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November 28, 2006

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Q/A Topics:
Pre-trib vs Job?

During our recent 'series' on witnessing/soulwinning, there were e-mails from a couple of fellows expressing that they used to be "pre-trib", but recently the "Lord" had "opened their eyes" to the falsity of that position, offering to help me learn the 'truth', also.

One of them offered a verse from Job that was 'clinching' the matter for him. A verse I'd never before heard given to 'support' the 'post-trib' view. Perhaps it's a 'new' one they've just 'discovered', that they think puts a nail in the 'coffin' of Biblical Truth?

    "..so man lies down and does not rise. Until the heavens are no more, they shall not awake nor be aroused from their sleep" (Job14:12)
He was combining this along with Mt24:29-31 where the angels "gather together His elect..." This combination had turned him into a militant anti-pre-tribber. He didn't say 'what' he was, but I assume this means he's now "post-trib"? ...and also post-millennial?

'Not going to re-address, at this moment, the matter of the "elect" being Israel, being collected from the "four winds" whence they had been "scattered" (Ezk5:10, Zec2:6) Those who contend that the "elect" in Mt24 is the "church" should consider that the Church has never been "scattered" to the "winds" like that, to -be- "gathered".

But what about this passage from Job? It looks pretty 'damning' doesn't it...on the surface. What about it? How does one answer such an incontrovertible-seeming "proof-text"?

When Job says this, what is he doing? Job and his friends are having a 'debate'. They are each proclaiming their own virtue and wisdom. Since the book of Job is part of the canon of Scripture, we can be sure it is an -accurate- record of that debate.

But does that mean -everything- they each say is 'Truth'? If we were to assume so, then we could also -accurately- quote the Bible as saying, "..there is no god.." It's there... you can look it up... In fact, there's 'tons' of verses that say so. De32:39, 1Ki8:23, 2Ki1:3, 2Ch6:14, Ps14:1, 53:1... to list a few. You don't believe me? Look them up. (said: tongue-in-cheek)

!!! CONTEXT !!!

Let's observe the most-illustrated example. The others are just like it. Ps14:1 says, "There is no God!" It's a complete sentence, beginning with a capitalized word, and ending with punctuation. See? But what does the CONTEXT say? "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God!'"

You see, the psalmist is -accurately- relaying 'what' the "fool" -says-.

When the serpent is seducing Eve, the Bible -accurately- records how satan lies to Eve by saying, "You shall not die the death" (Ge3:4) It is not true that "you shall not die the death", because Eve died; and even now the "wages of sin is death" (Rom6:23) But the Genesis passage -accurately- tells us 'what' satan -said- to Eve.

It's been a little while since our walk-thru mailings have been from Ecclesiastes. But remember how Psalms - Proverbs - Ecclesiastes address matters of Spirit - Soul - Body? In that context, from a -physical- perspective, the afterlife is an unknown. It seems, from this side of death, that there is no further existence beyond the grave; that man has no advantage over animals. (Ecc3:19-22)

And does not Job use similar arguments regarding his own birth, saying it would have been better if he had never existed, etc. (Job ch3)

And after Job and his friends have talked themselves out, it summarizes that Job had been talking as though he was "righteous in his own eyes" and "justifying his soul" (32:1-2) Can we not understand that the book of Job and their 'debate' is on the same plain as Ecclesiastes. Yes, as Ecclesiastes does, they do speak of spiritual matters, but overall it is based on "Body"...the physically apparent. Such a book where -men- are discussing things from a 'human' perspective, is not a very reliable source to understand Eternal Truths and prophecy. Yes, the book of Job records it -accurately-...but it accurately records the -flawed- arguments of 'man'.

But then God addresses Job. What is God's opening salvo? "Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?" (38:2) You can look it up, if interested, and read chs 38-41. And in-amongst God's sermon, Job replies a couple of times:

    "Behold, I have been vile! What shall I answer You? I have put my hand to my mouth. Once I have spoken, but I will not answer; yea, twice, but I will proceed no further" (40:4-5) And when God is finished, Job says, "So I have proclaimed what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know." (42:3)
With that as background, we go back to that verse where -Job- (not God) says, "so man lies down and does not rise. Until the heavens are no more, they shall not awake nor be aroused from their sleep" (14:12)

Regarding death, what does God question Job? Job, you think you know it all...?

