Saturday, May 27, 2006

It's Gettin' Hot in Here

'An Inconvenient Truth' Documents Al Gore's Efforts To Raise Alarm on Effects of Global Warming

PARK CITY, Utah -- Has ever a little indie film faced a greater hurdle? Imagine this sales pitch: Babe, it's a movie about global warming. Starring Al Gore. Doing a slide show. With charts.

Believe it or not, Al Gore and Sundance Films have put together a little movie to evangelize America about global warming and the inevitable destruction of civilization. Well, it’s supposedly inevitable unless we stop using gas powered automobiles and a few other things. Not only does he say that this issue is the most important item on the world’s agenda, he claims that we may only have ten years left to stop the snowball, and that we may only have as little as fifty years left as a human race. The film is called 'An Inconvenient Truth,' and it’s playing in select areas.

I admire his gumption, but I’m pretty sure that it’s time wasted. As followers of Christ we know how it will end, and it won’t be because of global warming, but because of sin. Ford, Chevy, and even imports like Nissan and Toyota can rest easy, because since the fall of Adam the end of the world has always been inevitable. It’s not their fault.

The end may come within the next ten years, but it may not be for another ten thousand. Either way, I love knowing that God has let me in on what’s seemingly becoming His little secret.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Off Topic: Da Vinci Hype

I’m not sure if it’s just the way the media is portraying it, or if it’s the majority of our public Christian “leaders” dominating the issue as usual, but it's made to appear as if Christians are “up in arms,” and that Christ followers across the U.S. are demanding that the movie be banned because of the lies (fiction) within the film “The Da Vinci Code.”

Maybe the majority of American Christians really are outraged at the content of the new movie by Ron Howard. Maybe most of Christendom is angry that Christ is being portrayed as being less than Divine (there's nothing wrong with that). Maybe we do want to insist that sweet little Opie (Ron Howard) is a heretic for directing the movie, and that no Christian should give “one red cent” to ticket sales of such a devilish movie (others-not me).

But I suggest we take a much different approach. I believe it’s a perfect time to be a mature Christian with a strong conscience, and that it’s time we quit being suckered into the contrived hype that the media produces. It’s time we quit being sucked in by an American Christianity that teaches us that we must loudly proclaim evil at every corner, point the fingers at everyone that isn’t behaving in a biblical manner, and in turn, create an even larger separation between Christians and the unchurched, all the while driving nonbelievers even further from the search for truth.

I understand that Dan Brown, author of “The Da Vinci Code,” claims that most of what we’ve been taught about Christ is wrong. I know that the book and movie fictionally claim that Jesus was married to, and had children with, Mary Magdalene. As I listen to talk radio, I even seem to be the only one that understands that Jesus created us, and because of this He would be nothing short of an incestuous pervert having sex with His own children if He were, in fact, married to Mary Magdalene.

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisibly, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Col. 1:16-17)

But as a believer in Jesus I am unafraid. God is in control, and as one who understands sovereignty I am confident that God is unafraid, also.

Instead of getting angry and reacting impulsively, complaining, or feeling good about ourselves because we’ve spotted the heretics, I believe we should see the opportunity and take advantage of it. Americans love movies, and what better time is there to discuss with our friends and neighbors a particular movie that everyone is talking about? Instead of picketing the film or telling neighbors to avoid it, I claim that we should actually see the film. Why not watch it and search for times to discuss the movie and ponder ways to naturally articulate who Jesus really is with those close to us?

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Day of the Lord by Mo Dardinger

Just what is the Day of the Lord? This topic is generally overlooked in our churches today. Have you ever heard a sermon preached about it? Most haven't. Yet it fills the Scriptures. The Lord our God has a great deal to say about the Day of the Lord, and that makes it a topic which should concern us, His followers.

I attended the first session of a conference on biblical prophecy at a local church recently. The speaker had been assigned the topic “When Does the Day of the Lord Begin?” He briefly but accurately described seven different views of the End Times and the timing of the Rapture. (I really appreciate it when speakers and writers “get it right” concerning views other than their own. No one likes to be misrepresented, and as Christians we ought to be extremely careful to be accurate in what we say about our brothers and sisters, however misguided we may think them.)

