Category Archives: End Times (Eschatology)

These posts discuss the very important and serious topic of end times prophecy, often referred to in academia as “eschatology”.

Many False Prophets Will Arise

Matthew 24:11 “And any false prophets will rise and will deceive many.”

In Jesus’ discourse on the end time’s He warned us that there would be “many false prophets” to “deceive many”.

Jesus used a powerful word twice, “πολύς” (polus, Strong’s #4183), which means “much, many, great,” and is used in passages like Luke 5:6; Acts 11:21; it denotes great abundance (e.g. Matt. 9:37; 1 Pet. 1:3; Matt. 24:30) (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words). Jesus is saying that there will be a great abundance of many false prophets to arise, and they will deceive a great abundance of many people!

Nothing is more clearly evident to me than the reality that the Church has been overrun by a horde of ravenous wolves. Truly, “they speak great swelling words”!

2 Peter 2:17-19 “These men are wells without water and clouds that are carried by a storm, for whom the gloom of darkness has been reserved forever. For when they speak arrogant words of vanity, they entice by the lusts of the flesh and by depravity those who barely escaped from those who live in error. Although they promise them freedom, they themselves are slaves of corruption, for by that which a man is overcome, to this he is enslaved!”

Nothing could be a more apt description of the so-called prophets of our day, peddling their books and descending upon the Church like a raging storm; they puff up the pride, ego, lust, and desires of unstable Christians and promise them deliverance of that which they are powerless to deliver!!

How many dreams, visions, and words from God have been delivered as if from the tempest of a dark storm in our modern day, only for them to be forgotten in the continual stream of false prophecies that sweep people away who do not test the words?

Brethren, do not be deceived by these wolves; though they speak great promises of power, glory, health, hidden mysteries, freedom, and wealth, they will by no means escape the severe punishment God has in store for those who presume to speak on His behalf when He has not spoken!

Test all things. “Seeing then that all these things are to be destroyed, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, while you are waiting for and desiring the coming of the day of God, in which the heavens will be destroyed by fire and the elements will be consumed by intense heat?” (2 Peter 3:11-12)

Slain for the Word

Revelation 6:9 “When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony they had held.”

This prophecy in Revelation 6 is about the end times generation and predicts terrible tribulations to come.  And in the midst of these trials we see a vision of the souls who were slain because of the word of God and for their testimony that they had maintained.

Though every word of God is pure (Proverbs 30:5), the world hates the word because it exposes  their evil deeds; and those who maintain the testimony of Christ by the word of God live as candles by which the light of God’s word shines brightly in the world.  As tribulation begins to unfold upon the world, they will come to a point where they can no longer tolerate the convicting testimony of God’s saints upon this earth and they will kill those who hold the word of God and keep His commandments with the testimony of their life.

We need to hear this verse clearly: “slain for the word of God and for the testimony (μαρτυρία) they had held (εἶχον)

ἔχω / εἶχον (echō / eichon) – maintained or held; “to hold fast” or “uphold”

μαρτυρία (marturia)- Testimony; “the evidence given”

There will be a remnant of believers who will uphold the evidence of godliness and life that they have received by the Holy Spirit and they will be a testimony that the world cannot ignore, so the world will seek to extinguish the light of their testimony from upon the face of the earth.

This is going to be a trial unlike any seen upon the face of the earth before.  It will test the love every believer has for God to see whether or not we love our lives more than Him from whom we have received life!

John 16:2 “They will put you out of the [churches]. Yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he is offering a service to God.”

I believe a time may be coming swiftly upon us when persecution will arise from within the brotherhood!  Yes, the Muslim’s are putting Christians to death thinking that they offer their god a service, but I believe this is speaking about those from within who will put us out!

Matthew 24:9-14Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you.  And you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.  Then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another.  And many false prophets will rise and will deceive many.  Because iniquity will abound, the love of many will grow cold.  But he who endures to the end shall be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

We are seeing a shift within Christianity away from the word of God towards personal revelation, signs and wonders, and hostility towards God’s word.

