Bible Bunker Roundtable for August 2011

Billy: Hello everyone and welcome to a special roundtable presentation from the Bible Bunker. In this feature I will basically have a free wheeling conversation about various Biblical issues with one or more guests.  This roundtable will stick to our ‘Theme of the Month’ here which is “America in the Crosshairs”. Hopefully it will make for edifying reading material, if not, we did our best and had good fellowship writing it in any event. It’s been a little while since our last expedition into the Scriptures, but for this issue we’re back full force with a new subject to tackle and a very special guest collaborator who was generous enough to take the time to help me out with this project. And now without further delay, I will allow that man to introduce himself to you.

Eric: Hi there everyone and thanks for joining us and a special thanks to my friend and brother in Christ Billy for getting this off the ground.

Billy: The subject we will be dealing with tonight is one that weighs greatly on the hearts and minds of many believers these days, especially those like us who have a keen interest in the prophecies of the Bible, that being the question of America’s role, or lack thereof, in Bible prophecy. While we’ll go in depth on this a little later, I thought I would just gauge your initial thoughts, on the direction you see our country headed, and how, if at all, it relates prophetically to the end times portions of the Scriptures?

Eric: Speaking broadly I’m very troubled and saddened as an American citizen.

When I go over what I know about the Scriptures…and believe me I have a whole lot more I need to learn…I see a clear pattern that shows what happens to people, nations, and cultures that turn their backs on God and it’s clear to me that America has been doing that quite steadily for at least several decades if not longer. Like others before us, unless somehow there is a spiritual awakening and repentance on a mass scale…and hey, you never know, just ask Nineveh…this country is doomed. It’s as simple as that. Greater empires than us have fallen for arguably a lot less in some instances. The root of it is always the same: A Godless society.

I think the beginning of the end for America was when we took prayer out of schools and then you got to a point where you couldn’t even have the Ten Commandments. Yeah, “thou shalt not kill, steal,” etc are things you really don’t want to teach anyone.

Can anyone tell me what upside there is to removing those teachings?

Look at what’s happened to this country on all levels just since that decision was made and implemented. Pick any category you want.

It’s funny. By happenstance a few weeks ago I was in a doctor’s waiting room waiting for my mother’s appointment to be finished and I struck up a conversation with a nice middle aged man who ultimately I came to find out was leaning more towards the liberal side.

Somewhere in the context of the conversation, completely unsolicited, he said this: “I remember when we were arguing and ultimately they took prayer out of the schools, I didn’t think much of it either way at the time. Now that we’re here several decades later, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea.”

You think?

Better late then never, I guess.

Billy: Well Eric, you have done a wonderful job of cutting straight to the real heart of the issue here. For us as Americans, beyond the speculatory stuff which we’ll touch on later, the core of the matter is, as always, a nation that turns its back on God, shall not long endure. That’s a great quote too, and it’s indeed interesting how God can use anyone as a mouthpiece (even sometimes without their knowing it) to convey an important truth, such as that man did with his observation about prayer in Public Schools.

Eric: There definitely was some surprised regret in his voice when he said it to me.

Billy: You can just look at the statistics across the board since 1963 when prayer and Bible reading were effectively outlawed from public schools to see the downward trend we’ve been on since that point (1.) Just the school statistics themselves are staggering, the increase in violence, teenage pregnancies, abortions, not to mention the drop in SAT scores. Today’s kids are, quite frankly, a lot dumber than they used to be, and a lot of it I think is absolutely deliberate, although that’s an issue for another discussion.

Eric: Anyone can read The Ten Commandments. I defy anyone to explain to me what’s wrong/offensive/whatever you want to call it about having those ten tenets around.

The real answer is: Because it all points to God and we’re not supposed to believe in Him.

