Archive for the ‘ Prophecy ’ Category

Please Join Me At Track 22

Tune in to the voice of Wisdom at Proverbial Thought!

I was sitting in my preaching class this past week, and the conversation started tracking a certain way. It got me to thinking about something.

I love that song!

Have you had conversations about some of your favorite songs? I am sure you have.

Perhaps sometimes you start trying to sing a song but you cannot remember either the tune, the words, or both. You desperately want someone to tell you the name of that song!

How would you feel if someone simply told you the track number of that song? Would you find that helpful?

Usually, we do not refer to songs by their number (with exceptions for music like “Piano Concerto Number Five” or “No. 9” … extra points if you can give me names to go with those!) Occasionally we may know when someone says “Oh, that was track four of that album.”

Typically, the response we get (and want) is the title of the song. We may even find the lyrics rushing to our mind at the mention of the title.

We are often okay with the recitation of the first line of the song or the chorus.

My God, My God

The funny thing is, we have become so accustomed to labeling things in the Bible by number that is almost all we know anything by anymore.

Perhaps if we read the Bible as much as we really should, we would recognize references in the New Testament to passages in the Old Testament.

For example, when Jesus was hanging on the cross, it would have been much easier on all of us who were not raised Jewish if He had said “Go look up Psalm 22.”

Instead, He did what many of us would do when we are in some situation: He quoted lyrics.

Think about: how many times have you been doing something and song lyrics popped into your head that seemed to fit the situation?

Now imagine you are the Son of God, and you want people to understand something about you?

When Jesus said, “My God, My God, why have your forsaken me?” He was not suggesting that the Father had abandoned the Son. He was saying, “Hurry, someone read Psalm 22!”

Read it:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.
In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
“He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
“let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”

Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10 From birth I was cast on you;
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.

12 Many bulls surround me;
    strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions that tear their prey
    open their mouths wide against me.
14 I am poured out like water,
    and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax;
    it has melted within me.
15 My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
    and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
    you lay me in the dust of death.

16 Dogs surround me,
    a pack of villains encircles me;
    they pierce my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display;
    people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.

19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

22 I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or scorned
    the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
    but has listened to his cry for help.

25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
those who seek the Lord will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth
    will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
    will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the Lord
    and he rules over the nations.

29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
    all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
    those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
    future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
    declaring to a people yet unborn:
    He has done it!

Did you notice that all of the bolded sections describe the crucifixion, and this Psalm declares the greatness of God and His salvation.

This not only shows how Jesus fulfilled prophecy and the Law, but it shows the importance of the Old Testament.

We may not always refer to things as has always been done, but we are not too different from those in the past.

We may use numbers to refer to ancient songs, but we are better prepared to understand the connection between them and the gospel message.

Now, join me in Track 119, a psalm of praise to God for His Word!

Another Adulterous Wife and the God Who Loves Her

Once again, I remind you to get some wisdom from those inspired by God’s wisdom over at Proverbial Thought.

There was a man who was called by God to speak out against the wrongs and injustices in his nation.

He spoke out against the nation turning away from God to follow its own lusts. He spoke out against the rising violence. He spoke out against the rise in crime. He spoke out against the rise of disrespect for parents. He spoke out against the lies of the government leaders as well as the religious leaders. He spoke out against the partnership of those leaders with different religions and hostile governments.

While this could be someone from any moment in the past fifty years in pretty much any part of the world, you probably already guessed that this person is in the Bible.

The First Adulterous Wife

Hosea was told by God to take a wife who was little more than a prostitute. Even though Hosea and Gomer had three children together – a son, a daughter, and another son – Gomer began to live and sleep with another man.

When things began to go badly for Gomer and she found herself on the auction block as a slave, God told Hosea “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” (Hosea 3:1) Hosea essentially paid his entire savings to buy his adulterous wife from prostitution and slavery.

The message was and is clear: Just like Gomer, Israel had sinned by turning from God to the false gods of other nations. They neglected their relationship with God, they neglected their children and parents, and they neglected common decency.

God’s punishment for these sins was exile. But God loves His people.

