The Seven Myths of Eschatology by Dr. Chuck Missler

Many good scholars have different viewpoints on each of these issues, but hopefully this summary glimpse may be useful as a point of departure in formulating your own perspectives.

Eschatology is the “Study of the Last Things.” [Or, for many, it is “the Last Thing Studied.”] It is the nemesis of many pastors since it also requires a comprehensive grasp of the “whole counsel of God.” And, as a result, our “myths of eschatology” might as well be labeled “pitfalls in eschatology.”

The Epistemological Cycle

Epistemology is the study of knowledge, its scope and its limits. We discover that if we know one’s hermeneutics (theory of interpretation), we will be able to predict the eschatology that will result. If one is willing to allegorize the Biblical text, he will tend towards the left side of the chart below. If one tends to take the text literally (precisely), he will tend towards the right side of the chart. Furthermore, one’s eschatology will also sharpen one’s ecclesiology (the Church, in its mystical sense). It is interesting to also note that one’s ecclesiology will, of course, also impact one’s hermeneutics—thus, closing a loop which tends to drive the diligent toward an increasingly literal view as one gains perception into the linguistics (see chart, above).

At the center, of course, is the Messiah, the One who is on every page. “The volume of the book is written of Me.”1

Seven Pitfalls in Eschatology

We’ll use precision (specificity) as a discriminator among some of the alternative viewpoints. There are many good scholars who disagree with these viewpoints, but these may still prove useful to both the novice as well as the diligent student. (We don’t insist on these views, but we are prepared to explain why we hold them.)

1) The Rapture?

This, of course, is the most preposterous doctrine in Christianity. (We are amiss if we don’t acknowledge the strangeness of this peculiar belief.) The only thing it has going for it is that it is very clearly described in the Scriptures.2 (Yes, the term “rapture” does appear in your Bible if you are using a Latin Bible.3 )

Expanding on this particular controversy in this brief summary would be out of place; however, we can’t resist suggesting a review of several Old Testament references also, and you be the judge.4

2) Does the Church Go Through the Tribulation?

This, too, is a militantly held perspective by many. For a number of reasons, this requires some architectural gymnastics to support. We lean to the view that there is a sense in which God’s dealing with Israel and the Church appears to be mutually exclusive. When four disciples solicited a confidential insider’s briefing on Jesus’ return,5 He pointed them to Daniel’s “Seventy Week” Prophecy as the key to it all.6

The Seventieth Week of Daniel is the most documented segment of time in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. (And the “Great Tribulation” is 3½ years (not 7) and is labeled as such by the Lord Himself.7

The Harpazo is a prerequisite to the revealing of the Coming World Leader.8 And this leader is the preamble to the event that triggers the Great Tribulation.9

3) Is There a Literal Millennium?

This is a major watershed in any eschatological perspective. Most denominational views—which trace back to the Reformation—are “Ammillennial,” from Origin’s influence on Augustine and the resulting eschatological posture encouraged by the politics of the 3rd century. However, this viewpoint denies the literal application of over 1800 allusions in the Old Testament and over 300 in the New, and for which one must rely heavily on allegorical gymnastics. (There is a proverb in the data processing industry: “If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything!”) This also sets the stage for the tragic heresy of Pitfall #4:

4) Does the Church Replace Israel?

“Replacement Theology” is among the most injurious and hateful of the list. Israel and the Church have different origins and distinctive destinies. The rise of anti-Semitism in the early church is a real shock to anyone who has studied it. It leads to unending tragedies for the Jews, and it is also tragic for the Church, as it lost the insights from its Jewish roots.

Furthermore, one can not only trace the abuses of anti-Semitism from Augustine to Auschwitz, it is on the rise again today. (And this will be a major determinant toward the final climax known as Armageddon.10)

5) What Ever Happened to the Davidic Covenant?

Another by-product of Pitfalls #3 and #4 is the virtual ignoring of the Davidic Covenant. There are four unconditionalcovenants in the Scriptures: a) the Abrahamic Covenant,11 b) the Land Covenant,12 c) the Davidic Covenant,13 and d) the Everlasting Covenant,14 from which the New Testament gets its name.

Each of these is under attack: the Abrahamic Covenant is under attack by the whole world. All anti-Semitism is an attack on this foundational covenant.

The Land Covenant is under attack by Islam. This is a deep, irrational hatred that occupies most of global intelligence reports today.

(And the truth about this sinister agenda is continually, and skillfully, hidden from the uninformed.)

The Davidic Covenant is, surprisingly, also under attack: by the denominational church! A by-product of Amillennialism (and “Replacement Theology”), this is a total disregard of the promises God declared regarding David and the Messianic promises.

This is not just an “Old Testament issue”: it was reconfirmed at the Annunciation,15 at the Ascension,16 and during the pivotal confrontation at the Council of Jerusalem.17 (Jesus even exploits Psalm 110:1 to put His adversaries into confusion in Matthew 22:41-46!18)

6) Is Everyone in Heaven Equal?

This is a surprising, and widely held, presumption that is contrary to many parables,19 is debilitating to our personal walk, and has even given rise to some of the most vicious slander and libel among certain self-appointed critics. It is symptomatic of a lack of basic teaching on rewards and inheritances. All of this simply underscores the most pragmatic Pitfall of all, #7:

7) (Under “Grace”), Does Behavior Matter?

This, along with #6, highlights the foundational value of a “Kingdom Perspective.” (Most Christians have no idea what they are praying for in the “Lord’s Prayer”: “Thy Kingdom Come.” Nothing is more certain. And yet, what does this mean?)