Billy: With all of this in front of us, it becomes more difficult each day to retain hope for a Nineveh like repentance to happen to this country. Heck, even the city of Nineveh reached a point eventually, 150 years after Jonah, where God finally had no other alternative but to bring them to judgement. It’s been quipped for quite some time now that “If God does not judge America, He ought to apologize to Sodom and Gomoroh.”

Eric: I’ve used that catchphrase a few times myself.

Billy: We have become the primary exporters and promoters of everything that He abhors. And the results of our ungodliness have been tragic. One need only look no further than our current financial situation. How does a country, once so strong and secure, allow itself to get in a situation where it is on the brink of being absolutely crippled by its own debt? The Bible repeatedly mentions how the borrower is a slave to the lender, (Prov. 22:7) but we have become so corrupt and inept that we have built an entire economic system based off of borrowing and debt, and we wonder why the house of cards is continually collapsing?

Eric: There’s another layer there that makes it even worse: We’re hypocrites. We were a country that was founded clearly on Judeo-Christian beliefs. Even if all the Founding Fathers weren’t outright “Christians” the entire thing was set up and could only work if the majority of the populace was broadly Judeo Christian. Where do people think a lot of the ideas from both the Declaration of Independence and Constitution ultimately come from?

The outright hostility and abandonment of these two laws of the land now from people that dare to call themselves Americans goes right back to my point about the Ten Commandments albeit on a much lesser scale, since I certainly put no worldly documents or tenets anywhere near the same level of course: The ideas and concepts ultimately point to God and Judeo-Christian type beliefs and background, and well, we can’t have that because that’s being “intolerant” and there’s no worse crime you can commit in this country or anywhere else in the world for that matter.

Billy: With that said, given our current course, if there is no national turn-around in store for us, what future do you see for America within the spectrum of end time events? Will we simply fade out of existence, or do you think there may be another possible role for whatever is left of our once great Nation during that period in Bible prophecy known as the tribulation?

Eric: Look over Genesis 18 where Abraham pleads to God for mercy for Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham kept shrinking the numbers of righteous people down and the Lord kept saying yes, even if there were only 10 righteous people in the entire city.

We certainly have more than 10 righteous people in every country and continent on the planet. The Lord has been exceedingly merciful to all of us but as everyone knows, that’s not an unlimited checkbook. At some point there finally has to be consequences of sin faced and reckoned with.

Billy: I love that portion of Scripture you mentioned there, and the “husfa” Abraham shows there, in a sense, bargaining with the creator of the universe. And make no mistake God is amazingly merciful, giving grace to those (read: us) who do not deserve it, but we should never mistake his mercy for weakness. He HATES sin above all else, and His perfect sense of justice cannot allow it to go undealt with, hence, the Cross. And now especially since He has gone through the ultimate sacrifice of love, of having His own Son, and likeness in the flesh, Jesus, pay that penalty for us, we are left without excuse for not dealing with the sin problem head on. Since all we have to do is simply believe in and accept the free gift provided to us.

And sure, we may have those ten righteous in every nation in the sense of having accepted Christ and having His righteousness accounted to us anyway. But, in a world where the Christian populace has been removed, as Romans says, “There is no one righteous, no not one”… and then, the percentage of righteous people left on the planet will plummet to nothing. And until God begins working on the hearts of the’ tribulation saints’ (which He will do very shortly after I presume); those people who will come to faith, after the church is removed, God will then have to begin judging sinful humanity en masse. Which if you want the specific judgements themselves, just a cursory glance at the book of Revelation should give you more than enough info to know this is not something you want to stick around for!

Eric: A number of the doomsday scenarios for America and frankly a lot of the other countries in the world are things that I personally think will happen after the Church is taken out and the Tribulation begins.

In fact, I think it will be unfathomably worse because you’re talking about a planet When you have x number of millions or however many people disappear in a blink then any remaining person left behind knows they are not alone in the universe. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. I personally believe the planet has been conditioned a long time for a great deception that will explain it away and it will at least partially involve “UFOs.”

