Posts Tagged ‘Religion and Spirituality’


Thomas IceBy Dr. Thomas Ice
Pre-Trib Research Center

And the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him.” – Ezekiel 38:1-2

“This was the final message in this series of six night oracles delivered by Ezekiel,” notes Ralph Alexander. “A central concern throughout all these night messages had been the possession of the land of Israel.” “This series of night oracles was given to encourage the exiles that ultimately God would remove these invaders and restore this land to Israel.” [1] A wonderful message indeed to which those who love Israel still look forward to today!

This prophecy is divided into two major sections. In the first section Ezekiel reveals the invasion by Gog with his allies (38:1-16). The second section reveals to us God’s judgment that will befall Gog and his associates (38:17-39:16). This great prophecy begins with Ezekiel noting that it was not his idea to deal with the matter of Gog’s invasion of Israel instead it was God who imitated and communicated this prophecy through verbal revelation, “the word of the Lord came to me saying.”

Son of Man

Ezekiel is called “son of man” throughout the book. “Son of man” is used 93 times in Ezekiel to refer to the prophet, with the first use found in 2:1. Why is Ezekiel so often addressed by God as “son of man” when he is about to receive revelation from the Lord? It appears that “son of man” underscores his humanity in relation to God. In other words, God is the One who is the Revealer while Ezekiel, as a human, is the recipient of the Divine message that he is to pass on to other human beings. Thus, Ezekiel is passing on to us the infallible prophecy of these two chapters, which will surly come to pass.

Set Your Face Toward Gog

Ezekiel is told to set his face “toward” or “against” Gog. The Brown, Driver, and Briggs (BDB) Hebrew Lexicon says, the Hebrew word translated “toward” is a preposition that denotes “motion to or direction towards (whether physical or mental).” [2] BDB also tells us that when “the motion or direction implied appears from the context to be of a hostile character,” then it has a negative connotation and would be translated “against.” Ezekiel is told to turn his face in the direction of the nation Gog, because the Lord is against him. Later in the sentence the text says for Ezekiel to “prophesy against him,” that is Gog. The sense of this passage is that God is initiating the attack by Gog against Israel and the Lord is against or opposed to Gog and his allies. But just who is Gog? The identification of Gog has been a greatly debated issue.

The Hebrew proper noun “Gog” occurs 12 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. [3] All but one use occurs in Ezekiel 38 and 39 (Ezek. 8:2, 3, 14, 16, 18; 39:1 [2x], 11 [3x], 15). The only non-Ezekiel occurrence is in 1 Chronicles 5:4 and says,

“The sons of Joel were Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, Shimei his son.”

Other than demonstrating it was a real, proper name, the 1 Chronicles reference contributes nothing to our study of its use in Ezekiel and is not related to the Gog of Ezekiel’s prophecy. Whoever he is, Gog appears in this context to be a person, leader and ruler that God has told Ezekiel to prophesy against. Because of the frequent use of Gog in this passage, “we conclude, therefore, that Gog is the most important person or nation in this coalition,” [4] declares Mark Hitchcock.

The passage says that Gog is from the land of Magog. Some have said that Gog is a reference to the Antichrist. Charles Feinberg is right when he says, “but for this there is not a shred of biblical or nonbiblical evidence.” [5] Some have suggested that Gog is a name “arbitrarily derived from the name of the country, Magog, but this is not valid because Gog appears in 1 Chronicles 5:4.” [6] “The name Gog means ‘high, supreme, a height, or a high mountain.'” [7] The only references to the Gog of Ezekiel’s prophecy appear in the passage itself and there is virtually no information about Gog outside the Bible in history. However, when Gog leads his invasion of Israel he is said to come “from the remote parts of the north” (Ezek. 38:6). Louis Bauman tells us that “L. Sale-Harrison says in his booklet, The Coming Great Northern Confederacy: ‘It is interesting to note that the very word ‘Caucasus’ means ‘Gog’s Fort.’ ‘Gog’ and ‘Chasan’ (Fort) are two Oriental words from which it is derived.'” [8] So there does appear to be a faint reference to Gog in the general area of Russia that Gog is likely to be from.

Who then is Gog? Bauman says, “Without doubt, Russia will furnish the man – not the Antichrist – who will head up that which is known to most Bible students as ‘the great northeastern confederacy’ of nations and lead it to its doom upon the hills of Israel’s land.” [9] Hitchcock believes “the reason Gog is singled out eleven times by God in these two chapters is because God is the general over this coalition of nations in its great military campaign against Israel.” [10] Hal Lindsey tells us, “Gog is the symbolic name of the nation’s leader and Magog is his land. He is also the prince of the ancient people who were called Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.” [11] Arnold Fruchtenbaum informs us: “Who Gog will be can only be determined at the time of the invasion, for ‘Gog’ is not a proper name but a title for the rule of Magog, just as the terms ‘pharaoh,’ ‘kaiser,’ and ‘czar’ were titles for rulers and not proper names.” [12]

The Land of Magog

Gog the leader of the invasion of the land of Israel is said to be “of the land of Magog.” The proper noun Magog is used four times in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament. [13] Magog is used twice in the passage we are investigating (38:2; 39:6) and twice in genealogies (Gen. 10:2; 1 Chron. 1:5). Genesis 10:2 says,

“The sons of Japheth were Gomer and Magog and Madai and Javan and Tubal and Meshech and Tiras.”

1 Chronicles 1:5 is basically a repeat of the genealogical information from Genesis 10:2. The fact that Magog is used in the table of nations (Genesis 10) [14] provides a basis for tracing the movement of one of the earliest post-flood descendants of Noah.

It appears that Ezekiel is using the names of peoples, primarily from the table of nations, and where they lived at the time of the giving of this prophecy in the sixth century b.c. Therefore, if we are able to find out where these people and places were in the sixth century b.c. then we will be able to figure out who would be their modern antecedents today. I believe we will be able to accomplish this task and be able to know who will be involved in this battle if it were to come to pass in our own day.

It is probably fair to say that most scholars and experts would trace Magog’s descendants to the ancient people that we know as the Scythians. Chuck Missler notes that a wide collection of ancient historians “identified Magog with the Scythians and southern Russia in the 7th century b.c.” [15] These ancients include: Hesiod, Josephus, Philo, and Herodotus. [16] Josephus lived in the first century a.d. and said, “Magog founded the Magogians, thus named after him but who by the Greeks are called Scythians.” [17] Bauman tells us that Magog and his descendants must have immigrated north after the Flood and that “the Magogites were divided into two distinct races, one Japhetic, or European, and the other Turanian, or Asiatic.” [18]

Who are the Scythians? Edwin Yamauchi tells us that the Scythians were divided into two groups, a narrow and broad grouping. “In the narrow sense, the Scythians were the tribes who lived in the area which Herodotus designated as Scythia (i.e., the territory north of the Black Sea),” notes Yamauchi. “In the broad sense the word Scythian can designate some of the many other tribes in the vast steppes of Russia, stretching from the Ukraine in the west to the region of Siberia in the east.” [19]

