Feb 27, 2014

Windows Service Center Phone Scam!!! Beware

I just got a call from the Windows Service Center notifying me that my computer was sending out infected files. Holy Trojan Horse, Batman! 

This chap said he was authorized to stop these viruses from spreading. He said, "Are you at your computer right now?" This kind gentleman was about to relieve me of my viruses, trojans and other dangerous files. "I can take care of it quickly", he said rather confidently, "Just follow my instructions." 

It was an Pakastani sounding guy who said his name was Benjamin Watson. When I laughed out loud he said, "Why are you laughing?" I said, "What a coincidence. My name is Habib Patel and I'm from Islamabad". LoL 

After my continued prying (since at that point I was still a bit dazed and confused) he finally coughed up his phone number which he said proves he's with the Windows Service Center. (832) 426-2444. So he said, "Go ahead and call that number to verify." So I said, "What does that prove other than the fact that you have a phone number?" (After I got off the phone, I called the number. After 9 rings, some fellow who sounded like he was in a cave with bin Laden said, "Windows Service Center, can I help you?" See, it was totally legit!!! :)

Then, when I asked him how he got my phone number, he said that it was provided at the time I bought my computer. Everybody signs paperwork, right? So I asked him how he got that information and he told me that it came from Microsoft...because the Windows Service Center is a subsidiary of Microsoft. So he went back to his original script and hammered, "If we don't get this threat removed immediately, it's going to jeopardize the use of your computer and will affect countless other computers." 

Lastly, I asked for his URL. Even novices know what that is, right? He said that he wasn't authorized to give out that kind of information. He clearly thought it was like a badge number or something. That's how knowledgeable this scammer was about computers. So I asked for his website and he said they didn't have one. By this point, confident I was in the throws of an elaborate scam, I said, "Repeat after me. Ohwa -- tadger -- QR." Then I proceeded to tell him that I would report this to the FBI. 

After I got off the phone I found the following:

This is the scam in action. Amazing how smooth they are. I have to admit, he had me at least questioning for a while. They basically prove to you that you have some problems with your computer (which EVERY computer does and means very little). Then they get you to go to a legitimate website to download a piece of software that gives them FULL control over your computer. After that you do that you are DONE and I don't mean that your problems are over. They have just begun and you are in a world of hurt. 

One of the best scams I've witnessed in a long time. Please don't fall for it! 

Feb 20, 2014

Christian Hope through Fulfilled Bible Prophecy!

Charles Meek, a PCA attendee and founder of the first apologetics website (www.faithfacts.org), has written a very challenging book, "Christian Hope through Fulfilled Bible Prophecy." After attempting to field a constant barrage of eschatological questions, Charles decided to embark on a thorough study of his own. As noted by his subtitle, "Is Your Church Teaching Error about the Last Days and Second Coming?", Charles believes that the Church needs an eschatological overhaul. This area has been the church's Achilles heal for far too long. Charles' arguments are strong and his commitment to the Bible is even stronger. The link below is a short preamble to this most excellent book.

Does this stuff really matter? Yes, I think it does. I believe Biblical inspiration and God's perceived faithfulness is unwittingly being compromised by today's most popular view, and something is severely amiss. Taking a quick look at the abysmal record of the "experts" proves that there are serous issues with the current system. Charles does a formidable job of helping to right the ship while restoring Scriptural credibility. 

Feb 19, 2014

Crash of 2014?

(click on the image for a larger view)

This chart says it all. Look at the headlines that accompanied the 2013 Russell 3000 climb. The bad news was everywhere but look at the results. As they say, even broken clocks are right twice a day. 

As 2014 dawned, the market went into a correction mode. Then we trudged through a 6% market correction with the possibility that another of even greater magnitude may be imminent. Who knows. But the point is that we need to listen to reason. Being intimidated by sensational headlines might be hazardous to your health. Being a realist means not ignoring negative sign posts. However, that also means that one must take a comprehensive, balanced approach while not making decisions based upon ominous sounding headlines. 