    "Have the gates of death been disclosed to you? Or have you seen the gates of the shadow of death? ....declare if you know it all!" (38:17-18)
In other words... When there is such an abundance of Scripture pointing to what is commonly called "pre-trib" (which we won't address here right now but you can find at the website TopicSearch), do we rely on a single lonely verse of 'questionable' origins (a topic which God addresses to Job, telling him he doesn't know what he's talking about) to refute the "preponderance of the evidence"?

So... if any of the rest of you have been blasted with this same verse, perhaps the preceeding, here, will help you when you need to "give a defense". (1Pet3:15)

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Submitting to fingerprinting?

A subscriber asks about the Christian response to generic government mandated fingerprinting. Michigan is running a 'test' case, described as...

    "On April 1, 2006 a law came into effect in Michigan. This law reguires that all NEW HIRES submit to an FBI background check that includes fingerprint scanning. The fingerprint scanning is done by a company called Identrix. They are the only company that are allowed to do this scanning. This whole program is backed by federal funding, of which Michigan is a test-state for this particular program."
This sort of thing, of course, runs in the same vein as microchip implant technology. Compiling huge databases on every human on earth, as well as farm livestock and pets. Part of the process of 'centralizing' -control- on humanity. Getting all the data collected into one place makes it easy for the "beast" to have ultimate control.

The question, comparing 1Pet2:12-13 & Rom13:1-7 to Ac5:29. On things like this do we "render to Caesar"? (Mk12:17) or do we "obey God rather than men"? (Ac5:29)

The person's e-mail was long, which is why I'm not pasting it here; but I think this summary is sufficient.

VW ANSWER:
Revelation ch13 speaks of two "beasts": There is an aspect of 70th week woes that is religious, with a deliberate campaign against God and "the saints" (vs7) And a reminder, which we have addressed in the past, an understanding why the Rapture of the Church is 'prior' to the 70th week. Jesus promised the Church that the "gates of hades shall -NOT- prevail against it" (Mt16:18) But here, the beast is granted to "OVERCOME" the "saints". (vs7) His tenure is for 42 months. (vs5) After the Rapture, during the ensuing 70th week, there's apparently people who come to God in Faith; but when this beast arises he will kill them, for not submitting and doing "homage to the image" (vs15) That's the religious.

The other aspect is the economic. The notorious "mark" for the purpose of being able to engage in commerce. (vs16-17) This, too, appears to be during that 42 month window.

Which half of the 70th week is this? Would it not obviously be the 2nd half, when the one who confirms the covenant, in the "middle" of the week causes Israel's morning and evening sacrifices to cease. (Dan9:27) It says that "..he shall speak words against the Most High, and shall continually harass the saints of the Most High. And he shall intend to change times and law. And they shall be given into his hand for a period of a time and times and one half time." (Dan7:25)

So, even when the Rapture happens, there will yet be 3 1/2 years before the beast's "mark" is actually implemented. And when we read in Rev ch13, does it not seem apparent that the 'religious' and 'economic' aspects will be tied together? i.e. You want this 'mark' so you can engage in commerce, first 'bow' to the beast. Submit and pledge your loyalty to the one who is blaspheming the Most High. Participate in the blasphemy. And now, in exchange for your oath, here is your 'mark' with which all your financial woes are evaporated.

But such technology does not just suddenly pop up on the radar screen one day..."Whoa, dude, where did this come from???" For something on such a massive global scale, there has to be years of development; to figure out exactly what they want the system to do, and then to work out all the kinks and glitches, and to develop the hardware to match the software, etc.etc. Which is just exactly what they've been doing, and are doing, here and there, for quite a few years. There's little 'pockets' of civilization here and there, in the US, Canada, Europe, Balkans, Russia, etc.etc where these systems are currently being tested.

Are these 'tests' -THE- "mark"? No. The Rapture hasn't yet happened. The evil one has not yet been unveiled. (2Th2:8) The 'image' has not yet been built, nor been given "spirit" (Rev13:15) The "mark" has not yet been introduced.

But all these "tests" surely point to us that the time is "soon".

Is it wrong to submit to fingerprinting, in order to keep one's job? Nothing 'spiritually' wrong with it that I can think of. The fact of the matter is that the government -already- has so much data accumulated on each of us, the fingerprint is likely proportionately miniscule comparatively. But in America, where we have been used to unprecedented 'liberty', compared to most other countries on earth, this is an invasion of what we have come to assume is our own personal "privacy". But if anybody has taken their babies and children for finger/hand/foot printing (for their 'protection' against predators), they are now already in the 'system'.