Billy: That’s certainly a very interesting scenario. I’m always a little cautious of involving things like UFO’s and whatnot in my prophetic outlook, because it opens the door to all kinds of strange speculation. But I could easily see something like that being used as an explanation for that, to the outside world, most unexplainable event, that we’ve been alluding to in which millions upon millions will be snatched up. Of course now we’ve been off-handedly mentioning this event, but since I realize there may be some reading who either may not know what we’re talking about or, those who disagree us on this, I’ll ask you to briefly give our audience a quick tutorial on why we hold this view.

Eric: As someone might have intuited from my earlier remarks, I’m a Christian that believes in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church. The reasons I believe this involve a number of scriptures I could quote from Matthew 24, 1 Timothy 4, 1 Thessalonians and so forth. For the sake of space I’ll summarize briefly:

1.) I believe the Church has to be taken out because then it’s finally down to God and Israel. He’s not finished with them yet.

2.)Too many pesky Christians know enough about basic prophecy that if we saw the AntiChrist truly take over as world leader we’d be in the way of what’s supposed to happen. There’s a number of Christians in all walks of life including governments and high seats of power.

3.)The Church is being shown great mercy before the wrath of God finally starts coming down on the planet as consequence for everything we’re talking about now. No mistaking that when you read any Tribulation details out Daniel or Revelation it’s a time that is almost unfathomable. Clearly a time of consequence, judgment and wrath. It makes no sense for a God of grace to have His entire Church stuck under judgment that they were/have been spared from.
4.)How do you have an event in the Bible where “a twinkling of an eye”* “thief in the night” *and other descriptions like that happen but we also see descriptions about how everyone will see from the East to the West and the sky will break like a scroll and all this other clear shock and awe happens when the Lord descends back down on the Earth? How can one event have all of those descriptions at the same time? It’s got to be two separate events. The quiet one and then at the end of the Tribulation the shock and awe of the Second Coming.

That’s the short version.

Think about all the evil and depravity we see now and how bad we think it is. Then remind yourself that all of this is still with the Holy Spirit’s restraint in place!

I honestly have a hard time imagining just how vile and unreal the Tribulation period will be. I’m grateful that I will not be here for it thanks to the Lord’s grace.

Billy: Thank you for that great explanation Eric. I am also very thankful to God that I will not have to go through that horrible period of history. As 1st Thessalonions verse 5 says, we are not appointed to receive God’s wrath. That doesn’t in the meantime, we won’t face hardships, sometimes in the extreme, as Christians for centuries now have had to endure, but we will not be subject to the misery and suffering that will be characteristic of the time of which Christ spoke of in Matthew 24:21. For those of you curious about learning more about the pre-tribulational view, we have included in the notes here a more comprehensive defense of this position (2).

Eric: For that digression, let me get back to your actual question about where I think America will be:

The remnant will probably just get absorbed back into Europe or whatever the EU is at that point. The Bilderberger’s plan for ten regions on the Earth is well known and not the stuff of just underground conspiracy theory, either. Why is that important? Because the book of Revelation clearly talks about ten kings being in charge of the entire planet.

America has a lot of Christians in ALL walks of life. This country will be decimated when the Christians are taken out and it will make the current fragility look like a walk in the park. Some countries will be “better off” than others but ultimately there will be such an incredible panic and fear that finally going all global and one world everything will be easy, painless, and enthusiastically supported by almost everyone. Remember how things felt right after 9-11 and the fear and panic everyone happened that our government was all too happy to capitalize on? All anyone cared about was feeling safe.

Now imagine that amplified by an insane degree when you suddenly have a bunch of people poof! Disappear. Clearly the groundwork for global economy and government is staring us in the face now. That’s all we ever see or hear about in the news. All it needs is that final push to finish it and I believe the Rapture will do exactly that.

Billy: That is a good probability I think, and especially given our current fragility combined with what could very well be the final nail in the coffin, that being the mass disappearance of millions of Christians, but now with this ground somewhat covered, what are some of the reasons you think God has delayed His judgement of us for so long, besides of course, that He IS a merciful God, not wanting that any should perish? Basically, what is and was God’s purpose and plan for this nation?