He brought the nation, at that time divided in two, back to the Promised Land as a united people.

Beyond that, and this is where the Christian Church comes in, God sent His own Son as payment for the sins of not only Israel but of the whole world! In essence, God sacrificed Himself in payment for the sin we are all guilty of committing: worshiping anything other than God!

Another Adulterous Wife

If only those who believe the truth of God sending Jesus Christ to die for our sins never strayed!

If you look around our world today, especially within the Western World of Europe and North America, there is much corruption.

Leave governments out of this. Except for the mini-nation of Vatican City, national governments are not of God. He may have established the governments of the world for this time (Romans 13:1), but they do not govern the matters of God. They govern the matters of people. (Regardless of what most of the world and the Conservative Right say of the United States of America, it is not a Christian nation.)

Read the newspapers and watch the news on TV. Hardly a week goes by without hearing of some sex scandal, controversy, or fraud from some church or denomination. Many congregations, leaders, and denominations choose to work more with governments and other religions than with other congregations, leaders, and denominations. Many compromise their beliefs to appease the masses, the government, other religions, or simply passing fads or ideas.

Looking around today seems to show a Church which has left its Groom (Christ) to have relations with those who do not believe in or even mock the God of the Universe.

God’s Love

Even with all of the sins the people within the Church of our Lord continue to commit, He still loves her.

His Bride continues to allow many sins to be committed in His name, but I think there are good reasons He has not brought the same judgment on the Church as He did on Israel.

For starters, His faithful are still loving the least of these and showing God’s love.

Among those who rob God are those who give more than their fair share.
Among those who compromise their bodies are those who remain chaste and pure.
Among those who compromise their beliefs are those who remain steadfast in faith.

Secondly, God holds back His wrath because of His promises.

He has promised that His wrath was poured out on His Son.
He has promised that His wrath is not for His faithful.
He has promised that He will wait until He separates His faithful from the world.

Lastly, God holds back His wrath because of His love.

If God is not willing that anyone should perish (2 Peter 3:9), would He not give us time to repent, to choose His love in our hearts?

Hear the Truth and Turn

We each, in our own time, sin against God, yet He so desires to be with us that He died on a cross for our forgiveness and waits to destroy the world until His proper time.

As Peter said:

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 in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.
2 Peter 3:10-15

Let us not worry about the sins going on around us in the name of the Lord. Instead, let us focus on our own relationship with God. In the process, God working in our lives will either cause guilt leading to repentance or guilt leading to further sin.

In any event, we are to remain pure to God to the glory of God.

Seeing Salvation

I consider this work a work in progress.

It can be considered a Christmas poem. It can be considered a piece on the Gospel. It can be considered a prophetic word.

In any event, it fits this week leading into Christmas, and it is a good reminder after the events in Connecticut and around the world this past week.

A couple of weeks ago, I shared some thoughts on the two people, Simeon and Anna the Prophetess, who were waiting for the Messiah and saw Him in their old age. My thoughts concluded (indeed, centered around) expecting the soon return of the Messiah Jesus.

The entire reason for Jesus Coming to Earth was to save us from our sins and bring us into a right relationship with God. His return will be to finish the entire process, by bringing the physical up to speed with the spiritual, and bringing about ultimate peace on Earth for ever and ever.

It was easy for Jesus’ followers to forget His promise of coming back to life, and their new-found hope was a very pleasant surprise later at the resurrection of Jesus.

Because of His resurrection, we are able to give all of our troubles to Him, and we must remind ourselves of His soon return.

Now, see if you can find where I share each of these in this poem:

Seeing Salvation

They waited for years,
worshiping God daily in prayer.
God ever feeling more near,
as they awaited His Answer.

As their twilight years waned,
dutifully keeping their stations,
in came a couple with a babe.
They knew they were seeing Salvation. (Luke 2:21-38)

They walked with Him for years,
gladly hearing what He taught.
Now they only had tears,
with their Lord dying on a cross.

