The Apple Of God's Eye

April 25, 2011

A Fate Worse Than Death!

What is the most terrible thing that could happen to a human being?

Did you know that there is a sin so great, so devastating in its awfulness, that even the great mercy of God cannot overlook it, and the shed blood of Jesus Christ cannot wash it away? A sin that can never be forgiven.

Jesus warned that it could happen. “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation” (Mark 3:28-29, RAV throughout except as noted).

Who could commit such a dreadful sin, and subject themselves to such an appalling fate — to lose all hope of forgiveness and salvation?

Jesus addressed these stern words to self-righteous religious leaders of first century Jerusalem. They had developed an implacable contempt for Jesus. During his ministry, Jesus occasionally clashed with them, and several times he warned them of the dire consequences of their attitude. Finally, they trumped up charges against him and occasioned his crucifixion by the Romans.

But was this the unpardonable sin?

An unpardonable sin is by no means the special province of bigots. Have you ever noticed this scripture in the epistles of John, whose writings usually epitomize love, tolerance and forgiveness? “If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that” (I John 5:16). (more…)

April 21, 2011

How Much Do You Hate Sin?

ionpsych.com

Being in the middle of the Days Of Unleavened Bread (2011), I am really impacted this year by how sin impacts my life, others around me and how God views my attitude towards it. Being sinless Himself, I need to realize that God also hates sin.

But what about me? Do I minimize sin? Do I justify the wrong I do by comparing my sins to someone else’s? What attitude should I have toward sin? As the Days of Unleavened Bread unwind, I need to seriously review these questions.

How Does GOD Look at Sin?

It is obvious that certain sins hurt people more than others. Adultery, for example, clearly inflicts greater and more lasting damage to more people than forgetting an appointment.

On the other hand, we must realize the evil of what many people may consider to be “small” sins. After all, sin is sin — wrong is wrong — evil is evil, no matter what the degree. To ask which of two sins is worse is about like asking which was more sinful — Sodom or Gomorrah?

Regardless of how “minor” or “small” men may think some sins are, God says: “For the wages of sin is death …” (Rom. 6:23). That’s death in the lake of fire! No sins, therefore, should be trifled with, tolerated, or secretly harbored. The ultimate penalty for ALL sin — whether large or small — is the same: Eternal Death!

That some sins exact an immediate penalty is clear. But the damage done by some “small” sins over a period of time can also be devastating. To compare one’s own sins with those of other people, to minimize one’s own sins, and in the process to seek justification for them is exceedingly foolish and spiritually dangerous!

The Apostle James warns: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he IS GUILTY OF ALL” (James 2:10). The converted Christian should seek out and eliminate every sin — every wrong thought — every evil way. He should not be hanging on to “small” faults just because they do not seem to be as serious as certain obviously great sins. (more…)

April 10, 2011

Now Carry It!

Filed under: Cross — melchia @ 8:52 pm
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thewindowshowsitall.blogspot.com

Do you sometimes feel the burden of the world is on your shoulders? Christ did! Yet how many professing Christians do you know who believe that Jesus “did it all” for us on the cross — that His sacrifice did away with God’s law and freed us from any responsibility to keep God’s commandments?

Millions of Christians believe that this is exactly what happened! But is that what God’s Word really says? Let’s see.

If Jesus did it all for us, then why does He require us, on the authority of the New Testament, to repent of our sins and obey the commandments (Acts 2:38, I John 2:3-4)? If there is no law, how could we be guilty of sins of which we must repent?

No, there is much we must do. Jesus’ sacrifice was only the beginning of God’s plan of salvation. We have a great responsibility to fulfill as a result of that sacrifice.

What we must do is captured for us in the example of Simon of Cyrene.

He carried the cross

Remember that Jesus was required to carry His own cross up the hill of Golgotha, and this after an unbelievably painful and exhausting nightlong scourging by Roman soldiers. The Greek word for “cross” can mean a straight tree without its branches, or a stake.

At one point along the path, which was lined with gaping spectators, Jesus may have stumbled under the heavy weight of His own crucifixion stake.

Perhaps He dropped to one knee and inhaled deeply, refilling His burning lungs, and attempted to reposition the heavy tree or stake so He could rise again and carry it on.

But the strength Jesus had enjoyed in much better times was sapped, His body critically injured and weakened by the vicious beating He had endured. Jesus no longer even looked like a human being (Isa. 52:14)!

A burly Roman officer standing nearby observed the impossibility of Jesus’ continuing with the cross and looked menacingly at the crowd, evaluating who might be able-bodied enough to be drafted to help the exhausted carpenter carry His death instrument.

Out of the hooting crowd the soldiers pulled Simon of Cyrene, probably a large, stocky farmer who had come in from the country to keep the Spring Holy Days. “You — yes, you!” one of the soldiers screamed. “Get over here and carry this stake!”

Simon probably was thinking: Why do they have to bother me? I don’t want anything to do with this business. What if they nail me to the stake instead of Him? Say, this is heavy. Wonder what He did to deserve this? (more…)

April 2, 2011

The Dilemma of Death!

Filed under: Death,Resurrection — melchia @ 2:18 pm
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flooded-heart.blogspot.com

Few among us have not been shaken to the very roots — wounded to the very depths of our being by the death of a loved one. Even the great of this world have experienced this traumatic trial. General Douglas MacArthur said of the death of his father: “My whole world changed that night. Never have I been able to heal the wound in my heart” (Reminiscences, page 44). His brother died suddenly in 1923. He later recorded, “I loved my brother dearly and his premature death left a gap in my life which has never been filled” (Reminiscences, page 23). Death claimed his mother in 1935. The General wrote, “Within two months after our arrival in Manila my mother died, and our devoted comradeship of so many years came to an end” (Reminiscences, page 113).

 

Sir Winston Churchill wrote, “My father died on January 24 [1895] in the early morning…. All my dreams of comradeship with him, of entering Parliament at his side were ended. There remained for me only to pursue his aims and vindicate his memory” (My Early Life, page 62).

David’s Example

And remember King David’s experience. He besought God for his stricken child’s life with seven days of fasting and prayer. When the child died, David discontinued his fast — resuming a normal life. His servants were amazed and asked why. David answered, “… While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (II Sam. 12:22-23).

King David had the right approach and attitude about his son’s death. He exemplified the New Testament scripture which tells us to “… sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (I Thes. 4:13). Also, the very fact that General Douglas MacArthur and Sir Winston Churchill so amply fulfilled their respective roles in life proves they did not continually reflect back on the death of close relatives in a morbid manner. Of course, to sorrow for a little time is natural.

And yet — even when our perspective about death is properly in focus — there is still a gap, a certain void in our lives when a close member of the immediate family or a good friend is removed from us by the sobering occurrence of death. There are few better experiences in this physical life than having your family and friends about you — rejoicing with them — sharing the vicissitudes of life. And yet every family relationship has been broken by death.

When one member dies, he cannot be replaced. He is a unique being. There will never be another Jim or Joe or Helen or Mary. True, one may resume a normal life, get absorbed in activities, cultivate other close friendships, even remarry. But, there are those inevitable moments when we reflect back on previous relationships with deceased loved ones — their personalities — how they were — what good times we had together.

Is there any way this gap can be closed, the void created by death filled, and the sadness permanently healed? Let’s begin to understand.

Jacob’s Example

Notice the Patriarch Jacob’s experience. His other sons sold his favorite son Joseph into slavery. They deceived Jacob into thinking Joseph was dead. His reaction? “And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days” (Gen. 37:34).

The void continued in Jacob’s life for many years (Gen. 37:35; 42:36-38). Later Jacob learned that Joseph was yet alive (Gen. 45:26). He went down to Egypt to see him. Notice this remarkable reunion. “And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel [Jacob] his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive” (Gen. 46:29-30).

Jacob was so happy to see his son Joseph again that he felt his mission completed in life. (Actually, it was not. He had 17 more years to live and some crucial prophecies to pronounce that are still being fulfilled today — many centuries later.) He later told Joseph, “I had not thought to see thy face [again]: and, lo, God hath shewed me also thy seed [your children]” (Gen. 48:11).

God’s Sure Promises

Does God have this same joyous reunion of families in mind for his sons and daughters who overcome and are born into His Kingdom? The answer is an unequivocal “YES!” It is as sure as the rising of tomorrow’s sun.

Remember the words of David: “…I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” What did David mean by “I shall go to him”? David was talking about a reunion with his son in a resurrection. Let Christ clarify. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live” (John 5:25). Continue: “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all [not part] that are in the graves shall hear his [Jesus’] voice, and shall come forth …” (verses 28 and 29). Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25).

This is a sure prophecy. The dead shall live. The gap will be closed. The void filled. The wounds healed. Families permanently reunited in the resurrection. Listen! “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

Source: Tomorrow’s World, January 1972

 

March 21, 2011

If I Were The Devil

Filed under: Satan — melchia @ 7:07 am
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sunnylam.ca

If I were the devil I’d be an expert at overthrowing people. Don’t forget I caused ancient Israel to be overthrown many times. I conquered persons such as Ananias, Sapphira, Alexander the coppersmith, and Hymenaeus — all true Christians once. I got Demas, a minister under the Apostle Paul, to turn away from God — having incited him to love this world.