And now with [P]elosi and her [P]als set to run the government, it's likely a matter of months before that anti-hate speech bill becomes law, so then Americans can also be imprisoned for speaking God's Word regarding things like Gay and Islamic issues...just like is already happening in other places like Canada and Europe. I've read (don't know if it's true?) that in England, if people are merely carrying on their own 'private' conversation in a restaurant booth, and somebody in a nearby booth overhears, and doesn't 'like' what they hear, they can be reported to the "thought police", and fined or imprisoned. So much for Magna Carta and Freedom of Speech! Reagan might have persuaded Gorbachev to "tear down" the Berlin wall....and everybody rejoiced that "communism was defeated".... IN TRUTH, the principles of communism are still on-the-march and 'winning'. It is no longer called "communism", so people are deceived. But this push towards the one-world-government is nothing more-nor-less than 'communism' merely wearing a different costume. And our own president and congress are foisting it upon us, full-speed ahead.

But all this is in accordance with Bible prophecy. If "-ALL- the nations" are gathered against Jerusalem (Zec14:2), America -must- be reduced to what the rest of the world is. And it's pretty much 'there' now!

The thing that most christians don't realize is that part of communism's methods is to engage the churches and their pastors. World leaders understand that there is nothing stronger than 'religion' to mobilize the masses. So they have been working through the national/world council of churches toward that end. And as those who once were [C]hristian have been falling down the apostate path, little by little, they have joined the pack. And from things I've read recently it appears as though the currently highly influential Rick Warren has jumped into bed with the Council on Foreign Relations, one of the prime movers toward that end. Communism is of satan. By definition, it is "atheistic". Is it any wonder, then, that there has also been such a push to force the devil's music into the churches? To the human psyche, music is typically an even greater motivator than the spoken sermon. But seeing as how communism, and in trickle-down, the churches are 'atheistic', is it any wonder that it is all 'empty'!

Bush is "methodist", one of the front-runners in the national council of churches. He is also Skull-and-Bones (and FreeMason?)(something he shares with Clinton and Kerry), and those oathes, loyalties and agendas take precedence to -anything- else. Is it easier to understand how he has seduced the religious "values" voters to support him in the past? But then, does it make sense that, just because Pelosi and her gang are now in power, doesn't necessarily mean that a whole lot will change. If Bush and the republicans had wanted to, they could have made great strides in matters like abortion, gay marriage, etc. But they sat on their hands. So, the nation 'continues' over towards the 'cliff', and is a mere few paces away from the ledge, from where it will nose-dive.

But...back to 'fingerprinting'. If a Christian is balking at it for prophetic reasons; well, it is not the beast's "mark". If for poltical reasons; that would be a personal call. I suspect fingerprinting, these days, is a relative 'needle' in the 'haystack' of today's realities. It might be one cog in the gears of liberty-erosion...but those gears are already spinning pretty fast. If the balking is for personal 'privacy' issues; well, I think we have lost those many years ago when we started having SS numbers and ID-driver's licenses. And any place we have a bank account, or mortgage loan, or anything like that, the right people with the right know-how can get at that data, in a few seconds, with a few quick keystrokes of their computer. We are -already- 'in' the "system"!

God knows about all these things. In America we have had a couple centuries of certain ideals that most of the rest of the world have no concept of, and many only dream of. We have come to 'expect' it as the "norm". And it's probably a bit 'scary' to think that we are losing our perception of the Constitution. But God knows about it. These are all things dealing with our earthly physical existence.

But Jesus said to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" and "DO NOT BE ANXIOUS ABOUT TOMORROW, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" (Mt6:33-34)

Amen!

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Animal attacks and last days?

READER QUESTION:
I know that in the end days the animals would all be beasts?, I dont know how to word this but won't they turn against people , big time in the last days? Can I find that in the Word or is this some idea that I have of myself. So many animals have turned against people like the STingray attacks and Sea lions attacking humans amoung many these days .. is it not a prelude to the end days?? Is it in the Bible?

VW ANSWER:
These recent attacks... I wonder if they have to do with increase in attacks, as much as the fact that more people know about them, due to the media coverage? The famous "crocodile" man gets killed, and his grieving widow is shown repeatedly on prime time, it turns 'one' attack into the equivalent of 'dozens' in people's minds, in terms of the emotional dynamics. (I really wish those tabloid shows like Insider, Extra, ET, etc would just go away... for all the turmoil they stir up! They seem to relish and thrive on the bizarre, twisted and tragic.)

