November 28, 2006
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?
'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:
Regarding death, what does God question Job? Job, you think you know it all...?
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)
Submitting to fingerprinting?
A subscriber asks about the Christian response to generic government mandated fingerprinting. Michigan is running a 'test' case, described as...
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.
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)
Animal attacks and last days?
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 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)
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)
Holy Spirit's "witness"
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?
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)