The Christians in China espouse a remarkable perspective. They believe they are presently in what they call “the Kingdom of Preparation.” What we call “the Millennium,” they call “the Kingdom of Inheritance.” They believe their responsibilities and authorities there (then) will derive from their faithfulness and obedience here (now). Devoutly to be wished! We, too, infer a distinction between justification (past tense, completed 100% on the Cross by our Lord Himself), and sanctification (present tense, continuing, as a work-in-progress). We believe our diligence in the present will significantly impact our post-resurrection realities. We believe that our “fruit bearing” will be the primary issue before the “Bema Seat of Christ.”20

I frequently engage in mischief by declaring that I, too, have become a “Replacement Theologian:” I believe that Israel will replace the Church! (References to the Church disappear in Revelation at Chapter 4, verse 1; Israel reemerges distinctively and is conspicuous in subsequent references.)

Again, many good scholars have different viewpoints on each of these issues, but hopefully this summary glimpse may be useful as a point of departure in formulating your own perspectives.

Be diligent and recognize that each element needs to fit into the entire tapestry and should evidence a consistency with “the whole counsel of God.”21

New Foundational Study

Adopting the convenience of an intensely literal viewpoint, we have attempted to assemble a composite sequence of this basic template to explore the interrelationships suggested by various textual references involved—see our new six-hour foundational study, The End Times Scenario, due out August 15th in the K-House Online Store.

Also, some related practical insights to accompany this perspective will be found in The Death of Discernment by Ron Matsen

Good hunting! May your prayerful explorations prove to be fruitful and nourishing in your personal walk with our Coming King!

Maranatha, indeed!

 


**NOTES**


 

 

Notes:

  1. Ps 40:7; Heb 10:7.
  2. Jn 14:1-3; 1 Thess 4:13-18; 1 Cor 15:50-56.
  3. Rapiemur is the proper tense of rapio in the Latin Vulgate. Our English words “rapt” and “rapture” come from the past participle of rapio.
  4. Isa 26:19-21; Zeph 2:3; Ps 27:5.
  5. Mt 24 & Mk 13. (Not Lk 21, which was a different occasion and a different audience.)
  6. Dan 9:24-27, regarded by most conservative scholars as the key to end time prophecy.
  7. Mt 24:15-22.
  8. 2 Thess 2:3-8. (He has 33 labels in the Old Testament, 13 in the New. The term “Antichrist is myopic.)
  9. Mt 24:15.
  10. Hosea 5:15; Zech 13:8,9; Mt 25:31-46.
  11. Gen 12:2,3.
  12. Gen 15 & 17. (Erroneously called “the Palestinian Covenant” in some study Bibles, but that uses the labels of Israel’s enemies.)
  13. 2 Sam 7, Isa 9:6,7, et al.
  14. Jer 31:31ff.
  15. Lk 1:32.
  16. Acts 1:6,7. Jesus confirmed its certainty; yet He deferred dealing with the timing.
  17. Acts 15:15-18. James quotes Amos 9:11 to confirm the reestablishment of the “Tabernacle of David” (not to be confused with the Temple of Solomon.)
  18. It all depemded on a yot on the word Adonai in Psalm 110:1, making it a possessive. Jesus is thus demonstrating Matthew 5:18, which is an intense call to taking the text very literally!
  19. Mt 25:14-30; Lk 19:12-26.
  20. 2 Cor5:10; 1 Cor 3:11-15.
  21. Acts 20:27.
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Posted in Guest Commentary | Tagged ,

OSAS, The Whole Story

By Jack Kelly

From: www.gracethrufaith.com 

If you follow our “Ask a Bible Teacher” feature, you know how many comments I’ve received lately that question the Doctrine of Eternal Security (aka Once Saved Always Saved or OSAS).   Based on their content I’ve concluded that many people neither understand OSAS nor have they considered the alternative.

Let’s Begin At The Beginning

It’s time to set the record straight once and for all.  What does it take to be saved?  I think the best answer to that question is the one the Lord gave in John 6:28-29.

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

Here was a perfect opportunity to list all the things we have to do to meet God’s requirements.  Jesus could have rattled off the 10 commandments.  He could have repeated the Sermon on the Mount.  He could have listed any number of admonitions and restrictions necessary to achieve and maintain God’s expectations of us.  But what did He say?  “Believe in the one He has sent.”  Period.  It was a repeat of John 3:16, confirming that belief in the Son is the one and only requirement for salvation.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

A few verses later in John 6 He said that this wasn’t just His idea, as if that wouldn’t be enough, but that His Father was in complete agreement.  And not only would our belief suffice to provide us with eternal life, but that it was God’s will that Jesus lose none of those who believe. You and I have been known to disobey God’s will, but has Jesus ever done so? And isn’t He the one who’s been charged with the responsibility for keeping us? Let’s read it.

“For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:38-40)

Just in case we missed this promise, Jesus made it again even more clearly in John 10:28-30.  “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”  The Father and the Son have both accepted responsibility for our security. Once we’re in Their hands, no one can get us away.

I have purposely only used words straight from the Lord’s own mouth to make this case because I can already hear the choruses of “Yes Buts” mounting as those who refuse to take them at face value get ready to trot out their favorite verses denying Eternal Security, misinterpreted though they are.

The one characteristic of God’s that gives us the most comfort is knowing that He can’t lie or change His mind or contradict Himself. He can’t say something in one place and then say something entirely different in another.  He’s consistent.  If He says that we’re saved solely because of our belief in Him, and that He’s accepted responsibility for keeping us so, then we can count on that.  As we’ll see, anything in the Bible that seems to contradict these simple, straightforward statements has to be talking about something else.

But first, since He puts so much emphasis on belief, let’s take a closer look at that word.  What does He mean when He says “believe”?  It must be more than just a casual thing because reliable statistics show, for example, that 85% of those who come forward to “receive the Lord” at a crusade or other evangelistic outreach never form any connection with a church or Bible Study or in any other way demonstrate a relationship with the Lord afterward.

And Jesus spoke of the seed that fell on rocky places.  He said, “This is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.” (Matt. 13:20-21)  If these people were saved and then fell away, all His promises above have been broken.  There must be more. So what does it mean to believe?

