A Voice in the
June 27/July 18/August 24, 2006
Dance Music (Re: Christians & Dance)
I guess at that point it all goes back to the music. Unless someone happens to be playing some danceable classical music there is not much out there that is worth dancing to.
That is the flip-side of the coin. The lyrics of the modern music is loaded with perverse and overtly suggestive words and the 'crowd' is moving in a way that appears as a mass or.....
I certainly agree that there is nothing wrong with a [married] couple dancing.
The truths having been said, a couple things this person says raises a couple of other points. Paul says of questionable things, related to the festival days, "Let each be fully assured in his own mind" (Rom14:5) And about the eating of meats that the pagans may have offered to idols, that the Believer should not worry over nit-pickingly ferreting out -which- cuts of meat had been 'blessed', and which had not: "Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, not investigating because of conscience; FOR THE EARTH IS THE LORDíS, AND ALL ITS FULLNESS." (1Co10:25-26) In other words: Meat is meat. The physical 'substance' of the meat (which God created) did not change, just because somebody plopped it on the altar; because an "idol is nothing" (1Co8:4). And if you're not familiar with these topics, please look up these two passages and expand outward and read the surrounding contexts. The overall concepts, I believe, also apply to this dance/music topic.
Yes, there is a generalized misconception that "classical is good" and "rock/jazz is bad", automatically, merely by their designations. But that is a popular misconception. Truly, if a person were to tabulate some charts and lists, one would find that, typically, 'more' classical music is good than is bad. And 'more' rock music is bad than is good. And in the jazz realm, I don't know 'what' the comparison might be. It might be related to the venue where it is being performed and the performers and 'how' they are performing it? And whether or not if there are lyrics, they are also being sung, and how? In most venues, likely: more bad than good?
Classical is pretty rigid in terms of historical purity; within the variations of individual performers, there is a traditional historical 'right way' to perform classical music, which all good classical musicians will follow. And rock is pretty much, well... 'rock'. But jazz is one of those forms that is intentionally flexible; as I've heard it said "organized individuality and independence" or "organized sloppiness" or "organized chaos" (depending on who is expressing the matter) Notes don't always have to be perfect, and in two performances of a piece the same notes might not get played, and the performance is very much a property of the mood of the performers. And so, given a certain piece (by title), if one group performs it, it might be OK; but when another does, it is decidedly bad...due to the soul and spirit involved.
Yes, some classical music (that is good) can even be found as hymn tunes. Sibelius' "Finlandia" is the tune for "Be Still, My Soul" and "A Christian Home". "Joy to the World" is likely a Handel tune. Etc. And they are "good" tunes for worship because they fit the parameters discussed in the "God is: my song" piece.
But there is also -much- classical music that is NOT good. Most opera is in the same filthy gutter as Hollywood. From my choral background, the choral staple, the catholic "mass" is NOT good, even though the music is beautiful; a reason I could never go back into professional choral singing (not to mention that by now, my voice is beyond hope with disuse! Php3:7) I've mentioned in the past, a most gorgeous piece of music (note-wise), but NOT good, Holst's "Hymns from the Rig Veda" where they call out to their pagan deities, "Indra and Maruts fight for us!" and in another piece sing about the 'offering' they are bringing to the gods, of their young child. That which God calls an "abomination", and when Israel did it in following the pagans, "to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings to Baal, which I never commanded nor spoke, nor did it even come into My mind." (Jer19:5) But in Holst's work it is some of the most captivatingly beautiful music. Not to mention some of the more modern music by composers I'm not familiar with, that is very much "spiritual" -mood- music in the atonal and 12-tone disciplines. Yes... when I have the radio turned on at the store to our local "classical only" station, there are some times I go to turn it off, because it gets "bad"...and really grates with my spirit.
But even though opera is filthy due to the libretti, if a person listens to just the music, sans text, not knowing the theatrical plots, it is often very good music. Supposing somebody hears an opera tune, not knowing the theme/plot of the story, is it sin for them to enjoy that tune? What did Paul say about the meat in the market place? Many over the years watched TV's "M.A.S.H.", but when was it finally revealed to us the 'lyrics' for its theme music...something about "suicide". Otherwise, it was considered a catchy little tune, associated with helicopters and people running with stretchers. (Well... M.A.S.H. did have its 'problems', but we're talking about the 'music' here)
Please keep in mind, the present topic is not "worship", and what we bring to God in praise (Psalms), but what we do (Ecclesiastes) on this earth, in these 'bodies'. Just as: a person might run a marathon, but would not call it "worship"; or might go hiking, but not call it worship; or work in their garden, but the church property does not have gardens where everybody has their little plot, so the worship leader announces, "everybody pick up your hoe, and let's all "hoe for God" together... and, let's all smile!" Silly! Or what, pray tell, is a "christian motorcycle club"? Is it a bunch of people who ride 'Hondas' because, as the subscriber joked recently, "that's what Jesus would ride"? In the same way, the topic is "dance". And if it is assumed that a married couple can (and should?) dance, to what kind of music do they dance? (Yes: I expect some will be thinking that even married couples should not dance. "Let each be fully assured in his own mind....in faith" Rom14:5,23) In other contexts we have observed that there is no such thing as "christian rock"; but again, this topic is not "Psalms" but fits within "Ecclesiastes"
By that token, cannot they dance to jazz? What about some forms of rock? After all, one of rock's characteristics is that it is a "music of sex". If the marriage "bed" is blessed of God, why should not a married couple dance to music that is designed to arouse those passions? Most classical music is not of that sort.
