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choir loft

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  1. Or we can have a demonic spirit of the age such as came to fruition in the 60's Getting off topic a bit here I suppose, but Google 1968 and see what comes up. Select "what happened in the year..." I once did a quick study on 1968 for a group presentation. I was shocked at what I discovered. A NY Times reporter was quoted as saying the year was, "one g d thing after another." It was a paradigm shift in global events from which we have never recovered. If there is now a vile spirit of the age, I think it was introduced that year. that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
  2. I agree with you in part, which is to say demons sometimes require a live host. Not always, however, as in the dialogue between God and Lucifer in the book of Job. One of the common Protestant misunderstandings is that demons are everywhere and that they always inhabit humans. They aren't and they don't. This misconception negatively infects interpretation of scripture. Fallen spirits of all types are finite creatures and not capable of some of the fantastic powers and abilities attributed to them by Hollywood and Protestant Christians. It can be argued that unclean spirits, different entities altogether, prefer biological hosts, but do not require them. The subject is much more convoluted and detailed than scripture allows us to study. Catholics worship various tribes of fallen spirits even as Protestants find them disagreeable to a small extent. Both honor them and appreciate them for their entertainment value not realizing at all how terribly dangerous they are. Although I agree with you on the possibility of demonic influence upon humans it ought not be automatically considered. Unless the Bible specifically says a human is demonically inspired as in Acts 16 we must consider otherwise. Instead, the Bible states human organizations, systems and governments are populated with people of sinful hearts and corrupted minds - people who know not God and are infuriated at the very thought of His Law and His interference in human affairs. I think we can agree on this point as well. You write the same thing with fewer words. Sadly it seems that this is where we are as a nation today. Many are obsessed with political agendas of self-gratification. Any suggestion that God might be opposed to this attitude is hateful to them. Are they demonically inspired? Mad they may be when they murder their unborn young, but I doubt a demon had anything to do with a decision motivated by convenience. The book of Ezra warned the men of Israel against taking pagan wives. How much more does God's anger burn against men who take men as their wedded spouse? Bottom line is that God's purpose is opposed by men and women who have corrupted their minds and hearts to satisfy their appetites. Such a person doesn't need a demon to tell them how to think or act. Getting down to specifics I call your attention to Revelation 17 purely as a small study or exercise..... Verses 1-5 describe a human personality - Babylon the Great. The figure is said to be a woman who has prostituted herself to and sits upon (rules over or acts as leader?) a scarlet beast. Cardinals of the Catholic church dress themselves in scarlet and purple and adorn themselves with expensive trappings. They participate in sexual immorality and all sorts of abominations including persecution of the saints in verse 6. Verse 7 says the beast WAS, but is no more - meaning it did not exist in the time of John as he wrote Revelation. The name given to the beast is Babylon - an actual city and nation and system. Future destruction (in the years to come from John's point of view) is predicted for the religious system. In prophecy, the figure of a horn is used to imply an authority figure as in the kings mentioned in verse 9-14. Those horns or kings represent actual persons. They're specific identity can be verified, but that argument would take much more space than I prefer to allow here. In summary, the figures of humans interact or are a part of a greater organization or religious system known as the scarlet beast. I believe you agree with this as well. There are other beasts and the narrative seems to suggest at times that some of them have human characteristics similar to our modern invention of the Corporation. Each instance ought to be examined for its own position in terms of context and what its' saying in reference to the big picture. One cannot automatically assume demonic influence over humans when humans are entirely capable of great evil without hellish inspiration. I'm sure you agree with this point as well. I agree with you on your observation of the kingdom element