Endnotes


[1] Ralph Alexander, Ezekiel (Chicago: Moody Press, 1976), p. 118.
[2] Francis Brown, S. R. Driver, and C. A. Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (London: Oxford, 1907), electronic edition.
[3] Based upon a search conducted by the computer program Accordance, version 6.4.
[4] Mark Hitchcock, After The Empire: Bible Prophecy in Light of the Fall of the Soviet Union (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1994), p. 16.
[5] Charles Lee Feinberg, The Prophecy of Ezekiel (Chicago: Moody Press, 1969), p. 220.
[6] Feinberg, Ezekiel, p. 220.
[7] Hitchcock, After The Empire, p. 17
[8] Louis S. Bauman, Russian Events in the Light of Bible Prophecy (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1942), p. 23.
[9] Bauman, Russian Events, p. 26.
[10] Hitchcock, After The Empire, p. 17
[11] Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1970), p. 63.
[12] Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events (Tustin, CA: Ariel Press, [1982] 2003), p. 106.
[13] Based upon a search conducted by the computer program Accordance, version 6.4.
[14] The table of nations is a term used for the records of the descendants Noah and his three sons: Ham, Shem and Japheth. Every human being on planet earth is a descendant of Noah and his three sons. If we could trace our genealogies far enough back we would find that we all descend from Noah through either Ham, Shem or Japheth.
[15] Chuck Missler, The Magog Invasion (Palos Verdes, CA: Western Front, 1995), p. 29.
[16] Missler, Magog Invasion, pp. 29-31.
[17] Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, vol. 1, vi, i as cited in Hitchcock, After The Empire, p. 19.
[18] Bauman, Russian Events, p. 23.
[19] Edwin M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1982), p. 62.


Chuck MisslerBy Dr. Chuck Missler
Koinonia House

End-of-the-world fever seems to have hit the masses. It’s as epidemic as whatever killed thousands of drum fish in the Arkansas River. First it was 2012 and the end of the Mayan calendar. Now animals are dying by the hundreds and thousands in a wide variety of places around the globe. Plus, a group of date setters are looking for the rapture to occur in just five months on May 21. Whether it’s due to boredom, or fear, or a desire to rouse folks from their spiritual slumber, humans are fascinated with the apocalyptic. Yet, so far, efforts to set a date for the Rapture or Judgment Day have been incorrect and … plain anticlimactic.

Animal Deaths

First, the drum fish died. An estimated 100,000 of these bottom feeders began floating to the surface of the Arkansas River on December 30. When thousands of redwing blackbirds fell out of the sky over Beebe, Arkansas, landing in the road and dropping onto people’s cars, people started to wonder, what else is wrong with Arkansas?

But, it didn’t stop there, of course. About 500 redwing blackbirds and starlings were discovered dead along a stretch of highway between New Roads and Morganza, Louisiana on Monday, January 3. In Italy, thousands of turtle doves rained from the sky onto the streets of Faenza, about 30 miles southeast of Bologna. The shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland were littered with the carcasses of two million fish. Coromandel beaches on the North Island of New Zealand were suddenly covered with dead snappers on January 4. Boaters reported seeing “a carpet of floating fish further out to sea all along the coast.” All within a few days of each other.

The series of strange animal deaths has created a flurry of interest in the end times, and there are plenty of people wondering if the end of the world is at hand.

The spate of animal deaths is a bit unnerving until each case gets investigated.

  • The USGS National Wildlife Health Center’s Arkansas bird analyses determined that the redwing blackbirds died of blunt force trauma, likely from running into things after being spooked because of New Year’s Eve noise-making. They flock together by the thousands and can easily be disturbed by fireworks or noise-makers going off at midnight.
  • The doves in Italy were examined and the vets concluded the poor birds had died of indigestion from eating too many sunflower seeds from a nearby oil factory. The seeds are hard on the birds livers and kidneys.
  • The unusual cold in December is credited for the Maryland fish deaths.
  • The drum fish, well, the problem was likely species-specific. Possibly a disease.

The USGS notes that mass animal deaths are not that uncommon. The deaths of the fish and birds in Arkansas simply brought attention to the fact that animals do die in large numbers fairly frequently. For instance, the USGS NWHC documented eight separate events in 2010 in America alone in which 1,000 or more birds died en masse. It’s sad, but not that unusual – certainly not indicative of the apocalypse … or as it has been widely called in the press … the “aflockalypse.” Remember, the vast majority of towns are happily carcass-free.

Date Setting

Adding to the excitement, a small group of believers are calling for the Rapture to take place on May 21 of this year. They’ve based their expectations on Bible code calculations made by 89-year-old Harold Camping. Harold Camping was incorrect the last time he attempted to predict the Rapture when he said it would occur in 1994. Camping is not alone in trying to make such predictions. Sir Isaac Newton declared the apocalypse had to wait until at least AD 2060.

Others throughout history have made their estimations, and have been wrong:

  • AD 1033 was believed to be the 1000th anniversary of Jesus’ death and resurrection. His second coming was naturally expected.
  • In 1179, John of Toledo predicted that the alignment of many planets during 1186 would coincide with the world’s end.
  • Pope Innocent III added 666 years to the year that Islam was founded and came up with AD 1284 as the day of reckoning.
  • AD 1689 was the year a Baptist named Benjamin Keach predicted would offer the end of the world.
  • William Miller, founder of the Millerite movement, believed the key date would be March 21, 1843.
  • Joseph Smith, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and even Charles Wesley have offered incorrect end-of-the-world dates.

Jesus said even he did not know the time of the end, saying in Mark 13:32-33

,

“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.”

Certainly, then, we need to watch and pray. Setting dates, or being fearful because of bird deaths, or making too much of the end of the Mayan cyclical calendar, all these things are unhelpful. The best thing we can do is to just keep doing the work He’s set us to do until He comes.

“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” – Matt 24:45-46

Related Links


‘Aflockalypse’ Hits California – Discovery News
Thousands of fish washed up in Chicago – Metro
Fish & Bird kills: are we getting answers or being placated? – Northeast Intelligence Network (Douglas J. Hagmann)
Camping with Rapture Loons in 2011 – BPB (Don Koenig)
Mass animal deaths cause many to search for answers – NewsNet5.com
Are Mysterious Bird and Fish Deaths Prophetic? – Charisma News Online
The ‘Aflockalypse’: Google Map Traces Mass Animal Deaths – TechNewsDaily
Learn the Bible in 24 Hours – Chuck Missler (Book)

Brannon HowseBy Brannon Howse
Worldview Weekend

In August of 2010, I predicted on my national radio program that it was only a matter of time before Glenn Beck would release a distinctively religious book that would promote his New Age Mormonism and universalism. I sensed that Glenn was setting himself up to be the politically conservative alternative to Oprah.

Many self-professing Christians cannot see what Beck is up to but there are those in the unsaved world that seem to be exhibiting more worldview understanding than some in the Christian community. The Business Insider published an article on January 4, 2011 entitled, Glenn Beck’s New Year’s Plan Sounds A Lot Like Oprah’s New Network.

Last week (second week of January 2011) Beck released his latest book entitled The Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life. The book is co-authored by psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow.

Beck’s new book is nothing less than the promotion of universalism, postmodernism, and pagan spirituality, also known as the New Age Movement.

