Jump to content

omharris

Members
  • Content count

    32
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

11 Good

1 Follower

About omharris

  • Birthday 11/30/1953

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
    omharris.com

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    So California
  • Interests
    Bible Study, Teaching God's word.

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. Since there is the possibility that the fire sent upon Gog and Magog is nuclear, can we determine that? Yes, we can come up with an answer. For example: If we focus initially on the fire aspect Ezekiel 39:6 NASB "And I will send fire upon Magog and those who inhabit the coastlands in safety, and they will know that I am the LORD. First off, why would I ask that? Well, as you read Ezekiel 38, 39 there are some peculiar things are being talked about, and one of them has to do with burying the dead. Ezekiel 39:14 NASB "They will set apart men who will constantly pass through the land, burying those who were passing through, even those left on the surface of the ground, in order to cleanse it. At the end of seven months, they will make a search. Why seven months? I don't have the answer. I looked up the guidelines for dealing with irradiated bodies, and there are no long waiting period mandates such an extended seven-month wait. https://www.remm.nlm.gov/deceased.htm Ezekiel 39:15 NASB "As those who pass through the land pass through and anyone sees a man's bone, then he will set up a marker by it until the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamon-Gog. Are they setting up markers because the average citizen is not equipped to touch a contaminated body? I would suspect disease or general disgust might play a role in this avoidance. For the Jew, it is a cleanliness issue. Ezekiel 39:12 NASB "For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them in order to cleanse the land. This statement may not be so extreme, as the Jewish laws speak about cleansing the land by burial, and, how that it is unbecoming not to bury the enemies bodies as well, and the inference is that a large number of fighters will die in Israel on that day. I will add that the late Dr. Chuck Missler, when he spoke about these peculiarities, would say, I am merely suggesting. In his expositions on Ezekiel's prophecies, he made it clear that his background in the defense industry prompted imagery associated with the after-effects of a nuclear strike. Since God is the inventor of atomic fission, then it cannot be ruled out. As Dr. Missler used to say, I will leave it up to you to make the decision. The answer we come to does not negate or nullify God's abilities to eliminate adversaries in any way. I will also tell you that once again, I have been reminded of the prophecy made by a 90-year-old Norwegian woman, who spoke about what I think is Ezekiel 38,39; and this strange fire that precludes people from touching the bodies for seven months. In her prophecy, she says explicitly that it will be a nuclear weapon and that many places will be affected, in including the United States. If there is one thing we know about nuclear weapons, they are not selective about whom they kill. Everybody within range gets the effect, and it lasts for years. If you look in a concordance, the word fire is the Hebrew word ’ēš. According to the Word Study Dictionary, ’ēš is a common feminine noun meaning fire. The word is used in various ways: "It refers to any fire that breaks out and burns up something, whether people, things, or animals. in the passage, the reference is to a non-specified fire.” So, it could include lightning, and we have seen that as God responded to the prayers of Samuel and sent lightning storms and earthquakes to destroy the Philistines as they were attacking Israel. 1 Samuel 7:10 “but the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them...” If you have a spare moment, search for the power and effects of lightning, for you don't get thunder without lightning. What other example have we seen in scripture where a fire of some form, obliterates many towns and all who lived in them? The answer, Sodom, and Gomorrah, where it rained sulfur and brimstone. Deuteronomy 29:23 KJV And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor bears, nor any grass grows therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath: The story, with Lot included, can be found in Genesis 19. There are other odd verses in Ezekiel's prophecy, that should attract our attention. Ezekiel 39:2 KJV And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: As far as I can tell, the KJV is the only one that speaks of a sixth part of the enemies troops being untouched. Look up the word sixth in the Hebrew, and you get this from Strong's concordance. shâshâ' - A primitive root; apparently to annihilate. (Translated by confusion with H8341.): - leave but the sixth part [by confusion with H8341]. So, here is H8341 to enlighten you. shâshâh - A denominative from H8337; to sixth or divide into sixths: - give the sixth part. Note a difference, however subtle, between the two words where the second has an added letter. What then are we amateurs to do with such a dilemma? Consult the Word Study Dictionary, which tells us that the word shâshâ' can, and does, convey two meanings. 1. A verb meaning to drive; to drag along. It means to urge someone, to provide an impetus for moving on. It is used figuratively of God's moving Gog toward Israel and destruction. (Ezekiel 39:2). II. A verb indicating to leave a sixth part. It means to take or leave behind only one-sixth of something (Ezekiel 39:2, KJV). I am going to lean upon the WSD in this case, and allow for God to, not only annihilate but still leave a handful of survivors. In doing this God shows His mercy, while leaving a few for the final battle, some one-thousand years later. While I probably covered this in the previous post, it is worth talking about once again. Ezekiel 39:6 NET. I will send fire on Magog and those who live securely in the coastlands; then they will know that I am the LORD. "and those who live securely in the coastlands.” For most, the immediate reaction is, about whom is Ezekiel/God, talking? To understand this, you have to apply some logic to the scenario. Gog, a descendant of Reuben, almost a thousand years before Ezekiel's prophecy, moves north, along with his lousy attitude and settles in regions that have been associated with Russia and now Turkey. Wikipedia validates this assertion and adds to this mix names, such as the Scythians, and the Cossack's. Today, this area, “the Black Sea Region (Turkish: Karadeniz Bölgesi) is a geographical region of Turkey.” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sea_Region As we have pursued an understanding of who Gog is, we have seen that others will be drawn into this fight. For example: Ezekiel 38:5 NET. Persia (Iran), Ethiopia, and Put (Libya) are with them, all of them with shields and helmets. Look at a map of the Mediterranean region, particularly along the Northern African coast. What do you find there? Spain; Morocco; Algeria; Tunisia; Libya; Ethiopia; Sudan; Somalia; Eritrea; Egypt; Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. Go north, and you find Persia/Iran – one of the most vocal in their hatred of Israel, and Pakistan. You need to understand that the Scythians, an offshoot of Magog, had just about everyone integrated into their social unit and mentality, notably the Persians. The Persians were the Assyrians that Jonah knew of, and was the backbone of the Babylonian society, where we find Nebuchadnezzar. Just because we do not see their names listed in Ezekiel 38:5 does not mean they won't be in the fight. Why can I say that? Because all these nations now have a common thread, Islam. Keep in mind, that in the Northern African nations they may go by Boko Haran, but they are, none-the-less, guided by the Quran (which teaches a deep hatred of Israel and the Jews.) What's the point of bringing up all these names? Because of Ezekiel 39:6 I will send fire on Magog and those who live securely in the coastlands; then they will know that I am the LORD. NET. Perhaps another translation can help you understand. Ezekiel 39:6 CEV I will set fire to the land of Magog and to those nations along the seacoast that think they are so secure, and they will know that I am the LORD. These people think they are secure. What does that mean? This country I live in still has the slogan on its money, that says, In God We Trust. While there may be a few of us left that feebly trust in God, the majority do not, and our governments are following some dark leadership that none of us knowingly ask for, at least I don't think so. We have no faith in anything anymore. Oh, people will say they do, but in truth, they don't even trust themselves; and yet, we tragically think we are safe and secure. How secure can you be, when our own government has been telling us how vulnerable we are to an EMP attack? The terminology, coastlands or seacoast, opens the door to Spain; Britain; Ireland, and the U.S, to name a few. Again, why? Because, as Finis Dake, the late prophecy teacher tells us in his scripture notes, this is a group of people who have an intense hatred for Israel. Does Spain, Britain, Ireland, and Greece, come across as nationalities that have an intense hatred for Israel? Perhaps, on initial examination, NO, but then they, like far too many others, have let these “immigrants” into their nations; and now, the immigrants are taking over as they are crying about changing the laws to Sharia laws just for their benefit. (Sharia law, by the way, allows them to commit vicious crimes. And, these same laws exclude outsiders, so don't think for a second you can with such improprieties, as they will be permitted to do.) A friend of mine recently challenged a Muslim about his motives for coming to America. The Muslim man, responded, we did not come here because of what you offer, we came to change this country to our standards. This doctrine of hatred of Israel and the Jews seems to be a key to understanding, not just Ezekiel's prophetic words, but others, such as Daniel, or the Revelation. Another example, as a side note. We understand from Daniel and the Revelation, that, at some point, it will be mandatory that you take a mark, worship the beast, and, worship his image. Few focus on the fact there are three parts to this treasonous act before God, that seals your fate in the lake of fire. You need to understand that this has nothing to do with SIN, but has everything to do with your decision to follow some other god to his demise. Hell, was created for Satan and his followers, the fallen angels; however, he is taking the deceived with him. This mark is already an Islamic practice applied to conquered peoples. There is nothing about this act that guarantees your safety and security and should be thought of as nothing less than some form of payment for protection, much like gangs enforce. Islam, also demands that you vocalize your allegiance to Allah. Again, this carries no guarantees that you will not be tortured and killed. So, in pledging your allegiance to Allah, you are worshiping the beast. The third aspect, worshiping the image of the beast, is a puzzlement. Why? Since Allah was spelled out for Mohammad, under the threat of death, by a very angry fallen angel, has anyone ever seen Allah? Of course not, because there is no Allah. There is merely the deception of a fallen angel, who probably had the name Allah ascribed to him. Since we have nothing as a pattern, then the image can be of anything; however, the false prophet will make the image speak. One of the first instances of a life-sized “doll” that could talk and move was at Disneyland, in the early 60's, in the form of the American President Abraham Lincoln. Techniques and engineering have vastly improved since then, and it could easily be a holographic image. God, on-the-other-hand, has shown himself to man on many occasions. Jesus told those listening, “if you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” Jesus is God, and He walked among us. He redeemed us and purchased our salvation by submitting Himself to death on the cross. He died and rose again, just as said, and then, sat on a beach and ate fish with the disciples. This Jesus we serve is the soon coming Jewish King that will rule the world, and I follow Him.
