Eschatology

Paradise lost, but not Hidden

Thousands of years removed from Eden and humanity still craves paradise. Some seek to create it by force; some by passivity; some by government; some by anarchy; some by education; some by ignorance.

But why? Why do we have such an obsession? 

It’s because there is something in us that wishes to recreate what we lost.

Humanity’s version of paradise depends upon the human desire that’s possessed, but the desire to create…that comes from an innate feeling that tells us that humanity could be – no, that we’re supposed to be more than what this sinful world reveals. So we grope desperately for paradise, seeking to make it, all the while still ignoring the one who created it to begin with; the only one who can create it again. EA

““He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”’” Revelation 2:7

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Premillennialism’s Presumptuous Faux-Pa Points

The Bible is meant to be interpreted by allowing the clearer verses help us understand the more difficult ones. This concept is as easy as understanding the importance of simple arithmetic before attempting to grasp the concept of algebra, geometry, trigonometry, etc.. Learning what addition is all about is a step that we must take before A (squared) plus B (squared) equals C (squared) makes any sense.

Mathematically speaking everyone agrees that this makes sense, but unfortunately there are many people in the religious world who do not follow along with the same concept when it comes to certain doctrines thatFile:Millennial views.svg originate with the thinking of men and women instead allowing the truth to be seen through more plainly spoken verses. Such is particularly the case when it comes to the various teachings of premillennialism and the unfortunate presumptuous faux-pa points that it stands on despite the clear teachings of the Bible.

Points such as:

  • multiple resurrections and judgment days when the Bible clearly teaches there will be only one simultaneous resurrection and final judgment by Jesus (John 5:28-29)
  • a literal reign of Jesus as king from physical Jerusalem when the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus has already turned that down (John 6:15)
  • the return of animal sacrifices “during the millennia” when the Bible clearly teaches that they have been permanently removed by Jesus (Hebrews 10:9-18)
  • the “back-up plan” role of the church when the Bible clearly teaches that the church, through Jesus, was included in God’s plan of salvation for all of mankind from the beginning (Ephesians 3:1-11)
  • the delay of the presence of God’s kingdom upon the earth when the Bible clearly teaches that, according to Jesus, the kingdom of God was going to appear before the death of Jesus’ contemporaries (Mark 9:1)

The truth is, almost the entire foundation of premillennialism comes from the book of Revelation (particularly chapter 20), which is a highly symbolic chapter from a book of prophecy that uses heavy symbolism in ways which must be understood in light of the clearer meanings (plain speaking exhortations, reproofs and examples) found in the rest of the Bible’s letters. When one seeks to and follows through with rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15) it becomes much easier to rightly divide any time-line that God has revealed and thus avoid exegetical studies that become embarrassing eisegesical mistakes.

When this is kept in mind it becomes much easier to see how the major points of premillennialism are very presumptuous in nature but still easy mistakes to correct. EA

Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29)

How will you sleep?

You have probably been asked, “How did you sleep?” But what about, “How will you sleep?” when it comes to death.

We have two choices:

  • One, we can sleep peacefully in Jesus – “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 4:14)
  • Or two, we can sleep miserably in our own bed of spiritual failures outside of Christ only to wake up unprepared on the wrong side of eternity – “[The return of Jesus] is like a manRIP going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming – in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning – lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:34-37)

The living must be prepared to choose which bed we’re going to sleep in because not all sleep is equal, once the bed is made we’re going to lie in it (Ecclesiastes 11:3), and the alarm clock that will awaken us all will ensure that quality will out-measure quantity. EA

Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth – those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” (John 5:28-29)

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Good Mourning?

Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart.” (Ecclesiastes 7:2)

Did we hear that right? There’s such a thing as good mourning? Most would say good ridden to an idea like that, but Solomon says nothing reminds us of our destination likeGraveyard the visible departure of others. The sight of mortality often demands an examination of our own morality, and its effects can be downright sobering to a heart drunk with carnal fun and frivolity! So yes, there is such a thing as good mourning, because the mourning helps prepare us for the night to come, for the way we end our day determines how we will begin the next. EA

I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” (John 9:4)

Hell is not the Devil’s Domain

Is the prince of the world (John 14:30) the king of Hell? It seems as if many are convinced that it’s so but it’s not true.

