Posts Tagged ‘Hal Lindsey’

‘We’re Living In The Very Last Days Of The Church Age… This Is The Time For Every Christian To Learn How To Live By Faith’

January 7, 2013

“I’m not going to ask you if you’re a Christian or if you’re saved.  I just want to know one thing: can you explain to me how the Bible says that someone can go to heaven?  What does somebody need to do to go to heaven?  Can you explain that to me?”

If you can’t answer that question, if you can’t answer the question that Jesus asked His disciples in Mark 8:29, “But who do YOU say that I am?”  You need to drop everything you’re worrying about and learn the answers to those two questions.  Because your life depends on it.

This is an excellent presentation by Hal Lindsey of what it means to live by faith.  Please watch:

Here’s Hal Lindsey’s website. I try to watch his program as it appears on TBN every Friday at 5 pm PST.

Here’s the sad reality: a lot of people think they’re “Christians” because they believe garbage that has absolutely nothing to do with what the Bible teaches.  St. Paul wrote:

“But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent.  You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.” — 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, NLT

There is a “different Jesus”; many different Jesuses, in fact.

Jesus stands completely unique in all of human history.  Because of the profound influence of Western Civilization upon the world, and because our very calender system revolves around the birth of the greatest and most influential person who ever lived, our very history literally revolves around Jesus.  The greatest problem true Christianity faces is not that no one has heard of Jesus; rather, the crisis is that every single religion has tried to hijack Jesus to their religion or worldview.  The Muslims have turned Jesus into a prophet of Islam; Buddhism has turned Jesus into an enlightened one like the Buddha who found true enlightenment but remained in our reality to help others.  Hindus have turned Jesus into an incarnation or avatar of Vishnu.  Secular humanists and liberals have amazingly turned Jesus into a modern-day Marxist who somehow wanted to give Caesar complete totalitarian power over the people via the vehicle of government economic redistributionism.

They’re all wrong.  Jesus said about Himself:

I  am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.” — John 14:6

It is critical that we come to salvation by our personal decision to trust in Jesus to deliver us from our sins and from the hell we deserve if we are judged according to our own merit.  And that is because Jesus said:

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” — Mark 10:45

Give His life?.

And:

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” — John 15:13

But why does Jesus talk about giving up His life as a ransom for many?  Why does He talk about laying down His life for His friends?

Just before Jesus cited what is now the most famous Bible verse in the world, Jesus said:

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.  For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” — John 3:14-16

Jesus was teaching what true salvation was.  He compared Himself to the bronze serpent that Moses lifted up in the wilderness and taught that He also had to be lifted up in order for humanity to be saved.  According to the Bible, the Jews during the Exodus turned against God, and God judged them with a plague of deadly serpents.  But God also gave the people the opportunity to be saved:

And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.” — Numbers 21:9

Just as the bronze serpent hung on a pole, so Jesus would hang on the cross.  And just as anyone who looked at the bronze serpent would live, so also anyone who looked at Jesus dying on the cross would live.  Jesus taught that when He would be lifted up on the cross, anybody who looked upon Him and trusted that Jesus had sacrificed His life for theirs would be saved from the eternal death of hell.  God is holy.  There is no sin in Him at all.  And all who come to Him must be morally perfect without having ever committed one sin throughout their entire life.  And God gives us the opportunity to either trust in ourselves and our own righteousness for this coming judgment, or to trust in the righteousness of Jesus of Nazareth.  Because Jesus died in our place.  He took the blame for what we did.  And all He requires is for us to make that personal decision to trust in His death in our place and believe that when He rose bodily from the dead, He demonstrated His resurrection power to transform us both now and at the resurrection.  As Christ’s death in our place is activated by faith, God regards us with the righteousness of Jesus.  If we were to stand at the pearly gates, Jesus would appear and say, “This one’s with Me.”  And the gates would open.

That choice and the faith that makes that choice come to life in our hearts is such a simple way.  But there are many who pervert that message for their own agendas.

Now consider the words of John 1:1-3, 14, speaking about Christ:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being…  And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:1-3 makes it abundantantly clear that when Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), He meant that they are one in deity, in sharing the divine nature.  There is a simple poem that goes:

He came to die on a cross of wood, yet made the hill on which it stood.

Jesus Christ, the Word become flesh, was the Creator of the world as described by Genesis 1:1.  All things were created through HIM.  And apart from Him NOTHING was created that has ever come into being.  The Creator of man, who created man in His own image, did so knowing that He would one day assume that image of man so that He could show mankind what the Father was like and redeem humanity through His work as “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  And that work was completed on the cross, such that everyone who looks at Him through faith could be saved.  Because, as Jesus said, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever
believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Paul writes in Romans 5:12 that just as sin came into the world by one man (Adam), so also was the free gift of God offered by one Man, the Man Jesus Christ (Romans 5:15).

