Eschatology is the doctrine or teaching of last things -- what shall be at the end of time, what shall characterize the last days. The Second Coming of Christ, the Resurrection, the Millennium, the Tribulation, all the things prophesied to take place at the end of time are eschatological doctrines.
A personís knowledge of what is going to happen in the future should greatly determine how he lives in the present; so, Pilgrim in the Pilgrimís Progress was convinced to flee The City of Destruction because of an eschatological doctrine -- in the end, the city would be destroyed. Pilgrim left a thriving city out of fear because he believed the doctrine of coming destruction. "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house" (Heb. 11:7). A true understanding of future events will not produce flippancy or carelessness but godly faith and godly fear.
There is more attention given to subject by most churches today than any other subject about the matter is that eschatological "preaching" in most churches today does not produce a godly change in peopleís lives. They still live carnal, sinful, worldly and disobedient lives as they listen to a mystical, fanciful, exciting, miraculous and pulpit-friendly message of the tribulation-free ecstasy. Just as the Charismatic kind of faith is revealing as to its own shallowness, so the product of the modern rapture teaching should be ever so revealing as to its own impotence to change peopleís lives.
The modern "In case of rapture this car will be unmanned" thinking is completely devoid of sobriety, godly fear and godly faith. Most of the people in congregations across this land who are being promised a tribulation-free future and bright skies as they ascend up into the clouds, have never even been born again. It is the mark of an ignorant, undiscerning and unfaithful preacher to preach of rapture to sinners who are living like the devil. Tell them about hell if you really care about them! Tell them to flee the wrath to come if you really love their souls! But when a preacher tickles the ears of the ungodly giving them what they want to hear, he is serenading them to their own ruin and destruction!
The Bible is as clear as God could make it. God himself could not improve His own Word Ė Perfection canít be improved. The problem today with all the confusion as to what is going to happen in the end times is not with God, the Bible or the Holy Spirit. The problem is actually predicted as to be an eschatological problem with man. The Bible says in the last days there will be many deceivers and many who are deceived because of their own ignorance and rejection of the Scriptures.
We are not going to attempt to explain the book of Revelations, much of which has yet to be revealed, but hope to make some relevant observations for consideration and thought regarding literal vs. allegorical fulfillment of future Biblical prophecy and whether it should effect the way we live, producing in us godly faith and godly fear.
A lesson from the First Coming of Christ
How many Old Testament Bible-believers showed up for the first coming of Christ? How many learned scribes, scholars and doctors of the law embraced and accepted Christ as the promised Messiah? While the Bible does not say how many Wise Men there were, most people think there were only three, but there could have been as many as twelve: we donít know. What we do know is that the scribes, Pharisees, lawyers and doctors had all the Old Testament prophecies about Christ in their hands! What was their problem?
We can turn in our Old Testaments today and read all the prophecies about the Messiah -- that He was to come of the seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15), from a virgin (Is. 7:14), that would provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering (Gen. 22:8). We are told He would come from the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:8-12), of the house of David (Ps. 89:4), in the city Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), that the sceptre would depart from Judah at his coming (Gen. 49: 10). We are told that a Star would arise out of Jacob and a sceptre out of Israel (Num. 24:17). We are told that He would be a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Is. 53:3); He would be a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec (Ps. 110:4). We are told that he would be just, having salvation, lowly, and riding upon an ass, upon a colt, the foal of an ass (Zech. 9:9). We are told that his raiment would be parted and lots would be cast for his vesture (Psalm 22:18) ĖJust to mention a few prophecies!
What was wrong with those people? Were they not reading their Bibles? Or did they allegorize everything away instead of actually believing what it literally said? There should have been thousands of people who visited the birth of the King of the Jews! And thousands more who recognized him as the Messiah -- that is, if they really believed and knew their Bibles.
The sad fact of the matter is that there were many scholars living in the time of Christ who were very revered and respected men for their knowledge of the Old Testament Law, but didnít know the Law enough to actually see it literally fulfilled in Christ. They had their systems, charts, graphs, timelines and credentials, all they lacked was simple faith. Not one of the Jewish doctors who rejected Christ had a true understanding of the Old Testament, for if he had believed Moses and the Prophets, he would have embraced and accepted and believed in Christ who completed, fulfilled, accomplished and finished every jot and tittle they wrote.