I tried to warn America’s pastors and Christian leaders in early August of 2010, not to unite with Glenn Beck in his spiritual rally that sought to unite all faiths and look to one God. I gave these Christian leaders plenty of evidence that Glenn Beck was a practicing Mormon that was also embracing New Age paganism.

Some of these Christian leaders said that Beck was a “new Christian”, “a baby Christian”, “new brother”, a “little lamb”, or “very close to becoming a Christian.” If they think Glenn Beck meets the Biblical descriptions of a Christian then they have no clue what the book of 1 John says are the Biblical hallmarks of a true follower of Jesus Christ.

A friend of mine even e-mailed a mega pastor that was publicly supporting Glenn Beck’s 8-28 rally to ask him to be careful about embracing Beck and his black robe regiment because of some of the false theology Glenn was espousing. The pastor replied:

Glenn Beck is a new brother and he is learning and growing and coming to the light day by day as he is being discipled by [name of Christian leader removed]. There was once a day when you and I were in the same place he is now. Be careful that you don’t place a yoke on a little lamb rather than an ox.

Would this pastor say Oprah Winfrey is a Christian?

According to Christian Post, another Mega Church pastor said:

I have interviewed persons who have talked specifically with Glenn about his personal salvation – persons extremely well known in Christianity – and they have affirmed (using language evangelicals understand), ‘Glenn is saved’…He understands receiving Christ as savior.

How confusing to the unsaved world and to baby Christians it must be to have Christian leaders make this claim about being a Christian in light of Beck’s latest book. Many now believe what Beck is promoting in his book is Christianity because Pastors and Christian leaders have announced that “Glenn is saved.” I have had teenagers e-mail me and come up to me at our conferences and express how confused they are by what Christian leaders have said about Beck being saved when they have heard Beck promote New Age heresy.

In light of Beck’s religious and spiritual proclamations in his new book, this would be the week for the Christian leaders and pastors that embraced Beck on the national stage, and proclaimed Beck’s salvation, to release a press release and post a statement on their website that they disagree with Beck’s pagan spirituality and that indeed Beck is not demonstrating theology and doctrine consist with what the Bible says are the hallmarks of a Christian. These Christian leaders need to apologize for leading people to believe that Beck was a Christian or to believe that Beck held and promoted religious views that were compatible with Biblical Christianity. Dr. Erwin Lutzer, of the historic Moody Church in Chicago, correctly declared in August of 2010 on my radio program that any pastor or Christian leader involved in Beck’s rally would be involved in heresy. I agree 100% with that statement.

In his new book Beck and Dr. Ablow promote psychologist Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, New Age authors Robert Pirsig and James Redfied, Buddha, Buddhist teacher Sogyal Rinpoche, Gandhi, The Bible and the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas. Sadly, Glenn is confused and all Christians should pray that he will come to salvation in the Jesus of the Bible through faith and repentance.

On page 56 Beck says he read A Course in Miracles by Helen Schucman which is the Bible of the New Age Movement. I wrote an entire chapter in my book Grave Influence on Helen Schucman and the demon she channeled that helped her write the book.

I have several friends who were Mormons for many years before accepting the Jesus Christ of the Bible as their Lord and Savior through faith and repentance. Tracy was a Mormon for 26 years and e-mailed me to explain why many Mormons are open to New Age Spirituality:

It’s not surprising how easy it is for many LDS to get involved in occult practices based on the “power of the priesthood.” For example, energy healing (chakras), cloud-busting, and other mind-power things. My LDS friends and I were always interested in books like The Magic of Believing, Embraced by the Light, and other New Agey kinds of books. I remember seeing Star Wars when I was Mormon and how many of us in the ward (LDS congregation) were comparing The Force to the priesthood power.

Since we believed we were on the godhood track, using the phrase “I AM” in the context Glenn uses it, fits in neatly with the power of the priesthood through which worlds are created (according to Mormon doctrine). In fact, Mormonism teaches that God did NOT create the universe ex nihilo, because God can only manipulate and arrange existing matter; he cannot create it. Thus we see, from the LDS perspective, we too can become I AM, through the divine nature within us.

On page 79 Beck and Dr. Ablow promote transcendental meditation and Eastern Mysticism. On page 85 we read,

“As you commit to unlocking and bringing forth the truth inside you, don’t be afraid to pray for help. Don’t be reticent to sit with yourself in silence and meditate. Connect with the miracle of spirit, of God, that has lived inside you from long before you were born.”

Christian meditation is not about “bringing forth the truth inside of you” nor is it about contacting God that has “lived inside you from long before you were born.” This is not Biblical and any Christian that thinks otherwise is either a false convert or is Biblically illiterate. Click here to hear a short video clip by Dr. Ron Carlson on the dangers of New Age meditation.

On page 132 Beck and Ablow proclaim,

“Pray to whatever higher power you believe in…Praying that God or Nature or the Cosmos or your own internal, immeasurable reservoir of spirit allows you the courage and faith to find and then face the truth…”

In several places readers are told it really does not matter what religion or religious leader they follow. On page 157 Beck writes,

“Finding what worked for me made all the difference. Finding what works for you will do the same.”

On page 74 the reader is instructed,

“Just be sure you visit with a minister or therapist from a religion or healing discipline you actually have affinity for, or suspect you might.”

On page 236, reincarnation is promoted through the writings of Robert Pirsig’s book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

,

“…the ‘spirit’ of Chris or the ‘ghost’ of Chris, then you can say without further translation that the spirit or ghost of Chris is looking for a new body to enter.”

Beck is a very committed and knowledgeable Mormon:

I have had several Christians tell me that Beck does not really know much about the Mormon faith. That is not what Beck writes in his new book.

“I questioned everything I could think to question about the faith. I went over my doubts again and again with the church bishop. I read everything there was to read on their website and every word of Mormon Doctrine…I went to anti-Mormon literature for hints, but I found most of it to be unfair or just plain wrong. I tried every trick I could think of to find a contradiction. The problem was that I couldn’t. Mormonism seemed to explain the world and my place in it better than any other faith I had looked at.” (Page 149-150)

Beck does not believe in Hell, original sin or that Jesus is the only way:

“Latter-day Saints do not believe that your chances ever cease, even with death. They end only with the full understanding and denial of truth by your own exercise of real free will. And even then there is no ‘lake of fire.’ (Page 149)

“As Keith likes to say, ‘There’s no original sin left in the world. Everyone’s just recycling pain now.’ “(Page 154.)

“There is no infant delivered evil, out of the womb. There never has been. Not even one…Charles Manson was not born evil. Ted Bundy wasn’t. The BTK killer wasn’t. Hitler wasn’t.” (Page 162)

The Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. (Romans 3:23) The Bible says that even babies are born with a sin nature and that we are all conceived in sin. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Psalm 51:5)

“People are inherently good.” (Page 165).

