Promises and Secrets

Promises and SecretsPromises and Secrets

A website for those not afraid to examine their beliefs, compare them to the real world, and make sure they fit.



Biblical Prophecy and Interpretation

VIEWPOINT



Like they do with much of the Bible, people tend to interpret what it actually says in a way that conforms to what they want it to say or what their pastor claims it says. Unfortunately, this often causes conflict with other parts of God's word.

FACT



Biblical prophecy tells us at least some of what God has planned for us and our future.


BLUE VIEWPOINT



There are a lot of ways that laymen and scholars alike interpret the prophecy of the Bible. It is amazing how different the interpretations can be - not just between the laymen and the scholars, but between scholars, between pastors, and between the interpretations of the average Bible readers.

A simple example

Let's take a simple example that shows how easy it is to interpret something in very different ways. Think of the phrase "All shoes are a foot long." Now, is this true or not? You can argue that the statement is correct, and you can argue that it is not correct, and you can be right in both cases. So what's the difference?

The difference, as it is in most cases, involves definitions. Here, the definition of "foot" is the case. However, even in this case, context matters. The context of the statement must relate to the usage of the statement. Anyone who interprets the statement as an outright claim that all shoes are 12 inches long is just trying to disagree. If you take the statement in context, it is speaking of the length of the shoe as defined in our society. All shoes are made for a particular foot size and are made to fit that foot. If you take that statement out of that context, it won't make sense to the members of that society.

This is what many, indeed most, have done with the Bible. They make their statements on the "modern day America" viewpoint and not in the "2000-year-old Jewish" context in which it was written. Even that context was influenced by the history of men going back to Moses.

Some are obvious, some are subtle

A case in point is one of the books in the menu at the right. I found the book, decided to read it, and was immediately captivated by a statement by the author that no one seems to interpret Bible the way the writers intended. Well, excitement sparked the desire to read. His first few chapters were fine, and then he started in with an interpretation that was new to me. Then he went further by saying that we are now in the Millennium, and have been for 1900 years, and are still counting. Needless to say, the rest followed and just got further and further away from what the Bible actually says. Well, just look at the page called Israel Covenant Books in the menu at the center of this page and you will understand.

Usually, this page is about how people ignore what the Bible says about the Sabbath, "Christian" holidays, and the like. Sometimes, it's about prophecy and what it means when the texts predict a future event. You know, just little things like the End of the World, when it's going to happen (extremely roughly, I guess) and what the events will be that are signs we can follow. It seem to be pretty clear what the Bible says, especially when you compare the statements of several different writers of the Book, and see they are all saying the same thing when we don't twist them to match some personal philosophy.

The end of the world

Taking "The End of the World" as an example, we all have some idea of events that will occur toward the end, but how do all these different views compare to what the Bible actually says? No, not what I think it says, or what you think it says, but the actual words of the Bible. When you see something in Isaiah and something in Revelation, they are not saying something that will contradict each other. Yet, that is exactly how they are interpreted in the modern "everyone is saved" churches. They try to justify it by saying that the Old Testament is no longer valid because of our "dispensation given by the death of Jesus".

The Ten Commandments

Taking a favorite example, the Old Testament has a list of ten commandments from God to the people. Everyone says that these commandments still apply today. All prophecy is based on what will happen to people who love their neighbor, are obedient to the word and commands of God (Mark 10:17-19
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

18 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good - except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: 'You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.'" (NIV)

), and what will happen to those who don't. So, how are we doing today? With absolutely no justification, many feel we can now break the ten commandments, act pagan, and somehow still remain within the will of God. "What!?", you ask?

Whoa. It's O.K., calm down. Read James 2:10
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. (NIV)

. Reading this, I guess James never got the message that the law was "done away with". Now, with the word of God in mind, how many of you keep the Sabbath? Oh, you say the Sabbath is Old Testament and no longer applies, especially to the Gentiles. Well, to whom was James speaking? The letter was addressed to "the twelve tribes scattered among the nations".

So if this book is for the Jews, why do the pastors use the book to speak to their Sunday congregations of Gentiles? Are we now to ignore those classic verses of James 5:16-17
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.

, James 1:2
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

, James 4:7
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

, James 4:3
3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

, and James 1:5
13 When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;

? Remember all the times we have heard, "That only applies to the Israelites. He didn't say that for the Gentiles.". This time he relly was speaking to "The Twelve Tribes in the Diaspora" (CJSB), but we hear it applied to us in all the sermons.

And, to whom was God speaking through Isaiah (a prophet of God revealing the future) in Isaiah 56:6-7
6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord
to minister to him,
to love the name of the Lord,
and to be his servants,
all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it
and who hold fast to my covenant -

7 these I will bring to my holy mountain
and give them joy in my house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house will be called
a house of prayer for all nations. (NIV)

? It's pretty hard to say He was only speaking to the Israelites in those verses, unless you think God was calling Jews foreigners (verse 6).