bearing in mind any leader is part of a whole - organization, nation or system. He cannot function without its support. Individuals, as in the Revelation 17 discussion above function, albeit wickedly, within these anti-Christ systems. As a final example, can anyone argue against the idea that the leaders of 1930's Germany exercised their authority outside the hideous system they constructed? You are on point when you write men are possessed, but are they possessed by spiritual entities or by fanatic political ideology they've absorbed from the system? Some might argue that certain movements and persons in America today fit the description of mindless fanatics quite well. For example, is Nancy Pelosi possessed? She may act like it at times, but on the whole I doubt it. Is POTUS possessed because he is a habitual liar? I think not. American politicians being what they are, some of them could probably give the devil a lesson or two on how to manipulate people. But I digress....... My personal philosophy about demons is summed up in the following little story: One of my favorite historic dialogues happened between Army General Ulysses S. Grant and his subordinates when he took command of the entire Union army in the summer of 1863. His first official act of duty was to assemble a meeting of generals under his command. One by one they complained to him about being thrashed by Robert E. Lee's Confederate army. Grant listened until he'd had enough and told them all to shut up. "All I'm hearing from you is Bobby Lee did this and Bobby Lee did that. I'm tired of hearing about what Bobby Lee did to us. From now on I want to hear about what we're going to do to him." Grant's army went on to clean Bobby Lee's clock. That's my point of view exactly. I'm tired of hearing 'the devil did this or that'. I'm tired of misinterpretations of scripture that put the devil in charge of history. I want to hear about what the saints, as directed by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as captain of us all, are going to do to the world system. OUR GOD is going to bag the whole crowd and clean things out from top to bottom. I know we agree on this too. that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
  3. At every point you refuse to accept the assertion made that when the Bible uses figures of beasts, it is referring to systems; government systems, religious systems or social trends. Your rebuttal wanders all over the playing field, seldom if ever acknowledging my initial assertion of Biblical representation of systems as beasts unless otherwise deliberately so stated. Your personal hubris does not make you a scholar and your position on this forum does not automatically make you right or give you authority to abuse the character of another person, which you've constantly done with regard to my posts. Have I said you write like an uniformed religious bigot? I haven't. Have I written anything regarding your lack of formal education and inept method of transmitting ideas or your inability to understand those written by others? I have not. Have I accused you of promoting befuddled opinions or accused you of demonic inspiration? I have not. Yet you have constantly and continually berated both my words and my character - a tone indicative of someone who's lost the argument in the first place and has no idea how to respond in a logical. Since when is it wrong to aspire to intellectual goals? Those who have a problem with truth or the search for it seem to have a problem. I'm not saying you are one of those people, but your own words seem to point in that direction. Since the issue cannot be resolved by means of appeals to Biblical scholasticism, you seek to shut down the whole thing after you exercise your dictatorial right to demean a participant and denigrate his words, however pointed and simple they may be. I never said you should get off your high horse and act like someone who cares more about truth. I never accused you of stupidity or suggested you come from the low end of the intellectual grading system, yet you have accused me of that very thing. I doubt I'd get any satisfaction from moderators here since they seem to enjoy and support that sort of fiery character assassination. My point again, since you seem to suffer from some sort of cognitive dysfunction, is that Biblical references to beasts always refer to systems unless otherwise directly indicated. It's just that simple. The problem is that common use of buzz words and religious slogans have deliberately obfuscated the intent of scripture. The author of confusion, according to the Bible, is the devil and those who promote confusion are its disciples. I prefer a more accurate interpretation of the Bible. that's me, hollering from the choir loft....