The comment is made about the lyrics. Again, when was the last time you-all read Song of Solomon? Are not many of the lyrics along the same lines?
But for the Christian couple, I suspect some (a lot of?) picking-and-choosing must be done. In the context of a husband and wife being with each other, many of those lyrics are -most- appropriate. But for an unmarried couple, it is enticement to lust.
So... 'what' does a married couple do? If they dance, in what sort of venue? It would be hard for me to imagine a typical secular party where the rest of what is going on around them would be 'pure' enough for them to even 'want' to be there. They would certainly not go to the local night club, where the rest of the world is engaged in the things they do. Weddings? It would probably depend on 'who' the wedding is for, and who else is dancing...and 'how'. At home, alone? What music do they dance to? If we were to start trying to answer this question; then there's the other question, things the world blabs to each other about, the intimate activities, but which are only appropriate in the bedroom. All of these things: is that not between the husband and his wife?
All of this, to correct that common notion and suggest that: Just because something is "classical" music, does not guarantee that it is "good". But for a married couple dancing together, neither should it be assumed that jazz or milder forms of rock is automatically "bad". Nor, if there are 'suggestive' lyrics, is that necessarily automatically bad, either.
The problem with most lyrics, music and dance is that the world uses it for lust and adultery. The world's entire 'purpose' is to sleep around with as many 'partners' as possible. Like that song that was popular on the radios in 1967 or 68 (I forget exactly), "I'd like to get to know you, yes I would", and workers around me knowing what it meant would change the words and sing along, "I'd like to go to bed with you". Many of them think that manhood or womanhood is not achieved until they have been "laid"; and "marriage" does not even figure in, in their minds. And the music and lyrics are to that end. Satan has taken one of the most beautiful things God created, and perverted it! But just because satan has twisted things around, does not mean that a man and his wife, legitimately, cannot enjoy what God created. They -should-! (1Co7:3-5)
Also: There is no legitimate reason for schools to hold dances, because school kids are not old enough to be married; and it only snares them. I mean...what is wrong with the adults? Are they out of their ever-lovin' minds??? Even the ones who otherwise teach abstinence? "Keep yourselves pure; and... have fun at the dance." Is that not a conflicted message?
But for a married couple? While we can theorize and say that it is "OK" for a Christian married couple to dance together, in my own mind I find it impossible to imagine 'where' they could do so in public, among the world where the world is doing it, because the world's mind is so full of lasciviousness. The world is lusting amongst itself, and if the Christian couple is there, they will likely also lust after the Christians and come along, wanting to "cut it", etc. Knowing how wicked the world is, I just don't see it being realistically possible. Unless it's a party of like-minded friends, or something like that.
Ultimately, the guiding principle for the Christian married couple....
Also: "...proving what is acceptable to the Lord" (Eph5:10)
Are -all- drums evil?
I remember as a kid growing up in Japan, if somebody came to be speaker for special meetings, my dad and they would go walking up and down the streets, playing accordion, trombone and beating a drum, carrying a sign on a pole...to advertise the special meetings. (This was a common thing in Japan back then in the 50s, and to drive around with a P.A. system making announcements; or the story teller man might ride into town, blowing his bugle to announce to the children; they would gather around and buy candy for a few 'yen', and he would tell stories of Samurai, and whatever Japanese children's stories were...using the cartoon picture box mounted to the back of his bicycle...their equivalent back then of 'flannelgraph' stories) And my dad would also rope me into playing the drum along with the songs for the kids' meetings...beating on the "strong" beats with an 'even' rhythmic pattern.
And if one listens to good symphony music, does not much of it contain drums and various percussion instruments. Bass drum, timpani, snare, etc. The question there, is of the particular composer and the 'kind' of music the orchestra plays. Even orchestras can play satanic music. Think about some movies and the music that supports them, usually recorded by studio orchestras...."mood" music to accentuate the plot or action.
I think the predominance of the discussion when it comes to so-called "worship" music is the "traps" set. (I don't know where the term "traps" came from) The drum set that is usually exalted on the stage: various kinds of drums arranged around the drummer, along with various kinds of symbals. That particular combination of percussion came about from big band jazz (dance music), and moved right over into rock. And the "worship" music, as done, is a combination of jazz and rock (both hard and soft).
