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?