Friday, August 27, 2010

The Last Plagues ...

Exactly how crazy am I? It may be difficult to quantify just how crazy I may be, given that a universal “scale” for measuring “crazy” seems to be still under development. For instance, if I told you I could predict the future, you might dismiss me as merely mildly delusional. If I told you that God had spoken directly to me, you might consider that a touch more alarming as direct communications from “God” usually accompany some self-destructive behavior in the nut-balls who claim to have heard from Him one-on-one. But then, how crazy do I remain, if I told you something was going to happen in the future and it did happen exactly as I predicted it. We could call that luck, perhaps even guess that I had somehow an inside knowledge of what was going to occur from other more reliable scientific sources and as such ease our concerns and logically founded mind. But what if what I predicted was outside all the scientific norms, and happened anyway? Can’t call that insider info, can’t really call it luck, it would begin to cause you to question whether I really was crazy, or just right? Perhaps then, it is your own sanity you begin to question.

No need to worry, I do not claim to have heard from God one-on-one; nor do I claim to be able to predict the future. I am no prophet, at least not yet. I do consider myself a conspiracy enthusiast as I can often trace the fingers of conspiracies in the actions that otherwise seem random in the world, perhaps that just makes me a bit paranoid. But it does not mean I am wrong.  In any case, the life of a prophet is never an easy thing. It is hard to tell sane people that you have heard a message directly from God. This idea alone is often enough to get you ostracized at best, and committed at worst. To follow your pronouncement of hearing from God with news of a disaster is to invite the strongest type of ridicule and criticism imaginable. And so for those few servants of God who had the courage to bare their lives in scripture to we who read the accounts of their lives and stories, I wish to honor them as I am humbled by their sacrifice.

I cannot imagine what it must be like to have to take news of a dire consequence that will almost certainly get you killed into the governing palace of Kim Jung Ile, or Saddam Hussein, or Adolph Hitler when they were in power. It is hard enough for me to imagine taking in “God’s warnings” to our president Obama who I admire and respect, let alone to an all-powerful dictator with malevolent designs on my life. But such was the case for Noah to an angry world, Joseph to an egomaniac pharaoh, Moses to another even more egomaniac, Elijah to a wicked king, Jonah to an angry city, Daniel to a worldwide monarch, just to name a few. But to think that prophesy has all but been forgotten or fulfilled is to ignore one of the final writers of the gospel whose name was John the Beloved of Christ. For John also known as the Revelator penned a few prophesies that have yet to be fulfilled. We have at our disposal messages directly from God. Given to us, one-to-one, if you will – that we should be able to give to the world who still needs to hear them.

And so I ask the question once again, just how crazy am I? If I begin by telling you about a series of events that are to captivate the world’s attention, would you dismiss me once again as just another nut-ball who takes the Bible too seriously? Many would. You may. I would not hold it against you, as I myself have often wondered at the purpose of prophecy for those who believe. So if you read my council and decide I am crazy; that would be the norm. But if you remember my words, or rather His words, and then see them fulfilled in your lifetime, will you remember ALL of His words, or just those that had to do with the supernatural.

Take the life of Noah once again for consideration. If Noah had predicted regional floods instead of a worldwide phenomenon that wiped everyone off the planet at once, would those in the surviving regions had accepted Noah’s calls to repentance? If you lived in India for example at the time of Noah, and you saw Japan, China, and Indonesia wiped away by floods, would you start believing in Noah? Or would it take the further destruction of North America, Mexico, down to Panama for you to begin to believe. Or perhaps would you wind up staring at the ark as the door closed and realize you would never be on board as your logical mind would simply not allow you to believe what you see. After all the idea of flooding on this scale was “against science” to that point in time.

There are many today, both inside and outside the church who question the Bible’s more miraculous stories as authentic. They believe them to be more allegories designed to teach us a moral lesson, rather than accurate depictions of facts of the ground as they occurred. The idea that miraculous events have ever occurred forces one to accept the idea that God is real, and perhaps even that Satan is real, and even more importantly to me, I am not the center of the known universe. But then to witness a miracle first hand is intensely more personal than to simply read about one that took place before you were born. Apathy has grown great within the Christian community for just such reasons. Believers have all but stopped submitting their will to Christ and therefore lost the witness of miracles He works within us changing the core of who we are into His image once again. Believers have long ago forsaken testing their faith by requiring miracles of God in healing, raising the dead, curing disease, etc. And most prophesies have been fulfilled more than 120 years ago. So apathy grows in our hearts. What a waste, and what a disappointment to those who need to hear the living word.