So, do these prophecies apply to us, or only the Israelites and Jews?

What is prophecy?

Back to prophecy. There are three main types of predictive prophecy - those that just speak about God's glory, those that predict good things, and those that predict bad things. Imagine that. What is always the foundation for good predictions? My impression is that obeying God and loving your neighbor are essential for us to expect the good things. Have you ever seen it written that God will ignore people's disobedience and will give the disobedient the good things, that is unless they straighten up and begin to obey (repent)? And, based on scripture, how does He know and decide who deserves the good things? Obedience. Obedience to what? His commands. Where do we find those commands? In the Old Testament.

So, and just shooting in the dark here, when you read of the people that will receive the good things prophesied for the future, about whom is He speaking - those diliberately disobedient, or those who obey? You may want to delve deep and analyze the difference between the obedient and the disobedient actions, but let's stay with the black and white definitions. They are called the Ten Commandments.

"Just for the Israelites", you say?

For those who say that the prophecies in the Old Testament only apply to the Israelites, refer back to Isaiah 56:6-7 above. Most Christians today are basing their future on the teachings of "peaches and cream" sermons designed to keep people in the pews and giving money. This is obvious, seen first-hand, and has been confirmed to me verbally by pastors who actually do it. Now, don't get me wrong. They appear genuinely concerned about the people they shepherd, but they twist the scriptures to say something that they don't actually say. Maybe they don't want the people to act Jewish, even though someone once said "salvation is from the Jews". Let's see...who was that... Oh, that's right, it was Jesus
You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. (NIV)

in John 4:22.

In fact, He said something in that verse that you never hear repeated today - "You worship what you do not know". What did He mean by that? Just guessing here, but it seems that people were worshiping a God they do not understand in the way they want, without trying to find out what scripture really says so that they would know Who and how. Why else would the woman at the well get so excited when talking to Someone who actually knew what He was talking about? That is why this site is designed to get people to look at the actual words of the Bible instead of twisting scripture to say what they want it to say. That goes for simple statements of fact as well as prophetic statements.

Remember Who makes the final decisions

Prophecy tells us, among other things, that when the filtering comes at the end of time, God has a way of deciding who will go where and why they will go there. In fact, that is the message of Jesus in Matt 25:31-46
31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40 "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'

41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44 "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45 "He will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

.

There is a group who believes that everyone will be saved, but if you believe like the Universalism definition at Wikipedia:

Christian Universalism is a school of Christian theology which includes the belief in the doctrine of universal reconciliation, the view that all human beings will ultimately be restored to a right relationship with God in Heaven and the New Jerusalem.

then I suggest you get a new Bible - and then read it. God is good, and He is also honest, trustworthy, just, and powerful enough to do what He says He will. He told us what He plans to do, and the human race will not all be saved. To believe otherwise is to make God out to be a liar. Isn't the reason for prophecy to give people advanced notice of things to come that will affect their futures, allowing them to make decisions? If we are all to be saved, then why the warnings? What warnings, you say?

Ezekiel 13:9
9 My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD. (NIV)


Jeremiah 23:16
16 This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD." (NIV)


Luke 6:26
26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets. (NIV)


Matt 24:24
24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (NIV)


Matt 16:11-12
11 "How is it you don't understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees." 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (NIV)


2 Tim 4:3-4
3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (NIV)


Acts 20:28-30
28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,[a] which he bought with his own blood.[b] 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. (NIV)


2 Pet 3:14-18
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.


17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. (NIV)


1 John 4:1-6
1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. (NIV)


Matt 7:15-20
15 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them." (NIV)


2 Peter 1:12-21
12 So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (NIV)


Titus 1:6-16
6 An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7 Since an overseer manages God's household, he must be blameless - not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Rebuking Those Who Fail to Do Good

10 For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach - and that for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of Crete's own prophets has said it: "Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons." 13 This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. (NIV)


2 Peter 2
1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them - bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) - 9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. 10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority.

Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings; 11 yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from the Lord. 12 But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish.

13 They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. 14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed - an accursed brood! 15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness. 16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey - an animal without speech - who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet's madness.

17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity - for "people are slaves to whatever has mastered them." 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud." (NIV)


Matt 23:1-12
1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

5 "Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called 'Rabbi' by others.

8 "But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (NIV)


Matt 25:31-46
31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40 "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'

41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44 "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45 "He will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." (emphasis mine) ( NIV)




That is just a quick list, and they are not all in the Old Testament. (Look again at 2 Tim 4:3-4
3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (NIV)

.) However, that is where they all came from, since the writers of the New Testament didn't have a New Testament to which they could refer. Well, they came from Jesus, the OT and the Holy Spirit - and all that they know came from the Father.