  2. Having looked, extensively, at Ezekiel 38, we now turn to chapter 39. Once again, we see God compelling Ezekiel, to turn his face toward Gog, and say, Behold, I am against you. Ah, but who is God really against? But, the entire idea of looking at Ezekiel 38, 39 is this idea of God sending fire down from heaven to stop a war. We are about to get into that; but, first, a quick recap. The person, Gog, only shows up once in scripture, and there we find that he is a descendant of Reuben. Sadly Reuben's claim to fame is that he had sexual relations with one of his father's wives. 1Chronicles 5:4 The sons of Joel were Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, Shimei his son, This name does not show up again until Ezekiel begins to prophesy against him years later. With the Exodus beginning around 1446 B.C, it is probable that Gog predates the Exodus. Ezekiel does not come on the scene until approximately 593 B.C. That makes Gog well over 1000 years old if he is still alive, and you know that did not happen. So who is Gog? If you do your homework and look the word Gog up, you will find that: Gog can be depicted as a person (a man,) a people group, or, a nation. We also know that Gog is a leader, that directs his multinational army against Israel. They are of such a large number that they are described as clouds covering the earth. And, the majority of these troops and their leader are killed by God on the mountains of Israel, as a sign to the nations of His Holiness. One last piece of information: At the end of the millennial reign, Gog, once again leads deceived forces against Israel and the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, in an attempt to kill God; and there, once again, God kills them all with fire from heaven. Most “Christians” will read this episode from Ezekiel, and not see the severe and deadly nature of Gog's actions, nor what God will do here, mainly in the Megiddo valley. I believe there are distinct aspects that define Gog, such as Gog and the majority of his troops die on the hills of Israel. How is that possible without some casualties among the citizens of Israel. Just the fact that Gog has made it in inside the borders means that infrastructure will be damaged. The point I am trying to make here, is that you need, frequently, to put flesh and blood on the biblical characters. People are going to die. Having been asked, will the church go through tribulation? My response, and even more so now, is, as of this date 07/10/18 Nigeria has now become the deadliest nation in the world for “Christians” as they are being slaughtered because of their beliefs. So, are we going through tribulations? Absolutely, but keep in mind that trials and the wrath of God being poured out upon the earth and the nations, is an entirely different matter altogether; and NO, we, as followers of Christ, are NOT subject to God's wrath. Tribulations, on the other hand, as Jesus noted, are always going to be a part of our lives. Since an event of this magnitude - the firestorm that kills so many troops will cause most to cower in fear, I think it is safe to say that God is trying to get them to look at Him more appropriately, instead of the habitual disdain nations have for the God they have refused to know. And now we find ourselves at the 39th chapter of Ezekiel. Ezekiel 39:1 NASB "And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal; A translation I am growing fond of is the Complete Jewish Bible, and it reads like this. (CJB) "So you, human being, prophesy against Gog; say that Adonai Elohim says: 'I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshekh and Tuval. Odd how there is no mention of Rosh in the Jewish version. Perhaps, Rosh inappropriately causes us to focus on another world leader, like Putin. After all my years of being in the church, I have concluded, that well-minded souls have repeatedly misdirected us. To some, this is not a problem as they are not going to do the background study that would lead them to the truth, and so they remain within the framework of their church traditions. Someone opposing the church traditions fuels their twisted fears, but all the while they continually try to get us to see the Pope as the Antichrist. This scenario is what we call false teaching. Not everyone means to deceive you, but it happens because we are not willing to do our homework and cling to tradition over truth. Ezekiel 39:2 ISV I'm going to turn you around, drag you along to your destruction, and bring you up from the farthest parts of the north, and carry you to the mountains of Israel. Note how the ISV uses some rather graphic words in this second verse. “I'm going to turn you around,” Large-scale leaders are not entirely insane; there is some thought applied, and costs are often counted. I suspect Gog is no different, and yet, God is, going to turn him around. You might think attacking Israel is not the wisest thing to do, but hatred seems to motivate and drive far too many people. In looking at Ezekiel 38, we see another interesting aspect of Gog's attack on Israel. It is God, who puts the thought in his mind. This idea to attack Israel is not just some casual thought that you can easily ignore; it drives him. “drag you along to your destruction,” When Captain Jean Luc Picard, of the 'Starship Enterprise, encountered the Borg, we repeatedly heard a phrase; resistance is futile. I realize that this idea seems to throw the idea of free will out the window, or does it. Perhaps God has factored free will into His equation already. This problem with free will becomes evident to me as I think about a conversation I had with my Thursday morning group. We have recently been reading the Eugene Peterson book on Prayer. Having read several of Peterson's books already, I was not looking forward to it. However, I have been pleasantly surprised, as he looks at prayer from many directions, some of which are often less than religious, and I can appreciate that. Recently, during a portrayal on Peterson's part, of how adamantly Jesus prayed in the garden setting, I thought about how I once pounded on my steering wheel as I demanded that God honor his word and give me the trophy wife I wanted (Yes, she was pretty but deadly.) I got what I wanted, but dear Lord, I did not need what I got. In jest I said to someone, I think I heard God say, how's that working for you? By-the-way, I don't tell God how to run things anymore. I do, however, believe that the trophy wife, was a part of God's plan in the overall scheme of things, along with the associated pain. And, no, I struggle with the uncomfortable stuff just as you do; and yet, I must believe that it is all part of HIS plan, no matter how things look. “and bring you up from the farthest parts of the north, and carry you to the mountains of Israel.” How many times do we do things, thinking that it was our great idea? For myself, I am reminded of a night I got to thinking about something else and missed my turn to get on the freeway. Insistent upon using the highway it took another minute and a half to get back to the on-ramp. Up the hill I went; what I found as I crested the hill was a cataclysmic accident. Most likely I would have been a part of the crash had I not missed my turn. So, God hooks this man, plants the idea in his head, and drags him and his troops to the mountains of Israel. Rather impressive, and Gog thinks it is all him. Ezekiel 39:3 MSG Then I'll knock your bow out of your left hand and your arrows from your right hand. This idea of knocking your bow out of one hand, and your arrows out of another, cannot be literal, for, in today's warfare, you will die quickly, unless of course, you are a ninja. Seriously, a whole battlefield of ninjas, that is not going to happen. So it is an analogy, which demonstrates how futile, on the overall, that this war of Gog, is going to be. Again, I remind you, that Jews will die, but in comparison to the intent, the effect will be minimal. Ezekiel 39:4-5 NASB "You will fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you as food to every kind of predatory bird and beast of the field. 5) "You will fall on the open field; for it is I who have spoken," declares the Lord GOD. Note how the NASB tells us that Gog, and his troops, will fall on the mountains of Israel; and, they will fall in the open field. Now, look at how the Message reads. Ezekiel 39:4-5 MSG On the mountains of Israel you'll be slaughtered, you and all your troops and the people with you. I'll serve you up as a meal to carrion birds and scavenging animals. 5) You'll be killed in the open field. I've given my word. Decree of GOD, the Master.' In reading this literally, the first thing I see is Gog and his slaughtered troops on the mountains. Holding tightly to a literal read would then leave no one to “kill” in the open field, and yet, there they are. So the NASB, it seems, gives a more appropriate read of the upcoming play by play. Another thing I always think about when I read scripture. Having read statements where the Old Testament tells a story and everyone was there. One of the places we see this is in Daniel, where King Nebuchadnezzar has ordered a statue of himself built, and everyone must bow to it; the obvious factor, if you know the story, is that some created this scenario as an attempt at Jewish genocide. Now everyone, we are told was there, but we primarily see the three Hebrew's that worked in Nebuchadnezzar's court. Since you know the story, then you also know they did not bow and were thrown into the fiery furnace, and, walked out of that same furnace untouched by the smell of smoke. Where was Daniel? While the absence of Daniel seems insignificant, it proves that not everyone was there. Examples like this, but on a larger scale, are all throughout the O.T. So, here is the current scorecard. Gog and his armies – killed on the hills of Israel, and killed in the Megiddo valley. But watch what happens next. Ezekiel 39:6 NET. I will send fire on Magog and those who live securely in the coastlands; then they will know that I am the LORD. The typical “Christian” might read Ezekiel 38, 39, and because they are lead about so easily by false teachers, will believe that Russia is the sole army coming down from the North and attacking Israel. But, we are told this person, the leader of Magog is coming, and they will be killed. If Gog and his troops have been killed, who then, are all these people in the coastlands, and why are they getting punished? So what do we know for sure? Ezekiel 38:3 Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. It is easy to visualize Meshech and Tubal, but there are allies of Gog coming to this fight. These people were descendants of Reuben, and Gog was most likely born in Egypt. By the time God's people were led out of Egypt, they were fully immersed as Egyptians, hence the law. Oral history was the only thing they had. Thankfully, some remembered the stories tied to Abraham and their forefathers, or they would have been Egyptians to the soul. Since Reuben was intentionally disinherited, his anger and disdain may have carried with his descendants. We know that Gog traveled north to the region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, and, we know that Russia had a heavy hand in this same region for years. Turkey now plays the heavy hand across the majority of Asia Minor. These people were also integrated into what was known as the Scythians. A violent people group that were feared because they were excellent equestrians that excelled at warfare from horseback. People from Egypt, Iran, Russia, and Siberia were associated with the Scythians. Even Genghis Khan has Scythian blood as part of his ancestry. Ezekiel 38:5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Put are with them, all of them with shields and helmets. Persia = Modern day Iran. However, Persia has always had an association with Assyria, just as Nineveh did. So tuned your thinking toward those associated with Assyria (Babylon.) Ethiopia is easy enough to picture, as its name is modernized here. However, many call this Cush. Smith's Bible Dictionary tells us that Cush is “The name of a son of Ham, apparently the eldest, and of a territory or territories occupied by his descendants. The Cushites appear to have spread along tracts, extending from the higher Nile to the Euphrates and Tigris. History affords many traces of this relation of Babylonia, Arabia, and Ethiopia." Put = Also a son of Ham. Put can be thought of as Libya, or the northern African continent. If it is the North African continent, then what nation has consistently been in the news lately? Nigeria, as they, under the auspices of Boko Haran (the African version of Islam,) go about killing off Christians. So, what is the common thread? Islamic nations. One of the things you should note is that places like Tarshish cannot be found on a map, and Sheba and Dedan seem to be allies. As of 07/12/18 Putin of Russia, is now working closely with Libya to strengthen their fighting abilities. Integration by Russia, to that level, tends to put Russia into this mix, albeit as a technical advisor. We seem to be on the verge of a massive and deadly event, that may carry long- term nuclear significance.
  3. I am assuming that you are suggesting that Russian will be the "other" nation. That's wide stretch of the imagination, especially since, we know that one nation was Israel, and the other, would be the nation or nations produced. Since Genesis 25:23 is speaking of Jacob and Esau, then our context is set, and has everything to do with those two brothers. The tradition that Jacob tricked Esau out of his birthright (Gen_27:1-46), and that enmity arose between the brothers, is an actual reflexion of the hostile relations of the Edomites and Israelites for which the Israelites were to a considerable degree responsible. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible Esau was also called Edom (“red”), because he said to Jacob: “Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage” (Gen_25:30). The land in which he established himself was “the land of Seir,” so called from Seir, ancestor of the Horites whom Esau found there; and called also Edom from Esau's surname, and, it may be, too, from the red sandstone of the country (Sayce). Esau was the firstborn; but, as he was issuing into life, Jacob’s hand grasped his heel. The bitter enmity of two brothers, and the increasing strife of two great nations, were thus foreshadowed (Gen_25:23; Gen_25:26). Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature And, if I wanted the origin of the these two, I would look here: Genesis 27:39-40 NASB Then Isaac his father answered and said to him, "Behold, away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling, And away from the dew of heaven from above. 40) "By your sword, you shall live, And your brother you shall serve; But it shall come about when you become restless, That you will break his yoke from your neck." So, for years there was no Russia, nor was there a United States. Could there be a fight between these two superpowers, I have no doubt. If the war of Ezekiel breaks out, I would not be surprised to see Russia taking advantage of such a major distraction. But, as James Taylor said, keep your eyes on the Holy Land.
  4. This is yet another reason why i believe the Gog Magog war will happen at the end of the 1000 year reign of the LORD Jesus Christ.. These people talking in Sheba and Dedan ( which is in current day Arabia are talking to Gog Magog and asking if they have come to plunder them I am curious, why ignore Tarshish? As you probably saw, I mentioned that Jonah tried to escape to Tarshish. There is, in my mind, a problem when I try to associate Sheba and Dedan with the Gog that comes up 1000 years later, and that is that there is no mention Sheba and Dedan associated with the event 1000 years later; and, there is certainly no Tarshish. Even if you try to find Tarshish in relationship to Jonah you will be hard pressed. The city of Tarshish is little more than a vague speculation and we are forced to accept some ancient scholars inference that they found the information in a now, non-existent writing. The only strong tie I can see is that Sheba and Dedan are a part of another Muslim nation, just as I comprehend Gog and his armies are. There is one exceptional problem with this Muslim idea, and that that they don't get along. So, the secondary motive is oil. Of the larger nations that might get involved (and they are spelled out,) the Northern African nations seem to be less concerned with oil, as say, Saudi Arabia. Along with that line of thought, is oil an aspect of the final war with Gog at the end of the 1000 years? Not at all, as Gog, once again leads a multinational army against the Holy City of God, in an effort to kill God. How foolish is that move? One other thing, just for the fun of it. Since Gog really existed (almost a thousand years before Ezekiel,) is God still focused on that one dead man? What are the odds that every thousand years or so, someone decides to name their child Gog, and he carries the same evil traits and power? What if what the Bible concordance says is true, and this Gog could now be a people group, centered in the region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea? This could only be God making any of this happen.