But to wake our Laodicean minds from the spiritual slumber we foolish virgins have engaged in, world events will once again become very intense. Before the end of time, just before the orders to kill all those who do not follow the beast (or the Anti-Christ if you will) worshipping him as he commands rather than as God has laid out in scripture, a series of plagues will be poured out upon the world. This is not done to torture evil people, or punish those who sin for the fact that they sin. This is the unfortunate consequence required to wake even the most evil and steadfast doubting mind up to the possibility that the Bible may be correct, God may exist, and that while late, perhaps Salvation is not yet out of reach. This is the purpose for pouring out the “wrath” of God on the world. Many will die in this process. Again unfortunate, but the messages of love will have already been rejected. Great death is about the only thing left that captures the attention of the world. And so it will be.

The details of the plagues can be found in Revelations chapter 16. John uses language that would appear to affect the entire world. We do not know if the plagues themselves will fall over the entire face of the earth, or just in very large regions, with the news of the events being carried on every TV news outlet capable of running the stories. John also speaks about two references to time in chapter 17 that may be a reference to the plagues. The first reference is a day which in prophetic time period generally equals a year. The second reference is an hour, which doing the math generally lasts about a week. We are not certain if John intended the pouring out of the plagues to take about a year to complete, or the final “burning of Babylon” to take about a week to complete. So there are a few unknowns related to these prophecies. But with the unknown is also what we do know.

The first plague will be one of grievous sores that fall upon men who worship the Beast and his image. This means for those who reject the Bible and embrace the teachings of men over the teachings of God, they will be susceptible to the plagues of God. If in tumultuous times you find yourself infected with the grievous sores of the first plague, you are worshipping the WRONG way, or to the WRONG god. This is your first wake up call, that something has gone wrong. Very wrong. And sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the False Christ or Anti-Christ or Satan who is impersonating Christ will tell you lies, that these things come from him as punishment because he has NOT been universally recognized as the only true god. In short he wants you to get mad to true believers and take your anger out on them for the sores you could have avoided if you chose not to worship the false god in the first place.

The second plague sounds even more daunting, as it is poured out on the sea, and “every living soul” in the sea dies as the water is turned to blood. We can infer from the first plague that this will only affect those who worship the beast, but there is no guarantee of this protection. It is possible when this plague is poured out on the sea, all will die who are on it at the time. The third plague is also related as the turning to blood phenomenon occurs in the lakes, rivers, and streams as well. The intention is to offer the wicked blood to drink, as they seem bent on shedding the blood of the saints. I am sure that devout atheist scientists will formulate opinions, hypothesis, and theories on how this is all explainable without supernatural influences to comfort themselves, but it will not quench their thirst.

The fourth plague sounds like global warming run amok. The sun was given power to scorch men, and rather than come to repentance they choose to blaspheme the name of God; perhaps by continuing to offer worship to the fake gods of science and the Anti-Christ rather than to the creator of all things. No doubt people will simply say Al Gore was right all along. But happening in this order, with these exact effects, is designed to show people the validity of the God of scriptures, and the way of Salvation. Alas will there be any who see, remember, and repent before time itself runs out for them?

The fifth plague is poured out on the seat of the beast and is a great darkness. This would be a welcome relief from the scorching rays of the Sun, and defies scientific logic as to why the Sun would suddenly “go dark” even if only in a particular region of the planet. The seat of the beast could infer the headquarters location of the beast. Some have speculated this may mean Rome, where the papacy was long claimed equality with God in religious standing. Some say Washington D.C. as our nation seems bent on dictating morality to others in the forms the majority sees fit denying the rights of the minorities to worship God as they choose. Some say Beijing as the communist capital has long denied even the existence of God to its people and has restricted anyone from Biblical worship outside a rigorous state approved process. But wherever the darkness falls, people will chew on their own tongues for the pain in order to remind themselves they are still alive. And more bad news, the sores from the first plague are still there with them as well.

The sixth plague is decidedly a regional one, as the water of the river Euphrates is dried up, preparing the way of the kings of the east. I should imagine this will cause a massive drought around the areas where the river’s waters once flowed. But this plague appears to be a precursor to something even more terrible, a final war called Armageddon which we will discuss in more detail in another section. None the less the sequence of plagues seems a bit interrupted after the sixth plague with many events seeming to take place all at once.