Eric: Hal Lindsey did a good teaching on this lately. It’s the 7/22/11 video on his website (3) and that’s just one of several he’s done recently on all of this. Using Luke 21 and Matthew 24 among other passages he got to a point in the teaching (read the entire chapter for context) where it refers to “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” Well, now what does that mean? That of course is referring to the Church. Replacement and Dominion Theology erroneously teaches this idea that the Church somehow replaced supplanted Israel. This is anti-Semitic. Christianity began in Israel. Jesus was a Jew. His disciples were Jews. It begins and ends there.

In the book of Acts, Paul was commissioned to go out from there and unto the Gentiles. They (we) have a certain amount of time and then “the time of the Gentiles” will come to an end. For Replacement/Dominion Theology to be true means God would have to be liar and not keep His promises of which that are many throughout the Old Testament. Look over Genesis 12-17 where God laid it all out for Abraham. If the Church replaced Israel then there’s already items in there you can read that won’t happen to Israel like God clearly spelled out and that means broken promises. Can’t happen. Won’t happen. God doesn’t lie and He always fulfills ALL of His promises.

He’s not done with Israel yet. The Church has to be taken out of the way so God can finally finish up business with Israel. The 70th Week. The time of Jacob’s Trouble.

How do you fulfill Acts 13:32-35 where it promises that Christ Himself will sit on David’s throne if you don’t have all the other promises fulfilled and a nation of Israel in existence to begin with? The preterists, another heretical group, somehow think ALL prophecies were fulfilled by AD 70. I honestly don’t know how anyone can believe such rubbish when I just cited an easy example right there. Jesus Christ’s first visit to Earth was not one of power and ascendancy like his Second Coming will be.

A lot of these heresies show up when people refuse to take anything literally in the Bible. The Bible is very good in letting someone know when there’s a literal description vs. symbolism and allegory.

Billy: The Bible is rich with symbolism and allegory, but it is interesting to me to note, that anytime you see someone in the Bible reading a portion of Scripture, such as the Ethiopian in Acts, or Herod in the Gospel accounts, they always, 100% of the time take what they’re reading as the literal truth, and never as some happy sappy mystical mumbo jumbo. Like you said, the Word is very clear when it is to be understood literally vs. when it is a clear case of symbolism (such as, Psalm 93 does not in fact indicate that God has feathers) And you can always trust God to make good on His word. It’s that trustworthiness you spoke of that we all can rely on when we accept Christ to be our own personal Lord and Savior. It’s amazing in a way, how many people will trust God with their entire eternal destiny, but then flip flop around when it comes to the clear outlines He’s left us. In terms of coming prophecies, especially with the established track record of fulfilled prophecies, from the old testament, all the way up to Israel’s 1948 restoration in the land, that we have to go off of. If you cannot LITERALLY trust God to carry out the clear agenda He has set in the Bible, what justification can you really have that this same God will literally save you from the fires of Hell? Unless you just want to go the full on route to allegorizing away almost the entirety of the written Word, as some groups have done.

Eric: I’m not a Calvinist or an Arminian, either. The only way you can have true love is if people have free choice otherwise we’re all robots on a predetermined course where nothing we say or do matters.

BUT

The Lord is not confined by space or time. This is one of many things we simply don’t understand. So He already knows everything that’s ever going to be said or done for all time because he is outside of it and beyond it entirely. At some point the last person to be saved will be saved and that will be it. At that instant, the only God the Father Himself knows (Matt 24:36) that’s when the Rapture will happens and the Church, the Bride of Christ, is taken out and spared the wrath.

