Hope

5 Ways to Sift out the Scoffer

5 Ways to Sift out the Scoffer

It’s ironic when you think of it. Those who attack prophecy teachers for saying we are in the last days are themselves fulfilling a key biblical prophecy of the last days.

Peter wrote this about these end time scoffers, “. . . knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Pet. 3:4-5).

The group the apostle addressed denied the Genesis account of the flood and hence the reality of God’s judgment. Today this scoffing springs from a variety of sources, including those in the household of faith.

Does the Great Commission Exclude Teaching on Prophecy?

Does the Great Commission Exclude Teaching on Prophecy?

The prevailing mindset of many Bible-believing pastors today is that eschatology, or the study of future things, is not only separate from the preaching of Gospel but detracts from it. They maintain that our task of fulfilling the Great Commission excludes teaching on prophecy, which they believe only confuses believers and stirs up unwelcome controversy.

Is this way of thinking biblical? No, it is not. This represents a myopic way of viewing both the commands and teachings of Jesus, who highlighted “eternal life” as the result of belief in Him and commanded His followers to watch for His return.

The Biblical Basics of Our Hope

The Biblical Basics of Our Hope

We hear so many differing viewpoints today regarding our hope of forever. Some reject the notion that anything physical can be spiritual or godly and on that basis deny our hope of reigning with Christ in a physical kingdom. The Bible, however, flatly rejects such thinking.

As believers seeking God’s wisdom, what does the Bible say about our future? What are the basics that can place us on firm footing amidst the myriad of false teaching that surrounds us today?

Below I list five items that I believe are the rock bottom basics of our biblical hope. For each, I start with the words of Jesus and then provide support from what He also revealed about our future from other places in Scripture.

3 Lessons from the ER

3 Lessons from the ER

I never imagined I would spend much of my birthday in the emergency ward, but that is what happened this past week.

I called my doctor's office this past Wednesday to make an appointment as I had been experiencing dizziness and numbness on my right side on New Year's Eve and Day. The nurse feared I might be having a stroke and said I should go to the ER as soon as possible.

Is Belief in the Rapture Relatively New?

Is Belief in the Rapture Relatively New?

Those who oppose our beliefs in a pretribulation rapture fill up social media and the Internet with stories mocking the rapture as something no one believed until the nineteenth century. They discredit it based on its recent appearance in the life of the church.

So, is our belief in the rapture relatively new in church history? No, absolutely not! As will see in the following sections, saints in the early days of the church looked for Jesus’ appearing to take away His church ahead of a time of tribulation on the earth. The doctrine existed long before people began calling it “the rapture” during the 1800’s.

Morning Coffee with Habakkuk

Morning Coffee with Habakkuk

Pull up a chair, pour some coffee (or your morning beverage of choice), and let’s spend some time with Habakkuk. I believe he can ease our burden in the light of several current events.

“Haven’t we already done that?” you might ask. Yes, but if you are anything like me you need a fresh reminder of not only the prophet’s complaint, but the Lord’s response as well. I am again wondering why He does not respond to all the violence and perversion of justice I see everywhere I look.

What Does Noah Tell Us About Waiting for Our Lord?

What Does Noah Tell Us About Waiting for Our Lord?

We live in an age of instant access. If I want to see the latest weather forecast, I instantly bring it up on my smart phone. If I want something warmed up, it only takes a few seconds in the microwave.

Perhaps this is why waiting is so difficult for us, especially when it comes to waiting for something that was promised us two thousand years ago. As we see biblical prophecy springing to life in our world against the backdrop of wickedness and violence we often ask, “How much longer, Lord?”

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.

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.

5 Key Errors of Preterism

5 Key Errors of Preterism

Why am I writing about preterists? It’s because their beliefs are growing in popularity and causing much harm in the body of Christ! My purpose is to point out the errors of this false teaching.

Preterists teach that all biblical prophecy has been fulfilled; this includes Matthew 24 as well as the entire book of Revelation. They claim all these things happened before and during AD 70 when Titus and the Romans destroyed Jerusalem. They believe Jesus returned as the city fell thus fulfilling His promise to return to the earth.