It is possible that the seventh plague takes place immediately before the coming of the Lord in the clouds. It is possible that the effects of this plague will be felt less as there may not be anyone left on planet earth to talk about it. The righteous gone to heaven, the wicked killed in the final chaotic events. But the final plague of hail will fall from the heavens, every stone about the weight of a talent. Depending on whose version of a talent John was referring to, the current weight estimates would range from 57 pounds on the low end to 130 pounds on the high end. Falling from the sky like rain, the destruction of ice weighing this much would literally crush everything it comes into contact with. Even if this plague is regional falling only where the final war might occur, the devastation would be immeasurable. And worst of all, it appears that if one has not found Salvation by plague number 6, number 7 is already too late.

There is one point that the falling of these plagues makes above all else – evil itself is on a time clock. Evil will NOT be permitted to endure until it can self-destruct and take the world with it. Evil will be cut short, miraculously, and permanently by the God who has no evil in Him. The plagues may be labeled with flimsy scientific explanations designed to placate the masses, but the truth of their foretelling in every KJV Bible in print will be hard to deny. And I imagine that since the plagues are designed to prove the authenticity of the God who is their originator, they will be beyond the normal bounds of scientific theory. For years the siren cry of the Atheists is “show me proof”, how sad that even when this proof is offered it will not be enough for the minds bent on rejecting it.

I ask a final time, just how crazy am I? Am I so crazy you will simply reject these predictions as misplaced faith in a literal version of the Bible that could never come true … until it does. Or is possible that the entire reason for John’s foretelling of the horror of these events was for YOU specifically to be able to avoid them, by accepting the Salvation that Christ longs to offer you? Think about it, why else would a loving God given such a detailed accounting of last day events, including the violence and horror of some of them – if not to warn you on how to avoid these things – staying nestled in the loving protection of a God who is eager to bring you home with Him again. These plagues are not threats to change or die, they are the proof some required that God does exist, and the consequences to evil actions illustrated in the lives of all who remain to see such times. The only reason why we know about them now, is for the purpose of being sheltered from them. If God were out to “punish the guilty” why bother to announce what He is going to do, just do it quietly and effectively. But by writing all this in detail, He shows His purpose is not to destroy but to help as many as possible avoid destruction. Will you be saved from the cataclysm that is to come, or will you follow the edicts of man, science, and logic over the still small voice of love that tugs at your heart strings?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Left Behind ...

A friend of mine once told me … “we do not get punished FOR our sins, we get punished BY our sins.” When understood properly we realize how detrimental all forms of evil are to ourselves, to all those around us, to our victims, and to our God who wishes us free from such self-inflicted pain. But it is not only from our own evil that we can suffer, we can also suffer from the evil of others. In the last days, Satan’s abilities will be less restrained and he will do much to divert the world’s attention away from truth, away from redemption, and towards a path of self-destruction that will finally result in the first death of all those who embrace his ideologies. As the end draws near a sequence of events will occur to give warning of what is to come.

One of the shortest texts in the Bible is … “Jesus wept.” Our savior felt the keen pain and sting of death as it affected the sisters of Lazarus. He sympathized with them and their loss, and was moved to act to reduce their pain. And so one of the greatest miracles affirming His divinity was conducted as He called Lazarus forth from the grave by name. Had He been more generic every dead person buried in the region might have come forth. But Lazarus heard his name called and emerged from the tomb, still wrapped in the cloths designed for his burial. It was this action that cemented the Religious leadership of the day to kill our Lord. This act was incontrovertible proof of His divinity, and instead of accepting Him, they purposed to kill Him.

The disciples and Christ visited with their friends for a while, and interestingly enough, nowhere in the Gospel does Lazarus talk about the searing pain of hell’s flames; or the bliss of his time in heaven with the father. Rather, he was asleep, knowing not anything, having no part in the land of the living as Solomon had once written. Those who believe that upon death a soul enters eternal glory or eternal punishment misread the scriptures. If this were true, it would have been an unspeakable harm to pull Lazarus out of heaven, to come back to live in a world of pain once again. I imagine Lazarus would not have been too happy about it. Also note that upon Christ’s own resurrection from the grave, He was plain to say to Mary not to touch Him yet because … “he had not ascended yet to His Father.” Christ too slept in the grave upon his death and resumed His life and work on His resurrection.

