Tag Archives: judgment

What Is The Gospel? Part Five: The Eternal Gospel

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But we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve like other people who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so through Jesus God will bring those who have died with him. For we declare to you what the Lord has told us to say: We who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who have died. With a shout of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of God’s trumpet, the Lord himself will come down from heaven, and the dead who belong to the Messiah will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17)

According to the Latin word translated here as caught up, this describes the rapture. The moment this takes place, there will be no believers left on earth to proclaim the gospel.

Not all of us will die, but all of us will be changed—in a moment, faster than an eye can blink, at the sound of the last trumpet. Indeed, that trumpet will sound, and then the dead will be raised never to decay, and we will be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52 ISV)

As a trumpet sounded on Sinai, so this trumpet not only signals the resurrection of the Church, but alerts the inhabitants of earth to God’s change in His methods.

This begins another phase in God’s plan of redemption. Satan will be cast out of heaven, his time will be short and demonic forces will have greater access to those alive on earth at that time. Many who accept Jesus as the Messiah during this time will face rapid martyrdom. It will be the time of 144,000 Jewish witnesses, 2 special witnesses, and an angel flying through the air to proclaim the gospel.

Then I saw another angel flying overhead with the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on earth—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the time for him to judge has arrived. Worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” (Revelation 14:6,7 ISV)

Image Credit: Unknown  illuminator An Angel with the Eternal Gospel Date about 1255 – 1260 Getty Center Source/Photographer KwFA0VOH3o96DA at Google Cultural Institute Public Domain Wikimedia Commons

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I, the Lord, Am Your Healer

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And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.”

Exodus 15:26

Most believers in Christ fall into two camps — People who believe in faith healers and people who believe that the gift of healing, along with others, like speaking in tongues, ceased at the end of the New Testament period. Just as God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance, God does not want or desire diseases for His children. Yet, both sin and disease exist. C.S. Lewis wrote about the Problem of Pain. How could a God of love allow pain? How could a God of love allow disease?

The purpose of disease is clearly laid out in God’s Word. Since all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment. Sin and disease are part of this material existence. We are sinners both by birth and by choice. We have inherited the sin nature of Adam and we choose to sin. Disease can come simply through our sin nature because of choices other people made or because of choices we make.  When a culture is obedient to the Word of God, that culture is freer from disease than that culture would be if it were disobedient.

It is not an issue of individuals but the principles by which the culture as a whole lives. They are not pushing people into poverty by government theft, they do not have sexual license but uphold marriage. Both poverty and sexual license result in more disease. People care about the conditions under which animals and food sources exist. They are not consumed by greed to the point of polluting food sources. Violating the principles of God’s Word has consequences, and one of these consequences is disease.

The purpose of divine healing by God in this generation is as a sign gift. It is to bring people to Himself. They must understand that even people who are healed are still going to die, and may still get other diseases. When Jesus healed people, it was a very small percentage of those who were sick, and he had a specific purpose in each one. In the days of King Ahab, a famine ravaged all of the people, but one woman was chosen to shelter Elijah and receive food. Many lepers lived in the days of Elisha, but only Namaan was healed. We must understand that our life is like a vapor. We certainly wish to be healed physically in this brief lifetime. All diseases can be a means to bring people to accept the Lord as Messiah. This is looking at the larger picture to see disease as a tool to bring people to repent of their sins. We must realize that life is brief and everything should be seen as a means to glorify God.

So God says if we obey Him that He wants us to be healed. What cause explains why  disease and death still exist? Disease is a judgment on sin. Gehazi received the leprosy of Naaman as a judgment on his sin. All sins that we commit affect other people.

The ultimate result of sin will be the destruction of the heavens and the earth, after which we will see a new heaven and a new earth, free of disease. God will wipe away all tears from our eyes.

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The Sword of the Lord

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On all the barren heights in the desert destroyers will come. Indeed, a sword of the LORD will devour from one end of the land to the other. There will be no peace for any person (Jeremiah 12:12, ISV).

Whenever the sword of Lord is mentioned in the Old Testament, it is a literal sword. Even when the use might be metaphorical, the sword means death and destruction. The method might be a plague or some other form of death. The people of Israel understood that the sword of the LORD was an instrument of death.

