Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lunar Eclipse

I didn't get up at 4:30 to see the lunar eclipse that we had last night, but here is a web site that has some awesome pictures of one that took place in 2004.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I Can't Help It

I’ve always known that I tend to view things differently than a lot of believers, but I had a little epiphany tonight concerning the way I view the book of Revelation, and end times study in general, that even made me think to myself, “Self, that sounds crazy. Don’t say that out loud or they will know you’re weird.”

But I’m old enough now that I’m not overly bothered if someone thinks I’m weird, plus, after I give an explanation to my epiphany I think that you just might agree with me about my thoughts.

Most people get overwhelmed when reading the book of Revelation. From what I’ve experienced, most don’t even have a real desire to read it more than a hand-full of times in their entire Christian career. They not only see confusing symbolism that seems impossible to understand, but they see suffering and wrath, bloodshed and loss, and fear quite often overcomes the reader when they consider the possibility of personally encountering the events within the book.

My epiphany: The book of Revelation is beautiful. Every word.

At first, "beautiful" didn't sound like the right word. But as I contemplated I had to accept that God has made me in a way that sees prophecy as beautiful, so I should just go with it. Prophecy is beautiful.

I’m not even specifically referring to the sections which speak of our eternity with Him. It’s a given that those prophecies are beautiful. But when I read the book of Revelation, the Olivet Discourse, Joel, Daniel, portions of Amos, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, etc, I’m overwhelmed with a feeling of beauty. Weird, I know, but when I search these writings the concerns of being confused, the bloodshed, and the fear of the possibilities is far outweighed by His power.

The One that can ordain the final, and ultimate, spiritual battle before He even created the universe comes to life on every page. The One who chose us before the creation of the world is actually letting us in on what very few people know, and is displaying it in advance for us in a brilliant style nonexistent in any other form of literature. The panoramic view of every chaotic event that will take place as recorded in the book of Revelation is able to be held together in harmony with little more than the lint beneath His little toenail, and when He completes this plan everyone from Joseph Smith to Mohammed to the Dragon will be silenced for eternity. That’s how powerful He is, and that is the beauty I see.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Promises: A Movie You Must See

If you see only one movie this year let it be "Promises." It's a documentary that shows the lives of Arab and Israeli children living in and around Jerusalem. Some have never even known a child from the other nationality, and not one has befriended a child from the other side. Most of the children filmed from both of the religious sides (Islamic/Judaism) are filled with hate and anger, and the brainwashing from the parents, school and culture that has helped cause this is very apparent. Yet two twin Jewish boys that have been raised with a secular mindset do not hate, do not want to kill and are willing to go to the Arabic camp to spend a day with the Arabic children in hopes of breaking down the barriers.

The thickness of the religious tradition within the Jewish community angered and saddened me, and clearly showed that Jesus understood that rituals are not the answer—He is. The religious fervor of the Arabs and their inability to "let go" of the fact that they do not occupy the land that they believe to be theirs was sobering. To see this in children in this way is almost incomprehensible considering the gap between their mindset and the mindset of our children here in America.

But still, a few of the children actually understood and had a desire to begin accepting their "enemies" because of the realization that they will be the ones that will one day be responsible for peace or for war when they reach adulthood. Watching the friendship and discussions take place is heartwarming, but one boy's openness at the end of that day makes this my favorite scene in a long, long time.

Unfortunately, this movie may be next to impossible to come by anywhere else, but you can get it and read customer reviews at Netflix. Yes, it's subtitled, but very easy to follow (there is Hebrew, Arabic and English spoken). And no, it's not necessarily a lighthearted movie, but it's an important one because of the message of acceptance, change and forgiveness. It should be a wake-up-call for some that ignore the times we live in or think that the Issac and Ishmael conflict that will continue until the end has nothing to do with us.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Question From a Reader

Raul asked:

Daniel 11:36(NKJV) states "Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done." Now, I've understood this to mean that the Anti-Christ will be successful until the Lord's wrath is complete. Is that correct or it is referring to Satan's/Anti-Christ's wrath during the Great Tribulation period? But, again, if it does mean the Lord's wrath, then how can the A/C be successful until the end of the Lord's wrath if the A/C is only allotted 1260 days and the Lord's wrath extends a bit longer to 1290 days? So, in other words, how can the A/C be successful until the end of the Lord's wrath, if his time is up at 1260 days?

Here’s the verse in the NASB, Raul:

Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done. (Daniel 11:36 NASB)

The context of the entire verse is what the Antichrist will do, not what God will do. Notice that it starts out speaking of the “monstrous” things he will accomplish and finishes with the fact that “what has been decreed will be done.” Because of this context I don’t think that it would make sense within the structure of the verse to throw in a mention of God’s indignation unless the indignation is said to be God’s. It wouldn’t flow or have any clarity.

Think about your question. It’s not making sense to you that the Antichrist could be successful, or could “prosper,” during the time of the Day of the Lord’s wrath. I think there’s a reason that it’s not making sense to you. I think you’ve answered you own question! It’s not possible.

This is one of the reasons that the pre-wrath position sees the Antichrist as being "rendered useless" when the Day of the Lord begins after the sixth seal sometime during the final half of the 70th Week. Certainly he will be around for the complete 1260 days, but during the final portion of this time he will have limited strength due to the trumpets and bowls of God's wrath.

Connected to this is why I, and the pre-wrath position, sees Matthew 24:22 teaching that the actual Great Tribulation where the Church is persecuted will be “cut short.”

Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. (Matthew 24:22)

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the Great Tribulation lasts for 1260 days, or 3.5 years. It’s an assumption based on the verses that describe the Antichrist’s time of activity as being 1260 days. I think that this “cutting short” of the Great Tribulation, as mentioned by Jesus, corresponds to the time-frame you’re questioning. The Antichrist will be successful until his (the Antichrist's) indignation is completed (Daniel 11:36), then Christ will cut short the Great Tribulation by His coming (Matthew 24:22), He will gather the elect (Matthew 24:31) and the Day of the Lord’s wrath will begin (Joel 2:31; Matthew 24:37-39; Rev. 6:12-17/8:1). When Jesus “cuts short” the Great Trib after the opening of the sixth seal the Antichrist will no longer be “successful.” I hope this helps.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Parousia Magazine

There is more pre-wrath reading than you can probably handle inside the old issues of Parousia magazine. If you haven't heard of this and are interested, you may download all of the old issues here.