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Friday, August 15, 2014

Eschatology, Pre/Post Tribulation, End Times, Day of the Lord and other confusions…
Eschatology, Pre/Post Tribulation, End Times, Day of the Lord and other confusions…

EasterStars.JPGEschatology: that part of theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind

Where are we as  humankindgoing to, and when?

2 Peter 3 says:

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

This is something that smart people who study the bible professionally call “substantiation of the corporate eschatological statement” and by which they mean “something that supports what will finally happen to end the world and mankind as a whole”.

This Earth will not exist forever.

The sun that we enjoy, that provides us with almost all the energy that we and our earth convert into food, warmth, goods like cars, ships and aircraft, and into utilities like electricity, is going to stop working at some point in the very distant future.

That’s the science view of the human’s final moment anyhow!

The sun produces energy, by something called a fusion reaction.

 It smacks hydrogen atoms together billions of times a day, creating a helium atoms and lots of nuclear energy which heats the sun up. That heat radiates into space, firing photons (particles of light) across space. These come hurtling into our little earth where our ozone layer, filters out most of the nasty parts, and lets the good parts come through to warm us, enabling plants to generate oxygen and foods, using something we have called photosynthesis. Photosynthesis and plants convert photons into sugars of different forms.

Let’s stop for a second and think of just how amazing that is! Light into food! By chance? Not the way I see it! I have to give glory to God for establishing this amazing mechanism! Incredible…light into energy we can use. Amazing! Every day, this is what feeds most of our earth.
 
Are you impressed?

Okay, so animals eat the plants and we eat both. That’s where our food comes from doesn’t it?

Getting back to our sun.

More and more helium is building up and at some point that will get to the point that hydrogen is used up.

Then the Sun will start to cook the helium by fusing that together, and then we will get carbons being formed. These also get to the point where they fuse after plenty more time, creating Neon’s. These the establish oxygen, which establishes iron. After iron, the sun will go red hot and expand up to a size almost equal to the earths orbit. 

Earth’s orbit is completely destroyed and absorbed by the sun at that time. Nothing will remain on earth’s surface which will be swept clean and turned to rock by the sun’s fires.

That gives a bit of context to one perspective of Peters statement in 2 Peter 3 doesn’t it?

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

Maybe it happens this way, maybe not!

Okay, now let’s look at the biblical Eschatology for a few minutes.

Eschatology, comes from two Greek words meaning "last" (σχατος) and "study" (-λογία), is the study of 'end things'.

End times!

This is about death, life after death, and the second coming of Jesus.

Okay so the bible gives a bit of context to this discussion, in Revelations 20: 1-3

He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

So here God has Satan (the “him” referred to) locked up for 1000 years.

This sets the scene for our discussion.

Those of us with church backgrounds are likely to have a viewpoint. We need to be careful of saying we “know” the answer because of this. The theologians have no agreement on exactly what the bible says, as there are many ways of looking at this.

This thousand years is called the “Millennium” by the Christian community. It’s when Jesus rules, while Satan sits in jail.

This splits up Christians into three belief groups based on belief about when Jesus will come to earth again (this second coming of Jesus called the “Parousia” by Christians who like complicated words).

We have :

“Pre-Millennium”
believers – they believe Jesus will come before the 1000years

“Post-Millennium” believers – they believe Jesus will come after the 1000years

“A-Millennium” believers – they believe revelations is symbolic and we don’t have to wait as we may be in the millennium right now.

So three flavours of belief.

Then when it comes to the Pre-Millennium crowd of believers, they also have different opinions, this time on something different.

Jesus at one point in his time on Earth, explained that in the end times there would be great distress and suffering. Mark 13 describes Jesus as saying:

because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again

This means the holocaust, is nothing! Ebola scares, are nothing! The world wars, are nothing! Nothing that has happens will be as bad as this time.

This is called the time of “tribulation”, a time of great sorry and pain.