As their hope began to wane,
the women came with a proclamation.
The Lord was alive again!
Their faith was restored at seeing Salvation. (Matthew 28:1-10, Luke 24:1-12)

We live for many years,
wandering all over this earth.
We have troubles and fears,
wondering if we have any worth.

As our strength begins to wane,
there is hope in each situation.
We must turn to the Lamb who was slain.
Our souls are renewed in seeing Salvation.

There are not too many years,
this world will soon be decimated.
For God-lovers are jeered,
while sin and pride are celebrated.

After His long-suffering has waned,
His wrath will pour out on the nations.
Yet we will be reborn in His Name,
when we finally are seeing Salvation. (Revelation)

We must remember that all people are seeking redemption.

Some seek it and must wait.

Some are swept up and almost miss it.

Some find it out of their pain.

All people one day will see the Redeemer bringing redemption to all of Creation.

At Christmas, we must remember that God loved us enough to save. He came to us, born as a baby. He lived a perfect life, and died as the only acceptable sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. He seeks us out, and will one glorious day return to claim His redeemed and redeem all of Creation.

That is the true promise of Christmas. Peace on Earth will only come at the final consummation. When we pray for peace on Earth, we are asking for Jesus to come and save us all, people and Creation!

The Rapture and the End Times

When Daniel asked if I would like to post a topic on his blog, my first thought was what an honor it is. Daniel is an amazing man of God, trustworthy, reliable, has a soft heart, and you can count on him to never put God in a box – because Daniel never thinks inside the box anyway.

My name is Jesse Walker, I’m the host of a radio program called “The Unwinding Path” on KXEG 1280AM in Phoenix, and do a lot of guest speaking at churches, conferences and college groups. Some of my most requested messages are “Proving the Resurrection of Jesus,” “The Science of Genesis,” and, with the uproar about December 21st 2012, “The Rapture and The End Times,” among others.

I have been studying what the Bible says about the end times (aka Eschatology), for years, and, though God’s Word makes it clear that no man knows the day or the hour of Jesus’ return (whether the rapture or the second coming), I have often wondered how I would live differently if I knew Jesus was coming back at a specific time. One of the main ideas I have is that I would sell most of my possessions and give the money to the poor and hungry (Luke 12). Another is that I would tell as many people as I could, as fast as I could, about Jesus (Matt 28).

To get to the basics then, the rapture and the second coming are two separate events and are often times confused and mis-understood. On top of all this, there are many differing views about this subject. For the sake of time I will condense this blog to focus on the rapture, and the view that the majority of Christians believe about the rapture, namely pre-tribulationism.

The rapture is an event that will occur sometime in the future at which time Jesus will come back in the clouds (and will not come down to the earth) and call all Christians up to heaven. Sometime after this event, Jesus will come back to earth and set up His earthly kingdom. Please note that they are not the same event but two totally separate events. First the rapture happens then the second coming (where Jesus will actually come back to the earth).

Years ago I ask God to show me the truth about the rapture since there are so many views held by many good Christian people. On any issue I simply want to know truth, whether it’s good or bad. Here’s what God allowed me to believe: That the rapture (where Jesus comes back in the clouds and calls all Christians up to heaven) would occur before the 7 year tribulation period.
However, in the last few months I started digging even deeper into God’s Word. As I did, I forced myself to question, not only my beliefs about the rapture, but also everything I had ever heard from Bible prophecy teachers. Let me stop right here and say that I still believe that the rapture will occur, but after careful study of God’s word (consulting even the Greek New Testament), what I found is nothing like any of the teachings out there. In fact, the pre-tribulationists will probably call me a pre-wrather and the pre-wrathers will probably call me a heretic. After God showed me this new information, I asked Him why He allowed me to believe something that wasn’t fully accurate. His response was “You asked me to show you the truth, but you weren’t strong enough to handle it until now.”

I believed and taught the “typical” pre-tribulation rapture doctrine for more than a decade. I still call myself a pre-tribulationist when it comes to the rapture, but it does not occur in the timeline of Revelation the way most pre-tribulationists teach it.