The Apostle Paul dramatically changed that imagery for New Testament believers. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (Ephesians 6:17).

The book of Hebrews uses the same imagery. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow, as it judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12, ISV).

This imagery is continued by John in the last book of the New Testament, the Revelation, written about 95 AD. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword. His face was like the sun when it shines with full force (Revelation 1:16).

The power of the tongue was not a new concept, but it is somewhat difficult for us to understand. Solomon said, “The positive words that a man speaks fill his stomach; he will be satisfied with what his lips produce.” (Proverbs 18:20, ISV). In our culture, which emphasizes the positive, this is not too unusual.

But the very next verse says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue; and whoever loves it shall eat its fruit.” (Keil and Delitzsch commentary translation) Even metaphorically, we do not think of a tongue as an instrument of death.

Jesus said, “Again, you have heard that it was told those who lived long ago, ‘You must not swear an oath falsely,’ but ‘You must fulfill your oaths to the Lord.’ But I tell you not to swear at all, neither by heaven, because it is God’s throne, nor by the earth, because it is his footstool, nor by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the Great King. Nor should you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. Instead, let your message be ‘Yes’ for ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ for ‘No.’ Anything more than that comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:33-37).

We understand that we are to be truthful, kind, and honest with our words; words that we write as well as speak. But we have difficulty equating the Sword of the Lord with life and death. David understood this very clearly. David asked the young man who related the story, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?” The young man who had been relating the story answered, “I happened to be on Mount Gilboa and there was Saul, leaning on his spear! Meanwhile, the chariots and horsemen were rapidly drawing near. Saul glanced behind him, saw me, and called out to me, so I replied, ‘Here I am!’ He asked me, ‘Who are you?’ So I answered him, ‘I’m an Amalekite!’ He begged me, ‘Please—come stand here next to me and kill me, because I’m still alive.’ So I stood next to him and killed him, because I knew that he wouldn’t live after he had fallen. I took the crown that had been on his head, along with the bracelet that had been on his arm, and I have brought them to your majesty.” On hearing this, David grabbed his clothes and tore them, as did all the men who were attending to him. They mourned and wept, and then decided to fast until dusk for Saul, for his son Jonathan, for the army of the LORD, and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen in battle. Meanwhile, David asked the young man who had told him the story, “Where are you from?” He answered, “I’m an Amalekite, the son of a foreign man.” At this David asked him, “How is it that you weren’t afraid to raise your hand to strike the LORD’s anointed?” Then David called out to one of his young men and ordered him, “Go up to him and cut him down!” So he attacked him and killed him. David told him, “Your blood is on your own head, because your own words testified against you! After all, you said, ‘I myself have killed the LORD’s anointed!'” (2 Samuel 1:5-16).

Each of us has the same responsibility. I saw the dead, both unimportant and important, standing in front of the throne, and books were open. Another book was opened—the Book of Life. The dead were judged according to their actions, as recorded in the books (Revelation 20:12). One of our actions (works, KJV) are the words we speak. Just like the internet, our words are never deleted. And they will be presented in judgment if they are not covered by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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There’s Honey in the Rock, My Brother! by Mary C. Findley

Anyone who says that God is a big bully is picking and choosing what he reads in the Bible. Read the whole thing, cover to cover, over and over, to see the whole God. Yes, it’s hard work. Yes, you’ll see violence and misery and pain and suffering, but look at what else you’’ll see!

In that day the Lord will whistle for the fly that is in the remotest part of the rivers of Egypt and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria.  They will all come and settle on the steep ravines, on the ledges of the cliffs, on all the thorn bushes and on all the watering places.
In that day the Lord will shave with a razor, hired from regions beyond the Euphrates (that is, with the king of Assyria), the head and the hair of the legs; and it will also remove the beard.
Now in that day a man may keep alive a heifer and a pair of sheep; 22 and because of the abundance of the milk produced he will eat curds, for everyone that is left within the land will eat curds and honey.
(Isaiah 8: 18-21)

God promised judgment on Israel for sin. Over and over He sent prophets, humbled kings, removed evil influences, but the people continued to sin. So here in this passage in Isaiah God says invaders will come and a large portion of the land will be ruined. In other verses he talks about burning, about thorns choking the land, but here he talks about the bees that will settle everywhere. Rudyard Kipling describes swarms of bees that live in cliffs in his Jungle Books. They are deadly, terrifying. Normally everyone keeps away from them.