“They will hand you over” – Muslim’s do not hand Christians over because they are not from within; their persecution is invasive.  They come from without and intrude into the holy services of God to put to death His children.  Neither do oppressive regimes “hand Christians over to be persecuted” – they also bring invasive persecution to the doorstep of the Church.  I believe it will be of our own brotherhoods who have not received a love of the truth implanted in their heart that will hand us over to be persecuted.

“Many will fall away and betray one another” – in this terrible and treacherous falling away there will be much heartache, much more than just the pains of death.

But who could possibly bring such tragedy into the Church?

I cannot answer this question.  It is beyond my powers of comprehension to imagine what darkness one must enter to believe that handing one’s own brothers and sisters over to be persecuted could be a service to God; but I know that this terrible deception will come in “accordance with the working of Satan with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all deception of unrighteousness among those who perish because they have not received the love of the truth” (2nd Thessalonians 2:9-10).

2 Timothy 3:1-5 “Know this; in the last days perilous times will come. Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, slanderers, unrestrained, fierce, despisers of those who are good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying its power.  Turn away from such people!”

“Speak Smooth Words”

Isaiah 30:9-10 “This is a rebellious people, lying children, children who refuse to listen to the law of the LORD; they say to the seers, ‘you must not see visions’, and to the prophets, ‘you must not prophesy to us right things; speak pleasant things, prophesy illusions.'”

The deceptive and rebellious heart demands that God’s servants speak “smooth words” (KJV); I lament that in our day we see such a heart as this!

2 Timothy 4:2-4 “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine, but they will gather to themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, having itching ears, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn to myths.”

Preaching righteousness incurs wrath from those who cannot tolerate reproof, rebukes, and exhortations; the call to preach God’s word is not a call to popularity, nor is it a call to brutality, it is a call to preach the truth with resolute steadfastness of heart.

Never loose sight of this one compelling reason that makes the cost of preaching righteousness worth it:

John 8:32 “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”

Never forget that the truth has power to set sin’s captives free through Jesus Christ!

In an age where darkness rules through deceit and rebellion, the Church must not lose the voice of truth!

The Reality of Hell

The concept of an eternal destination reserved for wicked souls that is filled with the wrath of God and torment is too terrible an idea for many people to tolerate. And I would even submit here that the idea of Hell should be too terrible to tolerate; I do not believe God gave us the revelation of Hell to be tolerated.

We need a revelation of hell that will drop us to our knees!

Unfortunately, the academic tendency of today’s theology is to sterilize Biblical concepts with finely articulated and well rounded presentations. I am not going to offer such an apologetic here. Hell is holy to God because Christ satisfied hell on the cross (Romans 5:8-9).

Hell is the most abhorrent, appalling, disturbing, ghastly, gruesome, terrifying and terrifyingly misunderstood thought one can entertain. It’s a place God created for Satan, the murderer and father of all lies, and his demons (Matthew 25:41) where His wrath will burn with everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46)! I believe that because God created the human soul to be in holy, eternal, fellowship with Him, the thought of everlasting separation from God in burning wrath is fundamentally the most repulsive thought imaginable for our hearts to entertain. The tendency, then, is to veil the reality of hell in layers upon layers of questions, doubts, and theories, thus dulling this terrible thought until it no longer pierces our soul through with anguish. But we must never allow our hearts to become dull towards the reality of Hell. It is holy to God and was central to Christ’s finished work on the cross!

People have not changed so much in 2,000 years that the doctrine of Hell we find so repulsive today was somehow so acceptable to them then. No one relishes the idea that they will be strictly held accountable for every wicked deed they do; and every soul finds the idea of everlasting punishment unbearable! The world was converted to God 2,000 years ago because it witnessed the love and power of God, and in light of God’s great love and power, the reality of hell makes sense. God did not give us the revelation of Hell to win popularity contests and delight our fancies; “hell” only makes sense after someone has witnessed the “power” and “love” of Jesus on the cross and in the resurrection! The reality of Hell can only be rightly understood in light of God’s revelation of sin, love, and justice.

