Archive for the ‘bible’ Category

Recently I was reading John 17 and skipped ahead to chapter 18 and Peter’s denial of Jesus. ¬†What interested me is that Jesus prays for the disciples that they “should be kept from the evil one.” ¬†Yet Peter’s denial of Jesus is extremely strong. ¬†It is not a “yeah I don’t know the guy type of denial.” ¬†In Matthew’s account 26:60-75, Peter takes an oath that he does not know Jesus and he curses and swears. ¬†Each denial gets more intense and spiteful. ¬†The question I wonder is if Peter were to die right then and there would he go to heaven?

I believe he would. ¬†It is not based upon how faithful I am, but how faithful Jesus is. ¬†In Matthew 10:33, Jesus says “But whoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” ¬†At first read you might think, “If I deny Christ before people then I am going to Hell” and many popular bible teachers today would have you think and believe that. ¬†However, they are dead wrong. ¬†It is important to understand that one must take into account the entire context of any given passage. ¬†In Matthew 10 Jesus is speaking with the disciples not a person struggling with sin or someone who occasionally goes to church. ¬†Often scripture will interpret scripture. ¬†A passage in 2 Timothy 2:12-13 sheds light on Matthew 10 and Peter’s denial, which says “If we endure we shall also reign with Him. ¬†If we deny Him, He also will deny us. ¬†If we are faithless He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” ¬†Is Jesus contradicting himself by saying He will deny us, but then in the last verse says “He cannot deny Himself.” ¬†The key to this passage, Matthew 10, and many other difficult passages are rewards. ¬†Jesus says if we endure we shall also reign with Him. ¬†Endure what? ¬†Could be temptation, or a trial, or not being ashamed of Christ. ¬†Denying Christ is a sin, however, it does not separate us from Christ. ¬†To be denied by Christ means to be denied rewards. ¬†The reward in 2 Timothy is to reign with Christ in His Kingdom. ¬†If we are faithless, He remains faithful. ¬†Even if we deny Him or are ashamed of Him. ¬†Why? ¬†He cannot and will not deny Himself. ¬†Therefore, John MacArthur has gotten it wrong in his writings. ¬†He wants to load people up for good works, which is good but our assurance of salvation is not based on works. ¬†It is based purely on Christ. ¬†If we endure or overcome then we will reign with Christ. ¬†Not every believer receives this reward because it is based upon how we live. ¬†Remember if we deny Him, then He will deny us, of that honor of that reward.

May God give you renewed encouragement and strength to live for Him.  To endure for Him.

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I saw a very interesting article on Yahoo! News today. ¬†The title was, “Clinton fears efforts to ‘re-Sovietize’ in Europe”. ¬†Hillary Clinton spoke of “efforts by oppressive governments to ‘re-Sovietize’ much of Eastern Europe to Central Asia.” ¬†Also she said this, “It’s distressing that 20 years into the post-Soviet era…so many of the hoped for indicators for progress are retreating.” ¬†Russia has been displaying characteristics of it’s old Cold War days by cracking down on democracy and human rights groups. ¬†This ‘re-Sovietize’ would be a ‘customs union’ called Eurasian Union. ¬†“Russia led efforts for greater regional integration.”

The statements in quotes are from Bradley Klapper.

What does this mean? ¬†Let me start by writing that it does not that we should run for the hills, because the end is near. ¬†However, it is very interesting to watch the European Union get established and now you have Russia doing something similar. ¬†Russia no doubt wants more power and the Eurasian Union would be rouse to gain the power. ¬†I believe that is why Clinton was upset upon hearing of it. ¬†When I read the article it reminded me of Daniel 7:23-24. ¬† In verse 24, the ten horns are ten kings that were on the beast. ¬†The ten kings represent ten kingdoms that will be ruling upon the earth at the time of the Tribulation. ¬†Russia putting this union together tells me that a kingdom is being set up. ¬†One more step closer to the Lord’s return.

I think what is interesting is what will happen if Syria is overthrown.  Will Russia or some other country come in and form another union.  Come quickly Lord- Revelation 22:20

CNN reported that rockets have landed near two of Israel’s most populated cities. ¬†The fighting since Wednesday has let 24 dead and 270 wounded. ¬† The attack was from Hamas militants. ¬†Hamas is a political party that governs the Gaza Strip. ¬†Wikipedia stated that their “1988 charter calls for the replacement of Israel and the Palestinian Territories with an Islamic Palestinian state.”

What does this recent event mean?  There has never been any rest in the Middle-East since I have been alive.  I am sure some will observe what is going on and think nothing of it.  However, this conflict has been escalating and now that the United States has been lukewarm as to their involvement the stage is being seemingly set for the Antichrist to rise up and offer a false peace.