This distinction about our condition upon death is important as a belief that the soul is eternal opens the door to much mischief by the evil one. In Genesis at our creation the Bible speaks plainly that God breathed the breath of life into our nostrils and man “became” a living soul. We had a beginning, and those who embrace evil will have an end. God told our parents that upon eating the fruit from the sin restricted tree, they would surely die. If our souls were to live forever, then death would not be the true end result of eating that fruit. God would have lied. Even a tortured existence in hell that supposedly lasts forever, is still existence, not death. God was clear, the punishment was death.

In the beginning of the book of Acts the disciples witnessed the ascension of Christ back to Heaven on clouds of glory. The angels told them He would return in like manner. And every eye shall see Him. Later Paul writing to the Thessalonians describes the second coming of Christ as the son of Man appearing in the clouds (the same as in Acts) with a loud voice, a shout, a trumpet sound to wake those who sleep to greet the Lord in the air. After which we who are alive and remain are caught up to be with the Lord forever. This is a loud, visible, world captivating event, that no one will miss. We will not need the Satellite technology of the day, as our naked eye will easily see His return. The graves will give up their dead, not raised in the imperfection in which we went into the tombs, but in the perfection He always intended us to be.

Knowing that the dead sleep, means they could not be interfering in the lives of the living. There is therefore, no such thing as ghosts. But there is such a thing as a fallen angel, or demon in you prefer. Beings who are able to take on the form, and sounds, and smells, of those who have passed on before (probably by manipulation of DNA at a molecular level). They impersonate the dead, as they did with “Samuel” who appeared to Saul at the summoning of a witch in the Old Testament. Saul believed it to be Samuel, but the Bible is clear that it could not have been. “The dead know not anything.” They sleep awaiting the resurrection of the righteous as described by Paul, or the resurrection of the wicked as described by John in the book of Revelations. The results of Saul listening and believing the words of the fallen angel who impersonated Samuel led to his death, and those of his sons. Saul lost everything because of who he listened to.

Revelations speaks about a time of Jacob’s Trouble before the end arrives. It is a time of persecution. Christians have always assumed that this persecution would come from non-believers to those who still believed. But the truth may be more insidious than this. Revelations also speaks of an Anti-Christ who will arise and deceive many. Imagine the influence a fallen angel, or demon could hold, if he impersonated Buddha, and spoke personally with the Dali Lama. Imagine what more influence a fallen angel or demon could hold on Muslims, if he appeared in a covering of light, claiming to be Mohammed himself, back from the grave to correct the teachings of Islam. Imagine if Satan impersonated Christ and used a legion of fallen angels to appear as past religious leaders, and Christians of note, to say that our forms of worship were incorrect, and we needed to amend the Bible according to his “new word”. This being (Satan) would appear as an angel of light, preaching peace, but promising destruction to any that opposed his authority.

I wonder what my Atheist friends will say on that day? When proof of the supernatural has arrived in just the form they have always asked for, will it be too late to find truth? Only those who are armed with the knowledge of the dead being asleep will have any mental defense against demons wreaking this kind of havoc. Those who believe souls are eternal will not be able to distinguish which are departed loved ones, and which are demonic impersonators trying to deceive the world. Add to this the fragmentation of doctrines between protestant Christian denominations and you have a recipe for confusion that makes the demonic arguments seem reasonable. Satan will not be allowed to impersonate the method of Christ’s return, so you will not see Him appear in the clouds with every eye able to watch him arrive. But I am sure he will use modern technology such as CNN’s global satellite network to get his messages across.

And what is the message of the Anti-Christ you ask? Quite simply to worship him, listen to him, and do what he says, not what the Bible says. The Bible, long derided as a book of violence and chauvinism, will be discarded in the new “light” the supernatural beings ask us to accept. To reinforce his purported dominion Satan and his agents will work miracles, of healing, and peacemaking. The lure will be enough “almost” to deceive the very elect. But for being pre-warned this would all happen, and content to trust God as He has demonstrated the truth our salvation in removing evil from our lives over time in a personal way, we might all walk the paths of evil.

