Dec 22, 2010

"True Revelation" by Kenosis

Friend, Dustin Curlee recently sent me a couple of cuts from his new CD, Transidentity. His hip-hop band, Kenosis, comprised of Cody Miles, David Boone and of Dustin, is dedicated to the proclamation and propagation of the Gospel. As they attempt to glorify Christ in all areas of life, they preach a powerful message of fulfilled redemption. I took cut #6, "True Revelation," and added the video. I hope you're blessed half as much as I have been.

(click on 4 small arrows above to bring full screen)

Nov 23, 2010

You've Got to be Kidding...Right?

You've Gotta Be Kidding . . . Right? chronicles Brian L. Martin's (Editor of Fulfilled! Magazine) eschatological journey. His view of the "last things" (eschatology), though it may be new to you, is soundly rooted in Scripture. Join Brian as he encounters scriptural principles (hermeneutics) like "audience relevance", "apocalyptic language", "cloud-comings", and much more. Prepare to be challenged!

(to view full screen, click on the 4 tiny arrows in the toolbar)

Everyone has a paradigm (worldview) even if it's not well-defined. When we encounter that which differs from what we have been told, we often immediately jettison the new view without serious consideration. Before even carefully analyzing the facts, we ask skeptically, "Who else believes this?" Have you ever wondered why we're unwilling to take up the task of being faithful Bereans? I think it's a matter of confidence. We lack the boldness to push commonly help presuppositions aside, especially when those more learned and spiritually astute, oppose that which is sitting before us.

And this is tragic, especially for a generation that has access to more Scriptural tools than any generation in history. Certainly we are at a disadvantage with those who have a working knowledge of Greek or those who have a boatload of seminary training in their background. There is no substitute for hard work and diligence but we must realize that even pastors and seminary professors interpret the Bible through a lens that may be filled with errant presuppositions. This is the reason the Bereans were lauded. They took their responsibility to "see if these things are so" very seriously. Should we do any less?
Acts 17:11 (ESV) Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
J.I. Packer made a rather intuitive statement that sheds a great deal of light on the plight of the today's Christian. And I suppose this is really not a problem confined to our modern world. Consider this:

We do not start our Christian lives by working out our faith for ourselves; it is mediated to us by Christian tradition, in the form of sermons, books and established patterns of church life and fellowship. We read our Bibles in the light of what we have learned from these sources; we approach Scripture with minds already formed by the mass of accepted opinions and viewpoints with which we have come into contact, in both the Church and the world. . . . It is easy to be unaware that it has happened; it is hard even to begin to realize how profoundly tradition in this sense has molded us. But we are forbidden to become enslaved to human tradition, either secular or Christian, whether it be "catholic" tradition, or "critical" tradition, or "ecumenical" tradition. We may never assume the complete rightness of our own established ways of thought and practice and excuse ourselves the duty of testing and reforming them by Scriptures. (Fundamentalism and the Word of God, by J.I. Packer. [Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1958.] pp. 69-70)

It's not a matter of if we read the Scriptures with built-in biases that we're not aware of. It's a given that we do. It's only natural. However, what's of vital importance is recognizing that our current presuppositions (which may be errant) can prevent us from understanding the truth. In order to maintain sanity we often ward off all views that oppose our own and allow only that which corroborates and sanctions our paradigm to enter our minds. Our defense mechanisms, valuable in many ways, do at times insulate us from the truth.

With these things in mind, consider for a moment a view of eschatology that may be foreign to you. And do you best to be objective. Brian Martin, the producer of "You've Got to Be Kidding....right?" and author of "Behind the Veil of Moses, presents a solidly Biblical view of eschatology. Know this. Brian is deeply committed to the authority and inspiration of Scripture. So his view emanates from a very high view of the Bible. So much so, that he challenges those who so flippantly cast off the many eschatological passages tied to such blatantly imminent language i.e. "soon", "at hand", "shortly"and "in a very little while".

My recommendation is that you watch the video in two sessions. Then revisit the video jotting down all verses used so you can better understand the context. Well, enjoy and be prepared to smile. Brian has a wonderfully refreshing sense of humor. =)

Oct 15, 2010

Polish Michael Jackson? - Classical Collides with Contemporary!

Yes, Grupa MoCarta is a Polish group and I can’t understand a lick of what they’re saying, but I had a blast watching them (videos below). They’re all well educated instrumentalists who graduated from prestigious Academies of Music in Warsaw and Łódz, but they decided to play classical music in a humorous way. "What’s more, they created something like a musical cabaret, one in which the music, not the words were the source of laughter."

The power of their jokes can be characterized like this: they take a classical composition as canvas, analyze its structure and theme, and surround it with musical associations. So while listening to the final product one is constantly surprised by various musical quotations. Classically trained, they explain their intentions this way:

"We exist despite the sober formality of great concert halls, despite the boredom of classical musicians' life, despite fanatic lovers of classical music, despite fans of rock, rap or pop who are afraid of classical music. We treat our Muse with a humorous irony and we're sure, she will have nothing against it!"