  5. When I write I know that there will be those who have not, nor will not open their bibles or pursue my previous blogs, and therefore, I give you all, a little lead into the story. I also wanted to reiterate that I have friends that encourage me, as they tell me, you make the Bible understandable. In thinking about that aspect, I merely write the way I talk; mind you I clean up the language a bit and grammar check extensively. Perhaps this is my way of apologizing if this seems like I am going to slowly. It is, after all, how I learn. Gog was a descendant of Reuben. Now, since NO ONE (with two exceptions) escaped death, then we can understand that this original person or entity (regarding a people group,) has long since died. It is possible, because it frequently happened throughout history, that someone else now has the name Gog. But TODAY, it is possible that we are dealing with a people group or nation filled with descendants of Gog, that have the same oppressive mentality. In trying to find background information on Gog I see a strong association with the Scythians - violent, nomadic, horseman, who excelled at mounted attacks. Ezekiel may, or may not, have known any of this, and therefore makes the prophecy ever more appropriate. When we last saw Gog, he decided that he would “go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates, to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world.” [Ezekiel 38:11,12.] I suspect that many see Gog has having a preeminent role in world leadership, but verse 13 makes it sound as though not everybody is on board with his plans. If this is the Muslim world, it is obvious, from scripture, that not everyone agrees with Gog's leadership. Ezekiel 38:13 NASB ", Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish with all its villages will say to you, 'Have you come to capture spoil? Have you assembled your company to seize plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to capture great spoil?'"' Sheba and Dedan, it seems, were within Saudi Arabia. Tarshish is the same town to which the Prophet Jonah tried to flee. I could not find Tarshish on any of my maps, and several commentators agreed that Tarshish, based upon information that is no longer accessible, was on the coast of Spain. There are many ways to take this statement, “Have you come to capture spoil? Have you assembled your company to seize plunder,” as those talking could be aligned with Gog, greedy, or in disagreement. Matthew Henry conveys a similar idea. "Sheba and Dedan, the Arabians and the Edomites, and the merchants of Tarshish, of Tyre and Sidon and other maritime cities, they and their young lions that are greedy of spoil and live upon it, shall say, Hast thou come to take the spoil of this land?” Yes, he has; and therefore they wish him success. Or perhaps they envy him or grudge it to him. “Hast thou come for riches who art thyself so rich already?” Or, knowing that God was on Israel's side, they thus ridicule his attempts, foreseeing that they would be baffled and that he would be disappointed of the prey he promised himself. Or, if he comes to take the prey, they will come and join with him, and add to his forces." Whatever verse 13 means, it seems the Lord directly moves on, as he again tells Ezekiel to prophesy. In spite of what Dr. David Reagan thinks, the Lord considers Israel land that is NOW living securely. Ezekiel 38:14,15NET. "Therefore, prophesy, son of man, and say to Gog: 'This is what the sovereign LORD says: On that day when my people Israel are living securely, you will take notice 15) and come from your place, from the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a vast army. We have already, in my previous post, discussed Gog. We know he is a leader, but of what country or nation? Ezekiel 38:2 ISV "Son of Man, turn your attention toward Gog, from the land of Magog, the chief noble of Meshech, and Tubal. Prophesy this against him: Meshech and Magog are in the region of land that some call the “stan” nations. This region of the world is currently under Turkish control, and it lies in the southern regions between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Russia, for a period, retained control over these nations but eventually relinquished their public grasp. Wiser men would tell you to keep your eyes on Recep Erdoğan, the “leader” of Turkey. “all of them riding on horses.” I did an internet search to find out what nations still have mounted equestrian Calvary units. It turns out that India has one of the largest. After that comes Chile and then Germany (Strangely, under the leadership of Angela Merkel, Germany seems to be giving itself over entirely to Islamic rule.) None of these seem to fit the requirements of a mounted equestrian group that would potentially come from the north in such mass numbers. The word for mounted soldiers is Calvary. However, that can mean almost any form of mobilized units anymore. So, the truth is, I have no clear idea how Ezekiel 38:15 is going to play out. However, we may have to keep a closer eye on India, and perhaps Germany now. Ezekiel 38:16 ISV “You'll come up to invade my people Israel like a storm cloud to cover the land. In the last days, Gog, I'll bring you up to invade my land so that the world will learn to know me when I show them how holy I am before their very eyes.” “You'll come up to invade my people Israel like a storm cloud to cover the land.” This may seem simplistic, but consider how storm clouds come; some are tall and ominous, and can bring lightning, hail, and tornadoes; while others, bringing rain can be scattered and welcome after a hot dry season – that will not be the case here; and then, there are those that cover the sky from end to end – these remove the bright light from the day, bring rain, and often destruction. The descriptive we given through Ezekiel has no good in it; and, like the destructive storms, you know many are going to get hurt. “Gog, I'll bring you up to invade my land so that the world will learn to know me when I show them how holy I am before their very eyes.” I have come to realize that nothing happens outside of God's will. That includes the good and the bad. Do I understand the bad and appreciate it, hardly, but I must accept and understand that God does. In this case, we are told that God intends to show the world that He is Holy, through His actions He is about to take with Gog and his armies. One last thing I want you to think about. Since Gog can be a person or a people group from the region of Turkey, then let's assume this is the Turkish leader leading the attack. Since we all know he is a Muslim, then we can presume that the majority of those who follow Gog into battle are Muslims as well. If all Muslims believe in this created god Allah, and, everything they understand from the Quran is in opposition to God, then wouldn't God killing practically all of them on the mountains of Israel, just make sense. It is the manner in which God kills them should garner the most attention, and, have the potential to restore God to the place of honor He deserves. (The reality of this, is that there will be no significant restoration of God's honor in the mind of the Muslim, nor the world in general. However, it is going to happen.) Again, the message is repeated. Keep in mind that prophesy to the Jewish mind is repeated patterns, and so God does just that. Ezekiel 38:17 NET. " 'This is what the sovereign LORD says: Are you the one of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days that I would bring you against them? “...of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days that I would bring you against them?” I tried to find the names of the prophets “who prophesied in those days that I would bring you against them.” But in direct reference to Gog, there is only one mention of that name prior to Ezekiel's prophesy, and that is found 1 Chronicles 5:4. Everything else is in reference to the utter destruction of large groups such as Moab, the Assyrians, the sons of Sheth, and the Amalekites. Lacking a direct reference to Gog, Psalm 110:5-6 is one. Isaiah 34 sounds very much like the complete destruction of a fighting force Isaiah 34:2-6 NET. For the LORD is angry at all the nations and furious with all their armies. He will annihilate them and slaughter them. 3) Their slain will be left unburied, their corpses will stink; the hills will soak up their blood. 4) All the stars in the sky will fade away, the sky will roll up like a scroll; all its stars will wither, like a leaf withers and falls from a vine or a fig withers and falls from a tree. 5) He says, "Indeed, my sword has slaughtered heavenly powers. Look, it now descends on Edom, on the people I will annihilate in judgment." 6) The LORD's sword is dripping with blood, it is covered with fat; it drips with the blood of young rams and goats and is covered with the fat of rams' kidneys. For the LORD is holding a sacrifice in Bozrah, a bloody slaughter in the land of Edom. Ezekiel ends much like the grand finale at a fireworks show, with repeated themes and impressive descriptives that include the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and all who live on the face of the earth, shaking at the presence of the Lord. Ezekiel 38:18-23 NET. On that day, when Gog invades the land of Israel, declares the sovereign LORD, my rage will mount up in my anger. 19) In my zeal, in the fire of my fury, I declare that on that day there will be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20) The fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the wild beasts, all the things that creep on the ground, and all people who live on the face of the earth will shake at my presence. The mountains will topple, the cliffs will fall, and every wall will fall to the ground. 21) I will call for a sword to attack Gog on all my mountains, declares the sovereign LORD; every man's sword will be against his brother. 22) I will judge him with plague and bloodshed. I will rain down on him, his troops and the many peoples who are with him a torrential downpour, hailstones, fire, and brimstone. 23) I will exalt and magnify myself; I will reveal myself before many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.' When He says, “every man's sword will be against his brother,” it sounds very much like a description of Ismael's descendants. Genesis 16:11-12 NASB The angel of the LORD said to her further, "Behold, you are with child, And you will bear a son; And you shall call his name Ishmael, Because the LORD has given heed to your affliction. 12) "He will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone's hand will be against him; And, he will live to the east of all his brothers." I find myself looking at videos that demonstrate justice being served, and maybe that is why this statement, “I will exalt and magnify myself; I will reveal myself before many nations,” appeals to me, because I grow weary of my God being attacked; and, I grow weary of those following after Christ being slaughtered in the name of some imaginary god. I, like David, cry out, Lord, how long will You look on? Rescue my soul from their ravages, My only life from the lions. Psalms 35:17 NASB And not only my soul Lord, but the souls of all those who call upon your name.
  6. In effect, this is where we ended the last post on Ezekiel. "This is what the Lord GOD says: 'This is what's going to happen on the very day that you begin your invasion: You'll be thinking, making evil plans, and boasting, "I'm going to invade a land comprised of open country that is at rest, its people living confidently, all of whose inhabitants will be living securely, with neither fortification nor bars on their doors. Ezekiel 38:10-11 ISV Having read this passage on several occasions, I have asked myself the same question many have asked, how can you possibly call Israel a country that is at rest? Are the people living confidently and securely? Dr. David Reagan, writing in the September 2009 LAMPLIGHTER magazine article entitled, The Wars of the End Times, said, “First, there is a condition for the war of Ezekiel 38 and 39 that has not been met. Three times in Ezekiel 38 — in verses 8, 11, and 14 — it states that the war described in that chapter will not occur until the people of Israel are living “securely” in “unwalled villages.” Israel is not living in security today. It is bombarded daily by missiles from Gaza, and it is constantly under the threat of missile attacks from Hezbollah in Lebanon. There is also the ever-present threat of terrorist attacks, a threat that has forced Israel to construct a 400-mile long wall down the center of the country. In short, it is laughable today to even think of the Jewish people of Israel as living “securely” in “unwalled villages.” I don't know how to explain what Gog says, short of it being in direct opposition to a previous condition. We see that previous condition when we read the words of, as a friend pointed out, Nehemiah the Prophet. Nehemiah 1:3 NASB They said to me, "The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are burned with fire." The walls were broken down, and its gate burned with fire. Is that the end of the story? Obviously not, for Nehemiah led a team that rebuilt those same walls and gates. However, those walls and gates were destroyed once again. So, if Israel is a city without walls, what is one of the primary structures conspicuous in Israeli news? The fence along the Southern border with Gaza. Perhaps then our understanding is much to narrow and restrictive, especially, if we can only see things as Dr. David Reagan does. Maybe we are looking at the small picture while God is concerned with the bigger one. This Gog character views Israel as a people living securely in unwalled cities; all of which is in fulfillment of prophecy, and that, is all that matters. With Israel looking vulnerable our journey continues, as we find Gog saying, Ezekiel 38:11-12 NASB … I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates, 12) to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world.' Odd, how the majority of Western centered thinking struggles to see Israel as pictured in the statement above, and yet, Gog understands very well the purpose of Israel and why. Get something defined in your thinking; Gog is NOT the Antichrist. In this case, he's more of a hothead who only sees utter destruction as the answer. (By the way, Muslims continually make this cry for a total extermination of those outside of Islam.) The Antichrist, in comparison, is found in Daniel crying out for peace. The logical side of me only sees this cry for peace happening after this war. Daniel 9:27 NASB "And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate." Contract, peace treaty or a ceasefire, call it what you may, the effect is the same, as Israel gains a few quick years of peace. And, if you are paying attention, this verse says nothing about him making a peace treaty with Israel. Daniel, in a vision, had seen a ram with two horns and a shaggy goat with one horn between its eyes. The angel Gabriel came and explained what this vision meant. It is a vision of the end of time; a period that takes about seven years. (I say about as many of these things, things that make it all happen, are happening around us now, and are not a direct part of the seven-years of God's wrath.) Daniel 8:16-17 NASB And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and he called out and said, "Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision." 17) So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, "Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end." Many translations read like this: “Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end.” The problem I have with this terminology is that it places Ezekiel 38, 39 within the seven-year period when I am not so sure we should perceive it as such. Can Ezekiel's prophecy be something that overlaps into the seven-years? Certainly, and since there will be one crying out for peace (although false,) he – the Antichrist will only be exposed to the world after the church is removed. [You can ascertain this information by a careful study of 2Thessalonians 2, particularly verse 8.] Daniel 8:20 NASB "The ram which you saw with the two horns represents the kings of Media and Persia. We have already seen the advent of the kings of Media and Persia, as they overthrew and succeeded Nebuchadnezzar's reign. Daniel 8:21 NASB "The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king. This was Alexander the Great. Daniel 8:22 ERV That horn broke off and four horns grew in its place. The four horns are four kingdoms. Those four kingdoms will come from the nation of the first king, but they will not be as strong as the first king. “After Alexander’s death, in the prime of life and in the height of his conquests, his brother and two sons were all murdered; and the kingdom was divided among four of his generals: (1) Seleucus, who had Syria and Babylon; (2) Lysimachus, who had Asia Minor; (3) Ptolemy, who had Egypt; and (4) Cassander, who had Greece." The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury This is just as Daniel described when he detailed the dream of a statue with a head of gold. Nebuchadnezzar was identified as the head of gold; Media and Persia were the chest and arms made of silver; its stomach and thighs of bronze were the Grecian empire, The legs and feet primarily being made of Iron, are empire Seleucus and Ptolemy and what becomes of those two empires. This is detailed in Daniel 11. Contrary to what many believe, these were not the Roman empire but remnants of the Grecian empire. When it comes to the toes which are a blended mess of iron and clay, the Hebrew word used to describe the mix is arab. Daniel 11 is such a precise history of the intrigue and overthrow of governing bodies that happens toward the end of the Seleucid and Ptolemaic reigns, that many suspect it was written after the events took place. All these events play into the scenario described by Ezekiel and Daniel, and should not be ignored. Daniel 8:23 NIrV "Toward the end of their rule, those who refuse to obey God will become completely evil. Then another king will appear. He will have a mean-looking face. He will be a master at making clever plans. The Amplified Bible translates this passage in this manner, “when the transgressors [the apostate Jews] have reached the fullness [of their wickedness, taxing the limits of God's mercy], a king of fierce countenance and understanding dark trickery and craftiness shall stand up." This is the same person that we see in Ezekiel 38,39. Two questions. Until the day God pulls the plug and sends His wrath upon the nations and Israel, will there ever be a time when Israel is done transgressing? I cannot imagine it, and that is why we have allusions to them reaching their fullness or becoming completely evil. When you look at a world ruler today, do you say, there is a mean-looking man? I don't either unless I am looking at Principe Erdoğan, the President of Turkey. Who, by the way, is a Muslim. “A king will arise, Insolent and skilled in intrigue.” (NASB) What does that mean? Insolent is the Hebrew word 'az and means strong, vehement, harsh. This could be the description of several totalitarian world leaders. Intrigue, the Hebrew is chı̂ydâh and means a trick, conundrum, sententious maxim: - dark saying (sentence, speech), hard question, proverb, riddle. Webster's dictionary defines intrigue as "A plot or scheme of a complicated nature, intended to effect some purpose by secret artifices. An intrigue may be formed and prosecuted by an individual, and we often hear of the intrigues of a minister or a courtier, but often several projectors are concerned in an intrigue. The word is usually applied to affairs of love or of government." When I think about the intrigue that went on behind the scenes with the Clinton administration and then the Obama presidency, it turns my stomach. President Obama made secret deals with the Iranians, giving them pallets of cash while requiring little in return. How many deals have been made with the Turkish government? And what is going on behind our backs as we speak? We may never know until it's too late. Can I definitely say who this character is? No, as there are so many that fit the characteristics. I just know the end times are like a great puzzle, and the pieces are fitting together as we watch the news. Daniel 8:25 KJV And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. The NASB tells us, “His power will be mighty, but not by his own power,” Where else do we find this idea of someone or something receiving power, but not his own? Revelation 13:2 NASB And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. So it is not an uncommon idea that a demonic entity - a fallen angel, can and will give its power and authority to a human. Another highly visible place we see this is when Satan led Jesus up to a high place and showed him all the kingdoms of the world. Luke 4:6 NASB And the devil said to Him, "I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. “and by peace shall destroy many.” The BBE conveys this imagery, “in his heart he will make himself great, and send destruction on numbers who are living unconscious of their danger;" It seems this could only happen if you believed you were safe. The Israeli Prime minister proclaims frequently, that Israel can protect itself. Again, we have little that tells us of this peace process he initiates. The largest piece of evidence for peace comes from Daniel 9:27, as I pointed out earlier in the text. “he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes;” Far too many try to face off against God, with no success. It is a pointless and fruitless effort. And, it makes little to no sense when you look at this in terms of a conventional war. The statement itself implies that there is an acceptance of a God that holds order over everything, even if you don't know his name. And you, O' Gog, have the audacity to stand against him, the Prince of Princes. Those of us in the Christian community understand this Prince to be Jesus Christ the Messiah. Odd how so many in the world refuse to see that. “but he shall be broken without hand.” We have not arrived at that point yet, but God sends a firestorm upon those attacking Israel, and Gog is given a burial place on the hills of Israel. This event almost sounds like the weapons, used by God, could be nuclear. I say this based the details we see as people mark the dead and then teams come to dispose of the bodies. We are told that God does all this to demonstrate his power to the nations – those standing by and watching. Sadly, none of this seems to make a difference as approximately 1260 days later, Israel is attacked once again. Let me reiterate, we are looking at Ezekiel 38:12 where a vicious, militaristic leader attacks Israel for the purpose of destroying God. That, of course, will not succeed as God himself sends a firestorm upon Gog and his troops, killing them on the hills of Israel, and we will get to that as we progress. I was asked, a couple of years ago, if we, the church will suffer tribulations. I think the obvious answer is YES. All you need to do is pay attention to what is happening to the church around the world. China is rounding them up and imprisoning the participants; in Northern Africa, in one week alone, estimates are that over 200 have been killed by Boko Haran, and Egyptian Muslims are killing the Coptic Christians in their churches and as they leave. These are all Muslim nations, but do the tribulations only come to those in Muslim nations? No, and the day is coming that here in America it will find you. And, all of this is prior to the wrath of God being poured out upon the earth. I feel I spent far too much time including excerpts from Daniel 8 but I wanted you to understand how integrated the end times story in this Bible of ours. Some read their Bibles, believing that the New Testament is the only place you should focus your attention. However, you will find detailed information about end times events in Matthew's gospel; Paul's writings to the Thessalonian church; Peter's writings; Jude, and of course The Revelation. So the end times story is all around you. Understanding that God is on your side and wants to save you from the horrors that are to come, perhaps you should avail yourself of His love and accept Jesus Christ, His son.