Daniel 9:27 says, “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week…” ¬†The he goes back to verse 26 and the phrase “And the people of prince who is to come…” ¬†The prince to come is the Antichrist or The Beast. ¬†The first 3 1/2 years this covenant will be honored but then he will break it. ¬†Also please remember that the Tribulation will not begin until the covenant is signed. ¬†The Rapture can happen at any moment.

What does this mean for us today? ¬†This conflict is the beginning of a possible all out war. ¬†I would not be surprised at all if Russia were to get involved. ¬† I make that assumption because Russia has been helping Iran and for some reason they seem to be persistent in wanting to have some sort of stake in the Middle-East. ¬†Why? ¬†Probably because they want to be in on the oil that is plentiful in the Middle-East. ¬†Is Russia Gog and Magog? ¬†I lean towards that view. ¬†For a time it looked like Russia would never be a world power any more in the ’90s, however, now they are beginning to assert themselves once again. ¬†Even with all that is happening in the Middle-East, the next thing on God’s timetable is the Rapture. ¬†As Revelation says, “Behold I come quickly…” ¬†May our Lord come back for us quickly.

Revelation 22:1,2 says this, “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. ¬†In the middle of the street and on either side of the river was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits each tree yielding its fruit every month. ¬†The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

I grew up in Indiana in an old Baptist church in Zionsville. ¬†One thing that always stuck with me was how I should interpret God’s word. ¬† It is my opinion that God’s word was written for us to take Him literally. ¬†However, unless the different authors of the books use literary devices for example: hyperbole, litotes, or just a simple “as,” “like” for comparison. ¬†For me this clears up confusion when I read certain passages, like Jesus saying if your eye offends you pluck it out. ¬†Does Jesus really want me to pluck out my eye? ¬†No. ¬†It is a figure of speech, meaning be willing sacrifice anything to enter the kingdom of God.

Now when we come to the above passage, like many passages in Revelation it tells us something interesting about the scene in God’s Kingdom. ¬†There is a river of life and in the middle there is a tree of life. ¬†A tree that has different fruit on it. ¬†Then the passage says, “the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” ¬† The bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:35-49 that we will have resurrected bodies, “we have borne the image the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.” ¬†So what role do these leaves play? ¬†So here is my explanation, which comes from a Pre-Tribulational Rapture point of view (which means that God will rapture believers today before the Tribulation begins).

When the Lord returns to put an end to the Tribulation, He will immediately begin to set up His Kingdom. ¬†The Overcomers from Revelation 2 & 3 will rule and reign with Christ in His Kingdom. ¬†However, who are the people who are living in the kingdom? ¬†Let me suggest this, the people living in the Kingdom will be the true Jewish Remnant as well as children (who have not taken the mark of the Beast). ¬†Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven was like a child. ¬†The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, because of their sin of unbelief. ¬†They wandered because God was not going to allow that generation to enter the Promised Land. ¬†Who entered the Promised Land then? ¬†The children of the previous generation. ¬†God’s Kingdom will last a thousand years. ¬†Longer than any other kingdom.

These children now in the Kingdom will not have resurrected bodies like those who have died or will be raptured up.  But their bodies will be like those who lived before the flood.  Those people lived extremely long lives.  How that will happen I do not know.  What I do know is that back in Revelation 22:2 the leaves of the tree of life were for the healing of the nations.  The word nations implies gentiles not Jews.  For believers we will have resurrected bodies and have no need for healing.  But the people of t he nations will.  Someone gets hurt during the Kingdom then they will be healed.

It is a pretty mind blowing verse, however, everything in God’s Kingdom serves a purpose. ¬†I believe God will not let children go to Hell. ¬†What is the age of accountability? ¬†That is hard to answer because there is no verse in the Bible to suggest what age it could be. ¬†Technically you have the passage where David loses his kid in 2 Samuel, but it is vague at best. Hypothetically writing I would say the age could be anything under 18. ¬†Your brain reaches full development by the time you are in your early 20’s. ¬†I come to that conclusion based on the approximate age of the youths entering the Promised Land.

Its cool if you disagree with me or whatever.  There is not a verse that specifically says anything about it.  All I am writing is that this could be how things shake down.  I do tend to think that this is how it will be.  My opinion.  Feel free to share your own.

Over a year ago I was listening to a blog talk prophecy radio show by John Claeys and a caller asked a question about the upcoming election. ¬†I will never forget John’s statement to the caller, which was “There has never been a President who was elected to a second term without supporting Israel.” ¬†President Obama is now the first. ¬†He has been cold in his support of Israel. ¬†Therefore, the fact that he got reelected tells me something about bible prophecy. ¬†This is not about political parties or ideology as it is about what God is doing.