I'm reminded of a year or two ago when there were lots of shark attacks, I forget where now, around Florida? And immediately the public perception was that sharks, generically, were attacking 'more' that summer. But a bit later in the same season somebody addressed the issue with actual 'numbers' (cold hard facts), and the actual statistics did not support the "increase" theory....the actual numbers were about the same as 'normal'. Just... the media got into the picture, and a lot more people -knew- about the attacks and sensationalize them.

I suspect it's the same with this so-called "bird flu". So... a few people have died here and there... but if a person compared those numbers against those who die of any 'normal' kind of flu, or other such things, the percentages, compared to the population, are really waaay off the radar screen, 'invisible' for their smallness. It's just that 'somebody' someplace has an 'agenda' to instill -fear- into people, setting the stage for government controls down-the-road....when the time is 'ripe'.

However, that aside... -YES- the Bible does speak of animals in the end-time judgments.

Other than some of the famous passages related to Armageddon and Gog/Magog where God invites the predatory animals to His "sacrifice/supper" (Ezk39:17, Rev19:17) where the people died in warfare, during the 70th week events as spoken of in Revelation it says, "So I looked, and behold, a pale green horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed behind him. And authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth." (Rev6:8) Exactly 'what' that might be, the passage doesn't say.

The term "beast" could equally refer to 'big' animals, like lions, bears and wolves; but could equally refer to microbes and viruses. According to the dictionary a "beast" is an "animal other than a human being".

On the other hand, once the 70th week is over, God also makes the promise that animals will again become peaceful...

    And in that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will break the bow and the sword, and the battle out of the earth, and I will make them lie down safely. (Ho2:18)

    And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the nursing child shall play near the hole of the adder, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the viperís den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea. (Is11:7-9)

    The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpentís food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, says Jehovah. (Is65:25)

This would seem to be a restoration of the order of earth's creation, from the curse given after the flood:
    And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every living thing of the earth, upon every flying creature of the heavens, upon everything that moves on the earth, and upon all the fish of the sea. They have been entrusted into your hand. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have designated all things for you, even as the green plants. (Gen9:2-3)
Why do animals attack, when they do so? for 1) food , and/or 2) because they are afraid. During the Millennium they will become vegetarians again, like they were in the beginning at the creation. (Ge1:29-30)

But yes. God used animals to judge Egypt when He brought Israel out 3500 years ago, and He will do so again when He redeems Israel out from the midst of all the nations coming against Jerusalem. (Zec14:2-3)

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Holy Spirit's "witness"

READER COMMENTS:
During this holiday season I thought it fitting to say I am thankful for your ministry. I have gleaned much from your writings. Space and time would prevent me from listing them all but I must mention one. The one subtle little thing that you say quite often has really has hit home with me. (I was continually having or NOT having a witness of the Holy Spirit.) (see also: Link) This was something I always knew but you put the right emphasis upon it. If we are in fellowship with God as we should be, everything we encounter will give us this witness or lack thereof and we should act accordingly. What trouble and grief we could avoid if we could learn this great truth.... Thanks for putting that in perspective.

VW COMMENTS:
This reader makes observations somewhat 'opposite' of what somebody else did (privately to me) a few weeks ago. I could wish that you-all would come to these same understandings that this reader has....those of you who have not yet...

  • Jesus promised that it was necessary for Him to go away, in order that the Holy Spirit could come to "guide" us "into all truth" (Jn16:13)

  • Jesus promised to not leave us as orphans, but that the Holy Spirit would come to us (Jn14:18-26)

  • Jesus commanded the disciples to "wait" in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit (Ac1:4)

  • And in Acts ch2 the Holy Spirit came to the disciples

  • As Stephen was about to be martyred, he blasts the Jewish leaders for "always opposing the Holy Spirit" (Ac7:51)

  • Jesus spoke of NO FORGIVENESS to those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit. (Mt12:32)

  • And as the disciples engaged in ministry it says repeatedly that they were "filled" with the Spirit. (Ac4:8, 31, 13:9, 13:52) or that they received direction from the Holy Spirit (Ac13:2, 16:7-10) And Paul exhorts that we are to be "filled by the Spirit" (Eph5:18)

  • Anything we do as the 'body' of Christ, we do as the Holy Spirit distributes the gifts for ministry. (1Co12)

  • At salvation it is the Holy Spirit that "seals" us with "promise" (Eph1:13)

  • And...if a person is NOT indwelt by the Holy Spirit, they do not belong to the Lord. (Rom8:9)
Now some, who are soooo afraid that the mere -mention- of "spirit" is an indication of "charismania", are reticent to acknowledge that it is the Holy Spirit who leads us in -each- and -every- step we take in our Christian walk, and so they equate the Spirit's working with the book of Acts...ONLY.