Look Into History

The Bible is a book of history. It was written for the profit of true Christians upon whom the ends of the world are come (I Cor. 10:11; Romans 15:4). The devil also knows the history contained in God’s Word. He knows the lessons better than all. He was there.

Do you remember how ancient Israel was overthrown time and again during the days of the judges? In Judges 3 God delivered the children of Israel out of the hand of the king of Mesopotamia by the hand of the son of Caleb’s younger brother. Israel was delivered and the land had rest forty years. See Judges 3:8-11.

But what happened during those forty years? Obviously it was a time of peace, of prosperity and rebuilding of Israel. Those were “good” years — like the roaring twenties and soaring sixties!

“And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Eternal: and the Eternal strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the Eternal” (verse 12).

So the children of Israel were taken captive — this time under the king of Moab where they served in captivity and slavery for eighteen years. But when they cried to God, He heard them and delivered them.

“So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore [80] years” (verse 30).

Again ancient Israel had peace. This time for eighty years. Again it was a time of peace and prosperity. During this time the children of Israel became a hedonistic and pleasure-loving nation. And they did evil in the sight of the Eternal.

“And the Eternal sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles” (Judges 4:1-2).

With iron chariots and a mighty army the king of Canaan and the captain of his host mightily oppressed the children of Israel for twenty years.

But God loved His nation. And when they cried to Him from pain and suffering, God’s mercy was extended to them again. This time God used Deborah and Barak, the son of Abinoam, to free Israel.

And when He had freed them God’s Word tells us, “And the land had rest forty years” (Judges 5:31). (more…)

March 2, 2011

The Death Penalty Versus Euthanasia: One Is Condoned, The Other Condemned

stephenhicks.org

Euthanasia is a hot topic today, and realistically, it is a by-product of 20th century medical success. People who would have died in past times are now kept alive by advanced medical treatments.

Alongside the decision to prolong life, we have come up with  slogans like “the right to die,” “choosing not to suffer,” “death with dignity,” and “doctor-assisted suicide.” These are nothing less than softened expressions which take our mind off what we are really accomplishing! The time-honoured Hippocratic oath upon which the healing medical profession was founded and which in part reads  “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect,” is slowly being discarded in favour of killing people.

What I find highly hypocritical is that the same people who advocate euthanasia will bend over backwards to keep convicted killers alive. Now I know the two issues are separate in people’s minds, as they’ll say one prevents suffering and the other prevents injustice. However, let’s look at the commonality between the two – death at the hand of fellow man.

The Death Penalty Commanded

God, through the Old Testament of the Bible speaks with perfect plainness on the issue of capital punishment: “He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death” (Exod. 21:12).

Genesis 9:6 and Leviticus 24:17 also give full authority to those sitting in judgment to execute a murderer. Deuteronomy 19:11-13 commands unsparing punishment for such a killer: “…deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. Thine eye shall not pity him, but thou shalt put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with thee.”

The subject has now been taken up in force by the overwhelmingly anti-death-penalty news media. In the growing national debate, death-penalty advocates are being made to look heartless and uncompassionate.

Let’s ask this fundamental question: Is the God of the Old Testament heartless and uncompassionate? The Bible says that God is a God of love (I John 4:8). So how could a loving God actually command putting someone to death?

Actually, when the death penalty is understood from God’s vantage point, it is one of the greatest acts of love there can be toward society—and the condemned criminal. (more…)

February 3, 2011

Abraham: Was His Child By Hagar Adultery?

iamachild.wordpress.com

The Creator of the universe set in motion a living, dynamic, active law. That law, when violated, brings on misery, heartache and death, unless repented of. Abraham violated that law, and he suffered the penalty.

Abraham and Sarah for the moment lacked faith in God’s promise to provide them with an heir (Genesis 15:1-6), and Sarah urged Abraham to produce an heir through Hagar, her maid (Genesis 16:2).

Let’s notice the result: “Then Sarai said unto Abram, ‘My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she [Hagar] saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes’ ” (Genesis 16:5).

Yes, they knew they had sinned. Not only did their consciences trouble them, but their deeds brought family problems, animosity, resentment and contempt. The rest of their physical lives was not to be the same. Abraham and Sarah learned an important lesson.

Too many people have the idea that God is a harsh monster who fiendishly punishes human beings the moment they step out of line. No such thing — God set a law in motion to bring us peace and happiness. When we break that law, we bring on ourselves the penalty of sin and suffering.

God designed human beings as free moral agents with capability of making decisions, thereby developing character through experience. God gave man His law to help guide and direct him in living a happy, abundant life. David said: “Oh, how I love Your law! … Your word is a lamp to my feet” (Psalm 119:97, 105).

Yes, Abraham did break God’s law, and it was a bitter lesson not soon forgotten. Abraham did repent, of course, and was blessed by God. But that mistake of Sarah’s and Abraham’s is with us yet — in the animosity between Jew and Arab today!

Source: The Good News, April 1985

April 1, 2010

Days Of Unleavened Bread: More Than Mere Symbolism

Leaven pictured as sin

Leviticus 23 outlines part of God’s law, where we find commanded the holy days of God (v. 2).  Rehearsing these holy days (the Passover, Days of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles and the Last Great Day) reinforces understanding of God’s master plan of salvation. They are to be honored and observed for eternity.

God also directs us to remove all leavened products from our homes during the one week period of the Days of Unleavened Bread (D.U.B.) , and conversely to eat unleavened bread to remind us of the haste in which Israel fled Egypt. On the two Holy Days at the beginning and end of the festival, God forbids Christians to continue in regular work because attention is to be focused on Him. The days are holy and an offering is to be taken.

The D.U.B. teach us that we should strive for perfection in obedience to the law of God at all times(Leviticus 23:6-8). God’s law is extended through the New Testament to help Christians build character in their lives. Christ taught, “But if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:17). If we are to enjoy eternal life in God’s Family, we must obey the law. (more…)

March 16, 2010

Why Did Jesus Have To Die?

The Problem: we all have done things that are wrong, and we have failed to obey God’s laws. Because of this we have been separated from God our Creator. Separation from God is death; but, by ourselves, we can do nothing to become united with God.

Why Jesus Could Help: Jesus was not only a man; He was God’s unique Son. Because He never disobeyed God and never sinned, only He can bridge the gap between the sinless God and sinful mankind.

The Solution: Jesus freely offered His life for us, dying on the cross in our place, taking all our wrongdoing upon Himself, and saving us from the consequences of sin – including God’s judgment and death.

The Results: Jesus took our present and future sins upon Himself so that we could have new life. Because all our wrongdoing is forgiven, we are reconciled to God. Furthermore, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the proof that His substitory sacrifice on the cross was acceptable to God, and His resurrection has become the source of new life for whoever believes that Jesus is the Son of God. All who believe in Him may have this new life in union with Him.

January 12, 2010

Is The Day Of Death Better Than The Day Of One's Birth?

Filed under: Death — melchia @ 8:00 am
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Ecclesiastes 7:1 reads, “A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.” What exactly does this mean?

Notice the strong parallel in this verse: The day of one’s birth is compared with precious ointment. There is certainly nothing wrong with precious ointment; Jesus even commended its proper use (Matthew 26:6-13). The point is that the day of one’s death is of far greater importance to God, assuming that our lives have been used properly.

Near the end of his life, the apostle Paul realized that he had “fought the good fight” and “kept the faith.” Therefore he had a crown of righteousness awaiting him (II Timothy 4:6-8).

If we as Christians run the Christian race successfully, as Paul did, we, too, will be able to say at the end of our lives that we have obtained an incorruptible crown (I Corinthians 9:24-27). The day of our death, then, will certainly be a greater joy to God than the day of our birth.

October 6, 2009

The Eternal Habitation Of God

bwzone.wordpress.com

bwzone.wordpress.com

Isaiah 57:15 contains one of the most incredible phrases that a human mind could possiblyunderstand. These few words describe God as “One that inhabiteth eternity.”  Considering the overwhelming significance of these words, let’s investigate what “inhabit” and “eternity” mean.

The Hebrew word translated “eternity” is ad. Ad can be translated “eternity, forever, everlasting, always.”  The English word “inhabit” in Isaiah 57:15 comes from the Hebrew verb shakhan — which can mean “to rest, live in, continue, dwell, settle, inhabit.” The word shakhan gives the impression of comfort and confidence. In various contexts the meaning includes the complete possession, occupation and fulfillment of the object inhabited.

And so, much like the human family abides in, dwells in, continues in and inhabits the earth, the God family rests in, abides in, dwells in, continues in and inhabits eternity!

In the same manner that physical beings can control and comprehend a specific plot of space, spirit beings can control and comprehend an eternity of time. Just as the earth is the arena for all the activities of the human family, eternity is the arena for all the unimaginable activities of the God family.