The Greek word for believe is “pistis.”  According the Strong’s Concordance, it’s a “conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it.” In connection with the Lord Jesus, it means “a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom ofGod.”

The Apostle Paul gave us valuable insight into the nature of this belief.  He wrote, If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)

This isn’t just some intellectual thing that carries us away on the words of a captivating speaker, only to leave us flat a short time later.  It’s a conviction that’s formed deep in our heart, the realization that Jesus is not just a man.  He’s the Lord Himself, and He took upon Himself the penalty due us for our sins, which is death.  And to prove that God counted His death as sufficient, He raised Jesus from the dead to be seated beside Him in the Heavenly realms. (Ephes. 1:20)  Since God can’t dwell in the presence of sin, and since the wages of sin is death, every one of our sins has to have been paid for.  If even one remained unpaid, Jesus would still be in the grave.  We have to believe that Jesus rose from the grave in order to believe that we will.

It’s that kind of belief that gets you saved and keeps you that way, because it sets in motion a chain of events that’s irreversible.  There are four links in this chain.  You supply two and the Lord supplies two.  You hear and believe, and the Lord marks and guarantees.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)

The word translated “deposit” is a legal term.  Today we would say Earnest Money. It’s a down payment that constitutes a legal obligation to follow through with the purchase.  If you’ve ever bought any Real Estate, you’re familiar with the term.  If not, here’s another example.   It’s like we’ve been put on “lay away.”  The price has been paid and we’ve been taken off the display shelf until the one who has purchased us returns to claim us.  In the mean time we cannot be bought by anyone else, because we legally belong to the one who has paid the deposit. “You are not your own,”we’re told. “You were bought with a price. (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

All of this happened at our first moment of belief, before we could do anything to either earn or lose our position.  The man on the cross beside Jesus is the prototype for this transaction.  Having done something bad enough to get himself executed, he was promised a place in Paradise solely because he believed in his heart that Jesus was the Lord of a coming Kingdom.

Paul made it even clearer when he repeated this incredible promise in 2 Cor. 1:21-22.  Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.  This time He removed all doubt as to just Who it is that keeps us saved. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ.  What could be clearer?

Union And Fellowship

If the Doctrine of Eternal Security is so clear then why all the disagreement about it? I’ve found two reasons.  The first is the two-sided nature of our relationship with the Lord.  One side is called Union and is Eternal and Unconditional, based only on our belief.  Ephesians 1:13-14 describes our Union with God, sealed and guaranteed. Once we’re born again, we can’t become unborn.  It’s good forever. The Holy Spirit is sealed within us from our first moment of belief until the day of redemption.

The other side is called Fellowship and it’s a bit more complicated.  Fellowship is defined by 1 John 1:8-9 as being both Earthly and conditional upon behavior.  It tells us that even as believers, as long as we’re here on Earth we’ll continue to sin.  Since God can’t abide in the presence of sin, our unconfessed sins interrupt our Earthly relationship with Him and may deprive us of blessings we might have otherwise received. We’re still saved in the eternal sense, but out of Fellowship here on Earth.

When we’re out of Fellowship, we’re legitimate targets for our enemy’s mischief, just like Job was. His sin was self-righteousness and because he wouldn’t confess it, God had to let Satan afflict him in order to bring him to his senses.  For a New Testament illustration, look at the parable of the Prodigal Son. (Luke 15:11-32)  Like the younger son, we’ll still belong to our Father’s family, but won’t receive any of its blessings while we’re out of Fellowship.  And like both Job and the Prodigal, when we return to our Father and confess our sins, we’re immediately purified from all unrighteousness and restored to Fellowship.

One reason that many Christians live such defeated lives is that having only learned about the Union part of being a believer, they only know that God has forgiven their sins and that they’ll go to be with Him when they die or are Raptured.  They don’t realize that they still need to confess every time they sin to stay in Fellowship.  And so, being deprived of God’s providence, they may become discouraged and even stop praying and attending church.  Other believers, who don’t understand the dual relationship either, look at the mess they’re in and think they must have lost their salvation.  Like Job’s friends, they look in God’s Word for confirmation, and by taking verses out of context, believe they have found the proof.

Union and Fellowship are not just New Testament ideas.  In the Old Testament, even when Israel was being obedient in thought and action, doing their best to please God, the priests still had to sacrifice a lamb on the altar every morning and every evening for the sins of the people.  1 John 1:9 is the New Testament equivalent of those daily sacrifices for sin.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  It was written for believers who are already saved, but are in danger of being out of Fellowship.

The Gift And the Prize

The other reason people get confused is that there are two types of benefits in Eternity. The first is the free Gift called Salvation that’s given to all who ask in faith irrespective of merit and guarantees our admission into the Kingdom. Ephesians 2:8-9 is the model, saying that salvation is a Gift from God.

The second consists of Heavenly rewards we can earn for the things we do as believers here on Earth.  Philippians 3:13-14 are good verses for explaining this. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. In addition to the Gift, there’s a Prize. 

A gift is something given out of love, irrespective of merit, and is never taken back.  A prize, on the other hand, is something we qualify for and earn. And if we’re not careful we can lose it. (Rev. 3:11)  Paul had already received the Gift of salvation, it was behind him.  Now he was focused on winning the Prize as well.

In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 he explained the difference in greater detail. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prizeEveryone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 

No Olympic athlete was satisfied just to have qualified to participate in the games. Everyone wanted to win the victor’s crown.  Likewise, we shouldn’t be satisfied just to have received the Gift of salvation.  We must now live our lives as believers in such a way as to win the Prize as well.

