Showing posts with label Revelation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Revelation. Show all posts

Thursday, September 21, 2023

The Disaster of the Misled Middle

“Better to have an enemy who slaps you in the face than a friend who stabs you in the back,” goes the old saying.

It’s true. And the worst part is it that when your friend stabs you, he’s stabbing from behind your defenses already. An enemy’s danger you can see coming; a friend’s you cannot. An enemy you can fight with all you’ve got. But when it’s a friend that one must fight, there’s grief, self-doubt, hesitancy, restraint and a profound sense of loss at every step. You hang on longer to hope of a reconciliation, of healing and of forgiveness, even when those things don’t appear. That’s why friends can hurt friends in ways no enemy can.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Pretending to See the Future

Watts Up With That lists seven times the global warm-mongers got it spectacularly wrong.

There’s biologist George Wald, who predicted “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years”. Then there’s ecologist Kenneth Watt, who was convinced the crude oil supply would be fully depleted by the year 2000. And let’s not forget the Life magazine prognostication that “in a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution”. That was all in 1970 and so far so good, except maybe in China.

We laugh, but some Christians are not much more accurate when they attempt to read tea leaves.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

An Unfortunate Beverage

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the wrath of her sexual immorality.”

It’s not enough for the chronic sinner to quietly sin in a corner. Whatever tattered shreds of conscience he retains will trouble him just enough that he must rationalize his behavior, and that requires seeking the validation of others.

To secure their approval, he needs them to be thinking the same way he does. The quickest way to pervert their intellects along the same lines as his own twisted reasoning is to introduce them to his favorite sin, so they can experience the very same sort of moral tension with which he is struggling. So the sinner in the corner becomes the cause of stumbling in the public square, and sin spreads. Maybe if everybody’s doing it, it won’t feel so bad.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

The Boiling Planet

I’m working my way through Revelation this month for the umpteenth time, not claiming to understand the finer details of the prophetic word much better than I did when I was in my twenties. Despite that, I am more than capable of grasping the broad strokes and basic implications for our world of what the Lord revealed to John in the last book of the Bible.

One of the most obvious takeaways from Revelation for the Christian in these troubled and confusing times is that when the end comes for our current world order, it will not be from incineration by the sun, as the climate change cult would have us believe.

Sunday, August 06, 2023

Filling Golden Bowls

“… golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”

Stop for a moment and contemplate with me the wonder of having our prayers presented to God as an act of worship, of having our meditations before God described as “incense” in his sight, a fragrant offering. On my best day, I would never dare put it like that ... but God does. “What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer” indeed!

But would that be ALL our prayers in those golden bowls? I sincerely doubt it.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Debby Boone Theology

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

“It can’t be wrong, when it feels so right.”

— Debby Boone, You Light
Up My Life

Immanuel Can: Okay, Tom. Remember that song?

Tom:hated the song, but I was wildly infatuated with Debby. I think I even had her poster on the wall in the basement bedroom I shared with my younger brother. I could just barely slide a female pop star (completely and decorously attired, I hasten to add, in a beige dress that did up at the neck and went down to her ankles) past my parents because “She’s a Christian!” Of course, I was all of sixteen at the time. Sadly, nothing permanent came of that little obsession: Debby has since married a fellow believer and, unlike many celebrities, has stuck with it going on forty years now. Good on her.

IC: Uh … right.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Snatched Up

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Tom: So we did the Millennium, IC. Care to walk me through the ‘Rapture’?

Immanuel Can: I thought that was the same as the Second Coming. Next you’re going to tell me that Israel still exists and that I wasn’t predestined to election before the foundation of the world.

Tom: Do I need to put a </sarc> at the end there? Never mind. Sometimes you open a can and the worms just go everywhere ...

IC: Well, one way to manage the worms is to focus on making the distinction between the Second Coming and the Rapture.

Tom: Okay, then.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Evidence for the Rapture in Revelation [2]

People who haven’t read the Bible tend to think the doctrine of the rapture is based on the prophetic visions of John in Revelation. This is not actually the case; the rapture as an event is taught explicitly only in 1 Thessalonians, while the mechanics of the believers’ translation into glorified bodies during that same event are discussed in 1 Corinthians. In fact, we don’t find the rapture taught in Revelation at all; its truth is simply assumed.