Sep 10, 2010

Science vs. Scripture

In a dispute between science and the Scripture, which side would you choose? Most would at least say they'd side with Scripture. Although most evangelicals believe the Bible is the inspired Word of the living God (2 Tim 3:16), few, in my opinion, recognize the pressure and impact outside influences bear on their interpretation of Scripture. In the following sermon, David Curtis exposes what I believe is an issue most of us are unaware of, that science is a controlling factor in Biblical interpretation.

When we say "Sola Scriptura" (by Scripture alone) what exactly do we mean? Is the Bible only authoritative on matters of faith, salvation and holiness? In other words, does the Bible only regard spiritual matters while science is left to elucidate truth on the physical side of the equation?

Do you believe Scripture should be the foundational source of ALL truth? If so, what does that mean? I think that question is no more clearly highlighted than when we read the first 3 chapters of the Genesis. Do you believe the earth is billions of years old? If you were on a desert island with only a Bible and no influence from science, what would you conclude about the age of the earth? Is there anything in the Genesis account (chapters 1-3) that would lead you to believe the earth is 20,000,0000,000 years old? I can't see how.

Yet, there are many Christians today who think those who adhere to a relatively young earth, must be flat-earth Neanderthals who skipped science class. They say a day in Genesis is clearly not literal and therefore equates to millions if not billions of years. Some even believe Genesis 1-3 is allegorical. So let me ask you a question. Is science or Scripture controlling your view of the "day" in Genesis? I will argue that no one reading the Genesis account would come to an old earth theory...that is without scientific influence. So the reality is, for those who believe the earth is billions of years old, science, not Scripture is driving your conclusions.

Now, let's consider another issue that also speaks to this issue of Scriptural authority. Do you believe the earth rotates and revolves around the sun? Of course, right? Heliocentricity as it's called, is accepted as a scientific fact that very few challenge. But again, let's rerun the same test. If you had nothing but your Bible, would you arrive at the heliocentric position? At this point I'm not suggesting you are wrong, but for argument's sake, what drives the heliocentrici view, the Bible or science?

From our earliest recollections, we've been told that geocentricity, which is the view espoused by Scripture over sixty times, is merely a function of accomodative type language i.e. from our point of view. So when we read that the sun rises or sets, we automatically assume that, from our point of view, the sun is rising.

Notice again that this heliocentricity vs. geocentricity argument is the same as the young vs. old earth origin theories. Did you know that all theologians prior to the 1600's when Copernicus came up with his heliocentric theory, were geocentrists? That's because we don't know what we know today, right? Yes, but consider this fact. Did you know that heliocentricity is a theory not a fact. Matter of fact, it has NEVER been proven. When I first heard that about a year ago I almost choked on my granola. Of course it's proven, I thought. Not so.

Without a doubt David Curtis will push the limits of your paradigm. The bottom line is, if we truly believe Scripture is the ONLY source of truth, few are practically applying that fact. And no more are we put to the test than in the examination of the heliocentric vs. geocentric theories.

Enjoy the sermon, but before you do, let me offer a disclaimer of sorts. Some have suggested that Pastor David Curtis has no business discussing science from the pulpit. They condescendingly mock him for even considering such. Why? Because, in their view, science can and in fact does bring us truth. They have a very high view of science and in so doing, they unwittingly lower the Scriptures. You see, in their world, when we are chided for daring to place the scientific evidence below the authority of God's Word, they have a major problem. Because they too are non-scientists, they have handed over the entire realm of science to a group who, has for the most part, excluded spiritual influence.

Are we truly bound by what the scientists tell us truth is? If so, then why don't these people believe the theory of evolution since that theory has risen to the fact level? If they aren't allowed to tread in the caverns of scientific exploration, who are they to pick and choose which theories to accept and which ones to reject? They accept an old earth and heliocentricity but not evolution or geocentricity. On what grounds?

I'll tell you what grounds. Because the Bible is preeminent in ALL areas of life including science. Double gasp! Yes, I made the audacious claim that the Bible is not subject to anything. It is the beginning and ending of truth. How ignorant! How foolish! Anyone with a high school education knows the Bible isn't a science textbook. Again, let me challenge your paradigm. The Bible doesnt' merely contain truth, it is our source of truth and is in no way confined to the spiritual realm. The Bible is authoritative over ALL areas of life, not the least of which is science. So, without further ado, please enjoy the sermon. :)

Aug 11, 2010

We are His Workmanship!

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NASB) For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

I thought the following was an exceptional dialogue for anyone who is serious about their walk with the Lord and excited about being an effective disciple. But I'd like to offer a word of caution. Our works, although absolutely vital to the maturing of our faith, are NOT dependable evidence of faith. It's clear that God chisels those He has adopted as sons, but the workmanship begins only after entering into Jesus' eternal Sabbath rest.