Now we have another concept called the “rapture”. This refers to a piece of bible writing in 1 Thessalonians 4, 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

The “rapture” is the time when Jesus comes to earth and the dead and everyone rise to be with him. i.e. the second coming of Jesus.

Now the pre-millennium crowd are grouped as:

Pre-tribulation: Believe Jesus will come before the tribulation.

Mid-tribulation: believe Jesus will come during the tribulation.

Post-tribulation: Believe Jesus will come after the tribulation.

All of this is open for grabbing and believing in. There is nothing that pushes one belief to be more correct than another.

The only thing we do know, is something Jesus told us:

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Matthew 24:36

We know that any date anyone gives as THE date is silly.

They cannot know!

 Jesus said so and told us in his state on Earth, where he had given up much of his heavenly power, not even HE knew.

Never believe people who say the end is here. People have being saying it since Jesus died, and they have ALL have been wrong for about 2000 years now.

What does this mean?

It means that we understand some of the variations in belief, but that none of it is that important.

It means that EACH day we need to live as if the rapture will come tomorrow, as if the tribulation may start any time, and we should not make any plans to be part of any millennium. If these happen with us around, well and good! If not, then all that is critical is our personal relationship with Jesus.

We will die!

When we die, it may not be during a tribulation or millennium, it could be tomorrow.

When we die, the only thing that counts is our relationship with Jesus and if he considers us worthy to be with him in heaven. If Jesus counts us worthy to be given new and wonderful responsibilities on a new earth where there is no suffering.

In our current state, right now, we are selfish, often ignorant, and sometimes nasty.

The bible calls this sin!

In our current state, we cannot be with God, we are not worthy.

That’s where Jesus comes in.

As God on earth, he stands in for us. Jesus takes our selfish ignorant nastiness over, enabling us to be clean and pure. Jesus presents himself as the one to be punished for what we have done, takes the punishment, and enables us to enter heaven with himself and be alongside him when the new Earth is established.

We have an eternity of growth, great joy and fun with God. We have this if we trust Jesus.

If not, we have what Satan has to look forward to...

Eternity of self-loathing!


What do we want? What do we choose?

Do we trust Jesus enough to make the difference?

 (I must give credit to Bruxy for prompting many of these thoughts and concepts with his elegant sermon at the Meeting House in Toronto  that I attended last week.)
Fri, August 15, 2014 | link          Comments

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The heavens will disappear with a roar
The heavens will disappear with a roar
Russia2013Meteor.JPG
The Chelyabinsk meteor was a near-Earth asteroid that entered Earth's atmosphere over Russia on 15 February 2013 at about 09:20 YEKT (03:20 UTC), with a speed of 19.16 +/- 0.15 kilometres per second (60,000[5] - 69,000 km/h or 40,000[5] - 42,900 mph), almost 60 times the speed of sound.~ wikipedia

 This meteor was spectacular and fortunately caused a minimal amount of destruction.

It appeared over the town of  Chelyabinsk Oblast in Russia in 2013 and exploded about 30km (18miles) above the area generating a shockwave  that damages 7200 building in six cities. It was about 20meters(66ft) in diameter.

It never reached the ground yet the devastation was vast and this was considered a mild impact meteor.

There have been worse like the one that is fabled to have caused the dinosaurs to be wiped out. That hit the ground and was a bit bigger.

Why mention this?

To give one possible context to this description in 2 peter 2 of the bible:

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

Let’s assume we get hit by something a bit bigger. You are perhaps aware we have a theory that the moon got created when the earth got hit by something big. Scientist call it Theia.

In this case nothing on earth could survive. It would destroy everything.

Even a smaller body would envelop the planet in disaster.

The Russian meteor created a huge fireball. The meteor was only 20m across.  What about something that is km across, or 2km or 5km(3miles)?

One estimate of the energy released by that Russian meteor was 460 to 470 kilotonnes of TNT.

Hiroshima was only 16 kilotonnes!