The Bible says in Jeremiah 17:9, The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Beck’s book uses the phrase “Your truth” or “your true path” or “my truth” at least 23 times. Here are a few examples:

“It is never too late to embrace your truth.” (Page 124)

“What is your truth whispering?” (Page 130)

“Use compassion to stay on the path to your own truth… (Page 161)

“…determination to unearth and embrace my truth.” (Page 215)

“The fact that I am always attempting to honor my truth… (Page 216)

“There is only your truth.” (Page 220)

“You must use courage and faith to empty the hard drive of your soul and then fill it with your truth.” (Page 288)

Beck’s book promotes the New Age belief that God dwells within all:

“The third chapter of Exodus helped me start to understand how crucial it was that my focus be on finding God not just in the seas or the cosmos, but in myself.” (Page 57)

If God is everything and everywhere and inside everyone, then I figured He had to be inside me, too… (Page 58)

This is the promotion of pantheism and panentheism.

“Divine power is still inside you.” (Page 71)

“Reach out to people to steady them and enrich them and reflect back to them the light that comes from God inside them. (Page 283)

“You won’t doubt your ability to achieve what you want to achieve in this life because you won’t doubt that God is not only by your side, but inside you.” (Page 254)

Beck’s book promotes the New Age idea that you need to tap into a positive energy for a successful and happy life: (Ten times). Some examples include:

You have a polestar inside you. It is connected with all the energy in the universe. When you begin to follow that star you align yourself with immeasurable, inexplicable forces that will actually help you manifest your best intentions. (Page 79)

The current energy that flows in your favor when you stop denying what you have lived through and how it has shaped you and how you must change is the immeasurable force that you can tap into to dramatically improve your existence.” (Page 113)

…you will elicit the same positive energy from others. When you stop pretending to be just fine and start admitting that you have struggled, just as we all have, then spiritual energy will fill you.” (Page 117)

I wrote this article because I want discerning Christians to have the information they need to refute unbiblical teaching. I want Christians to be watchmen who warn their Christian family and friends about the spiritual deception of people like Glenn Beck, Oprah Winfrey, and a host of other individuals that are promoting another Jesus and another gospel.

Christians also need to be ready to explain to their unsaved family and friends why Glenn Beck’s worldview will not lead them to God as their savior but as their judge. Nowhere in Beck’s new book does he mention the Biblical gospel. What Glenn is promoting is the same lie promoted by Satan in Genesis 3:1-5. I am fearful that the spiritual poison Beck is promoting is not seven wonders that will change your life but in fact, lies that will condemn the souls of millions for eternity.

Related Links


Glenn Beck and Mormon Doctrine – BPB (Dave Hunt)
Glenn Beck’s New Year’s Plan Sounds A Lot Like Oprah’s New Network – Business Insider
Glenn Beck and Oprah Winfrey Launch New Age Programming for 2011 – WorldviewWeekend.com (Brannon S. Howse)
An Open Letter Concerning Glenn Beck – BPB (Eric Barger)
Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave – Brannon Howse (Book)


Ed HindsonBy Dr. Ed Hindson
World Prophetic Ministry

Q. What was the significance of miracles in the Bible? Do miracles still happen today?

A. Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines “miracle” as “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs” or “an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment.” When we consider the miracles of the Bible, we note that they give validity to the reality of God’s dealing with mankind, and with the messenger whom God has chosen to use to transmit His truth.

For example, when John the Baptist inquired from prison whether Jesus was indeed the Messiah, Jesus told John’s messengers:

“… Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them,” (Matthew 11:4-5).

In keeping with this idea, miracles are often called “signs,” a term which the Apostle John used towards the end of His Gospel to validate Christ’s role as the Son of God:

“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name,” (John 20:30-31).

Although miracles are recorded throughout Scripture, there are three main times in which they were particularly prevalent. These were times when God was dealing with Israel in a unique way and wanted their full attention in the process. The first was during the Exodus, under Moses and Joshua, when He was bringing His people out of Egypt and back to the Promised Land. The second was under the ministry of Elijah and Elisha, when Israel, now in the Promised Land, had fallen into apostasy and was in danger of God’s judgment, which later came in the form of the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. The third was during Christ’s earthly ministry, to announce to Israel that their Messiah had come.

Another such period is coming, during the Tribulation. The activities of the two witnesses in Revelation 11:3-13, particularly their resurrection in verses 11-12, certainly come under the heading of the miraculous, as do the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments throughout that book. In addition to serving as judgment on an unrepentant world, these events will also be God’s last attempt at bringing mankind into a saving relationship with Himself.

Do miracles occur today? Sometimes they do! Some people hold that the age of miracles is over – that it ceased when the Bible was completed. Others take the opposite position and say miracles are available to everyone today if one only has enough faith to believe they will occur. Either extreme serves to place God in a “box” and attempts to define the parameters of His sovereignty. The truth is, God can do what He chooses, when He chooses, for whom He chooses, and for whatever reasons He chooses.

Meanwhile, let us not forget the greatest miracle of all – and this happens every day, all over the world. That miracle is when a sinner accepts Christ and passes from an eternal death sentence to eternal life with Him, because of what He did on Calvary so long ago. If we have experienced this miracle, we should thank God for it. If we have not, we should make it a priority to appropriate it rather than seeking any miracles of a more temporal nature.

Related Links


Does God still perform miracles? – GotQuestions.org
Revelation 11 – SpiritandTruth.org (Tony Garland)
Confirmation of Jesus’ Messiahship – BPB (Doug Bookman)
Miracles – C. S. Lewis (Book)
Biblical Inspiration Validated by Miracles – Grace to You (John MacArthur)
Revelation (Twenty-First Century Biblical Commentary) – Edward E. Hindson (Book)


Hal LindseyBy Hal Lindsey
The Hal Lindsey Report

Since we’re fast approaching Christmas, we’ve decided to do something a bit out of the ordinary for the next two weeks. The particular edition of “The Hal Lindsey Report” available to you will depend on which network or local station you watch.

For those of you who watch the show on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) or http://www.hischannel.com/, I’ll present Part Two of my series called “Global Government Rising.” As I showed you last week, there are powerful people and organizations right here in the United States who have been working diligently for decades to bring America under the authority of a global government. It appears they are succeeding.

They are being helped immeasurably by the global economic meltdown. The debate rages over whether the economic crisis is a result of normal market cycles and risky financial practices or it’s a ‘manufactured’ crisis – meaning powerful financial families and institutions have intentionally caused it in order to benefit from it. Either way, the globalists are taking advantage of the fear and panic to pursue their ‘one-world’ agenda. If you watched “The Hal Lindsey Report” last week, you saw Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blithely tell a gathering at the European Union that the Obama Administration is using the economic meltdown to advance its agenda on climate change and energy.

In the same way, the ‘globalists’ are using the crisis to not only lay the foundation of a one-world government, but actually create the first governing bodies in that one-world regime. And the United States is eagerly signing on with the program. On the news each night, we are actually witnessing prophecy being fulfilled before our eyes.

This week, I will examine the critical Bible prophecies that describe the events we are watching unfold today. Those prophecies also describe the two leaders who will emerge to lead the one-world government that now looms in our future.

Folks, I know I keep saying this to you, but each time I repeat it, it’s even more true: Get ready! Jesus is coming soon! You see, the ‘man of lawlessness’ that will lead the one-world government cannot be revealed until the One who restrains him has been removed from the earth. ‘The restrainer’ is the Holy Spirit. And since the Holy Spirit dwells in all true believers, to remove Him from the earth means we must be removed, also. That’s what we call the ‘Rapture.’