However, what we do find in Revelation is very much consistent with Paul’s teaching in 1 Thessalonians which, if we believe in the inspiration of scripture, should not surprise us in the least. Since even Christians increasingly reject the Bible’s teaching about the rapture, I thought it might be a good time to have a look at the evidence we find in Revelation for the rapture of the church, some of which even points to a pre-tribulation rapture.

There is plenty of that, as we began to discover in Sunday’s post. You may find it useful to read that one first if you haven’t already.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Evidence for the Rapture in Revelation [1]

Oddly, as we approach the end of our present age, the Bible’s teaching about the rapture of the church is increasingly falling into disrepute among believers. Some call it false teaching, others ridicule it as a scare tactic, still others claim Paul never taught a “rapture” at all. Some reject it because it clashes with their established eschatological beliefs, others because they are ignorant of the scriptures that teach it, still others because they dislike the idea of Christians getting to view the end of the world from the press box instead of from down on the playing field where (they believe) we belong.

Friday, March 10, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Eternity In Their Hearts

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon makes the argument that God has put a longing for the eternal into the human heart, yet seems to have provided less revelation about eternity than some of us might wish. And notwithstanding the fact that we’ve had plenty more prophetic revelation since the book of Ecclesiastes was written, we still have a tendency to speculate about what lies in store for us at the end of history as we move into eternity.

Tom: We’re discussing a recent Todd Billings post at Christianity Today entitled “The New View of Heaven Is Too Small”. What was your last point, IC?

Immanuel Can: Serious Christians need some kind of counter to the common misconception that the eternal state involves a lot of unrelenting, undifferentiated, disembodied, white-clad, purposeless hanging about on clouds …

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

A Cave Full of Fumes and a Law Etched in Stone

I have mentioned the first century Greek biographer Plutarch in a couple of previous posts as I am currently wading through his compiled Lives of famous Greeks and Romans, including everyone from Theseus (he of minotaur-killing fame) to Julius Caesar. Among the writers of antiquity, I find Plutarch especially of interest because he lived during the period in which the New Testament was written. He is more of a historian than an observer of the culture of his own day, and maintains a studiously neutral approach to his subject matter.

All the same, after about 1,000 pages, you start to get a feel for what makes a man tick: how he thinks about the world, what he values or dismisses, whether he is religious or not, and if so, what his beliefs mean to him and how they affect his life. Plutarch is no exception.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Bible Study 11 — Context [Part 5]

Another instalment in the re-presentation of our 2013-2014 series about studying the Bible using methods deduced from the Bible itself. The series introduction can be found here.

The second Bible study tool we are discussing is context. For justification, see the first post on this subject.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Too Hot to Handle: Bad Reasons to be Nondenominational

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Christianity Today reports that about one in six Christians now refer to themselves as “nondenominational”, which is about double the number who did so as recently as the turn of the century.

Tom: Gallup says:

“Increasingly, Christian Americans … prefer to either identify themselves simply as Christians or attend the increasing number of nondenominational churches that have no formal allegiance to a broader religious structure.”

What do you think about that, IC? It’s not all good news, is it?

Immanuel Can: No, probably not. Some of it is.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Faithful and True

Nobody likes being told they are wrong. It’s hard on our pride. For this reason, we may behave very badly in the process of being corrected. But if you’ve ever stumbled around in the dark, looking for answers and living with the painful consequences of your own mistakes, then you may have come to appreciate the value of a faithful and true witness; one who risks your anger and hostility to tell you the real story about yourself; one who cares enough to get involved when others would simply keep quiet, go about their business and let you continue in your misery. Faithful and true witnesses are rare and precious.

And if you have ever told the truth in front of hostile men and women who don’t want to hear it, then you know the cost of faithfulness and truth in giving testimony.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Two Suppers

The differences between the things that are and the things we perceive are probably too great to enumerate.

In North America many of us live in suburbia alongside what appear to be perfectly pleasant, civil human beings. And by the standards of our day they are. Sure, like everyone they have secrets — desires that they wouldn’t express during a family get-together and things they have done about which nobody is aware — but by and large these are pretty normal, civic-minded, responsible individuals.