  7. As a quick disclaimer: I have seen your replies and clearly some of you have a heart for God. Others, spend far too much time listening to the doctrines of demons. Know this, unless they block me I will not quit. I write for a world that is filled with people with a heart like mine; one that has learned to err on the side of mercy. Have a great day basking in the love of Jesus Christ our soon coming King. Now, on with the post. Having addressed who or what Gog could be in my previous post, we now look at the directive given to Ezekiel to prophecy against Gog (from a great distance, and through time,) about what God's plan is, for the last days. Ezekiel 38:3 NASB and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. Eugene Peterson's “The Message” gives us this, “Be warned, Gog. I am against you. Ezekiel 38:4 CJB I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all completely equipped, a great horde with breastplates and shields, all wielding swords. Why would verse four be immensely significant in the Jewish mind? If you think back to the story of Jonah you remember that Jonah was asked to prophesy against Nineveh and tell them their days were numbered. While that might seem appropriate, especially if you had an intense hatred for the Ninevehites and wanted them dead because they were sadistically cruel and bloody people. But Jonah also knew something about God that most of us miss, and that was that God's nature was one of mercy. The other thing that Jonah understood was that the Ninevehites were a part of the Assyrian nation, just as Gog is, and they had the nasty habit of dragging their victims back to their lands by putting hooks in their mouths, among other places. “I will turn you around.” Another piece of insight for you. Having recently gone to the beach to be with family, I took an ice chest of cold drinks. I dragged that chest from the car, across the beach sand, and now, later in the day, I was dragging it back again. By the time I got to the stairs that lead up to the car, I was exhausted. I could feel the full weight of the ice chest as I went up the first step. Suddenly it got lighter. I actually thought I was going to turn around and see an angel. What I saw was the long-haired young man whom I had just passed carrying a skateboard. My wife, who was about 22 meters behind me, saw the skateboarder and internally had said, Lord, that would be great if that young man helped my husband. With that, the young man stopped, turned, and began to help me without saying a word. You see, God has ways of his will without a word being exchanged; and, the young man, he probably thought it was his great idea. “and bring you out with all your army, horses and horsemen, all completely equipped, a great horde with breastplates and shields, all wielding swords.” In one of my posts on Ezekiel 38, I went into great detail about the people of that region, the Scythians. One of their claims to fame is that they were skillful horsemen and deadly with weapons as they rode. Would Ezekiel have known that? It is highly possible as the line of descendants that produced these people existed long before Ezekiel did and he would have learned this through oral history. At this point, I only wish to say, that someone attempted to challenge my previous assertions about Gog, saying, Gog was Satan. Based upon verse four alone is that probable? Not likely seeing as 1Chronicles 5:4 shows us the lineage of a man named Gog, a descendant of Reuben – the disinherited son of Jacob, but then, Ezekiel's prophecy and the actual occurrence of these events spans well over two thousand years and no one lives that long. The only other thing that has credence is a demonic spirit/ fallen angel that carries that name. In this battle coming against Israel, who are the players? Ezekiel 38:5-6 NASB Persia, Ethiopia and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6) Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops-many peoples with you. Persia – Modern day Iran Ethiopia – At one time Ethiopia was known as Cush. Put - Put is the Libyans. While Qaddafi may have been a wild man, since his removal the nation has turned into a violent Muslim nation. Gomer - Sits squarely in modern day Turkey. Beth-togarmah - This was territory from which the Medes emanated. It is the region in which the Armenians resided. At one point in time, the Assyrian nations bordered Beth-togarmah, and it is the Caucasus region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. While Russia has dominated these people at times they seem to be independent of Russia while maintaining civil war amongst themselves. There is a strong clue embedded within the verse that says, “in the far reaches of the north, with all its troops-many peoples are with you." Again, this is the Scythian region and one of their claims to fame was Genghis Khan. Ezekiel 38:7 CJB Prepare yourself, get ready, you and all your crowd gathered around you; and take charge of them. Consider something here. Ezekiel is writing this while he is in Babylonian captivity; which for him, began around 570 B.C. Now, over 2570 years later, God is finally bringing this collection of assailants together for a horrendous battle. A battle, that for Israel, will look impossible. Many will add another war in here, the Psalm 83 war. Some even insert it before the events that Ezekiel lays out before us. Psalms 83:3-8 ISV They plot against your people and conspire against your cherished ones. 4) They say, "Let us go and erase them as a nation so the name of Israel will not be remembered anymore." 5) Indeed, they shrewdly planned together, forming an alliance against you— 6) the tents of Edom, the Ishmaelites, Moab, the Hagrites, 7) Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, Philistia, and the inhabitants of Tyre. 😎 Even Assyria joined them to strengthen the descendants of Lot. Interlude. Psalm 83 has similarities to what we see in Ezekiel 38 and 39, but what I don't see is Cush, and Put – Egypt and Libya. I am not sure those nations can be excluded as the descendants traveled extensively. Ezekiel 38:8 CJB After many days have passed, you will be mustered for service; in later years you will invade the land which has been brought back from the sword, gathered out of many peoples, the mountains of Isra'el. They had been lying in ruins for a long time, but now Isra'el has been extracted from the peoples and all of them are living there securely. “After many days have passed,” Far too many read this and think it merely means weeks later. This phrase, like “the prince that shall come,” that is defined for us in Daniel 9:26, has several encroachments into history. The problem is, these intrusions are spread across thousands of years. Many is the Hebrew word rab meaning much, many, numerous, and abundance, among others. Verse eight is clearly a description of Israel. Ezekiel 38:9 CJB You will come up like a storm, you will be like a cloud covering the land—you and all your troops, and many other peoples with you.' “You will come up like a storm,” Sudden and overwhelming. Are all storms sudden? No, in many cases people will say, this is storm weather and it always starts like this. So, the implication is that we have a strong probability of knowing when this will come. Just today (6/29/2018), through the MEMRI website, I learned of a Middle Eastern newspaper that leans heavily toward Erdoğan, publishing an article calling for the Muslim of the world to gather in Jihad against Israel (this article was published in Dec of 2017 – not that long ago. An aspect of the article was a map which showed Israel surrounded on every side with army tanks. Surrounded on every side sounds very much like Ezekiel's words. “you will be like a cloud covering the land.” - Clouds are formed by thousands of drops of water. We are told that the number seems innumerable. “you and all your troops, and many other peoples with you.” - These are people of a like mind – Muslims may not be unified in “religion” but they all seem to understand the idea of Jihad. Ezekiel 38:10-12 CJB "Adonai Elohim says: 'When that day comes, thoughts will well up in your mind, and you will devise a sinister scheme. 11) You will say, "I am going to invade this land of unwalled villages; I will take by surprise these people who are at peace, living securely, all in places without walls, bars or gates. 12) I will seize the spoil and take the plunder." You will attack the former ruins that are now inhabited and come against the people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and other wealth and are living in the central parts of the land. “ When that day comes,” - Question, does God do anything at random? The answer is NO, as everything is part of a precise and well thought out plan; a plan which includes giving man a free will and the opportunity to choose life or death. Regardless of the optional qualities, the plan is still in place and intact. So, is it possible that God would leave the option for Gog to design and plan out “his” own destiny? Not a chance and verse ten is no different, as “that day” is entirely in God's hands, and, a part of God's plan. Another consideration is the terminology “that day.” The phrase is attributed to several events; one of which is the return of Jesus as the warring and conquering Messiah, who also fights a bloody battle in the Jezreel Valley; there is the great white throne judgment and the entirety of the seven-years of God's wrath upon the earth. Are any of those events what we are looking at here? I do not believe so as there are always other events associated, which we do not see here. “thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil plan,” - The Hebrew word for thoughts is dāḇār and literally means words. I could read this when that day comes, words will pop into your head, you are going to think this is your sinister scheme, but in reality, you will be doing what I have planned all along. Mind is the Hebrew word lēḇāḇ and also means heart. In God's understanding, the heart and the mind are one in the same. Devise is from the Hebrew word châshab and means to weave, fabricate, or plot. “You will say, "I am going to invade this land of unwalled villages; I will take by surprise these people who are at peace, living securely, all in places without walls, bars or gates. 12) I will seize the spoil and take the plunder.” The context of Deuteronomy 3:5 is applied to Israel's conquer of Og, the King of Bashan. Having destroyed Og's fortified cities they were never rebuilt by Israel. It also demonstrates that cities were typically fortresses; this is not what you see in Israel today. Deuteronomy 3:3-6 NASB "All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates, and bars, besides a great many unwalled towns. Zechariah 2:4 NASB and said to him, "Run, speak to that young man, saying, 'Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls because of the multitude of men and cattle within it. I like the way the ISV version translates Ezekiel 38:12, “the people … who live at the center of the world's attention.” Currently, all the world seems to be looking at Israel, once again. Whether Israel is at the center of the world or not is debatable, but God is making that nation the center of attention. And, although we have not covered the verse yet, it sums up the reason behind all this tumult. Ezekiel 38:16 ERV...I will bring you to fight against my land. Then, Gog, the nations will learn how powerful I am! They will learn to respect me and know that I am holy.