Grasp the fundamental difference: Just as physical beings employ the vectors of space, spirit beings employ the vectors of time. (This is why God equally speaks of 1000 years as one day and one day as 1000 years — II Peter 3:8.)
Jesus Christ is called the Father of Eternity — which is a way the phrase “the everlasting Father” in Isaiah 9:6 can be translated. And incredibly, the Bible actually states that human beings have the potential to be like Christ (John 17:22). Like God!

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:2).

God says as a son in His family, all will eventually possess, envelop, encompass, occupy and fulfill eternity, in the same manner as they today can physically possess, envelop, encompass, occupy and fulfill a comfortable home or a soft easy chair.

That is a fundamental truth that the religions of this world cannot accept, They are locked into doctrinal disputes which have nothing to do with what Christ actually spoke about; concepts such as going to heaven or hell, the trinity, pagan holidays (Christmas, easter, etc). NONE of these are biblical, yet all of them are universally accepted among Christian denominations.

What is eternity?

Eternity is a long time. Could it get boring?  If it could, it would!  There’s plenty of time available! If boredom would develop — even a little bit — we’d be in deep trouble. Eternity would become a literal hell! As a matter of fact, that is precisely the fate reserved for Satan and his demons — hell — an eternity of boredom: “Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 13).

If eternity is to be spent gazing blissfully up into God’s face in heaven, or having our every wish immediately fulfilled — as many religions teach — after a few months (or after a few octillion years, it doesn’t really matter). life would get unbearingly boring.  And once life got boring, it would be sickeningly and fiendishly terrifying. Because there would remain nothing but an unending eternity of boredom to come — with death a wonderful but impossible way of escape (see Luke 20:35-38). This would indeed be the ultimate torture.

But our Eternal Father has a better idea. He has designed a plan in which eternity will not grow progressively more boring. But, as unbelievable as it seems, eternity will grow progressively more exciting, more scintillating, and more enjoyable as each eon follows eon.

In Ephesians 2:7 God reveals “that in the ages to come he [God] might chew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 16:11 multiplies this simple but profound concept: “… In thy presence is fulness of joy; at [in] thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

The words “pleasures” and “for evermore” in Psalm 16:11 are somewhat unusual. Note the numerous meanings of each:

“Pleasures” is translated from the Hebrew word naeem meaning: “pleasant, delights, agreeable, lovely, beauty, glory, pleasures.” “Forevermore” is translated from natzach, a Hebrew root which can mean: “forever, perpetuity, permanency, truth, faithful, overseer, entire, perfect, complete, surpass, excellency, glory.”

Now combine them together in your mind’s eye in order to begin to barely approach the really great time that God has in store for us for eternity.

Men are shackled to time

Man is  constantly hounded by time because he does not have life, only a temporary physio-chemical existence. It feels like life because it is all he knows – this limited physical body needs to recharge daily.

God wants us to realize the temporary nature of all things physical – the nature of matter. It’s all in bondage to decay. Everything in us does not want to accept that fact. We don’t want to believe it, despite the evidence.

Do we realize how short and temporary life is? The Bible says we are like a fading flower, like a fleeting shadow. Another analogy is that we are like an alarm clock that is constantly running down to death. We die daily and are one breath away from death. That is why the Bible says our years come to an end in a flash, like a tale told (Ps. 90:5).

There is simply no guarantee that we will see 70-80 years of life and there is no way to predict how long we live either. Compare the days of your life to an hourglass with sand draining from top to bottom. Now imagine the top being opaque and hard to see through. You would have no idea how much time is left. There may be a lot but there may also be very little.

Now consider if you are married and how you feel about your wonderful wife and children. Do you understand that you marriage covenant is a temporary agreement only, until you die? You will see 100% disruption and destruction by death, abandonment, split-up, or old age.

Use time wisely

God tells us to number our days (Ps. 90:12), which is akin to asking God to teach us to understand how short life  really is and how certain it is to come to an end and motivate us to use our time wisely. The better perspective we have with time, the better we will put it to use.

If we are wise with the use of our time on this earth, then God rewards us with rulership in His Kingdom (Math. 25:20-21). Basically, God says if we sue this small amount of time (our life) in a faithful way, He will give us eternity with “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away…” (I Pet. 1:4).

God (through His human servant) then proceeds to explain the contrast between the physical and the spiritual by saying:

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away (I Pet. 1:23-24).

In other words, what is waiting for us has eternal (and very positive and joyful) consequences, while the end of the physical life offers only decay.

The nature of God

Psalm 90:2-4, II Pet. 3:8) shows that to God,a thousand years is as a day and a day as a thousand years. What does that mean?

It is all about our approach to time. Our destiny is to become members of God’s family – with a mind oriented towards eternity.  1000 years can go by as a single day to God. Figures are arbitrary. Paul may well have said one second is as a trillion years.

We can only be in one place at one time, but for God time is multi-dimensional. He can dwell in one moment for as long as He chooses or move one moment to another at will. He is not restricted by time, which is why he can listen to all our prayers at the same time.

In these prayers, true Christians have special access to Christ. But what if  all desire to have access at the same time? The answer is that we will have time without limits. Eternity is not an endless amount of seconds, minutes and hours. It is timelessness – to have all limitations removed.   You can inhabit eternity to have all problems resolved.

Time versus eternity

God puts limitations in the lives of humans so that they have to prioritize. Seek first the kingdom of God to eventually be rulers over many things. Man has to manage his time because he are in bondage to it. And precisely because he is limited to time, he must do all he can with limited resources. Don’t waste a single day. Our body is a temporary tent and we have to make the best use of it (II Cor. 5:1).

We crave permanence and stability – we crave eternity. God has shackled us to decay and we don’t want to think about something not being permanent. How often in this life have old age and death, tragedies and separations disrupted and seemingly obliterated forever the supreme joys of deep family satisfaction and quiet family happiness? One hundred percent of the time!

Every family that has ever existed has eventually been destroyed by death. The death of husband, wife, parents, children, brothers, sisters — whether at premature or elderly ages — is always the most piercing and the most permanent of human tragedies.

Well, the time is coming — soon — when such misery will never again darken the door of any home. And even more fantastically stirring, most members of almost every family in all human history, having been ripped apart by death, will become reunited! And this time they will be forever inseparable.

God’s Word has the answer to death: “… Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (I Cor. 15:54, 55.)

Never again will the corruption of disintegrating change alter the serenity of family life. Never again will separation, disease, old age and death bring that grinding despair known to every human being. This is why verse four of the twenty-first chapter of the book of Revelation is so emotionally stunning:

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

All the epochs of human obituary — in childhood, in youth, in the prime of life, in middle age; all the ways of human death by war, by accident, by disease — will all be eradicated. Full families — your family — will for the first time be really together — grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters, children and grandchildren. All will be in the prime of their spiritual lives, working, living and enjoying life as a close-knit family, as part of the overall family of God. Forever. And ever.

But this life is just a stepping stone to something far greater. Ps. 36:7 says all will eventually be abundantly satisfied. There will be no death or disease in the World Tomorrow.

Make the best use of all we have and all the time we have. Number our days and soak up all moments. It may be our last opportunity to do so. We are one breath away from death, so this little sliver of time is a gift. Use it to attain eternal life.

September 25, 2009

Russia, China And Europe: The Prophecied Clash To Come!

Much of the framework of all prophecy is found in two prophetic books—the books of Daniel and Revelation. But only in Revelation do we find events of various other prophecies correlated in order of time sequence” It actually details events leading to the return of Jesus Christ; events symbolized by seven seals, seven trumpets and seven vials. before I begin, I will visually lay out the story flow of the Book of Revelation:

Book Of Revelation Story Flow

7 Seals:

  1. False prophets
  2. War
  3. Famine
  4. Pestilence – these first 4 seals are the 4 horsemen of (Rev. 6:1-8)
  5. Tribulation – (Rev. 6:9-11)
  6. Heavenly Signs – (Rev. 6:12-14)
  7. 7 Trumpetsbeginning of the Day of the Lord
  • 1st trumpet – Injury to the earth – (Rev. 8:7)
  • 2nd trumpet – Injury to the sea – (Rev. 8:8-9)
  • 3rd trumpet – Injury to rivers – (Rev. 810-11)
  • 4th trumpet – Injury to heavenly lights – (Rev. 8:12)
  • 5th trumpet or 1st woe – attack of beast power – (Rev. 9:1-12)
  • 6th trumpet or 2nd woe – Asian counter strike – (Rev. 9:13-19)
  • 7th trumpet or third woeSeven Last Plaques
  1. Sores on those who accept the mark of the beast (Rev. 16:2)
  2. Sea turns to blood and all sea creatures die (Rev. 16:3)
  3. Rivers turn to blood (Rev. 16:4-7)
  4. Sun scorches humanity (Rev. 16:8-9)
  5. Beast’s seat of government afflicted (Rev. 16:10-11)
  6. Euphrates dries up, armies gather at Armageddon (Joel 3:9-17, Rev. 16:12-16)
  7. Great earthquake and hail (Rev. 16:17-21)

The  seven seals, seven trumpets and seven vials portray a progression of catastrophic plagues God will inflict on mankind. These three world shaking events summed up are:

  1. The Great Tribulation
  2. The heavenly signs in the sun and moon and stars (immediately following the Tribulation)
  3. The Day of the Lord

So let’s break these down in order.