But despite the calls to worship the “Christ” we can see, there will remain a stubborn few, who will choose to worship the Christ they cannot see. There will be a remnant few who choose to obey what they have been taught in scriptures rather than what “beings of light” have to say. But what will happen to this stubborn, archaic, old-fashioned group of believers? They will be ordered to be exterminated with great prejudice. Who would do such a thing in a country like ours you ask? Your husband, your wife, your parents, your children, your best friends, all those who not like you have adopted the “new” way of worshipping “god”. They will see you as a pariah that needs to be removed the perfection the beings of light are trying to establish. “Christians” who keep the name, but forsake the God behind it, will be first in line to torture and kill those remnant few who remain faithful to a God we cannot see.

The question upon which all of humanity will determine its fate is … will you follow God, or will you follow what you can see. It is enough for Satan that you do not follow God. It is enough for him that you ignore what God asks, and pursue your own ideas of morality, of love, of service, and insure that you believe you are a good enough person. That is all the evil one needs, for you to miss out on what God offers. Whether by intention, or by deception, or by apathy, or by negligence – choosing not to follow the God of the Bible, is a definitive choice for Satan. The results of which will be catastrophic. There will be no constitutional separation of church and state in the days like this. The Anti-Christ will insure church and state are closely united in order to use the resources of governments to hunt and kill any who dare to disobey.

It will be a desperate time, worse than any the world has ever seen, as Satan will have more ability to work his evil than ever before. Believers will have to flee to the mountains, deserts, and forests to look for shelter from the hate that is created for them all over the world. There will be no more friendly countries, laws, and lands – only those who wish the death of all the Bible believers. Some have speculated that a secret rapture will precede these horrible events, and believing Christians will be spared this agony. But this is not what scripture teaches. There is no “secret” coming of the Lord, only the one described in Thessalonians, and described in Acts. There is no “third” chance for the wicked to repent (though under these conditions truth would be all but extinct in every heart except for those who have spent their lives following the true Bible God). The Holy Spirit will be removed from the world, and the righteous will stand before God without a barrier between them. There will be no comforting influence to calm and melt the hearts of men, only the spirit of evil which is full of hate. Were it not for the second coming of Christ, none would survive. But in the last moments, before the orders of execution can be carried out, our Lord will appear as He has promised, and the world will meet its first demise.

These are the conditions immediately before the second coming of Christ. But there is more that happens just a bit earlier, and we will discuss it more detail in the coming sections. Stay tuned …

Friday, August 13, 2010

The End is Near ...

There is a singular truth about evil; it will implode over time, self-destruct, taking out everything else it can along with it. When we embrace evil in our lives, we embrace pain. We may not suffer the pain of evil in our immediate reality, but we destine ourselves to feel pain none the less. But the truth about evil is that it will not stop merely at pain, it must always and only, end in death. Those who embrace evil, forsaking the escape from it that Christ would gladly impart, will share the fate of evil. Evil would one day self-destruct. But our God in His infinite mercy has determined to cut the time of evil’s demise short. He interferes in world events, and course corrects the paths that man foolishly runs towards hastening his own destruction. God prevents us from killing ourselves, for He wishes to remove those who serve Him safely before evil can wreak its havoc fully on all those around it when it goes.

And so the belief that the “end of the world” will one day occur makes sense to many people. Non-believers in our God tend to think man will be the instrument of his own destruction. They would be right, were it not for God staying our hand. Between our short-sightedness and greed we are more than willing to poison the ground we live on, and the water we drink merely for the sake of earning a few extra dollars to spend. The debate over whether global warming is real is proof enough that greed can influence almost anyone from the masses who are taught to reject what is clearly in their day-to-day lives, to the scientists who are paid to disclaim any attempt at curtailing corporate profits – greed and sloth will prove our undoing, were it not for God. But God seems to have grander plans for the complete destruction of our planet than to let it suffer the consequences of its own actions. He wishes to answer the siren call of the Atheists for “proof” of His existence before all time ends. And so the world will not end with a whimper but with a bang, orchestrated by our God Himself.

Christ said … “as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the son of man.” Many look at the story of Noah and see only an angry God bent on destroying the world, sorry about having created man given how evil man had become. But this thinking is influenced highly by the evil one. Look again more closely. God could have destroyed the entire world and ended man’s existence but He did not. He was careful to save the family of the man who still claimed to serve God. Noah was not perfect. Noah liked to drink. Noah was not chosen by God, Noah chose God. And so God responded to Noah, and saved not only Noah, but his wife, sons, and their wives; all for the sake of Noah. One of those sons God saved would almost immediately turn to evil again right after the flood. God knew this, but saved him anyway, not pre-judging what he would do, but giving him the opportunity to make different choices even if he would not. God saved sinners. He was not looking for perfection, just for someone who was willing to look for Him.