The Bible calls some of these prizes crowns, and while the athlete’s crown soon wilted away (it was a wreath of ivy) the crowns believers can win last forever. They’re worth making some sacrifices for.  That’s why Paul said, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize(1 Cor. 9:27)  The crowns are identified as the Everlasting Crown(Victory) in 1 Cor 9:25Crown of the Soul Winner in Phil 4:1 and 1 Thes 2:19,Crown of Righteousness in 2 Tim 4:8, Crown of Life in Jas 1:12 and Rev 2:10, and the Crown of Glory in 1 Peter 5:4.

The difference between the Gift and the Prize is also seen in 1 Cor. 3:12-15.  If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

At the judgment of believers, the quality of our work on earth will be tested by fire. Only work that survives the test will bring us a reward.  But notice that even if all our work is destroyed in the fire, we’ll still have our salvation.  Why?  Because it’s a free Gift, given out of love, irrespective of merit.

The Lord mentioned other rewards as well. In Matt. 6:19-21 He advised us,  Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 

There are things we can do as believers while here on Earth that will cause deposits to be made to our heavenly account.  Some believe that this passage refers to the way we use the money we’re given.  Do we use it to enrich ourselves, stacking up possessions that far exceed our needs? Or do we use it to further the work of the Kingdom?  Here’s a hint. Our tithe is what we owe to God.  It’s what we do with the money we have left that really counts. And with the measure we use, it will be measured to us. (Luke 6:38)

To summarize, in the New Testament there are verses like Ephesians 1:13-14 that talk about Union.  There are verses like 1 John 1: 8-9 that talk about Fellowship. There are verses like Ephesians 2:8-9 that talk about the Gift and there are verses like 1 Cor 9:24-27 that talk about the Prize.

Those that stress belief, explain the permanent nature of our bond with God, and are directed toward eternity are Union verses.  Those that involve grace and faith are Gift verses. Those that require work and are directed at the quality of our lives on Earth are Fellowship verses, and those that require work and involve eternal rewards are Prize verses.

When you view Scripture from this perspective, all of the apparent contradictions disappear and you no longer have to wonder why God seems to be saying one thing here and something different there.  The issue becomes one of correctly identifying the focal point of the particular passage you’re looking at. Determine the context by reading verses around it, and assign it to one of the four categories.

Give Us An Example

Hebrews 6:4-6 is a passage often cited in opposition to Eternal Security.  The entire letter is to Jewish believers who are being enticed back into keeping the Law, so the context is New Covenant vs. Old.  And in verse 9 the writer hints that he’s been talking about things that accompany salvation. That tells us that verses 4-6 are not related to salvation but things that accompany it.  More importantly the idea that a believer could do something to irretrievably lose his salvation is in direct contradiction to the very clear promise that the Holy Spirit is sealed within us from the very first moment of belief until the day of redemption.

So what could these believers be in danger of falling away from due to their sins?Fellowship.  And what could prevent them from being restored?  The practice of Old Covenant remedies for sin rather than invoking 1 John 1:9. They’d be relegating the death of the Lord to the same status as that of the twice-daily lamb. The Law was only a shadow of the good things to come, not the realities themselves. Once the Reality appeared, the shadow was no longer effective.  And what would be their penalty?  Living a defeated life, bearing no fruit, all their works burned in the judgment of 1 Cor. 3.  But still saved? Yes.  Hebrews 6:4-6 is a Fellowship passage.

Suppose There Is No Security?

In closing, let’s look at the alternative.  What are we faced with?  If Hebrews 6:4-6,for example, applies to our salvation then if we ever sin after being saved we’ll be lost forever with no way back, because the Lord would have to be crucified all over again to retrieve us. The New Covenant would be worse than the Old, not better.  They were condemned for their actions.  According to Matt. 5 we’d be condemned for our thoughts.  They couldn’t murder.  We couldn’t even be angry.  They couldn’t commit adultery.  We couldn’t even have a lustful thought. Think of it. No anger, ever. No lust, ever. No envy, ever. No idolatry, ever. No favoritism or discrimination, ever. No impure thoughts or deeds of any kind, ever.  Is this the Good News, the incomparable riches of His Grace? Did God become man and die the most painful death ever devised only to put His children into an even more untenable position than before? Are we saved by grace only to be placed under the constraints of an even more severely administered law? I can’t believe so.

Some take a more moderate view of this saying that God would never take back the gift of salvation, but that we can return it. To justify this position they have to put words in the Lord’s mouth.  When He says in John 10:28, “No one can snatch them out of my hand,” they have to insert the phrase “but us” after “no one”.  Same withRomans 8:38-39. 

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  They have to insert the phrase “but us” after “in all creation”.

None of this defense of Eternal Security is intended to condone sin.  As an indication of our gratitude for the gift of salvation, believers are continually admonished in Scripture to live our lives in a manner pleasing to God.  Not to earn or keep it, but to thank the Lord for giving it to us.  And to help us do that, the Holy Spirit has come to dwell in us to guide and direct us, and to pray for us.  Since the Spirit of God lives in us we are no longer controlled by the sin nature and can choose to please God by the way we live.  And even though we do this out of gratitude for the Gift He’s already given, which is Union with Him, He blesses us both here on Earth (Fellowship) and in Eternity (the Prize).  Selah 10-07-06

Posted in Guest Commentary, Theme of the Month | Tagged ,

OSAS And Galatians 5

By Jack Kelly

People who try to deny the Doctrine of Eternal Security (OSAS) sometimes point to Galatians 5:13-26 to support their position. And if you just considered those verses you might be tempted to agree.  But if you look at the entire chapter you get a completely different perspective.  So that’s what we’ll do.

Before we begin, it’s important to remind ourselves that the Bible, being the word of God, cannot contradict itself.  If Galatians 5denies OSAS it’s in direct contradiction to statements the Holy Spirit led Paul to make in Ephes. 1:13-14 and 2 Cor. 1:21-22.   Ephes. 1:13-14 tells us that our salvation is assured from the moment of belief with the Holy Spirit sealed within us as a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance.  Before we had done anything, either good or bad, before we were baptized, before we had even fully responded to the altar call, we were saved forever.  These other things are important, but our belief in the Lord’s completed work on our behalf came first and it’s the one essential ingredient to our salvation which alone brings us eternal life (John 1:12-13, 3:16, 6:28-29, 6:40).