The Great Tribulation (the first of three world shaking events)

The first four seals in Revelation 6:1-8 are:

  1. False religion
  2. War
  3. Famine
  4. Pestilence

These lead to the fifth seal, the Great Tribulation—the time of Satan’s wrath – described in Revelation 6:9-11 and other prophecies. The Tribulation  will last for 2½ years.

The Heavenly Signs (the second of three world shaking events)

In Revelation 6:12-14 it says:

“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”

The heavenly signs signify the sixth seal of Revelation 6:12-14.

The Day Of The Lord (the third of three world shaking events)

This is the Day of the Lord—the time of God’s wrath, when God punishes mankind for their rebellion against Him and His government with plagues. Here he is trying to bring all sinners (who survive the previous disasters) to repentance (verses 15-17).

The Day of the Lord lasts for one year, but it is NOT the last year of the 3½-year period we read of, and is NOT a part of the Great Tribulation. It is a combination of the Great Tribulation, the Heavenly Signs and the Day of the Lord which collectively make up the 3½‑year period called “a time, and times, and half a time” (Revelation 12:14).

The beginning of the day of the Lord is at the opening of the seventh and final seal:

“And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets” (Revelation 8:1-2).

These seven trumpet blasts occur after the seventh seal is opened during the Day of the Lord. They symbolize plagues sent from God as He intervenes in the affairs of mankind! This is the result of people refusing to listen to God and repent of their sins.

  • The first four trumpet blasts of Rev. 8 destroy the environment, making living conditions on Earth unbearable.
  • The fifth trumpet (also called the first woe) signifies world domination by a European beast power. Daniel 11:40 (speaking of the first woe) speaks of a clash (in this end time) between that European empire (the King of the North) and the King of the South, a radical Middle Eastern power (modern Iran).

Verses 40-41 speak of the Great Tribulation, when this European Beast Power will enter into the glorious land (called Israel today) and overthrow many nations. However, the spectacular military success of the beast power in the Middle East will be short lived:

“But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him …” (verse 44). If we see the modern nation of Israel as a reference point, we have to look north and east on a map, coming directly to Russia and China!

After destroying the radical Middle eastern power (King of the South), the beast power (King of the North), will be troubled by China and Russia in the east and north. This scripture is speaking of a massive clash between these two world superpowers, with the king of the north launching a preemptive strike against the Asian foe:

“Therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.”

This attack (the first woe of Rev. 9:1-11) is described as the beginning of all-out war between these two superpowers to determine world rule. The biblical language used is symbolic, because the apostle John had to use terminology of his day to describe technology of the future.

For example, verses 3 and 7-10 state that locusts “came upon the Earth with power in their tails like a scorpion.” This could merely be describing modern military helicopters firing missiles during an all out, five month military attack on the inhabitants of the earth. All is spearheaded by the devil, as verse 11 actually explains the king over these soldiers is Abaddon or Apollyon, which are names of Satan.

The Second Woe

Continuing in Revelation 9:

  • The sixth trumpet of verses 12-13 (also called the second woe) sounds. Four angels are released specifically to amass an almost incomprehensibly large, 200-million-man army (verses 15-16).

Most Bible critics argue that it would be impossible to assemble an army this size. But the current population in China is over 1.3 billion. Russia has 142 million, India with 1.1 billion people has the fourth-largest army in the world. Japan, the nations of Southeast Asia, and the former Soviet republics could all be probable participants in this alliance. Adding up the populations, there will easily be a total approaching 3 billion people from which to make up an army of 200 million! It is hardly unrealistic to think these combined countries could not muster an army of 200 million men.

Joel 2:4 also speaks of this Asiatic force (there called God’s army) during what is titled an event in the Day of the Eternal. It is actually God who will inspire it to wreak havoc on the European beast power with a counterattack and obliterate it. The end result is the death of “the third part of men” (Revelation 9:15). Of course such a scenario has never transpired and it takes the awesome destructive power of modern super-weapons to achieve such carnage.

Babylon Falls

Jeremiah 50 also adds details to this story, now calling the political-religious system of the King of the North by the name of Babylon, though historically it was known as the “Holy” Roman Empire.

In verse 3, God says He will bring a nation out of the North which will make it desolate. Again, the massive Asiatic counterattack will overwhelm the beast power. This is the second woe.

And verse 9 states that it will be an assembly o many nations, which could only be Russia and China, along with various other nations which will join this power bloc. The devastating collapse of the Babylonian system, the beast power, is further described in Revelation 18:2-19.

These Russians and Chinese armies will be ruthless. To “slay the third part of men”, there can be no doubt that they will attack with nuclear weapons! In verse 15, God says this act is His vengeance, because the people of this beast power have sinned against him (Revelation 18:5-6). Revelation 18 and Jeremiah 50:29 show that Babylon is destroyed in the space of one hour!

Unbelievably, the last two verses of Revelation 9  reveal just how hard-headed and stubborn man can be, even after such severe correction, as those not killed continue on with their lives, unrepentant of their idol worship, their murders, fornication, thefts and so on (verses 20-21). Even after most of the Earth’s population has been personally afflicted by nuclear war and complete destruction, they still are not willing to turn to God and His law!

The Third Woe

Revelation 11:14-15 now speaks of the third woe. Two of the three woes are complete and after that, the kingdoms of this world are to become God’s Kingdom. Christ will return, and God’s government will again take over the Earth.

But even after all the destruction, verse 18 says the nations will be angry and wrathful toward Christ. Can you believe that? And now what’s left of the beast power and of Asia will actually gather to fight against Christ at the last trumpet. This battle is described in great detail throughout Revelation 15 and 16.

The final trumpet blast is divided into seven vials of God’s wrath—the last seven plagues (Revelation 15:1, 6), sent upon mankind because of their hard-headedness. In Revelation 16:12, God dries up the Euphrates River to prepare the way for these armies to gather near Jerusalem (in a place called Armageddon, verse 16). There they will turn their attention toward their one common enemy—the King of kings—Jesus Christ.

There is wonderfully good news in the midst of all these horrors. Both of these armies will gather at Armageddon to fight each other, but will end up fighting Christ at His Second Coming! The armies will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them (Revelation 17:12-14). The conclusion of that battle will mark the beginning of a new, peaceful age for the whole Earth!

Ezekiel’s Prophecy

Ezekiel also tells us about yet another burst of rebellion to spring from northeast of Jerusalem, with the Millennium only just begun. As unbelievable as it sounds, the people of Asia will muster their forces for one final attempt to overthrow Christ’s rule!

Reading Ezekiel chapter 34, we find that, after the Day of the Lord, God will gather His sheep—those enslaved Israelites left alive after the Day of the Lord—and rescue them from captivity. This is when God will remove the spiritual blindness from their eyes and they will seek God’s ways. God’s Kingdom will be set up to finally establish lasting peace (Isaiah 11:11; Romans 11:25-26; Micah 4:2-3).

Dozens of prophecies refer to the end-time descendants of Israel being scattered around the world during the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord. But Ezekiel 36 pictures the remnant of Israel returning to the land God originally promised them, to one place.

Ezekiel 37:15 begins to speak of Israel and Judah as two sticks united together after Christ’s return. God will take them from among the heathen and make them one nation (verse 22), with a resurrected, spirit-born King David being king over Israel (verse 24).

Chapter 37 also  speaks of a prophecy referred to as the valley of dry bones. Much of it pictures a literal fleshly resurrection of those who had long since died, never knowing the truth. This resurrection occurs at the end of the thousand-year reign of Christ.

What happens to Gog and Magog (the Asiatic Nations)?

The Russians and Chinese are used to punish the beast power just before Christ returns, but as a result, they too become proud and haughty, therefore needing correction from God. He even tells these nations to prepare for a coming battle with Him (verse 7), after Christ’s return. God prophecies against Gog and Magog , stating that His anger is against them (Ezekiel 38:2-3).

How do we know this? Notice that verse 8 says Israel has been “brought back from the sword.” Here the people of Israel are dwelling peacefully (verse 11). It is the remnant of the Asiatic hordes of the battle of Armageddon (who were not killed) which descend upon the glorious land a short time after it has been occupied by the re-gathered Israelites. It will only be a land of villages at this point early on in the Millennium. Gog and Magog will see how God has blessed His people and will target the people of Israel as easy spoil in a blessed and undefended land!

Now think about this, because it really makes the mind reel. Even after Christ returns, there will not be peace immediately. There will still exist those who haven’t submitted to God’s law and government. They will learn the “hard way” that God’s system is fair and equitable and that they must submit to it to be blessed. Imagine, having to force people to be happy.

Yet that is exactly what the Bible says God does. Only one sixth of those who come to attack Israel will live through the battle, even though the y have been pre-warned (Ezekiel 39:7). The number of dead will be incalculable, and the people of Israel will be called upon to bury the fallen fighters. “And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land” (verse 12).