In the 50s Christians would talk about the "jungle" drum beats. For years I didn't understand what that meant (I grew up a sheltered life), until a few years ago I got this CD collection of the old time jazz performers, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, etc.etc. And on some of those old selections, one in particular...I think it even has "jungle" in its name...the drummer goes into a solo....and it -is- "jungle" drumming....hard core. That drummer, by himself, could have almost given the Kodo drummers of Japan (all of them put together) a "run for their money"
Would it be 'possible' to use a traps set in a God-honoring way? Well, it contains various kinds of drums and symbals. Those instruments, in and of themselves, are not intrinsically bad. Could a drummer play march beats? Sure. Could he follow along a symphonic piece and substitute his instruments for what the orchestral score calls for, and play in 'classical' style? Certainly. If a person ever catches segments of Leno or Letterman, their band drummers often will play in some non-jazz, classical style for the special-effects music they might play to introduce some special guest as they come walking out. But in those cases, the entire band, normally used to jazz and rock, is playing music in a more 'classical' style...and the drummer is in sync with that (momentary) 'special' style. So...it -is- 'possible'. The professionals know how to do it, and -do- so when the occasion calls for it.
But do drummers of traps sets -typically- play those styles? The whole -idea- of the traps set, being arranged on the stage as it is, is -meant- to be a drum "kit" for the sole purpose of playing sensuous (and often demonic) beats that go with jazz and rock. 99.9999% of their use is for such stuff.
So....even from the appearance, due to its association, such a drum set should not even be displayed in a church sanctuary where it is purported that the people are 'worshiping' the Most High. It's context and connotation, by its very appearance, is of the world. Would a church install a dance pole up on the platform? (as sure as I suggest it in the context as an outlandish concept, somebody will probably do it!!! in these days!!! a couple decades ago who would have dreamed that there would ever be such a thing as sensuous "worship dance", but today there are those who do it, so I suspect the "pole" is next??? Sigh! "Thyatira" and Jezebel! Rev2:20) A 'pole' by itself is not sinful. How would buildings be constructed without support poles? But a dance pole has but one connotation....lust-provoking sensuous strip tease dancing. The individual parts that make up a traps set are not sinful in and of themselves....and -can- be played in a God-honoring way, given a proper instrumental complement that they are supporting. But to have a "traps" set, the way they are configured, has no more place in God's sanctuary, than a dance pole does.
I know I've gone far-and-wide with my answer. But hopefully there is an answer to your question, somewhere in there. -smile-
Death penalty today?
But, other than perhaps the "sabbath", (Mt12:8,Col2:16) are not all the rest of the Ten Commandments re-affirmed in the N.T. Murder certainly is: "But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, prostitutes, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (Rev21:8) And also: 1Tim1:9, 1Pet4:15, 1Jn3:15, Rev22:15
If you remember from the series "Covenants & Dispensations" you will remember how the Death Penalty was established -before- Moses and Israel. As Noah came out of the ark, and God institutes several new covenants (Gen9), He reiterates to "be fruitful and multiply..." that had been at the beginning (Gen1:28)
But also gives a new one that had not been before. Actually, two that are related:
And Jesus never repealed this in His teachings like: the Sermon on the Mount. In fact, if anything, He -strengthened- it, by suggesting -heart- motives... that unfounded anger and hate is (at the heart level) just as bad as murder, which at some level is in danger of God's judgement. (Mt5:21-22) Anger and hate are not cause for -human- capital punishment, but God "knows the heart/s" (1Ki8:39); and so, at what point do we become accountable to God for our anger?
But capital punishment was never done away. In fact Paul even condones it through the 'back door' when he says, "For if I have done wrong, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not refuse to die" (Ac25:11)
But it is something that -governments- do; the "powers that be" that are "ordained by God" (Rom13:1) Even in the O.T. God instituted a "trial by jury" type of system.
But then, in the O.T. it was also the "congregation" that would execute the punishment, "and let all the congregation stone him" (Lev24:14,16, Num15:35)
And if you read those O.T. accounts in detail, we see that this happened with the priests presiding. Israel was a theocracy, and the "tithe" was their 'governmental' tax. Many Muslim countries today operate in a similar way, with their Clerics, under Sharia law. I suspect if Israel today was functioning as they did in O.T. times, the rest of the world would view their justice with a similar horror as they do Islam. In these things the O.T. and Islam are not all that different. Although, I've never read in the O.T. where the person was to be buried up to their neck, and to stone their exposed head. And Islam has other such barbaric things. e.g. Islam condones incest, where it was punished in the O.T. God's Law to Israel was -just-. (Rom7:12) Islam is not.
But for the rest of the world, capital punishment goes through the governmental system of each unique nation.
If God did not start condoning murder, why would He repeal the punishment for it? If murderers don't receive due punishment here because of today's perverted sense of 'compassion', ultimately they will at God's hand. (Rev21:8)
This is one of the unfortunate truths of warfare....if soldiers are following the rules of engagement, when they kill the enemy, they are not committing "murder", but are an extension of the "power that exists"...their government.
But regarding governments...this is one reason kingdoms rise and fall. There is much reference to things like the shedding of "innocent blood", and the oppression of unfortunates of society.