In Daniel 7, he describes four beasts. ¬†Each beast is a representative a kingdom that is and ones that will be. ¬†The first is Babylon, then the Medes-Persians, followed by Greece, and lastly the fourth Kingdom which is not necessarily Rome but a new world empire. ¬†I write that it is not Rome because Daniel who correctly identifies Greece before they were really any sort of a power could have done the same with Rome. ¬†This fourth empire is like Rome, but different. ¬†It is more vicious and dominant than Rome ever was. ¬†Daniel 7:23 says, “The fourth beast shall be A fourth kingdom on earth. ¬†Which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth…” ¬†Daniel goes on and says in verse 24, “The ten horns (of the fourth beast) are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom…” ¬†The day of America being a world power is swiftly coming to an end.

I am not one of those doomsday people who believe because Obama got elected that we should all run for the hills and hide in caves.  In my previous blog I wrote about how God is ultimately in control and leading us.  This is all happening to our country because God has a plan and His plan usurps anything that we would want.  Therefore, we should look to God and not our president for our help.

It seems that Obama does not have a good relationship with Israel, also America has seemed to lose it’s influence in the Middle-East. ¬†What does that mean? It means the way is being cleared for a new leader in the Middle-East to rise up. ¬†Who will that be? ¬†He will be the Antichrist or as John calls him in Revelation The Beast. ¬†America will probably be one of the ten kingdoms that Daniel 7 writes about. ¬†The world now is becoming a much smaller place and it will be interesting to watch what will happen here in the next four years with President Obama. ¬†All I know is that God is control. ¬†His plan was for Obama to get elected to set up other things He is doing for His return. ¬†May the Lord come quickly.

I first met the phrase “outer darkness” when I was young bible college student in Florida. ¬†I can remember being scared as to what it meant. ¬†It just seemed like another phrase from the bible that I could not understand. ¬†One phrase I learned in school that has served me well has been “scripture interprets scripture.” ¬†I found this phrase to be very true. ¬†When we come to a passage that is difficult to understand from it’s context we can look to other passages in the bible to find clues to the true meaning.

The phrase “outer darkness” only occurs in Matthew. ¬†The first occurrence is in 8:12, Jesus tells those followed Him that the sons of the kingdom will be cast into outer darkness. ¬†The “sons of the kingdom” here refers to the Jews who had the covenants and promises and should have been heirs to the kingdom. ¬†They did not endure, therefore, they will not reign with Christ in the kingdom. ¬†Later on in Matthew 13:37-38, Jesus uses the sons of the kingdom phrase to refer to the good soil that produces fruit in the parable of the sower. ¬†I believe the NIV switches out “sons” for servants, however, it is the same Greek word that is used 8:12 for sons and when I learned Greek I had to memorize the word with it’s meaning as son.

Outer darkness can actually be translated as “the darkness outside,” as one professor of Greek once told me. ¬†The darkness outside seems to portray a different meaning. ¬†It gives more of a sense of being locked out of your house. ¬†You can see inside the lights are on, but you are shut out in the darkness.

The other two occurrences of “outer darkness” are in Matthew 22:13, 24:30. ¬†In each of these two usages there is an individual who was not prepared to be in front of the king or the master and the result was that they were not rewarded like the rest of the group. ¬†They suffered loss (1 John 2:28). ¬†In all three usages of the phrase, the audience are followers of Christ. ¬†The concept of Hell is not in view. ¬†I make that assumption because when the Lord spoke of Hell, He was always very direct in speaking of it. ¬†The first usage of this term (8:12) is used in a setting similar if not the Marriage Feast of the Lamb. ¬†The second usage is also alluding to the Marriage Feast, even though it is not mentioned. ¬†For further study of this future event look at Revelation 19:9. ¬†The last usage in Matthew 24:30 is in connection with rewards. ¬†One servant buries his talent and suffers loss because he did nothing with what God gave him.

The Greek word for “outside” used here occurs only in the three Matthew passages. ¬†However, it does occur in LXX (the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew OT) about 23 times and is connected to the temple or tabernacle. ¬† 15 times it is used in Ezekiel to describe the outer court of the temple. ¬†It seems that the man who was not dressed properly and as well as the servant who did nothing with his one talent were thrown into the outer court of the temple. ¬†Charles Stanley ¬†puts it like this in his book, (“Eternal Security”), “To be in the ‘outer darkness’ is to be in the kingdom of God but outside the circle of men and women whose faithfulness on this earth earned them a special rank or position of authority.”

