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choir loft

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  1. Gog is a figure or an authority of office - like President or King - Gog can be expressive of different individuals holding the same authority. This much we agree upon. Scripture does seem to indicate two Gog wars. Only the first is described in excruciating detail, however. The idea of Rosh interpreted as a Russian invasion appears nowhere in Christian interpretive literature until the 1950's cold war era. After that time, we saw Russians like cockroaches under every evil scheme and prediction. One may as well substitute an ET UFO invasion if that sort of thinking is employed. Consider the role of Turkey and the preceding Ottoman Empire in history. Watch Turkey closely. At this point in time President Erdogan is leading the nation away from the NATO western alliance toward leadership of the Middle Eastern arab nations (who have rarely been able to agree on anything). To be fair, a strange policy of the US seems to be pushing them away from NATO at a time when their friendship is most deeply needed. Very strange things going on with Turkey these days. The process of making aliyah is proceeding unabated and has lost none of its influence upon world Jewry. Migration of Jews to Eretz Israel is as energetic as it has ever been. While members of the 12 tribes still dwell abroad, many of them have returned home in fulfillment of the Ezekiel prophecy of chapter 37. The Biblical tally of enemies that make war upon Israel during the End Times are neighboring nations. (*) In most cases their borders either touch or they are one nation removed. The single exception is China which the Bible says will be able to field an army of two hundred million. The current Chinese belt and road project would be able to support such an effort. It's the grandest Chinese project since the Great Wall and no one, including US Naval interference, will be able to stop it. Bottom line is that I think we are in agreement at all the major points. that's me, hollering from the choir loft... (*) The divinely appointed limit to the borders of Israel was stated in Genesis - from the Great Sea (Mediterranean) to the Great River (Euphrates). This includes all of modern day Jordan,Iraq, most of Syria and all of the Sinai. These limits were met during the reign of King David. References to Kings of the East, especially in the gospels are references to the Empire of Parthia. For example, the three wise men who came to visit Bethlehem were from Parthia (the former lands known as Persia and today known as Iran). Parthia was the single greatest opposition to eastward expansion of the Roman Empire. An uneasy peace was maintained between the two great empires until the fall of the western portion of the empire in the 5th century. The eastern Roman empire gradually found itself locked in conflict with Parthia, which was itself overwhelmed by Islam. When the Ottomans finally subdued the remnants of Latin authority in the east in the 15th century the realization of global conquest by Islam seemed to be at hand, but by then al-Mahdi had been occulted and the masses of angry arabs would have to wait for another day to realize their dream.
  2. Or perhaps he's been out of the country for a while and perhaps he's been sick from a bug he picked up out there............. Instead of using religious dogma and slogans as a fall-back position I suggest the employment of a bit of scholarship as a tool to discern truth. THE UNIVERSALLY ACCEPTED RULE OF INTERPRETATION IS THAT OBSCURE PASSAGES MUST BE EXAMINED IN THE LIGHT OF PASSAGES THAT ARE CLEAR - NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. Concern for death and hades is an example of reliance upon religious buzz words for an answer. Do you not know that Hades is a pagan reference to the god of the underworld? I've discussed this before. The use of pagan references are examples of interpretive translations which detract from Biblical context. Consult another translation. Don't put the cart before the horse if you seek truth. Revelation makes it quite clear that references to the beast and false prophet are in large part references to governmental and religious systems and their agents which will exist in the End Times. In point of fact, the return of Messiah as described in Daniel and Revelation describes a new divinely appointed government and religion replacing the dying sinful earthly model. Beast and false prophet are the first beings thrown into the lake of fire. They symbolize persecuting civil government and corrupt religion. Neither institution will be perpetuated forever and neither can suffer loss of consciousness or sensible pain. Once again the passage refers to immediate annihilation and total extermination without appeal parole or reversal of judgment. Again, examination of individual passages must be in accord with context of scripture. One cannot arrive at truth by employing innuendo, hypotheticals, buzz words and slogans as a tool to arrive at truth. What does the Bible say? It says religious corruption will be ended permanently. It says persecuting government will be ended permanently. In other words, more extinct than a dinosaur. Not even the bones will remain. that's me, hollering from the choir loft... PS The influence of slogans as accepted truth in religion springs from the desire to make short work of ideas which may sometimes be perceived as complicated or difficult to understand. I dwell upon this a lot in my posts mainly because it seems to have become the main source of teaching these days. For example, of the two types of sermons - topical and textual - the former is most often delivered in church services. Textual examination tends to be dry and scholarly and that's not popular in churches that focus upon entertainment value rather than spiritual education. Slogans are quick and easy in sermons and songs. Unfortunately this is the point where error most easily insinuates itself upon us. Since most church people are Biblically illiterate, heresy creeps in without challenge. For example, did you know that Islamic eschatology admits to the second coming of Jesus (called Isa in the Qur'an)? What's the difference between Islamic teaching and Biblical assertions? Therein lies the challenge and the truth of which few know the difference - or even care to learn. How many of those who attend worship services in your church also attend adult Bible study? 10% 25% 50% ????? Count the cars in the parking lot for both occasions. Consider also that most adult Bible studies are on a Middle School level and you begin to see the problem.