2 Cor. 1:21-22  says,  It is God Who makes us stand firm in Christ.  He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit guaranteeing what is to come.There are no passages in Scripture that speak of revoking or even modifying this guarantee.  It would be impossible for the Holy Spirit to have led Paul or any of the Bible’s other writers to make any statements that contradict these clear promises.

So what was Paul saying? Let’s start at the beginning of the chapter.

Freedom In Christ

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.  Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.  You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.  But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Galatians 5:1-6)

The context of Galatians 5 is the debate that was raging between two groups there. One consisted of believers in the Doctrine of Grace Paul had taught them.  The other was made up of those who were being swayed by the teaching of the “Judaizers”, Jews who claimed that Gentile believers had to come under the Law and be circumcised to be saved.

Paul warned them that while neither circumcision nor uncircumcision was relevant in and of itself, it was being proposed to them as a sign of their acceptance of the Old Covenant.   Therefore agreeing to it would obligate them to the whole Law.  Attempting to keep the Law alienates us from the Lord because it denies what He’s done for us. It makes His death of no value leaving us responsible for saving ourselves.

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”  I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be.  Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished.  As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!(Galatians 5:7-12)

Law Or Grace?

You can’t have a little bit of Law mixed with Grace.  Just as a little bit of yeast will permeate the whole batch of dough to change its composition, a little bit of Law will work its way through the doctrine of Grace, changing it into something it was not intended to be.  When Paul said in that case the offense of the cross has been abolished, he meant the Law cancels Grace.

(The Judaizers were hinting that Paul preached the Law among Jews but switched to a watered down version of the Gospel when speaking to Gentiles. His response was, “If  I’m preaching the Law to the Jews then why are they persecuting me?” His frustration with them is evident.)

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.  The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.(Galatians 5:13-15)

Paul’s comments here concern the Galatians’ arguments over Law vs. Grace and was a warning to stop it.  He called their arguing “indulging the sinful nature”and said while in Christ they were free from the Law they shouldn’t use their freedom to behave that way. Instead, they should serve one another humbly in love.

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. (Galatians 5:16-18)

This is a clear demonstration of the difference between the desires of the sin nature and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Our sin nature will always prompt us to do things that are contrary to the Spirit.  As He did in Romans 7:18-19 Paul said our sin nature will sometimes cause us to do things we know we shouldn’t do. Here he said if we’re led by the Spirit we’re not under the Law, meaning these things are not counted against us.

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.(Galatians 5:19-21)

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Galatians 5:22-26)

The differences between the acts of the sin nature and the fruit of the Spirit can be seen in the comparison of these two passages.  In reading the first one we can all admit to periodically doing one or more of these things as believers. In Romans 7:20 Paul said from God’s perspective it’s not us but the sin nature that dwells within us that’s to blame when this happens.

His final words on the subject confirm that the whole chapter had been about about their arguing.  He said since the Galatian believers belonged to Christ they should live by the Spirit and not become conceited, a common failing among Law keepers. He said they should stop provoking and envying each other, a reference to the contention among them.  These are acts prompted by the sin nature and are not appropriate for believers.

What’s The Meaning Of This?

If you’re going to deny God’s Grace by going under the Law you’ll disqualify yourself from receiving two things that are essential to your salvation.  First, you won’t have the Holy Spirit to guide you, so you’ll be left with only your sin nature which will always take you in a direction that’s opposed to God’s Spirit.

But far more importantly you won’t have the  guarantee of the Lord’s death on your behalf to save you.  You’ll be responsible for your own salvation.  Without these two things you can not inherit theKingdom of God.

Remember, the Law was only given to point out our sins and no one can be saved by keeping it (Romans 3:20). But through faith we can achieve a righteousness apart from the Law and be saved (Romans 3:21-24). So there are only two ways to live one’s life, by Law or by Grace through faith. We can’t have it both ways.  If we’re under the Law we can not benefit from God’s grace.

In summary, if we depend solely by faith on our belief that the Lord saved us forever then we’re saved forever.  If we think we have to apply our own effort to complete the work Jesus only began, then it’s doubtful we were ever saved.  Paul wasn’t contradicting himself.  Galatians 5 is not about losing our salvation once we receive it, it’s about whether we ever had it to begin with. Selah 07-30-11

Posted in Guest Commentary, Thru The Bible

Theme of the Month for September 2011.

The theme this month will be the very controversial but important topic of Eternal Security. Forewarning, all the articles presented here will be IN FAVOR of this doctrine. As with all other topics, we urge readers not to take the word of man as the final authority on this issue, but like the Bereans in Acts 17:11, “Search the scriptures daily”! and let the whole counsel of God guide you.

Posted in Theme of the Month

Recommended Books on Bible Prophecy


by Dr. David R. Reagan

PROPHECY STUDY RESOURCES

One of the best overall books on Bible prophecy that has ever been published is Things to Come by Dwight Pentecost (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1964). It is scholarly and comprehensive, written for serious, college level students.

Surveys

The Master Plan, by David Reagan (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1993) contains a comprehensive survey of all aspects of Bible prophecy. It was written for the layman and is easy to read and understand. A similar comprehensive study that is more scholarly in its approach is a book by Paul N. Benware entitled Understanding End Time Prophecy (Chicago, Moody Press, 1995).

With regard to end time prophecies only, one of the best surveys for the more general reader is Leon Woods’ book,The Bible and Future Events (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1973). Other very readable surveys are The Final Chapter by S. Maxwell Coder (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1984) and A Survey of Bible Prophecy by R. Ludwigson (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1973). The King is Coming by H.L. Willmington (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1973) presents an overview of end time events in a very unique and easy to follow outline form.

