because they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods that they might provoke Me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore My wrath burns against this place, and it shall not be quenched.“‘

While it is almost mandatory to have two witnesses, I find the theme about God’s wrath in many places throughout the Bible. 2Kings 22:13-17 states it so clearly that I am not going to expound any further, save to say. God is angry with Israel. Don’t get all happy about that, because the astute will find in Scripture that God has never given up on Israel and will open their eyes so that they can see Jesus as the Messiah they are looking for. God then places them in positions of authority during the millennial reign.

The nations

First, you need to understand that this originally meant anyone outside of God’s chosen people. Consider that Caleb was only considered a Jew because of conversion and yet we are endeared to him for his courage and bravery while spying for Israel. For a portion of Caleb’s life, he was considered to be from among the nations.

Since the door was open to us to be ingrafted into the vine, which is Israel, those of us from among the nations, also known as the Gentiles, are now an aspect of the church. If you are astute, then you picked up on the idea that there are only three people groups in God’s consideration – the Jews; the nations, and the church. With the church being raptured the only two people groups considered are the nations and Israel. At any moment, before the rapture, anyone can change their category by accepting Jesus as Lord.

Just because I made a statement about providing two witnesses, I will do just that.

Exhibit A:

Isaiah 13:3-16 NASB I have commanded My consecrated ones, I have even called My mighty warriors, My proudly exulting ones, To execute My anger. (4) A sound of tumult on the mountains, Like that of many people! A sound of the uproar of kingdoms, Of nations gathered together! The LORD of hosts is mustering the army for battle. (5) They are coming from a far country, From the farthest horizons, The LORD and His instruments of indignation, To destroy the whole land. (6) Wail, for the day of the LORD, is near! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. (7) Therefore all hands will fall limp, And every man’s heart will melt. (8) They will be terrified, Pains and anguish will take hold of them; They will writhe like a woman in labor, They will look at one another in astonishment, Their faces aflame. (9) Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, Cruel, with fury and burning anger, To make the land a desolation; And He will exterminate its sinners from it. (10) For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not flash forth their light; The sun will be dark when it rises And the moon will not shed its light. (11) Thus I will punish the world for its evil And the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud And abase the haughtiness of the ruthless. (12) I will make mortal man scarcer than pure gold And mankind than the gold of Ophir. (13) Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, And the earth will be shaken from its place At the fury of the LORD of hosts In the day of His burning anger. (14) And it will be that like a hunted gazelle, Or like sheep with none to gather them, They will each turn to his own people, And each one flee to his own land. (15) Anyone who is found will be thrust through, And anyone who is captured will fall by the sword. (16) Their little ones also will be dashed to pieces Before their eyes; Their houses will be plundered And their wives ravished.

The thing you might try to challenge is that it says He will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their iniquity, and you would be right, but what is the nations if it is not the world in general? The other aspect of this is that it says that mortal man will be scarcer than pure gold. A generalization I could make is that the survivors making it into the millennial reign will be relatively few.

The second scriptural witness (Exhibit B), is Jeremiah 10:10.

Jeremiah 10:10 KJV But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

While Jeremiah 10:10 does not give specific examples of how that indignation will be delivered, an honest realization would tell you that the entire period of God’s wrath is His indignation.

Jeremiah 10:25 is indicative that God is coming with a fury upon those that do not know Him. The implication is willful rejection and this can apply to the religious who are left behind.

Jeremiah 10:25 Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not,

The Great Tribulation

The Great Tribulation Has two components –

The first being God’s wrath being poured out upon the earth in the form of:

      1. The seven seal judgments;

      2. the seven trumpet judgments;

      3. the seven bowl judgments.

        These judgments may not look like God’s hand especially when you look at the players involved, but it is. If nothing else happened, such as beheadings in the name of Allah, I cannot imagine anyone surviving on the earth, and yet many do.

The second component is the work of the Beast, (The beast in this instance is a man driven by a Satanic spirit. That spirit has shown up many times, in many people, throughout man’s tenure here on earth.) and the False Prophet.

(Islam fulfills both of these roles in their prophecies. The Mahdi, also known as the 12th Iman, and a “prophetic” person named Isa ben Maryiam – in English, Jesus, the son of Mary, not God. I am telling you that if you find out more about who these characters are that Islam is anxiously awaiting, it will not only alarm you, but scripture will make more sense than you ever thought possible. The former President of Iran, in three addresses to the United Nations, has opened his speech with a prayer and call for the Mahdi to come quickly. When the Mahdi comes it will be during a time of chaos and destruction.)

At the Rapture of the Church, those awaiting the return of Jesus Christ will be removed from the earth.

If the church is gone, who is left?