  3. Since sinners are destroyed at time of death, it may be assumed there is no reaction from them. Assuming this is true, then the wailers would be the saints who regretted the earthly opportunity to participate in the second birth of more people. There are two caveats to this assumption; 1. The sermons and literature I've been exposed to all admit to the existence of hell. Nevertheless the wailing is attributable to the saints as a form of regret. Messiah, while dying on the cross, said His task was finished. One assumes He is the only one in Paradise without unfinished business during life on earth. He alone has no regrets for matters left undone. 2. The Bible does not state the length of time required for sinners to "flame out" in the Lake of Fire - for the process of consumption to be completed. It only says they will be destroyed. While fire does indeed destroy completely it does not generally do so immediately. I have my own theories on this, which are supported by observable evidence, but do not feel it appropriate to share such matters here. When death comes to a sinner does he or she know they are headed for destruction? There is testimony of some who've watched this happen, as when Joseph Stalin died. On the whole, however, I think the great darkness of death takes sinners suddenly. Messiah suggested it would come like a thief in the night - suddenly and unexpected. If I am to stand on Biblical reference alone, I'd have to say that a dying sinner has no time to express regret at all. Therefore such an emotion would be experienced by saints in Paradise. that's me, hollering from the choir loft....
  4. One of the last lines of the movie SCHINDLER'S LIST had Liam Neeson's character lamenting the fact he could not save more Jews from death than he had done. While this example in no way endorses a Hollywood production as a sort of spiritual reference it does have common overtones. In St. Paul's letters to the early church he bemoans the fact that though he longs to be with Messiah he also desires to continue his work with the new believers. He is torn between emotions. I have heard sermons on this topic, all of which suggest those earnestly involved in God's work on earth may lament that more could have been done even as they enjoy reward in paradise. Regret, it is said, is felt most keenly for things we have not done. I suspect this is true of the verse you quote. It's tone certainly suggests something in the nature of regret. that's me, hollering from the choir loft.....
  5. As most people who read more than one translation of the Bible can tell you, common words are often translated differently. Its worse when interpretations of scripture directly affect the text itself. As a result, doctrine becomes skewed and understanding is blurred. The worst example of this sort of deliberate skewing of doctrine can be observed in C. S. Scofield's reference Bible. The book is a literal tossed salad of false doctrine. A good scholar would never rely upon a single source. Neither should you, dear reader. The Bible nowhere certifies the existence of hell, which is a pagan myth adopted by the early church for financial gain. For example, Jesus spoke of gehenna. Gehenna was an actual place, a waste dump to the south and east of Jerusalem in the Kidron valley. Jesus' reference to gehenna was meant to teach the principle of permanent extinction of sin and the judgment of those who practice it. Gehenna was also the location of the ancient site of child sacrifice by fire to the pagan god Molech. When Jesus said those who were judged as unjustified would be cast into gehenna, HE was teaching the principle of total annihilation - not human sacrifice in the fires of the city dump. If one wants to skew scripture one can spin it either way. Unfortunately one will not arrive at truth. Truth is that which is consistent with what is. Fire burns, but that which is thrown into it is destroyed utterly. The meaning of the word 'fire' ought to be consistent with observation of 'fire' for a conclusion to be true. Jesus' example is clear. It's implication is disastrous. Common deliberate misinterpretations of words lead to misunderstanding and false doctrine. Fire means destruction because nothing survives its touch. Death means permanent loss of life and existence. Unfortunately, those who wish to skew Biblical teaching to their own ends often change the common meanings of simple words like death & fire. Death means not-death and fire means not-burnt in the doctrines of demons. The devil always deals in lies and half-truth. The early church saw the advantage that fear mongering would promote membership and continuation of donations even for the dead. It continues to this day despite clear and simple Biblical references to the contrary. In simplest terms, death means total end of life and fire means absolute destruction of that which is cast into it. Fire may burn continually, but that which is thrown into it is consumed finally and utterly. Did you ever see a fire act otherwise? God