  8. What a breath of fresh air your reply was. This is not what I typically get. I too have had some of the same questions and concerns. To merely say I will leave that question to God alleviates my stress but does not answer questions, and I believe the answers are out there. You made my day. God bless
  9. I was asked by my pastor why I study eschatology (end times events.) Ignoring the negativity of a challenge like this, I find that "end times events" are tied in with almost everything I read in scripture. Ezekiel 38 and 39 is such an event, as it speaks of a horrific situation that may happen at any minute. Try opening a conversation about what you find in Ezekiel 38 and 39 and the eyes of your audience will glaze over and you can watch them begin to look at their watches, wondering if there isn't somewhere else they need to go. There are reasons behind this lack of interest, and they stem from confusion; a lack of understanding; the inability of the speaker to put flesh and blood on the characters; and, the worst part is that there is a veil over the eyes and ears of the hearer so that they cannot comprehend. Along with those factors, there is a multitude of answers as to who the players are and when this event will take place. Ambiguity plays a role in the disinterest because an honest dissertation of an end-times scenario will typically put you in the ballpark, perhaps even provide the audience with the team name, but at this point, I am not sure we specifically say who the main characters are. Furthermore, two simple sentences can inspire books of commentary. I am going to try and condense but still give you an understanding of this prophecy. An introduction to Ezekiel: He was a priest, the son of a priest, and he was taken captive into Babylon. Already, you should be thinking, odds are not in his favor. Ezekiel was one of the few that give us precise dates. According to Dr. John Gill's commentary, chapter 38 gives an account of "an enemy of the Jews, under the name of Gog, that shall invade their land, and disturb their peace after they are settled in it;" J. Vernon McGee, in his commentary, demonstrates some classic old-school thinking as he tells us the theme of Ezekiel 38 is Russia's invasion of Israel. McGee is making his case for Gog to be Russia. I happen to think McGee's assessment is wrong and we should not be focused on the Russian President Putin. You have to keep in mind what was going on in the world that would have inspired the McGee's particular emphasis on Russia in his commentary. For example, The United States was deeply entrenched in the Korean war; the Vietnam conflict, with the cold war with Russia waiting just around the corner. I too assumed that Russia would be one of the major players (and no doubt they are, but we are trying to think biblically while paying attention to the context.) as we lived with the verified threat of Russian missiles 90 miles off our coast in Cuba - a Russian ally, as children. The Summarized Bible commentary conveys that “God does not only see those who are now the enemies of His people, but foresees those who will be so in the last days, and lets them know by His Word that He is against them, and will make their movements to serve His own purposes.” I know, every generation has had those that have said, "we are in the last days," and I would tell you that they were right. Now how would I come to the understanding that every generation comprehended that we are in the last days? Daniel chapter 9, spells out a seventy-week decree against Israel. Sixty-nine of those weeks have been fulfilled. The seventieth week of years (7years) has been on hold for over 2000 years. Therefore, we, the church, have been in the last days for over 2000 years. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, filled with Holy Spirit, preached to the thousands milling about the streets of Jerusalem that day. An aspect of what Peter said came from Joel chapter 2 which speaks about the time of God's wrath which the seventieth year portrays. However, within that period, people are acting out in the power of the Holy Spirit as the prophets of old did. Peter said this part of Joel's prophecy had been fulfilled in your hearing. What did he say? We are living in the last days. Since the last days seems to be very focused on the seven-years of wrath, are we, at the moment, living in the seventieth week? No, and that will not come until the church is removed from the earth. 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 The NASB opens our look into Ezekiel 38 with: Prophecy Against Gog Ezekiel 38:1-2 NASB And the word of the LORD came to me saying, 2) "Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him Note how the passage provided has no appropriate punctuation at the end. That is because the thought continues and we will pursue that shortly. But for the moment let's dissect the verses. “Son of man,” Is there any question as to whom the Lord is talking? The answer is Ezekiel. “set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him,” Okay, what just happened? Ezekiel was told to prophesy against two entities: Gog; this person also happens to be the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. And, the land of Magog; If Ezekiel is told to prophesy against him, and "him" includes the land, then we should be considering the possibility that this is: A nation? A people group? A demonic operation that controls a people group? As I try to understand, I turn my attention to my concordances and look up the word Gog. BDB Definition: Gog = “mountain” - A Reubenite, the son of Shemaiah (1 Ch 5:4); The prophetic prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and Magog (Read Ezekiel 32) Strong's concordance merely adds Gog, the name of an Israelite. The KJC keeps us in Ezekiel with one exception: 1 Chronicles 5:1-4 MKJV And the sons of Reuben, the first-born of Israel (for he was the first-born; but since he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel, and the genealogy is not to be counted according to the birthright; 2) For Judah prevailed among his brothers, and from him came the chief ruler, but the birthright was Joseph's); 3) the sons of Reuben the first-born of Israel: Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 4) The sons of Joel: Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, and Shimei, his son. The dishonor carried by the family due to Reuben's indiscretion, which excluded them from any rights of birth, surely plays a role in all of this. The Word Study Dictionary tells us this about Gog: He is pictured as a great enemy against God's people. Ezekiel 38:9 NASB "You will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you." He is from the land of Magog or possibly "from the land of Gog." Gog. i.e., mountain, in reference to the Caucasus mountains, the chief seat of the Scythian people. Note: Rather, "Gog (the prince) of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal." The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury The Lord sets Himself against Gog (Eze_38:2). Gog will lead a coalition of nations against God's people who are then dwelling securely in the land of Israel (Eze_38:14-16). With the addition of the words, God's people who are then dwelling securely in ...Israel. They have turned this so that we are looking at the church and not Israel, which is incorrect. But God, in fact, will bring Gog forth and will destroy him and his people. Ezekiel 39:1-2; Ezekiel 38:19-23 The Lord spoke about this through other prophets (Eze_38:17-18). Ezekiel 38:17 MKJV So says the Lord Jehovah: Are you he of whom I have spoken in former days, by the hand of My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days and years that I would bring you against them? The multitudes of Gog will be buried in the Valley of Hamon Gog, that is, "multitudes of Gog" (Eze_39:11), Ezekiel 39:11 CJB " 'When that day comes, I will give Gog a place there in Isra'el for graves, the Travelers' Valley, east of the sea; and it will block the travelers' passage. There they will bury Gog and all his horde, and they will rename it the Valley of Hamon-Gog [horde of Gog]. The Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature informs us that: They are the name of a mixed race dwelling in the extreme north, comprehended by the Greeks under the name of the Scythians; (2.) to the center and representative of their race, i.e. their king (Ezekiel 38:39). Gog comes forth from the distant north (Eze_38:15-23; Eze_39:2), ... And, if you are stickler for history - Interpreters have given very different explanations of the terms Gog and Magog; but they have generally understood them as symbolical expressions for the heathen nations of Asia, or more particularly for the Scythians, a vague knowledge of whom seems to have reached the Jews in Palestine about that period. Thus Josephus (Ant. 1:6, 3) has dropped the Hebrew word Magog, and rendered it by Σκύθαι; See attachment - Classic Bible Maps, The World as known to the Hebrews Of the maps, I looked at to better understand this ancient classic version shows me more and divergent details than any other map, as it points out Gog and Magog, and where they were located. I have also provided a link to Wikipedia which continues to fill in the blanks in understanding and prophecy with highly detailed information about the Scythians. Because of the quantity of information found there, which all seems important, I am only going to suggest that the interested pursue that there. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scythians] As you read the information, consider where Gog might come from. It may help you to understand more clearly how the Turkish "president" Recep Tayyip Erdoğan might best fill the role of Gog. Just for the fun of it, I searched the internet to find out if Genghis Khan could have been a Scythian. The Headline read, “Not Just Genghis Khan - Scythians Show Genetic Blending With Europe 2,000 Years Ago.” http://www.science20.com/news_articles/not_just_genghis_khan_scythians_show_genetic_blending_europe_2000_years_ago-96314 Here is was I gather so far. Gog, from the disinherited family line of Reuben, moves North and becomes a nomadic mounted and warring nation known as the Scythians. They ranged into China, Siberia, Egypt, Asia Minor and as far south as the Northern African nations, however, they seem to be centrally located around Turkey and the Caspian Sea. They are heavily influenced and integrated by the surrounding nations such as Persia, Syria, and the Caucasus regions. They conquered Nineveh, the Assyrians, and the Medes. Having relations as violent as Genghis Khan one can assume that slaughter was their general theme. This is the people that God sees as one of Israel's few remaining thorns in the flesh.
  10. I opened the Bible program on my computer this morning, and this is the first thing I see, the headline leading into 1John chapter 2:1-2. To people who are feeling guilty and condemned, It goes on to say, John (the disciple and revelator) offers reassurance. Why, after all these years, do I still struggle with guilt and condemnation? Perhaps you do as well. I sat down one day with my Pastor and talked openly and honestly about things going on around me; things like family members that moved back in and live with us, and how they do not seem to understand what the word boundary means; or, what it means to take care of your dogs. That might seem trivial to some, especially when they are firebombing the church you go to or torturing you for your beliefs in a God other than Allah; but I can assure you it feels real to me. We are told in scripture to confess our sins one to another, and maybe how I feel could fall under this idea of confessing our sins, especially when "sin" is merely missing the mark - up to and including, some substantially ugly stuff. In truth, I am not even sure what this idea of confessing our SINS looks like, as there are people that you should NOT reveal any of your secrets too. I suppose this idea of confession requires that you spend some time with random people to find out how trustworthy they are. In recovery there is a constant barrage of instructions that goes something like this, what is said here, stays here! That is what you would hope you find in the real world as well. I can tell you from experience, that even with such counsel your so-called friends will walk up to your wife, right in front of you, and ask, “are the things he says about you in the group, true?” James 5:16 CJB Therefore, openly acknowledge your sins to one another, and pray for each other, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. I suppose in a way, confession is what I did when I talked with the pastor, but I was not looking for a verbal beating. What I wanted was a compassionate and hearing heart; what I got was, “I can't believe that you, being a follower of Christ for all these years, would feel this way.” My internal reaction was, are you kidding me; you didn't just say that to me? What does scripture tell us? Galatians 6:1 MSG Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out. When you consider that SIN is merely the missing of the small center of the target, then we all sin daily. But what happens when someone falls into sin? Translations vary from the word sin to the sad reality of being caught in and overtaken in a fault. At least with phrases like being caught in sin and overtaken in sin, you immediately can tell that there is much more than a gentle push from the wind while trying to hit a target. The phrases can imply being too casual about the problem, or a non-caring attitude because you think you can handle whatever it is; unfortunately, sin can be deadly. To be overtaken is the Greek word prolambanō and means to take in advance, that is, (literally) eat before others have an opportunity; (figuratively) to anticipate, surprise (Strong's concordance) The words that the Greek conveys cause me some grief, for how do I understand this idea of being captive when the strongest implication comes from the phrase, to take in advance? If I were to collect my earnings before payday, it would either be by permission (most employers would look at you warily from that point on,) or, you stole the money thinking they owed you anyway. None-the-less, you took it in advance. The second option being theft. If what I am trying to understand is this idea of being caught in sin, then perhaps some of the other words available make more sense; such as to “have an opportunity,” or to “surprise.” Having an opportunity indicates some thought has been applied, quite possibly for some time, while the word surprise alludes to something that is suddenly before you. A car crash on the motorway can undoubtedly be a surprise, but the result can be a terrible chain of events, with appalling consequences, all of which contribute to the idea of being taken in a snare. John MacArthur's commentary tells us that to be overtaken is literally to be "caught," which may imply the person was seen sinning or that he was caught or snared by the sin itself. A fault is the Greek word paraptōma and means a sideslip (lapse or deviation), that is, (unintentional) error or (willful) transgression: - fall, fault, offense, sin, trespass. Paul goes on to say, Galatians 6:2-3 ERV Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. 3) If you think you are too important to do this, you are only fooling yourself. We should, at this point, understand that the potential for help and comfort is there. The guest speaker at our church sat and talked with me, saying, we the church should be the place where we can go, take our hurts, and be accepted. I laughed as I said, sadly, that is not reality. But, what if your guilt and condemnation have been drilled into you through parents, caretakers, childhood, bullies: (many times these can look like church leaders.) 1 John 2:1-2 NASB My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2) and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. Note the words, “if anyone sins.” Of course, we are going to sin; it's built into us. But 1 John 2:1-2 gives us hope, for: “we have an Advocate with the Father,” Advocate – paraklētos - An intercessor, consoler: - advocate, comforter. “Jesus Christ the righteous;” What gave Jesus His ability and right to stand on our behalf? One, you should understand that He is God, and two, His willingness to pay the price on the cross. He repurchased us, and, He bought our redemption. At one point, He told the disciples and those listening, that this same advocate would come in His place if He went back to the Father, and He did. Therefore, the comforter/advocate has come. John 16:7 NASB "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. “and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins;” Propitiation – hilasmos - atonement, that is, (concretely) an expiator: - propitiation. This atonement is what I spoke of when I said, “He gave His life on that cross.” Jesus, we are told, poured out His own blood on the heavenly altar, just as the priest would. In so doing He became our high priest. And, God raised Him up and seated Him at the Father's right hand. “and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” His atonement covered, not only those of us who believe but everyone – the whole world. This blanket forgiveness seems to be the hardest thing for the religious to understand. This lack of belief or understanding is proven out by comments indicating how everyone caught in sin is going to hell. Logic would ask, what sins, seeing as sins have been forgiven. Taking this idea one step further, what then condemns the world? A lack of belief in Jesus Christ. There it is, this Jesus has taken all the guilt and condemnation onto Himself. He purchased us back from the debt WE owed. (If you are a movie fan, then the movie adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, tells this story, as Aslan had to make the secluded deal with the witch, as they met in the tent. Aslan, a symbol of Jesus, gave His own life in place of Peter's. And, just as Aslan did, Jesus rose from the dead, with great power, and, He was unstoppable. What is required of me? Faith. Can I believe that someone, namely Jesus, would do that for me? Yes, and I did, and so can you. What's to keep the entire world from accepting such salvation? Nothing, as He simply asks us, in this age of grace, to believe. Back to this problem of me, struggling with “sins” after so many years in the Lord. An aspect of what makes me work is the voices in my head. No, I am not nuts, we all have voices in our heads. To some, they sound like a drill sergeant; to others, like me, they sound like my dad or mother; often they sound like some moral authority, especially when acting moral is very inconvenient. Fortunately, after all these years, I can definitely say that one of those voices belongs to God/Holy Spirit. While I just admitted that I hear from God, I also argue with Him, and that bothers me. Recently I heard Him tell me to go to another fast food stand instead of the one we typically go to on Tuesdays because I was going to have trouble there. Now, in my defense, He did not explain why I would have trouble, but I think I knew why and I saw an image of them. My foolish, manly response was that I could handle problems. It turns out I couldn't and just about had the police called on me - I sound like a large bear when I get that angry. And yes, I let anger and rage get the best of me. Having spent some time in recovery because of the anger, I have come to the determination that, like the alcoholic, I will fight with this for the rest of my life. (This understanding is really the sanest approach. I like to call it honesty.) At this point in life, my conclusions are that I (just like all of you) have built-in damage that tries to motivate me to live out of my self-motivated desires; and, I have sustained damage from others that have wounds deep enough to be an active cause of my grief. There is, unfortunately, the third cause of troubles in our lives and that is the enemy, Satan. Paul speaks to this idea of being snagged by the enemy. 