According to Ezekiel 38 and 39, this is the last great rebellion this Earth will experience for 1,000 years! Then, at the end of the Millennium when Satan is loosed for a little season, and there will be another—Revelation 20:7-9. Through both of these, God will not only defend and deliver His people, but He will prove that He fights and wins our battles for us.

God will make sure that His wrath is felt and witnessed throughout all the Earth (Ezekiel 38:18-20). He will have the nations of Gog and Magog destroy themselves (verse 21). Only through  blood, pain and suffering will God finally have all skeptics—those who do not accept Christ’s rule; those who do not know God, come to the understanding that He is the Eternal.

And here’s the rub. God wants us to choose life, not death! He does not like to see anyone suffer. Only those who stand with God now in complete obedience will not have to suffer in the future.

September 2, 2009

What Happens When We Die: It's Not What You Think!

flatlandhowler.blogspot.com

flatlandhowler.blogspot.com

Public enemy No. 1! That’s how death can be described. It will slay us all, and at a time of its own choosing.

But paradoxically, although we all know we will die, very few know exactly what death is. Certainly death must be the least understood although most relentless enemy!

Yet it need not remain a mystery to those who will look into their Bibles to read — and believe — what God says. For God has not left us in ignorance about this important subject.

The basic doctrine

Since life is merely a temporary, mortal, chemical process (with man being made from the physical elements — “dust”), death is just the cessation of life. One who is dead has no consciousness separate from his body and feels no pain nor pleasure, but is as if asleep. Nonetheless, we all will live again after death, after a passage of time, when resurrected back to life again.

The usual teachings of this world

Most professing Christians believe that at death they do not really die — that is, cease to live in any form. They instead believe that at death only the body dies, and that the “soul” is then liberated to live on in heaven or hell (depending upon the moral merit of the former life).

Others believe in reincarnation, thinking that their soul, which is liberated at death, will be placed in a new body to live again, with this process occurring over and over. Scientists who believe evolution seem to recognize death for what it is (the total cessation of life), but they also err because they know nothing of the hope of the dead — life again after a resurrection. Even other beliefs about death exist.

Yet, surprisingly, these concepts are not from the Bible!

The Bible teaching

Perhaps the main reason why people, religious or otherwise, do not understand death is because, first of all, they do not understand what life is. The Bible makes it plain.

Genesis 2:7 records, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Authorized Version).

Notice! Man does not have a soul. He is a soul. The word translated “soul” here is the Hebrew word nephesh. It means a living, breathing, physical creature. The word carries no implication of immortality. In Genesis 1:24 it is translated “living creature” and refers to animals.

Further, the Scriptures say dogmatically that the soul can die and therefore cannot be immortal. See Ezekiel 18:4, 20 and Matthew 10:28.

The Bible nowhere teaches that man has an immortal soul. In fact, the immortal soul doctrine was adopted by professing Christianity from pagan Egypt through the Greek philosophers.

But note that man, as God stated, is composed of the physical elements of the earth and is dust. God plainly told Adam, who sinned, “For dust you are, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). But men do not want to die, so they do not want to believe God. They do not want to believe that man’s life is merely a physicochemical existence that will run down and stop — die!

Hence, they choose instead to believe the lie Satan told Eve when he said, “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). They believe that within this dusty body, as a sort of prisoner of the flesh, is an immortal soul that is unleashed at the death of the body and that continues in conscious life forever.

To be sure, man is not merely an animal. For one, man is made in God’s image and in God’s likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). And man’s potential — that of being born into the God Family — is far more incredible than the fate of any animal.

Further, God reveals that there is a spirit in man (I Corinthians 2:11) that gives man mental superiority over animals. It is this spirit that imparts the power of mind to man, and the power of moral decision, including the ability to grow in character. But this spirit is not the man. And it is not an immortal soul. It is something in man that gives man a dimension of life above the animals. It does not give him immortal life, however.

To understand death requires that we know that man’s life is merely a chemical process involving physical elements. When that process stops, we die. We are dust, and when we die our bodies decay and return to the dust.

When we die, all conscious thought and awareness ceases. Notice Psalm 6:5: “For in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks?”

And compare Ecclesiastes 9:4-5: “For him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing.”

The apostle Peter knew that even the righteous die and lose all consciousness and bodily presence, for he stated: “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. … For David did not ascend into the heavens” (Acts 2:29, 34). Even righteous David was not an immortal soul that left his body and went to heaven. Even David was dust and decayed back to the elements.

Other scriptures supply even more detail about death, comparing it in a figure of speech to sleep (I Corinthians 11:30, I Kings 2:10). When a person is asleep, he loses consciousness and is unaware of his surroundings.

The topic of death is in some ways unique. Most people will not believe what God says if their senses tell them differently. For example, Adam and Eve did not believe God’s warning about the tree of good and evil, because the fruit of it looked good and desirable. Yet, in the case of death, people will not believe God when He says death is what it indeed appears to be to the most casual observer — namely, the cessation of life! People will not believe God no matter what He says, whether our senses tell us to agree or not.

But caution! Nothing said here means to imply that death is the end of all hope of life. It is not. An old saying goes, “Where there is life, there is hope.” But the great God says, in effect, that even where there is death there is still hope — in fact, the main hope.

That hope is the resurrection of the dead from death to life again. Notice Job’s question and answer about death: “If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come” (Job 14:14, AV).

Realize this: The demonstrable fact of the resurrection of the dead proves once and for all that humans are not immortal souls. If we were, why would the dead have to be resurrected? They would already be alive.

And see further Christ’s startling statement: “Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live” (John 5:25).

Jesus knew His statement might startle His audience, so He said further: “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth — those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation [judgment]” (verses 28-29).

The Scriptures are plain that all people will be resurrected, even those who will eventually be cast into the lake of fire to die the “second death.”

The apostle Paul chose to comfort the living relatives of those true Christians who had died by reminding them of the wonderful resurrection to come (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).

To alleviate their sorrow, Paul explained that the dead in Christ will be resurrected at Christ’s return, and that they — along with us, if we qualify — will forever be with Christ.

Yes, the truth about death is far less foreboding than the fanciful imaginations of well-intentioned but errant religionists!

Key verses

When properly understood, this topic of death can fill us all with real hope, for then we know the wonderful truth that we will all see our beloved deceased relatives again. Therefore it may be well to note specially the basic scriptures that describe the truth about death. Here are some of them:

Genesis 2:7 and 3:19 — man is a mortal being made from the dust. Genesis 1:24 — the Hebrew word translated “soul” in Genesis 2:7 is translated here as “living creature” and refers to animals. Ezekiel 18:4, 20 and Matthew 10:28 — the soul is not immortal; it dies. Psalm 6:5 and Ecclesiastes 9:4-5 — the dead have no consciousness. John 11:11-14 and I Kings 2:10 — death is compared to sleep. John 5:25, 28-29 and I Corinthians 15 — the dead will be resurrected.

Death is indeed an enemy, but through the resurrection from the dead this enemy is annihilated. Therefore Paul says in I Corinthians 15:26, 54-55 (AV): “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death…. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

Source: Good News, March 1986

Where Did God "Translate" Enoch?

The Bible says that Enoch ‘was not, for God took him’ (Genesis 5:24), and that he was ‘translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him’ (Hebrews 11:5).

What actually happened to Enoch? Where did he go? Where is he now?

At this moment Enoch is dead and in his grave. We know this because it is clearly stated in Hebrews that Enoch died in faith, not having received the promises (Heb. 11:5, 13). And Genesis 5:23 plainly says that ALL THE DAYS of Enoch were 365 years.

On the other hand, God did deal with Enoch in a highly unique manner.

Enoch was one of those rare persons who realized the tremendous importance and profit in living God’s way. From age 65 until his death, three hundred years later, Enoch “walked with God” (Genesis 5:22). And God is always particularly concerned for those who put His work first in their lives. He promises to protect them in times of severe trial:

But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.(Ps. 37:39-40).

We are not informed of the conditions that made it necessary for God to “translate” (transfer, transport) Enoch from where he had been, but it is clear that God did this to save his life (Heb. 11:5). Enoch was not taken to the heaven of God’s Throne — he was removed by God to a safer location on the earth. Conditions were so bad that Enoch would have perished at the hands of men — had not God intervened.

A similar time of severe trial and test is soon coming on this entire world — but worse than any the world has heretofore known (Matt. 24:21). Enoch knew the way to Divine protection – it was obedience to God!

August 28, 2009

God, The Failed Hypothesis?

1I recently ran across a book entitled: God, the Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist. It is the author’s conclusion, after examining the scientific data relating to every attribute, that the empirical scientific evidence is overwhelmingly against the existence of any being possessing any of them. In short, none of the standard attributes accepted by most believers as being true about their god can be salvaged in light of known facts about the universe. This, in turn, prevents any rational, reasonable, or justified belief in such a god from being salvaged.

Life, he says, was not designed, it evolved naturally. The universe was not created, it arose naturally. Morality was not divinely created, it evolved naturally. The universe was not fine-tuned, it’s just what we would expect to find.