In a recent article, "Crash of 2014: Like 1929, you’ll never hear it coming" (Feb 24, 2014), Paul B. Farrell, in his usual doomsday fashion, sounded the alarm. Could Farrell be right? Sure, even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while. He's listed a number of financial "experts" who agree that this bull run is over. Soros has apparently doubled down on a serious S&P decline. 

But what happens if Farrell's fear mongering comes and goes with no crash? How many trillions will be lost if he's wrong? All he wants to talk about are funds lost in a crash. He mentions the trillions lost in 2008 and early 2009. But if they hadn't turned so frightful and stayed invested, they not only wouldn't have lost but would have been rewarded handsomely.

Will Farrell ever own up to his prognostication if the sky doesn't fall in 2014? Most of these guys don't. They just wait in the wings before sounding their next alarm. 

Be careful, be informed, but most of all don't react emotionally. Fear and greed are not the stuff of sound decisions. 

BTW, what happened to the plethora of impending crash predictions over the past twenty five years? How long have they been predicting the U.S. currency collapse?

Back in 1991, financial guru Larry Burkett, in "The Coming Financial Earthquake", predicted an imminent financial earthquake? What prompted such a godly, astute man, to make such a faulty prediction, which ended up negatively affecting the lives of untold thousands if not millions? Could the answer be rooted in Burkett's gloom and doom eschatological presuppositions? The pervading negativity over western Christianity appears out of control. Clearly we have serious economic problems, but are they truly insurmountable? It's my view that this infatuation with the end of the world, which many believe is imminent, seems to be causing Christians to lose focus and subconsciously raise the white flag. 

Feb 12, 2014

Scary market chart signaling another crash?

The above market chart superimposes the 17 months of the DOW Jones as it led up to the 1929 market crash, our most recent 17 months (Feb/2014). The implication? Get the heck out of dodge because the market's about to crash! 

Have you ever noticed that we're always about to enter the next great depression? That we're ever on the verge of a currency collapse? Or that food shortages and massive civil unrest are just a few ticks away? Better start buying guns, ammo, water, freeze dried foods and stock up on your gold bullion! I never really understood the benefit of having a safe lined with gold during periods of anarchy and societal upheaval. It might be an inflation hedge but it's not all that nutritious. :)  But I digress. 

More false dire predictions from John Paul Jackson

Is this "scary parallel" really a reliable indicator warning us of an  impending epic tidal wave? Is it really that simple to predict the future? If it's that easy, why bother with all the technical analyses and all the financial mumbo jumbo, just scour these mountain charts and begin predicting away! It's as easy as 1-2-3. And you thought the amazing Ronco slicer/dicer was cool! 

Ever wonder why the chartster who first recognized this "frightening" similarity, used this particular 17 month time frame? Why not compare the period 24 or 36 months prior to the 1929 precipitous drop? What's so magical about 17 months? Could it be because the comparisons wouldn't have been as startlingly similar? Inquiring minds wanna know.

So before jumping off the bridge or cashing in your equities, let's interject a little common sense into the equation. Consider the following analogy:

Johnny Jones just had a massive, fatal heart attack. Johnny was a 53 year 5'11", 180lb white male, with a body mass index of 26 and body fat ratio of 20%. All pretty average numbers. So, from this can we successfully predict that every 50-55 year old man with similar stats, is about to die of heart failure? Why not? 

Because we haven't taken into consideration ANY of the vital internal factors that may have contributed to this man's demise. Did he have coronary artery disease or a heart defect? How about diabetes? Was his blood pressure abnormally high? Did he routinely get too little sleep? Was he under severe job pressures? How about his relationships? Did he exercise regularly?

These kinds of underlying issues are at the heart of the matter. :)  So, in comparison, by using one market chart to make predictions, what have we effectively done? We have ignored all the vital factors surrounding the market. Interest rates. P/E ratios. Liquidity. Inflation. Debt ratios. Economic outlook. Legislative climate. Tax policy. Investor sentiment. Fundamentals. Earning growth or decline. 

