Eternity

Why Premillennialism Matters

Why Premillennialism Matters

I recently read an article by Bert Farias on the Charisma News website entitled The Corruption of American Christianity: The Evil Agenda to Destroy America. In it, the writer shows how Marxist and Communist ideologies have gained a foothold in many churches and denominations throughout the United States.

Through a mixture of truth and error, the promoters of this leftist agenda not only sabotage the Gospel, but also the scriptural purpose of the church.

But why do some Christians fall for such errors while others immediately see their subversive intent? Why do so many elevate a purely social agenda above the Gospel?

A Man, a Wheelchair, and Overflowing Joy

A Man, a Wheelchair, and Overflowing Joy

He was perhaps the most joyous and Spirit-filled believer I had seen up to that point in my life. Though it was decades ago, I remember the joy that beamed from Paul Lundgren’s face as he sang.

I also recall the sight of Paul, bound to his wheelchair, sitting on the platform at my church. A traffic accident while delivering a piano had left him paralyzed from waist down. This did not deter him, however, from singing and talking about his expectation of walking on streets of gold.

What's God Doing in These Last Days?

What's God Doing in These Last Days?

Have you ever wondered what God is doing during these last days? Why does wickedness abound all around us? Why do believers endure so much personal sorrow and even persecution?

The Lord spoke to my heart about these things through JD Farag’s special update on October 7, 2018. Farag emphasized that the things causing us so much distress today are in reality preparing us to leave this world. That which upsets us the most, the evil around us and the frustrations we personally experience, help us release our grip on the things of this world grab onto our hope of eternity.

The Wrath of the Lamb

The Wrath of the Lamb

When John the Baptist saw Jesus he exclaimed, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Indeed, Jesus was the ultimate Passover Lamb whose sacrifice paid the debt of our sins.

Peter put it this way, “knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Pet. 1:18-19).

But who ever heard of “The Wrath of the Lamb?” Does this not sound like the strangest oxymoron you have ever heard? Although unusual, we do see this description of Jesus in the Bible.

Are You Ready for the Coming Tsunami?

Are You Ready for the Coming Tsunami?

On September 28, 2018, many residents of Palu, Indonesia gathered on the beach to celebrate the town’s anniversary. Despite the rumblings of earthquakes, it seemed like a normal day to the people joining in the happy festivities.

Due to a failure in the tsunami warning system, the people on the beach were unaware that a tidal wave at least ten feet high was headed their direction at a speed of 500 miles per hour.

Jesus compared His appearing to the days of Noah and issued this warning along with that, “and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt. 24:39). Do you see why the tsunami is an apt picture of Jesus’ words about the last days?

The Barren Road of Revenge

The Barren Road of Revenge

Nestled away in the historical books of the Bible is a tale of hatred and sordid revenge. It’s the story of Ahithophel and his deep hatred for King David.

I can guess what you must be thinking. Who in the world was Ahithophel and why should I care about his quest for vengeance?

Let me begin by answering the first part of your question.

Isaac Newton: Groundbreaking Theologian or Heretic?

Isaac Newton: Groundbreaking Theologian or Heretic?

Do you remember your grade school image of Isaac Newton? I still picture him sitting under an apple tree about to discover gravity as an apple hits him in the head.

A more realistic picture recognizes him of the most influential scientists of all time. He laid the foundation for all the scientific advances in the fields of physics and astronomy that came after him. In addition to his numerous scientific accomplishments, he was also a Theologian with groundbreaking views.

Life's Illusions

Life's Illusions

If you have followed the news regarding Brett Kavanaugh Senate hearings, you likely feel the same frustrations I do. The false accusation of a woman, who has no proof whatsoever of her claims, could derail his confirmation to the Supreme Court.

It feels as though the wrong is winning and perhaps for a moment it is. However, Scripture tells me that any success that some may have in discrediting Kavanaugh is not the end of the story. God will have the final say in the matter.

3 Reasons Satan Hates Heaven

3 Reasons Satan Hates Heaven

If there’s anything has shocked me since I started writing about prophecy, it’s the large number of Bible teachers and Christian authors who relegate the entire book of Revelation to the past or else regard it as an allegory meant exclusively for first century believers.

So why do so many today put the fulfillment of the eternal state in past either historically or symbolically?

I believe it’s because Satan hates the idea of heaven (i.e. the new earth and New Jerusalem) and does all he can to discredit any teaching that regards Revelation 21-22 as literal future prophecy. He’s our enemy and as such loves to rip away our fondest hopes!

What Were The Disciples Thinking?

What Were The Disciples Thinking?

In November of 1943, the USS Iowa carried President Franklin D. Roosevelt to a meeting with Joseph Stalin and Winston Churchill to discuss future plans regarding WW II. Somehow the crew of a nearby ship, the USS William D. Porter, mistook the USS Iowa for a German ship and fired a torpedo at it. Fortunately, the missile missed its target and the President continued safely to his summit. Although we do not know all the details that led to this error, we are still left wondering, “What were they thinking?”