What does this all mean?  It means God wants to reward people for living , sacrificing, and suffering for Him.  Part of that reward is an intimate Marriage Feast.  A feast where others who were saved and yet did not care to live for Him miss out on.  We all sin and fall short of the glory of God.  Yet God rewards us for the tough chooses in life we make for Him.  Be encouraged God does take note of how we live.

What should we wear?

Posted: September 27, 2012 in bible, christianity, faith, religion

I used to think I was a snazzy dresser.  However, when I got married I realized that confidence in the way I dressed was misguided.  The problem of the way I dressed had much to do with the fact I realized I was color blind.   It is important to look our best and especially to have the right clothes for the right event.  Jesus alludes to this in Matthew 22:12.

In this parable (Matthew 22:1-14), Jesus describes a King who has arranged for his son to get married.  The King sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding, yet they were not willing to come.  The King sends out other servants to call the guests, however, they seized these servants and treated them cruelly and killed them.  Therefore, the King told his servants to go out to every place and invite any and all people.  The wedding hall was full when the King noticed a guest did not have on the proper wedding garments.  A basic obligation of guests was the proper attire.  It would be like in our culture some one just wearing a t-shirt to a wedding.   The guest is cast outside from the wedding.  The parable is about the kingdom of heaven (vs 2).

When we read the phrase “cast into outer darkness,” our mind immediately thinks that this darkness could be hell. ¬†While I admit that upon first read it would give that impression, however, I believe outer darkness refers to something different entirely. ¬†In Revelation 19:8, tells us “And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” ¬†This verse implies that saints will be given clothes to wear, yet these clothes will reflect their righteous acts. ¬†Conceivably it means that some saints will be brighter than others. ¬† Again the fine linen is a reflection of your good works. ¬†Salvation is absolutely free yet to be rewarded is a result of works.

The wedding guest who was kicked out, because he did not obey what was required of him to be there. ¬†It is easy when we see other believers who are not living for the Lord to automatically assume they are not saved at all. ¬†It is easy to do this. ¬†Most believers have probably done it at some point. ¬†However, we cannot see what is in the heart, only God can. ¬†This wedding guest was in my opinion a Christian, but someone who was had not been living for God. ¬†Hence, his garments were not appropriate. ¬†Did this guest go to Hell? ¬†I don’t believe he did. ¬†I do believe that the Marriage Feast of the Lamb is reward not an automatic for every Christian. ¬†I believe that because this parable alludes to that event throughout. ¬†What is the outer darkness? ¬†And why is there weeping and gnashing of teeth? ¬†The weeping and gnashing of teeth is a sign of anguish. ¬†I believe there will be believers in the kingdom who will be saddened by how they squandered their lives for foolish things instead of investing it for the Lord. ¬†Much like this wedding guest they will miss out on the Marriage Feast, because they did not live for Jesus. ¬†Our salvation is free and secure once we believe. ¬†However, we must live for Him in order to be rewarded.

As for the question of What is the outer darkness?  Check out my blog tomorrow as I address that question.

 

The conflict in the Middle-East is as old as the story of Abraham in the bible.  In fact that is where the whole conflict began.  The Libyan strike against the US embassy is not surprising.  These attacks will probably continue until either someone is able to get the terrorist world to agree to peace or another world war then peace.

The bible tells us in Matthew 24:7 says, “For nation will rise against nation and kingdom and against kingdom…” ¬†This little phrase is a Jewish idiom. ¬†An idiom is a common saying that has specific meaning to a certain culture. ¬†In our American culture we use such phrases as, “the elevator doesn’t go to the top floor,” or “they are a few fries short of a Happy Meal.” ¬†If you were to say these phrases to someone from another culture, the true meaning of the phrase would be lost until they understood the culture. ¬†This phrase from Matthew 24:7 is repeated similarly in Isaiah 19:1-4 and 2 Chronicles 15:1-7.

In Jesus’ day this expression, “nation rise up against nation, kingdom against kingdom,” ¬†was a Jewish idiom for a world war, which would come before Messiah. ¬†The Zohar Chadash ¬†says, “At that time wars shall be stirred up in the world, Nation shall be against nation and city against city; much distress shall be renewed against the enemies of the Israelites.” ¬†Also the Bereshit Rabbah says, “If you shall see kingdom rising against each other in turn, then give heed and note the footsteps of the Messiah.”