  • Religious folk.

These include those who thought they should have gone and cults who live on the fringe of a relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord.

A quick commentary on the religious folk that get left behind:

One of the things that caught my attention was Matthew 25:1 where Jesus said the last day would be like ten virgins that were coming to the wedding. Half of them, though invited and on their way, were unprepared when the call finally came. They all seem to meet up at some appropriate place, but in the course of time, they ran out of lamp oil. Immediately they started scrambling for oil; demanding oil from the others. A key to understanding what is happening here, which Matthew 25:5 explains, “While the bridegroom tarried they slumbered and slept.” When you consider that no oil based lamp burns forever and must be refilled, then there must be the need to replenish that oil continuously. That would have to be on a daily basis, and multiple times a day.

I believe I understand what this tarrying and slumbering looks like, for as I talk about the imminent return of Jesus for His church with people, this is what I get, “why are you getting all worked up, we have been waiting for him for over two thousand years. Besides, the world is always in turmoil, and people are ever in tribulation.” With that being said, they spiritually go back to sleep. This lack of concern has a familiar ring to, as it should, and we find it in 2Peter 3:3-5.

2 Peter 3:3-5 KJV Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, (4) And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. (5) For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

  • The nations.

    The nations are a broad and varied mix of people; of which, some, as we will see, have a wanton desire to kill anyone who comes into a knowledge of or relationship with Jesus during the period of God’s wrath, called the Great Tribulation.

  • And some Jews

    The effect this has on the Jews is played out as the angel Gabriel spells out the last days for Daniel.

Daniel 12:9-12 NASB He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time. (10) “Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand. (11) “From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. (12) “How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!

[Do the math. The days numbered here equal 7.2 years.]

So we established that many religious types will be left here; what about the others?

While Islam believes in a god, no less than the Eastern religions, I did not include them as I thought about the religious folk left behind. In general, one is left to assume that those left behind are the completely godless and arrogant.

  • The saints – those beheaded for their testimony, among other things, during the time of wrath.

    Many of these are the religious that finally are awakening but not all; this can include the Jews for scripture tells us that God will lift the veil off their eyes and they will see that Jesus is the Messiah they longed for. There will be those we often deem the cults. I believe that the truth is in the books they carry but it is masked in deception. Can you imagine the anger they will feel when they realize how deceived they were?

Revelation 20:4 KJV And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

  • The rich and the poor

The poor are already being slowly exterminated, while the rich will hide in luxury caves. Scripture tells us that the rich will be crying out for the rocks to fall on them to hide them from the wrath of God. Odd that they recognize it as such.

  • And because there are always those who wantonly kill, we will have:

    • Religious zealots who will kill you because you are not Islamic.

      We already see this happening.

    • And the bullies.

      Those that attempt to control remaining resources for a profit, people will be killed by these during this time.


But there are other people.

Revelation 21:8 KJV But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

The fearful; unbelieving; abominable; murderers; whoremongers; sorcerers; idolaters, and all liars. This list makes up quite the rogues gallery. The question is, where did they come from?

Why is it a question at all?

Because as I sit in Bible Study – we are told only Christians survive the tribulation, and everyone else goes to a fiery hell. This teaching is not only wrong but an example of the false teachers we see in 2Peter 2:1.

2 Peter 2:1 KJV But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

Why make a point of this? Because the things these false teachers scream at us attempt to make, us believe that God’s character and nature are anything but love and mercy.

Consider a piece of logic. Since Satan is bound during the Millennial reign, then Revelation 21:8 shows me that people still have the freedom of choice, and part of that choice is not to serve Him willfully. I say that because the nations, those who would not bow willfully before God before this time, will be forced to bow before Him, in Jerusalem, during the Feast of Tabernacles, which transpires over a seven day period.

At the end of the 1000 years, Satan is released and rallies the nations, those outside the camp of God, against the camp of God. Who is Satan deceiving this time? Not those who live in the city, but those that live outside the city. Were they outside because they refused to acknowledge Jesus Lordship? There are a lot of possibilities, but exclusion is not one of them. Would they have been safe if they had been inside? Certainly.

A quick reassessment.

We have people during the millennial reign that are walking in the name of their god and living outside the city.

Revelation 22:14-15 CEV (14) God will bless all who have washed their robes. They will each have the right to eat fruit from the tree that gives life, and they can enter the gates of the city. (15) But outside the city will be dogs, witches, immoral people, murderers, idol worshipers, and everyone who loves to tell lies and do wrong.

These two verses in Revelation 22:14-15 stun me.

  1. I would have thought that the time of washing of the robes had passed. Perhaps this is a continuing process which implies that Holy Spirit is still alive and active even during the millennial reign.