I don't know what they do today. But in some instances throughout history, if death was by firing squad, for instance, only one gun would have a 'live' round, and the rest were all blanks....and none of the shooters knew which gun had the live round, thus alleviating the feelings of 'guilt' that could be associated with killing another human being....even when they were guilty.
An executioner's job is to carry out the mandate of the 'state'. The executioner is not the investigator, lawyer, judge, or jury.
It's interesting how God left the decision making process to man. Also interesting how God set it up in Israel that: those who decide the innocence or guilt, were the same ones to carry out the punishment....by actually physically picking up the stones to throw. And the "witnesses" were to be the 'first' to throw the stones. (De17:7) Thus, they had better be GOOD AND SURE (as they say today: beyond reasonable doubt) that the person is 'guilty'; otherwise their consciences will nag at them.
God speaks of the "innocent blood" ...that there not be "blood upon you" (De19:10) One of Manasseh's legacies, of his downfall, was the "innocent blood" he shed "till he had filled Jerusalem..." (2Ki21:16) And this was part of Judah's lengthy legacy of disobedience to God, why He ultimately had Nebuchadnezzar take Judah away captive.
The way things are done today, I expect it is an individual thing that God knows the heart. If the executioner is carrying out the will of the state, he does not necessarily have all the 'facts' of the case. Just like a soldier does not have all the facts, but is ordered to engage the enemy (and kill them); so too, the executioner carries out the orders. The judge and jury are more privy to the facts. If the evidence is clear cut, they must decide on the evidence. If they purposely decide wrong, God holds -them- accountable, I suspect at an individual level. There is the concept that each individual is accountable before God. (Rom14:12) And if a father is guilty, the son does not pay for the father's guilt....but each is punished for their own guilt. (De24:16) And in some cases, entire governments and legal systems are corrupt, and so I expect God's judgment starts at the top, and works its way down to all those who are guilty.
But if the evidence points to the person's guilt, but they are innocent; does not God also know that? They might die, as all sinners die eventually; but perhaps his "stripes" are "fewer"? (Lk12:48) And if the evidence had been 'planted', does not God also know 'who' planted the evidence, and who the true guilty party is? They will receive their just dues....eventually.
In a justice "system" there are -many- players. Each one is accountable before God for his 'part'. And ultimately it is -God- who knows the heart.
Even the pagans, when throwing Jonah overboard thinking he was about to die, cried out to God, "We beseech You, O Jehovah, we beseech You, do not let us perish for this manís life, and do not lay innocent blood on us. For You, O Jehovah, have done as it pleased You." (Jonah1:14) And when the sea went calm, they turned to the Lord with vows. (vs16)
If it is a Christian involved in the legal process, where there can be so many variables and uncertainties, we must put our own lives in the Lord's hands, and understand that, "all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Rom8:28)
I realize this is not a cut-n-dry answer. Each case is a distinctly unique one. There are so many variables to each case. Ultimately, it is God who keeps score, and will judge "according to their deeds/works" (Jer25:14, Rev20:12)
When is: Day of the Lord?
As I inderstand it the sequence of end times events is probably as follows:
Remember, from the Revelation series, that the book is not a "timeline". Also, there is no period of time labelled in Scripture as "-the- Tribulation" That expression simply does not exist. However there is indication of the 70th week of Daniel's prophecy (ch9), which consists of 7 years, which is divided in the middle; corresponding to the 42 months in Revelation, and Daniel's other comments about "time and times and one half" (Dan7:25, 12:7) which is reiterated in Rev12:14 regarding Israel; the same length of period as the "two witnesses". (Rev11:3)
Otherwise, I'm not going to try to 'tweak' with your list above, but try
to address your main question. You might want to take what I just said,
and re-think the list a bit. You're basically on the right track.
The event known thoughout the O.T. as "that day", "the day", etc seems to correspond to when Jesus touches feet to the Mt. of Olives (Zech14:4) where He gets set to rule "with a rod of iron" (Ps2:9, Rev2:27, 12:5, 19:15) A read-thru of Isaiah would certainly help get a 'feel' for the overall matter.
It would seem as though all the wars and things take place, and -then- comes the Day of the Lord. It seems to be in the context of when all the nations are gathered together for Armageddon (probably the 'end' of the 7 years?) that God commences to pour out His wrath, using astronomical upheavals. (Joel3:15-16, 2:30-31) where the earth is "moved out of its place" (Is13:13) where the sun appears to 'shrink' away from the earth (Zec14:6-7) Perhaps these will happen after the "scorching heat"? (Rev16:9)
[VW: For more details, please check out the links at the bottom of this answer :VW]
But during those 7 years, what the world will see, more, will be the devil's "great wrath", when he is kicked out of Heaven, as he knows his time is short. (Rev12:12)
For all the periods of time that Scripture gives, there is something Scripture merely mentions, but does not define.
We know there is a period of 7 years, the 70th week.