Have they sold their souls to Satan? We would say it’s unlikely, even absurd.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

What Does Your Proof Text Prove? (14)

Garrett Jones wants to straighten out a very important scriptural misconception.

Perhaps you have read that the Lord Jesus will one day “rule the nations with a rod of iron” and have always understood the rod metaphor to convey irresistible might and the instantaneous crushing of all rebellious impulses.

That’s an immature take, says Garrett, a caricature of God’s intentions for our world, the equivalent of your kid’s refrigerator artwork. You are reading the passage as if it speaks of an angry God who is going to “spank everyone with a long metal stick”, in ignorance of its real meaning.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Seeing and Being Seen

The first chapter of John is all about seeing and being seen.

We begin with a God who cannot be seen with the human eye or fully understood with the human brain — no man has ever done it — and a God who has allowed himself to be seen in all his grace, truth and moral glory.

Then John sees Jesus coming toward him. His first spiritual impulse is to ensure others see him too. “Behold,” he cries. “Behold, the Lamb of God.”


Sunday, September 20, 2020

Time and Chance: The Post-Game Show

The heavens declare the glory of God and God’s invisible attributes have been clearly perceived in the things that have been made; our Old and New Testaments are in absolute agreement on this. Even if the Creator had never uttered a word to his creatures, men would be without excuse.

We would also be hopelessly confused, frustrated, and conflicted, grasping for an explanation of meaning and purpose that forever eludes us, feeling the pull of eternity in bodies destined only for the grave.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Time and Chance (38)

Revelation is a glorious thing.

The phrase “through a glass darkly” is often used to describe our current condition: we do not know everything we wish we knew about God’s purposes for us. We would like to know more; of course we would.

But when we apply that biblical phrase to ourselves, I believe we are erroneously putting ourselves back twenty centuries in time and assuming ourselves to be in the same condition as the Christians to whom Paul wrote in the mid-first century AD with respect to the knowledge of God and his purposes.

And yet we are not in their situation. Not at all. We are much, much better off than they were.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Too Hot to Handle: The Rapture and the Wrath of God

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Not too long ago a major news and commentary website complained about “evangelicals’ toxic obsession with the end times”. That sort of thing is to be expected from unbelievers. But more and more, I am seeing the same kind of dismissive language used by Christians.

Tom: “Rapture” is not a term we find in the Bible, but it may be reasonably applied to the events to which the apostle Paul refers in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Matthew Henry, whose eschatology was neither Pre-Millennial nor Pre-Tribulation, used the word “rapture” in his commentary on Thessalonians back in the early 1700s, long before J.N. Darby or others who articulated the Pre-Trib position in their own generations. For most critics of Pre-Tribulationism, the argument is not so much about whether the church will be “snatched up”, but when.

But whatever we may call it, Immanuel Can, it’s my sense that the teaching about a return of Christ for the church prior to the Great Tribulation has never been in greater disrepute among God’s people. Does that seem a fair statement?

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

A Cup of Weak Tea

“Facts don’t care about your feelings,” Ben Shapiro is fond of saying. Unlike much of his recent book The Right Side of History, that statement is fairly accurate.

But facts also don’t care about your eschatology. Not a bit. Premillennialist Bible teachers and popular writers who make careers out of dogmatically applying specific prophecies to current events tend to find this to their chagrin — well-known date-setter Harold Camping being one recent example.

Facts take no joy in embarrassing the likes of Camping. They are not mean-spirited. They simply are what they are.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Anonymous Asks (28)

“How did people know about God before the Bible?”

Good question. Most of human history was a Bible-free zone.

The Bible as we know it — the 66 books with which Protestants are most familiar — is actually a relatively new thing, which is probably what the writer of today’s question is getting at. Roughly speaking, the individual books found in our Bibles today were written over a 1,600 year period beginning about 3,500 years ago, which means almost half the history our Bibles record took place millennia before anything “official” was done to preserve it.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Resting and Standing

“But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.”

The very last verse of the book of Daniel is a personal promise from a mighty angel to an Old Testament saint three times called “greatly loved”. It assumes something the Old Testament refers to rarely and about which Judaism today says next to nothing: a future for godly men and women beyond this present life.