Because we see the Antichrist’s government now being created by the nations of the world; because we see the world plunged into financial chaos and desperately searching for a solution (which is precisely how the Antichrist will achieve worldwide control); and because we have a blow by blow blueprint of these final days provided us by the ancient prophets, I can say with authority that time is short. Make sure you’ve accepted the pardon that Jesus died to purchase for you. Make sure your friends and family have the opportunity to accept this pardon, too. It’s the best Christmas present they will ever receive!

For those of you who watch “The Hal Lindsey Report” on Daystar Television Network, Inspiration Network, CPM Network, or various independent local stations, you will see a program that explains some little known facts about Christmas.

Each year, I receive many requests to examine the story of those mysterious ‘wise men’ who traveled so far to worship the new ‘King of the Jews.’ Who were they? How did they know to watch for a sign in the heavens? How long did they wait for that sign? Where did they come from? (Hint: it’s a land that is frequently in the news today.) Why did gentiles come to worship the King of the Jews? How did God use them to preserve the Messiah’s life? You’ll learn the answers to all of these questions and more this week when I discuss “The Mystery of the Magi.”

Not to worry, though, those of you who see “The Mystery of the Magi” this week will receive “Global Government Rising, Part 2” next week. Likewise, those of you receiving “Global Government Rising, Part 2” this week will see “The Mystery of the Magi” next week – Christmas Eve.

I pray that God will bless all of you for your faithful support of Hal Lindsey Media Ministries during 2010. 2011 promises to be even more exciting as the coming of our Savior and Lord draws near. Please continue to pray for our nation as she faces some of her darkest days ahead. Also, please continue to believe for God’s blessing and provision for “The Hal Lindsey Report.”

Have a wonderful and very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

[Don’t miss this week’s Report on TBN, Daystar, Inspiration, CPM Network, various local stations, http://www.hallindsey.com/ or http://www.hischannel.com/.]

Related Links


What does the Bible say about the three wise men (Magi)? – GotQuestions.org
84 Million ‘Trusted’ To Access U.S. Through Security, Prosperity Partnership – Post Chronicle (Jerome R. Corsi)
EU leaders agree to create permanent euro crisis fund – Deutsche Welle
The cashless society edges closer – The Economic Voice
Vanished into Thin Air: The Hope of Every Believer – Hal Lindsey (Book)

Jack KinsellaBy Jack Kinsella
The Omega Letter

The Bible contains sixty-six different books, written by forty different men, most of whom lived and died in different centuries, in different countries, many of them unaware of other prophets or other prophecies.

The writers of the Bible were shepherds and kings, statesmen and beggars.

All the Bible’s writers were ‘non-profit prophets’ – being a prophet of God was not a sought-after job; most prophets lived miserably and died painfully. Most, like Jeremiah, tried to talk God out of hiring them.

Yet with all of that, every book blends seamlessly into the rest, both the books that came before, and those that came AFTER. Some books of the Bible quote other books not yet written at that time. Others quote earlier prophets or sacred writing, but all are harmonious with one another.

The writing of the Scripture is nothing short of miraculous in and of itself. Its preservation over the centuries is mind-boggling, if you let yourself think about it. You and I have both experienced discussions with non-believers convinced they can prove the Bible is wrong.

They rail and babble and quote everybody EXCEPT the Scriptures, and in the end, come away as convinced as when they went in. Or get mad and just go away.

Think how many times similar conversations take place around the world, every single day.

Then, take a look at the broader view: In every generation since its compilation, the Bible has been the subject of discussion between believers and non-believers.

In every generation, non-believers have made it their mission in life to disprove the Scriptures.

Any discrepancy has been analyzed and re-analyzed by both friend and foe, read and re-read, argued and re-argued, in a million conversations over thousands of years.

Whoever successfully proved the Bible wrong on any point; doctrine, history, archeology, law, medicine, science, or geography would have single-handedly destroyed the basic foundation of the Judeo-Christian ethic.

The Bible says of itself,

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

A Book that claims to contain perfect knowledge and perfect accuracy sets a very high bar for itself. A Book that maintains that standard of knowledge and accuracy over the course of centuries – while under constant attack! – fair-minded logic demands it be accepted as perfect until proven otherwise.

It requires willful suspension of reality to argue otherwise under such circumstances.

The Bible is wholly consistent with known science. The book of Isaiah said the earth was round tens of centuries before Columbus.

“It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth. . .” (Isaiah 40:22)

Ecclesiates 1:6 reveals that the winds move in cyclonic patterns and Job tells us that light is in motion (Job 38:19-20) thousands of years before weather satellites and Einstein’s calculations proved both to be true.

Medically, the Bible tells us the chemical nature of human life (Genesis 2:7, 3:19) that the life of creatures are in the blood (Leviticus 17:11), the nature of infectious diseases (Leviticus 13:46) and the importance of sanitation to health (Numbers 19, Deuteronomy 23:12-13, Leviticus 7-9) many thousands of years before doctors were still practicing blood-letting as a treatment for disease.

The list goes on. Every historical event described by the Bible has either been confirmed by other sources, or has yet to be confirmed. Not a single historical event described by Scripture has ever conclusively been disproved.

Sometimes, it is necessary to go back and take another look at the Source and meditate on just what a miracle it is in order to get a clearer understanding of what it says. It helps to reconfirm that everything it says is true.

Despite thousands of years of editorial criticism, the Bible stands essentially unchanged from when it was first given.

A complete copy of the Book of Isaiah was unearthed as part of the Dead Sea Scroll treasures and is today enshrined in the Dome of the Tablets in Jerusalem. I have personally seen it and marveled at the fact its date could NOT be questioned.

It could NOT be younger than the day it was buried in AD 70.

But, apart from grammatical changes made necessary by changes in Hebrew grammar over the centuries, it reads exactly the same way as the Book of Isaiah in your own Bible.

It makes sense to assume the rest of the Scriptures are equally accurate, since there is no evidence to the contrary and all the available evidence supports Scripture.

The Bible’s accuracy is not limited to history, geography, science or medicine. It is equally accurate in describing the events that have not yet taken place.

The prophecies of the Bible are, from God’s perspective, ALREADY history.

“. . .yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” (Isaiah 46:11)

So not only does the God of the Bible know all things, but He has chosen to make known to us, through the Bible, what is still to come! In fact, even more than that, the God of the Bible CHALLENGES any so-called ‘gods’ to do the same.

“Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come. Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.” (Isaiah 41:21:23)

From God’s perspective, outside of space and time, everything is now, so to speak. God’s historical pronouncements are given from the benefit of Divine Hindsight. His prophetic pronouncements also enjoy the benefit of Divine Hindsight.

The Bible describes the future, but to God, it has already happened, if you can follow that line of reasoning for a minute. Since to God, it already happened, the events that remain yet future will be fulfilled as specifically as those events that have already come to pass.

Including His promise:

“I will not leave you Comfortless. I will come to you.” (John 14:18)

Maranatha!