As for the rest of humanity, despite its evil, God did not immediately act upon the “anger” He was supposed to be feeling. I believe it more to be extreme sadness than extreme anger. Instead, God waited for Noah to build the ark, taking more than 120 years to complete the task. In this time, news of Noah’s work spread throughout the then known world, and all came to hear Noah preach about the coming end of the world as they knew it. Noah did not have logic, or history on his side, only God. Rain was not a phenomenon anyone could relate to, nor was oceans, nor was flooding, nor storms at all. No one had ever heard of such a thing. Yet Noah preached what they refused to believe. He taught truth regardless of him being mocked, derided, and you can bet accused of drinking all the time. Still God waited 120 years hoping against hope that man might take the time to repent and seek Him, but they did not.

I can almost hear the atheists in the crowd demanding for Noah to show proof that God existed. The angel guarding the gates of Eden with a fiery sword was apparently not enough. They needed more to believe, or so they said and so God heard them, and according to His plans, He brought animals from all over the world, two by two (for the unclean animals), and seven by seven (for the clean ones). In this God revealed his distinctions when it comes to dietary laws. He also used this animal parade from all over the world to show His miraculous power. It was not enough. For those who choose NOT to believe in God, there is never enough “proof” to make them see past the stubbornness of their decisions. The ark lacked a rudder, as God would guide the boat. The ark lacked a method of closing the door and insuring it was sealed, the angel of God himself would do that work. Yet still they did not believe. I imagine when the first few drops of rain fell, there were those still clinging to their stubborn scientifically based notions that rain could not exist; until there was little room on the top of the highest peaks, where man and beast tore at each other for the precious ground, trying to stay above the torrents that now surrounded them. Perhaps then they believed, and then they died.

Before we look forward to how our world will end, it is wise for us to learn the lessons from the last time it met with destruction. Several key points emerge: 1.) God was not looking for perfection, but was looking for those who sought to serve Him. 2.) Despite the doubters the world did end, and God was true to His patience and His word. 3.) Every attempt to save mankind was made before the end came; even miracles occurred, but even miracles are not enough for those who choose not to believe. For us to make it through the coming end time events and fulfillment of the last prophesies on earth, we must begin by renewing our commitment to submit our will to Christ, and follow Him wherever and however He leads us.

Noah’s story again teaches us the world did not end by its own decision or time lines. It ended at the hands of our God, through a mechanism no-one believed in. God set the timeline, no one else. God performed the miracles, no one else could. And God followed through on His word, both saving His servants, and destroying those who clung to evil. And so it shall be again according to our Lord. There are several prophesies in the Bible that have not seen their fulfillment as yet. Some of the most important are as follows … A.) The rise of the Anti-Christ in physical form, B.) The sealing of the 144,000 of God’s special servants, C.) The close of probation where the fates of all mankind are sealed in the books of heaven, D.) The seven last Plagues, E.) The second coming of Christ, F.) The binding of Satan to the earth for a thousand years alone, G.) The descending of the Holy City Heaven on what is now Jerusalem, H.) The raising of the wicked for Satan to marshal his troops for one last great Armageddon battle, I.) The panoply of history in front of all of mankind, J.) The final attack of the wicked on this Holy City, K.) The raining down of fire on the wicked consuming them all in time, and finally L.) the recreation of the world made new, with death, pain, and the former things passed away forever.

Items A-D above are nothing short of the supernatural and should have provided more than enough “proof” that God indeed does exist. But alas, those who choose not to believe may choose to continue not to believe. We can only hope that the revelation of these events will change their perspectives. Items E-L represent the extinction of evil, and are conducted long after the “proof” is beyond all questioning. As with those who fought for the highest peaks during the flood, if not already with God, the wicked have no hope left to them of surviving what will come. Noah’s story affirms this as well. In coming sections we will review each of these cataclysmic events, for now this overview will have to suffice.