The angel doesn’t formally teach this so much as he simply takes it for granted: “You will lie in your grave for a bit, then God has something specific in mind for you after all that.”

I wonder what Daniel thought about it, but not even the greatest Bible expositor or translator can tell me that. The book of Daniel ends there. As usual, God gets the last word.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Recommend-a-blog (28)

Adam Ford is the guy who started the Christian news satire site Babylon Bee. If you’ve missed that so far, well, that’s probably okay, provided you have no sense of humor. If you do, it’s a little bit like having missed Monty Python’s Flying Circus (minus the occasional bout of virulent rudeness) in the early seventies. Except with the Bee, more often than not there’s a sharp spiritual point to go with the guffaws.

Adam sold the Bee a month ago to concentrate on his new project, the Christian Daily Reporter, a plain-Jane news aggregator. CDR is ... well, why don’t I let Adam tell you in his own words?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Say Yes to the Dress

“The fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.”

The book is Revelation, and before us is the marriage supper of the Lamb. The Bride is a certain subset of God’s people (we shall not revisit that discussion in detail here), and others among God’s redeemed are present to celebrate. The Bride has clothed herself with “fine linen, bright and pure.”

It’s the most uplifting picture in several chapters of what is, at times, a very dark book, and it is the great hope of the Church.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Too Hot to Handle: Debby Boone Theology

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Agents of Change

Are you an agent of change in your local church? Maybe you should be — of a certain very specific sort, of course.

Several recent studies in other areas of the Bible have led me back into Revelation 2 and 3, the letters to the seven churches. And one thing we see the Head of the Church saying repeatedly to those he loves is that they need change of one sort or another: to Ephesus, get back to the first works; to Pergamum, stop subscribing to false teaching; to Thyatira, stop tolerating it; to Sardis, finish the job you started; and to Laodicea, be zealous and repent.

Change, change, change.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Too Hot to Handle: Snatched Up

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Things Prepared

To have had truth made known to you is not the same as understanding truth.

Parents will grasp this instantly. You’re correcting your five-year old, and he asks why, so you explain. He can process the words. He can retain the words. They have been “made known” to him, and they have become part of his experience. They reside in his memory, where he can access them and make use of them when he grows into them.

But your words are not of much practical use to him in the moment, because he doesn’t yet fully comprehend them.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Too Hot to Handle: Eternity In Their Hearts

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Too Hot to Handle: Sophistry

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

We’ve all seen this story before. Those of us who’ve lived long enough to remember Hal Lindsey have seen it repeatedly: a guy who specializes in the study of prophecy and has been teaching one book of the Bible for thirty years all over the world. His bread and butter (often quite literally) is finding something new to say about the same old subject that is also both current and, ideally, sensational.

Tom: And so, hot on the heels of Hanson Robotics’ press releases about their new “artificial intelligence” creation (and ‘her’ subsequent appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s show), here comes Bible teacher Mark Correll with his latest twist on prophecy: the first beast of Revelation 13 could be … AI.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Details, Details …

Hebrews says that God spoke by the prophets (and presumably to the prophets) “at many times and in many ways”. Among these methods were visions, dreams and riddles.

The apostle Peter had one such experience on the housetop of Simon the tanner while waiting for a bite to eat and praying. Luke says, “He fell into a trance.” Peter heard a voice uttering actual words (as opposed to merely receiving an impression) and saw an accompanying vision, but the end result was perplexity, not sudden clarity.

Peter had indeed witnessed something spiritually meaningful, but had yet to find the appropriate context in which to apply the instruction he had received.

Monday, January 29, 2018

A Bright Thought for a Brisk Winter Morning

Life is affliction.

Too dark an opener? Maybe. But it’s true.

It’s too short for one thing, gone before we fully appreciate it. “Dust”, says Moses. Like a dream. We wither like grass. We are swept away like a flood. Seventy years on average. Eighty maybe, if we’re unusually robust. Almost nothing. At some point after we enter this world, we discover that death is a universal reality. From that moment on, the spectre of our own imminent demise and that of all those we love hovers over, informs, taints and affects every moment of our lives. Affliction.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: Bad Reasons to be

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Body and the Local Church

“It’s very clear from scripture that the expectation of the church is that it grows (Ephesians 4)”
— Crawford Paul

This is an interesting statement, and it’s useful in helping us to consider the difference between the Church Universal and any given local gathering of saints, denominational or otherwise. See, I’m not entirely sure it IS the Head of the Church’s expectation of his local churches that they always be in a state of perpetual growth.