But look at what the remnant of God’s people can do! There might be destruction, burning, judgment. There might be so many thorns that they can only keep a few head of livestock. But those bees, those terrifying stinging killers God sent as part of the judgment? The people can get honey from them.

That’s how God is. He punishes the sin, but He loves the sinner. He judges wickedness, but he shows mercy and comfort. He sends enemies, trouble, and pain to the disobedient, but his heart grieves over the desolation and anguish and He sends curds and honey in the midst of the thorns and the burning.

This is a parallel passage to Matthew 23, where Jesus speaks about the coming judgment. Both passages talk about the judgment and what the Messiah will do. Here it is again – the love and the judgment.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.  Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!  For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

God isn’t a bully. Man is a fool, fighting the outstretched hand of help, spitting in the face of the Messiah. But from the bees that drive in the enemy and cause desolation,  he still gives us the honey.

image from morguefile by ronnieb

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What Did You Do Wrong?

You sacrificed to homeschool your children or put them in a Christian school. Yet they still turned their back on you and God. Today they are nothing more than another statistic, no different from any other sinner without Christ. There are almost unlimited people, Christian workers, articles and general advice to tell you what you did wrong.

According to the Word of God, we must carefully examine and confess every known sin. “Purposes are established by counsel.” Proverbs 28:18 The Word of God commands us to seek out Godly counsel to know if we are doing what is right. We will never be perfect but are we “training up a child in the way he should go”? If, after diligently searching the Scriptures, seeking Godly counsel and praying for the direction of God’s Holy Spirit, we find nothing wrong, then there is one other possibility which is rarely, if ever, mentioned. The child is responsible for his own choices.

“The fathers shall not be put to death for the sins of the sons, neither shall the sons be put to death for the fathers. Every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” Deuteronomy 24:16 Our Secular Humanist culture despises the concepts of sin and personal responsibility. So God gives us an extended example at the end of Judges, chapters 19-21. I have heard and read thousand upon thousands of sermons and only one man has preached on this passage. A very brief overview: A Levite had a wife who left him. He went back to her father’s house, retrieved her and stopped for the night in a town of Benjamin. An old man invited them to stay the night with him. The men of the town surrounded the house. The old man gave the Levite’s wife to these men and they raped her all night. When the Levite awoke in the morning, she was dead. The Levite cut her in twelve pieces and sent the pieces “to all the borders of Israel.” All Israel gathered together and asked for these men to put them to death. The tribe of Benjamin refused to hand them over and the rest of the tribes attacked Benjamin. At first Benjamin killed thousands of his brothers, but Benjamin was eventually destroyed so that only 600 men were left.

The important point is in Judges 28:22 “and Phinehas the son of Eleazer, the son of Aaron stood before (the ark of the covenant of God) in those days.” Phinehas killed a leader of Israel with a Midianite woman during sexual intercourse while Moses was still alive before they crossed the Jordan River.

Joshua was at least 80 years old when they crossed the Jordan River. The campaigns took somewhere between ten and twenty years. Then Joshua retired to his possession. Eleazar was the high priest of the older men under Joshua, and Phinehas the high priest of the younger men under Joshua. Phinehas became high priest when Eleazar’s generation was gathered to his people.

“And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel.” Judges 2:7

“And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10

Though the historical account is placed at the end of the book of Judges, these Benjamites were “another generation after them, which know not the LORD.” These wicked atrocities occurred just a few decades after the death of Joshua.

Yet nowhere in the Word of God is any fault laid at the feet of Joshua. There is no direct blame placed on Eleazar’s entire generation for the actions of these men. The Benjamites were completely responsible for their own actions.

As parents, we can do everything right, yet have children who openly rebel against the Word of the LORD. The prophet Samuel’s children corrupted the Word of the LORD and took bribes. Noah was righteous in the eyes of the LORD, yet every wicked sinner on earth today is a child of Noah. Though we need to constantly examine our hearts for sin, there is no reason to blame ourselves for every sin our children choose, to the point where we destroy our own ministries with undeserved guilt.