So which of these many factors are known by simply looking at the above market graph? NONE! And that's the point. 

Could we be entering shark infested market waters? Sure, it's possible, but without considering ALL these factors, I'm simply questioning the prudence of using one chart to predict a massive stock market collapse. Investor sentiment could clearly be negatively affected by this sort of headline, but unless we're shorting the market hoping for a self-fulfilling prophecy, doesn't this kind of one-note-wonder decision-making, seems rather simpleminded? 

Not only do I believe it's not prudent but, I think these kinds of headlines are just plain irresponsible. And it surely causes one to wonder what would motivate a long time industry analyst to make such an outrageous insinuation? This chap wrote, "The picture isn’t pretty. And it’s not as easy as you might think to wriggle out from underneath the bearish significance of this chart."

Oh really? "Bearish significance" of a time manipulated chart that just so happens to coincide so perfectly? Come on now. All that can be read into one chart with no regard to the zillions of other factors? Something smells rather wharf-like. And given the fact that this 1929 scare piece is still the top story at www.Marketwatch.com, proves that sensationalism sells. 

Listen I can't look into this man's heart. I don't know what his motivations are. All I know is that some people are doing everything in their power to sell newsletters, doomsday kits, precious metals and freeze dried apples. Just because it may prove financially rewarding to shock the world, it seems rather disingenuous to me. 

This market may in fact soon be rushed by ambulance to the ER, but chances are that this "scary parallel" won't have proved to be all that predictive. This internet driven 24/7 information age, is wonderful in many regards, but it can also seriously skew our outlook. I believe that if we don't begin to temper or even mute the constant drum beat of doom by these fear mongers, we're all going to be prime candidates for a myocardial infarction! Obviously it's not healthy to ignore pessimistic data, but it's the kind of information that's used to predict declines that is important. And this, in my view, is not it. Not alone anyway.  

In closing, let me make clear that I'm not in the least suggesting that you buy, sell or hold. Just don't be frightened by a single, time-manipulated chart. Perhaps a little prudence is in order. 

Feb 8, 2014

That's just your opinion

When discussing Biblical matters, how often have do you hear the common refrain, “That’s just your opinion”? So what are the often unstated assertions behind that seemingly innocuous statement? Perhaps, that capturing truth is as difficult as nailing jello to a tree? And, only those overcome with arrogance and self delusion are audacious enough to claim they've discovered the doctrinal Holy Grail? 
So, are we hopelessly constrained to the land of opinion with no prayer of certainty about anything? Those of us committed to Biblical inspiration (2 Tim 3:16) agree that objective truth exists, but the $64,000 question is, how can we KNOW when we've found it?  It’s not a matter of opinion that Lazarus was raised from the dead or that Saul (the Apostle Paul) was struck by a blinding light before his conversion, but aside from these historical facts, is doctrine relegated to the land of the subjective where it's always just a matter of opinion?

Considering the following divergence of views, and given the fact that honorable, intelligent believers rest on both sides, developing a degree of certainly may seem daunting and perhaps imprudent. Arminianism vs. Calvinism; premillennialism vs preterism; Infant baptism vs. believer’s baptism; immersion vs. pouring vs. no baptism at all; charasmatic gifts are for today vs. the Frozen chosen cessantionists...and the list goes on into perpetuity. Clearly there are Scriptural issues that, because of complexity, may not warrant unwavering dogmatism, but the question remains, are there issues which are at least in part, not consigned to a kind of an ethereal subjectivity?

If theological positions are simply matters of opinion, and firm conclusions are merely the fabric of one’s presuppositional persuasions, what inherent value is there in spending countless hours studying the Bible? Reading it, yes. Hiding it in our heart, yes. But why bother with the really in-depth study if at best, we come up with just another opinion that may or may not be true? So, if beyond the historical accounts, we can’t KNOW anything, why bother? 