  4. Your are quoting verses that support divine authority. Are you assuming that same authority for yourself or for someone else? If so, what point are you trying to make with your reference to authority? I agree with the tone of the verses, but I have no idea what you mean them to represent. that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
  5. You really need to study the Bible. Adam, goaded by his wife who in turn was tempted by the opposer, fell into SIN. That is failure of the most horrendous type and God hates it. It is called SIN and its so bad God had to personally die to reverse its effect upon humanity. Read the Bible. Your reference to judging angels is a reference to acts of redeemed persons only. Those who are not redeemed don't even get a hearing of their prayers in the ears of God. The only sinner's prayer God hears are those of repentance. He does not listen to prayers of the sinner! Read the Bible. Mankind is NOT the judge and jury of satan - God is. Read the Bible, especially the last book. It is God who sentences satan to the Lake of Fire, not a human jury. Your statement about divine justice is convoluted and confused. On one hand you state that God is just and on the other hand you state that God abdicates the authority of judge and jury. Which is it? You cannot state God is just and then deny Him the ability to exercise justice. Which is it? You seem to give more credit for good to satan than to God. Your view of God seems to consider Him as impotent and helpless - the Roman Catholic view, btw. What religion do you claim? Your words are not those of the Christian faith. It would be helpful and illuminating to the discussion if you'd admit your source for your argument. The story you claim to be fascinating is nowhere represented in the Bible. Lucifer was not the greatest creation, only the most beautiful angel - who's hubris caused his own demise. That is hardly a character to be emulated or admired. You end by subverting the justice and authority of God as well as His redemptive purposes for humanity. What are you using as source material for these heretical arguments? It certainly isn't the Bible. What are you reading? that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
  6. Thou shalt not drink fermented beverages or mixed drinks. - 11th commandment of the American Protestant church As a consequence of the American prohibition movement popularized in the mid-19th century, most Protestant American churches now take a stand against drinking wine beer or distilled liquor. When communion is received, denatured grape juice is served rather than alcoholic wine. Culturally speaking, they believe the spirit of the celebration is of primary importance rather than the menu. The common apologetic for using grape juice is the belief that "wine is rotten fruit and I don't believe Jesus would ever drink anything rotten." Although scripture is often used to justify the position, both statements are untrue. PRODUCTION When grapes are squeezed into juice the natural process of fermentation begins immediately. Although the process starts on its own, other ingredients such as yeast and sugar can be added for flavor or to enhance the fermentation process. Documents purporting to describe production of beer suggest it was first brewed five thousand years before the birth of Christ. Proverbs 23 suggests that distilled liquor, or booze, was commonly available. (Prov. 23 speaks of mixed drinks - a combination of fruit juice and distilled grain, fruit or vegetables.) PASTEURIZATION Wine is fermented grape juice which results from a natural process resulting in an alcoholic drink that can be used as a preservative medication or intoxicant. The process of pasteurization, which removes the alcohol and stops the fermentation process, wasn't invented until the 1860's by Louis Pasteur. Therefore it can be truly said that Biblical references to wine describe a fully alcoholic beverage. BIBLICAL REFERENCES Most prohibitionists suggest Jesus didn't convert water into wine (John 4:46), but that a facsimile was created instead. This is an incorrect interpretation because the same passage clearly records the approving comments of those who were experienced wine drinkers. They complimented Jesus for providing good alcoholic wine. JESUS' POINT - HIS OBJECT LESSON, has been missed by those who focus only on prohibition - a purely American political issue. Jesus changed water into wine as physical proof of God's redemption. Isaiah 1:22 describes one of the curses visited upon Zion because of their corruption. The specific curse was wine diluted into water. When Jesus changed water into wine HE was performing a redemptive act - a demonstration of God's redemption within the context of a WEDDING. (Revelation 19:9) He didn't do it at a local watering hole. HE did it at a wedding - an object lesson of redemption to come. It's not about prohibition. It's about redemption. The context of proverbs condemns the abusive excess of alcoholic consumption. It describes the consequences in no uncertain terms. Although alcoholic abuse is a serious matter that cannot be ignored, the Bible by no means condones abstinence. In the New Testament, Paul writes that it's no longer forbidden to drink wine and that it can be taken as a medication or with meals. The appeal for moderation is repeated. In today's society, there are other issues of greater importance than whether or not one ought to drink beer or wine with a good steak. (Some even believe one shouldn't eat the meat either.) My purpose here is to demonstrate God's use of wine as a redemptive object - specifically in the context of the wedding miracle. Finally, in Matthew 26 Our Lord promised he'd drink a glass of wine with us when Our Father's kingdom is established. Like it or not, alcoholic wine is clearly linked to God's redemptive plan for humanity. It makes me wonder what would become of the prohibitionists on that day. Would they, like the pharisees of Jesus' first advent, dare to dictate to the King how He could or could not celebrate HIS great day? Would they dare to dictate to the rest of us how to receive redemption? Something tells me they'd try. What do you think? that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