Having said all that, I see Revelation, and what the Bible teaches about the end times more clearly than I’ve ever seen it before, and am currently working on the teaching about the subject for one of our upcoming radio programs.
I would appreciate your thoughts. I know this can be a sensitive subject and I want everyone to remember that salvation is not based on what one believes about the end times, but that Jesus is our risen savior!

I might also like to use some of your thoughts on one of our upcoming programs so please post your name and town if you comment.

You may read Matt 24 and 25, 1 Thess 4, and Revelation (among many others) for scriptural basis.

Responses to Christmas: Strangers to God

I hope you have enjoyed this week as we have reviewed how Mary and Joseph, the Innkeeper, some shepherds, and Simeon and Anna all responded to the birth of Christ. Today we look at some people who had similar knowledge but responded vastly differently:

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”

Matthew 2:1-18

The first things we must ask ourselves are why the people of Jerusalem were disturbed at this news. It was because the leadership was disturbed. Why should that disturb them? For starters, Herod was disturbed. King Herod was a power-hungry man who looked for fame and control wherever he could. He played nice with Roman emperors and generals to get into his position of authority over Judea. He built several large structures, including the Temple in Jerusalem, to grow in fame. Yet he was also threatened by any potential threat to his power (whether real or imaginary) to the point that he even had most of his family killed to prevent them from trying to take away his power from him. He had rabbis killed who disagreed with him. It is not a far stretch to figure out why he was disturbed at this baby’s birth and therefore had all boys in Bethlehem killed. It is also not hard to figure out why the people would be disturbed by his being disturbed.

We could also consider that the Jewish leadership could be disturbed by this news, as well. When Jesus was walking around during His ministry, approximately 30 years after his birth, it was the religious leaders who gave Him the hardest time. They had also accumulated some prestige of their own, and a Messiah, a coming king, might just throw that sense of power out the window for them.

The Magi, or Wise Men, on the other hand, had no first-hand knowledge of the coming Messiah. As far as we know, they were just scholars who had read the Hebrew writings (essentially the Bible) and studied the environment (they were like astronomers more than astrologers, though a blending was definitely there) to figure out Who and what was coming into the world. If they truly thought this was just another king coming on the scene, they would not have done much else than note the occurrence. However, it seems pretty likely that they knew this King was going to change things in the world.

Think about it: They travelled a great distance to find a baby; they were overjoyed at finding this child; they made, essentially, financial sacrifices; and they worshiped Jesus. They may not have completely understood what was happening (when do any of us really?), but they knew enough to worship Him.

Have you noticed a theme with people directly involved with the baby Jesus? They were all filled with joy! Those who sought to ignore or even remove the child had no joy. They may have had times of happiness, but not lasting joy.

What about you? Do you find joy when thinking about the birth of Jesus Christ? Or are you more likely to be offended, disturbed, or uncaring during this season of the year? Do you go out of your way seek peace, seek understanding, seek joy, or give honor? Or are you more likely find ways to make sure no one else is happy? Does Jesus bring you joy or deepen your annoyance/hatred? A follow-up question to that is “Why?”

It is interesting to note that the Magi were not what we in the West traditionally call “Believers,” yet God rescued them from Herod’s punishment and getting blood on their hands by revealing to Herod the location of the child. They may not have been worshiping Jesus in the sense that others whom we have looked at have done it, but they still knew enough to give Him honor.

Do you give Jesus honor? Both Herod and the Magi believed Jesus was King of the Jews, but they responded much differently to that belief.

It’s the End of the World As We Know It … Again …

Perhaps you remember five months ago all of the hype over Harold Camping and the impending rapture he calculated from the evidence in the Bible would occur on May 21. I made some comments on the whole affair here, here (tongue-in-cheek) and here.

Well, this week brings about part two of his prediction. You see, Harold explained that on May 21st God’s work of salvation came to an end, that the Holy Spirit was pulled from world (except believers, of course). No one else can be saved (be led to Christ). Instead, the final rapture in which the Elect (those who are saved) are taken up to meet Christ is the air takes place at the exact same time as the final judgement and destruction of Creation. This is all to happen …

This Friday, October 21st (2011, if you are confused on which “this Friday” I mean).