As usual, this type of book rambles about on with a crude sense of cynicism, arrogance and hostility wrapped up in the cloak of science. I did not however find that the author knew much about theology, philosophy and history and found at least a dozen logical fallacies and false generalizations.

For example, the arguement that no indisputable evidence of God has been found in nature, therefore God must not exist is futile, since God is spiritual and cannot be seen by human eyes (Col. 1:15). God is everywhere in nature, since it is His creation. He says in Rom. 1:20:

“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

“The expression “his invisible things” refers to those things which cannot be perceived in an intellectual way, by the faculty of the understanding; things which may be known of him, though not discoverable by the eye. We judge of the objects around us by the senses, the sight, the touch, the ear, etc. Though we can’t judge God this way, we may come to the knowledge of him by, ‘his eternal power and Godhead, by means of the material universe which he has formed. The argument implies that is enough to leave mankind without any excuse for its ignorance.” (Albert Barnes’ Notes On The Bible).

So, the power of God is evident in invisible things, and yet clearly seen in creation. The workman is known by his work. The variety, multitude, order, beauty, harmony, different nature, and excellency of the things that are made, the direction of them to certain ends, and the concurrence of all the parts to the good and beauty of the whole,  abundantly prove a Creator and his eternal power and Godhead. The proof is not weakened because we don’t see the process of creation constantly going on. It is rather augmented by the fact that he sustains all things, and continually controls the vast masses of matter in the material world.

God has given us so much clear evidence of his existence and claims, that man is without excuse for his denial. We have all the modern discoveries of astronomy, and no one thing more proves the stupidity of people, than the sad forgetfulness of Him that made the heavens and the earth.

Is archaeological proof lacking?

The book also argues that no archaeological evidence exists of a certain Biblical person, place or thing, therefore he/she or it must be mythical. In other words, the Bible is guilty until proven innocent, and a lack of outside evidence places the Biblical account in doubt. This standard is far different from that applied to other ancient documents, even though many, if not most, have a religious element. They are considered to be accurate, unless there is evidence to show that they are not.

Contrarily, when archaeological findings show “supposed”proof of  “discrepancies,”  we find when these are examined in detail, it is found that the problems lie with misinterpretation of evidence, lack of evidence, or poor scholarship, and not with the Bible.

Although it is not possible to verify every incident in the Bible, the discoveries of archahaeology since the mid-1800s have certainly demonstrated the reliability and plausibility of the Bible narrative.

Here are some examples:

  • The discovery of the Ebla archive in northern Syria in the 1970s has shown the Biblical writings concerning the Patriarchs to be viable. Documents written on clay tablets from around 2300 B.C. demonstrate that personal and place names in the Patriarchal accounts are genuine. The name “Canaan” was in use in Ebla, a name critics once said was not used at that time and was used incorrectly in the early chapters of the Bible. The word tehom (“the deep”) in Gen. 1:2 was said to be a late word demonstrating the late writing of the creation story. “Tehom” was part of the vocabulary at Ebla, in use some 800 years before Moses. Ancient customs reflected in the stories of the Patriarchs have also been found in clay tablets from Nuzi and Mari.
  • The Hittites were once thought to be a Biblical legend, until their capital and records were discovered at Bogazkoy, Turkey.
  • Many thought the Biblical references to Solomon’s wealth were greatly exaggerated. Recovered records from the past show that wealth in antiquity was concentrated with the king and Solomon’s prosperity was entirely feasible.
  • It was once claimed there was no Assyrian king named Sargon as recorded in Is. 20:1, because this name was not known in any other record. Then, Sargon’s palace was discovered in Khorsabad, Iraq. The very event mentioned in Is. 20, his capture of Ashdod, was recorded on the palace walls. What is more, fragments of a stela memorializing the victory were found at Ashdod itself.
  • Another king who was in doubt was Belshazzar, king of Babylon, named in Daniel 5. The last king of Babylon was Nabonidus according to recorded history. Tablets were found showing that Belshazzarr was Nabonidus’ son who served as coregent in Babylon. Thus, Belshazzar could offer to make  Daniel “third highest ruler in the kingdom” (Dan. 5:16) for reading the handwriting on the wall, the highest available position. Here we see the “eye-witness” nature of the Biblical record, as is so often brought out by the discoveries of archaeology.

Source: Christiananswers.net

The universally accepted nature of science is that it is always evolving, with old theories and hypothesis being revised or discarded in favour of new ones, on the basis of the latest evidence. Therefore scientists do not believe in absolute proof, because new evidence might turn up which alters an old model, theory or law.

However, the existence of God can be proven. It is evident in the power of His creation; it is evident through archaeological evidence; through records of accounts written even after the facts by enemies of Christ, by the Roman Catholic church; it is evident by faith; and certainly will be evident through eschatological verification – when Christ returns, or when we die – whichever comes first. We will then have conclusive proof.

I find it pitiful that evolutionists or atheists believe that religion is a mere superstition: irrational folk beliefs that arose from fear and the human need for meaning and control of our surroundings. Science and our ability to control our environment has supposedly made us the captain of our own fate – no need for God anymore. But our control is a mere illusion. God says:

“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” (I Pet. 1:24-25)

So you see, we have only a few years on this earth and then we die. Without God, we have no hope, no future, no reality. It is only the word of God which is truth (John 17:17), not the ego filled vanity of atheistic nonsense. If all we have is hope in the present life, we are indeed hopeless.

But God promises eternal life, and He (unlike man), cannot lie (Tit. 1:2). I’ll take that statement above the fables foisted upon man by evolutionary science. At least I know where I’m going.

August 9, 2009

The Three Resurrections Explained!

Resurrection - From Mortal To Immortal

The 1st Resurrection - From Mortal To Immortal

Throughout history, man has had a fascination with death and the afterlife. Will you and your loved ones live again? Do you have an immortal soul, as so many professing “Christians” believe?

The biblical teachings on life and death have been primary targets of Satan the devil from the beginning. The first recorded lie was that man would not die, (Gen. 3:4) and man has believed the “immortal soul” lie ever since.

Consider the domino effect of this one lie. If man has an immortal soul, he cannot die; if he cannot die, he cannot be resurrected! Furthermore, the Apostle Paul wrote that if we deny the resurrection of the dead, we deny the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ, leaving us totally without hope (I Cor. 15:13-14, 19).

The Immortal Soul Lie

When Satan told Eve that she “would not surely die,” she was deceived. Both Eve and Adam subsequently chose to reject the revelation that God had given them. Mankind refuses to accept God’s revelation about death and resurrection to this day, relying instead on his own human reasoning. Modern “Christianity” commonly accepts the immortal soul lie without a shred of evidence and with plenty of proof to the contrary!

Gen. 2:7 says, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” This word soul in no way implies immortal life. The word is nephesh in Hebrew and is translated “a breathing animal.” It is used throughout the Old Testament to describe creatures such as cattle, fowl, whales — and man. Ecclesiastes 3:19 shows that man dies just as the animals do.

The soul is physical, composed of matter and it can die. We see this point emphasized throughout the Bible. “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14). Our temporary physical existences are also compared to withering grass that is blown away by a gust of wind (I Pet. 1:24; Ps. 103:13-16).

The Bible shows that all who die — which is everyone –, will eventually be resurrected. The question is not if a person will be resurrected, but when.  “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order” (I Cor. 15:22-23).

Jesus Christ was the first to be resurrected. He is the “firstborn among many brethren,” (Rom. 8:29) and has made the resurrection of everyone who ever lived possible. A careful study of God’s word reveals that there are three resurrections yet to come.

What follows is a brief overview of the biblical teachings concerning the resurrections.

The First Resurrection

The first resurrection is reserved specially for a) the dead in Christ and b) those that are Christ’s at His coming. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thess. 4:16-17). These are those that belong to Jesus Christ; those who have repented and received the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9). These people will live forever and reign with Christ throughout the Millennium, as shown in Revelation 20:5-6.

The Second Resurrection

Revelation 20:5 shows when the next resurrection will take place: “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” As we can see, at the end of the 1000 years, two things will happen. Firstly, Satan, who will have been imprisoned throughout the Millennium, (v.3) will be released from his prison and, secondly, everyone else who has ever died will be resurrected. Most of humanity will be brought back to life in this resurrection, as described in Ezekiel 37:1-14. They will then finally have God’s truth revealed to them and be given their chance to become a part of God’s Kingdom. This period of time is called the Great White Throne Judgment.

Only one passage reveals the duration of the Great White Throne Judgment: Isaiah 65:17-25. In verse 20, we read, “There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.” From this point on, no more infants will be born. There will then be two classes of people: “the child” and “the sinner.”

“The child,” in this instance, refers to a person who is righteous. We are to enter the Kingdom of God as a little child (Luke 18:17). Why, then, does the prophet Isaiah say that the child will die?

Because it is given to all men to die once. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27). The temporal, physical existence of the righteous will end. Those that fall into the category of “the child” will become the spirit-born sons of God, just as those that were Christ’s at His coming did in the First Resurrection. They also will be “changed in the twinkling of an eye” (I Cor. 15:51-52).