There are many doctors and scholars living today who think well of themselves for their systems and timelines of eschatological events. They can glory in their puzzles, because what they say will happen, has not yet happened so as to prove them right or wrong. The question is simply begged as to whose chart Christ is going to follow?
There is no need for allegorical mystical interpretation, decoding or reading between the lines. If the Bible is only unlocked by the wise and prudent, then babes can never be saved. The Bible is as simple as it can be without being depreciated, and it is as complex as it must be to be accurate.
Contrasted with the cheap rapture mentality today, the Bible asks this question - "when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth (Matt. 18:8)?" The question is worded so as produce fear and faith in the hearts of Godís people -- just as when Christ was asked, "Lord are there few that be saved (Luke 13:23)?" His answer was not as simple as they wanted him to give -- He said, "Strive to enter in..." So the Bible says, "as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man (Luke 17:26)?" The eschatological application for professing Christians living in such days, is -- "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves (II Cor. 13:5)" -- out of fear. For the Bible says many shall be deceived in the last days.
The question for most professing Christians today is--"Why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). Now, if your charts and programs donít have him so coming in like manner as he left, then either your charts are wrong or the Bible is. Jesus did not start in the clouds and ascend, he started from the ground Ė the good ole turf we all walk on -- and when he comes back, he is not going to come only so far as the clouds and then turn around -- that teaching is made up by people who imagine their wishful thinking will exempt them from tribulation. Ignorance of the scripture is the root cause of all heresy. If the Bible is really correct in what it says, then Christís return to earth will be public, visible and open to the eyes of saved and unsaved Ė just as his ascension was!
Yes, the Bible says that we shall "meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (I Thess. 4:17). The problem that rapture preachers have conveniently added to the verse to have Jesus going back to heaven, when it doesnít say that. You look it up and see whether some silly rapture preacher hasnít deceived you. Since he is coming back just as he left; it is quite crystal clear that believers will rise up to him while he is still coming down, and will welcome him to the earth -- which is his purpose for coming -- to reign -- and so shall we be with him and reign with him-- where he is -- on earth! That is quite simple if you donít read the Bible through man-made, eschatological, 3-d tinted glasses.
The Bible says, "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him" (Jude 14-15).
Again, it says, "Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day" (II Thes. 1:6-10).
Again, the Bible says Christ shall "rule all nations with a rod of iron" (Rev. 12:5) and He shall reign for a thousand years. "And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands: and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years" (Rev. 20:4).
Some have conjectured since the Bible says "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (II Peter 3:8), that the millennium will only last for one day! Such is a monstrous allegorizing of clear scripture! The Bible does not say a thousand years with men are as one day, nor does it say that a thousand years are one day -- it says a thousand years with God are AS one day. In other words, time has no bearing on God. God lives in the eternal present. We should be comforted that God will keep His promises just as easily after a thousand years have passed, as he will after one day has passed. No matter how some friends want to allegorize clear scripture to make it fit into their eschatological mold, the Bible says Christ shall reign for a thousand years. Itís best to simply believe what it says.
What about the Great Tribulation?
The greatest eschatological contention among professing Christians today is in regards to whether Christians will go through the Great Tribulation. Some people answer simply on emotional grounds, trying to think positively to avoid any kind of gloomy scenario for Godís people. The best way to think however is to accept the truth whether we like it or not. It is the truth that sets men free, not positive-thinking.
Christ speaks about a time to come when there shall be "great tribulation on the earth, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matt. 24:21). Now for our friends, who prefer to read the Greek, this verse has a triple negative -- extremely rare in the New Testament. The only other verse that has a triple negative to our knowledge is Hebrews 13:5, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee," which the songwriter uses Ė "Iíll never, no never, no never forsake."