  7. You're shooting blanks, buddy. What is the meaning of your quote and its highlights? What is the purpose of your post and to whom is it addressed? Do you support the use of the Bible to interpret the Bible or are you supporting another method? While you're quotation is well known, your inference here is not. Please explain. thank you that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
  8. We certainly ARE told why God placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden. We are told by inference, which is the way much of Biblical intent is conveyed. The garden story was intended as a standard of obedience and trust. As such it provides a path to human understanding of how to love God. Adam & Eve's problem is repeated throughout history. Humans always learn the hard way. Adam and Eve were created without sin - perfect. But they were not perfectly formed in their understanding of the nature of God. Therefore God created the first scenario where they could learn. He created the first opportunity to choose. As such it was Eve who failed and who dragged her husband into sin with her. The great temptress of man has always been woman - from Genesis 3 to Revelation 17 she works hand in glove with the tempter. Did God fail when He created woman or did He intend her to be a blessing? The woman chose sin for herself and has been blaming everyone else ever since. If God does not do anything humanity would define as good or evil, then how do we know God is good? How do we know God is not more evil than the devil He created? [STOP HERE] The idea that God is evil is posed by those who object to Biblical revelations of His nature. The idea that God created a no-win scenario for Adam & Eve in the garden temptation is popular with those who deny the goodness of God and claim HE is more evil than the tempter. It is important to establish a counter-argument by stating God is love and that God offered an opportunity for Adam & Eve to learn how to return His love. Did God fail or did God create the opportunity for choice by free will WHICH ALLOWS FOR FAILURE & sin? Consider that God created the scenario in the first place; humans, tempter & object of temptation - the tree. He put them all together in one place at one time and said "do not touch". Adam & Eve had no prior experience with the word NO. The only conclusion one can arrive at is that the scene was deliberate on God's part. What was God's purpose in doing this? Either He was evil, and created a trap for the humans -or- He created a free will scenario (the only environment in which obedience and trust and love of God can exist). Since Adam & Eve had no experience either way, they responded in the only way natural to them. They sinned. Is God therefore the author of sin? May it never be. God IS the author of free will AND the solution to sin. Something went terribly wrong in the Garden of Eden on that last day of creation's honeymoon. Sin came into the world as a free will choice of Eve & Adam. It taught them and us about another facet of God's nature. HE cannot be defeated by human sin. God is not willing that man should die even though God has pronounced the death sentence for sin. It shows us that God has a solution for sin. Again: God creates good Good is defeated by man & tempter God creates the Super-good, which cannot be defeated God's judgment of the first sin also carried with it a whisper of His plan of redemption - the super-good. (Genesis 3:15) * * * The idea that God knew ahead of time that Adam & Eve would sin is a condemnation both of free will and God's goodness. It is an expression of predestination that Biblical context does not support. It is also a statement of divine wickedness. Did God set a trap for the first humans or did He provide an opportunity for them to learn how to love Him? Did God condemn only or did He begin a work that would result in forgiveness? * * * If the interpretation I offer is not acceptable to you, I invite you to suggest another one. The idea that God created the temptation scenario as a way for humans to return God's love is not mine. Instead of criticizing an explanation that's been suggested by better men than I, why don't you come up with something that's logical and consistent with Biblical context. Instead of criticizing, come up with a better explanation that doesn't suggest God is evil or that He is in collusion with the devil. The simpleton relies upon the demonic dogma that God knew everything ahead of time. It suggests God is the author of sin and it dismisses the deeper meaning of what happened in the garden. It totally ignores the nature of God throughout the entirety of the Bible. It completely dismisses the possibility that God is bigger than human sin. If you think that's irrational, then perhaps you'd better investigate another religion. that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
  9. I know exactly what you were writing. Again.....the Bible is best interpreted by using its own words to examine its intent, or context. Use the Bible to interpret the Bible. Your post exhibited a lot of external references, which might be useful in a Sunday sermon when everybody is too sleepy to bother to understand anyway. Your post suggests you are chained to too many buzz words and slogans and not familiar with scholarly methods of examining scripture. I suggest studying the Bible without employing those deceptive (*) measures to define what it says. Since you have trouble with big words, please tell me in simple words why its wrong to use the Bible to understand the Bible. If you don't learn this simple idea you will never find truth in its pages. that's me, hollering from the choir loft... (*) deceptive = to cause someone to accept a lie as truth