Please do NOT make the mistake I did, and unintentionally trivialize or subjectify your faith decision, if for a season, your works or acts of piety are not consistent with your calling. Matter of fact, if we are honest, we'll readily admit that our post-conversion efforts will ALWAYS fall far shy of God's amazing grace.

Consider the following texts that on the surface appear paradoxical. Are they?
James 2:21 (NASB) Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?

Galatians 3:6 (NASB)
Even so Abraham believed God , and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.
This is an apparent contradiction...a paradox. In my view, a Paradox is NOT an acceptable hermeneutical principle. Too often, because two passages (such as ones quoted above), appear to be in diametric opposition, we throw our hands in the air, willingly submit to both and chalk the problem up to "God's ways are not our ways." In my opinion, this is not a tenable solution and one that must be vigorously rejected.

Trying to mesh the inspired verses above, has driven many to form what I believe are errant conclusions, of which cause severe chinks in the perceptions of our eternal security. I believe the solution must NOT, in my view, include a synthesis of these two opposing statements.

Someone cannot be saved by works but also be saved by faith. Therefore this should drive us us to reevaluate James 2. Interpret the unclear with what is clear. Many, instead choose to embrace the paradox and make both statements true. I won't castigate those who, just like I did, embrace this kind of logic... However, I must not be silent either. Unfortunately, in our haste to reconcile this paradox, "Belief" has been relegated to a 2nd class subjective status. We hear things like, "He didn't really believe." Or based upon her behavior, we say, "She obviously has head knowledge but not real faith."

I don't have the inclination here to solve what many consider a mystery, but suffice it to say, salvation is by grace through faith alone. It's a gift of God. So let's not act like we can DO anything to either merit the gift or prove that our faith is real.

Aug 3, 2010

Understanding Revelation - David Curtis

Click the "X" button in the bottom right on the video for Full Screen

This is a great two part overview on the Revelation. Pastor David Curtis deals with the dating of the book as well key factors in helping us understand this highly sign-ified book. I guarantee that you will be challenged by David's conclusions.

From beginning to end, this book is clear on it's first century timing.

Revelation 1:1-3 (NASB) The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place... 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

Revelation 22:20 (NASB) He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Jul 31, 2010

What If...? - by Jenkins Entertainment

Behold, the return of Kevin Sorbo and Kristy Swanson. In the movie What if…, in theaters Aug. 20, Sorbo plays Ben, a man who left his college sweetheart, Wendy (Swanson), and his dream of becoming a preacher to pursue a business opportunity. Fifteen years later, his Mercedes breaks down and a tow truck driver (John Ratzenberger) claims to be his guardian angel and gives him a look at what his life would have been like had he followed his original path. Watch the trailer below. Yes, it looks like it should be on the Hallmark Channel in December, but Sorbo and Swanson appear to give surprisingly understated performances (that could land them a Hallmark Channel movie!).

Ratzenberger is totally a guardian angel I would get. I’ve always imagined mine as like a George Carlin, who really has no interest in my life and only pays attention to me when I speak inarticulately, at which point, he takes out his annoyance by screwing with me. That explains so much…. Who do you picture as your guardian angel? (God, by the way, looks like Steve Martin.)

As a disclaimer... I'm certainly no fan of the Jerry B. Jenkins'/Tim LaHaye"Left Behind" series because I think the eschatology portrayed therein is unwittingly destroying the credibility of the Gospel. However, I believe Jerry's a fine writer and he appears to be a wonderful human being who is deeply embedded in the cause of Christ. And it should be noted that the film producer is actually Dallas Jenkins, Jerry's son. Looks like an interesting film. In my view, we need more movies that espouse Biblical themes. I'll hope for the best. :)

Jul 19, 2010

Understanding Scripture

This is one of the most vital sermons, friend, Pastor David Curtis, has preached. If you want to understand Scripture as a contiguous, homogeneous, unfolding plan of redemption, this will aid you in your quest. David explains in visual PowerPoint form, the transition period that existed between the two covenants. If you are confused about the "already and about to be" language of the New Testament, I believe this sermon will help you a great deal.

(Click button above for full screen)

Mark 10:28-30 (NASB)
Peter began to say to Him, "Behold, we have left everything and followed You." 29 Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel's sake, 30 but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age [about] to come, eternal life. (Greek word "mello" means "to be about" or "about to be")

Hebrews 9:8-9 (NASB)
The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing, 9 which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience,

Luke 18:30 (NASB) who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life."

1 Corinthians 10:11 (NASB) Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

Matthew 24:1-3 (NASB) Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. 2 And He said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down." 3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"

Hebrews 8:13 (NASB) When He said, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

Britain and the Struggle for the Holy Land

(Missing part 4)

Jul 13, 2010

Are men growing worse and worse?