  2. People are continuing to come to Christ.

    Sure, Satan is no longer an issue, but people can still choose. The relevant aspect of this is that life continues to go on. Survivors of the Great Tribulation continue to have families, and we now have an exponential multiplication of people once again. Every one of those people will apparently have to choose Jesus over whatever else is being offered to them.

  3. Only those who have washed their robes can enter the gates.

    Apparently, this continues to imply the blood of Christ and salvation. Therefore an acceptance of the price he paid for us is necessary and continuing to happen.

  4. Verse 15 is the most unnerving part of all. For it implies that sin still attempts to run rampant throughout the earth. Jesus and the millennial saints would seem to be the peacekeepers, and I suspect that blatantly sinful indulgences will be dealt with swiftly. But I never in my wildest imagination thought that God, in his mercy, would allow such a thing to happen at this point.

Therefore it is safe to assume that there have been survivors of the tribulation and that God’s mercy has pulled them through.

We tend to think of the tribulation as a time of purging, and it is but of all evil? Apparently not, and scripture proves that out; for man’s ability to choose has not been taken away. Many have made some form of choice to follow God and not the anti-Christ; therefore what we see in Matthew 25 with the sheep and goats, is God extending his hand of mercy and pulling them into the eternal heavens right next to the saints of God. I do not thoroughly understand how those that survived without taking the mark or worshiping the beast, according to Revelation 20:4, get to enter into God’s grace, for it seems that their previous refusal to comply should play a negative role in God’s decision-making process. And yet, He appears to give them an all-access pass to, at the least, the millennial reign. Indeed, these are included among the people we see here during the millennial reign, and the only explanation is God’s mercy.

Posted in bible study, End times, false teaching, Our being caught up, Prophetic, Revelation, The supremacy of Christ, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will the old and new Jerusalem exist at the same time? And, If so, where?

One of the questions that came up recently; an offshoot of Dake’s commentary on the Millennium, was, “Will the old and new Jerusalem exist at the same time? And, If so, where?

The short answer is No; the where is in proximity to where the old Jerusalem is currently. (Keep in mind the overall dimensions, which are 1500 miles square; significantly surpassing the current day Jerusalem.)

Because the simple answer is rarely enough and leaves so many questions unanswered, let’s try an in depth response.

To answer the first part of the question let’s start with old Jerusalem.

  • At some point, the last temple, constructed by man, must be built.

This cannot be called the last Jerusalem because it is not. The new Jerusalem, not made with hands will come down, but there is a rather accurate timing for that – sometime after the time of wrath, we love to refer to as the “The Tribulation.”

Has that happened yet? The short answer is no.

The discussions about where to put the new temple range from the temple mount to the city of David, a short distance away. Oh, make no mistake about it, the temple will be built. All the plans are in place, and the preparations have been made. But, there is a huge problem. If the Jews decide that it must be built on the temple mount, the Muslims have their Mosque there and have claimed possession. What does that mean? It means that God is going to have to do something drastic.

Ezekiel 39 shows us an extreme possibility.

Ezekiel 39:1-6 NASB “And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal; 2) and I will turn you around, drive you on, take you up from the remotest parts of the north and bring you against the mountains of Israel. 3) “I will strike your bow from your left hand and dash down your arrows from your right hand. 4) “You will fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you as food to every kind of predatory bird and beast of the field. 5) “You will fall on the open field; for it is I who have spoken,” declares the Lord GOD. 6) “And I will send fire upon Magog and those who inhabit the coast lands in safety; and they will know that I am the LORD.

Let’s assume that Gog is Vladimir Putin of Russia (There are enough commentary and evidence to motivate some logical thought in that direction.) God, it seems, will turn Gog around, and drive him, and his forces, against the mountains of Israel. As you can see in verse 3, God will strike the bow from his hand and “you will fall on the mountains of Israel, along with all your troops.

How might that happen, seeing as Israel is outgunned?

The answer is found in verse 6, where it says, “I will send fire upon Magog ..

The Hebrew word for send is to shoot out, but a fire is a fire. How many many ways has God sent fire upon the earth? Several when you think about it. Sodom and Gomorrah come to mind. Archaeologists have found burnt, encapsulated sulfur.

Encapsulated sulfur found in Sodom and Gomorrah

Encapsulated sulfur found in Sodom and Gomorrah

The photo and information below come from http://www.arkdiscovery.com/sodom_&_gomorrah.htm

“At left is brimstone with a burned, hardened shell that has the unburned sulfur inside, and next to it is brimstone without a burned shell.”

During the days of Samuel, God sent lightning upon the Philistines. Considering the heat, voltage and God’s ability to direct a lightning strike, this would be deadly. So, the first thing we should be looking for is some change that allows for the temple to be built.