At first glance, we might also ask this question in regard to a question the disciples posed to Jesus just moments before He ascended into heaven, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6).

Where's God?

Where's God?

I’m deeply grieved by what I see today. I fully realize that evil has existed since the Garden of Eden and I also know that past civilizations have exhibited the same wickedness, or worse, before their demise.

If you are like me, however, you sometimes wonder, “Where’s God in all the violence and evil around us? Does He not see the ever increasing wickedness and violence?”

The Lord responded by turning my attention to the book of Habakkuk, named after a prophet who ministered in Judah shortly before Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem and took the people captive.

Should We Still Be Watching?

Should We Still Be Watching?

Most people disdain the whole idea; many Christians regard it as an out of date belief.

“Who really believes in the Rapture anyway?” some ask. “Why should I put my hope in something that no one believed until the nineteenth century? Why would anyone look for something that only recently appeared in the long history of the church?”

Our Dreams Versus The Rapture

Our Dreams Versus The Rapture

We all have longings and dreams for our future. It’s normal and healthy to look ahead and consider our future. But, what if Jesus comes for us before we realize our desires for the future? What if we never experience what we long for most in this life?

What are some steps we can take to keep our goals in perspective when our aspirations for the future loom large in front of us?

Forever Young, Forever Whole

Forever Young, Forever Whole

“Who is this guy with the wrinkles and droopy skin?” I asked myself as I stretched in front of a mirror at the gym (in a room with lights that revealed everything!). I looked every bit my age and for a moment I felt depressed.

Then I remembered Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15:19, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” I think this is becoming one of my favorite verses! Even as believers, we have so much more to hope for than what this world can offer us even in the best of circumstances.

Blue Jeans and Storybook Expectations

Blue Jeans and Storybook Expectations

When I was high school (1967-1971), the dress code at my school prohibited blue jeans. While I didn’t mind the restriction that much at the time, I know that many of my classmates longed for greater freedom and what they could wear.

A couple years after graduation, I returned to the school to visit my former band director. By then the dress code had changed and every student I saw at the school was wearing blue jeans. It was almost as if the written code had been replaced with an unwritten one that necessitated jeans.

3 Compelling Reasons to Love God’s Word, Part 2

3 Compelling Reasons to Love God’s Word, Part 2

For as long as I can remember, I have always thought that if God exists and is powerful enough to create all that we see, then He’s certainly capable of communicating His Word to us in an accurate and trustworthy way. It’s not that I based my belief on reason, but my thinking opened the door to accept the claims of Scripture to be God’s Word to us.

The Bible is necessary because:

2. Scripture is God’s revelation to humanity

What If Jesus Said “Relax Guys . . . ?

What If Jesus Said “Relax Guys . . . ?

Perhaps one of the more perplexing matters in the New Testament is the sense of imminent expectation regarding the Lord’s return.  We see this all through its pages.

Jesus said, “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matt. 24:44). Jesus instructed His disciples to expect His appearing at any moment.

All through the epistles, we read of the New Testament saints eagerly watching for the Savior’s appearance (see Rom. 8:23; Phil. 3:20; 1 Thess. 1:9-10; and Titus 2:11-13). It’s clear that those who read the apostles’ letters anticipated Jesus’ return at any moment, too.

Yet, 2,000 years have passed since then. How do we understand Jesus' command the expectancy of the New Testament saints?

5 Biblical Characters and What They Teach us about Walking with God

5 Biblical Characters and What They Teach us about Walking with God

Several years ago, I discovered I could learn a lot from some of the shadier characters of the Bible. It was not that their examples were so stellar, most failed miserably. However, I have gleaned much from their bad examples over the years.

You may be wondering what in the world we can learn from such misfits and failures. How can they possibly help us in our walk with the Lord?

I'm glad you asked. To help you answer this question, I have picked a few of the characters as examples of what we might possibly learn.

The Renewal of All Things

The Renewal of All Things

What will our lives look like when Jesus establishes His kingdom over all the earth? What will the coming renewed creation look like? Can we even imagine what it will be like for the Lord to make us completely whole in our bodies, spirits, and souls?

John Eldredge, in his latest book All Things New, seeks to answer questions such as these. He focuses on passages such as Matthew 19:28-29 and Revelation 21:1-5 that point to the wondrous and joyous renewal Jesus promises for all who know Him.

You might think it strange I would recommend a book that ignores the rapture and the tribulation (as he does) and settles for a singular purpose of encouraging believers regarding their eternal hope in Christ's coming kingdom. I admit, at first I was a bit leery about the book since I am passionate about all of these things.

How Long?

Sutherland texas 2 As I reflect on the Sutherland Springs shooting this past Sunday, the word “brutal” comes to my mind. In 2 Timothy 3:2 the Apostle Paul says that people will become “heartless, unappeasable . . . brutal . . . treacherous, reckless” during the last days. Is this not what we are seeing throughout our world to an ever increasing degree?

Do not all these traits sum up someone who would walk into a church and slaughter 26 innocent people including small children? Does this terrible act of violence not confirm Paul’s words of the "perilous times" we would see before Jesus’ return?