Is the world getting worse and ready to implode? Have people been on a fast track toward moral decay since the Apostle Paul warned Timothy of impending corruption 2,000 years ago? (2 Timothy 3:1-13) If you think times are so horrific right now and you could pick any time in history to live, when would that be? I continue to hear references to "the good ole days" as if there was a time in the history of the world when things were far better than they are now. Have you ever considered the possibility that "the good ole days" never were? Does the following verse capture the moral depravity of your neighborhood?

Genesis 6:5 (NASB) Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Consider the conditions surrounding the composition of our Canon [the Bible] in the first century. How do the religious leaders of our day (Dobson, LaHaye, Falwell Stanley, Colson, Swindoll etc.) stack up against the contemporaries of Jesus? Is there truly any comparison?

Matthew 23:33-36 (NASB) "You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? 34 "Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 "Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

Would you like to exchange places with the Apostles? Ten out of the twelve were brutally murdered, one ended his own life, and we believe the other was banished to an island prison. Association with Christ meant certain death. On one side were the Jews, who regularly, according to the writer of Hebrews, plundered the goods of Christians...and on the other side were the Romans who fed the Christ-followers to the lions or strung them up on posts, tarred and lit them on fire in order to light their grounds for dinner guests.

I'm not suggesting that we live in a perfect world...far from it. We have incredible challenges up ahead. What I am attempting to get people to think through, is the misconception that things are bad, getting worse, and will continue to worsen until a cataclysmic end. Not only do I think this is unBiblical, but it is far and away relegating the Gospel to ultimate failure.

Consider our progress. Consider our potential through Christ. We have never had this kind of unabated access to the Word of God and the communication ability to spread the good news to every person on this planet. I think we are extraordinarily blessed to live in these amazing times! Yes, man is born into depravity today just as he has been since the fall of Adam. However, that doesn't negate the fact that the resurrection of Christ has had and will continue to have a dramatic effect on our world. Everywhere the Gospel has been proclaimed that part of the world has been significantly altered.

It is my opinion that we MUST change our perceptions in accord with the expectations of Scripture. I continue to hear of the impending "New world Order", and I don't doubt there are nefarious individual at work who'd like nothing better than to control the masses. But I want to know where in the NT do we find an antiChrist led one world government? It's simply NOT there.

In the latter 60's AD, we find the writer of Hebrews refer to the Old Covenant as "becoming obsolete", "growing old" and "ready to disappear". (Heb 8:13) The New Covenant was a "new world order" in which the righteousness of Christ would dwell.

Revelation 21:3 (NASB) And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,

This is exactly the what we have right now! Consider the exhortation from John's 2nd epistle.

1 John 4:4 (NASB) You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

1 John 5:4-5 (NASB) For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

These words were written 2,000 years ago before the destruction of the Temple and the elimination of the Old Covenant sacrificial system. So how is it that we have developed such a glass half empty mentality? Why has it become so fashionable to believe that we're supposed to lose to evil? It seems odd that God would forcefully advance His Kingdom for 2,000 (the sprouting of the mustard seed) only to allow it to be overcome.

Sadly, I believe the prevailing eschatology of our day (that many aren't even well-versed in) is like the tail wagging the dog of our expectations. Where in Scripture do we find evidence that the Gospel is supposed to be defeated by the evil forces of an antichrist, that was already in the world 2,000 years ago? It should not escape our notice (as it did mine for too long) when these words were written. With Christ all things are possible!

1 John 4:3 (NASB) and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

1 John 2:18 (NASB) Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.

For a point of reference, below is the Apostle Paul's warning to Timothy. Remember, this was written in the mid 60's AD and warned the Christians at that time what was on the horizon for the "last days", which both Peter and the writer of Hebrews made clear was in their day. (1 Peter 1:5, 20; Hebrews 1:1-2) Have you ever considered the fact that, if, for the past 2,000 years, "evil men and impostors" have been "proceeding from bad to worse", there would be few remaining survivors? It simply makes no sense whatever to uproot this passage from it's context and force it as a fait accompli in our day.

2 Timothy 3:1-13 (NASB) But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. 9 But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes's and Jambres's folly was also.

Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! 12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

Jul 8, 2010

BP, Wormwood and Other Fairy Tales

I have grown very weary of the interminable contrived associations of the BP oil spill with the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. With every scientifically enshrouded attempt to manufacture a global apocalyptic "end of the world" scenario, I find eschatological presuppositions at the epicenter. First it was Henning Kemner, then Dr. James P. Wickstrom and now Lindsey Williams. All arguing that this is not just the greatest ecological disaster this country has ever faced, but this is the beginning of the end. I found that Williams, whom I initially presumed to be making objective scientific claims, is also being driven by his dire apocalyptic paradigm.