Back to the original question:Will the old and new Jerusalem exist at the same time? If so, where?

The obvious point to make here is that during the time of this modern day temple’s existence, Jerusalem will exist. However, the destruction of Jerusalem is spelled out plainly in scripture.

Daniel 9:26 NASB “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.

One of the men from Bible study pointed out how he had read the Bible and found that instances of destruction were specifically for the moment and the nation in question. He told how this makes understanding the Bible and particularly prophecy very confusing for him.

The book/prophecy of Daniel is one of those instances where the destruction is both eminent and yet for the future. In this case, Israel was destroyed, and yet, it also speaks of time yet to come.

I thought, much like the man at Bible study, how do you know the difference?

Again, the short answer is:

You must look at the context; see if there are other, more modern applications, and, in the case of Daniel, there are. You need to look at an interlinear concordance and find out if there are multiple applications of a particular word; in so doing you may find that the translation you enjoy does a frail job of painting an appropriate picture. I would consider looking at a variety of translations, simply because one, while being a step down intellectually, may convey the heart of God more clearly. (Keep in mind that the Apostle John told us God is love and that there is no darkness in Him. In short, His nature is mercy and Jesus lived that out in front of many.)

The The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury tells us that the words “Then after, or, And after” indicate:

that two events are stated to take place after the sixty-nine weeks have concluded: (1) the death of Messiah; (2) the destruction of Jerusalem. These cannot be understood to take place during the Seventieth Week, for the Crucifixion would cut the time too short, and the destruction of Jerusalem would stretch the time too long to be accommodated within the seven-year time frame of the Seventieth Week were it to be considered contiguous with the Sixty-ninth Week. This absolutely proves, therefore, that there is a gap of unannounced duration between the Sixty-ninth and the Seventieth Week specifically stated right here in Scripture. Further proof is that Jesus himself placed events of Daniel’s Seventieth Week to a time just prior to his Second Advent (Mat_24:5; Mat_24:15; Luk_2:10; Joh_5:39; Rom_1:4.”)

Unfortunately, few would know this.

What else do we have from scripture that foretells the destruction of Jerusalem?

Ezekiel 32:12 (Darby) By the swords of the mighty will I cause thy multitude to fall: the terrible of the nations are they all: and they shall spoil the pride of Egypt, and all the multitude thereof shall be destroyed.

A point of possible confusion would be the aspect where it says, “they shall spoil the pride of Egypt,” What then, would be the pride of Egypt? The answer to the question lies in Joseph, the son of Jacob, the Father of the nation of Israel. In Egypt, Israel became a mighty nation, in terms of numbers.

A clear example comes from Daniel 11.

Daniel 11:16 CEV The king who invaded from the north will do as he pleases, and he will even capture and destroy the holy land.

Daniel 9:2 also speaks of the desolations of Jerusalem.

Daniel 9:2 NASB in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.

This is another of those passages that require that you do your homework; for we have only accomplished 69 weeks. The emergence of the seventieth week has been on hold for over two thousand years. I can prove this out, but it is time consuming and lengthy, so I won’t, but I will give you a clue. Daniel, in chapter 9, verse 24 began to receive the explanation of all this.

Take the time to look at these verses, as they too reflect the destruction of Israel. This has everything to do Israel’s rebellion against the Lord.

Jeremiah 11:11 NASB Therefore thus says the LORD, “Behold I am bringing disaster on them which they will not be able to escape; though they will cry to Me, yet I will not listen to them.

Jeremiah 50:29 NASB “Summon many against Babylon, All those who bend the bow: Encamp against her on every side, Let there be no escape. Repay her according to her work; According to all that she has done, so do to her; For she has become arrogant against the LORD, Against the Holy One of Israel.

Ezekiel 6:3-10 NASB and say, ‘Mountains of Israel, listen to the word of the Lord GOD! Thus says the Lord GOD to the mountains, the hills, the ravines and the valleys: “Behold, I Myself am going to bring a sword on you, and I will destroy your high places. 4) “So your altars will become desolate and your incense altars will be smashed; and I will make your slain fall in front of your idols. 5) “I will also lay the dead bodies of the sons of Israel in front of their idols; and I will scatter your bones around your altars. 6) “In all your dwellings, cities will become waste and the high places will be desolate, that your altars may become waste and desolate, your idols may be broken and brought to an end, your incense altars may be cut down, and your works may be blotted out. 7) “The slain will fall among you, and you will know that I am the LORD. 8) “However, I will leave a remnant, for you will have those who escaped the sword among the nations when you are scattered among the countries. 9) “Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations to which they will be carried captive, how I have been hurt by their adulterous hearts which turned away from Me, and by their eyes which played the harlot after their idols; and they will loathe themselves in their own sight for the evils which they have committed, for all their abominations. 10) “Then they will know that I am the LORD; I have not said in vain that I would inflict this disaster on them.”‘

We can be fairly confident that Israel will succumb to oppressors. But, God will leave a remnant and bring down a New Jerusalem, not built with hands. Considering the size of the new Jerusalem – 1500 square miles, it is hard to imagine where something of this size would go, as there not enough level land on which to place such a structure. Well, there are passages that answer how that will happen.