When could all this begin? Some argue it must have to wait until some distant future when the world is “really” bad. Not so. It could have started in 1888 before we were even born. At that point all the other salient prophesies had been completed to mark the time of the end. Wars, rumors of wars, the sun going black, the stars falling, the moon turning to blood, even the cleansing of the sanctuary work started in 1844 – all of it was completed by 1888. God’s remnant message had emerged by then. Everything was ready … except one small thing … us. Our Christian leadership faced a choice; preach salvation by faith alone, or by faith and works. We chose the latter. We were wrong. And it has taken more than 120 years to correct our message of hope. But for those who argue this is how every generation has thought since Christ went back to heaven after His first trip, they are right. And they are wrong, in that no other generation has seen the 120 year waiting period expire before now. As it was in the days of Noah, 120 years of preaching, sound familiar. Deja vu.

Let us not forget that the message of our gospel is to free us from the pain of evil and sin right here and right now. Regardless of how close we are to the end of all things, we need our savior to do His work within us right here and right now. We long to be freed from the pain of sin, and know the freedom of His righteousness. And while our message will remain true for all time, we must not neglect the signs that we sit on the precipice of the end of all time as man has measured it. Soon, perhaps in the coming weeks, months, or years we may witness the end of all evil, and establishment of His kingdom forever and ever. This news should bring joy to our hearts and minds. This news is exciting. This news is exhilarating. If this news inspires fear within you, then you should return again to your knees, and reaffirm your commitment to serve our Lord and Savior. Allow Christ to begin to save you from evil, and you will join in the joy of His soon coming return. It cannot happen soon enough …

Friday, August 6, 2010

God and The Law ...

Laws are a consequence of evil. Laws are designed in an attempt to contain evil, and limit the damage that can be inflicted on others when naked self-interest runs amuck. Laws are an attempt to restore fairness and equality between people who believe their own interests are paramount. In heaven, before there was evil, when everyone including God, had a serve-others-first way of life – there was no need for laws to constrict behavior. There is no need to set a limit on how much you can love someone else, or how much you can care about them, or do good works for them. In efforts to make someone else’s life better, the sky is the limit. But when your first thought in life is what you get out of it, suddenly and irrevocably the need for laws becomes critical.

Satan’s tried and true methods remain the same; one of the more effective ones it to place upon God the characteristics of himself. Satan called God a dictator, with a rigid set of controlling laws, that if disobeyed would result in death at the hands of God. Satan pointed out that despite their collective ignorance that laws could exist, everyone in heaven was in perfect obedience to a set of implied laws, and the consequences of breaking them would bring about their deaths. Since the initial accusation, Satan has done everything he can to attempt to portray God as an obedience driven, generally angry being, who delights in punishing the wicked for their nefarious deeds. But nothing could be farther from the truth.

Laws are a consequence of evil. It is truly ironic that freedom can only be achieved in a self-less society, not in a self-motivated one. Where ambition and avarice rule the day, laws are required to attempt to limit the damage one would impose on others to achieve their personal goals. But where it comes to doing good for others, we would wish no limits in this regard. When Christ walked the earth, He did not stop to heal just one person. In fact, ALL who sought Him for healing were healed. He turned away no-one. Some did not even know who He was before He encountered them. But He knew every name, every soul, every child He had ultimately created. And He met every need He came across, most importantly the hunger for truth and redemption from evil. The impact of His life was so great, in part because He lived it without a thought for what He would get out of it, only what we would.

Those who see God’s laws as constricting their freedom are looking through the prism of evil. It is our natural desire to live for ourselves that sees God’s laws as interfering with our goals and desires. Were we to be freed from our addiction to evil, we would see only the beginning of wisdom in the laws of God. For it is not sacrifice to obey, it is the only plausible way of maintaining a state of joy. The irony of self-service is its inherent link to pain and death. Serving self seems to never bring satisfaction. No matter how rich a person becomes, there seems to be no limits as to how rich they desire to be. The operative word in self-services is always – more. But with the achievement of “more”, there is no relief, no rest, and no relative appreciation – only the desire for even “more”.

Evil, or serving self, has long been portrayed as a “good” thing. Satan’s marketing campaign is well versed in selling us this concept. After all, if you do not look out for number one, who will; the obvious answer, God. But no-one thinks this through very often. Evil itself is actually a simple deviation away from God. And when you deviate away from the source of love, life, and happiness – you are bound only to find pain, death, and misery. This is the true nature of evil. Evil is nothing more than pain and death, sometimes delayed, but always inevitable. It is acts of evil that punish the evil doer over his life, not acts of love and charity. It is thinking incessantly about self-gratification that warps the mind, and keeps one from appreciating beauty and truth. It is the nature of evil to become addictive, to the point of knowingly engaging in life-threatening behavior and being “unable” to stop. Logic is no answer. Will power is helpless against the desires in the mind. Behavior might be managed, but inwardly, evil is a cancer the envelopes the life and degrades the quality of our existence. Evil is the punishment. It is Evil we need to be saved from, not saved to wallow in.