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Right and Left

One of the saddest lessons I learned about modern culture is the fact that many people jump to conclusions without reading more than one or two lines. The facebook post “A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left,” Ecclesiastes 10:2, created a firestorm. Solomon wrote this 3000 years ago, but modern parallels seem obvious. It seems that people who think of themselves as modern “progressives” or the Left, do not know the history of these terms and become infuriated when they are used properly.

The most important meaning of left hand and right hand is the final judgment. “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Matthew 25:32-34

The modern use of the “right” and “left” come from the French Revolution. In 1789 AD, the National Assembly in France divided between supporters of King Loius XVI who sat on the President’s right and supporters of the revolution who sat on the President’s left. The local French press called these political positions the right and the left. When the Legislative Assembly replaced the National Assembly with all new members in 1791, the self proclaimed “Innovators” or “Progressives” sat where the left sat in the National Assembly. Next to them, in the middle, sat the self proclaimed “moderates” or “centrists.” The remaining seats were called the “right” though these men represented many different views.

One hundred years later came the rise of Communism. Various groups, such as trade unions, civil rights movements and Utopians allied themselves with Communism and called themselves “the Left.” The phrases “Left” and “Progressive” were the labels these people chose for themselves and promoted in thousands of books, pamphlets and speeches. From Russia to the United States journalists began using these terms. The Left was the name of those who supported Communism in some way. People who partially supported some form of Communism were called “moderates” by the Communists and the Press. Whoever opposed Communism was called “the Right.” The terms left or progressive, center or moderate and “right wing” are neither insults nor precise. They have been used this way for over 200 years

The terms “right wing” or “the right” are Communist terms used by Communists. All that a Communist means by the term “right-wing” is “opposed to communism.” Joseph Stalin called Adolph Hitler “right wing” because Hitler’s Germany attacked Communism. Lenin called the supporters of the British crown “right wing.” In the United States, the term “right wing” means a supporter of the United States Constitution and private property.

Not every “progressive” today is a Communist. Today the terms “left wing” and “right wing” are so common that the meanings are blurred. But all “progressives” are some sect or denomination of Secular Humanism. Secular Humanism is known throughout the world, but in America it is now our Establishment of Religion. The main purpose of America’s government-funded school system exists to indoctrinate into this belief system. We explain the religion of Secular Humanism in more detail in our book Antidisestablishmentarianism. Our blog has both the preface and the introduction as well as links to purchase.

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Comments on The Little Prince by Antoine de Sainte-Exupery

“But if you tame me, my life will be filled with sunshine. …”
The fox to the Little Prince in the story of that name by Antoine de Sainte-Exupery

People have tried to make me like The Little Prince for many years. I have read excerpts from it. Usually I don’t even respond when people quote from it. They seem to know it very well and love it. Some of them are believers. I haven’t read the whole thing, and I didn’t feel qualified to comment.

This is going to anger some people, perhaps hurt some feelings. Since the first time I heard anything from it I knew it was a bad story, with a bad philosophy. It was never a charming fantasy to me. Today someone who is my friend quoted from it again, and I suddenly realized what I’ve been needing to say about it.

The fox claims he wanted to be tamed. He promised to love the Little Prince and said that their relationship would make him better. Unfortunately, this is not the way it works in real life. The following describes people who asked God to give them laws and promised to obey them.

And all the people answered together, and said, “All that the LORD hath spoken we will do.” And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD. Exodus 19:8

Isaiah later recounts how God dealt with His chosen people, how they returned His love and care for them.

Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard.
My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.
And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.
What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:
And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.
Isaiah 5:1-7

This is one of those passages hated by people who want a God of love. Even in the Scriptures, people questioned God’s judgment on their sin. Man asked to be tamed, whether by promising to follow the law or by accepting the atonement of Christ and becoming a believer. Part of the process is the purging of sin and rebellion and the purifying of a vessel fit for the Master’s use. But man squirms under this taming and instead invents a god that will be all loving and pleasant, one that will make him special, unique, important like the Little Prince’s rose.

“One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye,” says the fox in the same part of the story. Yet the Scriptures say, “The heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9

I’m sorry, you who love The Little Prince. I can’t let it go as a charming fantasy. It’s philosophy. Everyone admits that. And I have to stand by my original assessment. It’s a bad story, with a bad philosophy.

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