This well-known teacher of biblical prophecy then gave us his view on when the Day of the Lord begins, how long it lasts, and what characterizes that Day. But he never gave us the signs that will signal that the Day of the Lord is about to begin. This surprised me greatly, since these signs are mentioned repeatedly in the Old Testament and are also described in the New Testament. If you want to know when the Day of the Lord begins, you must look for the signs the Lord has given us.

We have been studying Joel, which mentions the Day of the Lord in every chapter and which – as discussed in our last study – describes the signs to look for that will tell us that Day is about to begin. You and I must do better than the teacher that I heard. We must “know the code.” We must know the signs.

Signs that Herald the Day of the Lord

These are the Old Testament verses that mention the signs associated with the start of the Day of the Lord:

Isa 13:9-10
9 Behold, the day of the LORD is coming,
Cruel, with fury and burning anger,
To make the land a desolation;
And He will exterminate its sinners from it.
10 For the stars of heaven and their constellations
Will not flash forth their light;
The sun will be dark when it rises
And the moon will not shed its light.

Joel 2:10-11
10 Before them the earth quakes,
The heavens tremble,
The sun and the moon grow dark
And the stars lose their brightness.
11 The LORD utters His voice before His army;
Surely His camp is very great,
For strong is he who carries out His word.
The day of the LORD is indeed great and very awesome,
And who can endure it?

Joel 2:31-32
31 "The sun will be turned into darkness
And the moon into blood
Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.
32 And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD
Will be delivered;
For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
There will be those who escape,
As the LORD has said,
Even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.”

Joel 3:14-16
14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!
For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
15 The sun and moon grow dark
And the stars lose their brightness.
16 The LORD roars from Zion
And utters His voice from Jerusalem,
And the heavens and the earth tremble.
But the LORD is a refuge for His people
And a stronghold to the sons of Israel.

Mal 4:4-6
4 "Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.
5 Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD.
6 He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse."

What are the signs? Could they be any more obvious?

∑ Elijah the Prophet returns.
∑ The sun is darkened.
∑ The moon is darkened.
∑ The stars are darkened.

If you come up with a different list, let me know.

The Character of the Day of the Lord

So we know what to look for when the Day of the Lord is about to begin. But what is the Day of the Lord? What does it accomplish?

From my studies, I would say that this Day is a time period when God is reclaiming the Land of Israel for Himself and for the People of Israel, the Jews. It is a time of vengeance on Israel's enemies, and yet it is also a time when many Jews will be suffering and dying, most of them in unbelief. So even though they are in the process of being delivered physically and saved spiritually, the Day of the Lord is still a time for mourning and distress for Israel.

Some Bible teachers extend the Day of the Lord through the Millennium. They do this largely on the basis of 2 Peter 3:7-13, which implies that the Day of the Lord will see the end of the Old Heavens and Old Earth and the creation of the New Heavens and New Earth. They also generally take End Time passages which talk about the Day of the Lord and then use the phrase “in that day” to mean that the “in that day” events are a part of the Day of the Lord. Some of these events are clearly Millennial events.

I do not extend the Day of the Lord into the Millennium, however. The descriptions that I find of the Day of the Lord all indicate that it is not a time of joy, peace, and prosperity like the Millennium is. Read them and see for yourself just what will characterize the period of time that the prophets call “the Day of the Lord”:

Isa 13:6-9
6 Wail, for the day of the LORD is near!
It will come as destruction from the Almighty.
7 Therefore all hands will fall limp,
And every man's heart will melt.
8 They will be terrified,
Pains and anguish will take hold of them;
They will writhe like a woman in labor,
They will look at one another in astonishment,
Their faces aflame.
9 Behold, the day of the LORD is coming,
Cruel, with fury and burning anger,
To make the land a desolation;
And He will exterminate its sinners from it.