Although we do not understand the shooter's ultimate motive, we know he had threatened his mother-in-law who attended the church. We also know that he was an atheist who mocked Christians stating that all “people who believed in God were stupid.” Did his antagonistic mindset toward believers contribute to the killing of so many of them? It seems likely to me. Why kill so many innocent people out of anger for just one person?

In his prophecy update on Sunday, Pastor J. D. Farag spoke of how Satan knows that his time is short and is stepping up his evil and murderous activity. I believe the shooter in Sutherland Springs was demon possessed and the killing stemmed from Satan’s rage against God people. The devil used his hatred to inflame not only the rage of this shooter but also to instill in him a total lack of pity for those he killed.

We see these types of attacks on Christians all throughout the world. A couple weeks ago, ISIS viciously attacked and killed 128 Christians in the Syrian town of Qaryatayn as they fled the city. Boko Haram and his men continue to brutally kill Christians by the hundreds in Nigeria. Do you remember the bombs that killed many Coptic Christians in Egypt during their Palm Sunday services earlier this year?

Brutal and Reckless

According to William Barclay, the word Paul used for brutal in 2 Timothy 3 “denotes a savagery which has neither sensitiveness nor sympathy.” It refers to a fierceness of character that displays a lack of human sympathy or feeling in its treatment of others. Does this not describe the shooter in Las Vegas as well? In both cases, these killers acted without the least bit of compassion toward their victims.

The word reckless in this passage describes someone falling headlong into something; it later came to define someone pursuing evil with great passion.  Barclay says this about it, “It describes the man who is swept on by passion and impulse to such an extent that he is totally unable to think sensibly.” This certainly fits with the demonic rage the Sutherland Springs shooter exhibited.

Jesus said that what we are seeing throughout our world today would happen in the last days just before His return.

In describing the end times Jesus said this, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another” (Matt. 24:9-for 10). Jesus said that what we are seeing throughout our world today would happen in the last days just before His return.

The Lord Sees

Long ago, the prophet Habakkuk complained about the “destruction and violence” he saw in Israel. Like today, he saw that the wicked often triumphed over the righteous so that “justice” was “perverted” (Hab. 1:3-4). The Lord’s response, in summary, was that He saw all the violence and perversion of justice. Because of evil rampant in Judah at the time, he would send the Babylonians to judge His people. They later came and destroyed Jerusalem and the temple taking many of the people captive back to Babylon.

Jesus is near to us in our pain; He never leaves or forsakes those of us who know Him.

The Lord sees the atrocities of our time. He also looks with compassion upon all our suffering; He deeply feels the sorrow of the survivors in Sutherland Springs. In Psalm 34:18 David said this, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Jesus is near to us in our pain; He never leaves or forsakes those of us who know Him.

Just as in the days of Habakkuk, the Lord will someday respond to the violence and great wickedness we see around us in the world. He sees the countless babies murdered in our abortion clinics. He sees the deadly rampages of sick evil men. He sees a culture that has lost its way and fallen into all sorts of deviant behavior. At just the right time, Jesus will totally destroy the kingdom of darkness responsible for all this rebellion against Him.

Is this not why the coming time of tribulation described in Scripture will result in so much devastation? Jesus will have His day. After exacting judgments on sinful humanity and the domain of Satan, He will return with unimaginable power and glory. His kingdom will someday fill the earth with righteousness and justice. He will reign for a thousand years and then forevermore.

We Have Hope of a Better Day

We have hope; this life is not all we have. Romans 8:18 says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Paul had already suffered greatly when he wrote this. Later, Nero beheaded him. Even so, he regarded all this affliction (and martyrdom) as “not worth comparing with” all the wonders and joys that awaited him in eternity.

A much better day is coming. In eternity, God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

Jesus sees all our tears and someday will replace them with exceeding joy.

This picture is a far cry from our current experience, from the headlines of our day. Yet, this is our hope because we belong to Christ. The suffering and death of this current world is just a temporal fleeting reality. In God’s eternal day, we will see His purposes behind all that we suffered on earth. Jesus sees all our tears and someday will replace them with exceeding joy.

Yes, the brutality we witnessed in Sutherland Springs was horrific; I cannot even begin to imagine the horror of being in that church when the shooter arrived. Jesus, however, saw all that happened and not only is He comforting the victims in heaven, He will wipe out all such evil in His kingdom and then forevermore.

Revelation 6:10 gives voice to the martyred tribulation saints in heaven, “They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” I wonder if the recently martyred saints in our world are saying something similar before God’s throne in heaven.

Those of us still in shock due to the violence we see in places such as Sutherland Springs ask, “How long before you come and take us home, O Lord? How long before you bring your justice to this wicked, violent, and rebellious world? How long before you establish your righteous rule over the nations of the earth?”

Jesus last words to His church were “Surely I am coming soon.” To which John added, “Amen. Come Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20).

Is this not our hope? Someday Jesus will correct all the wrongs of our current world; those who know Jesus will rest with Him forever experiencing sweet relief from the suffering and pain of this life.

How long until then?

Maranatha!!