If God wanted to take out our little planet, there is NOTHING we could do.

Let’s understand God is who he says he is!

Now that’s the scary bit! Here’s the good bit...

Jesus said in Matthew “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Then in John 14 of the bible he is reported as saying ...

Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”

God loves us!

Isn’t that the good news!

Thu, August 14, 2014 | link          Comments

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

“Where is this ‘coming’ Jesus promised?” say the scoffers
“Where is this ‘coming’ Jesus promised?” say the scoffers

oops_I_thought.jpgI keep hearing that Jesus Christ is coming, but nobody knows his tour dates. ~ Michael Lucas

Crazy ... right?

A guy says he will come back from the dead, amazingly he does it, then he says he will be back “soon” and disappears for 2000 years.
 
Does that make sense?

“Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” -2 Peter 3

Those words written in blue often make sense to many people today. They are also a direct quote from the bible. A quote from what the guy, Peter, who walked with Jesus. Peter believed Jesus was the son of God, and Peter led the first wave of people who believed and followed Jesus just after he left earth.

He knew we would be saying these things because within about thirty years after Jesus left earth, they were already saying this!

How does Peter respond to this rhetorical question?

He continues “they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Really?

Think about it.

Many say this Earth is 4.5 billion years old.

Those same people say mankind has existed as Homo Sapiens about 195 thousand years. “Anatomically modern humans first appear in the fossil record in Africa about 195,000 years ago” wikipedia.

An interesting calculation is to calculate the percentage of time humans have existed since the beginning of the earths time.

Okay, I will do it for you... 195,000 / 4,500,000,000 x 100 =

                     0.0043  %     ...that’s small isn’t it.

Now let’s consider 2000 years over the time the Earth existed,

2000 / 4,500,000,000 x 100 =

                     0.000044 %  ...is incredibly small.

Let’s say you earn $5000 a month.  That would represent 22cents.

Not much right?

Now God lives for eternity, but let’s estimate that as the start of the universe according to science, i.e. about 13.8 billion years ago.

2000 / 13,800,000,000 x 100 =

                        0.000014 % ... even smaller.

Using our $5000 salary example,

2000 years in Universe time represents 7cents of a $5000 amount.

When Jesus said “soon” from the perspective of God, can we see that even if he took another 100 000years it would still be a small amount.

Yet, by looking at the time we actually miss the core point.

Jesus will return at some point and we don’t know exactly when, and have no way of knowing when.

That means we need to live our lives in such a way as to be ready when he does come at all times.

We can’t mock God and think we are safe!

He has the final say, as we all die one day.

It doesn’t matter if we get to welcome him back to earth or meet him after death in heaven, either way we come face-to-face with God.

Are we ready?

Are you ready?

Am I ready?


 

That’s the question we should be asking!
                     (Gods just giving us time to answer!)

Wed, August 13, 2014 | link          Comments

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Okay, so what about it...can a person who knows Jesus fall away again..what about
Okay, so what about it...can a person who knows Jesus fall away again...

LovingHelpingHand.jpgOf them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” ~ 2 Peter 2:22 NIV

Can a person who has acknowledged Jesus as God actually fall away and be in a worse position than before?

This goes against a common belief of “once saved, always saved” which is supported by the bible verses:

I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” ~John 10

Is saying a person can fall away again heretical?

Peter makes a case for such a statement when he talks of a specific type of person who is against God:

These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” ~2 Peter 2

Wow! Such negative words! The bolding is mine to focus us on the key words.

These are people who came from sin, knew Jesus, and then permit sin to overwhelm them again.

How do we reconcile these apparent opposite bible statements?

Let’s remember that Peter was the one who followed Jesus and then rejected him, before returning to God to finally be appointed to lead the church. That means Peters words could even be applied to himself!

Perhaps Peter was in dark despair when he rejected Jesus? Maybe he fully experience what these words he wrote later explain.

Denying ourselves the comfort of Jesus presence is something we can do.