A spiral bound study guide by David Reagan, called, The Christ in Prophecy Study Guide (Plano, TX: Lamb & Lion Ministries, 1987), presents an analytical survey of all Messianic prophecy contained in both the Old and New Testaments. Another indispensable reference volume that presents an exhaustive survey is All the Messianic Prophecies of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1979).

A survey book intended for the serious student is Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s encyclopedic study of Tribulation events which bears the strange title, The Footsteps of the Messiah(Tustin, CA: Ariel Press, 1982). It focuses on showing the sequence of end time events and their relationship to each other.

A brief and fascinating survey book full of penetrating insights is one titled What on Earth is God Doing?(Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1973). It was written by Renald Showers, a gifted teacher and writer who serves the Friends of Israel Ministry. The book presents a capsule overview of God’s purposes in history from start to finish.

Interpretation

Nothing is more important to the understanding of Bible prophecy than the principles of interpretation that are applied to it. An excellent introductory book for the general reader is How to Study Bible Prophecy for Yourself by Tim LaHaye (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1990).

The most profound book ever written on the topic is The Interpretation of Prophecy by Paul Lee Tan (Winona Lake, IN: Assurance Publishers, 1974). This book is an essential tool for any serious student of prophecy.

The history of prophetic interpretation is presented in great detail in the amazing, four volume, encyclopedic study called The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, edited by LeRoy Edwin Froom (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Press). Volume 1 (1950) covers the Early Church. Volume 2 (1948) surveys the Pre-Reformation and Reformation periods. Volume 3 (1946) looks at the Colonial American and European Awakening. Volume 4 (1946) provides a look at the 19th Century. This great work of scholarship took years to complete. The first two volumes are based upon original research conducted throughout Europe in the 1920’s and 1930’s, utilizing ancient documents, many of which were destroyed in World War II.

Symbolic

Perhaps the least understood area of prophecy is symbolic prophecy, sometimes called prophecy in type. About half of Herbert Lockyer’s book, All the Messianic Prophecies of the Bible, is dedicated to this important topic (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1979).

Two books concerning symbolic prophecy that are easy to read and are full of useful insights are Christ in the Tabernacle by Louis Talbot (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1978) and Jesus in the Feasts of Israel by Richard Booker (S. Plainfield, NJ: Bridge Publishing, 1987).

Old Testament Prophets

A magnificent introduction to all the Old Testament prophets is provided by Leon Wood in his exceptional book, The Prophets of Israel (Schaumburg, IL: Regular Baptist Press, 1979).

One of the finest commentators on the Old Testament prophets is Charles Feinberg, a Messianic Jew. His works include God Remembers: A Study of Zechariah (Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 1965); Jeremiah: A Commentary(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1982); and The Prophecy of Ezekiel: The Glory of the Lord (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1969). A good introduction to Isaiah can be found in the book by Herbert Wolf entitled Interpreting Isaiah: The Suffering and Glory of the Messiah (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1985).

An outstanding series of scholarly commentaries on Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel can be found in volume 6 of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary edited by Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1986). The commentary on Isaiah is by G. W. Grogan; Jeremiah is by Charles L. Feinberg; and Ezekiel is by Ralph H. Alexander.

There are a number of good books about the Minor Prophets. Two that are designed for the general reader are Major Truths from the Minor Prophets by John Hunter (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1977) and Will We Ever Catch Up with the Bible? by David Hubbard (Glendale, CA: Regal Books, 1977).

The best scholarly resource on the Minor Prophets is to be found in volume 7 of The Expositor’s Bible Commentaryedited by Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1985). The authors of the commentaries on the specific books read like a who’s who of Evangelical scholars. A fine single volume scholarly study is the one by Charles Fineberg entitled The Minor Prophets (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1976).

Israel

The best panoramic survey of Israel in prophecy is contained in Walter K. Price’s intriguing book, Next Year in Jerusalem(Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1975). Another very good overview is Richard Booker’s outstanding study, Blow the Trumpet in Zion (Tulsa, OK: Victory House, 1985).

An excellent book that relates prophecy to the history of Israel, particularly modern history, is called It is No Dream(W. Collingswood, NJ: The Spearhead Press, 1978). It was written by Elwood McQuaid, the Director of the Friends of Israel Ministry. Charles Feinberg has also produced an excellent volume that mixes prophecy with history. It is titled Israel: At the Center of History and Revelation(Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 1980).

Daniel

An outstanding verse by verse commentary on Daniel is the one by Leon Woods that is simply entitled, A Commentary on Daniel (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1973). The best one for the general reader is by Renald Showers. It is titledThe Most High God (W. Collingswood, NJ: The Friends of Israel, 1982). A lighter book that is both fun to read and inspirational in character is Daniel: God’s Man in a Secular Society by Donald Campbell (Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House, 1988). It is designed to serve as a study guide for Bible study groups.

No book of the Bible has been attacked as viciously by theological liberals as the book of Daniel. A tremendous defense of the book’s integrity can be found in a volume called Daniel in the Critic’s Den by Josh McDowell (San Bernardino, CA: Campus Crusade for Christ, 1979).

Revelation

Many excellent studies have been published about the book of Revelation. For the general reader, the two best areRevelation Illustrated and Made Plain by Tim LaHaye (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1973) and There’s a New World Coming by Hal Lindsey (Santa Ana, CA: Vision House, 1973). Lindsey’s book is the best one he has ever written.

For those who desire to dig deeper, The Revelation Record(Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1983) by Henry Morris presents a detailed verse by verse analysis. Dr. Morris is the distinguished founder of the Institute for Creation Research.