Related Links


The Inspiration, Inerrancy, and Authority of the Bible – Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries (Ron Rhodes)
What is the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture? What does it mean that the Bible is sufficient? – GotQuestions.org
An Exposition and Evaluation of the McGowen View on the Inspiration of Scripture – NormanGeisler.net
Christ’s High View of Scripture – SpiritandTruth.org (Andy Woods)
The Last Generation – Jack Kinsella (Book)

Thomas IceBy Dr. Thomas Ice
Pre-Trib Research Center

The Olivet Discourse, delivered shortly before Jesus’ crucifixion, is the most important single passage of prophecy in all the Bible. It is significant because it came from Jesus Himself immediately after He was rejected by His own people and because it provides the master outline of end-time events. – Dr. Tim LaHaye1

The OlivetDiscourse is an important passage for the development of anyone’s view of Bible prophecy. The Olivet Discourse is made up of our Lord’s teaching on Bible prophecy that is found in Matthew 24-25, Mark 13 and Luke 21. Since one’s interpretation of the Olivet Discourse greatly impacts whether they are a premillennialist or anti-millennialist, futurist or preterist, or pretribulationist or posttribulationist, I will be attempting an extensive interpretation of Matthew 24-25.

The Contextual Setting for Christ’s Discourse

The setting for the Olivet Discourse, at least for Matthew’s account, is found in the preceding events leading up to Matthew 24. Christ had presented Himself to the nation as their Messiah, but they rejected Him. Not only did the people reject Him, but their rulers did as well. Thus, Jesus rebukes and exposes their hypocrisy and unbelief in Matthew 22 and 23. Jesus notes that this present generation of Jewish leaders is like those from previous generations who killed the prophets (23:29-36). Christ then tells the Jewish leaders, “Truly I say to you, all these things shall come upon this generation” (23:36). What things? It will be the curse of judgment, which will come upon the Jewish people through the Roman army in a.d. 70. “All hope for a turning of Israel to God in repentance has gone,” notes Dr. Stanley Toussaint. “The King therefore has no alternative but to reject that nation for the time being with regard to its kingdom program. The clear announcement of this decision is seen in these verses of Matthew’s Gospel.”2

In spite of the fact that the Jewish people deserved the approaching judgment, like a caring parent about to administer a just punishment, Christ cries out, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling” (23:37). Jesus wants to gather His people (as He will in 24:31), instead, He will scatter them via the a.d. 70 judgment (Luke21:24).

Jesus then declares in verse 38, “Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!” To what does the house refer? In the context of this passage it must be a reference to the Jewish Temple. Matthew 24:1-2 brings up a discussion by Jesus with His disciples about the Temple. It is at that time that Jesus startles them by telling them “‘Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here shall be left upon another, which will not be torn down'” (24:2). What Jesus says will be desolate, the Temple, in 23:38, is more precisely described in 24:2: both referring to the same thing – the Temple.

Next, Christ says, “For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'” (24:39). Not only does this verse hold out the certainty of soon judgment, but also the eventual promise of yet to come hope and blessing upon the Jewish nation. Alfred Edersheim, a son of the present remnant of Israel, said of this passage:

Looking around on those Temple-buildings – that House, it shall be left to them desolate! And He quitted its courts with these words, that they of Israel should not see Him again till, the night of their unbelief past, they would welcome His return with a better Hosanna than that which had greeted His Royal Entry three days before. And this was the ‘Farewell’ and the parting of Israel’s Messiah from Israel and its Temple. Yet a Farewell which promised a coming again; and a parting which implied a welcome in the future from a believing people to a gracious, pardoning King.3

So this verse not only speaks of the judgment that surely came in a.d. 70, but looked to a future time of redemption for Israel because the passage contains the forward looking word “until.” Luke 21:24 records another use of “until” by our Lord when He says, “and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Hebrew Christian Bible teacher, Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, says Israel must call for the Lord to rescue them as a condition for the second coming, based upon Matthew 23:39.4 Dr. Fruchtenbaum explains:

But then He declares that they will not see Him again until they say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord. This is a messianic greeting. It will mean their acceptance of the Messiahship of Jesus.

So Jesus will not come back to the earth until the Jews and the Jewish leaders ask Him to come back. For just as the Jewish leaders lead the nation to the rejection of the Messiahship of Jesus, they must some day lead the nation to the acceptance of the Messiahship of Jesus.5

Dr.David Cooper echoes Dr. Fruchtenbaum’s understanding when he says, “Since Jesus came in the name of the Lord, and since He will not return until Israel says, ‘Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord,’ it is clear that the people of Israel will see and recognize that Jesus was and is their true Messiah.”6 The last few verses of Matthew 23 means that judgment was coming in the near future, but, beyond judgment, deliverance and redemption awaits the Jewish nation. Judgment did come in a.d. 70 and Matthew 24 speaks of the still future redemption of Israel.

The Historical Setting for Christ’s Discourse

Matthew 24:1-3 provides us with the setting for which Christ delivers His prophetic sermon. We see that Jesus is making His way from the Temple (24:1) to the Mount of Olives (24:3), which would mean that He most likely would travel down the Kidron Valley and on up to Olivet. As He was going from the Temple “His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him” (24:1). This statement leads us to believe that they were talking to Jesus about how beautiful the Temple complex was that Herod was still in the process of remodeling and refurbishing. Such an emphasis is borne out in the parallel references in Mark 13:1-2 and Luke 21:5-6 as the disciples speak of the beauty of the Temple buildings. The Lord must have startled His disciples by His response to their gloating over the beauty of the Temple complex when He said, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here shall be left upon another, which will not be torn down” (24:2).

As 24:2 is completed, with Christ’s statement, there is a break in the narrative. The narrative picks back up in 24:3 when it says, “the disciples came to Him privately.” Mark 13:3 tells us that the disciples who came to Him privately were Peter, James, John and Andrew, and that they were sitting on the Mount of Olives looking at the Temple. This would be the same vista that many have seen today when a visitor goes to the viewing point in modern Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives that overlooks the Temple Mount with the Dome of the Rock perched upon it.

That the disciples came to Jesus privately fits the pattern that Jesus practices and Matthew records of teaching only His believing disciples once the nation rejected Him as their prophesied Messiah in Matthew 12. From Matthew 13 on, Jesus speaks publicly to the rejecting nation only in parables (Matt. 13:10-17). “Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand” (Matt. 13:13). However, many times He would later explain a public parable privately to His disciples (for example, Matt.13:10-23). In the Olivet Discourse, we see Christ following this pattern. This private explanation, which is the Olivet Discourse, means that Christ will provide His explanation of future history for the benefit of believers.

The Disciples Questions

While sitting on the Mount of Olives these four disciples ask Jesus the following questions: “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age” (24:3)? Immediately debate rises over whether these are two questions or three. If one takes the first option, then there is no doubt that the second question contains two parts to it. I believe that there are two basic questions because of the grammar of the passage as explained by Dr. Craig Blomberg as follows:

“The sign of your coming and of the end of the age” in Greek reads, more literally, the sign of your coming and end of the age. By not repeating the definite article(“the”) before “end of the age,” Matthew’s rendering of Jesus’ words is most likely linking the coming of Christ and the end of the age together as one event (Granville Sharp’s rule).7

This means that the two phrases are closely related to one another in the mind of the disciples, who formulated the question. They believed that they were linked closely together.