The Third Resurrection

The Third Resurrection is a resurrection to the second death. The prophet Daniel spoke of this resurrection: “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Jesus Christ calls it the resurrection of “condemnation” (John 5:29).

Everyone will be given the opportunity to repent and become a part of God’s family, but not everyone will accept it. Those that are not found in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire, ending their existence forever (Rev. 14:10). Malachi 4:3 adds that in the end the ashes of the wicked will be under the feet of the righteous. The incorrigibly wicked will have died the second death, from which there will never be a resurrection (Rev. 20:14-15). This is a merciful act on the part of their Creator. These people would be miserable eternally if they had immortal life, so God mercifully end their lives, leaving only the “smoke of their torment” to ascend forever (Rev.14:11).

Incredible Human Potential

When the resurrections have finally taken place, those left alive will have an immortal soul — one composed of God’s Holy Spirit rather than dust. The resurrections are, in fact, the fulfillment of our incredible human potential. In his book, The Incredible Human Potential, Mr. Armstrong wrote about that awesome future:

“When born of God, we shall be Spirit, no longer human flesh and blood. We shall be given power! As Daniel revealed, the saints then shall take the kingdoms of earth’s nations and rule them for the first thousand years — establishing world peace and Divine government under Christ.

“And after that? The passage in Hebrews 2 shows that then, again under Christ, we shall be given power to rule over the entire vast universe — literally all things. For that is the power that has been given to Christ and will be ours as joint inheritors with Him!

“Yes, there is a life after death for those obedient to God — a Spirit life of incredible potential beyond our wildest dreams! Can we humans grasp the awesome portent of these astounding truths? Attaining immortal life should be our all-encompassing goal. For that is the gift and desire of our merciful Father and His Son Jesus Christ.”

What a glorious vision of the future!

July 2, 2009

How Will The Beast & False Prophet Of Rev. 20:10 Die?

There has been some misunderstanding in the past of Revelation 20:10 resulting from a translation error in the King James Version of the Bible. You will notice that the word “are” is in italics. This means that the word was supplied by the translators and is not in the original Greek.

According to the chronology of Revelation itself, both the Beast and the false prophet will be cast alive into the lake of fire at the beginning of God’s thousand-year reign on the earth (Rev. 19:20). By merely using God’s explanation of what happens to human bodies when they are cast into fire, we find that they will be burned up (Ps. 37:20). Therefore, the phrase in Revelation 20:10 should be translated “where the beast and the false prophet WERE.”

In Matthew 25:41 Jesus said, “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, YE CURSED, INTO
EVERLASTING FIRE, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Jesushere plainly shows that the everlasting fire was prepared for Satan and his angels. Yet He goes on to say that human beings who are ultimately judged unfit for eternal life are also to be cast into this very lake of fire. “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment” (verse 46).

When these people are cast into the lake of fire, it is by God’s definition “the second DEATH,” from which there is no

resurrection. “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 burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8).

June 21, 2009

Reincarnation: Myth Or Fact?

hubpages.com/hub

hubpages.com/hub

Reincarnation is a concept which is common to many religious beliefs and spiritual practices. Those who believe in this theory teach that after death a person’s “soul” is reborn in a new body, which is sometimes referred to as the “transmigration of the soul” or metempsychosis.

The abundance of reincarnation myths around the world finds appeal in the idea that a fundamental part of themselves will live on after death, even though their bodies may decay.

The immortality of the soul doctrine (especially prevalent in the West) is basic to the belief in reincarnation. But, that doctrine is false! The classic inquiry “Who am I?” is being replaced by the puzzling question “Who was I?”. The Bible plainly shows that one’s soul is NOT immortal. Notice Genesis 3:19:

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust [not another body] shalt thou return.”

Also notice Ecclesiastes 3:19-20:

“For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast …. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.”

Psalm 146:4 states that when a man dies “his breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts
perish.”

We can further this concept for those who say the body is irrelevant to the concept of reincarnation by quoting Heb. 9:27, which states that  a man “is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment. In other words, he is NOT reborn to die over and over again.

So if this belief is not biblical, how did it start?

What is reincarnation?

“Reincarnation, literally “to be made flesh again”, is a doctrine or metaphysical belief that some essential part of a living being (in some variations only human beings) survives death to be reborn in a new body. This essential part is often referred to as the spirit or soul, the “higher” or “true” self, “divine spark”, or “I”. According to such beliefs, a new personality is developed during each life in the physical world, but some part of the self remains constant throughout the successive lives.” [wikipedia]

Answers.com terms reincarnation as rebirth of the soul in another body. Britannica Concise Encyclopedia terms it as the doctrine of the rebirth of the soul in one or more existences. Oxford University Press expresses it as existence of a soul that is periodically reincarnated in a body. And Columbia Encyclopedia references it as occupation by the soul of a new body after the death of the earlier body.

The teaching of reincarnation (a religion of the east) is making heavy inroads into Western society today. However, it is important to understand that it is in no way a scientific or religious truth.

Reincarnation in Hindu art

Reincarnation in Hindu art

The concept of this belief can be stated as follows: after death, the human soul leaves the body and passes into either 1) a plant body, an animal body, another human body, or even an extra-terrestrial body.

Belief in reincarnation has ancient roots. This doctrine is a central tenet within the majority of Indian religious traditions, such as Hinduism (including Yoga, Vaishnavism, and Shaivism).

It also appears in Jainism and Sikhism, two faiths that grew out of Hinduism and are still practiced in India. Jainism shares with Hinduism a belief in many gods. Sikhism, a monotheistic religion, combines some elements of Islam with Hinduism.

Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism all began in India, where the idea of rebirth first appears in texts dating from about 700 B.C. They share a belief in samsara—the wheel of birth and rebirth—and karma—the idea that an individual’s future incarnation depends on the way he or she lived. People who have done good deeds and led moral lives are reborn into higher social classes; those who have not are doomed to return as members of the lower classes or as animals. Only by achieving the highest state of spiritual development can a person escape samsara altogether. (Mythencyclopedia)

The idea was further entertained by some ancient Greek philosophers, the Egyptians and Greeks,  among the Celts and Druids, and in various “mystery religions” of the Near East. It spread somewhat among the Hebrews, before the time of Christ, and has survived among various Hasidic groups in the world today.

Many modern Neopagans also believe in it, as do some New Age movements, along with followers of Spiritism, practitioners of certain African traditions, and students of esoteric philosophies such as Kabbalah, and Gnostic and Esoteric Christianity. The Buddhist concept of Rebirth although often referred to as reincarnation differs significantly from the Hindu-based traditions and New Age movements in that there is no unchanging “soul” (or eternal self) to reincarnate.

People apart from ancient Israel had no concept of a personal God,  so  reincarnation took hold as a way of explaining many of the mysteries of this life. The perpetual state of karma (as a primitive form of retribution) supposedly helps to  “expiate’ the sins of previous incarnations.

Does the Bible mention reincarnation?

While the Bible does not mention the term reincarnation, it does condemn it in context in speaking of John the Baptist. In the Gospel of John, Christ is asked about a blind man: Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, for him to have been born blind? In other words, he must have done something wrong in a previous life, or he wouldn’t have been born with blindness. To which the Savior replied: Neither he nor his parents sinned…but that the works of God might be manifest in him (John 9:2-3r).Jesus Christ here clearly refuted the idea that the existence of evil can be explained by reincarnation. Why? Because reincarnation undercuts the gospel message in three ways.

  1. First, it assumes that God is impersonal and is therefore unknowable.
  2. Second, reincarnation denigrates the Atonement of Christ.
  3. Third, it denies the fact that Jesus physically resurrected from the dead.

You see, the law of karma is entirely incompatible with the teachings of the Bible. There is no mechanistic “wheel of re-birth” (as taught by Hindus, Buddhists, and their Western equivalents). Those who are now in the grave will NOT go to heaven, as “no one has gone up into Heaven, except He having come down out of Heaven, the Son of Man…., and neither will their consciousness leave the grave:

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28-29)

Esoteric foolishness

Still, many tell of crackpot esoteric experiences which seems real to them, but they conveniently throw out the Scriptures to go with their own impressions and subjective opinions. Such people are attracted by superficial and grandiose nonsense about hallucinatory “memories” of previous lifetimes-often gained through “regressive hypnosis.” That might make for some exciting storytelling, and if good enough, maybe even land them an appearance on Oprah and guaranteed a few book sales. But it doesn’t make for good reality.

...according to the idea of reincarnation, if one is “saved” at all it is only after many lifetimes of working out the consequences of one’s sins. This is the cold and dreary legalism of the pagan religions which was totally abolished by Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. (Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose): The Soul After Death)

The term “Christian” has been rendered nearly meaningless now with people of every bizarre belief and teaching claiming that their views can comport with Christianity. Ignoring the word of God and therefore avoiding being moved by the Spirit of God, such people circumvent the entire process of Christian growth. There is no spiritual maturity, because there is no growing where there is no knowing (II Pet. 3:18).

Christ told us that the way was narrow that leads to eternal life. Anyone who denies the clear teachings of Scripture about the afterlife denies Christ by his rejection of the Word of God.