Christ was certainly not speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem or the temple, for there have been many times in history when there was far worse tribulation than that. Christ says that there will be a time -- a specific time -- when there shall be the greatest tribulation that has ever been upon the earth. That time is yet to come. At all times throughout history, Godís people have had places to run for refuge from the cruelty, tyranny and wrath of men, but the Bible says that there is coming a time when "ye shall be hated of all nations for my nameís sake" (Matt. 24:9). Never in history has it been as possible to be hated by the world all at one time as it is today in this ever- globalizing, uniting, anti-Christ world.
"But we arenít appointed to wrath!"
One of the reasons some say that Christians will not be around during the Tribulation, is because the Bible says, "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Thess. 5:9). And from that, they basically derive that we are all going to suddenly fly away from tribulation with Christ who comes to a screeching halt between earth and heaven -- not in the same manner as he left. - It is amazing what fanciful stories people can dream up from little verses like this to the ignoring of entire passages and chapters of scripture!
Believers have never been appointed unto the wrath of God -never!
But believers have always been subject to the wrath of men! Read Foxeís Book of Martyrs and numerous books on Christian persecution throughout history and see whether or not believers have been subject to the wrath of men. To say that we must all disappear so we donít have tribulation is nonsense. The Bible says, "we must through much tribulation enter the kingdom" (Acts 14:22). It is the wrath of God that really matters, and all of us can be comforted that Christ appeased the Fatherís wrath against us and provided us with so great salvation.
Godís people have faced tribulation in all ages. The Israelites suffered much tribulation from the Egyptians, yet, Israel did not have to be raptured away when God sent His tribulation upon the Egyptians. When God sends down his wrath and tribulation upon sinful men, there are no innocent bystanders affected. Moses could walk directly through the hailstorm from Pharaohís house and not be hit by a single hailstone (Ex. 9:29-33) -- Why? Because he was not appointed to the wrath of God. Godís wrath which is directed at the wicked will never touch the righteous.
Revelation says that an angel of God will go through the earth and place a mark on the foreheads of all believers so that they will not be harmed by the wrath of God which will be upon those who have the mark of the beast (Rev. 7:3; 9:4). "The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity" (II Tim. 2:19), Here is fear and faith.
God certainly can pour out all the plagues mentioned in Revelation upon the earth and not harm a single one of his saints, for His wrath is not reserved for the just but the unjust. But for God to exempt his people from all tribulation of cruel men is not anywhere to be found in the Bible or Church History. The Bible records the saints under the throne of God saying "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" (Rev. 6:10) Obviously those saints were not spared tribulation from the wicked, not till they died and went to heaven! Godís people are not appointed to wrath, but the obtaining of salvation. That goes for all Godís people living in all times, including the Great Tribulation.
Canít God deliver His people?
While believers have been subject to the wrath of devils and evil men all through time, the Bible and history are rich with temporary, providential deliverances. Daniel was delivered from the hungry, lions -- to shew the power of his God; Paul was delivered in a basket over the wall -- because God was not yet finished with him; Martin Luther was whisked away to a castle by friends -- and though he had a price on his head from the most powerful false religion on earth, yet he died a natural death. The Lord knoweth how to deliver the righteous; he doesnít need a modern rapture preacher to tell Him how.
Perhaps Revelation 12:6 and 14 sheds a little light on some future temporary deliverance for Godís saints during the Great Tribulation "And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days [three and a half years]." And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent." Then, verse seventeen says, "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of
God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." Here, it would seem, we read of both deliverance and tribulation for believers.
As a sideline, some have observed that the church is not mentioned in part of the book of Revelation, so they conclude it isnít there. Thatís about as brilliant as saying since God is not mentioned in the book of Esther, He wasnít there, or since trees werenít mentioned in the book of Philemon, therefore trees didnít exist then. Nonsense. Matthew chapter twenty-four has believers going all the way to the return of Christ -- which shall come as a thief in the night, unknown to all but the Father. It is time for believers to put away their puzzles, turn off their silly movies, scrape off their rapture bumper stickers and read their Bibles -- out of godly fear and out of godly faith!
Imminent return of Christ?