Seriously, if my conclusions are nothing but a byproduct of my own proclivities and preferences, and the Bible is as malleable as Silly Putty (which some seem to think), why toil in endless hours of discovery?  For example, if I state a doctrinal belief and someone disagrees, are we at an impenetrable impasse with no hope of resolution? Are there objective methods whereby we can determine if our views are errant? 

Let me pause for a moment and offer this disclaimer. I am not talking about the acquisition of truth to either puff one up or to lord over others. There is plenty of mean-spiritedness being passing as a pursuit for doctrinal purity, to go around the world twice over. And this makes all of us gun shy. However, regardless how irresponsible and un-Christlike some people act, I do not believe this overrides the fact that, not only does TRUTH exist, but we are exhorted to search for it like a buried treasure.  

The Greek word translated truth, alÄ“theia, is used 98 times in the New Testament and means “objectively, in reality, certainty and in fact.” Consider a few of the 98:

Luke 1:3-4 (NASB) 3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; 4 so that you may know the exact TRUTH about the things you have been taught.

John 4:23-24 (NASB) "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the TRUE worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and TRUTH; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and TRUTH."

John 14:6 (ESV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 8:31-32 (NASB) So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will KNOW the TRUTH, and the TRUTH will make you free."

2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB) Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of TRUTH.

According to Jesus, if we must worship God in truth, isn't it implied that should be able to find it? So how can we KNOW THE TRUTH and be set free by it, if all doctrines are simply matters of personal preference? "Accurately handling the word of truth" is the task of all workmen! God apparently wants us to dig and at actually find it!

Given these exhortations, I think we must conclude that there must be objective standards whereby we can know the truth. And further, by following certain objective methods of discovery, we can make judgments as to what is and is not true. So, how again do we know when we've attained even a small portion of truth?

A few years ago, excited after undergoing a rather significant eschatological paradigm shift (which revitalized my spiritual life), I presented my findings to numerous people. Instead of the responses I anticipated like, “That’s amazing, let me check it out more thoroughly” or "I've never heard that before but it sounds interesting," many inevitably said, “Who else believes this?” This question is founded upon two beliefs:

1. They don't have the intellectual or educational tools necessary to discover truth on their own. So they must rely on others more gifted. 

2. I am not one of those trusted theological gurus.  

Listen, I have no problem not being the "go to" Bible answer man. :)  That's not the real issue. The problem is the fact that most Christians don't have the confidence to search the Scriptures to "see if these things are so". (Acts 17:11)  They are forced by either laziness or a lack of confidence (I think it' the latter) to rely too heavily upon the opinions of others. Since they haven't attempted to diligently divide the word of God, there's not the kind of sincere conviction there ought to be. So when they change gurus, their views change. And this fluidity produces an unhealthy ambivalence.  

In my opinion, seeking the counsel of trusted advisers is a must. So don't misunderstand me at this point. I'm not in the least suggesting that we never consult those gifted in a particular field. I regularly listen to the broadcasts of a wide array of preachers and Bible teachers. 

But what I am trying to point out, is that too many may be relying almost entirely on "experts" (pastors, apologists, theologians, and well known church figures). If we depend upon someone else to do the groundwork for us, the conclusions we acquire, never fully become our own. And therefore, instead of becoming convictions, they are far less. Not that we don't defend a particular view, even at times vehemently, but when our allegiances change, we simply adopt the views of the new found expert. That's why I think it's of vital importance for us to do the work necessary to develop sound conclusions on our own.  

But at it currently stands, most of us are content to absorb the doctrines of those stalwarts of the faith we've come to respect? And thus, it most often comes down to credibility. Instead of confidently saying, "Let me study the Scriptures to 'see if these things are so'”, we often line up behind our beloved Bible teacher. I’m of Beth Moore, and I of R.C. Sproul and I of Charles Stanley and I of David Jeremiah.  What passage immediately comes to mind?