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The real nature of man is something few understand. The teaching of the immortality of the  soul is simply un-biblical and cannot be substantiated by scripture. Those who try do so with limited understanding or false pretenses.

June 17, 2009

What Are Prayers For The Dead?

Prayers on behalf of the dead have no meaning, and the Bible is clear on this subject. God’s Word shows that those who have died no longer have any physical or mental activity (Ps. 146:4; Eccl. 9:5, 10). Each person who dies sleeps in his grave in unconsciousness until the resurrection (John 5:28-29; Dan. 12:2; Job 19:25-26; 14:12-14). Clearly, prayers should be for the LIVING, not the dead.

Prayers for the dead are based on the false teaching that man possesses an immortal soul. Some believe that at death a wicked person’s “immortal” soul is tormented in hell. Friends and relatives then pray that the departed “soul” be spared some of its suffering. But the Bible says that the soul itself can die (Ezekiel 18:4, 20; also, compare the last parts of verses 7 and 17 of Genesis 2). There are absolutely no biblical grounds for the doctrine of the immortality of the soul.

God promises to resurrect those who have died and offer them salvation at a later time as most of humanity has not yet had any opportunity to be saved.

June 12, 2009

Is God Fair?

dreamnepal.blogspot.com

dreamnepal.blogspot.com

Look at the world today! War, famine, pestilence! Poverty, inequality, hunger, want! Sickness, disease, suffering, death! Crime, graft, dishonesty, corruption! Insanity, degeneration, decay! Unhappiness, fear, wretchedness and woe!

How, so many are asking, can a supreme, all-powerful God of love permit such human woe? Why is He permitting civilization itself to crumble?

Is God Fair?

Listen! Some men are saying, “God isn’t fair!”—or “Is there a God, after all?” But what do you suppose men would say if God took away their right to think and do as they please? For God could never stop this awful carnage without forcing men to act according to His will—denying them a free will of their own!

It is men’s ways, so contrary to God’s ways, that have brought on this unhappy state. And they have brought on all the world’s sorrows and anguish in spite of the pleadings of God. He says, “Your ways are not my ways” (Isa. 55:8).

God’s ways, had they been followed, would have led inevitably to peace, happiness, prosperity and joy. God always has revealed to men His ways. Always He has pleaded with the human family. Suppose God had taken the only alternative.

Suppose He had forced men, against their wills, to have lived according to His laws?

Can’t you almost hear the defiant, rebellious, stiff-necked human race indignantly screaming at the Almighty: “You can’t cram your religion down my throat!” For it is a matter of religion. Can’t we see that had God followed that course, more than ever men would have shouted, “God isn’t fair!”

For six thousand years men have lived in defiance of God’s laws. Had God denied them this right to be wrong, men would have accused God of injustice, demanding freedom to follow their own ways.

God’s plan has for its purpose the creating of perfect CHARACTER in beings that are separate entities from God, yet members of the very family of God. Character cannot be created automatically by fiat—it must be developed through experience!

Nor could character be instilled without free moral agency. To achieve this great purpose—that of producing the supreme pinnacle of all God’s creation, sons of God having perfect character—man has to be convinced, of his own free will, that God’s laws are just, and that His ways are the only right ways for man! Man must turn to them, voluntarily! This lesson could be learned only by EXPERIENCE!

In the beginning, Satan appeared to contest the wisdom of God’s law. This law is, simply, love for God and love for neighbor, as defined in the ten broad principles of the Ten Commandments. A fundamental, spiritual, eternal law. The philosophy Christ taught is that it is more blessed to give than to receive. But Satan argued for the GETTING way. Competition, he argued, is the life-blood of activity. Self-desire provides incentive to endeavor. Vanity spurs to action. And so, in Satan’s philosophy, self-desire, competition, strife, provide the root-principle for accomplishment. The way of getting is the way of progress and advancement.

Had not God permitted this selfish way to be tried, tested, and demonstrated, God’s creatures could argue throughout eternity that they had been denied the better way.

The Devil’s Week

And so God turned over to Satan the first six days of one week, consisting of seven one-thousand-year days, in which to demonstrate the falsity of this way—the way of greed.

During the first six days of this week of seven thousand years Satan was permitted to retain dominion over all the earth. “Six days,” God said, “thou shalt labour, and do all thy work”—his work of deception and hate—”but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work.” Six thousand-year days have been permitted Satan for his labor of deception. Even then his dominion has been limited to the power of influence and suggestion. Never has God permitted even Satan arbitrarily to force men against their wills.

And so for nearly six thousand years men have been left free to accept the self-seeking competitive philosophy of Satan, or to follow the golden rule of God. And for six thousand years Satan has labored. And mankind has fallen for his delusion!

Satan’s philosophy is the philosophy of the world today. On it our present civilization has been built. A civilization men love and cherish, and for which they patriotically sacrifice their lives! A civilization developed on desire for self-gain, competition, strife! In it success is determined by how much a man has been able to get, not on how well he has served.

God has never left men in ignorance of the true way of life. Always He has made known the true values—the way of His spiritual law of love! Continually God has pleaded, with patience and in love. He pleaded through Noah in the days before the Flood. He set up a nation of His own on earth that pledged to follow His laws, dedicated voluntarily to God’s ways of life. But ancient Israel turned from God’s ways, and persecuted and killed God’s prophets!

God sent His only begotten Son to point men back to the true paths. And Him, too, men rejected and killed.

During these six thousand years since Adam, men continually have spurned God’s love, rejected His law, turned a deaf ear to His prophets and His true ministers. They have built a world after the false philosophy of Satan, replete with its pagan customs, traditions and beliefs. Today people are hopelessly engulfed in these false ways, but, being deceived, realize it not at all!

Satan is revealed as the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4). The original inspired Greek should properly be translated, “the god of this age.” And this worldly civilization worships its God. The appalling fact unrealized by the world is that Satan, not the Eternal, is its god! The Creator God “is not the author of confusion,” we read in I Corinthians 14:33. Its real author is Satan, the world’s god! And so he has his many denominations and sects, all striving in a babylon of confusion!

The Devil’s Work

Today the people of organized religion refuse to hear the law of the Lord (Isa. 30:8-11). They demand that their ministers preach the soft and smooth things—the deceits! They have turned away from the truth, and are accepting and believing fables (II Tim. 4:2-4).

Yes, Satan has organized religion. He himself appears, not as a devil with horns and a tail, bearing a pitchfork, but “is transformed into an angel of light” (II Cor. 11:14). His ministers are transformed as the ministers of righteousness, appearing AS the apostles of Christ! (Verses 13, 15.) But they are preaching “another Jesus” (verse 4), in the power of “another spirit,” and deceiving men with “another gospel” than the true gospel of the Kingdom which Christ brought and Paul and all the apostles preached! (Gal. 1:6-7.)

Satan’s congregations go in for much form. “Having a form of godliness, but denying the POWER thereof: from such turn away,” plainly warns God’s Word! (II Tim. 3:5.) The present worldly order—its competitive principle, its customs and traditions, its political systems—are upheld by false churches within every land! Truly, all nations are deceived! (Rev. 12:9; 17:2; 18:3.)

Jesus Christ appeared 1900 years ago as a messenger bearing a message from God. He brought to an unhappy world steeped in false ways the “good news of the KINGDOM OF GOD.” A Kingdom now, soon, to replace these crumbling governments on earth!

That Kingdom today is near at hand—even at the doors! (Luke 21:31.)

Thank God, we are near the end of the six working days allotted to Satan’s dominion. God’s thousand-year Sabbath day is just about to dawn!

There is a saying that it is darkest just before the dawn. Now we see on every hand the final fruitage of men’s ways. Written in unerasable blood, in human misery, anguish and despair is the six-thousand-year record of experience!

Even now men will not heed this horrible lesson—not until they are forced to see it!

But, as Satan’s sixth “working day” closes, God is about to step in and supernaturally interfere!

The coming seventh millennium—typified by the Feast of Tabernacles—shall see Satan restrained. Christ will return to rule the earth with all the power of God. God’s new order for the next thousand years will restore peace, happiness, and joy.

Then men may look back over this present world, and compare! Never will God force a single human being, against his own will, into salvation and eternal life.

But, with the seven-thousand-year record of experience set plainly before seeing eyes, do you think anyone will want to return to these ways we seem now to love? Not many, you may be sure of that! Yet some, even then, will rebel.

Finally the world shall acknowledge, of its own free volition, that God’s ways are right. Christ, says the scripture, “learned obedience by the things which he suffered” (Heb. 5:8-9.) Even He who never did wrong! “And being made perfect”—through experience—”he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”

Some day we shall look upon God’s plan with breathtaking admiration and awe! The suffering of this present time shall have faded completely from mind. The lessons of experience we shall have with us for eternity! Finally humanity shall accept God’s ways of life, knowing that they are right ways. The happiness and joy we shall then experience cannot be conceived by our minds today! Through all eternity we shall worship and praise the Eternal God for His wisdom, His mercy, His love!

Do you think anyone, then, will look back and say, “God isn’t fair”?

Source: Plain Truth, January 1978

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