Many teach the wacky belief of the rapture as the imminent return of Christ, which greatly confuses multitudes of clear passages of Scripture. The Apostle Paul was longing for the appearing of Christ, yet he recognized that he was about to die (II Tim. 1:6-8). I wonder, since Paul was expecting to die before Christ returned, whether most "Fundamentalists" today would drop him from their mission boards and shun him from their fellowships? Oh well, Christ has been dropped by most of them anyway, itís no wonder whether Paul would be as well.
It is true that the coming of Christ is soon, and that no one will know the day or the hour. It is true that we are looking for the day when we shall see him -- which shall certainly come to all that are in the graves and on the earth. It is true that Satan shall be bruised under our feet shortly. It is true that in the last days there will be scoffers who will mock and say, "Where is the promise of his coming?" However, it is also true that certain things must happen before Christ comes. Jesus warned in Matt. 24:4 -- "take heed that no man deceive you." Why did he warn such a thing? Because there will be many deceivers, false Christs and false signs in the last days that if it were possible, would deceive the very elect (2,1:23-28). Arenít most deceived people today expecting to be raptured away? Does the modern
Christian community have enough judgment to tell a false Christ from the true?
The stage is already set for most of professing Christians today to embrace a false Christ, since they are all eagerly waiting for one they have fashioned after their own liking. The Bible tells us (Matt. 24) that there will be false Christs who will deceive many -- undoubtedly, many who were well prepared by their Baptist preacher.
II Thessalonians very clearly warns Christians about the coming of Christ and our gathering unto him -- "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God."
Professing Christianity is so completely devoid of the Truth of God that we may very well be living in the generation of the great falling away. What generation has been more prepared to fall away than our unholy generation of disobedient, ungodly sinners who have been promised rapture from all tribulation and trouble? What will they do when things donít go as well as their preacherís timeline promised them? What will they do when they are faced with the reality of peril, sword, nakedness and affliction? Like Pliable, they will turn back and fall away Ė they must.
Some are so completely sold on the rapture nonsense that if the
mark of the beast came out tomorrow, they would eagerly take it, claiming that it couldnít be the true mark of the beast since Christians are still on earth. I wonder if God would exempt their acceptance of the mark of the beast, since they were "confused" and didnít really know that was it. Or, will God seal the damnation of all who take the mark of the beast, just as he said (Rev. 14:9-11), regardless of how sincerely they hold to their eschatology? Deceived people are often sincere. Remember, a true perspective of eschatology will produce godly fear and godly faith -- not flippancy and carelessness.
A lesson from history and current events
Peopleís eschatology can be very easily molded from their own current day and time. Before the twentieth century, it was very easy to be a Post-Millenialist. It appeared that things were getting better and better. There were more missionaries going abroad than ever before, the Gospel was being spread, and there had not been any World Wars. This last century shattered the idea, which should not have been held in the first place, since the Bible already stated, "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived" (II Tim 3:13). The Bible already stated that "because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (Matt. 24:12). The Bible already stated, "as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (Matt. 24:37).
What many earlier Christmas thought to be symbols and allegories in the book of Revelation, because they could not conceive how such things could be, we can see more clearly today as able to be more literally fulfilled.
The closer we get to the end times, the easier it should be to understand many of the things the Bible talks about are certain to come. Consider people living a few hundred years ago -- most of the Bible commentators and theologians we read from today. Just because many of them where good at understanding theology, it cannot be assumed that they were also good at understanding how future eschatology could be fulfilled. Many of the eschatological views held by Christians in earlier years were molded by their concepts of how things could happen or not at that time. The world was very big back then, and concepts in the Bible that included the entire world were difficult to reconcile with current knowledge and abilities.
For Example: all the advancements in transportation in history have only occurred in the last 150 years. Before that time, the only means of transportation all throughout history was animal power (such as a horse), manpower (such as a galley ship), wind power or waterpower. That means that almost all the great commentators of the past who espoused a view of eschatology was doing so not having the knowledge we have today of modern inventions of transportation -- the steam engine, the internal combustion engine (automobiles), electricity, nuclear power (space shuttles) or airplanes. Such recent inventions most clearly show how the world could be smaller as to be controlled by one man -- an Antichrist. In other words, what we see today points more to a literal fulfillment of Biblical prophecy than to an allegorical.