The Rapture, What’s to Fear? Part 4: The Comfort

The Rapture, What’s to Fear? Part 4: The Comfort

The brides of Jesus’ day did not fear the arrival of the bridegroom. The bride looked forward with much anticipation to the surprise return of her bridegroom; this was an expected and exciting part of the wedding festivities. It brought great joy to the bride as she eagerly awaited the groom’s arrival to abduct her and take her to the place he had prepared especially for her.

Jesus is now preparing a place especially for us. Many neglect to emphasize this wonderful truth when teaching about the rapture. We can be sure this place will be astonishing beyond anything we can imagine. Jesus is designing and preparing it with our specific needs and desires in mind.

The Rapture, What’s to Fear? Part 3: The Joy of Jesus' Return

The Rapture, What’s to Fear? Part 3: The Joy of Jesus' Return

Weddings are typically times of excitement to which both the future husband and wife joyously anticipate.

I believe this is why Jesus used words reminiscent of the first century AD Jewish wedding customs when He first mentioned His return to take believers back to His Father’s house, known today as the rapture (see John 14:1-3). His announcement would have sparked positive and hopeful comparisons to the disciples as they listened to Him that night in the Upper Room.

. . . . Someday, perhaps soon, the Father will tell his Son to go get his bride, to go get us! What a day of rejoicing that will be for us!!

The Rapture, What’s to Fear? Part 2: The Marriage Covenant

The Rapture, What’s to Fear? Part 2: The Marriage Covenant

While in college at John Brown University, I read Hal Lindsey's book The Late Great Planet Earth. His book greatly heightened my interest in prophecy to the point where I expected the rapture to occur at any moment, yes even way back in the 1970’s.

Late one afternoon I dozed off after hours of reading and studying. Suddenly, the sound of a trumpet awoke me from a deep sleep. For a moment, I thought “this is it; I am going to meet Jesus in the air.” After a second or two I realized the trumpet fanfare came from someone warming up for a nearby rehearsal. It was not the trumpet sound of 1 Thessalonians 4, which still remains a joyous future hope for all of Jesus' followers.

However, I know many people today do not take kindly to the idea of the rapture. They either fear it or disdain it for a variety of reasons. It’s certainly a source of unpopularity for those who teach or write about it; I know this from experience.

The Rapture, What's to Fear? Part 1

The Rapture, What's to Fear? Part 1

As his wife and those closest to him gathered around his bedside one evening, they believed this would be the last time they would see him in this life. Louis Talbot, the longtime president of Biola University and driving force behind the formation of Talbot Theological Seminary, was in the hospital suffering from pneumonia. Many in the room, including Carol his wife, believed he would not survive the night.

Seeing the tears stream down the face of his wife, Talbot responded with these words, “What’s the matter with you? For this I was born. For this I’ve lived all my life—to see my Savior face to face. It will be all glory. I can hardly wait.”

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.

Outliers and Me

Outliers and Me

What we hear instead of watchfulness for Jesus’ appearing is that the church must be about fulfilling the Great Commission as though that excludes teaching about the rapture, the coming tribulation, the Second Coming, or the millennial kingdom.

I believe Jesus regarded His command to preach the Gospel as inseparably intertwined with watchfulness for His return. Let me explain why.

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

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

Hope. If there is anything people need today it is hope.

We see this today in the record number of suicides among both the young and old. Despair rather than hope fills the minds of so many today. The outcome of confining all our dreams to this world is often bitterness, anger, fear, and depression. I have tasted of this despair, too, in my past.

The Bible is necessary because:

3. Scripture alone gives us hope

What’s Your Destination?

What’s Your Destination?

It seemed so simple. We would send our letter and earnest check for our new home in Illinois via certified mail. Our purchase contract for our new house allowed several days for the check to arrive.

After double-checking the address my realtor had provided, I took the letter to the post office in North Liberty, Iowa on March 30. The kind young man at the counter gave me the tracking information and said our check would be at its destination in Rockford, Illinois on Monday, April 2. I felt confident the check would arrive on time.

On April 2, I entered the tracking information only to discover that our certified mail was in the small town of Wellman, Iowa

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?