1 Corinthians 1:12 (NASB) Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, "I am of Paul," and "I of Apollos," and "I of Cephas," and "I of Christ." 

Though the above verse was an exhortation to be unified in Christ, I think it demonstrates our proclivities to follow people because we lack the faith to believe we can come to sound conclusions on our own. I have a friend, Ed Ferner (www.christeternalchristianchurch.com), who, every time I ask him a question, instead of immediately going to the Bible commentaries or consulting someone of stature, he's confident enough to fly solo. And he invariably returns with a very well thought out answer which has always impressed me. 

Now, I'm not suggesting that we never seek counsel, far from it. However, I believe that we must begin attempting to ferret these things out with the tools God has given us.  

So, have you ever pondered the reasons for our lack of confidence? How can we learn to more effectively utilize Bible tools to develop truth convictions that might deviate from our pastor or favorite Bible teacher. What most fail to realize is that no one is immune from presuppositions, some potentially errant, and that includes those most esteemed by the Church. It leaves every last one of us, including Luther, Zwingli and Origen, potentially objectivity challenged. And J.I. Packer makes that very case in Fundamentalism and the Word of God.

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. 

Realizing that we all suffer to some extent from false premises that can subliminally derail our objectivity, the fact is that the only way to find truth is to recognize our bias, set it aside as best we can, and then allow the Holy Spirit to speak clearly through the Bible.

So, to the degree any of us are able to circumvent and/or mute our "already formed minds" and extract the truth from God’s Word, we will move ever closer to sound doctrine. Intelligence, training and expertise can be valuable assets in this endeavor, but they can also become nooses around the neck of truth. Seminary training, for example, can be an invaluable tool, but if the indoctrination that most always occurs, is not recognized, can be a blinding influence. In my many conversations with seminarians throughout the years, one thing has been clear, by design the schools are more interested in graduating students that agree with their tenets than in producing free-thinking Bereans. There's nothing inherently wrong with following one's past, but it must be recognized that former training can hamstring one's ability to find truth.  

I believe we need to shed the typical defeatist mindset, which in my view has reached epidemic proportions. So taken are we with our pastor or favorite Bible expositor, that we automatically and immediately assimilate whatever conclusions they reach and make them our own. Rarely is anyone in authority questioned. After all, since they have the training, expertise and the intellect that most of us lack, there's no wonder why we follow blindly. And, there's nothing wrong with following, but I just think it needs to be because we have studied and come to the same conclusion. 

Even though we are endowed with the same Holy Spirit as those in positions of influence, we are constantly warned not to disagree with the party line or we'll find ourselves censured or worse. The sometimes gentle but often emphatic tone is, if we disagree, there are other churches that may find our views palatable, so please don’t make waves here. This is at least part of the reason things never change and errors are propagated into perpetuity. 

And to be clear, I'm not in the least suggesting anyone be argumentative, condescending or purposefully disruptive. That is simply not Christ-like behavior. However, if challenges are always discouraged because the quest for peace and unity trumps our passion for sound doctrine, truth WILL be sacrificed. I believe respectful dialogue should be encouraged and instead of short-circuiting the debate process, those incapable of maintaining a spirit of love and respect, ought to be the ones encouraged to get an attitude adjustment. So, instead of silencing opposing views, it seems better to allow respectful discourse. Learning how to dialogue when differences arise, should be part of the maturation process. But, unfortunately, since dissent is rarely tolerated, people don't learn how to love one another in disagreement. In so doing, both truth and maturity are sacrificed.

As a case in point, consider the various eschatological positions. Although “end times” viewpoints are not considered foundational, premillennialism (the dominant position of our day) has been woven so thoroughly into the fabric of our faith, that to deviate from it is considered heterodox. So daring to espouse another eschatological system, not only puts one at serious risk of being disfellowshiped, but if uncovering eschatological truth is perceived as nearly impossible, the risk/reward relationship is simply too great. So at this juncture, most determine that the benefit (truth) is not worth ostracization. 