2 Timothy 2:25-26 NASB with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26) and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. Were you aware that people were caught in snares set by the devil, at his will? It sounds like a hopeless situation and would be if Christ had not purchased our redemption, and that is why we have the freedom of confession (one to another;) an advocate – Jesus Christ; The Word of God, and Galatians 6:1 which admonishes our brothers and sisters in Christ to come to our aid. Galatians 6:1 NASB Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself so that you too will not be tempted. This passage came up after the leader of the Monday morning group said, “I believe that if you have fleshly thoughts when the rapture comes, that you will have trouble making it through the pearly gates.” This unsubstantiated statement was his attempt at not adding to scripture, and he informed us so right before he said it. What it shows is this man's grievous lack of understanding about God's: word, character, and nature – as the group leader, in effect, is condemning all who sin, to hell. Do you see Christ's paying the penalty and doing away with the handwriting that was against us, in this leader's statement? NO. Moments after making these statements the 92-year-old co-leader asked me directly what I thought about what the leader said; it became a habit with this guy to challenge people in the group by saying, “do you have a problem with that?” I can tell you that he is not looking for a correct answer, he is merely siding with the leader and looking to humiliate someone; this time it was me. I paused to think about this for a moment, and this man called my name out once again. With that, I said, “an alcoholic, if they are honest, will admit that they are an alcoholic and will be for the rest of their life. So, when it comes to human reasoning, I can't perceive of "fleshly" thoughts any differently than the alcoholic, as I will deal with, in my case, anger, for the rest of my life. How does one not have human thoughts? How does a preacher deal with the scantily clad ladies that come to church? Do they only look at the ceiling lights as they are preaching or teaching in order to avoid such “fleshly thoughts? And what of the hellfire and brimstone television preacher Jimmy Swaggart (whom many of these men adore) who sinned, multiple times? We only know of his sins because he got arrested. And yes, once again, in my response to this guy, I let my anger get the best of me. No, I did not cuss, I merely pushed this sacred cow called Jimmy Swaggart down and effectively kicked it in the head. I was, as I expected, accosted for my statements. However, another pastor in the group brought up Galatians 6:1. He did this because there was no kindness or gentleness in the leader's response to me. So, what have I/we learned? That we, as followers of Christ, have an advocate, as does Jimmy Swaggart, and, so does the false teacher of our group. 1 John 2:1-2 NASB My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2) and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
  11. I ended the last post with this verse - 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 WNT 7) For lawlessness is already at work in secret; but only until the man who is now exercising a restraining influence is removed, 8) and then the Lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will sweep away with the tempest of His anger, and utterly overwhelm by the awful splendor of His Coming. I keep running these concepts through my mind, and, when possible, talk with my wife or a few close friends about what I think I see. Recently we had finished eating, and once again I brought up 2Thessalonians 2:3 where it says 2 Thessalonians 2:3 NASB “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,” I find myself breathing a heavy sigh as I read this passage. For me, the heaviness comes out of a sincere desire for the church body to be firmly grounded in an understanding of end times events and how those events will fall into place, but it also comes out of the reality that all these years later we are no more confident in our faith and comprehension that they were all those years ago. During a fifteen year period, I attended three churches, and I can tell that it is rare to find anyone that has a firm grasp on what Paul is saying here in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. When you begin talking to them about Paul words here, some respond with confused or distorted views of “the day,” while others seem to feel that you have challenged their long-held beliefs and therefore attack with a loud and caustic defense that demonstrates no logic, that they do not read for themselves, or that they choose not to think. The other side of Paul's teaching, not spoken of in verse three, is “hope.” Our comprehension that Jesus is coming back for His church is a part of this anchor we call hope. Since hope is integrated into our faith in Jesus' words that He will come back for us, wouldn't it be beneficial to understand why we have this hope, and where we place our assurance? John 14:3 WNT And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will return and take you to be with me, that where I am you also may be. [In case you did not notice, Jesus did go already] I primarily use the NASB and it refers to this man that is to come, as the man of lawlessness. Since verses three and eight have a common thread, the man of lawlessness, let's ponder this person for a few moments. The man of lawlessness He is also known as the son of perdition; the man who separates himself from Torah; the man of sin; the man of evil; the son of destruction; the wicked one. One last example comes from the Weymouth New Testament, a translation that, in this case, gives much more definition. Thayer's definition of lawless: Greek anomos 1) destitute of (the Mosaic) law; 2) departing from the law, a violator of the law, lawless, wicked 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 WNT 3) Let no one in any way deceive you, for that day cannot come without the coming of the apostasy first, and the appearing of the man of sin, the son of perdition, who sets himself against, 4) and exalts himself above, every so-called 'god' or object of worship, and goes the length of taking his seat in the very temple of God, giving it out that he himself is God. What do I know about this guy? “the appearing of the man of sin, the son of perdition.” This is merely an explanation and a title at this point; however, he will fulfill every aspect and detail of Biblical prophecy about himself in time. “who sets himself against, and exalts himself above, every so-called 'god' or object of worship,” To set oneself against God doesn't seem so bad, and yet we do it all the time. We do it with our money; vehicles; homes, and for some, trophy wives. First off you need to understand that EVERY thing in this world works in opposition to God. And yes, that includes religion. So what we are doing is committing adultery with the world. This guy takes it to the extreme as he exalts himself above God, and, every so-called 'god' or object of worship. Not even the Catholic church does that; there is, however, an ideology that does, and it is called Islam. Every nation in the world where Islam exists, the Muslim's that live there are under a mandate to infiltrate and put that nation under the Islamic laws of Sharia. Islam's 'god,' invented by Mohamed, is called Allah. “goes the length of taking his seat in the very temple of God, giving it out that he himself is God.” This idea of someone taking a seat in the temple, has, since 70 A.D., been difficult to grasp as there is no temple. At the time Paul wrote this letter the destruction of the temple was at least 20 years away. Short of a revelation by the Holy Spirit, Paul would not have known this. In May of 2018, the Israeli Prime Minister spoke openly that the temple would be rebuilt. As you can imagine, at the time of this writing, this borders on impossible, and if it were restored, the rioting would be horrendous. And yet, scripture tells us it will happen. What an absurdity it is to know that this man of sin will exalt himself above God and place himself in the most Holy seat, all the while decreeing himself to be God? Still under the heading of what we know about the man of lawlessness, comes the Islamic prophecies. Here is just a portion of what they expect to happen. The ten major signs known as alamatu's-sa'ah al-kubra (the major signs of the end).[note 56] They are as follows: The false messiah—anti-Christ, Masih ad-Dajjal—shall appear with great powers as a one-eyed man with his right eye blind and deformed like a grape. Although believers will not be deceived, he will claim to be God, to hold the keys to heaven and hell, and will lead many astray.[35] In reality, his heaven is hell, and his hell is heaven. The Dajjal will be followed by seventy thousand Jews of Isfahan wearing Persian shawls.[note 57] The return of Isa (Jesus), from the fourth sky, to kill Dajjal.[36] Ya'joo and Ma'jooj (Gog and Magog), a Japhetic tribe of vicious beings who had been imprisoned by Dhul-Qarnayn, will break out. They will ravage the earth, drink all the water of Lake Tiberias, and kill all believers in their way. Isa, Imam Al-Mahdi, and the believers with them will go to the top of a mountain and pray for the destruction of Gog and Magog. God eventually will send disease and worms to wipe them out.[note 58][37] This information comes from Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_eschatology What do Islam prophecies and what Muslims believe, mean to me? Since we know from scripture that the plan of redemption was written long before Mohamed had this message about Allah delivered to him in a cave, is it possible that this information, much like everything else Satan has done, is a fraudulent and intentional misrepresentation of truth? While we are aware that someone, in the role of the Anti-Christ, will come, but that is not who Paul spoke of when he used the phrase, the man of lawlessness. We should also be aware that one we know as the false prophet, will show up, but not until the mid-point of the seven years of tribulation. According to Islam, both of these are known to them. The man of lawlessness to us, is the return of Isa ibn Mariam, the Islamic Jesus. This is the information I presented above as the first and second points of their major prophecies. I will add that Islam believes this man, will be a Jew; a descendant from Aaron and therefore have a legitimate right to the priesthood; that he will pledge his allegiance to the Mahdi (I believe that this Mahdi person fulfills the role of Anti-Christ); he will perform great signs and wonders (Sadly, this will cause many to follow him. In other words, he causes many to also give their allegiance to Islam.) And, this Isa bin Mariam will be the enforcer of Sharia. What does this last aspect concerning Sharia mean to any of us? As followers of Christ, the Church will be caught up to meet Him in the air. Now many believe, such as the man who leads our Monday morning Bible study group, that everyone in that room will be able to bypass the wrath that will be poured out upon the earth. Sorry, but that is not necessarily true. I know this because of the parable of the ten virgins. This parable was an aspect of Jesus response when the disciples asked, "when will these things happen and what will the sign of your coming?" Matthew 25:1-13 NASB "Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2) "Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. 3) "For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4) but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. 5) "Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. 6) "But at midnight there was a shout, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' 7) "Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8) "The foolish said to the prudent, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps, are going out.' 9) "But the prudent answered, 'No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.' 10) "And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. 11) "Later the other virgins also came, saying, 'Lord, lord, open up for us.' 12) "But he answered, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you.' 13) "Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour. Notice, how all the virgins got the same invitation, and, all got ready, but there is an exception, for five of them merely grabbed their lamps off the shelf, while the others took the time to refill their lamps and take extra oil. This oil or the act of taking extra seems to play a critical role in this equation. Sadly, I cannot tell you with precision what that oil represents. It may be in the preparation, as it demonstrates looking intently for Him to come; while for others, it may mean study; and still, others, seem to emphasize desire. My experiences have included a pastor that told me NOT to study eschatology and another brother in Christ who called me a firebrand that momentarily excites people; He went on to say, "besides that, we have been looking for Jesus to return for over two-thousand years." I suppose that pastor who told me not to study, and that brother in Christ feel as though Jesus will not come back for perhaps another forty plus years. May I say that I believe He is riding upon the winds as we speak. I have seen this imagery in my spirit, and I can hear the sound of the trumpets in the distance (not the phony Haarp sounds the governments are playing with.) Know this, this man, whatever you wish to call him, will be NOT be announced as the man of lawlessness. Because he is a Jew and will have access to the Holiest of Holies within the temple, he will probably be a high priest, and he probably a well-respected man right now. We are there! “but only until the man who is now exercising a restraining influence is removed, and then the Lawless one will be revealed,” (WNT) This statement above is an excerpt from 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8. When I read this, there is an intense clarity about the timing in which the church; the restraining force that is removed; and “the man of lawlessness” that will be revealed. Since there is no doubt in my mind that the restraining influence is the Church, then the emphasis, therefore, is on the removal of the church before to God's wrath is poured out. Because of this information, I cannot for the life of me figure out how people can assert that the time of wrath upon the earth is something that the church must go through. How do I rationalize verse 3 and verse 8 as they both indicate that this man will be revealed? As I pointed out, verse three seems to be our introduction to the man, although it will not be as “the man of … .” In a sense, he will be quite normal. Since we understand that he will be a Jew that turns his back on the Law of God, then we can better understand why Jesus would say that “he” will cause the best of them to be deceived, and He meant the Jewish leadership. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 GNB The Wicked One will come with the power of Satan and perform all kinds of false miracles and wonders, In general, I can safely say that the church will not see unleashing of Satan's power, because all this is designed to happen 1240 days into the time of wrath. 2 Thessalonians 2:10 CJB He (the adversary/Satan) will enable him to deceive, in all kinds of wicked ways, those who are headed for destruction because they would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them. This statement “those who are headed for destruction because they would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them,” is primarily speaking to the Jews. Could I apply it to the nations? Indeed, for many of them would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them. 2 Thessalonians 2:11 NASB 11) For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, Imagine a gathering of Pharisees, like Paul so intensely trained in the laws of God, that God must send a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false. Suddenly, it seems like this is all God's fault, is that the case? Hardly, as they turned their backs on when He sent a steady stream of mercies coming to their direction. Israel, since Egypt, has been entrenched in the idolatrous ways of the nations around them, and verse 12 proves that out. 2 Thessalonians 2:12 NASB 12) in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth but took pleasure in wickedness.