A friend recently wrote: "My thoughts are based solely on my opinion of Lindsey Williams. I bought the book ["Where's the Food"] in 1987 "when I was young and gullible" and he had me believing the food would be gone in 2 years (which was his prediction). Looking back now I'm quite ashamed of my gullibility. I had no idea the guy was still around till I saw this post. I know nothing of the radio host [Alex Jones]. Back then he was driven by his eschatology and it looks as if he still is. Preterism rescued me from all that.."

Following, is a sound hermeneutical (science of interpretation) discourse on Revelation 8:8-11.

Part 2

Thanks to Gary DeMar for his commitment to a well-reasoned interpretational approach. Being driven and tossed by the proverbial winds of the prophetic speculators,is a very sad place to be, and I can't begin to verbalize how grand it is to have stepped off that merry-go-round. Shame on the modern day "prophets" for contributing to a fear-based sense causing the spiritual indifference and ultimate malaise (or is that mayonnaise :) that too many in the Church are wallowing in.

As I've stated before, simply because this is NOT a fulfillment of Bible prophecy, doesn't lessen the severity of this eco disaster. Many lives will be irreparably altered by what appears to be the callous negligence of BP. However, instead of panicking and assuming this is a God ordained "last days" plague, which it is not, we must strive to find the solution.

The Gospel will be victorious. We aren't living in the "present evil age" (last days) that passed away with the Old Covenant in the first century. Therefore, I believe God is looking for messengers who will view serious problems like the one we're facing now, not as unscalable mountains but as mere hurtles to be traversed. It's all a matter of perception. I'm so looking forward to the day when the Church steps out of this defeatist, rapture mentality. A whole lot more will be done if we expect success.

Let me close by quoting from both the first and last chapters of Jesus' last revelatory words. We may be confused by the contents of the imagery contained therein, but as long as we recognize that God cannot lie, we can rest assured these events are not in our future.

Revelation 1:1-3 (NASB) 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, 2 who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

Revelation 22:6-7 (NASB) 6 And he said to me, "These words are faithful and true"; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place. 7 "And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book."

Revelation 22:10 (NASB) And he said to me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.

Revelation 22:12 (NASB) "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.

Revelation 22:20 (NASB) He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Could God have been any clearer regarding the timing of His intentions?

If it's "orthodox" to believe that God was not capable or willing to communicate truthfully and clearly to His first century Church, then at at that point I must reject orthodoxy. The God I worship is faithful and true and it is not within His divine nature to lie or deceive. By arguing that the Revelation's fulfillment is still future, when in the first century Jesus Christ prophesied the things "MUST soon take place", are we not in grave danger of unwittingly calling God's veracity into question?

Jun 26, 2010

The unprovoked 1967 attack on the USS Liberty

Was Israel's 1967 Attack on the USS Liberty, a mistake in identity?

You be the judge whether "mistaken identity" was even a remotely plausible excuse for the murder of 34 servicemen and the injuries of 174 more. In the videos to follow, watch the testimonies of the courageous men who survived this horrific unprovoked attack. Under Secretary Ball's concluding comment (below the first of five videos), will forever ring in my ears. Will we learn nothing from this tragic event? To what degree has our Middle East policy been shaped by this attack? And to what measure does the Israeli mindset, KNOWING that "they can get away with almost anything" without retribution, shape the Middle East today, some 43 years later? Our consistent acquiescence and insistence that their acts (like the one detailed below) are fully protected and empowered by the sovereign hand of God, is leading us in every direction but the Promised Land.

"Loss of Liberty" - The cover-up of the 1967 Israeli assault on the USS Liberty

George Ball (1909-1994), the Under Secretary of State of Economic affairs during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, wrote: "The ultimate lesson of the Liberty attack, was that it had far more affect on policy in Israel than in America. Israel's leaders concluded that nothing they might do would offend the Americans to the point of reprisal. If America's leaders did not have the courage to punish Israel for the blatant murder of American citizens, it seemed clear that the American friends would let them get away with almost anything."
  Comments from the surviving decorated heroes of the USS Liberty: "If we could get the truth of the Liberty out, it would change the history of this country." "I can't understand why the American newspapers and TV people have helped cover this up by not covering our stories." "Never before has the U.S. Navy ignored eye witness testimony of American Military, to accept on faith the story told by their attackers." "There should be a congressional committee, both senate and house, to examine all the data...and it's getting late to do this, because like McGonagle, God bless, he's gone." "To me that was one of the worst cover-ups in American history. How low can our government go?" "So I will never buy the idea that some of the pilots thought this was another ship." "We didn't know who was attacking us. They didn't know who was attacking us. I don't know how Washington can say, Don't go, because they're friends of ours. That's the thing that's always bothered me, right there."
Any time anyone even questions Israel, the immediate cry is racism and/or antisemitism. Let it be clear that I am neither a racist nor an Antisemite. Few abhor bigotry any more than I do. I love the Israeli people. and they desperately need the Gospel of Christ. However, they have not been well served by their Zionist leaders who have appeared to stop at nothing to further their cause. As Christians, I don't believe it's prudent to blindly accept Israel's every action as though they are empowered by the hand of God. Clearly they are an ally, but then again, what did that mean for the crew of the Liberty? Do allies intentionally sink the ships of their compatriots?
Forty three years after the vicious and sustained attack on the USS Liberty, the testimonies of the survivors and the blood of the dead speak clearly. We can squabble about motives all day long but the fact is that only those so heavily weighted by presupposition could possibly believe this was merely a mistake in identity. The Zionist track record is simply not very good. With the ethnic cleansing in the late 1940's throughout the 50's (see Elisas Chacour's "Blood Brothers") and the attempted sinking of the $40m USS Liberty intelligence ship in international waters, what else are they prepared to do?