Again, all the advancements in communication in history have only taken place in the last 150 years. Before that time, the only means to send a message was by a personal deliverer, pony express, ship, carrier pigeon, etc. -- such things could take weeks or years to reach the intended destination, and some never did. What would all our ancient Bible theologians who tended to allegorize future prophecies have thought if they saw the advancements in communication today? The telegraph was a tremendous revolutionary breakthrough, which was followed by the telephone, radio, television, computer, Internet, cellular and digital communication transferred by satellites, laser, and fiber optics? All such things show how small this world has become, as opposed to what it used to be.
When is history could one man literally talk to people all over the earth? When in history could one man travel to any continent he wished in a matter of hours, and then use a piece of plastic acceptable in each country as "money"? When in all history could a man so easily call down fire from heaven? We should see more clearly today to understand Biblical eschatology than earlier Christians did, and God will hold us more accountable.
Ever since Babel, the world has wanted to come back together. The Middle Ages was characterized by the feudal system. The castle was surrounded by walls to keep out the enemy, and the King protected his individual citizens who fought for him. Kings got together and formed loosely knit confederacies. States were born and today, we live in a world of nations. The Bible talks about a time when the kings of the earth shall come together to form a global government. The United Nations and world organizations and treaties and even songs -- "we are the world" -- are all moving in the direction of a literal fulfillment of Biblical prophecies. We ought to be able to see these things better than earlier Christians did, because we are obviously closer to the end.
With our current knowledge of biometric identification --fingerprints, eye retina scans, DNA, etc. all being stored today on central computer systems, it is quite easier for us to see how a mark of the beast system could be so literally fulfilled, just as the Bible says. With the food industry in the hands of big business and agriculture and property controlled and regulated by the government, it is quite easy to see how "no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name" (Rev. 13:17). So the Bibles clearly warns in the very next verse, "Here is wisdom" -- yet, how many Christians are truly seeking to he wise? "A prudent man forseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished" (Prov. 27:12). How many Christians are truly seeking to hide themselves from the evil that is coming? Do you know any? Any preparing themselves at all?
Consider the banking industry --
Throughout history, men have used gold and silver as a means of payment of debts, barter and trade have been very common, but such a system leaves a people free. Hitler said, "Gold in the hands of the people is the enemy of the state." When a government can control the money, it can control the people. Already in this country, if you do not have a bank account, you are virtually unable to accept or spend money. The Bible describes the banking system in the last days to be unable to work without a mark -- the mark of the beast. We already know how credit cards and microchips work today. Microchips are already being used in dogs, horses and some people (such as prisoners) as a matter of identification and location. The next thing for the banking industry to do is to tie a personís credit card with his biometric identification -- fingerprints, eye retina - to produce an almost foolproof means of spending money and storing personal information.
Imagine for a moment trying to explain our modern transportation, communication, monetary and computer systems to one of the knights in shining armor during the Dark Ages! He would laugh you to scorn! How about trying to explain such things to Spurgeon, Whitefield, Wesley, Knox, Trapp, the Puritans or the Pilgrims? People today, who so blindly follow the eschatologies of good men in history who only had horse and buggy, cobblestone streets and pony express only tend to forget one thing -- The Bible!
When in history has it been impossible to work without receiving a number? If you do not have a Social Security Number, you will be denied a job by virtually all places of employment in the United States. I was personally denied a job at a Christian university, because I would not use a Social Security Number. The question is when was work ever so tied to the necessity of receiving a number? Imagine for a moment, exactly how well you could live and function in this country without a SSN? Are people so blind that they refuse to see the direction all this is going?
Consider the agricultural industry --
Throughout history, the majority of people did the farming. Today, only about three percent of our population grows the food for the rest. That means that the farms are bigger now than they have ever been in all history. That means, when farmers experiment on their seeds or animals to produce bigger yields and thus more money, that if there is a problem, there is a greater potential for disaster. The Bible already says that in the last days there will be famines and pestilences in divers places (Matt. 24:7). Is it not easy to see how such a thing can happen to us with a country filled with genetically-altered and hybrid seeds which will not reproduce? What happens when these huge farms are wasted? Who will provide the food for the majority? "A prudent man forseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished (Prov. 22:3)." a true perspective of
eschatology produces fear and faith -- and faith works.