A very unique study of Revelation is the one produced by Salem Kirban, a born again Arab. The book utilizes hundreds of photos, charts and drawings to visually present the message of Revelation. It is titled, Revelation Visualized(Huntingdon, Valley, PA: Salem Kirban, Inc., 1978). What makes it even more unusual is that it is co-authored by Gary Cohen, a born again Jew!

An outstanding introduction to Revelation and the various methods of interpreting it is supplied by Merrill Tenney in his remarkably balanced volume, Interpreting Revelation(Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1957).

Millennial Viewpoints

The best introduction to the various and often confusing viewpoints of end time prophecy is a book by Robert Lightner called The Last Days Handbook (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1990).

A very thought provoking book on the topic is one edited by Robert G. Clouse entitled The Meaning of the Millennium(Downer’s Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1977). It contains four viewpoints presented by advocates of those viewpoints. A similar but more detailed presentation of the four viewpoints can be found in the parallel commentary by Steve Gregg called Revelation: Four Views (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997). A scholarly presentation and analysis of the various views is contained in John Walvoord’s book, The Millennial Kingdom (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1959).

For a classic presentation of the fundamentals of premillennial theology, the book to read is The Basis of the Premillennial Faith by Charles Ryrie (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1953). It is brief and incisive, and it is written with an irenic spirit.

The Antichrist

One of the most detailed studies of the Antichrist ever written is the book by Arthur W. Pink entitled, The Antichrist. It is thoroughly biblical and very thought provoking. It was originally published in 1923 but has been recently republished (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1988). The best current day study is the book by Ed Hindson entitled, Is the Antichrist Alive and Well?: Ten Keys to His Identity(Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1998).

The Rapture

The important controversy over the timing of the Rapture has been best addressed by John Walvoord in two of his books:The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1976) and The Rapture Question (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1979). Walvoord is the former President of Dallas Theological Seminary. Another fine book on the topic is The Rapture by Hal Lindsey (New York, NY: Bantam Books, 1983).

Tim LaHaye has written a very powerful and exhaustive defense of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture entitled No Fear of the Storm: Why Christians Will Escape All the Tribulation(Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 1992, later re-published asRapture Under Attack, 1998).

Signs of the Times

This is a field that attracts many sensationalist writers. There is an abundance of books, but few good ones. One of the most fascinating is World War III: Signs of the Impending Battle of Armageddon by John Wesley White (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1977).

A volume that is comprehensive in scope but exceptionally brief is Signs of the Second Coming by Robert G. Witty (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1969). A more recent study, and an excellent one, is by Henry Morris. It is titled Creation and the Second Coming (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 1991).

One of the best prophetic writers to emerge in recent years is Ed Hindson of Liberty University. His books are solidly biblical and down-to-earth, readable by the average Christian. He has written two outstanding studies of the signs of the times: Final Signs (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1996) and Earth’s Final Hour: Are We Really Running Out of Time? (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1999). Another excellent writer in the field of Bible prophecy is Dave Hunt ofBerean Ministries. He has produced a very insightful study of the end time signs in his book, How Close Are We?(Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1993).

Heaven

The Eternal State has been the most ignored area of Bible prophecy, probably because the Bible says so little about it. The best book on the topic – one that covers death, resurrection and eternity – is The Future Life by the Frenchman, Rene Pache, translated into English by Helen Needham (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1962). A very worthwhile, exhaustive study of the Eternal State can be found in Bob Chambers’ book, Heaven (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1991). This is an unusual book because Chambers is an Amillennialist who spiritualizes the prophecies about the Millennial while interpreting the prophecies about Heaven literally!

Children

Only one book has ever been written for pre-school and elementary children concerning end time prophetic events. It was written by David Reagan and is entitled Jesus is Coming Again! (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1992). The book emphasizes the positive promises of God regarding the Millennium and the Eternal State.

Media

Dave Reagan and Chuck Missler have both produced cassette tape albums that contain verse-by-verse commentaries on the book of Revelation. Reagan’s Revelation Overview(Lamb & Lion Ministries) contains 12 tapes. Missler’sRevelation Commentary (Koinonia Ministries) consists of three albums with eight tapes each. Jack Van Impe has produced an excellent series of video commentaries on Revelation called Revelation Revealed (Jack Van Impe Ministries).

Ray Stedman’s outstanding commentary on Revelation can be found posted on the Internet in 23 messages atwww.pbc.org/stedman (Peninsula Bible Church).

The best illustrations of Revelation have been produced by Pat Marvenko Smith. She has illustrated every main scene of the book and has made the pictures available in a variety of forms — slides, posters, overhead transparencies, video, and PowerPoint (Revelation Illustrated Ministries).

Fiction

The “Left Behind” series of books by Tim LaHaye and Larry B. Jenkins present a fictionalized story about the Rapture and the Tribulation that is based upon biblical prophecies. This series is published by Tyndale House and has broken all sales records for prophetic books. The series of novels has become a best seller even when compared to secular books. The books have been made available on audio tape, and special edited versions have been published for teens. The first of the volumes, entitled Left Behind, was published in 1995.

Bibles

The very first study Bible ever published came out in 1909. It is still one of the best selling study Bibles in the world. It was produced by a Dallas pastor named C.I. Scofield and is called The Scofield Study Bible (Urichsville, OH: Barbour Publishing, 2000) It has been revised and updated regularly over the years by an editorial committee representing a premillennial, pre-tribulational viewpoint.

A newer study Bible that presents the same view of the passages related to end time prophecy is The Ryrie Study Bible (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1976). Both the Scofield and Ryrie commentaries are available in a variety of translations. The latest and most up to date study Bible that focuses on the interpretation of prophecy is The Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

The Living Bible Paraphrased (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1971) though not a typical study Bible, is nonetheless an interpretive Bible that reflects a premillennial interpretation of all key prophetic passages.

Classics

The greatest and most enduring classic on the return of Jesus is William E. Blackstone’s book, Jesus is Coming. It was written in 1878. The third revised edition of 1908 has been recently republished with an introduction by John Walvoord (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1989).