Death is the natural result of evil unrestrained. From homicide to suicide, evil leads nowhere other than the grave for those who embrace it with abandon. This is not a dictate from God, it is instead the nature of evil itself. This is the reason why God contains no evil, He knows what it would do, to Himself, to His creations, to existence period. God is not a balance of good and evil; He is only all that is good. As such our God embodies the ideas of love to others ahead of love to Himself. As John wrote … “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” Imagine that the only thing of highest value in the universe is the life of God Himself, and He was willing to lay that down, in order to redeem man from evil and the consequences of evil. There was nothing more He could have given. There was no higher a sacrifice to make. His every effort designed to reveal to us what love is, and why it is so much better than the evil we became bound to.

So how does a human become in sync with the divine? How do we transcend our evil natures and begin to live lives of perfect obedience when now we sit chained to our self-service? It is not possible for a leopard to change his spots, nor for a human to break his own chains to self. But what man cannot do, God can easily do. It was always and only His plan to do the work of redemption FOR us. As we submit the will to Christ He breaks our bonds and changes how we think, what we want, and ultimately what we do. Not only does Christ alter our behavior, He alters the thinking behind it. In so doing He perfects us. We do nothing more than allow Him to do so. We submit. He heals. We submit. He transforms us. We submit. He brings us wisdom and truth. We submit. He saves us. This is the only method of escaping the fate of self-destructive evil.

Man requires a savior to be saved. We need help from outside of ourselves if we are to achieve perfection. It is not a question of presenting Christ as the only way to salvation as some sort of threat. It is a question of presenting Christ as the only one who is able to deliver salvation. Many promise, but the results are real with only one. This is why Christ said … “no man comes to the Father, but by Me.” This is not a prideful boast. It is a statement of fact. Only God could redeem us, only love that is so great it would literally die to accomplish our redemption. No other god or man offers us similar salvation, and especially when we were not even looking for it. He did all of this while we were yet counting ourselves as His enemies.

It is our God who wishes us to live truly free, unbound by laws that constrict evil, as evil is to have no place in our hearts, minds, or lives. When we allow Christ to restore our lives to the state of holiness He intends, we become humble servants of others. Our service frees us from the bounds of laws designed to contain evil, and we are free to love unrestricted. We are free to do good to enrich the lives of others. In this alone can we begin to emulate the character of our God. When we live this way, we mimic the lifestyle waiting for us in heaven itself. When we find joy in the giving, we unlock the secret to fulfillment that none can take away. This alone is a life worth living.

The tortured lives of those who reject freedom, reject truth, and reject the love God offers, are lives of purest pain and misery. Death will be the last of act of mercy a loving God can bestow on those whose entire existence is nothing but pain upon pain. Eventually the torture victim begs for death. If allowed, evil would self-destruct. But if unchecked, evil would take out as much as it could with it, along the road to death. This is why God must intervene and save the world from its own demise. It is why throughout history, God had to intervene to protect his people from the extinction that evil would love to impose. And it is why at the end of all time, God will extinguish evil in flames, and will see it slip into non-existence forever more. The second death will be the passing of evil from the universe, and all those who cling to it, refusing to be saved.

It is not God’s intent that we live under the laws designed to constrict sin. It is God’s intent that we live in the perfection of freedom to serve others, love others, and do good for others. In this is true freedom, unbound by any laws. One day, we will return to heaven, where this thinking is the only way of living. One day, our hearts, minds, and bodies will be in perfect sync with the divine. Through our daily submission to Christ, we can begin this journey here and now. And we can begin to see the benefits from it, even in a world filled with pain and agony. For by submitting to Christ, we eliminate the greatest source of our pain – ourselves. It makes no sense to delay this activity for some time in our future lives. It makes more sense to embrace submission immediately and begin to see its value right here and right now. In that event, heaven will be a continuation of what we have learned to do here. And Christ will truly have been allowed to save us from the pain that evil surely brings.