But remember, Stephen blasted the Jews for rejecting the Spirit, what? Just as their ancestors had done. (Ac7:51-52)

Here's a brief list of some OT references to the Holy Spirit and service: Ex31:3, 35:31, Ezk43:5, Gen41:38, Num11:17,25,26, 27:18, Jud3:10, 6:34, 11:29, 1Sa10:6, 16:13 Well, there's more, but that should be enough?

David asks:
"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?" (Ps139:7)

We are not talking about charismania's shamanistic pagan practice of being "spirit-filled" (with demons). But if we understand just how-pervasive and deep-rooted to the core is this matter that God's Spirit is "striving with men" (Gen6:3), and that the fellowship the Believer has with God is at the level of the Holy Spirit, that unless a person is led by God's Holy Spirit ("For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God" Rom8:14) such a person does NOT -belong- to God... does it begin to make better sense 'why' the charismatic forces today are so strong? The Holy Spirit is at the very -root- of sonship and salvation. So if satan can produce his own counterfeit and call it: being "spirit-filled"... and also produce some 'experiences' such as babbling, being slain and other miraculous-seeming events... what better way to perpetrate his grand deception!

Just because satan has devised his most-clever deception, does not somehow make God's Holy Spirit -disappear-. You see, it doesn't matter if a person goes for the "spirit-filled" demonic experiences, or if they swing on the pendulum to the complete opposite side where they rely on -no- Spirit... for satan's purposes it's all the same. In both cases the person is not being led by -God's- Holy Spirit. Being led by demons, or NO spirits...it's the same difference. Both of those situations is -minus- GOD's Holy Spirit. And if a person is minus God's Holy Spirit, what was the verdict? "he is not His" (Rom8:9)

Again... this is not a matter of having "more" or "less" -spirit-. It's not a matter of being non-charismatic, but 'leaning' that way. It is not like that one Q/A item where some believe in "holy ghost pressure". Turn on the compressor and then open a valve and let out "some spirit". NO WAY!!! It is not a matter of having 'more' or 'less' of some -quantity- of mystical -COMMODITY-. But it is a matter of: Does one have God or not? "God is Spirit" (Jn4:24) It is not turning on a valve to some 'pressure', but of "looking unto Jesus" (Heb12:2) The Holy Spirit is the manifestation of Jesus in our hearts. Jesus promised that the Father and He would come and "make Our abode with him" (Jn14:23) How does God do that? Through the Holy Spirit.

This is how we "Know the Lord" If you need to review: suggested reading of the past article "He did not Know the Lord"

Sorry if this sounds like we're 'harping'....but this is sooo important. It is so important, that satan has this as his prime counterfeit: being visible in paganism, Rome's mysticism, charismania....and its tentacles have snagged through the cracks into what were once fundamental gospel-preaching churches. How? you ask? Through what is called "worship" music. There is hardly any nook or cranny where satan's counterfeit has not groped.

But, if you don't have the Holy Spirit, you are not a True Believer. And if you are not following the Holy Spirit's leading, which by the way will -always- be in agreement with the Scriptures (2Tim3:15-17, Ga1:8-9), you are not following God; but are going down your own carnal path.

If you know the Lord, you have the Holy Spirit. And if you have the Holy Spirit you also have the "witness" of the of the Spirit "that" you are a "child of God" (Rom8:16) And if you are a child of God you will know "the things of God" (1Co2:11) as you "have the mind of Christ" (vs16b)

Thus, back to that which the "reader" (above) mentioned: Having a "witness" (or not) is part of -what- it is to -BE- a [C]hristian. By definition.

If you don't have this witness, but you think of yourself as being a 'Christian', then please... "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know, yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you; unless indeed you are ones failing the test? But I hope that you will know that we are not ones failing the test" (2Co13:5-6)

Amen!

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