We also know that the 7 years is divided in the middle, at which point the evil one starts to become really cranky, and it is this latter half where it seems that most of the final events are concentrated, for 3 1/2 years, 42 months or 1260 days. (Rev11:3,12:6) These three expressions of time all agree with each other.
However, Daniel also makes mention of 1290 days, commencing with that mid-point of the 70th week. (Dan12:11) And then gives a 'blessing' to those who make it to 1335 days. (vs12)
On a hunch, in punching some numbers on my calculator just now, if I add 1260 and 1290, and divide by 365, it comes out to our modern 7 years of 365 days, give a couple days. So, perhaps this fits prophecy to Israel, making adjustments for the kind of calendar we have today? The Jewish year was 360 days, and they would make periodic adjustments for leap year and those other 4 days. Thus, Dan12:11 -might- 'seem' to synchronize prophecy between Israel and the world? Since Daniel was also living in a non-Jewish nation at the time, and Daniel is the only O.T. book written in Aramaic (not Hebrew)?
On the other hand, it might be just as we have questioned on other occasions (see the links below): 30 days -beyond- the other prophetic references of 1260 days. What are those 30 days about?
And then, what is the 1335 days? That's a full 2 1/2 months beyond all the other prophetic mentions of 1260 days. Daniel just puts that statement out there, and I don't know of any Scripture that explains it specifically. Is -that- the period of time of the "Day of the Lord".... where Armageddon has wiped out the armies, and the astronomical events have unfolded....but considering astronomy and the movement of planets and asteroids, and such things....is that the period of time where the earth is 'mov[ING]' to its new location? Is that the period of the earthquakes, meteorites, and everything that goes with it? Israel has been punished, and is now beginning to repent; so now it's time to finish off the rest of the world, for being so nasty to Israel? (Jer51:11,24 Rev14:8) We should remember that everything that happened during Noah's flood took about an entire year, by the time all the water was finished sloshing back and forth, receded, the ark landed on the mountain, and things dried up enough for them to step out onto land again. And if changes are going to happen of astronomical proportions, planets and heavenly bodies take a bit of 'time' to get from point-A to point-B. Not giving a 'knowledgable' answer based on some sort of special 'revelation'... Just thinking out loud, here. Wondering.
But those who survive to the other side of it, Daniel says they are "blessed". Why? Because they 'made it' into the kingdom, without getting killed in all that has happened? Jesus speaks of this period as those who are "kept safe" (Mt24:22) In the Revelation series we spoke in terms of, if all those numbers of the dead are added up a certain way, that it could indicate 90% of the earth's population being wiped out, leaving only 10% left. We know, even of Israel, it says that only a third will survive. (Zec13:8-9) And of the nations that come to Jerusalem it speaks with words like, "...everyone who is left from all the nations" (Zec14:16) That's the kind of words to suggest that 'most' will have perished, leaving only a 'remnant' of what used to be.
But when one considers how "the day" is called a "terrible" day so often in the O.T., "Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; it is even the time of JacobĎs trouble; but he shall be saved out of it." (Jer30:7) would that not seem to fit those end events of "astronomical" proportions.
AlGore thinks he's so big, talking about "global warming". He ain't seen nothin', and (even though he claims to be southern baptist) has no clue as to what -God- has in store for the earth!
"And the nations shall know that I am Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel" (Ezk36:23, 39:7)
But if we understand that "with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." (2Pet3:8) perhaps "the day" is the Millennium, including the events that bring it about? ...including Armageddon, astronomical events, all the seals, trumpets and bowls of Revelation, and then the 1000 year reign from Jerusalem? The whole package?
Yes, there are many self-presumed prophecy 'experts' who purport to suggest that -the- day is a 24-hour period, as they try to speculate as to the precise year-month-day; as they try to pin it on some specific seal, bowl, trumpet,etc. But for anyone who has read through the entire O.T. it is pretty obvious that it is more than merely a -single- 24-hour 'day' as we think of it; but is a 'package' of a period of time and events. It is not some -specific- (Revelation) "seal" where it 'begins', as they try to turn Revelation into a timeline; but it is the entire scope of who Jesus Christ is, as presented in Revelation, as he gets astride the white horse and comes "in righteousness He judges and makes war" (Rev19:11) and judges the nations. (Mt25, Is2:4, etc)
When Is2:11 speaks of "that day", in context of Messiah's rule, the word for "day" is "yowm", a word that can mean day, month, year, eon, period of time. In Genesis ch1 when that word is used, it also specifies the cycle of the sun's rising and setting to indicate what we know as a 24-hour period. But in the context of Isaiah, it makes no such specification, nor do other similar passages throughout the Prophets; but is -obvious- (to me at least) that it is speaking of a 'period of time' including many days.