  10. Your logic is faulty with regard to the Eden temptation story. If God is "well aware of everything before it happens" then it logically follows that God designed the temptation as a no-win scenario for Adam & Eve. It suggests (falsely) that God is a greater evil than the devil, that God is unjust and wickedly manipulative. The logical extension of your statement puts God in a bad light ... not at all what the Bible tells us of His nature. There are numerous passages throughout the Bible that suggest human events do not always go as God intends. Perhaps that's a better way to frame the Eden story rather than to suggest God failed at something. God is an active player on the stage of history. He begins by setting things up for good. Man, inspired by selfish desires or prompted by evil, tends to wreck God's intentions. God then responds by correcting the situation in such a way that it cannot be corrupted again. Simply put; God creates good. Good is corrupted by evil. God then creates the super-good, which cannot be corrupted. It's called the plan of redemption and allows for free will of humankind - as well as the exercise of free will on the part of God. In the end, despite man's worst intentions, God wins. Except that the whole thing isn't about who wins. It's about learning how to reciprocate the love of God in ways that are meaningful and acceptable by God who has rightly earned and truly deserves the admiration and worship of His creations. The alternative is to assume that the creator of Satan is more evil than the fallen angel itself. The Bible makes no such assertions, although mankind frequently does. The SERPENT in Genesis 3 has been interpreted to mean 'tempter'. It has no other interpretation or function in the Eden story except to provide a foil to God. The foil, as a character in literature or a play, is meant to provide a contrast to a major or superior character. In the Genesis 3 story, the tempter or serpent, is a foil. Adam & Eve are then thrust into the dialectic between God and tempter and are meant to learn how to love God - by means of trust and obedience. (the good) God's design and intent for humanity is then 'foiled' by the tempter. (good defeated or corrupted by evil) The foil, as well as Adam & Eve, is defeated and cast out of the garden but not without a promise and hope of a future redeemer. (creation of the super-good) References to Revelation at this point in the narrative only serve to obfuscate a correct interpretation of Genesis 3 as well as full appreciation of its message. Its about the fall of man from God's original intentions for him and it begins the story of redemption. Do you skip to the end of a book to see how the last chapter comes out, or do you read the book page by page to allow the story to unfold as the author intended? Read the Bible as its author intended and let each part of the story tell its own tale in its own time. One is less liable to get confused that way. that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
  11. My post was intended to give the reader a focal point for examining Holy Scripture, not to provide a framework or bullet points for social development. Your post attempts to compromise the discussion by obfuscating the issue with social commentary. Accurate interpretation of the Bible uses the Bible to interpret its own statements. It's the only way to arrive at detailed correct understanding of Holy Writ. As such, beasts represent systems and/or nations rather than individuals except where explicitly indicated. The book of Daniel is a good example of this method. It begins with Nebuchadnezzars' dream statue of mixed metals followed by an explanation that the head is the king himself. From that point the chapters of Daniel switch to animal images, so as to repeat the same prophetic story. The animal images all represent systems or empires as they do in Revelation. Later in Daniel's narrative specific mention is made of individuals all of which refer back to the animal figures and back further to the statue. Its all interconnected. Introducing the interpretations of some outside individual or one's own dreams or suppositions detracts from effective interpretation of the Bible. It serves to glorify the individual who pretends to make himself or herself important in the eyes of others. Antichrist is not always a man. Spirit of antichrist is mentioned in 1 John 4 as well as 1 John chapters 1 & 2. The Spirit of antichrist is interpreted there as an influence or spirit that affects trends among people and nations. Paul describes him as a man while Revelation goes back to the beast/system interpretation again. It is very important to take care to inspect Biblical references carefully and not to rely upon slogans or external references or preconceptions to obtain interpretation. Prophecy in the minds of many refers to predictions only. According to the Bible, prophecy is a message from God given through an individual. It has a number of purposes, which is generally edification of believers. With regard to predictions of the future it is given so as to allow us to know where we are along the path from the past to the future. Predictions of the future are not meant for personal glorification or profit - as in TV preachers who pretend to know something the audience doesn't. According to buzz words popular today, prophecy only refers to prediction not