I have covered this topic before, as referenced above.

You know, if he is right about this date, amillenniallists have it all right (except the date. That is Harold Camping). On the other hand, if Harold has been right all along, then premillennialists are more right. I personally do not think postmillennialism has any basis in truth at all, but I will be friends with you even if you do think it has any basis in truth at all.

After that little rabbit-trail …

Can I get any comments? What do you think: Is the world coming to an end this weekend, or do we have more time? Or are we possibly disappearing before Friday?

Or do you think God has a rather hilarious sense of humor and will use this Friday to end everything as we know it to really shock Harry Camping … and everyone else?

Belief in Unbelief

I have discussed before about how doubt is okay in certain circumstances. I was recently reminded of this topic while listening to one of my favorite songs (Jason Gray, For the First Time Again, and today I refer to the verse mentioned in the song and will get back to this later!), and it also reminded me of a conversation I had with me own mum a few years ago.

The verse I refer to is Mark 9:24: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

The man who said this to Jesus believed that Jesus could help, but he struggled with doubt. He just handled it in the correct manner. He asked God.

What if our doubt has to do with whether or not God is involved?

The Bible deals with this.

John, in 1 John 4:1, says “Dear Friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

Did you know we are not supposed to have a blind faith? Many in the Western Church have been raised to “just believe and not ask questions.” This verse seems to declare otherwise. (Another is 1 Thessalonians 5:21)

Some people send out and/or forward e-mails that sound very inspirational or seem to raise awareness of some injustice or cause. This is the very reason Snopes.com (atheistic, as far as I know, but still quite trustworthy if you are concerned) was founded, to discover which stories are true and false. (Something I found ironic, my mom raised me to study things, and when I e-mailed her a link to something cool she asked forgiveness for not trusting me and checking Snopes! I had already checked it myself! This is the conversation I mentioned above) It is more than okay to look into these e-mails and reports.

As we get into the presidential election, we are going to be hearing many things from the candidates and their supporters both for and against each candidate. We have seen some of these stretch the truth pretty far in the past. We should check everything we hear about a candidate before choosing what to believe about them. It is just smart and an all-around good idea. If you believe we can trust everything every politician says, you need a little more help than I can offer!

Every time we meet for church or to study the Bible or for a fellowship event (concert, Promise Keepers, Women of Faith, leadership/missionary conferences, etcetera) we should approach each teaching with sound reason and a healthy dose of skepticism. I am not saying we doubt everything that is said, nor I am saying we should discount our knowledge of what each speaker has said before. For example, if you have attended the same church with the same pastor for years with solid teaching, you should be able to trust what the pastor says this Sunday, too. However, as many of my pastor friends have said over the years, we should follow along in our Bibles with every teaching to make sure there is no mistake! This is not questioning everything that is said, rather it is confirming truth or revealing mis-truthes and mistakes.

Similarly, whenever a new teacher comes along, a new theologian theologizes, or science proclaims new evidence of something, we should test the statements and information for validity and trustworthiness both with Scripture and logic. I am sorry if your feelings are hurt, but outside of Christianity all religions do not pass most tests. Even some spheres of Christianity (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints [Mormons], Jehovah’s Witnesses, Westboro Baptist Church, some separate congregations within mainline churches, and many others) leave Scripture and logic behind. We must be careful.

This is why doubt is a good thing. This is why we can believe in God and His Church but show signs of disbelief. My mom sometimes regrets feeling like “a Doubting Thomas,” but when we are receiving teachings from a fallen world and those who may be false prophets (which can come from other religions and secular society) it can be wise to not believe everything.

If we continually seek our Lord, it becomes easier to know when it is Him speaking and when it is not. I teach the young men I mentor (and anyone else who listens) to test everything I say. They are not to accept everything I say as truth but make their faith their own. We do not always agree on every little thing, and that is okay. It is not okay when our unbelief gets in the way of our belief in God and our ability to love Him and other people.

Have some doubt, but as I said in the posts I referenced at the beginning of this one, make sure your doubt pushes you toward God and not away.