kills. God does not torture. Jesus is not the captain of a Nazi torture chamber in the bowels of the earth. The pagan deity responsible for that was called Hades. Hades was a person, not a place. Don't let pagan superstition get in the way of Biblical truth. That way lies error. The Bible nowhere makes the slightest suggestion of everlasting conscious torment of the sinner. It does say he or she will be utterly destroyed - the Second Death. I have read the New Testament, thank you. I have read many different translations of the New Testament. Some say Jesus died on a cross. Others say He died on a stake or stick or pole. How can you account for this except to read many and determine the context of what all are implying? Am I suggesting Jesus didn't die on a cross? I am not. I am saying that criticism of a Biblical axiom or concept ought not be based upon a single verse or single translation of the Bible alone. No scholar in his or her right mind would do otherwise. that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
  6. One must remember the vile contempt of the Roman Catholic church that influenced Protestant eschatology during the mid-19th century. Virtually all of present interpretations continue from that line. There is little variation in them, those interpretations didn't spring up overnight. They've been meticulously wrought and finely tuned. Using 21st century hindsight, one of their problems is that they view only half the picture. Another is that they are based on linguistic misunderstanding. Rosch, for example, doesn't refer to Russia simply because the word sounds Russia. The country due north of Jerusalem is Turkey, not European Russia. Look at a globe rather than a 2 dimensional map. A third problem is that most scenarios of the End Times base their story on the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation. Ezekiels' predictions are often ignored and that is the major problem. What the Bible seems to indicate is a twin threat against the God of Israel and the Jewish state - one in the west and one in the east. The predictions of a corrupt religious system in the west that influences the world and has a deep connection with the trade system at the time of the end cannot be ignored. On the other hand it is the eastern alliance that takes up arms against Israel and may even be responsible for the fall of the western religious system in some sense. Ezekiel's two stick prophecy says that both houses of Israel will be recombined at the end - meaning all 12 tribes. The two stick prophecy is often ignored despite it being recorded in the same chapter as the dry bones prophecy that everybody quotes. We are looking at selective interpretation. The eastern alliance, under the leadership of an authority code-named Gog, will spearhead the attack upon Israel. Both Biblical and Islamic eschatology states this invading army will have the temple mount of Jerusalem as its goal. The western alliance will either approve of this attack, support it, or simply sit back and watch it on CNN. The attack will fail in the Kidron Valley, a low lying area between the summit of Mt. Moria (temple mount) and the Mount of Olives - between the East Wall of Jerusalem and the town of Bethany on the eastern slope of the Mt. of Olives. There are a number of reasons for this, all too numerous to list here. If you remember the book of Acts, it was outside the town of Bethany that Jesus ascended - where also the angels said He would return. Also according to Levitical Law, Jesus MUST approach the city of Jerusalem from the east, which He did on a number of occasions. Bethany is to the east of Jerusalem. Its also the same town where Lazarus was resurrected from his tomb. Bethany is important because it lies to the east. According to the Law, the chief priest and the worshippers of God can only approach God's Holy Place in a westerly direction - from the east to the west - from Bethany. It may also be of interest to note that in the days of Hebrew apostasy they sacrificed their children by fire to the pagan god Molech, also located in the area of the Kidron Valley. In the days of Jesus the location was utilized as a city dump where the refuse of the town was burned. There were always fires burning in that place, which Jesus called gehenna. In Jesus' words gehenna did not represent eternal conscious torture of disembodied souls, it represented the destruction of sin and wickedness. In the same way and in the same place, the prophets indicate an attack upon Jerusalem will fail. Both Christian and Islamic eschatology suggest this will not be the last battle. It will be a precursor to something much worse - in the way WWI was a precursor to WWII. Conjecture? Maybe. Maybe not, but it does take into account the Biblical suggestion there will be TWO massive power blocks aligned against Israel in the latter days. One will be of western nations and the other will be those of the middle east - mostly immediate neighbors of Israel. that's me, hollering from the choir loft..