Clearly the first question relates to the destruction of the Temple, which was fulfilled in the Roman invasion and destruction of a.d. 70. It is equally clear that the two aspects of the second question have yet to occur in history, even though some want to see in this passage Christ’s second coming (more on the errors of preterism as I progress through the passage).

It appears likely to me that the disciples believed that all three aspects of their two questions would occur around the same event – the coming of Messiah. Why would they have thought this way? Dr. Toussaint is correct to note that the disciples were influenced by the prophet Zechariah.

In their minds they had developed a chronology of events in the following sequence: (1) the departure of the King, (2) after a period of time the destruction of Jerusalem, and (3) immediately after Jerusalem’s devastation the presence of the Messiah. They had good scriptural ground for this since Zechariah 14:1-2 describes the razing of Jerusalem. The same passage goes on to describe the coming of the Lord to destroy the nations which warred against Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:3-8). Following this the millennial kingdom is established (Zechariah 14:9-11).8

In other words, the disciples thought that all three events were related to a single event – the return of the Messiah as taught in Zechariah 14:4. As we shall see, they were right to think of Zechariah 12-14 and his teaching about Messiah’s coming. However, they were wrong to relate the impending judgment of Jerusalem and the Temple with the return of Messiah, as I hope to show in future installments of this series. Maranatha!

Endnotes


1) Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice, Charting the End Times: A Visual Guide to Understanding Bible Prophecy(Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2001),p. 35.
2) Stanley D. Toussaint, Behold The King: A Study of Matthew (Portland: Multnomah Press, 1980), pp. 264-65.
3) Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, 2vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974 [1883]), Vol. II, p. 414.
4) Arnold Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events (SanAntonio: Ariel Press, 1982), pp.212-15.
5) Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps, p. 215.
6) David L. Cooper, Messiah: His Final Call to Israel (Los Angeles: Biblical Research Society, 1962), p. 47.
7) Craig L. Blomberg, Matthew, Vol. 22 of The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1992), p. 353, f.n. 37.
8) Toussaint, Behold The King, p. 269.

Michael GleghornBy Michael Gleghorn
Probe Ministries

We can never get away from God. To some, this is quite threatening. To others, it is merely irritating or annoying. But for those who know and love God, it is deeply comforting and consoling, for it means that we are never alone.

In this article, I want to discuss an attribute of God that is often referred to as omnipresence. It’s a big word, but all it means is that God is present everywhere. It was while meditating on this attribute that David was led to pen the oft-quoted verses of Psalm 139:

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast (vv. 7-10).1

Clearly David took comfort in the fact that he could never get away from God, that there was nowhere he could go where God was not.

In a similar manner, King Solomon also spoke of God’s omnipresence in his prayer at the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem. He said,

“But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27).

Here, Solomon recognizes that unlike human beings, God’s presence cannot be localized to merely one place on the earth. Indeed, the universe itself is not sufficient to contain the being of its Creator!

So how is the doctrine that God is everywhere present to be understood? And what practical applications might this have for our lives?

To begin, it is helpful to observe that just as the doctrine of God’s eternity attempts to explain how God is related to time, the doctrine of omnipresence attempts to explain how He is related to space. Does God completely transcend space? That is, might He exist completely “outside” or “beyond” our spatial universe in some sense? Or is it better to think of Him as existing everywhere throughout all space? Then again, could it be the case that He somehow exists both within and beyond the created order? Obviously, these are deep and difficult questions. But since thinking through such things is part of what it means to love God with our minds, let us ponder these matters as carefully as we can (Mark 12:30).

God and Space

Other Scriptures certainly seem to affirm God’s omnipresence. God asks the prophet Jeremiah,

“Am I only a God nearby . . . and not a God far away? . . . . Do I not fill heaven and earth?” (23:23-24).

Here the Lord affirms that He is present everywhere, that there is nowhere in heaven and earth where He is not. But how should we understand this?

Should we think of God as “spread out” through the universe like an invisible gas? Although this might be the mental image which most naturally suggests itself to our minds, we should carefully avoid embracing it. After all, “God is spirit” (John 4:24). And a spirit, unlike a gas, is a non-physical entity.2 If we think of God as being spread throughout the universe like an invisible gas, then we might be tempted to think of God as only partially present at any one place. For instance, we might come to believe that there is a small amount of God in our bedroom, even more of Him throughout our house, and more still in the three-mile radius around our house. And this, I’m sure you would agree, is crazy!3 We don’t want to think of God’s omnipresence in these terms.

Instead, if we want to think of God as existing everywhere in space (and many theologians would caution us against this), then we ought to think of Him as being fully present at every point of space at the same time. Now admittedly, this is a difficult concept to grasp. But an analogy may help to clarify the point.

A number of Christian theologians and philosophers have suggested that we should think of God’s relationship to the world as similar to the soul’s relationship to the body. On one construal of this view, the soul is held to be “spatially present in the body,” but “not extended throughout it.” Instead, it’s thought to be “somehow wholly present at all points in its body.” In a similar way, it is said, we can also think of God as being “spatially located in the universe” and yet “wholly present at every point in it.”4

Of course, it must be emphasized that this is only an analogy. I’m certainly not suggesting that the world really is God’s body!5 The analogy is intended simply to help us understand one way in which God might be thought of as omnipresent. But it’s not the only way.

God and Spacelessness6

Many Christian philosophers do not believe that we should think of God as literally present in space. Instead, they believe that God completely transcends space, existing “beyond” or “outside” the spatial universe which we inhabit. But if this is so, then how do they think the doctrine of God’s omnipresence should be understood? Moreover, why do they believe that God is not present in space?

Let’s take the second question first. Why think that God isn’t present in space? Well, say these thinkers, consider the doctrine of creation. God created the universe ex nihilo, or “out of nothing.” Literally nothing existed (except God) “before” He brought the universe into being.7 In other words, prior to creation, not even space existed. Rather, space is brought into being by God at the moment of creation.8 But if God does not exist in space prior to creating the universe, then why should we think that He is located in space after bringing the universe into being? According to this view, there just isn’t any good reason for thinking that He is.

But wait a minute! If God isn’t located in space, then how can it still be said that He’s present everywhere? Doesn’t this amount to a denial of God’s omnipresence? According to proponents of this view, we should understand God’s omnipresence to mean that He both knows what is happening everywhere in space and that He is active at every point in space.9 In other words, God not only knows what is happening everywhere on earth, He also knows what is happening elsewhere in our solar system and in every galaxy of the universe. Moreover, He is continually exercising His power to sustain the universe in being and He is able to act anywhere He desires throughout this vast cosmos which He has created. Hence, even if God is not literally present in space, advocates of this view still insist that He both knows what is happening and is able to exercise His power anywhere in the world at any time He chooses.

Having now considered the two major views regarding how we should understand the doctrine of God’s omnipresence, we’ll briefly look at some of the difficulties that are raised by this doctrine.

Difficulties with Omnipresence

Recall how David in Psalm 139 affirms that there is nowhere he can flee from God’s presence, for God is present everywhere. But this raises a difficulty, for elsewhere in the Bible David says something which seems to directly contradict this sentiment.