The letters to the seven churches in Revelation clearly contemplate local gatherings in danger of having their lampstands removed. That’s not a good thing, but it’s a recognized reality. And even if those seven letters hadn’t been written, human nature, history and simple observation should probably make us reluctant to consider local churches as much more than temporary fixtures in a much greater plan; pawns on the divine chessboard, if I can say that without offending too many who have invested their lives in the “local testimony”.

That being the case, so much for expectations.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

You Don’t Want To Be ‘That Guy’

I wonder what it was like for the Jews who sang David’s psalms.

I suspect a bunch of them were kind of like we tend to be. You know how you can sing a hymn 100 times and on the 101st time it suddenly dawns on you what the writer was trying to communicate.

The same words were all there before; they all meant the same thing they mean when you figure them out, but somehow you sang them over and over again from childhood without really processing them. Maybe you were reading the music and trying to figure out if you should go for that high note or drop down an octave for safety’s sake; or a kid down the pew was fidgeting and kept dropping crumbs from the cookie you wish her grandma hadn’t given her; or you were somewhere else entirely in your own head, possibly contemplating missing the NFL pre-game show.

Whatever the distraction may have been, you sang those words but didn’t register them. You missed the point.

I’ve certainly done it enough.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Exit, Stage Left

What makes a church a church?

The presence of Christ among his people? Yes, that’s surely critical. That we meet in his name, according to his will and doing the things that he himself would do if he were here with us? Yes, that is our assurance of his presence. That we follow the pattern of the early believers and commit ourselves to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer? Absolutely.

Question: What happens if we stop remembering the Lord in the breaking of bread? Are we still a church any sense that matters to God?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

That’s MY Mail You’re Reading

I came across a very cool website.

RationalWiki is basically a repository of unbelief designed to show people how and where the Bible is (in their view) untrue. Somebody has gone to a lot of effort to attempt to debunk scripture and compile evidence of its alleged irrationality.

Possibly the coolest section of all is the page on ‘failed’ prophecy, which begins this way:

“Some Christians claim that fulfilled prophecies prove the Bible’s inerrancy … mainstream Christians will actually claim that, for example, the Gospels are historical evidence of Isaiah being accurate prophecy (rather than works written with a copy of Isaiah to hand to claim fulfilment of prophecy), therefore the Bible is accurate and Jesus is Lord.”

You know, I think they’re probably correct about Christians claiming such things, though they don’t provide specific examples. But they have a bigger problem: they’re reading my mail. Small wonder they’re a bit confused.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Out of the Closet and Out of the Sea

Globalism is out of the closet. Finally.

For years now, politicians from countries all over the world enraptured with the Ideology That Dared Not Speak Its Name have pursued their dream of global government. Until the end of last year, they were savvy enough to do it behind the scenes, giving the occasional barely-perceptible nod to national interests in order to avoid raising the hackles of the rank and file that their policies had impoverished and unemployed by the millions. Attentive observers of Washington and the Eurozone noticed something was a bit off, but recognized that being overly vocal with their suspicions would tend to nuke their credibility with the audience that pays the bills.

Hey, even political commentators have to eat, right?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Truth by the Bucketload

We have a lot of truth available to us, almost surely more than at any previous period in human history. We certainly have everything we need for the purpose of pleasing God during this present era. We have truth by the bucketload. Truth by the truckload. Torrents of cascading truth.

But we do not have it all. Not by a long shot.


Relax, I’m not talking about revisiting the question of inspiration in the Apocrypha or credulously skimming pseudepigraphal volumes in hopes of finding hidden spiritual gems. Some of these ancient sources may indeed preserve words that originated with God, but sifting such gold out of all the inauthentic dross in which they now reside would be a task no scholar, however spiritual, could credibly presume to undertake.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Just Play the Hits

Bear with me. This is trivial. And then maybe it isn’t.