Isaiah 40:4-5 NASB “Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley; 5) Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

Zechariah 4:7 NASB ‘What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”‘”

While many will argue the context of the previous verses, the context of the next is beyond debate as it speaks about the time when Jesus touches his feet upon the mount of Olives once again. Then the new city comes down, upon level ground.

Zechariah 14:10 NASB All the land will be changed into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; but Jerusalem will rise and remain on its site from Benjamin’s Gate as far as the place of the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s wine presses.

This entire scenario is not typically one that draws, as scripture says, all men unto Christ. It is more educational, or perhaps even correctional. Most of these topics come out of conversations, most of which are where some leader; a self-appointed group pastor, makes incorrect and false statements. They attempt to back up their claims by taking scripture out of context and mixing timings and scenarios to create an environment that you won’t find in scripture. In an ideal environment, this could easily be conveyed to many at one time, or directly to the individual who is espousing improper teachings.

Scripturally, the appropriate way of dealing with “abusers” within the church, is to first go to the person. I sit with these men two days a week. I have challenged their teachings to the point that I stormed out of the room and stayed away for six months. Nothing changed. At one venue, which still meets at a large church, I asked the pastor to come sit in on the meetings, because they are seriously out of control. If the next and appropriate step is to bring in the elders of the church to address the problem child; in this case, I do not see the elders having an interest in knowing there is a problem or fixing it.

So, that is why I write, because I think there are others who believe inappropriate teachings or are seriously confused. My hope is that we, as a church body, can come into an agreement; not with me, although that would be nice, however, it is vital that we agree with the Word of God; the Holy Spirit.

Posted in bible study, End times, false teaching, Hope, Prophetic, Revelation, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Bema seat of Christ; what is it? – 2 Corinthians 5:10

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ

We hear this phrase constantly in religious circles. It is an aspect of our mean-spirited nature, and is often used to obtain compliance or to get us, the body, to do more, especially when it comes to “soul winning.” You know what? God can win souls just fine without us. In many cases He invades the dreams of those He is trying to persuade, and from what I have seen, it works quite well. If you are interested here is a link to Amazon.com and Tom Doyle’s book about such things.

Dreams and Visions, by Tom Doyle


Dreams and Visions, by Tom Doyle

The passage that gives us this reality check about judgment upon followers of Christ is:

2 Corinthians 5:10 NASB 10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

As usual, we need to break this down.

  • For we all must appear…”

The consensus, as I perceive it, at least from the leaders who feel we need to be reminded of how bad we are, implies that lacking enough merit, we are going to hell.

This heavy handed attitude instantly conveys some huge assumptions.

  1. A major assumption is that there is some separate judgment, in which you stand fearfully before a throne, where Jesus/God looms ominously over you.

  2. This angry portrayal also assumes that this judgment is a win or lose situation where you can be rejected from heaven because you did not witness enough, or act like some great evangelist.

  3. We also convey the idea that God is mad at you and awaiting an opportunity to come crashing down on you, a person that He calls beloved.

Do any of these make sense? The answer is NO; however, we do not base our theology on whether things make sense to us personally or not.

Don’t get me wrong, the Word of God was meant to be understood. Since we are deeply entrenched in selfishness anything or anyone telling us we are wrong tends not to make sense, because we, at that moment, are choosing not to understand. It is a choice, or we are blinded by the veil Satan puts over us, preventing us from seeing the truth.

The idea that we must appear, as it stands, sounds more like a warrant for our arrest; an order that comes with a detrimental result. If you look at the word judgment in Greek, you find a much less threatening situation. One source, The Complete Word Study Dictionary tells us that it is: necessary, has need of, or is inevitable in the nature of things.

So if I reread this with Greek eyes, 1Cor 5:10 could just as easily say:

It is necessary, and, inevitable in the nature of things that we stand before Christ.

  • “..before the judgment seat of Christ.”

Moffatt’s translation puts it this way: “for we have all to appear without disguise before the tribunal of Christ, each to be requited for what he has done with his body, well or ill.

What does it mean to be requited?