But here's the good news. There are in fact objective tools of interpretation that will point us to the truth (if we let them). The truth is not only attainable but the Bible exhorts us to find it. And when we do, it must not be expressed in a manner of arrogance or condescension, but with all humility and love. The Apostle Paul, arguably the greatest theologian who ever lived, said love must be at the epicenter of all our doctrinal pursuits. So with that as a backdrop, never forgetting this mindset, let me share some foundational hermeneutical (science of interpretation) tools that I believe are as dependable as mathematical laws.

1.  The Bible is inspired / God breathed – it has divine origin and is not subject to the whims of man. We need not go outside the Bible to obtain truth. Extra-Biblical sources, though at times beneficial, only enhance that which can be gleaned from Scripture. If those sources are used to override Scripture, they, not Scripture, become the supreme authority.

2.  God cannot lie (He occasionally conceals, but He does not mislead). The implications of this truth are taken for granted, but the fact remains, this fact must not be taken for granted. This is inherent in God’s prophetic word. As He stated through Ezekiel, “and whatever word I speak will be performed. It will no longer be delayed, for in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and perform it," declares the Lord GOD.'" We simply must not accept any theology that assumes God to be less than truthful.

Titus 1:2 (NASB) in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,

Hebrews 6:18 (NASB) so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.

3. The Bible never contradicts itselfThis is the law of non-contradiction. Contradictory Biblical statements cannot be true in the same sense at the same time. In other words, if A=B, then A≠B are mutually exclusive. God operates within the bounds of pure logic. Since there are no contradictions in the Bible, the apparent contradictions must be rectified. The following verse is often used to justify circumvention of this law, but only because it has been seriously misinterpreted. How often have you heard someone use "My thoughts are not your thoughts" to argue that God operates outside the bounds of logic or time. This is not in the least what was being conveyed. Go back and read the below verse in context. You will find that God is telling us simply that He is Holy and righteous and we are not.  

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NASB)  "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. 9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

So the above verses are not an indictment against logic. Though God’s attributes and His supreme purposes are clearly not shared by His creatures, this in no way means that God operates in violation to the principles of logic or the chronology of time. The law of non-contradiction must not be violated. Isaiah 55:7, “Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts” makes the intent clear. It has everything to do with the contrast between God’s righteousness and our inherent sinfulness.

4.  Context is king - We must read the Bible through the lens of the author, not through our 21st century glasses. The Bible cannot mean what it never meant. The recent attempt to read modern day events into the Bible, must be nixed. Word meanings are always defined by context. Often verses are excised and cherry-picked from a passage and manipulated to conform to a predetermined paradigm. How often when you come across "you" in the Bible, is it our natural inclination to think we are the "you" to whom the Biblical author is speaking of. We must always remember that, though the Bible was written and preserved FOR us, it was not written directly TO us. Ignoring this fact, may be one of the biggest impetiements to discovering truth. 

     Consider the following from Matthew's Gospel. Notice the number of times YOU is referred to by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse. Not recognizing that the "you" are His disciples, and wrongly assuming that the "you" is some sort of generic multi-generational "you", will make certain you won't understand this prophetic section.   
  • Do YOU see all these things? (verse 2)
  • Truly I tell YOU (verse 2)
  • Watch out that no one deceives YOU (4)
  • ​YOU will hear of wars and rumors of wars (6)
  • but see to it that YOU are not alarmed (6)​
  • ​Then YOU will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death (9)
  • YOU will be hated by all nations because of me (9)
  • “So when YOU see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation (15)
  • Pray that YOUR flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath (20)
  •  At that time if anyone says to YOU, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. (23)
  • See, I have told YOU ahead of time. (25​)
  • So if anyone tells YOU, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. (26)
  • As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, YOU know that summer is near. (32)
  • Even so, when YOU see all these things (33)
  • YOU know that it is near, right at the door (33)
  • Truly I tell YOU, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened (34)
  • Therefore keep watch, because YOU do not know on what day your Lord will come (42)
  • So YOU also must be ready (44)
  • because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (44)
5.  Time is like clockwork – It is never allegorized. In understanding Bible prophecy, time is absolutely pivotal. Not only must the events prophesied take place, but they must occur within the timing specified.