While Satan may use many things to accomplish his destructive goal, destruction is what actually awaits him. And he knows it!

His future, along with the other angels who rebelled against the authority of Heaven (Jude 6), is dim, lit only with the fires of Hell.

When it comes to the final place of punishment, this place is prepared for the devil – it is not a place prepared by him:

Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:“(Matthew 25:41).

The Devil will not rule Hell, for his presence in Hell will reveal that the Devil has been ruled by God, the Lamb and the work of the Holy Spirit.

Satan, along with any other soul who will find themselves on the wrong side of God’s wrath, will find that God’s authority exists not only over Heaven, but also over Hell itself. EA

The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10)

Where’s Purgatory Again?

Read, “And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due to unto him” (Matthew 18:34) and some read into it the doctrine known as “purgatory.” Read purgatory into it and you’re not reading the whole lesson Jesus gave.

The man who was thrown into prison in the parable only avoided prison because his lord had compassion on him to begin with. He was facing a life sentence with no chance of parole. The debt he owed was un-payable and only his lord’s grace made forgiveness possible!

When a person sins we face a sentence that we can’t afford. The debt of sin we owe is un-payable and only forgivable by the grace of God through Jesus (Romans 6:23). Jesus either pays the whole price or he pays no price. If a person can’t work his or her way into Heaven (and they can’t – Ephesians 2:8-9) then logic teaches that they cannot work their way out of Hell.

The Bible teaches nothing about a “place” or a “state of being” between Heaven and Hell where someone “serves time while being purged of their sins” before going on to Heaven. The Bible teaches nothing about praying to Mary or other “saints” to intercede for those who have passed on. The Bible teaches nothing about paying the church for its prayers or any other benefits. The Bible teaches nothing because there is nothing to teach.

When the Bible talks about the price that was paid to keep us out of Hell it never refers to “indulgences!” It refers to the blood of Christ that purchased our salvation (1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

When the Bible talks about our sins being purged so that we may be given an entrance into Heaven it never refers to a place of “purification!” It refers to the blood of Christ that purged sin from our soul (1 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 1:9-11; Ephesians 1:7).

The time of spiritual cleansing is before death – not after! Today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).

1 Peter 1:22 says, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart”. The apostle addressed his words to Christians who were presently cleansed – not Christians who would be cleansed at a later time! (more…)

The Awesome Power of God

I grew up in a time period when the word “awesome” meant neat, cool and great; but that is not the original meaning behind the word. The word awesome obviously comes from the root word “awe.” It means “overwhelming respect and reverence.” With that context of the word one can understand how the word “awesome” can apply to the power of God.

The first three verses of the short book of Zephaniah remind me of the word awesome and the scope it has when it is applied to God. They say, “The word of the Lord which came to Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah. “I will utterly consume everything from the face of the land,” says the Lord; “I will consume man and beast; I will consume the birds of the heavens, the fish of the sea, and the stumbling blocks along with the wicked. I will cut off man from the face of the land,” says the Lord.

What a way to introduce a sermon! If a statement like that does not grab your attention and demand your respect then I don’t know what will. God’s prophet is talking about some awesome power there, a power that was going to be revealed in “the day of the Lord.” (Zephaniah 1:14,18; 2:2; 3:8)

God could easily accomplish what was written then and do it just as easily today. I sometimes think about how sensitive our world can be. America has the best agriculture system in the world, but even it is sensitive at best. Our beef supplies can be ransacked by “mad-cow disease.” Our poultry can easily become the prey of the “Asian bird-flu.” Our fruits and vegetables can become tainted with salmonella. Floods in the mid-west can show us how quickly our corn crops can be taken away. Take all of this and factor in the fact that a severe drought can effect all of the above and we quickly realize that God is still the One that blesses our nation and fills the grocery stores.

Now back to Zephaniah’s admonition. Judah knew about the awesome power that God possessed. They knew about the flood of Noah’s day. The early generations of their fathers saw first-hand the effect that God’s hand could have on a nation. They watched the “mighty” Egypt suffer in every point of its economy due to the mightier plagues that were sent by God through Moses. (more…)