O.K. So now, what's next?

So, what do we do with prophecy once we learn what it says and means? Let's take a few examples, starting with the first one on the list above. Ezekiel 13:9 says:

9 My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD. (NIV)

Now, most of the people who read this will immediately agree and walk away smugly. The real question is, who are these "prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations"? Most people do not think of their pastor as a prophet, but this list of the work of a true prophet is shown on the site at Bible.org:

1. To reveal the nature and attributes of God to men.
2. To make known to men the laws of God.
3. To call the people back to obedience to God's laws.
4. To exhort the people to sincerity in worship.
5. To warn them of Divine judgment upon sin, both personal and national.
6. To foretell future events which God had willed.
7. To foretell the coming of the Messiah, the Savior.
8. To record the history of God's dealings with men.
9. To record the Word of God in the Holy Scriptures.

My pastor is a prophet?

How many of these pertain to what every good pastor does? On the surface, items 1 through 5 seem to fit the average pastor perfectly. Items 6 through 9 seem to be functions no longer given to any men, especially number 7. Oh, there are men today who claim to be prophets, but we have yet to see any who are without error in their predictions or statements regarding God. As mentioned on the Recruiting Apostles page, there are at least five people currently walking the earth that claim to be a modern incarnation of Christ. You can read about three of them at countdown.org if you think I'm kidding.

Many pastors expound on the importance of 6, 8, and 9, but they comment on existing prophecy in the Bible, and do not create new ones. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with expounding on existing prophecy. We all need that. But what if their new prophecy, or interpretation, seems to contradict the Bible, or at the very least suggests that they feel that they know better than what we see in the Bible?

Some examples

Without pointing fingers, there is a site that publishes a very colorful timeline of the end days that is an interpretation of the description in the book of Daniel. This chart was published in 2015 and you can get a copy for a price. I obtained a copy just after the middle of August of 2017. I can't include an image because the site claims it may be subject to copyright. Imagine my surprise when I discover that the Great Tribulation started the same month in which I obtained this chart. There is a note for this month that indicates the signs of this beginning will be a Global Earthquake, Lightnings, and Rumbling Thunder. Folks, I write this on the Prophecy page of my site on August 26, 2017. Of course, this could all take place in the next few days, but we should not try to hold our breath until it happens. If I am wrong, I will print a retraction on this site - if I am still alive to do so. See you next year.

Still here...

Well, look at that, it's now later. Here it is April 7, 2018, and I still have not seen or heard of the end-of-the-world earthquake. Looks like no retraction, at least this time. There was a forest fire going on evidently started by a fifteen year old kid throwing fireworks into a ravine in the forest, but that was not nearly worldwide. Of course, the chart I bought was probably the whole point - make money off the poor, dumb religious people. However, the chart itself is a perfect example of the things that people say when they misunderstand what the Bible actually says.

Zechariah was wrong?

There are several points that the chart publication makes that confuse me when I read what the Bible actually says. One is that the earth will be a desolate place during the Millennium. Are we to assume that this means no one is left alive on earth, and that the author of the chart believes everyone is in Heaven after The Rapture? This also means that no one will have to journey to Jerusalem to worship the King of Kings, and no one will have to worry about no rain falling on their lands because they did not go up to Jerusalem (Zech 14
A day of the Lord is coming, Jerusalem, when your possessions will be plundered and divided up within your very walls.

2 I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. 4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. 5 You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

6 On that day there will be neither sunlight nor cold, frosty darkness. 7 It will be a unique day - a day known only to the Lord - with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light.

8 On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter.

9 The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.

10 The whole land, from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become like the Arabah. But Jerusalem will be raised up high from the Benjamin Gate to the site of the First Gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepresses, and will remain in its place. 11 It will be inhabited; never again will it be destroyed. Jerusalem will be secure.

12 This is the plague with which the Lord will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. 13 On that day people will be stricken by the Lord with great panic. They will seize each other by the hand and attack one another. 14 Judah too will fight at Jerusalem. The wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected - great quantities of gold and silver and clothing. 15 A similar plague will strike the horses and mules, the camels and donkeys, and all the animals in those camps.

16 Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. 17 If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, they will have no rain. 18 If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The Lord will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. 19 This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.

20 On that day holy to the Lord will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lord's house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. 21 Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord Almighty.

). Now, if this is the case, then Zechariah is not a prophet.

Wait, did I miss the Antichrist?

Another issue is a set of chart dates that indicate that the Great Tribulation begins in August of 2017, and place other events on certain days in the year 2021. The Great Tribulation is supposed to be the second half of the seven years of tribulation. For example, the date 1/31/2021 is supposed to be the beginning of the seven bowls of the Wrath of God and somewhere late in the 1335 days in Daniel. According to this author, day 1290 will be in February 2021, and day 1305 will be in March 2021. The biggest one is on day 1335 when the second coming of Jesus is listed as happening on that day.