preaching. The Biblical standard is that prophecy is preaching - with occasional forays into the future usually suggestive of the consequence of sin. Repentance is the beginning of redemption for the individual, a first step toward justification as it were. Christ died for sinners, not nations (with the exception of Israel of course). Finally your post betrays your addiction to slogans and religious buzz words. One cannot interpret Biblical passages by using slogans and buzz words. It results in error almost every time. For example, we are far down the road from the Laodicean church at this present time. That church form existed in the 1950's and 1960's prior to the last great national revival. Many calls went out to churches at that time, but none responded. Since then the status of the church has circled the drain of history and become worse. Today the church is deep in the embrace of apostasy. Slogans and informal interpretations suggest there are only seven steps to church devolution - the Laodicean church being the last. It's best known by its description in Revelation 3 as being lukewarm. The church today has passed way beyond being lukewarm. Today its dead - room temperature. For several major denominations the Holy Spirit has departed completely. Their candles, like the ones in Revelation, have been put out. They are Ichabod (1 Samuel 4:21). Our conversation has now wandered all over the map and resolved nothing. I'm sure you'll continue to refuse to acknowledge proper methodology for interpreting the Bible (that is to use the Bible to interpret itself). You'll continue to blame society for the sins of man instead of putting such wickedness squarely where it belongs - upon the hearts and minds of individual men and women. You've almost arrived at an understanding of prophecy if only you can cleanse yourself of dependence upon slogans and buzz words for reference instead of the Bible. Positive proof of my assertions will be realized in the months and years ahead of us. Preconceived notions of who and what the major players are at the end of the age will continue to change - simply because the Bible hasn't been used to interpret itself. As such the unfolding course of future events will catch many by surprise. If the Man of Sin does in fact appear, he or she will be welcomed by almost everyone and almost every church (if any still remain in operation). The church is really THAT corrupt - it won't recognize the epitome of sin when it stands in front of them because it won't match preconceived notions, slogans and buzz words. They will have long since abandoned the Bible as a roadmap and a standard. that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
  12. You are way off the rails with this one. Genesis 3 provides the basis for the fall of man, the beginning of the story of the redemption of man and the basis for demonic authority in the world. That's quite a bit for so short a chapter. Interpretations of Genesis 3 that roll into End Times prophecy are neither correct nor efficacious. In addition, current misInterpretations of Genesis 3 suggest God set a trap for Adam and Eve by introducing them into a no-win scenario. In both instances, the context of Biblical revelation of the nature of God is ignored - both in deviations of prophecy and interpretations of temptation. Simply put, the chapter illustrates an incredible risk undertaken by God, how it failed and how God intended to make it better (redemption). Genesis 3 asks the question, "how can man express love for God?" There is no greater question in the Bible and no better answer than how God resolved the issue of unrequited love. Temptation is the primary method by which humans can express love for God. Consider that all we have, including life itself, is given to us by God. There is nothing we have and nothing we can make with our hands that can truly express love for God - for all that we have comes from Him in the first place. The dilemma is to ask, "what can we give God that He has not already given to us". The answer is trust and obedience. A true gift of love by man to God is that which is created out of nothing - that which we create by our own act of free will. If there is no free will, then there can be no hope of redemption for without free will man is little more than an insect or dumb animal. Over and over again, the Bible tells us that God interprets trust and obedience as an act of love and devotion. We cannot give God hugs and kisses, but we can trust and obey Him. In this do we create an act of love literally out of thin air. With this in mind we can accurately understand the purpose of divine providence in the Garden of Eden. God intended to teach Adam and Eve how to create acts of love for God in return for all His blessings upon them. God did this by creating a situation of temptation. If Adam and Eve had obeyed God, it would have taught them how to express love for God. Instead the story tells us Adam found himself married to a Mall Rat whose only interest was to shop for something she knew she shouldn't bring home. The consequence of disobedience was death. Adam knew this and realized he would survive Eve's ultimate death by centuries. So the precedent was set that for love of Eve and not willing to live his life without her - Adam also participated in the deadly disobedience. As a result, we are all infected with the disease of sin and death - and sometimes of deliberately following a loved one into a bad situation. But God had a better plan - to redeem mankind by His own sacrifice - so that in the end we may be able to love God in trust and obedience as He originally intended. God is not defeated by human self-will. In our weakness God's power is made perfect. THAT is the message of Genesis 3. that's me, hollering from the choir loft....