Ezek 30:2-5
2 "Son of man, prophesy and say, "Thus says the Lord GOD,
"Wail, "Alas for the day!'
3 "For the day is near,
Even the day of the LORD is near;
It will be a day of clouds,
A time of doom for the nations.
4 "A sword will come upon Egypt,
And anguish will be in Ethiopia;
When the slain fall in Egypt,
They take away her wealth,
And her foundations are torn down.
5 "Ethiopia, Put, Lud all Arabia, Libya and the people of the land that is in league will fall with them by the sword."

Joel 2:1-2 NKJV
1 Blow the trumpet in Zion,
And sound an alarm in My holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble;
For the day of the LORD is coming,
For it is at hand:
2 A day of darkness and gloominess,
A day of clouds and thick darkness,
Like the morning clouds spread over the mountains.
A people come, great and strong,
The like of whom has never been;
Nor will there ever be any {such} after them,
Even for many successive generations.

Amos 5:18-20
18 Alas, you who are longing for the day of the LORD,
For what purpose will the day of the LORD be to you?
It will be darkness and not light;
19 As when a man flees from a lion
And a bear meets him,
Or goes home, leans his hand against the wall
And a snake bites him.
20 Will not the day of the LORD be darkness instead of light,
Even gloom with no brightness in it?

Obad 15
15 "For the day of the LORD draws near on all the nations.
As you have done, it will be done to you.
Your dealings will return on your own head.”

Zeph 1:14-18
14 Near is the great day of the LORD,
Near and coming very quickly;
Listen, the day of the LORD!
In it the warrior cries out bitterly.
15 A day of wrath is that day,
A day of trouble and distress,
A day of destruction and desolation,
A day of darkness and gloom,
A day of clouds and thick darkness,
16 A day of trumpet and battle cry
Against the fortified cities
And the high corner towers.

1 Thess 5:1-11
1 Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you.
2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.
3 While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.

2 Peter 3:7-13
7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.
9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,
12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!
13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

What is your conclusion, brothers and sisters? The Day of the Lord is a day of gloom and destruction, right? It is a period of time that will be difficult, full of warfare and bloodshed. It will be a time of sorrow, a time of distress and destruction.

Copyright (c) 2006 Mo Dardinger - all rights reserved

Scripture taken, unless otherwise noted, from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE, Updated Edition (NASU), © Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Bible text designated NKJV is from THE NEW KING JAMES VERSION, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

History Lesson—Ralph E. Woodrow Weighs In

Excerpted from Great Prophecies of The Bible by Ralph E. Woodrow. Copyright © 1971.

George Ladd, seminary professor, after making a survey of church history says: "Every church father who deals with this subject expects the church to suffer at the hands of Antichrist...we can find no trace of pretribulationism in the early church: and no modern pretribulationist has successfully proved that this particular doctrine was held by any of the church fathers or students of the word before the nineteenth century."

This is quite a sweeping statement, but one, which we believe, will stand up under investigation. The Didache, one of the earliest pieces of Christian literature written after the New Testament, stated that Antichrist would come, that many would be offended and lost, and the resurrection of the just would follow this time of woe. The Epistle of Barnabas, written about the same time, says: "When the Son comes, he will destroy the time of the Wicked one and will judge the godless"-thus placing the coming of Christ after the reign of the Wicked one, not before. He did not hold to an any moment return of Christ, for he expected the Roman empire to fall first.

Justin Martyr (100-165) spoke of the coming of the Lord in these words: "He shall come from heaven with glory, when the man of apostasy, who speaks strange things against the most High, shall venture to do unlawful deeds on earth against us Christians, who, have learned the true worship of God from the law, and the word which went forth from Jerusalem by means of the apostles of Jesus." Christ "shall come from heaven with glory, accompanied by his angelic hosts, when also he shall raise the bodies of all men who have lived, and shall clothe those of the worthy with immorality."

Irenaeus (130-202) spoke of the resurrection of the just, which takes place after the coming of Antichrist....But when this Antichrist shall have devastated all things in this world...then the Lord shall come from heaven in the clouds, in the glory of the Father, sending this man and those who follow him into the lake of fire; but bringing in for the righteous the times of the kingdom." He spoke of kings whom "shall give their kingdom to the beast, and put the church to flight. After that the coming of our Lord shall destroy them.... In the end the church shall be suddenly caught up: and, having overcome, will be "crowned with incorruption."