A foreign book that has come to be considered one the great classics of end time prophecy is The Return of Jesus Christby Rene Pache, translated into English by William S. LaSor (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1955). It is must reading for any Bible prophecy enthusiast.

The 20th Century American classic is, of course, Hal Lindsey’s book, The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1970). The New York Times has certified that it was the number one best selling book in the world (with the exception of the Bible) for ten years, between 1970 and 1980!

Perhaps the most unusual book ever published on Bible prophecy is Dispensational Truth by Clarence Larkin (Philadelphia, PA: Reverend Clarence Larking Estate, 1920). Larkin was a draftsman who devoted his talents to illustrating prophetic concepts with fascinating charts and diagrams. This is a classic that will keep you up all night!

Posted in Guest Commentary

Books, Books, and More Books


By Ron Graham

“To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:” Proverbs 1:2-3 & 5. I’ve read many books both fiction and non-fiction written by various Christian authors over the past 15 years or so, and have enjoyed most of them. I’m sure many of my readers have done the same. There’s just something stirring about getting someone else’s prospective on scriptures. But, and this is the rub, I don’t use any of the books written by Christian authors as a final explanation of God’s word. God’s word is irreproachable, inerrant, and true. Therefore the opinions of others, concerning God’s Word, although useful, should only be used as a springboard as we search the scriptures for ourselves. I’ve read numerous authors with varying opinions of what the scriptures say. We know the Holy Spirit doesn’t work that way. Obviously, when confronted by varying interpretations there remains just one source to search. When it comes to understanding and discerning the truth about the scriptures we always want to go straight to the Bible itself.

 

There are many Bible teachers these days who’ve placed quite a bit of their biblical knowledge in books and on DVD’s, and have made these products readily available to the diligent Bible student who’s looking to obtain a better grasp of the Word of God. But if a Bible teacher is worth his salt he’ll tell his students from the beginning to search the scriptures for themselves, to do their own research concerning God’s word. We aren’t to blindly follow any Bible teacher, after all they’re only men, thus they are fallible. God is our ultimate teacher – He should be our definitive source when we search for inerrant truth. Although He has given many of His followers the ability to teach from His Word, He holds all Bible teachers to the same standard. When teaching His word we must teach using His whole counsel. We must not deviate from His word as many have done by promoting their own selfish agendas.

 

“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, [even] the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” 1 Timothy 6:3-5. In God’s Word we’re given clear instructions on teaching and holding teachers accountable. There’s absolutely no room for varying doctrines; when confronted with different interpretations of God’s word, clearly someone is wrong. That someone can’t be led by the Spirit of Truth. Paul says withdraw thyself from such as these.

 

I’m an avid reader. Books, especially those written by Christians, are my favorite apart from the Bible. Both fiction and non-fiction entertain me and I read all books out loud to my wife. Then we discuss them. One thing I’ve found to be true is that some Christian writers gets off base from time to time in their non-fictional account of God’s word. When this happens something clicks inside me, and as a Berean I will not hesitate to compare the author’s words to that of God’s. Even if the author is in error, I will usually finish reading the book. There may just be some little tidbit or nugget there that would be worthwhile. Having diligently studied the Bible for many years and having been given the discernment that can come only from God concerning His word, I have grasped that added dimension concerning God’s word that many Christians simply don’t realize is available to them. “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you:” 1 John 2:27.

 

The Holy Spirit resides in every born again believer in Christ, therefore we all have Christ’s anointing. The Apostle John tells us that we aren’t in need of a man to teach us since the Holy Spirit abides in us “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.”1 John 2:20. And He will teach and is teaching us all things. Does this mean we don’t need Bible teachers to help us during our search of the scriptures? Not at all. John is teaching us is he not? Obviously there’s a place for teachers but they are not to have the last word when it comes to the scriptures, or in our personal learning. That domain belongs exclusively to God. Continue reading

Posted in Guest Commentary

Walvoord: America In Prophecy

Excerpt from ‘The Nations In Prophecy’ by John Walvoord.

Chapter XVI America In Prophecy

One of the natural questions facing the world, but especially citizens of the United States of America, is the place of the United States in the unfulfilled prophetic program. In the last fifty years, the United States of America has become one of the most powerful and influential nations of all history. What does the Bible contribute to the question of the future of the United States?

In keeping with the principle that prophecy is primarily concerned with the Holy Land and its immediate neighbors, it is not surprising that geographic areas remote from this center of Biblical interest should not figure largely in prophecy and may not be mentioned at all. No specific mention of the United States or any other country in North America or South America can be found in the Bible. None of the rather obscure references to distant lands can be taken specifically as a reference to the United States. Any final answer to the question is therefore an impossibility, but nevertheless some conclusions of a general character can be reached.

The World Situation At The End Time

As previous study of prophecy has indicated, the Scriptures provide an outline of major events in the period beginning with the rapture of the church and ending with the second coming of Christ to establish His kingdom. Immediately after the rapture there will be a period of preparation in which the ten-nation confederacy in the Mediterranean will emerge and the little horn of Daniel 7 will be revealed as its eventual dictator. At the same time there will be the emergence of a world church as suggested in Revelation 17.

At the conclusion of this period of preparation the head of the Mediterranean confederacy, who will be the Roman “prince that shall come,” will make a covenant with Israel (Daniel 9:27) which will introduce the second phase of the period, namely, a period of protection and peace for Israel. After enduring for three and a half years or one half of the projected seven-year period contemplated in the covenant, the Roman ruler will take the role of world dictator, assume the prerogatives of deity, and begin the great tribulation with its corresponding period of persecution for Israel and the emergence of a world religion with the world ruler as its deity. This third period will be climaxed by the second coming of Christ to the earth and its attending judgments. Continue reading

Posted in Guest Commentary, Theme of the Month