Last night I dreamed I drove down a long, winding highway in the dark to a great lodge, festively lit. Upon parking, I was greeted deferentially and shown to a huge stage with sound, lights and seating for thousands. People with tickets and drinks in hand were gradually being seated, talking among themselves. A crew was wiring up mics and amplifiers, a sound man was testing levels. A buzz was in the air.

I looked at my watch: it was 7:25. My host said, “You’re on at eight.”

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Inbox: The Book of Life in the Book of Revelation

The book of Revelation contains the majority of the Bible’s references to the moderately mysterious and much-discussed “book of life”. No study of the subject (such as the one beginning here and concluding here) that failed to address these verses would be particularly useful.

This one may not be either, but let’s at least take a crack at it.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

The Stakes

A good writer makes you care about his characters.

When you’re reading a novel, you are probably not consciously asking yourself at every moment, “Does this person I’m reading about really matter to me?” Being occupied with such questions takes you out of the story and defeats the purpose of the narrative. You simply find the characters likable or despicable, interesting or uninteresting, and on that basis you decide whether to continue reading.

Their motives matter, and what’s at stake for them matters, in ensuring that you remain engaged in the unfolding drama.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Pretending to See the Future

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Very First Thing

The apostle John is in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day. I will leave the reader to work out precisely what that means.

E. W. Bullinger was sure John is telling us he saw the prophetic “Day of the Lord”, and there is no doubt John did precisely that. Others who have grown up with the expression are convinced John means to say that the things he experienced occurred on a Sunday.

I don’t know that the distinction is worth fighting over. What strikes me instead is the disconnect between what John sees and the very first thing he writes about it.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Three Songs of Moses

I’m not sure I can easily picture the Moses of this 1861 Ivan Kramskoy painting “Prayer of Moses” breaking into song.

Can you?

Some Bibles, including my ESV, give Exodus 15 the title “Song of Moses”. Technically this is true, because we read that Moses and the people of Israel sang the words that follow to Jehovah after the crossing of the Red Sea and the destruction of the Egyptians. We don’t actually read that Moses was the one who wrote it, though most scholars assume it and it seems likely.

But there are three “songs” in scripture attributed to Moses, and he may well have written more.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Quote of the Day (10)

From David Cambell’s Illustrations of Prophecy, 1839
Students of prophecy make reference to a future geopolitical entity described in detail in both Daniel and Revelation. In scripture it is called the “fourth kingdom”. Some Bible students also refer to it as the “revived Roman empire” because it will be the spiritual and political reanimation of ancient Rome.

Neo-Rome is consistently depicted as being comprised of ten divisions or kingdoms. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image in Daniel 2 has ten toes. The fourth beast of Daniel 7 has ten horns, as does the seven-headed monstrosity energized by Satan’s power that John saw in Revelation 13, and the beast on which the great prostitute rides in Revelation 17.

This ten nation confederacy is said to “devour the whole earth, and trample it down, and break it to pieces”. So, you know, fairly significant stuff, at least to those of us who believe these things are still to take place in our world.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Inbox: Who’s Getting Married?

The “Bride of Christ” is not a term found in the Bible.

There, I said it.

Someone is bound to take umbrage, because it’s an expression very commonly heard in Christendom. Even the very useful assumes its validity in asking the question “What does it mean that the church is the bride of Christ?” and in going on to note that “In the New Testament, Christ, the Bridegroom, has sacrificially and lovingly chosen the church to be His bride”.

Is that quite right? Let’s have a look.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Fulfillment That Isn’t

God doesn’t always work exactly the same way.

Now he is consistent. He does not change his nature from one day to the next. His character is immutable. But he is also endlessly creative, as the world around us and the cosmos well demonstrate.

So when we study the Old Testament prophets we should not be surprised to find that the Lord uses consistent, repeated themes throughout history. It is in his nature. We should also not be surprised at the occasional unexpected and creative twist. That also has ample precedent.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Blink and You’ll Miss It

The “Rapture, I mean.

Or maybe the Judgment of the Sheep and Goats. Or both.

Has the Church failed to notice the return of Christ to earth to judge the nations?

Or more specifically, did his prophesied return actually take place in AD 70 when, under Titus, the Romans laid siege to Jerusalem, eventually conquering the city and sacking the temple, thereby fulfilling the word of the Lord about it that “not one stone will be left upon another”?

Some Christians certainly think so.