Webster’s dictionary gives us: REQUI’TED, Repaid; recompensed; rewarded.

Does this sound like you are being judged? Not hardly, but as we shall see, you can’t take that sin-ridden body into the new kingdom. So, we apparently leave our bodies at the door (so to speak.)

  • If I merely focus on the word judgment for a moment, I think we would all agree that it sounds ominous, but, as we have seen, it is a time of rewarding and repayment. The Greek word is bḗma and means “A step, i.e., a pace or footstep. By implication any elevated place to which the ascent is by steps.” (WSD)

We have another huge piece of information that can help us understand what and when this judgment/Bema seat is:

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

Consider what this says:

  • First – ”Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;”

As we sit here reading this, we are flesh and blood. It is evident that we cannot take these bodies, as they are, into heaven.

Considering that we cannot take these bodies, with their built-in propensity to sin, why even have this conversation? We should understand by now, that Adam’s treasonous choice caused us all to inherit something comparable to a damaged DNA string. In other words, you are not going to shake the effects this has on you. You can, however, overcome the influences of the sinful nature through the blood of Jesus Christ when you accept His life as yours.

  • Secondly – “nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”

An obvious observation, but the opposite of perishable is imperishable, and vice-a-versa. What does that mean? Slightly more than merely being subject to physical death. We, without the promise of life with the Father, are subject to an eternal perishing; a death we were not meant to endure. Hell, the fire that burns eternally was intended for Satan and his angels/followers.

  • Third – “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed,

    A mystery? Is death a mystery? Not really, for everyone dies and we all know that. Some may try to evade its effects through cryogenics, but that has not worked as yet. Since the obvious factor is that everyone will die, except for those who are alive when Christ returns; then there has to be another implication; that this change will happen before our transference into heaven.

So where is the mystery? Perhaps it lies in the idea that the definition of death has changed to sleep, and that without “sleeping” we will migrate into the kingdom of God.

  • Fourth – “ in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet;”

Currently, the Greek word we use to create the idea of the rapture is harpazo. It means a snatching away. Rapture, on the other hand, has no associated word in the Greek. We get our word rapture from the Latin Vulgate which uses the word rapio. Rapture also conveys the idea of a mass removal of Christ followers from the earth.

When is the last trumpet?

Obviously, there are several. Matthew 24 tells us of one:

Matthew 24:29-31 NASB “But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30) “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. 31) “And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET, and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

I can quickly determine that this is not the last trumpet call because of the phrase, “..immediately after the tribulation of those days..” That statement places this event approximately seven years after the rapture of the church. While it may be the last trumpet, it is not the trumpet blast being referred to.

There is one other clue to solving any mystery we find here, and that is the fact that the angels from God will gather His elect. These are Jews being spoken of here. Don’t make the foolish assumption that everything the Apostle Paul said and did was directed at Gentiles, as the intentional preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles did not become a push until he made the plea to take his case to Caesar, in Rome.

What do I take away from all this?

That the bema seat of Christ:

  • Maybe a seat of high position, that carries authority.
  • The nature of this place and time is to reward not punish.
  • It has much to do with leaving our broken natures behind.
  • It will happen in that twinkling of an eye.
  • And, as 1 Corinthians 15:50-52 tells us, we are not taken our broken, selfishness into heaven with us. God will not allow that in there.

So, all of it gets burned up, attitudes, beliefs, traditions, and brokenness, in a moment. If you notice anything it will be the freedom and normalcy. Something we have never experienced.

Posted in bible study, End times, false teaching, Hope, In Christ, Our being caught up, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Discernment and a piece of wisdom.


When the Wednesday morning group began to gather, at least one was still riled about the absurd application and misuse of the word paradise. Since I had done my homework, I was able to make some reassuring comments about paradise, as the Bible explains it, and quell the wrath this brother-in-Christ seemed to feel toward the man that made the statements – as though they were a standard church teaching.

Here is a piece of wisdom for you.

If you cannot do something about it, then it is either time to move along or let it go. No one is asking you to change what you believe to be right, but there is certainly no sense in giving yourself an ulcer over the issue. Aside from that, you will eventually drive everyone away from you.

As the others gathered that morning, it was obvious they wanted to move on. The self-appointed leader indicated that one of our group had some thoughts on the subject of discernment. Since among the religious discernment means dealing with the demonic, we tend to make problems much larger than they are and overlook common sense and logic. The man who did the talking that morning apparently has a fair grasp of Biblical language; either that or he capable of retaining information, unlike myself who tends to forget everything. Unfortunately, his delivery was dull, for he began a long oration on the variations of the Greek word diakrino.

As often happens with me, one word sends my mind in pursuit of an answer. Within moments the speaker lost me. I feel that we, as a church body, need to have a commonsense perception of what discernment means to us.