(In my view, the above video by sensationalist Alex Jones, clouds the waters. Some of his claims are suspect)
The following quotes are from the book, The Attack on the Liberty: The Untold Story of Israel's Deadly Assault on a U.S. Spy Ship (2009, Simon & Schuster), by James Scott, a longtime journalist living in South Carolina, whose father was an officer on the Liberty.[]
[With the Liberty] the United States had the capability to intercept and decipher VHF and UHF radio frequencies, common frequencies used for government and military communications...
In the case of the Liberty, the White House, afraid of offending Israel's domestic backers at a time when it needed support for its Vietnam policy, looked the other way....
Hints of disbelief did emerge, often from small newspapers outside the Beltway. Many puzzled over how Israel's exceptional military could make such a blunder...
[T]he overall lack of criticism of Israel baffled some senior government leaders. The dogged press corps consistently challenged the administration on its Vietnam policy and ambitious social programs. In the case of the Liberty, the press aimed most of its critical questions at the American government. Israel in contrast enjoyed a reprieve. Reporters soon adopted the phrase 'accidental attack,' a description that frustrated Pentagon officials, who felt it minimized the ferocity of the sustained assault that had killed or injured two out of every three men on board...
"We were quite convinced the Israelis knew what they were doing," [Thomas Hughes, director of the State Department's Intelligence office] later said. "It was hard to come to any other conclusion." Other senior staffers agreed, believing that Israel did not want the United States reading its wartime message traffic....
Despite Jerusalem's close ties with Washington, many State Department officials--and others in the intelligence community--believed the Jewish state's survival instinct was so strong that, if necessary, Israel would attack a close ally in the interest of self-preservation....
[According to William Wolle, former State Department:] "The feeling of those of us at the working level in NEA [State Department Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs] was that the Israelis had deliberately done this so that we couldn't read all of their communications, etc. We are their ally but they are not going to trust us when it comes to a wartime situation in terms of what information might get out, what we might pass along to someone. We all felt it was no accident."...
Soon after the Liberty attack, [National Security Agency director Lieutenant General Marshall] Carter appeared before a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee to discuss the Liberty. [Deputy Secretary of Defense] Cyrus Vance joined him... "Cy Vance just told me to keep my mouth shut," [Gerard] Burke [Carter's chief of staff] recalled his boss telling him.... "There was absolutely no question in anybody's mind that the Israelis had done it deliberately," Burke said. "I was angrier because of the cover-up... The only mystery to me was why was the thing being covered up."...
Some of President Johnson's advisers later regretted the handling of the attack. "We failed to let it all come out publicly at the time," said Lucius Battle, the assistant secretary of state for near eastern and south Asian affairs. "We really ignored it for all practical purposes, and we shouldn't have." George Ball, the former undersecretary of state prior to [Nicholas] Katzenbach, wrote that the Liberty ultimately had a greater effect on policy in Israel than in the United States. "Israel's leaders concluded that nothing they might do would offend Americans to the point of reprisal," Ball wrote. "If America's leaders did not have the courage to punish Israel for the blatant murder of American citizens, it seemed clear that their American friends would let them get away with anything."
" . . . an act of military recklessness reflecting wanton disregard for human life."
Then Secretary of State Dean Rusk in a 10 June 1967 diplomatic note to the Israeli Ambassador.
"But I was never satisfied with the Israeli explanation. Their sustained attack to disable and sink Liberty precluded an assault by accident or some trigger-happy local commander. Through diplomatic channels we refused to accept their explanations. I didn't believe them then, and I don't believe them to this day. The attack was outrageous." 
Rusk, As I Saw It, W.W.Norton, 1990. p 388

Jun 14, 2010

BP's Deep Water Horizon Oil Blowout

The truth behind the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history.

I've received more than one email warning that this BP Oil disaster is not a solvable problem. This, I am told, is the wrath of God being literally poured out as the seas turn into blood. Following is from Dr. James P. Wickstrom, warning in "Oil Volcano Pressure Too Strong For Containment" that BP accidentally drilled into an underground volcano.