Tertullian (160-240) believed that Antichrist would rise to power and persecute the church. He affirmed it was customary for Christians to pray for a part in the resurrection to meet Christ at the end of the world.

Hippolytus (170-236) spoke of the four empires of Daniel and that the breaking up of the fourth empire (which was then in power) would bring on the dreaded Antichrist who would persecute the church. He believed the second advent would be the time that the dead would be raised, Antichrist destroyed, and the saints glorified. Cyprian (200-258), a Christian bishop and martyr, believed Antichrist would reign, after which Christ would come at the end of the world.

Lactantius (260-330) believed the Antichrist would reign over the world and afflict the righteous, but that God would send a Great King to rescue them, to destroy the wicked with fire and sword, to raise the dead and renew the world.

Cyril (315-386), bishop of Jerusalem, wrote: "We believe in Him, who also ascended into the heavens, and sat down on the right hand of the Father, and shall come in glory to judge the quick and the end of this world, in the last day. For of this world there is to be an end, and this created world is to be re-made anew. It is evident from various statements, that he believed Antichrist would come to power and persecute the church before the second coming of Christ.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Satan: Who is he?

Other names/descriptions of Satan
Lucifer (KJV, Latin = shining one); Isaiah 14:12
Son of the Dawn (NASB); Isaiah 14:12
Morning Star (NIV); Isaiah 14:12
The devil; Matthew 4:1
Beelzebub the ruler (NASB) / prince (NIV) of demons; Matthew 10:25, 12:24
Murderer, Father of lies; John 8:44
The ruler (NASB) / prince (NIV) of this world; John 12:31
The evil one; John 17:15
The god of this age; 2 Corinthians 4:4
Belial; 2 Corinthians 6:15
The Prince of the Power of the Air; Ephesians 2:2
The tempter; 1 Thessalonians 3:5
The enemy; 1 Timothy 5:14
Dragon / Serpent of old (NASB), Ancient serpent (NIV); Revelation 12:9
Accuser of our brethren; Revelation 12:10

Who owns what?
Man’s loss of earth rulership / rulership handed over to Satan
Genesis 3:6-7
Satan’s rulership
Luke 4:5-6
1 John 5:19
Christ claims positional rulership through the cross / Satan defeated positionally
Colossians 2:13-15
Christ’s final, literal rulership and Satan’s defeat completed
Revelation 20:1-4, 7-10
Revelation 21:3-4

Satan’s Characteristics
Matthew 13:19
John 8:44
2 Corinthians 11:14
1 Peter 5:8
1 John 3:8

Satan’s history
Isaiah 14:12-15 (Historical king of Babylon and probably Satan as double meaning)
Ezekiel 28:12-15 (Historical leader of Tyre and probably dual reference to Satan)
Matthew 4:1
Luke 10:18
Luke 22:3
John 12:31
John 16:11
Hebrews 2:14
1 John 3:8
Jude 1:9
Revelation 12:3-5

Satan’s Future
Matthew 25:41
Romans 16:20
Revelation 12:6-17
Revelation 19:11-21
Revelation 20:1-4; 7-10

Satan and believers
1 Chronicles 21:1
Job 1:6-9
Job 1:12
Job 2:1-7
Zechariah 3:1
Luke 22:31
2 Corinthians 12:7
1 Thessalonians 2:18

God’s protection
2 Thessalonians 3:3
1 John 4:4
1 John 5:18-19

Stand against/avoid the devil
Psalms 119:11
Matthew 4:10
Romans 13:11-14
1 Corinthians 7:4-5
2 Corinthians 2:10-11
2 Cor 6:3-10
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Ephesians 4:26-27
Ephesians 6:10-18
1 Thess. 5:5-8
1 Timothy 3:6
1 Timothy 3:7
1 Timothy 5:13-15
James 4:7

Satan used to bring repentance
1 Corinthians 5:5
1 Timothy 1:20

The Christian's position: Present light vs. former darkness
Acts 26:18
Romans 5:10
Ephesians 2:1-10
Ephesians 5:8
Colossians 1:13