  13. References to the center of the world may also be interpreted as INTERSECTION of the kingdoms of man. Ancient Israel was at the INTERSECTION of trade, military conquest and religious influence throughout that part of the world. It remains the INTERSECTION of world interest due to many factors today. The reader may find it interesting to explore the current Chinese Belt and Road project. Their intent is to create a modern Silk Road from the orient to Europe. If you remember your history, the old Silk Road was interrupted when Caliph Mehmet II seized Constantinople (modern Istanbul) in 1453. It ended both the crusades and the middle ages. Trade between Europe and China was terminated by Muslims. As a consequence European nations went in search of an easier path to the east - by sailing west. A direct result of the Muslim conquest of Constantinople was the discovery of the New World by Columbus less than fifty years later. Today the Chinese government seeks to rebuild the old trade route by means of the greatest building project since the Great Wall. The Bible predicts this event in the End Times chronicles. that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
  14. The passage you dispute here does not represent men. Again, whenever animals or figures of animals are presented in prophecy they represent systems; religious, political or financial systems. Interpreting the passage above as a set of systems is not out of line with that method of interpretation. Have you never studied the nature of propaganda and do you not know the flow of popular trends? Both proceed from a system - one from a political system and the other from a social or religious system. One may truly claim such things spring from the inspiration of deceiving spirits, but they are indeed fleshed out by earthly systems/groups of men. False prophet, for example always references a religious system in the chapters of Revelation unless a specific person is noted. Much evil has flowed from political AND religious systems in the form of propaganda. The beast in revelation represents a political system heavily dedicated to persecution. Dual interpretation is best illustrated in the term "anti-christ". Spirit of anti-Christ (propaganda or trend or popular attitude), mentioned in the epistles is a product of a system, while anti-christ can also be a man or individual. One must hold very close to the context in which these phrases or objects are presented to get an accurate understanding of the inspired intent. Many have entertained erroneous ideas because they've wandered from the benchmark of interpretation. Case in point is the elaborate story telling that springs from imaginative interpretation of the Bible - the chief being Muslim eschatology. Point by point it's a mirror image of Judeo-Christian predictions of End Times systems. The vacillation between persons and actions of systems makes the tale extremely confusing - as well as open to the interpretation of anyone for personal advantage.(*) National interactions in both lead to massive warfare in the name of peace. There is nothing more peaceful than a dead man. The purpose of interpretation of prophecy ought not be confused with predictions of the future. All prophecy is given for edification. We are meant to know where we are along the way - like mile markers along the interstate. By these things we know we are in the End Times. We are to be encouraged that God is in control and that God's will ultimately prevails. We are not given that which will predict the future for personal profit. Unfortunately, many people falsely imagine themselves to be prophets (for profit). Scriptural prophecy is meant to strengthen us in the faith by showing us our place in God's plan of redemption. When you see these things begin to happen, look up and rejoice for your redemption draws near...... (Luke 21:28) According to the system of the Kingdom of Heaven......we are encouraged to know that we will LIVE and that true PEACE will prevail upon the earth. Believers will live in the peaceful eye of the hurricane of events and not suffer the strokes of the Almighty. In this we may be encouraged that God loves us. that's me, hollering from the choir loft... (*) Joseph Goebbels, propaganda minister of the German government during WWII, made frequent use of Bible passages that refer to the coming of Christ. One famous propaganda movie portrays Hitler descending from the clouds as a Christ figure. Biblical imagery is very powerful and can be easily twisted to ill use if classic methods of interpretation are ignored.