In that act on the cross, God died for us.  God took on a human nature so He could experience the full life of a man and die the full death of a man, to atone for the sin that every single member of the human race had committed.  He took the blame for us; He died in our place when it should have been we who died for our sins.  The Bible is abundantly clear: we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and not even ONE of us isn’t guilty (Romans 3:10); we have all fallen far short of the glory that God created us for as His image bearers; and we are therefore all guilty of death (Romans 6:23).  How many of you can even say you’ve never violated your own conscience, let alone God’s perfect holiness?  But God gave man an opportunity to live and not die (Romans 5:8) by providing His Son for us to stand in our place if we would let Him.  Just as God gave the Jews in the Exodus a chance to live by providing them with the bronze serpent on the pole for Moses to lift up in the wilderness.  And all you have to do is look upon Jesus, upon the Son of God, and believe that He did that for you.  All you need to do is recognize that you are a sinner, deserving of death, but that God wants you to LIVE by putting your faith not in yourself, but in His beloved Son.  And you will be saved.

You need to meet the Jesus of the Gospels and then meet the apostles He entrusted to carry that Gospel message to the rest of the world.

Salvation through Jesus is so simple that small children can give their little hearts to Jesus; it is so amazingly deep that the most brilliant minds in history – earth-transforming minds such as Sir Isaac Newton and Blaise Pascal – have marvelled at the unfathomable mysteries of the Cross of Christ.

But what happens after we’re saved?  How should we live?  How should we act?

J. Vernon McGee said, “Now, you might have a better plan than God, but what you don’t have is your own universe.”  The Cross is God’s way of addressing man in his most dire need in His state of bondage to sin and the spiritual and ultimately physical death that resulted from that sin.  You may not like it; but it IS God’s way and God offers only ONE way to be saved.

Let me ask you a question: if you were God, is this how you would have dealt with a wicked human race that was capable of uniting only to shake its fist at you?  It sure isn’t how I would have come if I were God.  Rather than taking on a lowly human nature and being born as a helpless baby in a stable lying in a food trough for animals, I would have appeared as a giant ready to stomp on all who defied me.  That’s man’s way.  It isn’t God’s.  Which is why I actually thank God I’m NOT God, because I myself need God’s love and mercy far more than I need His power and His wrath.

God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8).  You need to get that reality through your head every single day if you want to live a Christian life.  You will find that God has a radically different way of dealing with the world than human beings have devised.  Jesus described God’s ways to His disciples:

“But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.  It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” — Matthew 20:25-28

Jesus told us to love our enemies.  He told us to bless those who curse us.  He told us to do good to those who hate us.  He told us to pray for those who spitefully use us (Matthew 5:43-48).  How can you possibly live like that?  How could anybody?  By one thing and ONLY by one thing: by faith in Jesus Christ, who provided in His life and atoning death the ultimate example of what it means to live by faith.

This episode of Hal Lindsey is a great attempt to explain what living by true biblical Christian faith looks like.  I pray that you will watch it.  And then watch it again.

I also agree with Hal Lindsey that we are truly in the very last days before the Rapture of the Church and the coming Tribulation.  In my own experience, we have reached that point as a toxic culture such that America has crossed its moral Rubicon.  What I saw demonstrated in November, 2012 was that by the time America wakes up, it will be too late.  We are already over $225 trillion in debt as of now and we just decided in our vote for Obama and Democrats that we are determined to do absolutely nothing but recklessly increase that spending (our debt is increasing at nearly $1 trillion every single MONTH now) until we implode in the mother of all great depressions.  A complete global collapse is coming soon – and it will be out of this coming collapse that the Antichrist emerges.

The Bible tells us that greed and sexual immorality and self-gratification and every other sin that the world offers is an illusion.  It will never permanently satisfy – and we are just left wanting more and more until that addiction destroys us.  And given the fact that all of this is going to be taken away – first by economic collapse and later by death and judgment – we should live as if faith and only faith is real.  Christians need to be seeking that faith right now because it is the only thing that is ultimately truly valuable.

A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 1-3

November 27, 2012

Why that title?  Because we’re going to take a “midlevel” approach to explore the Book of Revelation.  Obviously, we could easily spend a year or MORE in this book, couldn’t we?  For example, I have a two-volume commentary on Revelation by Robert Thomas that totals well over a thousand pages!  That’s too low or detailed a level for the type of discussion we can have.  Or we could fly over Revelation in one article at a really high level and try to provide a summary of the Book in one hour of Sunday School.  What we’re going to do is take a plane ride over Revelation and fly over it at a mid-level altitude that will let us get the gist of about two chapters a week on average.