SIN & DEATH

The agony of death is separation from God (Matthew 7:23), and sin is the mechanism by which God’s creation is separated from Him (1 Cor. 15:56). Our Creator-God has told us that we are more than mere flesh, but that we also have a soul and a spirit (1 Thess. 5:23). Even our body is more than mere material value (Luke 12:23). This means that death is not simply the end of our mortal body, but instead, that the reality of death is sin-induced separation from our Creator (Genesis 2:17 and 3:24).

I’ve heard it said that “Heaven is for those who humbly bow their knees before God and say ‘not my will but Thine be done’; Hell is for those who hold up their fists to God until He finally says to them ‘not My will but thine be done’.” Hell is not God’s will for His creation; Hell is the will of those who obstinately choose separation from God.

God did not mince words when He said “wrath is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18); wrath is the result of deliberate defiance and rebellion against the truth. When we choose the things that God will have no part of, we choose separation from the One who gives life!

We see the reality of separation from God in death portrayed in the revelation of the judgment: “And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. THIS IS THE SECOND DEATH. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11:-15)

What we understand as death now is the first separation from God, but Hell is the final separation from God where those who persistently denied God and choose separation from Him in this life by their works will receive the reality of their choices.

The more we suppress the truth with our lies about God the tighter grip death gains on the world! Like a chain smoker who tries to ignore the signs of his cancer, or the drug addict who reassures himself that he can keep it together, our lies do not change the reality of our separation from God, they only ensure its finality!

JESUS & WRATH

“Hell” was eternally satisfied with Jesus when God did the unthinkable by putting on flesh and emptying Himself of all privilege; taking the sins and infirmities of the world upon Himself, in the body of Jesus God provided the ultimate sacrifice on the cross and proved His love to the world with power to deliver the human race from their sin and guilt! In the face of Christ we see God’s will for mankind and the love that He demonstrated towards us even while we were still sinners as we peer into the face of Him by whose blood we were saved from wrath (Romans 5:8-9).

The few times in human history when someone of great privilege has sacrificed everything and lowered themselves to the desperate and destitute around them, they have received praise and acclamation from everyone for their noble sacrifice. Yet all of these noble souls were guilty of sin at some point in their life. Only Jesus was wholly innocent of all guilt; for all of mankind’s time on this earth, God was lavishly pouring out His grace on the human race and giving life and joy to all who lived on earth, regardless of whether or not they returned any thanksgiving or worship to Him. As the human race stubbornly pressed on in sin, reaping death for the transgressions that separated them from the author and giver of life, God’s love and mercy was proved upon the earth with every new sunrise. From such a place of perfection did God empty Himself of privilege and took upon Himself flesh- and unimaginable denigration for the Creator of all things- and subjected Himself to mortal weakness because of His perfect love!

To the apostate and the skeptic who cast blame on God, saying “for all the injustices we suffer here, living on earth is hell enough”, what will you say to the love of God who left heaven with the resolve to pay for your sins and surrendered His hands and feet to be nailed to the cross by sinners just like you and I?

JUSTICE AND JUDGMENT

The lies we tell ourselves can sometimes suppress the insatiable human desire for justice when “justice” becomes personal, however, we cannot escape the reality that every human soul craves justice.

Political philosophers (http://www.iep.utm.edu/justwest/) have long agreed that the single most important pillar of stable governance is “justice”. Families stand strong when there is a clear sense of justice, and they crumble when there is oppression and chaos. Businesses thrive with equitable business practices, but unfair business practices can poison entire business cultures. No part of the human experience of life can long survive when justice is robbed! We need justice.