Discern– Gk word – diakrino¯ (G1252) and means to separate thoroughly, that is, (literally and reflexively) to withdraw from, or (by implication) oppose; figuratively to discriminate (by implication decide), or (reflexively) hesitate: – contend, make (to) differ (-ence), discern, doubt, judge, be partial, stagger, waver.

The Complete Jewish Bible uses the word discernment, while many others like the ESV use the word understanding. Since discernment/diakrino means to separate thoroughly, then, the other translations are equivalent terms as understanding is an act of separating facts or aspects of a matter.

In 1Chronicles 22, we see King David gathering the materials to build the temple. God, however, had different plans and told David that because he had shed too much blood that the job would now go to Solomon. King David passes this along duty along to Solomon with a blessing and admonition.

1Chronicles 22:12 And may GOD also give you discernment and understanding when he puts you in charge of Israel so that you will rule in reverent obedience under God’s Revelation.

So, what aspects of discernment did Solomon, the general contractor, need to build the temple? Almost every aspect of the definition comes into play here.

When trying to understand the Bible, and lacking resources, so much depends on translation. The KJV uses the word wisdom. This usage of the word wisdom sounds very much like the answer Solomon gave when asked what he wished above all else. Here the Greek word is śêkel, and means intelligence; by implication success: – discretion, knowledge, policy, prudence, sense, understanding, wisdom. Are the words understanding and wisdom comparable? Yes, if I consider decision making and a proper response an act of wisdom.

We have an example of discernment in the form of wisdom and understanding in the life of Daniel.

Ponder all the things Daniel had to consider. Taken into Babylonian captivity, and castrated as a young man of marrying age, the hope and dream of being a husband and father went out the window. As a prisoner, any attempt at escape would mean certain death. Over the course of time, Daniel becomes the head of the Wise men – the Magi. So Daniel uses and demonstrates discernment, understanding, and wisdom on a practical basis, throughout his life in Babylon.

Daniel 2:21 He changes the seasons and guides history, He raises up kings and also brings them down, he provides both intelligence and discernment,

Matthew 16:3 counsels about the practical side of discernment.

Matthew 16:3 KJV And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

Since judging the weather does not require great wisdom, then the application of discernment leans toward making a decision about a situation or circumstances. Some of those decisions can be as simple as deciding what to wear, while others can be life changing.

The word discernment is really not that ominous, but we tend to make it that way as we apply the word to things we deem intensely dark and foreboding, such as demonic oppression or possession. The majority of translations use the term diakrino in relation to making sound judgments.

1 Corinthians 6:5 MKJV For I speak to your shame. Is it so that there is not a wise one among you, not even one in your midst who shall be able to judge between his brother?

The NASB uses the term decide, while the ESV translates diakrino as wise enough for a situation that is described as a “matter of life.” So, in a life matter where believers within a church body are struggling with each, we are supposed “to separate thoroughly, decide and judge.”

Because we seem to have no sensibility when it comes to prophesy within the church, we have an instruction that challenges the prophets to judge or weigh what is being said, and we see this in 1Corinthians 14:29.

1 Corinthians 14:29 ESV Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.

While the commentary picked a translation that used the word contending the NASB translated diakrino as disputed. Jude gives us the only example of contending with the spirit world, specifically the devil.

Jude 1:9 But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses,..”

Is Michael the archangel using discernment to back off the devil? Not hardly. Fortunately for us, the word diakrino also means to oppose. Michael very definitely opposed the devil, and won! So, even though we love to used the word discernment when trying to assess the demonic, that is not the primary application. If it were not for Michael, the archangel, as our example, we would have little else, except for the wisdom we gain looking at the actions of Jesus, Peter, and Paul. I say that because they all contended with the demonic rather successfully.

One last example.

Another word that can be used to define diakrino is doubt. We find this in Mark 11:23, and it applies to faith.

Mark 11:23 ESV Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.

Do we as believers deal with the demonic? Most assuredly. Most of us never even know it; maybe that is because we don’t use discernment and accurately assess the situation.

Even if you did, would you know what to do?

Posted in bible study, Deception, End times, false teaching, Hearing God, Hope, In Christ, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This idea of paradise, where we go when we die, and false teaching.

An observation was made in Monday morning Bible study about where we go when we die. The statement excluded us from heaven by placing us in paradise, where we are held until the Harpazo or rapture, and then we, the church, are all taken up.

However, that is not what 2Corinthians 5 implies.