Wickstrom writes:
"It has been estimated by experts that the pressure which blows the oil into the Gulf waters is estimated to be between 20,000 and 70,000 PSI (pounds per square inch). Impossible to control. What US Scientists Are Forbidden To Tell The Public About The Gulf What you are about to read, is what the scientists in the United States are not allowed to tell you in great fear of the Obama administration.

They are under the threat of severe repercussions to the max.. Scientists confirming these findings cannot be named due to the above, but what they believe, they want to be known by all. Take a U. S. map, lay it flat and measure inland just the minimum 50 miles of total destruction all around the Gulf of Mexico as to what you will read below. The carnage to the United States is so staggering, it will take your breathe away.

Should what the scientists who are trying to warn everyone about be even close to being true... all of Florida will be completely destroyed as will everyone and everything on it.You decide!! Everyone has the right to read what I have just written in this article, as well as to what is written below by the scientists who the Obama administration and BP are trying to shut up."
This kind of junk science, based upon a faulty reading of God's Word, will continue to plague the Church while eroding the Bible's integrity, until we take the Bible seriously and stop playing games with its clarity. Let's bring sanity back into Christianity. :)

Jun 4, 2010

"And the Sea Became Blood?" - The Gulf Oil Crisis

Rahm Emanuel, Barak Obama’s Chief of Staff once uttered, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste”. Along the same plain, the prophetic gloom and doom profiteers, never miss the opportunity to capitalize on a fresh crisis. "And the Sea Became Blood", the next apocalyptic thriller, is likely to hit a Christian bookstore near you. (Actually it's yet to be written but probably will be :)

The end is perpetually “near” and every negative event from school shootings to financial meltdowns to man-made or natural disasters, are always proof that we are living in the “last days” of this late great planet earth. We may not always buy into the gloom but the incessant barrage, wears like a grease-soaked shirt on a hot muggy day. :(

I wrote the following to a friend yesterday regarding the growing disaster in the Gulf. Images of oil coated pelicans perched upon a sea of black gold, are enough to turn crusty old sailors tearful.

Thanks Theophilus [name changed]. It kind of makes your heart stop doesn't it? Mark my words. It won't be long, if it hasn't already begun, before the forever apocalyptically-minded prophecy “experts” begin talking about this as the sea turning into blood [from the book of Revelation]. They never miss an opportunity to capitalize monetarily on the gullible sheeple.

Revelation 8:8-9 (NASB) The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, 9 and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.

Keep your eyes and ears open. You can say you heard it first from me. On a serious note, all we can do is pray for the mercy of God to intervene. Thanks again for keeping me informed.




Then, today, less than 24 hours after my stab at prophetic infamy (move over Pat Robertson), I received the following video courtesy of a dear friend.

Sure enough, my above prediction came to pass exactly as I’d anticipated. The horrific Gulf oil spill (in this instance a seriously inadequate word—it’s more like a Gulf oil GUSHER) is now proof that we are living in the final stages of the “last days.” Before our very eyes, Revelation 8:8 is being fulfilled! The sea is literally turning into blood!

Listen, at this point, let me make clear that this disaster is no laughing matter. I pray that God will have mercy on our negligence and greed. God’s intervention is our hope. So please don’t misunderstand me here. This is serious business that may have catastrophic consequences.

Therefore, given my sensitivity to what may be a catastrophe of mega proportions, I never cease to be amazed how people take the heavily sign-ifed (Rev 1:1) book of Revelation and interpret literally what was highly figurative language. Is Revelation 8:8-9 really to be taken literally? How can we KNOW? Do you ever feel driven and tossed by the winds of these prophetic speculators?

If we want to get to the bottom of this issue, I believe we need to first determine to whom Revelation was written and when this vision was to take place. Jesus made certain both were clearly delineated in the first few verses of the vision. So after we make this discovery, the rest of the apocalypse must be interpreted in that context. To do anything else is, in my view, irresponsible.

Revelation 1:4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,

This book was written directly to the seven real first century churches in Asia (latter 60’s AD), shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. These churches were a staging ground for the proliferation of the Gospel throughout Asia. So I believe it is imperative that we first consider the relevance of this book to the audience at hand. In other words, how can we determine what this book means (today) if we don’t know what it meant (in the first century)? The Revelation wasn’t given to the early church believers to confuse them but to offer hope, comfort and direction.

Now we know to whom it was written, next we need to ascertain when it was to take place? As Jesus spoke to John through the angel, I don’t think He could have been clearer.

Revelation 1:1-3 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, 2 who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

How could they “heed the things which are written” if it didn’t apply to them? If we ignore the audience and timing of this book, we will never understand the complex imagery that exists within. Multi-headed beasts, stars crashing to planet earth, locust-like scorpions wreaking havoc…and the list goes on.