Daniel 8:26 (NKJV) "And the vision of the evenings and mornings Which was told is true; Therefore seal up the vision, For it refers to many days in the future."

The vision was sealed because the prophetic fulfillment wouldn’t be confirmed for hundreds of years.

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

Contrary to what Daniel was told, John was informed that the vision was to remain unsealed because the time was at hand. “At hand” simply cannot be stressed to thousands of years. I dealt with this issue extensively HERE. Any eschatology that disregards this principle is doomed to failure.

When something was predicted “shortly”, if it did not take place “shortly”, the prophet was found wanting. Perhaps this is the most glaring problem in most eschatological models. If this principle is abused to make an eschatological system work, that system must be rejected.

6.  Interpret the unclear through the lens of the clear – Ignoring this principle has created the many cults that proliferate today. The Bible is self-interpreting.

7. Understanding genres of literature within Scripture – Poetic, apocalyptic historical, doctrinal, metaphorical, prophecy and law. Confusing these will cause serious misinterpretation.

Isaiah 13:9-10 (NKJV) Behold, the day of the Lord comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it. 10 For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine… 13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, And the earth will move out of her place, In the wrath of the Lord of hosts And in the day of His fierce anger.

If this was interpreted literally and not apocalyptically, Isaiah would have been charged with false prophecy since neither the heavens nor earth were dislodged from their orbits. God’s wrath was literally poured out against the Babylonians in their destruction at the hands of the Medes but not in the astrological ways it was couched.  

Isaiah 34:3-4 (NKJV) 3 Also their slain shall be thrown out; Their stench shall rise from their corpses, And the mountains shall be melted with their blood. 4 All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; All their host shall fall down As the leaf falls from the vine, And as fruit falling from a fig tree.

Again, if even one star collided with planet earth we would have been no more. There are many similar example of forms of speech that must be interpreted within the confines of its genre. Jesus was not literally a loaf of bread or a door and He wasn’t telling them to literally drink His blood and eat His flesh.

As we consider these things, I’d like to appeal to Jesus as He stood before Pilate. “Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."  Jesus came into the world to testify to THE TRUTH. He was clearly the truth for was the embodiment of truth.

In closing let me offer one objective lesson that applies some of these principles. 

Revelation 1:1 (NASB) 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,

The things that follow verse 1 simply must have taken place a couple thousand years ago. How do we KNOW this to be true and how do we know that others who disagree are in conflict with Scripture? By applying the below rules. 

1. The Bible is inspired. 
2. God is incapable of lying.
3 The Bible is never contradictory.
4. We must consider the context.
5. Time is NEVER allegorized.
6. We must interpret the unclear through the clear.
7. We must consider the type of literature.

So, next time someone says, "That's just your opinion", don't let it ride if your conclusion is based on these objective principles. If they want to argue with Jesus, then that's their prerogative. It is not a matter of opinion that Jesus, after His ascension while sitting at the right hand of the Father, said, "Thing which MUST TAKE PLACE SOON." This is not up for debate. If someone says, "Well, you have your verses and I have mine," challenge them to put "their verses" to the test. Since we know that the Bible is not contradictory, and we must interpret the unclear through the clear, is Revelation 1:1 not supremely clear? 

In my view, we simply cannot allow people to continue to get away with violating rules of interpretation without be challenged. 

We may not like the implication of the above because it might disturb what we've been taught and it might throw our paradigm into a tizzy, but we have a choice to make. Are we going to ignore the rules and the referees or are we going to play the game within the confines of the rules? I think it's time to challenge those who aren't playing by the rules. Truth matters and the integrity of the Bible weighs in the balance. It's not a matter of opinion.