While famines have occurred all throughout history, the Bible distinctly states that they will characterize the last days. It should only be logical that when ungodly men tamper with seeds and animals to make them unnaturally bigger or resistant to some problem, that there will be a price to pay for such Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde experimentation. Men cannot perfect Godís creation, and when they act as if they can do better than God, He laughs at them, as they suffer through the famines they have created.
Consider Socialism --
Pastor Fellows, in his book, A History of Banking in the United
States, quotes Walter Williams on page 160--
"German scholars such as Fichte, Rodbertus, and Lassalle were not only the most important contributors to Nazism, but acknowledged fathers of socialism. According to them, the individual has no rights; just duties.
"Another socialist architect of Nazism, Lensch, said ĎSocialism is coming ...and to assist the growth of a new conception of state and society... socialism must present a determined opposition to individualism.í In Mein Kampf, in praise of the Aryan, Hitler said, ĎHe willingly subordinates his own ego to the community.í [It is very important to see this concept even being taught in Christian schools in this country. I sat in a leadership class taught by Bob Jones IV, where he was teaching the very exact thingó"The lone cowboy is being phased out; itís a group effort now."]
"The Catholic bishops in their ĎPastoral Letterí...said ĎIt is the very essence of social justice to demand from each individual all that is necessary for the common good.í
"The basic requirement of socialism...is the subordination of the individual to the state. This requires unlimited growth of government. One major reason for Hitlerís success was that of considerable collectivization had already taken place in the form of government control over unions, businesses, and other aspects of German life.
"Hitlerís maniacal racism was not as successful as he would have liked because the state machinery was not without its defects. Jews changed their names and otherwise disappeared. But if Hitler had an agency like our Internal Revenue Service with its massive detailed information on all of us, Jewish extermination might have been complete.
[Give to that agency computer access to all your records including your biometric identification, and you can no longer have the option of becoming anonymous. Once theyíve got your fingerprints, you are as branded cattle owned by a corrupt government. Imagine what tribulation such a global, antichrist government could do -- more than any in history!]
"Since World War II, there have been calls for bigger government, more controls, and abrogation of private property rights in America...Even if you take tiny steps in a direction, one day youíll get there."
Consider current financial securities and benefits---
While the Bible says the just shall live by faith alone, that we are to seek Godís kingdom and His righteousness, and that we are to be content having food and raiment. Most Christians today teach and expect their children to marry financially secure individuals with benefits, insurance and a good-paying job. Such people are more prepared for the anti-Christ system than they are for the lonely, difficult pilgrim pathway which requires faith alone.
A question of Preparedness
The big question is Ė Who is ready? While we should always be ready to meet the Lord, as we could die at any moment, who is ready and prepared just in case God doesnít decide to come when most people think heís coming? Are Christians prepared to face the largest, most hostile, anti-Christ global government the world has ever known? Or will it be so difficult on Christians for one reason, because they were thinking positively instead of practically. If we are wrong, and the Lord does come before the Great Tribulation, we have lost nothing, but if we are right, then the whole vast body of Christianity is completely unprepared for the evil days which are ready to come upon us and are even now at the doorstep. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear Ė out of fear and out of faith.
Indianapolis Baptist Temple, the Federal Government, and the average professing saint
Most people should be aware of the recent Government confiscation of Indianapolis Baptist Temple in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Government claimed that the church should have withheld taxes on church workers, even though the workers paid their own taxes. IBT basically said, "NO. We are not an organization of the government. We donít work for the government; and the government has no business dictating how our church is to operate." The Pastorís home was first seized and the church followed.
There has been a frightening lack of support from Fundamental churches in this country for Pastor Greg Dixon and his church. Some say that churches need to comply with the Federal Government others donít care one way or another, still others, refuse to stand up for a man because they donít agree with everything he believes.
The issue is very simple: Is the church responsible to the government? Can the government tell the church what to do? If you answer "yes," you are not alone, for there are myriads of people in other countries who believe the same way and have throughout history. If you answer "yes," then you have nothing to fear from the government, for they have never persecuted people like you, nor will they. Your brand of religion is no threat to their evil ways.