2 Corinthians 5:6-8 NASB 6) Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— 7) for we walk by faith, not by sight– 8) we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5 is the only place we find a reference like this, and, when we are in the mood, we use it to imply that it means in dying here, we take our next breath in the presence of Jesus. It is a common passage at funerals. Logic also tells me that if I absent from the Lord while in my body, then to be present would mean I am dead. I admit that I could read these passages as some future hope and speculation, and, without a context that would probably be true. That is why we have to look beyond the verse that is leaving us with gaps in our understanding and consider the whole of the thought. For us, that is 2 Corinthians 5:1-9.

2 Corinthians 5:1-9 NASB 1) For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2) For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, 3) inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. 4) For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. 5) Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. 6) Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord– 7) for we walk by faith, not by sight– 8) we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. 9) Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

  • the earthly tent” – Which happens to be our bodies.

  • which is our house is torn down,” – Equates to death.

  • in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven,”

Scripture tells us that all of creation groans, longing to be released from the damage placed upon them with the fall of man, and so do we.

So then, the context is about death and where we, as believers, go after death.

We say that, but apparently, we are not so convinced, as those same people who made the statement at last week’s funeral will also tell you that there is a “paradise” for you to wait, much like we see in, “The Inferno” by Dante Alighieri. A fictional story in which people he knew, who had been negligent or criminal in the positions they held, were placed by him in horrific levels of hell until they could come to some form of repentance and then maybe be moved to a lesser hell.

Perhaps the problem lies in our not having multiple corroborating witnesses. Do we have other methods of corroborating Paul’s assertion that there is a heaven awaiting us? The answer, though not so direct, is yes.

Such a statement comes from James 2:26a where we are told, “For just as the body without the spirit is dead,” From this I can ascertain that the body is just a useless hulk without the spirit or soul. However, denoting that the body is useless without the spirit does not answer the question as to where the soul goes as Paul did in his letter to the Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 15:42-44 NASB 42) So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 43) it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44) it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

Once released from the bondage of the body we recognize that our life merely continues with the Lord in Heaven, or the Eden that defines paradeisos.

Strangely, all three instances of paradise, found in the New Testament, use the same word – paradeisos. It is clear that what Jesus described for Lazarus was no park like setting, and we assume that this is the same place that the thief on the cross was taken.

Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

G3857 paradeisos / par-ad’-i-sos. A park, that is, (specifically) an Eden (place of future happiness, “paradise”): – paradise.

What does not make sense here is the definitions assignable to this word, because we assume that the thief went to Abraham’s bosom as well.

Paul wrote about an experience he had. I too have had two of those experiences in my life. One happened while I was playing golf, so there is no chance I was asleep. However, for those seconds nothing else existed in my mind. The other was what I believe to be a dream, but it was so vivid that it exists in my mind as real. In it, Jesus came to me and laid my life out before me. I thought I would never forget this and chose not to write anything down. All I remember now is that He was there, that every detail of my life was explained to me, and that I awoke with such joy. I will say that having lived most of my life now, I am hard pressed to understand the joy aspect.

2Corinthians 12:4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

Paul is telling us that he was caught up in a park-like setting, the place of future happiness – heaven, where Jesus is at.

The Apostle John had seen the most incredible vision when he saw into the heavens. In Revelation 2:7 he calls it paradeisos.

Revelation 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Having given some thought to this idea of paradise, it seems to me that we make the assumption or maybe connection with the story, which I happen to think were real people that Jesus had experienced, that we find in Luke chapter 16. There is no mention of paradise there, but there is the concept of a beggar now being comforted in Abraham’s bosom, while the rich man, a Jew, was now in torment – in Hades.

Since this is lacking the terminology and the park-like setting, it is inappropriate and invalid as a witness and does not have a tie-in to the idea of paradise. As I mentioned a moment ago, the thief on the cross was told, you will be held in Abraham’s bosom until I can get you out of there. No, he was invited into paradise, a park like setting, an Eden where Jesus could be found.

No, there is no paradise in hell, and, we know that Jesus snatched the keys to hell, fear and the grave, out of Satan’s hands. (Yes, I said fear, because death has nothing less than fear attached to it.) Death has been conquered by Jesus and so has Satan. Since he does not seem to believe that, you may occasionally have to remind him and put him in his place through the name of Jesus.

I am hoping that you picked up on the fact that I am writing to those who should have an understanding of the things of God. Sadly, most of us in the church have no understanding at all. In saying that I am saying that we do not understand God’s nature and character, and therefore attribute garbage to Him that He does not deserve.

If you don’t know Him, you can. Merely start by saying, I believe in you, Jesus. You paid the price for me, to set me free and I accept you into my life. Trust me on this. Jesus Christ will flood into your life and start a process of changes that will boggle your mind if you let Him. I implore you to let Him, for time is short. Look around you, and you can see that.

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