  7. You chronicle exactly the sort of thing I've been trying to point out here and elsewhere. At issue with Christians is their fondness for religious slogans and buzz words, many of which are so far from Biblical teaching as to be almost heresy. Additionally, the strict adherence to outdated interpretations of the End Times is attributed to accepted theories and axioms established more than a century ago. Consequently most refuse to see the evidence before their eyes even when pointed out to them by students of scripture or history or even points of truth that flash ever more rarely in their daily news outlet. Islam hedonism and the occult are creeping into American Christian worship song and literature. Christendom lost its power long ago and few understand why. Fewer still do not realize it's gone. When given a reason for apostasy, the statement is denied by all except a few - leaving most in the dark with nothing to stand upon except their pet phrases. Claiming to be free of the law they have grown dependent upon legalistic interpretations. The love of slogans has gone so far as to prevent identification of groups that promulgate deception. I can name names here, but the post would be removed instantly. It has been in the past and I've no reason to doubt a change in censorship policy here and elsewhere. We can't even name the demons that plague us any more. Several theologians of the last generation wrote their last books on the subject of the decline of the gospel in the twenty-first century without seeing it take root and grow. Virtually everything they predicted has taken place. The church is now a hollow impotent shell of its former abilities and power. It only remains for the slightest nudge to shatter what remains of the facade. The twin oppressors of man - the world rulers of west and east will shortly raise their heads against the Most High in general and the State of Israel in particular. When this happens almost everyone will applaud their effort. Why? The main reason is that familiar buzz words and slogans will be used to subvert the church. The pseudo-hypnotic process is already well underway. Few read or seriously consider that which is offered as warning. Sadly, its part of the human condition that will inevitably lead us to self-destruction if not prevented by divine providence. The four horsemen of the apocalypse have been released. Millions have died and millions more will be swallowed by war famine pestilence and death. In all of this, The Lord of Hosts is not considered except as a second hand reference to something that was once thought to be important. that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
  8. The River of Time has many tributaries. Some are small and some are polluted with detritus making them nearly invisible to the studied eye. The River of Time has small eddies which are clear and relatively calm, but the great body of the River of Time eventually sweeps everyone forward. None can resist its power or direction. It overpowers many of us when it charges over rapids of rock and foam. It kills most of us when it drops over a cataract thousands of feet high. The sound of its power can be heard miles away. The sweep of its current is irresistible. No one controls the river. Few know where it leads. Most people float idly downstream - swept along by a power they do not understand into a destiny they cannot admit. God has provided an escape, but most refuse to seize upon it. They die floating or struggling against an irresistible current of destruction. They do not understand that when the River of Time arrives at its destination it will have cleansed itself of its pollution and its unknowing parasites. Some spend a great deal of time studying the tributaries - believing that knowledge of their particular brook or creek provides an escape from the ocean of eternity they are being swept into by the Great River. They refuse to believe there is more than one tributary of any river and they refuse to believe that even their favorite tributary can be laden with unseen danger. The tributary most western theologies and story writers now believe to be true is that of a revived Roman Empire. That is but one tributary, but there are others as deep and dangerous as their favorite. All of them sweep forward toward a destiny that is at times too gruesome to behold. Study of the Eastern Roman Empire and 1600 years of history that have already been written suggest that there is another major tributary to understanding the whole flow of Time. The chief rock in that particular rapids is a figure called Mohammad al-Madhi by Muslims and who is also called the Beast by Christendom. Interpretation of one tributary is not wrong, but neither does it preclude the massive flow of energy contributed by the other tributary. Watch the east. Watch Turkey. Watch the west. Watch Rome. When the two flows combine into the Great River of Time the current will become very fast and irresistibly destructive. The River will flow on, but it will not be the same again - ever. Great danger approaches and only those who appeal to God for mercy will survive the great cataract ahead. It is time to repent and repent again. that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