Now if these chart dates are even remotely accurate, doesn't that mean that we are just getting to the end of the first half of the seven-year Tribulation period during which the Antichrist makes a treaty with Israel, prepares to persecute the saints, and we all have to decide soon about a mark of the beast? If that is so, it must be happening in secret, or the saints do not include anyone I know, the Antichrist forgot to make a treaty with "the many" (Israel), and no one has been reported missing to indicate a "mass" disappearance. Drat, could it be that we all missed it, or is this another "false prophecy" that describes something happening that hasn't happened yet?

Calculate with calendar, but whose calendar?

If you read the chart, and calculate the months (the author wisely does not list actual dates, just months), you can see that by his dating the second coming will be in April of 2021. All this is based on the theory that a day is the same as 1000 years in God's eyes. Even if you look at this from that point of view, the Jews have the year as 5778 (as of April 7, 2018), which means that, by their reckoning, there are still about 222 years before we get to the end of the "sixth" day of 1000 years. If, as some say, the world was created on about 4004 B.C., that would make the earth year 6022, and we are running behind schedule. Even using the author's reasoning, which set of calendar years should we use? Maybe we should just be ready at any time and wait to see what God has in mind.

But, many will try anyway

Now, look again at Ezekiel 13:9
9 My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD. (NIV)

, and think about those who call themselves modern "prophets". I would have to throw the author of the chart above into that mix. Acts 2:17-18
" '17 In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.

18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.' "

says that there will be prophets in the last days, so we can't just say they are all gone forever. However, we have some good advice in 1 John 4:1
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

, so we have to beware. But how do we tell which is false and which is from God? Even Peter
1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them - bringing swift destruction on themselves. (2 Peter 2:1)

warns us that there will be false teachers among us. And, if you are thinking that this will be just the slick guys on TV, this was on the site at The Gospel Coalition:

In the same way Peter says, "There will be false teachers among you." (2 Pet 2:1
But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them - bringing swift destruction on themselves.

) Notice the words "among you." Peter is writing to the church and says, "There will be false prophets among you." So he is not talking about New Age people on television. He is talking about people in the local church, members of a local congregation.

There is no such thing as a pure church this side of heaven. You will never find it. The wheat and the tares grow together.

                        


They have this picture of a "wolf in sheeps clothing" that is a little creepy, but that's the very idea that Peter was trying to impart to us. You must look closely to spot it before it is too late. This whole article is an encouraging message about false prophets, even if it is coming from a church that meets on Sunday (not bad in itself), but is only bad if it is instead of keeping the biblical day claimed by Jesus himself. There is nothing wrong with Sunday worship, unless it replaces the Sabbath. But, at least the people at the site have eyes that are wide open. In fact, their page even asks the question "How would you recognize counterfeit Christianity?".

It's right in front of us, but we won't see

My wife and I watched a movie the other night about a slick defense attorney who lost his family to a murderer. At the funeral, the father of the dead wife approached the attorney. He made a comment about the attorney's job of getting murderers off so that they can kill again. Then he made a statement that spoke about lawyers, but actually applies to many pastors:

"You're all talk. You make your living spinning words into meanings that are vague and hazy and unclear...all just to exonerate the scum of the earth."

As hard as this sounds, this statement matches the wolves in sheeps clothing concept mentioned above. The people don't see them as wolves, but their words are just as vague and hazy and unclear, twisting the statements of the Bible into excuses to disobey God's specific, clear and unhazy commandments. The people in the pew know no different than to accept the "educated and knowledgeable" person standing before them without questioning what they say. Lawyers are educated as well, but many of them use that education to defy justice, not ensure it.

"My church a counterfeit? No way."

A counterfeit church is any group that worships other than the way the first century Christians did. The true church would be keeping the Sabbath as they did, and at least not celebrating Christmas or Easter. But aside from that, their site is right on point regarding warnings about false prophets and teachers, even if they are in the group they warn others about. On the other hand, those who "keep" Sunday feel the same way about me. We can hope that both of us are right, but I prefer to hedge my actions on the side of obedience and the actual word of God.

The only way to tell a fake for sure is the same way the treasury department can spot a counterfeit bill - that is, to get to know the original so well that you can easily spot the differences in the counterfeit bill. That's how well we need to know the Word of God and what He calls prophecy. No one said it would be easy, and it can be frustrating when you try to share with others, even if you are trying to help. But, isn't that what knowing the Lord is all about? Prophecy does no one any good if it speaks in error.

Disagree? Find an error? Contact us at glenjjr@gmail.com and give us your view.

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