Neither the church of Galatia, Ephesus, Thessalonica, Rome, nor any other one in the Bible collected taxes for the government. But, The Lord Jesus did run the moneychangers out with a whip Ėwhat would people say of Greg Dixon if he tried that?
Throughout history there have been two kinds of churchesóthe established, politically correct church which answers to the government as its authority, and the church which answers to Jesus Christ as itís authority and is willing to pay the price. The former church is bound to follow regulations, codes, standards, requirements, orders, etc. from the government; the latter church is free to obey the Bible and pay the price.
While Christians are responsible to submit to Romans 13, some people evidently donít consider Jesus Christ to have the power He claimed when he said, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth, Go ye...some hold the federal government above the power of Christ, so in reality, it is they who are disobeying Romans 13. They also consistently redefine what Romans 13 defines as a legitimate God-ordained power Ė For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. They say that a legitimate power can be a terror to good worksócontrary to Rom. 13.
Contrary to espousing Baptist beliefs, if you believe the church should collect taxes for the government, you have just sided against everything Baptists have ever stood for Ė freedom of conscience to practice our faith according to the Word of God. You have sided against persecuted Christians in communist countries in favor of their persecutors. You have sided against preachers like John Bunyan who would not get a license from the government to preach, while thousands of compromisers who didnít have a bone of conviction in their whole bodies, have been forgotten. You have sided against Peter and John who evidently should have obeyed men, rather than God. People who submit their church to the authority of the government have never done anything great for the Lord in any day. It has been the men and women of faith who have stood for Christ and His Word, regardless of tyranny, oppositions and mockeries of men.
It is evident that the filthy rich churches of America cannot be trusted, and are the enemies of true freedom, and are ripe for the judgment of an angry God. Even so Lord Jesus, let it come!
Throughout the New Testament, the church is likened unto a flock of sheep, under the supervision of under-shepherds who are in turn answerable to Christ, the Good Shepherd, whose sheep they are. But some things really puzzle me.
First, I have difficulty visualizing sheep that are dumb before their shearers (Isaiah 53:7) as openly contending with their shepherds over their diet; whether it involves Doctrine or Practice, Creed or Conduct.
Second, I have trouble imagining sheep holding a parley to decide upon a shepherd.
And lastly, for the life of me, I cannot dream that gentle and meek as sheep are would ever foment rebellion against a shepherd and in the end would turn upon him with gnashing teeth! It is strange to me how so many "sheep" have so many characteristics of wolves. Ė Pastor Timothy Fellows, Sr.
an account by Robert Baker
THURSDAY, JANUARY 11, 2001
The following may amuse you:
I heard on the news yesterday that last week at a party in Russia a challenge went out to see who can drink the most vodka in so many hours. Two men took on the challenge. The loser went to the hospital and the winner went to the morgue. (Big deal!)
Now hear this:
The area I was in in Eastern Russia they drank a lot and there was no law to govern etc. Kids as young as 10,11,12 drunk on the streets at night, and crime was very high. I was told that in many cases children did not know who their real parents were and that 9 out of 10 marriages ended the first year.
In an area I was giving out tracts I saw one fellow with his wife, and he was carrying 6 or 7 bottles of vodka they just bought. One slipped out of his arms and crashed to the pavement. Tears came out of that poor mans eyes and I think if I were not watching he would have lapped up the spilled vodka. My heart ached and I prayed for them both. She took the tract I handed her.
Some Russian doctors have encouraged me to return, and God willing I hope to do so this year and if not this year next year (if my health holds out ad I can arrange etc. and this crazy law stuff is over).
It may shock you if I told you that I stood alone against a board of 17 or 18 men of a Christian________ when they made light of "social drinking" and it was all right to indulge according to your "Christian Liberty."
Read your KJV Bible and find out what it has to say. Some may want to give an argument, please donít just believe what the Bible says and live a life that is pleasing to the Lord Jesus Christ. Love the sinner to Christ by hate his sin.