 That seems to be evident.

Yet, God also says no-one other than ourselves can ever take us out of his hand.

The summary of the reconciliation of these two verses to my thinking is simple.

We can pull ourselves away from God, but God will not let anyone take us from him other than us by our own free will.

 That is why we need to be disciplined about reading God’s word and applying it to our life. We want to stay in Gods hand of our own free will. To do that keeping close to God’s guidelines for our lives is very important isn’t it?

If we have pulled ourselves out of God's hand, we can return! Peter did!

If that's the case I suggest and immediate return and an apology which God will accept, because he loves us.

I hope you have a blessed day and stay close to God today.

Have a good one!
Tue, August 12, 2014 | link          Comments

Monday, August 11, 2014

Let us not create clever stories about Jesus or his message to us...
Let us not create clever stories about Jesus or his message to us...

DespondentPrayer.jpg“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Truth is effective and yet often painful isn’t it?

Just over the last week we have heard how Christians have had the heads of their children cut off, to be planted on stakes in a public park for people to see the cost of truth.

It is no joke to love in these circumstances!

It was not a joke to be a Christian in the years just after Jesus in the Roman Empire when people were fed to the lions because they would not reject truth.

It is not a joke to be a Christian today either!

Today, we hear so much spin of media and politicians that we have become numb to the truth. It has become cheap, and many of us cannot imagine believing something with enough power to do as some of these Christians did, can we?

Yet, Peter in advising people in these very circumstances said:

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. (2 Peter 1)

When faced with intensity to respond to questioning of our faith there is no way we can devise a story. We either believe Jesus is God or not. We either speak truth or not.

It’s simple folk, we either believe Jesus is God, or not!



We have no angry oppressor with control over our life asking the question yet we too have to answer this simple question.

In these times of lesser strife and oppression that most of us live under can we answer this truly?

If we do answer it them the greatest challenge is doing what Jesus wants us to do. He told us what that was in simplicity:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Sounds simple doesn’t it?

How does it sound when we have to apply it to the very people who put those children’s heads on stakes?

How simple is it then?

If we call ourselves Christians we need to have the ability to love those who hate us and do despicable things to us.

Do we?

Do you?

I must answer as well. And I know it’s hard and only possible by God’s intervention and Holy Spirit’s leading.

If I do love Jesus then I should live as if I do! I need to submerge myself into Holy Spirits control daily to face the challenges of the day. God will give us all strength for that day.

 That’s a challenge for today isn’t it?
Mon, August 11, 2014 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

By Ken X Briggs

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This suspense thriller centers on Kiara, a beautiful young woman pursued by a murderous group of people, who relentlessly and ruthlessly hunt her and her sisters. Kiara has no idea why she is being targeted! When Kiara and her family turn to the law for help, this fails. Her pursuers’ powers reach deeply into the political and law enforcement world. Family support for her dwindles when they too have to flee her pursuers. Can Kiara escape the clutches of both the law and dishonest big business? With the media broadcasting that Kiara and friends are dangerous and subversive, can Kiara clear her name and bring her pursuers to justice?

 

 
  

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 RiftInEvil.gifThe town of Zinaville is dropped into a spiral of evil causing a young man and a beautiful but abused woman to launch into an investigation that unveils an evil conspiracy.

A horrific mining accident results in Joshua Robyn's father being killed. Joshua struggles both with himself and his townsfolk as he tries to make sense of an incomprehensible situation. Is it an accident or a murder? Why is there a seeming link to evil? Why is his work environment suddenly threatening? What is the conspiracy about and what are they trying to do? As action moves dramatically from exotic African grasslands to the heart of North America's cities, the plot unfolds and the pace quickens. Will there be time? Why is a beautiful abused young woman in the center of this plot?

Evil tendrils tighten on their lives and the interplay between the visible and invisible world shows opposing forces at work.

Will there be a rift in evil?

Will they be able to stop the evil in time?

 

 

 
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