  15. Animals and human/animal figures in the Bible are meant to convey systems. These systems are governmental, religious and financial. Unless specifically so stated the figures of animals are to be interpreted as systems, not persons. For example, the Beast represents a persecutional governmental system. It may also represent a popular trend, such as National Socialism in the 1930's & 1940's. Germans who might have entertained opposition to governmental policy could not act upon their conscience due to fear. Therefore they were subverted by a popular political trend albeit one that exercised persecution in the extreme. Where prophecy specifically mentions a human it does so very clearly as for example in Ezekiel 38:3, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshek and Tubal. In this instance, Gog represents the leader of a system which opposes the designs of the Most High. Finally, it is correct interpretation to point to Israel as the center of all prophecy and Biblical references to future events. The Bible is not concerned with the developing African trade system, Chinese dynasties or the influence of astronomy on South American culture during the same period of time. Its all about Israel and/or Messiah. The Bible nowhere asserts itself to be an encyclopedia. It is the story of the fall and redemption of man - a story six thousand years in development and still incomplete. The Bible is not a study of astronomy or dinosaurs. If the reader wants a book on those subjects, I suggest a trip to the library would be efficacious. The Bible does not address prehistoric plants, tectonic plate movement of the planet, age of the universe or popular recipes of the day. It is not about cultures or nations other than those directly touching Israel either in the past present or future. If one wants to read about such things, the Bible provides no resources. On the other hand, where the events of ancient times touch on the story of redemption the Bible provides an unusual clarity in terms of history, human frailty and the direct work of the Hand of Almighty God. Hope this helps. that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
  16. There are specific guidelines to accurate interpretation of prophetic scripture. Sometimes a reader will simply fasten upon whatever seems good to them - whatever tickles their ears and minds. This usually leads to error because these same people assume their misconstrued fantasies are truthful renderings of Biblical predictions. Usually they're wrong as the progress of time inevitably proves. One of the principles of correct Biblical interpretation is that figures of animals usually represent systems, governments or religions. They do not, as a rule, represent individuals unless scripture itself says so directly. For example, the great statue of Daniel 2 is properly rendered as governmental systems or empires. The Bible interprets itself when it says the head of gold represents Nebucadnezzar. The remainder of the statue represents future empires. Another principle of correct Biblical interpretation is to remember that all prophecy holds Israel and/or Messiah as its principle focus. Again referring to the statue of Daniel 2, the dream ignores Chinese dynasties, trade empires of ancient Africa or the developing economies in South America. The empires of Daniel 2 and later chapters all directly or indirectly touch Israel. The question above concerning the two witnesses takes a humanistic point of view and misinterprets scripture. The beast that defeats the two witnesses is a governmental system, not a man and not a demonic figure. The beastly governmental system arises out of the pit. It is not indicative of Godzilla or a winged gargoyle. The two witnesses of Revelation 11 have the principle function of prophecy or preaching. Scripture nowhere says they will torture anybody, but will instead kill those who attempt to harm them. The Bible nowhere says they will execute vengeance upon people thousands of miles from the Holy City. Neither God nor His agents torture. God kills. God does not torture and Jesus is not the commandant of a Nazi S&M dungeon in the bowels of the earth. There is absolutely no evidence of this anywhere in the Bible. The question of why these witnesses will kill is already answered in the Bible. They will kill those who attempt to harm them. Here we have an example of deliberate misrepresentation of scripture. The ministry of the two witnesses is local to Jerusalem. The two witnesses kill to defend themselves. They torture nobody. The real question is to ask what they are preaching (prophesying). In order to raise so much hatred, all a man has to do these days is to speak against trends; national policy favoring corporations rather than persons, corruption in business and government, political correctness, hedonistic society, suggesting women are capable of nothing but flummery and hysteria, using the word sin to describe what it is men and women do, the popularity of endless unjust warfare, stating that it's a violation of the first commandment to give one's allegiance to a flag or government instead of to God, opposing protestant church leaders and so on. The question posed by the lead post is slanted and opposed to truthful search of the Bible insofar as it ignores the principles of scholarly interpretation and objective consideration. Instead an attitude opposed to the Most High is substituted. Humility and truth is not the writer's goal. The goal of deliberate misinterpretation of the Bible is subversion of the Word of God and destruction of faith in it. that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
  17. Revelation 2:12-14 City of Pergamum mentioned directly here as the throne of satan. Pergamum is located in present day Turkey. It was a thriving community in ancient times, but today is a dusty tourist spot. Taken by itself, the reference may mean little but associated with a number of other references it seems that keeping an eye on Turkey is wise. that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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....
  21. 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.....
  22. 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...
  23. 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..
  24. 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...
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