As Jesus said, we do not know the "day and hour". (Mt24:36) But we know the season when the figs start turning ripe. (Mt24:32-33) And in that context Jesus speaks of this "generation" not passing away, till all is fulfilled. (vs34)
Lately there's been satan's false prophets coming around again, as they do periodically. One, just the other day, e-mailed to me the URL to their website; a heavily "Hebrew roots" type of site, speaking of "Yahweh" and "Yahshua"; and used Jn17:15 totally out of context ("I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil") to proclaim that there is no such thing as a Rapture. I guess they missed where, for the context of this topic Jesus said, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and RECEIVE YOU TO MYSELF; that WHERE I am, THERE you may be also" (Jn14:3)
Let us be clearly reminded. We may not know the "day and hour" of our Lord's return/appearing, but we have been given very clear indications that the Church goes up to meet Him "in the air" (1Th4:17) -BEFORE- all these things take place. Never get the prophecies -to- and -about- 'Israel' mixed up with the Church. The time is called "Jacob's trouble", not the "Church's trouble"; nor is it "Israel's trouble". Jacob was in unbelief and is the name God uses of them in rebellion (Ho12:2); Israel is of God's blessing. (Gen32:26-28, Rom11:26) And as we saw in a subscriber mailing recently, Israel currently is "Jacob", in unbelief.
The faithful church of Philadelphia is promised to be kept from the "hour of trial" which is due "the whole world" to test "-THOSE- who dwell on the earth" (Rev3:10) If the Church is kept -from- the trials, but the trials are for -those- who are -on- the earth, does not plain English grammar tell us that those who are kept from the trials are -NOT- 'on' the earth. Philadelphia is 2nd person, the ones being spoken 'to'. "Those" is a 3rd person word, ones being spoken 'about'. If -those- are receiving the trials, but -you- are kept from it; and -those- are 'on' the earth where the "whole world" is being tested; is it not obvious that -you- is not in the same place along with the "whole world", because the "whole world" is experiencing trials, but -you- is NOT.
Also, if anybody is still balking at this (if I am being pestered by these false messengers, many of you likely are, too) please visit the Library and read through the "Thessalonians" series, as well as the "Covenants & Dispensations". In this latter one, it is quite clear that the Church DOES NOT BELONG on the earth during this time. If the Church were here, it would be totally out-of-place. The 70th week is to Daniel's "people" and the "holy city" (Dan9:24) Who were Daniel's people? Israel. What is the holy city? Jerusalem. And what is one characteristic of the middle of those 7 years? The "sacrifices and grain offerings" are caused to cease. (vs27) Does the Church offer sacrifices? No. It's NOT 'about' the Church. It is -about- 'Israel'. And when this time is over when Messiah comes, -who- comes with Christ? "the saints with You" (Zec14:5) If the Church was on the earth, how would we come "with" Christ? But for Israel, it is only "afterward" (these events) that God -pours- out His Spirit (Joel2:28) and out of Zion/Jerusalem, of the "survivors" Jehovah "shall call" (vs32) But at that point, the "saints" of prior history, who had been resurrected (and raptured), have already come "with" Him.
We've often said it, let's repeat: The Rapture is like the "starting gun" for all these other things. The "shouted command" of the archangel (1Th4:16) is like the official calling out, "On your marks... get set... Bang!" The Rapture raises out "from out of the midst" (2Th2:7b) the Church, "AND THEN..." the lawless one is unveiled. (vs8) The unveiling includes the 7-year "covenant" (Dan9:27) (Gotta take 'all' the various passages and include them together to understand the whole) The main reason the world keeps getting primed, tighter and tighter, but nothing yet 'explodes', is because it is not yet -quite- 'time'. And it won't be until the Lord comes for the Church. "Then" it will all begin to unfold; or as the world will likely view it, "unravel".
Don't let anybody deceive you, to keep you from "looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Tit2:13), to steal your crown. Remember, the "crown of righteousness" is for those "loving His appearing" (2Tim4:8) You can't claim to be "loving" it, if you say it isn't going to happen!
And if you are one who makes further claims and have given yourself the
title "pastor", having taken on that title contrary to God's Word, and
proclaim that "my master delays his coming"; then fully expect your
judgment: to be "cut in two" having your place with the "hypocrites"
where there is "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Mt24:48-51)
"And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting bonds under darkness for the judgment of the Great Day" (Ju1:6)
"And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heavens fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God. And books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, out of the things which were written in the books. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one, according to their works." (Rev20:11-13)
There is "the Day" which judges the world prior to entry into the Millennium. But there is also the Great Day when all created beings are judged. The devil and fallen angels are thrown into the Lake of Fire. (Rev20:10) And there is the Great White Throne judgment. It would seem that this happens, the old heavens and earth are burned up, and the new created.
How long a period of time is this Great Day? How many human beings will have existed by then? Presently the earth has around 6 billion people. People are continually being born, and dying. Since Adam and Eve, up to the Great White Throne....I wonder if any mathematicians have done an educated guess as to how many people it all comes out to?
This Judgment where the books are opened... 'how' is that going to be conducted? Is each name going to be called and their account read before the entire universe? Do they get called one-by-one? If so, 'how long' does this all take? Or does God have a way of communicating with each one -individually-, but at the same time, and it's over within the space of a few minutes? If the pretenders are being made to bow the knee to God's Faithful ones (Rev3:9), how is that conducted? If the saints "shall judge angels" (1Co6:3), how is that setup? That is a GREAT DAY in more ways than one.