  12. Questions and challenges: Revelation 20 and the Great White Throne. The premise, posed far too many times, is that God sends everyone appearing before this throne to the lake of fire and it's eternal hell. Question: If all you used for your argument was Revelation 20 verse 15, could you find God showing anyone mercy there? The mercy is there, but you have to look for it, and you have to take in the entire context of an aspect of God's conversation that he is having with John, as he describes the judgment taking place there. Before we dive in, there are some considerations to keep in mind. The entirety of the Revelation is about Jesus Christ. Revelation 1:1 KJV The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: This reference to a Great White Throne is only found here in the Revelation. However, you can find references to, the throne of His kingdom; a great throne of ivory, covered over in gold (1Kings 10:18); the Lord's throne (Psalm 11:4); His Holy throne (Psalm 47:8); Isaiah 66:1 says, Heaven is My throne; Jeremiah 17:12 calls it a glorious throne, and, Matthew 25:31 which declares that He will sit on His Glorious Throne. This throne represents judgment. Isn't that odd, our introduction to Matthew 25:31 is presented by the translators of the NASB as the throne of judgment as well, and that idea is seen here in Psalm 9:7. Psalm 9:7 But the LORD abides forever; He has established His throne for judgment, In opposition to the throne of judgment, Psalm 76:9 tells us that His purpose is to save the humble of the earth. To the Jews he said, Jeremiah 2:35 Yet you said, 'I am innocent; Surely His anger is turned away from me.' Behold, I will enter into judgment with you Because you say, 'I have not sinned.' Ezekiel 20:35 and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. Ezekiel 39:21 "And I will set My glory among the nations; and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed and My hand which I have laid on them. But to those who have placed their hopes and lives into His hands, He says, John 5:24 NASB "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. Jesus, as recorded in John 5:25-27, tells us the same thing we see in Revelation 20. There is, however, a difference as he says, “when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” Perhaps this can explain how the dead are now standing before the throne. John 5:25-27 NASB "Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26) "For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27) and He gave Him authority to execute judgment because He is the Son of Man. Note how many of the aspects of this statement from 1 Corinthians parallels Matthew 25:31 1 Corinthians 4:5 NASB Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God. One last thing I want to consider as I ponder the potential for mercy in Revelation 20:15, is that all judgment has been given to Jesus and that all punishment for sins was placed upon Him, on the cross. The evidence for this statement comes from several locations throughout the Bible; here are just a few. Ezekiel 16:62-63 NASB "Thus I will establish My covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the LORD, 63) so that you may remember and be ashamed and never open your mouth anymore because of your humiliation, when I have forgiven you for all that you have done," the Lord GOD declares. Jesus declared and established this new covenant when He ate the last supper, with the disciples. For us, the cross was sealed with the blood of that covenant, His blood. Colossians 1:20 NASB and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. To reconcile is to bring a thing back into harmony. Did that happen that day on the cross? Without a doubt. I know this because Colossians 1:20 tells me it happened through the blood of His cross. Colossians 2:13-14 NASB 13) When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14) having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. So, with all that being said, what then are these people being judged for, as they are brought before the “Great White Throne”? Perhaps the answer to that could easily be summed up with a verse or two. John 12:44 NASB And Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. Believe in Jesus and believe in the Father who sent Him. While there is always more to such a simplistic statement, the premise is just that simple. Here is a bit more depth. John 14:10-13 NASB "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11) "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. 12) "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13) "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Romans 4:21-25 NASB and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22) Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 23) Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, 24) but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25) He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. Your belief in Jesus is tied in with your faith in the Father. That Father is Jehovah, Elohim, not Allah. Occasionally, our men's study leader takes a few weeks off and switches topics, but eventually, the judgmentalism creeps back in. When it does most of the men that attend the study, side with the leader and demand that all before that Great White Throne are sent to hell. While there is no doubt that some in that crowd get sent to hell, but it is only because they have chosen, in their arrogance, to go there. 2 Peter 3:9 NASB The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. As you can see from above, that God is not looking for reasons to punish anyone; and, He is certainly not going to penalize us merely because we currently have this built-in ability to create and participate in iniquity. I understand this based on the passages I have already shown you. If your actions include breaking the laws of man, then there is a prescribed punishment met out here on earth, and it often includes jail time. But God has set all sin aside, by putting the sentence and payment upon Jesus. Since that time God is looking for one thing, did you, in any way, act in the nature and character of God who created you? Revelation 20:15 – We will start this dissemination here, with the KJV, as that was shoved in my face recently. Revelation 20:15 KJV And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. As I have pondered these words a bit more, I can see that the KJV is not so ominous and that it does demonstrate some variability. The phrase, “and whosoever was not found,” indicates that there was a serious look, in this case, into the Book of Life. Obviously, there were some who did not have their names written in that book. There is nothing about the phrase that indicates an all-encompassing number. It does, however, open the door to some quantity that was found there. As I have talked about this Great White Throne scenario with a few open-minded people, I pointed out how this becomes little more than a cruel joke when you bring people before this throne of judgment, with the possibility that you might gain entrance into the kingdom of God; only to find that God knew all along that there was no hope for you. What I have described in this paragraph, is in complete opposition to who God is and how He acts. God already knows whether your name is there or not, and some of these people are found in God's books. Look at this interaction between God and Moses. Exodus 32:32-33 KJV Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. 33) And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. Without the assurance of salvation which we obtain in Jesus Christ, how did Moses understand that his name was written in God's book? And then, God's response, whosoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. The implications are that we are erased, not written in. How did King David know that his name was already in the book? Psalms 139:16 CJB Your eyes could see me as an embryo, but in your book, all my days were already written; my days had been shaped before any of them existed. When I was challenged about Revelation 20:15, it was an attempt to draw me into an ongoing argument with my father and another bible screamer who was a part of the dinner crowd that night. My dad pushed his phone at me, which was the KJV and said read it. I responded by bringing up the NASB and thrust it at him and said the same thing. My version reads, “if anyone.” This phrase takes no effort on my part to see that it is a variable. I used see statements like this in math. The variable is that He does look for their names and finds many. I believe that what we see here in Revelation 20:15 is the same story as Matthew 25:31, only from a different perspective. The major differences are, The Revelation focuses on Jesus as God, while the story in Matthew 25 focuses on Jesus as a gentle shepherd. In Matthew's account, it merely says that all the nations shall be gathered before him, while the Revelation tells us that all the dead are brought before Him. How do you rectify the differences between the two versions? Walk through the known factors. The church was caught up, and the dead in Christ rose first. This act, on God's part, eliminates the church from the equation. After the rapture, the wrath of God is now being poured out upon the earth, and people are being slaughtered for the testimony which they held. There is little to protect these people from 100-pound hailstones, and the other onslaughts being poured out and are therefore killed by God's wrath and the wrath of humankind. Those who die for their testimony are resurrected at the end of the seven-years and reign with Christ throughout the thousand years. So, they are not included among the nations or the dead we see before this throne. So, who is left? Keep in mind that since Christ formed the church, there have only been three people groups in the world: the Jews; the nations, and the Church. Since the church has been caught up, leaving only the Jews and the nations those who' have not accepted God's leadership, then you are left to fall under the category of the nations – those outside of a relationship with God. We know from the Revelation that the number of people who come to a relationship with Jesus Christ is innumerable. From the beginning of time there have always been those outside of relationship with the Father, and these are the focus here at the Great White Throne, but the assumption is that you have to be alive to stand there, and that is not what we see in Revelation 20:12 "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God." The next question you have to ask is, do we ever really die? The answer is no. God then, brings in all those who have previously ceased to breathe, and, have no standard religious form of salvation, as the church requires. Some would argue that NO ONE comes to the Father except through Jesus and their path through the religious form would prove their acceptance into the kingdom. Isaiah 26:19 KJV Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Again Matthew's gospel recorded one of Jesus responses which we find in Matthew 25:1-13. Here Jesus told us about the ten virgins, all receiving the same invitation to the wedding. However, half were not prepared and therefore missed the entry. If this is an allusion to the church, then next time you sit among your congregation look around, for half are not prepared and will prove their allegiance to the Father, during the time of wrath, with their lives. Since the book of Revelation is the revealing of Jesus, then this is none other than Jesus sitting upon this great throne. Should they obtain mercy, then yes, they are only coming to the Father through Jesus, and the dilemma is solved. Matthew 25 speaks only of the nations being brought before his throne of glory. I point this out in contrast to Revelation 20 where we only see the dead being brought before the throne. Once again, the church was taken out of the way, and the martyred saints were resurrected to reign with Christ, leaving only the Jews and the nations. This throne of judgment is set up at the end of the thousand-year reign, immediately after the mass deception where the nations have risen against God and the Holy City. Here, all those deceived are killed (caused to no longer breath.) While this number makes up a vast portion of those standing before the throne, there will be others and may include some Jews and pretend church people. Since we can't tell who the pretenders are most of the time, perhaps the best approach is to educate them on and in, God's word.
  13. omharris

    A study/commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-4

    Because you brought up the fact that innumerable amounts of people have died horrible deaths for their testimony, then I must assume that you believe this can only happen during this time we love to address as the great tribulation. This concept above is an aspect of what I keep trying to drive home with people. The seven-year period we call the tribulation is God's wrath and judgment being poured out upon the earth, the nations, and the Jews. During that time the tribulation will become so great that we are told no one would survive the time period unless God intervenes and cuts it short. Christ himself told us, his followers, that, in this world, you will have tribulation. That tells me that tribulation(s) is an ongoing process and aspect of our lives. Fortunately, here in Southern California, my tribulations, so far today, have only been: my stepson not getting out of bed to move his car so that he does not get a ticket. This is the second week he has done this. Or, as I was driving back from the market this morning, it felt like my tire was going flat and I had to pull over to the curb, all the while hoping some fool puts down their phone long enough to notice that I was pulled to the curb with my emergency flashers on. This scenario rampaged through my head as I began to think about the possible costs involved in fixing whatever was going on. And then, having picked my wife up from work, just moments ago, I calmly listened as she told how today was abuse the librarian day. Imagine, this might affect someone who has struggled with anger and rage issues. So my tribulations are nothing compared to what the rest of the world suffers. Like having to deal with a brother in Christ, a man who has a doctorate in Theology, as he berated me for wasting my time reading The Shack by William Paul Young, all those years ago when he just as easily could have answered the questions that arose in my mind. What is coming upon the earth, is like nothing we have ever seen. We are seeing glimpses of what is coming and I point those things out to people if they show an interest, but that rarely ever happens. What is coming is wrath! Paul, in his letter to the Romans, in chapter 5 verse 9, tells us that because of our relationship to Christ, that we are not subject to wrath, the implication is clearly God's wrath since Christ already took that on our behalf; in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 Paul tells us that we were delivered from the wrath that is to come. Take a good look at Hebrews 12:2 where we are told to fix our eyes on Jesus; there was a reason why this was done. Since people have begun to follow Jesus they have been hunted down and martyred. James seems to stand out in my mind as one of the first (Acts 12:2), but who can forget how Saul the Pharisee, stood and held the cloaks of those who threw the stones at Stephen (Acts 7.) Since there has been no catching away as yet, then it is safe to assume that Stephen and James will be some of the first to be caught up. How and why God seems to need or want these broken bodies to be attached I don't know. I do know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 NASB. Having said all this I realize that you are not the one who asked me to discuss, but here it is. This is what I do. Hope I made sense. I so desire to teach and those who know me tell me I should be. I always say, make it so. Irrelevant I realize but I loved responding to you. Have a great day in the Lord my brother. Oz
  14. This is a post I made on my blog site well over a year ago, in 2017. Given the opportunity to teach soon, I asked a friend if he had any ideas. He thought for a second and said, what about Strongholds, those are the things that I need to hear about. I know I do, I battle with aspects of this every day. By the way; I am very much aware that there is always more that defines this aspect of strongholds. Think of this as a primer that motivates you to dig deeper. 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 MKJV For though walking about in the flesh, we do not war according to flesh. (4) For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, Though we walk about in the flesh, There is no escaping that condition, and yet the concept is that we can set aside the "flesh." There are only two situations in which that happens: Death – that state in which you are then separated from the body. Or, the rapture (a moment in time in which we will be changed – an act in which God causes this permanently damaged body to be altered.) We do not war according to flesh. Harsh words, swords, and guns are not going to help. This war we are in is a spiritual battle and Satan is the enemy. The battle you are facing is a spiritual one and it is primarily in the mind. Pulling down – Is the Greek word kathaíresis and means demolition or the destruction of a fortress. The enemy (Satan) promotes the building of fortresses in our mind. This process happens slowly through the deceptiveness of words. For example: In Paul's letter to the Ephesians, he tells us we are: Blessed; holy; blameless; in Him; living in love; adopted; chosen; redeemed and bought back. However, these are not the words we hear; mostly we hear the opposite, such as: You will never be holy; you are to blame for everything; unlovable; unwanted, and that you will have to struggle all your life to attain some state in which God would want you. Strongholds – The Greek word ochúrōma; to hold fast. A stronghold, fortification, fortress. The Greek allows for something much less invasive; a holdfast. Compare to 3M sticky hooks. Why use the analogy of a temporary wall hanger? These issues are often temporary annoyances. The simplest of solutions is to pray. A verse we did not cover defines these strongholds and where they come from. 2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; Again we will dissect this a few words at a time. Casting down Casting down is the Greek word kathaireō and means to lower (or with violence) demolish. The Word Study Dictionary adds, “to take for oneself. To take down or away. Imaginations The Word Study Dictionary says this Greek word logismós means a reckoning, calculation, consideration, reflection. To logismós a thing means that you are giving more than just a passing thought to a matter. The implications are that you are ruminating on the issue at hand. Since not all things are a worrisome bother, then the other application would apply to the voices that tell you that you will never live up to the things God says about you. Other translations use the words: reasoning; arguments; intellectual arrogance; theories, and speculations. All of these fit the concept. And every The word "every" is the Greek word pas and includes all the forms of declension; apparently a primary word; all, any, every, the whole: - all (manner of, means). Declension according to Webster's dictionary means literally, a leaning back or down; hence, a falling or declining towards a worse state; a trend toward a lesser degree of excellence or perfection. High thing High thing is the word hupsōma, an elevated place or thing, that is, (abstractly) altitude, or (by implication) a barrier. Who is it that does the elevating? We do, as we put that thought on a pedestal. That exalts itself The phrase exalts itself, is the word epairō meaning to raise up. Since the context has to do with casting down imaginations and every high thing, then the idea, worry, or promotion you have spinning in your head is trying desperately to exalt itself by raising up; but against what? In reality, the voices, whether they are in your head or fed to from some well-meaning “friend,” are intended to exalt themselves above God's word, nature, and character. Against the knowledge of God So, just as I said, the voices are attempting to exalt themselves above God. There is truly, only one person that does that, Satan and his minions. And bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; As I said, you are the one who has to take care of this. It is, by-the-way, your psyche that is being toyed with. Doing nothing only adds to the fortification that is being built in your mind. While it is necessary that you bring these thoughts that are contrary to God into captivity, you must subject your thoughts to the obedience of Christ. Obedience is the Greek word hupakoḗ; to obey, listen to something, hearken. This is you with purpose resetting your mind to consider with an overriding confidence, the true nature of Christ Jesus. I get it; there are understandably some people who are so far gone, whether from alcohol, drug abuse, or trauma, that they do not live in a functional state of mental health and may not be able to make these decisions for themselves. With those people in mind, I am reminded of what the Apostle Peter told us Jesus did; and, in so doing, demonstrated not only the character and nature of the Father but our mission as well. Acts 10:38 MKJV ...and He went about doing good, and healing all those who were oppressed by the Devil, for God was with Him. So, once again, you are not dealing with the flesh, but demonic forces, in all but rare cases. Let's just assume that this is not you and you continue to function with relative normalcy while fighting against these small, annoying mental skirmishes, many of which we lose. If these strongholds are merely a hold fast and not a fortress in my mind, why I am I continually bothered/tortured by this same problem? You, with Christ living in you, are a target. I know you did not want to hear that, but it is information that you needed to know. Ephesians 2:10 MKJV For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus ... There are plenty of people who will say that this does not define us as being in God's image, so allow me to give you another piece of proof. Genesis 1:26-27 MKJV And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. And let them have dominion ... over all the earth, ... And God created man in His image;... Some might say, I don't believe in this God of yours. Their challenge does not matter; the mere fact that we were created in the image of God caused Satan to set his destructive sights upon them. A simple hold fast may restrain you for your entire life. Satan, we are told, constantly accuses us of sins. We see this in Revelation of all places. Revelation 12:10 MKJV ... For the accuser of our brothers is cast down, who accused them before our God day and night. Our broken flesh is centered around selfishness; the motivation to satisfy the flesh. We quickly and easily call this a sin conscience. We religious folk, love to fling the word sin around, especially once we've decided that you need more restraint in your life. The word “sin” is simply an old English term, taking from Archery, in which the competitor missed the bulls-eye in the center of the target.