With that in mind, here are a few “nutshell descriptions” of the Book of Revelation.  Here are the one-sentence summaries of Revelation from a couple of pastors I know well:

A fun exercise, approached it from several angles, and settled on this version:

“Jesus pulls back the curtain of time to give us a preview of the final chapters of this world’s drama and give us a glimpse into the world to come.”

Another pastor and I put our heads together to come up with this one:

“Revelation is a message of hope to God’s people as they struggle against evil.”

I tried to be as descriptive as I could in my sentence:

Sinful man will progressively shake his fist at Jesus Christ until evil appears to take over the whole world, but God will ultimately end the problem of evil once for all and provide an eternity of shalom for His people through the King of kings and Lord of lords.

I believe that’s a worthy exercise for any book or passage you study: can you sum up the point/message in a big-idea sentence?  You are forced to stop and ask yourself: what is the point of what I’ve read?

If you want to go even further and offer a two-word description of what Revelation is about those two words are “Jesus Christ,” NOT “the future.”  Is the future important in Revelation?  Of course.  But in Revelation we find out what Jesus DID, we find out what He’s GOING to do and we find out that He is King of kings and Lord of lords who will reign over the Universe surrounded by His people forever.  And the beauty of the Book of Revelation is that it was written so that St. John’s first reader of Revelation could get that about Christ.  And someone a thousand years ago could get it.  And we can get it today.  They wouldn’t understand all the “future stuff” that was divinely intended for a future day; but they would understand the main idea of the Book of Revelation: One day King Jesus will kick the devil’s butt and throw him along with the world’s worst human dictator into hell, and then it will all be a forever of good times for Jesus’ disciples.

Moving on: how many of you have heard the term “newspaper prophecy”?  What does that phrase say to you?  Do you think it is intended as a positive or a negative description of literal interpretation of biblical prophecy?  It’s usually been used as an insult to deride those who see the last days picture falling into place.  On the view of this attack, people like me take whatever headline is in the news at the moment and twist the Bible prophecy to fit that headline.  And such people will point to periods when many in a generation believed the world was in the last days when it really wasn’t – particularly the periods around WWI/WWII.

Here’s my response to that: Take WWII.  You can see why some people may have believed that we were in the last days: we had a figure – Adolf Hitler – who very definitely seemed “Antichrist-like.”  You had the entire world locked in a terrible war that resulted in the deaths of more than 60 million people.  But while there were many things that might make the late 1930s and the early 1940s seem like a candidate for the Tribulation, one thing was missing that those who favor a literal interpretation said HAD to happen according to the Bible.  What was that one thing?  THE EXISTENCE OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL.  Just as one example, Daniel 12:11, 11:31-37 and 9:27 say that the Antichrist will set up an abomination that causes desolation in the last days during the Tribulation.  That is a major event in Bible prophecy.  Jesus in Matt 24:15 and Mark 13:14 tells us this was still an event to happen in the future.  2 Thess 2:3-4 says that Antichrist will set himself up in God’s Temple and declare himself to be God.  Which temple would that be in?  There is only one possible candidate.  When Daniel referred to the temple, it could be none other than the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.  Revelation chapter 11 is a prophetic account that that Temple will one day be built again.  And this is just one of many, MANY ways that a literal interpretation of Revelation would lead us to definitively state that no state of Israel, no Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.  The state of Israel as prophesied in Ezekiel simply has to exist for the events prophesied in the last days to occur.   And so an informed student of Bible prophecy could know for certain in 1939 that whatever would happen was not yet the Tribulation.

And so the accusation of “newspaper prophecy” massively fails.  Because the people accused of perverting Bible prophecy to suit the newspaper are the very same people who were boldly and confidently predicting that the state of Israel would rise for centuries before it actually happened.  As an example, Charles Nelson Darby was claiming back in 1819 in writing that if his dispensationalism was correct, the state of Israel would have to be reborn.  And had we been relying on our newspapers prior to 1948, as critics falsely claim we do, we would have agreed with said critics and pronounced that Israel had been expunged from the pages of anything but ancient history and that the rebirth of the state of Israel could never have happened.  And in fact on THAT most significant ground of the rebirth of the nation Israel exactly as we rightly claimed the Bible prophesied, it is in in fact our critics who looked at their newspapers beginning some 1600 years ago (Augustine appx. 398 AD) and wrongly concluded that Israel was obliterated forever and therefore out of God’s prophetic plan.  It was the amillennialists who in fact were the ones who engaged in “newspaper prophecy” in that most pejorative sense.