And...is that Great Day considered as the closing aspect of the Day of the Lord? The Day of the Lord (1000 years, as Peter explains 2Pet3:8) beginning with Armageddon, going through Christ's rule from Jerusalem, and ending with the Great Day and the Great White Throne?
Is not the "Day of the Lord" -ALL- these things!
All Israel will be saved?
Notice the phrase "after those days". Remember the recent Q/A "When is: Day of the Lord" (above)? Scriptures are full of the expression "the day", "that day". This is another variant, "those days"
If we recall that God made a covenant with Abraham regarding his seed and the land. (Gen12-13) God gave Israel the covenant of the Law through Moses. (Exo-Deut) Jesus instituted the "new covenant in My blood" (Mt26:28) All these were with Israel. Those 12 in the upper room were all Jews. The N.T. Church started out Jewish. But they rejected it (Ac28:28) and gentiles were grafted in. (Rom11:17, Eph2:13-22)
Abraham was with God thru faith. (Gen15:6, Ga3:6)
Israel was with God thru the Law: "You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am Jehovah." (Le18:5) And yet, in the midst of the Law, righteousness was by faith, because when Israel went astray from God, the verdict was their "unbelief" (Heb3:19)
The Church is again about the "faith of Abraham" (Rom4:16, Ga3:7); only now, since Jesus died "once for all" (Heb7:27) our faith is the "faith of Christ" (Ga2:16, Php3:9) We don't keep all the traditions of the animal sacrifices. We don't keep the law to "live by them", but we "show you my faith from my works" (Ja2:18) We are saved "unto good works" (Eph2:10) Works: "befitting repentance" (Ac26:20) Works proving of what sort the heart is.
In both the Old and New Testaments God -invites- the sinner to repentance. (Ezk18:31,33:11, Mt11:28, Jn7:37, Rev22:17, etc) The sinner can either "receive" Christ (Jn1:12) or not. (vs11)
But it seems as though God is going to do differently with Israel in the future. Perhaps when Calvinism suggests "irresistible grace" they just missed which dispensation it was for? Notice thru Jeremiah God says He is going to "put" His Law in their hearts. This is not an act of giving an invitation "come now and let us reason together" (Is1:18), but where God takes His righteousness, by which "His own arm brought salvation" (Is59:16), and -implants- them with new hearts.
"And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh," (Ezk11:19) That sounds more like what a heart surgeon would do: open 'em up, take out the old, put in the new.
Now when it says "all" Israel will be saved...let us be reminded of what is going on in "that day".
"And I will show signs in the heavens and in the earth: blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of Jehovah." (Joel2:30-31) And remember, when all is said and done, it could likely be that only 10% of the world's population is left. And for Israel, a "third" (Zec13:8-9)
Notice it says, "And it shall be, that whoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall escape. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as Jehovah has said, and among the survivors whom Jehovah shall call." (Joel2:32)
Many have used this as a "salvation" verse. Paul certainly did. (Rom10:13) But most technically, it is not... and yet for Israel, it is. Am I talking double-talk?
The context is the days of extreme global turbulence: asteroids, meteorites, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions. Things causing the sun and moon to not shine, and to cause 90% of earth's population to be wiped out. People are running for their lives, looking for shelter: "And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" (Rev6:15-17)
In -this- context, a person calls out, "God, help me!!!" Remember, in those closing years the Gospel Message is, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; also, do homage to Him who made the heavens and the earth, the sea and springs of water." (Rev14:7)
By then will the antichrist have destroyed all Bibles? Those not taking the beast's "mark" will be martyred. The basic witness will be the 144,000 and the two witnesses. There will not be the luxury of sitting around learning "doctrine". It's going to be the "basics". The Ethiopian's testimony was, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God" (Ac8:37) Is that not the summation of Rev14:7.
So in the context, if a person is calling out to -God-, as opposed to satan and his demons; have they not proclaimed their heart's allegiance. They are not calling out to mother earth, father time, or the signs of the zodiac. The zodiac is in the midst of going crazy at that point!
So...the person calls out to God, to "escape" disaster. Does that not mean, then, that they arrive into the Millennium -physically- 'alive'. As 'survivors' of the cataclysms. In the case of Israel, that's a "third" of them. They called out to God, proclaiming their 'allegiance' and their understanding that only Yahweh can get them out of the mess, like Jonah, "Salvation is from Jehovah!" (Jon2:9)
From there, God does the rest. He -implants- them with a new heart. And all those survivors who "make it" (through the judgment) from Israel, God gives this new heart.