Thursday, 11 January, 2001 By Russian affairs analyst Stephen Dalziel for the BBC
Russians drink about 40 litres of beer per person per year. It has long been recognized that Russiansí love their country. Now the health ministry is warning that there is a growing problem because of the increased consumption of beer. Deputy Health Minister Gennady Onishchenko wants television commercials for beer banned.
He claims that the rise in deaths due to alcohol poisoning last year Ė up to 28,000 from 21,000 in 1999 Ė was linked to beer consumption. This has angered the brewers, who deny that beer has caused alcohol poisoning. Four brewers in St. Petersburg have written a joint letter to Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, asking him to sack Mr. Onishchenko. They point to the financial success of the industry. Production increased by 27% in 1999 and further 20% last year.
Trinitarian Bible Society (Canada)
Rev. Robert Baker Ph.D. GEN. DIR.http://www.trinitarian.com
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The much-awaited baby has arrived!
On January 26, 3:25 A.M., our first child, Jemima Grace Fellows was born into the world. We have called her Jemima after the first daughter of Job after all of his troubles and trials; and, as the daughters of Job were beautiful and received inheritance among their brethren, so our Jemima is also beautiful and God-willing will receive inheritance among her brethren. She has a rich legacy and much to live up to, as she has already been the victim of persecution by religious hypocrites.
Some would have kept her from being born, by stopping our marriage last year, as was attempted by some. Some have even dared to call her a bastard -- And I donít mean base and vile sinners of the world, but BJU professing "Fundamentalists"! Ė hello? Is anyone awake out there? Shall Roman Catholic Fundamentalists have the authority to cancel my marriage if they donít approve? They tried really hard, but their god lost.
We intend to begin a new paper directly exposing "Fundamental" churches, preachers and groups all across our land for their hypocrisies, lies, dishonesty, immorality and covetousness. The name of the paper is going to be very descriptive as to itís purpose: it is going to be called, "The Lights Flashing, Bells Ringing, Flags Waving, Horns and Whistles Blowing Report on Deep Dark Fundamentalism Today." We are going to mention names and open sins that are being tolerated in
Fundamental churches all over America. This is not going to be hearsay, but factual first-hand, eyewitness accounts.
The first church we intend to expose is Gospel Baptist Church of Bonita Springs, Florida, pastored by Bill Lytell, and how he tried really hard to ruin my wife, marriage and good name. We are going to expose these wolves in sheepís clothing as the Bible commands us to do, that their mouths may be stopped and their brothel churches marked and condemned, and that others may fear the God of the Christians. Paul had to rebuke Peter publicly, but many hypocrites today, feel themselves to be above Peter. Not any more.
So, if you fit into this category with open sin and ungodliness in your church, if you claim to be called of God to preach but your own children live like the devil, if in word you claim to believe the authority of the Bible but in actuality you treat it as if it were the interpretation of men, then you had better get your lawyers ready, because your preachers arenít going to do you any good. You had better run to the state, because your impotent religion isnít going to stop us.
You may have to resort to what your kind have resorted unto all throughout history -- you may have to try to physically stop us, burn us out, shoot us down, beat us up, but you had better get ready to do something, repent of your hypocrisies, or we are going to expose you publicly -- without your permission. We donít care if you carry a KJV, have a picture of John Calvin on your wall, or clad your daughters in long dresses -- we are declaring war on well-fed, rich and proud hypocrites today who dare to call themselves holy children of our God. We are jealous for our God and His Holy Word which is being dragged through the mud by professing Christianity today. And, if you think we are judging, youíre right! Now see if you can be consistent by not judging us.
The Angelus will continue to be sent out on schedule, and the new paper will be sent out only as the urgency and necessity requires -- we will not invent material just to keep it going. Perhaps your church is numbered among the list of disobedient and hypocritical groups? What should you do? Get right with God and all those you have wronged, repent! Now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation. That goes for Gospel Baptist as well. If they will get right, then we will forget all the evil they have done, but weíre not holding our breath. Some will say we are being too severe and harsh, so weíll make a deal with you: If you wonít show such contempt, mockery and insult for our religion, our Bible and our God, then we wonít show such contempt, mockery and insult for you. But until then, you are thinking of yourselves too highly to expect us to treat you better than you treat our God.