  9. There is no good or bad as criteria for final judgment before the throne of God. There is only justification or lack of justification. The Biblical template for the process of justification is revealed in the book of Exodus. The plague of death passed over those who had applied lambs blood to their homes. God killed those who did not apply it. Living and dying had nothing to do with being good or bad. There were bad people among the Hebrews and there were good people among the Egyptians. Those who applied the blood escaped with their lives. Those who did not - died. Salvation is applied according to the Law to those who appeal to God according to its precepts. According to the Law, one must personally appear before God in humility and bring the designated sacrifice for sin with him. Jesus is our sacrifice for sin and fulfills the requirement of the Law for that purpose (Matt 5:17). Be it known that the Law is still in effect! THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A LICENSE TO SIN. Those who seek God's mercy must appear before Him personally to ask for it. It is not automatic and no human priest can do it for any of us. God accepts no sacrifice for sin other than the death of Jesus. Why? God said the soul that sins shall die. (Ezekiel 18:20) Since all men and women have sinned and are subject to death, they cannot pay the penalty by themselves. The Law declares only a perfect sacrifice can pay the penalty for sin. Jesus is that perfect sacrifice because He did not sin. Blood is the life of any creature. Blood = life. When Jesus gave His life on the cross He gave His blood as a sacrifice for sin. His perfect life/blood can provide justification for the sins of those who accept it - who apply His life to their own, who earnestly seek to follow Him in obedience and trust. Accepting Jesus in one's heart is more than a religious slogan. One has to live like Jesus lived - in trust of and obedience to the Father. Good and bad are ethical terms relative to human society. They do not apply in the Kingdom of God. No one is good except the Father. All who come to Him for mercy will find it and escape the Second Death. Those who stand upon their own goodness will find God is not impressed with their resume and suffer the Second Death - good deeds and all. that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
  10. There is no hell - no everlasting torment of disembodied sinner. Nowhere does the Bible imply such a thing. At the point of death, humans are judged. (Hebrews 9:27) Those that are deemed to be justified in the eyes of God are granted a CONDITIONAL portion of His immortal life. Those that are not justified in the eyes of God are destroyed - utterly and completely with no redress of grievances, parole, appeal or reversal of judgment. The meaning of conditional salvation is also quite clear in the Bible. One is saved if one has accepted Christ as savior and lord. One who rejects Christ either by purposeful neglect or open rebellion will be exterminated upon the occasion of physical death. The saving grace of God is conditional, not universal. In fact Jesus said most people would not be saved at all. (Luke 13:24) God kills. God is not a sociopathic demon that loves to torture people throughout eternity for sins committed in finite time. The penalty of sin is permanent death. The Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:15) is representative of total annihilation of sinners. Fire destroys totally and utterly and that's why the image of fire is used to describe spiritual death. For those who still don't get it, the Lake of Fire is also called the Second Death. Simple words have simple meanings and that's why Our Lord uses them to prove His point. Fire destroys all that touches it. In all the universe there is no such thing as a fuel that lasts as long as the fire that consumes it. If you find such a fuel, please let me know. I can use it in my car. The meaning of the words fire and death are simple to understand - unless one has a demonically inspired agenda in which case the meaning of those words has to be perverted to justify a lie. Spiritual death is the ultimate destiny of those who are not saved. The method of destruction is something like fire that consumes totally and irreversibly. Therefore it is wise to repent while time still allows it. that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
  11. Europe today is considered to be a secular society. Matters of European concern do not carry the same weight as Islamic calls for the jihadist leader al-Madhi. A recent statement by the Holy See admitted to a need for a return to religious values throughout Europe. Even missionary groups from Africa are working toward reviving Christian interest in Europe. Europe is a divided continent. There is no unifying call for anything except economic stability. I am aware that minor magazine articles and topics on the internet, all on the lunatic fringe, call for many strange things and suggest many trends that simply do not exist. There are more calls for a return of Nazism in Europe than a revived Roman Empire. My dear William, quoting an obscure article from a questionable source is not indicative of a trend nor is it evidence of fact. I fear you are willing to pick up any story to justify the false notion of European devotion toward any goal other than an economic one. Do not our news media provide us with images of marching hordes of Islamic hate-filled religious zealots contrasted with Europeans engaged in riots indicative of anarchy? We see Muslim people marching with a purpose. Do you not see Europeans in a state of confused protest? One believes that which one chooses to believe irregardless of the truth. Which is it for you, William? I fear your notions of European unity have little basis in fact. Europe today is more embroiled in the unraveling of the EU than in calls for unification under any banner at all. Meanwhile in the Arab states, the call for a revived caliphate is a daily occurrence and prayer and call for jihad in the name of the Prophet [pbuh]. My purpose here is to illuminate Christian awareness of the depth of Muslim devotion to this issue - and to contrast it with an almost total lack of unification among the people of Europe. In America, the almost total lack of Christian understanding of the full implications of the eschatology of both the church and Islam is indicative of a trend in religious illiteracy throughout Christendom. Christians prefer comfortable old slogans and buzz words to the truth about things. I certainly hope you are not one of them. that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