This is something not necessarily given to the world. Many of them will "survive" the judgment, and will continue in unbelief. They will not submit to the treks to Jerusalem, and will suffer droughts. (Zec14:17-19) It also speaks of those who are 100 year old "sinners" (Is65:20) And the fact that satan, when he is loosed from the pit at the end of the Millennium, will be -able- to again deceive the nations, indicates that, even though living under Jesus' own -personal- perfect rule, will be existing on earth in unbelief. (Rev20:7-9)
But Israel is God's own people: "You shall no more be called Forsaken" (Is62:4)
"And I will also cut off your graven images and your pillars from your midst. And you shall no more bow down to the work of your hands." (Mic5:13)
"...that the house of Israel may no longer stray from Me, nor be defiled anymore with all their transgressions, but that they may be My people and I may be their God, says the Lord Jehovah." (Ezk14:11)
And there are many more passages like these.
In other words, every Jew (descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) who physically survives the "Day" will enter the Millennium a God-transformed [B]eliever in Jesus Christ, their Messiah, Son of David, Son of Yahweh. By God's will and His doing.
Indeed, the 40 years in the wilderness was called a "generation" (Ps95:10, Heb3:10) As God is judging the rebels, He speaks of their "children" as being the ones who will go into the land. (De1:39) From parent-to-children, is that not the definition of a generation; which in that case was 40 years.
Those who have done the calculations also suggest that the genealogy listed in Matthew ch1, the "generations" (vs17) are 40 years. (I have not calculated, myself, to know if it is true)
However, there is also a 100-year generation. When promising Abraham regarding Israel, God tells of the Egyptian slavery for "four hundred years" (Gen15:13); and a few verses later says, "..in the fourth generation they shall return here.." (vs16) (perhaps, because people were still living longer then?)
There is also the -generic- "generation" that speaks to the entire history of human existence.
The lexicons associated with OLB in Mt24:34 say "30-33" years.
Now, if 1967 was the 'beginning', and 2007 is the 'end', before which 'everything' is fulfilled....we need some sort of time warp, because the man of sin (antichrist) has not yet been unveiled. The mark of the beast has not yet been implemented. And there is a seven years period, divided in the middle, that is also involved, that hasn't yet happened. The sacrifices haven't yet been instituted, to then be stopped. (Dan9:27)
In 1993 many were suggesting that the Clinton-brokered 'handshake' on the Whitehouse lawn between Israel and the PLO was the beginning of "the tribulation". But those seven years through 2000 have come and gone. Some then suggested that 2000 was -the- year...but like we see...2007 is a few months away, and those prophesied seven years of events have not yet happened. When JP2 died, and Benedict was inaugurated, some were suggesting that 2012 was the 'end'; thus 2005 should have been the beginning of the 70th week, but so far the events haven't yet quite kicked into gear for that, either. Benedict, although being in the news once in awhile, has NOT been on the world stage.
"Generation" is the average life-span during any period of history. Before the flood it was hundred[s] of years. As God was preparing for the flood, He pronounces it as 120 years (Gen6:3), which is how long Moses lived. (De34:7) During David's time he pronounces it as 70 years. (Ps90:10) But several kingdoms were 40 years from Saul through Solomon. During the time Jesus lived on earth, the average life expectancy was only just into the 40s. In recent years, again (at least in the US I heard the other day), it is up around 70-something.
There is a certain generation that was born around 1948, with Israel... Prince Charles (48), Bill Clinton & GWBush (46)....and yours-truly (49). It is this generation that is currently "in power" on the earth. What are we called, "baby boomers"? It is this generation that has been around when all these things have been "born" and progressed. It was around then that the transistor was 'invented', giving birth to the solid-state electronic age, culminating in computer technology as we have it today, along with the likely method by which the beast's 'mark' is implemented. (?) I expect it is this generation that will see the culmination. Some years ago the Lord gave me a 'certainty' in my spirit that I would not see death, that I am part of the generation to go through the rapture. So, this is the way I see things, rather than trying to count numbers (which are prophecies to/about/for Israel)... until the "starting gun" goes off, commencing the 70th week...at which point years, months, days can begin to be counted prophetically.
We are presently still in the Church age. The Church age started at the Jewish feast of Pentecost, and I expect will end in conjunction with the beginning of "Ingathering" But even though the Church age began with a Jewish feast, the 'counting' had stopped before that, at Jesus' crucifixion when Messiah was "cut off" (Dan9:26) In similar fashion, the counting doesn't resume again until the confirming of the covenant for 7 years (Dan9:27) But that doesn't happen until the Church has been raised "from out of the midst" (2Th2:7-8) There was 50 days between the crucifixion and the Church. How much time will there be between the Rapture and when the confirmer of the covenant is unveiled? Or, as in the "days of Noah" and "Lot" will it be "the day" and/or "on the day"? (Lk17:27,29)
2007 'might' be something. I guess we wait to see, eh. And if the Church is to be raptured before the 70th week...well, there is the next as-yet unfulfilled Jewish "feast" just around the corner, here, soon.
But we "Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord comes" (Mt24:42) We are to be "...ready, for the Son of Man comes at an hour you do not expect" (vs 44)
But as we watch the world going crazy, as we "see all these things" building up and becoming prepared, we "know that it is near, at the doors" (vs33)
So...let's be sure to be (in this order):