What Luke 21 and Matthew 24 teach is that all of these signs and “birth pains” will happen in increasing frequency and ALL AT THE SAME TIME…a very important distinction. Then the Lord closes that teaching off with Luke 21:32-33 ” 32 “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. ”

He’s not referring to his audience that He was talking to there. He was talking about people way off in the future. I believe He was talking about us and I believe that Prophetic time clock began ticking again in earnest with the restoration of Israel in 1948. Most if not all prophecy scholars concur with that view. Israel being restored is a huge an undeniable fulfillment of prophecy and something that’s unprecedented in history. See Ezekiel 37 for starters.

Billy: Anyone with a television with access to CNN or Fox News right now can see these “birth pains” happening with ever increasing frequency, with their own eyes, practically on a daily basis as well. It is at once terrifying and exciting to see God’s written Word come to life before our eyes on the evening news, all the while saddening on a national level to see the decline and fall of this once shining beacon of a nation I live in and call my earthly home. Still, you will have the scoffers always who bemoan “where is the sign of His coming?” They will go through endless hoops to try and nullify the promises of God, since it’s been 2000 years since Christ walked this earth, and over 60 since the restoration of Israel. Which was the sign that really lit a fire under prophecy buffs and seemingly a large part of the Church in general all throughout the latter part of the last century, but is either being rejected or just starting to be taken for granted now by the mainstream churches, when really as we get down to this final lap of history so to speak, I’d think it would get people even more amped up than usual, since we seem to be living at the very time Christ spoke of when he said “This generation shall not pass, until all these things be fulfilled”…

Eric: How long is a generation? This is where people like to speculate and get into trouble. It could be 70 years. A 100 years. Who knows? It could happen when the very last elderly person of “this generation” is about to breathe their last breath. I’m sure God could bring it down to that fine wire if He wanted to. Who knows? Only He does.

Billy: And on this blog anyway, I try to have the good sense to keep it that way. It boggles my mind how people can just twist that scripture around, ignoring the plain warning against date setting. To me, it’s just plain old fasioned sinful pride. I’m just happy to serve a God who does have everything under control, and who alone knows the end from the beginning. He has given us a staggering amount of revelation to begin with, so that I don’t really have the time to go chasing down idiotic calculations on things that no earthly mind could ever apprehend.

Now finally, to wrap things up here, what can we as Christians, while we still have time, do to attempt to get things back on track, since, even if it is a long shot, we would be neglecting our stewardship and responsibility if we were simply to give up and kick our feet up while waiting to be “caught up”… We have been called for more than that.. Obviously since we’re still here and not in Heaven for the time being, there is work to be done, for us as individuals and nationally.

Eric: Past the normal idea of Christians really having the Lord’ love in their heart and wanting to spread the Good News there’s an extra oomph that’s supposed to be here for Christians who keep tabs on prophecy. It’s sad how much of the Church ignores and avoids prophecy for any number of reasons. It’s there to encourage us and light a fire under our butts!

It’s easy to fall into that “kick the feet up” tendency and I admit I’ve been inclined to that end of it more than once but the idea of knowing and believing these prophecies is that it’s supposed to light a fire in us as Christians where we know: “Hey, the Lord could come at any time. I love this person. I want them to make it. I want them to be spared hell on Earth or hell in the afterlife. And what if the person the Lord uses me to plant that seed on is the last person to be saved on God’s time clock and poof!”

You never know.

Billy: That would indeed be amazing, to be able to be used to bring in the final person in this allotted dispensation. And indeed, you never know, someone reading this right now could very well be that person, and if you are, FYI, we’d REALLY like to get out of here, so please consider the (endless) benefits of giving your life to the Lord at this time please.. Well, that will do it for this Bible Bunker roundtable. I would like to thank my good friend Eric for taking the time to help with this study, and thank you all for reading as well. Until next time, God bless and Maranatha!

Notes:

1. http://www.inplainsite.or…ned_when_the_praying.html

2. http://www.raptureready.c…etribulation-rapture.html

3. http://www.hallindsey.com/videos/

This entry was posted in Theme of the Month and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.