  12. You need to do a bit more study in cultural history as well as Biblical references. Jesus never taught about hell. Depending upon the translation you use, the destiny of the sinner is referenced as one or several terms of total destruction and annihilation. The Bible NEVER suggests eternal torture for the sinner. It DOES state total destruction awaits. “who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light” - 1 Tim 6:16 Only God is immortal. The idea that some conscious portion of a human survives physical death has its origin in ancient Egypt. Biblical teaching suggests no such thing. Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; - Genesis 6:3a The word "they" refers to human. Every human dies. The Egyptian idea of continuous consciousness after death caught on with the Greeks and Romans. Because it was a good net to catch unbelievers it was adopted by early church theologians such as St. Augustine. The notion of a dungeon in the bowels of the earth that serves to torture naughty disembodied human spirits is likewise adapted from the Greek and Roman myth of the afterlife. The mythical river Styx does not serve the same symbolic representation as the actual Biblical river Jordan. During the middle ages Dante Agligheri published a satirical work called THE DIVINE COMEDY, which portrayed the architecture of hell purgatory and heaven. The work was never meant as a theological statement. It was presented as political social satire, but the church used it to augment its theology about eternal punishment along with scriptural snippets from the Apocrypha, a collection of non-canonical texts. Jews and Protestants do not acknowledge divine inspiration of the books of the Apocrypha, although they do provide a glimpse of the writing of the intertestimental period. According to classical myth, Hades was a person - the god of the underworld, not a place name. Popular misconception has redefined Hades as a place of eternal torture - again never mentioned either in Biblical text or classic myth. Hades was a person. According to the Bible and archeological discoveries Gehenna was a waste dump, an actual physical location to the south and east of Jerusalem. It was also the earlier site of sacrifice of young children to the pagan god Molech. References to gehenna are meant to invoke the idea of destruction of waste material. According to the Old Testament a human spirit would enter a period of spiritual sleep when the body died. The state was called Sheol. Those that slept in sheol knew nothing as in physical sleep when the sleeper is unaware of his or her surroundings. Those that slept in sheol were kept in a reserve status until called to wakefulness for the final judgment. When Jesus died He entered sheol, not hades (a person), not hell (a concept of the middle ages five hundred years in His future) and not gehenna (a waste dump indicative of destruction). Jesus entered sheol to make proclamation. (1 Peter 3:9) The Bible isn't specific about what Jesus said there, but the action that followed may tell a great deal. When Jesus arose from the grave a physical resurrection of a huge number of saints in Jerusalem was recorded in the gospel. (Matt 27:52-53) Sheol ended on Easter morning. The suggestion here is that Jesus led the captives of the grave to freedom and life. Nothing is said of the fate of unrepentant sinners. CONFUSION "The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper names." - Chinese proverb "Truth is that which is consistent with what is." - English dictionary If one wishes to inject confusion into an interpretation of scripture or the daily newspaper all that needs to be done is to redefine the meaning of words. Liars and politicians do it all the time. So do pseudo-religious types who wish to advance an agenda rather than to seek the real meaning of God's Holy Word. FIRE is a commonly recognized term. It refers to a release of energy that destroys the fuel that enabled it. In the Bible, fire is used to connote the ultimate destruction of that which is cast into it. Nothing in the real world or in heaven suggests any other interpretation of the word FIRE. Unfortunately, those that know not God assume sinners will be punished for all eternity for some sin performed in finite time. God kills. God does not torture. There is nothing in the Bible suggestive of the idea that something cast into a fire will continue to burn indefinitely. If such a fuel exists I'd like to have some for my car. The use of the word FIRE, as in the Lake of Fire and the Second Death, refers to total and utter destruction by an irreversible process. This means there is no appeal, no second chance and no reversal of God's judgment. Once destroyed the person or thing ceases to exist and is never again brought into existence. Its a simple idea twisted into something God did not intend by those who seek to profit from fear of eternal torture which exists only in the corrupt imagination of man. THE LAW It ought to be noted that the Law gives us a clue about who is or is not a sinner. It is not a sin to be born human. According to the Law, a sin offering was to be made for sins of men and women. No sin offering was ever called for on the part of a newborn baby. No sin offering was ever made by Jesus. Therefore sin is something which is DONE during life. A child that dies prior to, during or shortly after birth is therefore innocent of all punishment implied or expressed. The child cannot be judged for something it hasn't done. Therefore a dead child is considered by God's Law to be welcome in Heaven. This fact of the Law can provide some comfort to the parents who have lost a child because its true. Those that promote a doctrine of fear and lies and deceit cannot give such comfort. They can only threaten with fear and an improper judgmental attitude. God is not a sociopath. God is just - even in judgment. that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