The world has already seen two world wars. ¬†Could a third world war be coming soon? ¬†It is possible. ¬†According to bible prophecy the world will at some point come together as one (Daniel 7:23-24). ¬†It does not surprise me that Obama has demphasized¬†America’s role in the Middle-East and in many ways America is not as dominant as it once was. ¬†In terms of bible prophecy this was bound to happen at some point. ¬†With America coming to a more even playing field with the rest of the world, it would set up the one world government that the bible speaks of. ¬†However, a major hang up is the Arab world right now. ¬†If there was another world war then it would seem likely that it would end the influence of terrorism in the world. ¬†Then the world would have “peace and security,” that 2 Thessalonians 5:1-3 speaks of. ¬†However, after a brief period of this then sudden destruction with the arrival of the Day of the Lord (the Tribulation).

If you believe in Christ as your savior then you have no need to fear because you will be caught up to be with Him.  You will not experience the horror of the Tribulation (Romans 8:1).

He had to speak to him.  He had questions, questions that he or any other person he knew could answer.  Therefore, he waited.  He waited until it was dark enough so no one would notice him.  He was afraid that if caught it could mean he would lose his powerful position in Jerusalem.  He ducked in alleys and peaked around corners as he made his way closer and closer to where Jesus was that night.  It was upon arriving and seeing Jesus that deep down he knew he had made the right decision to visit him.

Jesus told Nicodemus not to marvel that you must be born again in order to see the kingdom of God. ¬†Nicodemus was perplexed by Jesus’ statement. ¬†The reason he did not totally understand it was because in Pharisaic Judaism there were six different ways of being born again. ¬†In Nicodemus’ eyes he had qualified for four of them. ¬†The other two ways were: 1. Gentiles converting to Judaism (said they were born again), 2. To be crowned a king (would be said you were born again). ¬† Nicodemus did not qualify for either way.

However, the first four he did. ¬†Those ways are: 1. When a Jewish boy becomes bar mitzvahed (this had of course already happened for Nicodemus), 2. When a Jew gets married (He was already married as well, you had to be in order to be apart of the Sanhedrin), 3. ¬†Ordained as a rabbi (He already was a rabbi, because he was a Pharisee), 4. ¬†To become head of a rabbinical school (Jesus said that Nicodemus was a teacher of Israel, the head of a rabbinical school was referred to in this way). ¬†In his eyes he had done everything he could have done to be born again. ¬†Jesus responds to his disbelief with you must be born of water and spirit. ¬†To be born of water was a Jewish expression of physically being born. ¬†This is why he asks Jesus about going into his mother’s womb again. ¬†Being born physically into Judaism was sufficient at that time for entrance into the Kingdom. ¬†Much like Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount,” ¬†he was trying to correct Nicodemus’ theology here. ¬†It wasn’t good enough to be born a Jew. ¬†One has to believe in Jesus for eternal life (John 3:13-15).

More than any other book in the bible, the Gospel of John deals directly with the issue of what it takes to go to heaven. ¬† John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” ¬†Receiving Jesus is the same as believing in Him. ¬†To go to heaven one must only believe in Jesus (John 6:47, Acts 16:30-31). ¬†It is really that simple.

Off the coast of Turkey in the Aegean Sea there sits nestled in the water a little island called Patmos.  The island really would have never been famous had not the Apostle John been exiled there.  It was during this exile that God revealed to him the words and visions for the book of Revelation.

It is in the book of Revelation that we receive a description of what the Great White Throne judgment will be. ¬†Revelation 20:11 introduces us to this judgment. ¬†The throne is called “great” because it is for the Lord, the King or kings. ¬†The color white represents the holiness of God and that every judgment from this throne is just and right (Psalm 97:2).

This judgment occurs at the end of age, which would be after the Tribulation and after the Millennial reign of Christ.  I place the judgment here because the text gives us a few clues which are: 1. Death and Hades are cast into the Lake of Fire (vs 14) there is an end to death, 2. The lake of fire is described as the second death, 3.  It comes on the heels of the final war against God at the end of the millennium.

The people who are judged are not believers in Christ. ¬†This judgment is for those who have rejected Christ. ¬† In verse 12 it tells us that the dead great and small are brought out of Hades to stand before God. ¬†I have heard people say before that they hope their good out ways their bad. ¬† At the Great White Judgment people will be judged by their works (vs 12). ¬†However, nobody will be found righteous enough, because it is not about your works as it is about having life. ¬†The book of life will be opened and time after time people will be doomed for a Christ-less eternity. ¬†Life is only found in the Son. ¬†He can give life because He rose again. ¬† John wrote about this life in John 20:31, which says, “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

It is not my job to make people believe in Christ.  However, it is my responsibility to let people know about the Lord so that they may have life in the Son.  Even our best works amount to nothing.  In the Great White Judgment people will realize only to late that all their good works are not what the Lord wants.  It is all about life and that life can only be found in the Son.