Disasters throughout history have been pinned to various sections of the Revelation because people chose not to take the timing of God’s prophesies literally. They chose to allegorize the clear timing while literalizing the flowery apocalyptic-styled language. From my earliers days as a believer Pastor James Saxon used to always say, "Interpret the unclear with the clear." The timing is clear, the imagery is unclear, at not as clear to those of us 2,000 removed from the culture and times surrounding this book's writing.

Nowhere in Scripture is time allegorized, and please don’t cite 2 Peter 3:8 as a proof text to say that God can’t communicate clearly. He is not a God of confusion. The mysteries that had been hidden were revealed in the person and work of Christ.

Colossians 1:26 that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints,

Ephesians 3:9-10 (NASB) and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; 10 so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.

The Revelation was to be understood by the original recipients! The mystery, which for ages had been hidden, was now being made known. Amen and amen.

If, presuppositionally, we begin with the premise that the Bible was inspired by the very breath of our Creator, is it possible that God deliberately used words disingenuously. Did God intentionally mislead His precious children by creating false expectations? (We did an entire radio program debunking the God supposed inability to tell time
and speak clearly. HERE) If we continue to commit this logical fallacy that near can mean far because to God time is irrelevant, I think we unwittingly bring disrepute to His Word and lend credence to the subversive attacks of liberal scholars.

So as we hearken back to Revelation 1:1, it should be noted that Jesus didn’t say, “things which MIGHT shortly come to pass”. He said, “Things which MUST shortly come to pass.” Therefore, why is it that we continue to ignore these clear words and chase after visions of sugar plums? For thirty three years I, like so many, caved into the pressure of the "experts" (whom I assumed knew far more than a criminal justice major). Although I was never comfortable with this kind of treatment of the Bible, I truly thought I had no viable alternative. I praise God that is no longer the case.

If Jesus was intentionally lying to those hurting, heavily persecuted first century Christs-followers, leading them to believe these things were imminent when they weren’t, we may as well pack it in and stop the charade. I realize that sounds harsh, but I don't believe we can continue to run the Bible aground, giving credence to the views of atheists and agnostic. I simply will not subscribe to the notion that Jesus lied, and there’s no way to sugarcoat it, if the Christians living in Asia Minor in AD 66, were told these things were "must soon take place", if they were still thousands of years future.

I admit that this is a difficult book to understand but I believe in its past fulfillment for one very basic reason. I believe God was faithful to carry out His prophetic Word in the timing He predicted. Was God faithful or not? I believe He was and therefore is. Five years ago I said, no mas to the massive industry of “Left Behind”. I finally refused to be driven and tossed by the winds of this kind of prophetic speculation.

I don’t doubt Kemner (the producer of the above video) is a sincere man. who probably loves God. However, if we continue on this interpretational path, misapplying these horrific events to a book that “MUST” have been fulfilled in the first century, we will continue to lose our resolve to tackle these kinds of severe problems. If this sea of gushing oil is an inevitable fulfillment of Bible prophecy, why try to stop it? Can anyone stop the hand of God?

So what is the basis of Kemner’s conclusion? Is it based in the least on some sort of scientific hypothesis that this is an underwater volcano? It appears that he commits the same logical fallacy that many before him have fallen prey to. He’s captive to an eschatological system that is guaranteed to fail. And it should be asked, when was the literal mountain burning with fire thrown into the sea? Or a third of the ships destroyed? The Revelation 8:8-9 passage Kemner is using (quoted above) was about the termination of the nation of Israel in AD 70. But that’s another story that would take time and Scripture to flesh out.

Consider The Black Death plague epidemic that swept through Europe killing between 25-60% (75,000,000 – 200,000,000 people) of the population from 1348 through 1351…people surely thought they were nearing the end. Since the incarnation of Christ, history is replete with these kinds of horrific events. It’s imperative that we maintain perspective when these kinds of things come our way.

I pray this growing oil crisis may not have equally disastrous consequences…but if we are to adhere to the hope and clarity of God’s Word, we simply cannot continue to ignore the Scriptural time referents as they pertained to the second coming. Words like “shortly”, “at hand”, “soon”, “near” and “in a little while”, are screaming to be heard. I hope this kind of Kemner prophetic fatalism, misapplied in my humble opinion, does not destroy our resolve to be faithful stewards of God’s creation.

This kind of newspaper exegesis is the worst manifestation of premillennialism where people are convinced that the ship is sinking and there’s nothing we can do about it…that bailing water is futile because we’re told the hull has a deep irreparable gash.

As always, I offer my thoughts not as dogma but as things merely to ponder. I always reserve the right to be wrong but in this case, if I am wrong on God’s sincerity re the first 3 verses in the book of Revelation (and almost 100 similar NT references), I’ve wasted a lifetime of attempted service when I could have been out living it up. God WAS, IS and FOREVER shall be faithful. I'm convinced of that.