  13. Take a long look at the thread titles in this group and you'll see a nauseous amount of text devoted to minor prophetic subjects only Christians believe are important. Eschatology, as a study of End Times events predicted by scripture, isn't the exclusive purview of Christendom. In fact, Islam is as infected with the madness as much as evangelical Christians. The central characters in both sets of predictions are the person of Jesus, called Isa in the Qur'an, and a militant leader who rides across the stage of history to establish global justice and the proper worship of god. In both Christian and Muslim scenarios this militant leader sets out to establish his program by means of the effusion of blood. Christians call him the Beast, the anti-Christ, while Muslims call him Mohammad al-Mahdi, the twelfth imam of a renewed caliphate of Islam. In the year 1054, about half way through the middle ages, the communion between the western church and eastern church divorced. Its now known as the Great Schism. Without going into specific detail, the cause of the division was a control issue. Was the Bishop of Rome going to be the sole arbiter of Christian thought and liturgy or were individual churches to be allowed that right? Rome wanted to rule all, while the eastern churches refused to yield their freedom to the Pope. From that time until the present the eastern church has been off the radar of every theologian historian and discussion among the people of the western church - including American Protestants. There is simply no eastern church at all as far as they are concerned. Unfortunately they are wrong. A fine point of prophetic error rears its head in interpretations of Daniels idol of future empires. The reader will recall the idol was constructed of five amalgams of metal. Its head was of gold, its upper body of silver, its loins of bronze and its legs of iron. The feet of the idol were a mixture of iron and clay symbolizing a group of nations that held the power of iron but would not commingle with one another. Interpretations suggest four empires would rule the city of Jerusalem until the end of time when the Kingdom of God would be established. Unfortunately the interpretations are incorrect. Interpretations are incorrect because they focus ONLY on a European version of End Times events. Eastern events are ignored completely thus leading to error and misunderstanding especially with regard to the anti-Christ - he who is called Mohammad al-Mahdi in Islam. In the 4th century the Roman Empire was divided into two separate bureaucracies. The capital of the western empire remained in Rome while the capital of the eastern empire was established as Byzantium - latter renamed Constantinople by Emperor Constantine. In 465 AD Rome was overrun by the Visigoths. Fifteen years later the Imperial court of Rome was officially closed for business, but in the east Constantinople continued its Roman traditions and rule. Historians gauge the duration of the Middle Ages between the fall of Rome and the fall of Constantinople in 1457 at the hands of an army led by Caliph Mehmet II. Daniel's statue of empires had TWO legs of iron, but western interpretations of scripture conveniently forget that fact. The eastern empire continued for another thousand years after the fall of Rome. The Ottoman Empire succeeded Rome in administration of Jerusalem, but the Ottomans aren't mentioned by Daniel. The British Empire followed the Ottoman Empire in administration of Jerusalem until the partition of Palestine in 1948. Brits aren't mentioned either. The remnant of the Ottoman Empire was defeated by the allies during World War I and the last vestige was swept away in 1927. Two years later the modern state of Turkey was established under the leadership of Mustafa Ataturk. Almost immediately calls for a revived Ottoman Empire began. Those calls became belligerent and militant toward the end of the 20th century and as of this writing occurs throughout the Arab states of Islam on a daily basis. As of this writing there are virtually NO calls for a revived Roman Empire in Europe. Europe is in decline even as the nations of Islam are gaining in strength influence and a great desire for a return to a unified caliphate - with a single charismatic leader at the head. His name is Mohammad al-Mahdi. Much much more can be said about this figure of prophetic lore, but space limits what can be related here. What can be said with great authority is that Christians are almost universally ignorant of this potent figure of Islamic eschatology even as they struggle to reinvent their own western version of End Times events. Ignorance may be bliss for a child, but when one becomes an adult one discovers that ignorance can result in terrible loss of blood and treasure. Those that deny the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it and history seems to be repeating these days like a broken record. Muslims warn that al-Mahdi is coming. Sun Tzu said it is wise to know one's enemy. Christians today aren't even sure what their brothers and sisters are saying. They certainly aren't concerned about foreign gods or philosophy even when it exists in stark contrast to their own. It would be wise to consider the identity of the Beast, especially when the opponents of Christendom have provided his name and published his agenda. that's me, hollering from the choir loft....