Pursued by Saul in the Desert of Ziph, David, who had the opportunity to kill Saul but humbly refused, pleaded with Saul not to shed his blood “far from the presence of the Lord” (1 Sam. 26:20). But wait a minute! If God is present everywhere, as David elsewhere affirms, then what sense does it make to speak of dying far from the presence of the Lord? How can one be far from the presence of the Lord if the Lord is present everywhere?

It seems to me that the best way of handling these difficulties is to make an important distinction regarding the way in which God is everywhere present. What I mean is this. Although God is present everywhere, He is uniquely present at certain times and places when He desires to reveal Himself in some special way.

The best example of this is the unique incarnation of God the Son in the man Christ Jesus. Jesus was one person with two natures, one divine and one human. According to His divine nature, He remained omnipresent even during His time on earth. Yet in his human nature, Jesus was limited (like all other men) to a particular time and place. And it was in this more limited sense that God specially chose to reveal Himself to us. Hence, in the Gospel of John we learn that God’s grace and truth, His love and salvation, His blessing and glory, are all uniquely revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.10

In a similar way, concerning the example of David above, we can say that while God was certainly present in the Desert of Ziph, He had chosen to specially reveal Himself to the people of Israel. He was thus present to the people of Israel in a way that He was not present to the other nations. It is in this sense that David pleads with Saul not to shed his blood “far from the presence of the Lord.”

The Importance of Omnipresence

Let’s think about this in terms of a “good news/bad news” approach, beginning with the “bad news” first. Although God’s omnipresence, considered in itself, is really only good news, there is certainly a sense in which sinful men and women, much like you and me, might be tempted to regard this doctrine as bad news. Why is that?

Well, if God is always present, then like it or not, every evil thought, word, or deed that we think, say, or do is always done directly in His presence! That’s a sobering thought, isn’t it? There is literally nothing that we can ever do in a hidden or secret way. Whenever we lie or steal, commit adultery or take God’s name in vain, we do so in the presence of the God to whom we are all ultimately accountable. Indeed, Jesus warned that on the day of judgment we will even have to give an account for every “careless word” which we have spoken (Matt. 12:36)! This, at least for sinners like ourselves, is what we might call the bad news of God’s omnipresence.

But as I said previously, the reality is that God’s omnipresence is actually very good news. For it means that no matter what our circumstances, God is always present! When we’re anxious or scared, God is there. When we’re under pressure at work or having difficulties in a relationship, God is there. Yes; even if we’re sick or dying, God is present then, too. David wrote in the Psalms,

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).

For the one who’s been reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ, the fact that God is always present is very “good news” indeed!

I hope you can see that the doctrine of God’s omnipresence is not just an interesting issue for philosophers and theologians to ponder (although it is certainly that). It’s also an extremely practical doctrine that is highly relevant to almost every aspect of our lives. For wherever we go, whatever joys we encounter or difficulties we face, God is there. And for the Christian, He is present as our Protector, Savior, Counselor, and Friend!

Endnotes


1) All Scriptural citations are taken from the New International Version of the Bible.
2) See, for example, Jesus’ remarks in Luke 24:39: “Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
3) I got this insight from William Lane Craig, “Doctrine of God,” Part 8 [Podcast] (accessed August 2010), available from http://www.reasonablefaith.org .
4) These quotations come from the discussion in J. P. Moreland and William Lane Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 509-10.
5) Of course, some theologians (e.g., Process theologians) do believe that the universe is God’s body. According to them, God is like the soul of the world (which is His body). This view is usually termed panentheism, which is not the same as pantheism.
6) This section is particularly indebted to the discussion of omnipresence in Moreland and Craig, Philosophical Foundations, 509-11.
7) I put “before” in quotation marks since, if God is timeless without creation, there really isn’t literally any temporal moment “before” God brings the universe into being. The universe, along with time itself, simply has its beginning at the moment of creation. Nevertheless, for the purpose of communicating to our radio audience in the limited amount of time available, it is much easier to simply say “before” creation.
8) Moreland and Craig, Philosophical Foundations, 510.
9) Ibid., 510-11.
10) In this regard, please see John 1:1, 14-18; 3:16-21.

Hal LindseyBy Hal Lindsey
The Hal Lindsey Report

I trust you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. God is so good to us and has blessed us so graciously, that every day should be a day of thanksgiving for those of us in His ‘forever family.’ I hope you take what I had to say last week about the “Power of Praise” and apply it to your everyday walk with God.

Earlier this month, The Federal Reserve System held a special two-day event at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel on Jekyll, Island, Georgia. It was a celebration of the original meeting of bankers and politicians in the same hotel 100 years ago that eventually resulted in the creation of the Federal Reserve System.

The conference was billed as an opportunity to review the history of the Fed to see what lessons could be learned from its history; to determine if it had adhered to the original vision of its founders; and to see what light the past might shed on the future.

Now, for those of you who regularly watch “The Hal Lindsey Report,” you know that I’m not enamored of the Federal Reserve System. In fact, I think it might qualify as the most massive fraud in the history of the world. But, it is a fact of life. As we speed steadily toward the final days of this Age, I believe it may even play a role in the prophetic scenario.

This week, I am going to examine, in some depth, the history of the Federal Reserve and its ‘money trust’ ancestors; the impact it is having on our nation and world today; and the role I think it may play in the global economic system that will be controlled by the Antichrist.

To be candid, as I watch the roll-out of QE2 – the Fed’s latest round of ‘Quantitative Easing’ – and I see the impact it will have on the average American, it almost makes my blood boil. The international banking families who control the privately-owned Federal Reserve System, have robbed America blind for much of its history. And every time an American President has attempted to stop or confront those sinister forces, tragedy occurs.

Some have said to me, “Hal, why stress yourself with these events? You know they’ve been prophesied. They must happen as we draw close to the coming of the Lord. You can’t stop it.” That, my friend, is PRECISELY why I concern myself with these events! We are eyewitnesses to Biblical prophecy being fulfilled. “The Hal Lindsey Report” is my way to shout to the world that “these events” prove that Bible prophecy is accurate and is rapidly being fulfilled. That means time is short and we have to prepare ourselves and those around us for His soon return. It also means that if the Bible is true in what it says about the future, then it’s true in what it says about other things such as the possibility of redemption and and the finality of refusing that redemption. In short, fulfilled prophecy confirms the Bible’s veracity.

So, this week we’ll see how one of America’s most dominant institutions is affecting you and me and the future of every person on planet earth.

[Don’t miss this week’s Report on TBN, Daystar, Inspiration, CPM Network, various local stations, http://www.hallindsey.com/ or http://www.hischannel.com/ .

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Because of disruptions caused by holiday schedules and intense weather in some parts of the U.S., this edition of “The Hal Lindsey Report” may not be available in all areas.]

Related Links


Playing Chicken With China – FOX News
Sino-Russian Abandonment of the Dollar – The New American
Putin says Russia might one day join the eurozone – BusinessWeek
Currency Crisis! So What Happens If The Dollar And The Euro Both Collapse? – Benzinga
There’s a New World Coming: An In-Depth Analysis of the Book of Revelation – Hal Lindsey (Book)