And while the folks like Hal Lindsey who are demagogued as “newspaper prophets” at least adjust their speculations to accommodate new developments, the amillennialists, postmillennialists, etc. never bothered to adjust THEIR “newspaper theology” to the REALITY that the state of Israel – in direct fulfillment of God’s Word – had come into existence precisely as the premillennialists/dispensationalists they mocked had said would happen.  Israel stands as a refutation of these theological systems that attempted to “replace” a national Israel that should NEVER have been “replaced” to begin with.

I’ve written articles that describe some of the key differences between amillennialism, postmillennialism and premillenialism/dispensationalism.  If these terms confuse you, read up on them.

That said, the Book of Revelation ultimately WILL be “newspaper prophecy.”  Because when the events described in Revelation are ultimately fulfilled, a good newspaper will report the events as they unfold and intelligent readers will say, “That’s what the Bible said would happen!”  That’s because when Revelation is fulfilled (as it will be), it will very much happen in real time for real people to really witness.  And the newspapers of record in that soon-approaching day will report the modern news version of what was revealed to John in 96 AD.  Which is to say that there truly is coming a time when one can look at the Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other and rightly end up with “newspaper prophecy,” isn’t there?

I previously mentioned the Book of Daniel.  Here’s a question: of the 404 verses in the Book of Revelation, how many of them do you think allude to the Old Testament?  And the answer is 278 or 69%.  That’s a lot of Old Testament!  So here’s another bone to chew on: a lot of people say (complain, really) that no one can understand the Book of Revelation because of all the symbolism.  Here’s where that falls apart: A GREAT DEAL OF THE SYMBOLISM IS SYMBOLISM RELATING TO THE OLD TESTAMENT, AND WE SAW HOW THE OLD TESTAMENT WAS LITERALLY FULFILLED IN HISTORY.  As an example, take the over 400 prophecies of Christ in the Old Testament.  We saw that literally HAPPEN, right?  And it turns out that these O.T. prophecies were fulfilled LITERALLY, right?  My point is that where there is symbolism, you can very often take that symbolism, see what it ties into from the O.T., and then see how that O.T. symbolism was fulfilled.  The symbolism of Revelation was in many cases already explained to us before, in other words, and all we have to do is apply the fulfilled O.T. symbolism to the symbolism we need to understand in the Book of Revelation.

Question: “What do the seven churches in Revelation stand for?”  The seven churches described in Revelation 2-3 are seven literal churches that all existed at the time that John the apostle was writing Revelation. But even though they were real, actual churches in that time, there is also a larger spiritual significance for churches and believers today. John’s first purpose of the letters was to communicate with the literal churches and meet their needs at that time. The second purpose is to reveal seven different types of individuals/churches throughout history and instruct them in God’s truth and His expectation of them.

A possible third purpose is to use the seven churches to foreshadow seven different periods in the history of the Church. The problem with this view is that each of the seven churches describes issues that could fit the Church in any time in its history. And for those who would say that Laodicea is the final age, well, we’ve already got Bible passages that tell us that there will be a falling away in the last days (Ex 2 Tim 3:1-5; 4:2-3), don’t we?  So, although there may be some truth to the seven churches representing seven eras, there is far too much speculation in this regard. Our focus should be on what message God is giving us through the seven churches. The seven churches are:

(1) Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7) – the loyal, persevering, enduring church that had left its first love (2:4).

(2) Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) – the persecuted church that would be rewarded for its faithful suffering (2:10).

(3) Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17) – the formerly faithful church that needed to repent because it had embraced false teachings (2:16).

(4) Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29) – the active, serving church that became too cozy with a false world system (2:20).

(5) Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) – the church of incomplete deeds that had fallen asleep and needs to spiritually wake up (3:2).

(6) Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) – the small, patient, persevering church that is urged to hold fast and promised to be kept from the time of testing (3:10).

(7) Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22) – the useless, gutless church with the lukewarm faith (3:16).

Jesus begins speaking to His Churches because He tells us what’s coming and asks us, “Are you ready?”

Tune in next week.  I will be going through the entire Book of Revelation taking about two chapters per session.  Revelation is the ONLY Book in the Bible that promises a special blessing to those who read it (Rev 1:3), but many don’t bother to study it because they have been told that it is so difficult.  It isn’t all that difficult if you read it with a literal hermeneutic principle and simply accept the story as it is being told.  And in fact the only reason it is so incredibly “difficult” is because the amillennialism/postmillennialist approaches have so wrapped the Book up in allegory that it “literally” doesn’t say what it in fact rather clearly says.

Part Two: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 4-5

Part Three: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 6-7

Part Four: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 8-9

Part Five: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 10-11

Part Six: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 12-13

Part Seven: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 14-15

Part Eight: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 16-18

Part Nine: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 19-20

Part Ten: A Midlevel Flight Across Revelation: Rev 21-22