  15. “It’s not just that we don’t know our Bible but that we have so fragmented, dissected, and compartmentalized the Bible that we have lost sight of its great overarching story.” Hugh Whelchel i Occasionally I ask myself, what motivates me to write. In response, I would have to say it's religious opposition and a deeply seated desire to see the church walking in truth. The idea of walking in truth, in my mind, means a church that is trained appropriately in the Word. I don't see that happening at any of the churches I have been a part of. An aspect of that opposition recently occurred as a “brother” in Christ, told a friend of mine, that I believe life has to be one-way, mine. Have you read any of my posts? Do I present myself like that? Hardly, I attempt to show God's word as the only basis for truth, and, in a manner that people can understand. I suppose, to some degree, that means adding my commentary to what I write in an effort to promote understanding, but leaving the decision-making process to the reader, as they accept or reject God's word. With that understanding you are not rejecting me, you are denying God's truth and mercy, as you refuse what God's word says. Elijah, the prophet, bemoaned his situation and cried out that he was alone in Israel. 1 Kings 19:9-10 NASB Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" 10) He said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." And yes, that is the way I feel some days. God's response. 1 Kings 19:18 NASB "Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him." I realize that I am not alone, but the number of those who are passionate about God are few. I am fortunate to sit with a few of them on a weekly basis. Having had someone say of me, “he believes it has to be, his way or no way,” is somewhat like a slap in my face, and I can tell you I am highly intolerant of actions like that. So, why would someone say something like that about me? Perhaps it is because I am very passionate about truth and God's word. Sending everyone to hell at the Great White Throne has nothing to do with truth; it merely demonstrates how adamant this man is about judgment, something we are to leave to Jesus, [especially since ALL judgment has/or will be given to Him.] The Apostle Paul was not put off by the scholars of the Berean community. In fact, he thought highly of them. This body of believers did their research and found that Torah and Tanakh validated what Paul was saying. Having legitimized Paul's statements they believed. When you consider the limited resources, these men had, our accolades for them should be even more significant. Let me give you an example of what this opposition to, and the rejection of, the truth looks like. The man who leads the Monday morning study, once again pointed out that he was an ordained Bible study leader, not a pastor. As the leader, he has just about every week, exclaimed that everyone brought to the Great White Throne judgment is sent to hell. If you are a reasonable student of the Bible you should be asking, is that a correct statement? The answer is NO, but why would you know that? Because you have read the Word of God, as you should; you looked at the context; compared alternate texts and scenarios, and, like a hungry pet who has, awaited you to come home so they can eat, chewed on and ingested every word so that you could understand the depth and meaning of the Greek words being used and their Hebrew origins. But here is where the problem lays, as statistically, no one does that? The statistical work I am going to show you were undertaken by Lifeway Research in 2014. Here is an excerpt from Christianity Today.ii “Some Stats to Consider Bible Reading Americans read the Bible on occasion—churchgoers a little more. In a recent LifeWay Research study, we learned the following about our Bible reading habits among church attendees. They indicated that they read their Bible as follows: 19% - Every day 26% - A few times a week 14% - Once a week 22% - At least once a month 18% - Rarely or never. There are a couple of interesting takeaways from this study. Almost 60% of churchgoers open our Bibles at home during the week at least once. And for every person who is reading his/her Bible every day (19%), someone isn’t… at all (18%).” Do you think, in this condition of apostasy, that the numbers would improve any as time progresses? I was pondering this idea before pulling up the statistical information. My guess/estimate would have been about 20% of the “church” actually reading their Bibles every day. But even then I could see a problem with that number because I sit with some of these 20% per-centers, and know for a fact that they will not move off their traditional interpretations and understandings regardless of what you show them in scripture. Are you beginning to see a problem? Illiteracy has no option but to run rampant through the church; And, it is not just the church. I just read yesterday, 5/10/2018, that schools have found they are going to have to take down the analog clocks on the schoolhouse walls and replace them with digital clocks because no one can read them. Let's go back to the significant false teaching of the morning “bible” study – how that everyone coming before the Great White Throne goes to a fiery hell. The first question is: how does one study the Bible? It seems to me that everyone should know how to do this; in truth, I had to learn how. Every student should: Read the text without a premise. As you read ask, what is this passage supposed to be saying to me? Do not merely assume that the teacher standing before you, saying things like, “What Paul is saying here,” is the truth. [Here is a heads up. Paul, a former Pharisee, a man who was very skillful at what he did, had no problem speaking to JEWS, about this new life and grace found in Christ. This is the case as Saul/Paul spoke about the Hebrew wording within the Law and the Prophets and pointed out the evidence in those words, which led to an understanding, in those who chose to listen, that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah they longed for. Paul made it clear that our acceptance of Yahshua brought about this life and the hope we have come to understand.] The idea of reading without a premise can be applied to my pastor's sermons since he has a motive and a point to be made. In pushing his motive, he has created a premise and is working to make the scriptures fit his premise. These directed efforts often work in opposition to my understanding of Bible study. Look at the context. An example of this applies to what I am going to analyze momentarily – Matthew 25, where we see the sheep and the goats at the throne of judgment. The context surrounding this word picture begins in Matthew 21, when Jesus rides into Jerusalem, on the back of an unridden donkey – the Rolls Royce of the day, and He is perceived as the Messiah Israel hoped for. Unfortunately, He did not do what the disciples, nor the people expected, as He overturned the sellers tables, chairs, and loosed their merchandise where they had been selling, in the court of the Gentiles. And then, Jesus got into a verbal confrontation with the elders and Pharisees. All this activity shook the disciples and prompted them to ask, “when will all these things come to pass, and what will be the sign of your coming as the Messiah. I am always analyzing the scriptures even as the pastor speaks. I examine the context and what the interlinear Greek or Hebrew dictionary says the words mean. Occasionally, the pastor is preaching in opposition to what the words mean. As a side note: Pastor and I had a bad moment one day, as he challenged me about my intensive focus on end times and the eschatology books of the Bible. In his indictment of me, he said, “Notice how in my sermons, I present the gospel in a manner that brings about change in people.” I try not to overthink the pastor's words that day, but isn't that what the Word of God is supposed to do, change people? Look for a comparative text. Many of the Calvary Chapel pastors, like Don Stewart or the late Chuck Smith, used to say, “allow scripture to define scripture.” What does that mean? As I read the Revelation, I see where John, on two occasions, in speaking to the churches, uses the term the Synagogue (Rev 2:9, Rev 3:9.) Why is this significant? Because John, was not writing in code as some would ascribe, he was writing to Jewish converts/followers of Christ. And therefore, spoke in a language they would immediately understand. Greek, of course, was one aspect of this language but the other carried the oral history and word stories from the Old Testament. The evidence for this is rather extensive and is demonstrated in the writings of James (James 2:2) and the Apostle Paul. Read Acts 18. In every city we find Paul entering the local Synagogue and preaching. For over fifteen years Paul preached, almost exclusively, to Jews. It was only after years of abuse at the hands of religious Jews that Paul finally said, and I am taking this message to the Gentiles. The Apostle John, James, Peter, and Paul focused their attention on the Jewish community. Peter, although he had a brief exchange with the Roman Centurion's family, maintained, as did James and John, a focus on Jews. [Read Paul's account in Galatians 2,] Many of these believed for years that this gospel of Jesus was meant exclusively for Jews. Peter, in 2 Peter 3:10 says, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” NASB This passage has clear and definite associations with Isaiah 13:9; Jeremiah 46:10 among others. In conjunction with the idea of comparative texts, was the indication that everything, aside from direct revelation from the Holy Spirit, came out of the Torah and Tanakh. Paul's letters; James words on wisdom, and the Revelation that John conveyed, all came from the Old Testament. We can put this idea of comparative texts into action where Revelation speaks of a multi-headed beast with crowns and horns (Revelation 13:1). This imagery is found in multiple locations but primarily in the words of the prophet Daniel (Daniel 7:7). Matthew 25:31-45, where we see the sheep and goats, is a comparative text. The words Jesus spoke were in response to questions His Jewish disciples ask him, and those words made sense to a Jewish audience. If you had been a student in Synagogue school you were expected to memorize the Old Testament teachings. Therefore, one might expect that these people were looking for these events to happen. Try to take in as much of the background wording into consideration as you can. When I look at Matthew 25:31-45 in the NASB, the segment that speaks of the sheep and goats carries the headline, The Final Judgment. That headline in itself gives me nothing of value except as a reference point. If I were looking for a direct association to the final judgment, there is nothing within these verses that define this explicitly by using that terminology. Can I find an inference of final judgment in verse 31? Matthew 25:31 NASB "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. Here you see the Son of Man coming in His glory. This is the same Jesus that Stephen saw, as he stood before the Jewish council (Acts 7:55-56,) and it is the same Jesus that Daniel saw in Daniel 7:13. And, He will sit on His glorious throne. There is a passage in Joel 3:12 that would cause the audience listening to the speaker that day to take note. Joel 3:12 LITV Let the nations be awakened and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat. For there I will sit to judge all the nations all around. This passage in Joel can easily be associated with the judgment we are about to see in Matthew 25. These two points alone do not convince me, as we see Jesus coming in Revelation 19 prior to Him being seated for judgment, and, there is no account of Him sitting upon His throne in Revelation 19. To be honest, I have to stretch my mind a bit to see the final judgment. However, if I look at the next verse, the finality suddenly becomes clearer, especially if I have an understanding of Joel 3:12. [Mat 25:32 And before Him shall be gathered all the nations;] There is only one glorious throne. Is this the same throne that we see in Revelation? We have to look at Revelation 20:11 and see if there is something here that matches. Revelation 20:11 NASB Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. A great white throne Our only references to a white throne come from 1 Kings 10:18 and 2Ch 9:17, and they are effectively the same story 1 Kings 10:18 NASB Moreover, the king made a great throne of ivory and overlaid it with refined gold. Ezekiel tells us what he saw, Ezekiel 1:26 NASB Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man. lapis lazuli - Sapphire - Clear heavenly blue. Apparently, the color is insignificant. In 1Kings 10:18 it is clear that this is a great throne, and in Daniel 7:9 Daniel sees the throne as being fiery flames. Although you don't see this happening in Matthew 25, Revelation 20:7-8 tells us that after the thousand years, Satan is released from his prison and he deceives the nations. Those nations, in turn, surround the city of God in an attempt to kill God and His people. Those gathered are killed in an instant. The next event scripture shows us is the gathering of the nations, or, as Matthew 25 puts it, the dead are brought before this great throne. Although my methods of sorting out what I read, and disseminating the false teachings I hear, might be different than what you learn in seminary, they work for me. You also just got the added benefit of some insight into a false teaching that seems to enjoy sending all who approach the throne of judgment, to hell. A serious look at scripture will demonstrate that such a teaching is blatantly false and damaging to our understanding of who God is. iThe Church’s Secret: Biblical Illiteracy in the 21st Century, Hugh Whelchel, writing for the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics. March 13, 2017. https://tifwe.org/the-churchs-secret-biblical-illiteracy-in-the-21st-century/ iiBiblical Illiteracy by the Numbers Part 1: The Challenge https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/october/biblical-illiteracy-by-numbers.html
×