  14. THERE IS NO HELL. If the message of salvation is to be explained to an unbeliever, then the notion of a god who enjoys torturing hapless souls for eternity must be discarded in the light of God's honest truth - the Bible. The concept of hell, as it is popularly understood, stands in logical opposition to all arguments that declare God is good and loving. If God is a God of love, He would not nor can not torture people forever for sins committed in time. Punishment of sin in time is restricted to the time in which it is committed. Punishment for sin does not extend into eternity. Instead the sinner simply dies - ceases to exist in every way existence is understood; body, mind and spirit. It becomes nothing and not even the memory of that individual survives in the mind of God. This eventuality is called the Second Death. It is total complete and utter annihilation. Simply put, it is the nature of fallen man to DIE. (Genesis 3) Dying means the termination of all activity; physical, mental and spiritual. Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; - Genesis 6:3a It is the nature of man to die. There is NO component of man that survives death. Nowhere does the Bible or scientific fact declare such a thing to be true. When death comes, man dies....all of him from his head to his toes and from his skin to the spirit within. “who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light” - 1 Timothy 6:16 Only God possesses that quality of enduring existence one may call immortality. Immortality is NOT a part of the human condition. Every man who ever lived knows that a day will come when he will die. Many men seek a way to escape the grave. DEATH is the beginning of the message of redemption. Adam was created in the image of God, but after the fall (Genesis 3) the race of man LOST the divine nature of the image of God. The Bible quotes God as saying that on the day Adam sinned he would die. (Genesis 3:2 - Ezekiel 18:4) All children are born in the image of their parents. Therefore, all the children and generations of Adam are born in the image of Adam, NOT GOD. The image of Adam is an image of death. But God so loved the world, that He has offered the gift of CONDITIONAL immortality. (John 3:16) He has CONDITIONALLY offered to extend His own immortal nature and image to the race of man IF and ONLY IF such men repent of their sin and accept God's good gift of life. (John 3:18) The Bible does not state or imply that there is an eternal fire in which the disembodied spirits of men are tortured. God kills. God is not a sociopathic demon obsessed with torture. It is the nature of to consume that which is thrown into it. (book of Revelation chapters 2 & 20) Fuel is always consumed by fire. If there is a combustable substance that continually endures fire then I'd like to have some for my car. Likewise the spirits of unregenerate mankind are totally and utterly destroyed at the time of their death. Nothing survives and there is no hope of appeal parole or reversal of divine judgment - EVER. Therefore the simple message and grand hope of the gospel is that God has conditionally offered immortal life to the dying race of man. If a man repents of his sin and turns to God in trust and obedience he will not suffer the Second Death - spiritual annihilation in the Lake of Fire. that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
  15. According to the Bible, as well as secular history, a revival is a necessary event of every generation. When it happens the culture of a nation and a people continues to blossom. When it doesn't happen a culture and nation lapses into decline. If unchecked by another generational revival the trend will inevitably lead to cultural warfare and extreme political disruption. This trend may now be observed in the culture wars and political grid-lock of the United States. It may be difficult for the simple minded to grasp, but the evidence of decline of every empire in history is first observed in internal division. Internal divisiveness in the culture and political structure of America has now reached potentially destructive levels. If unchecked a serious break is inevitable. Many experts both secular and religious believe America has passed the point of no return - a point in history where such a reversal may be possible. The only thing that can save America is revival. Unfortunately the disciples of satan refuse to accept revival as a legitimate vehicle for national and personal salvation. Nevertheless history proves it can be done and ought to be done. According to the Bible, as well as secular history, the revival spirit is NOT automatically transmitted from one generation to another. Each and every subsequent generation must experience the call to refreshment in righteousness as inspired by God. Each generation is responsible for its own spiritual destiny - international glory or ignominious destruction. Revivals ARE great and successful, but only within the limits of the generation that experiences it. Every child must be taught anew of the things of God. If it is not, it will not know the right way to go. So it is with all generations throughout history. Those generations that know not God suffer destruction as a consequence of their own foolishness, stupidity, perversions and greed. It is a spiritual principle that the judgment the wicked experience is the trap they set for themselves. The "something new" you speak of is a new vision of holiness by a current generation that has no idea what it means. In each generation the slate begins clean. What shall be written upon it - good or evil? It is up to that generation to write its own history. Only fools blame their parents for the consequences of their own sin. I see that your arguments do not favor revival or the forward march of the Kingdom of God. Instead you continually write apologies for the kingdom of satan. There is no good end for that in which you hope - only the Second Death for those who refuse the salvation God offers and only national disgrace and dissolution that moral decay demands. The decision to abandon the time honored ways of God are those of every new generation, as well as the decision to accept salvation (revival). Revival is nothing less than the rekindling of the flame of righteousness among those of a new generation. You are of the opinion that such a thing is evil when in fact it is good. This is also the way of satan - to reverse the meaning intent and use of common words. When hope becomes despair hell is not far behind. You shall have your reward, whatever path you choose to take. Choose wisely. that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
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