Justice necessitates both “moral law” and “impartial fairness”. One of the lies we tell ourselves today is that there is no moral standard to which we are accountable, yet we loudly protest when we are not treated fairly. We rob ourselves of the justice we crave when we separate ourselves from the moral law of our Creator to pursue our own lusts. This suppression of the virtues of truth in favor of ungodliness eventually leads to the “hell-on-earth” of an utterly unjust society, courteously of our own making! Whether here on earth or in eternity to come, we cannot escape hell when we choose separation from God!

Justice belongs to God. He wrote His moral law on our hearts in our consciences (Romans 2:15), and He will execute an impartial and fair judgment upon all mankind (Romans 2:5-11). The Judge of all mankind has said that “indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, according to each one’s deeds” are the inheritance of every soul who does evil (Romans 2:6, 8-9). He is impartial and fair in His judgments; there will be no favoritism towards the Jew, nor prejudice against the Gentile. We will all be judged according to what we have received from God.

There are many questions regarding how God will apportion His wrath on sinners when the Day of Judgment arrives; such questions as “is hell eternal?” “Is hell a conscious torment?” “Will those who never heard or rejected the gospel suffer in hell?” These questions are valid but not necessary in order for God to be a just judge. A prior understanding of the precise proportion of punishment that will be received for a transgression is not necessary in order for justice to exist. I may not know what the penalty is for Grand Theft Auto, but I know that it is wrong and that I will be punished accordingly. Justice only necessitates the existence of a moral law and an impartial and fair application of punishment.

The aforementioned questions are valid subjects for another time- subjects to which many scriptures speak- but it is a foolish and disastrous distraction to worry about how God will apportion His wrath on sinners when the Lamb of God is offering the love of God to the world on God’s holy altar!

HELL IN LIGHT OF CHRIST

I believe there is a reason why God said that He will “judge the secrets of all mankind by Jesus Christ according to the gospel” (Romans 2:16). I believe the reason why we will be judged by Jesus Christ is because when those of us who rejected Christ look at Him, all our lies will evaporate like the dew in the morning heat and we will see in Christ Jesus the perfect and irrefutable logic of God! We are told that “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11); I do not believe this confession will be made under duress, but that when the world looks at Jesus Christ on the Judgment Day, we will see the love of God that we rejected, and we will find no shelter from the terrible reality that we have chosen for ourselves!

I said above that we must never let our hearts become dull towards the reality of hell. I believe there is only one thing on earth worse than a Church that denies the existence of hell, and that is a Church, knowing the existence of hell, that says nothing about it to the lost world! The Christian whose knee is bent before God in prayer because of hell will rise with the fire of the Holy Spirit to save souls from hell by the good news of Jesus Christ!

IN TUMULTUOUS TIMES

In tumultuous times it is very easy to become distracted and get swept away by the tides of society.

By simple observation I believe tumultuous times are coming to the U.S.  We can easily see diametrically opposed powers lining up against each other that are utterly incapable of reconciling themselves to one another.  Even more than that, we cab see dramatic shifts in the bedrock of American culture and values; such shifts are fracturing families, friendships, and churches in ways that no one had previously imagined.  No country can sustain this kind of divisiveness for long before the sheer weight exerted on it by such contentions brings the whole thing crumbling down.  Unfortunately there is a spirit of divisiveness in the land and it is wrecking havoc!

It is easy in light of these events to speculate about the coming end times, and while we are assured of both the signs of the end times and the certainty of their coming, Christians must not become unstable or lose the soberness of our mind during these times.  It is imperative that we look to God for counsel in these days so that we may live blameless and holy in His sight in this generation.

So what is the Church to do as we look upon our nation that has long been the epicenter of lust, covetousness, pride, and violence; what are we do to as we see that same lust, covetousness, pride, and violence consuming the nation from the inside out?

STRENGTHEN THE HANDS WHICH HANG DOWN

Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.  Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.  For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears. ~Hebrews 12:12-17

The things we are observing in our time should only emphasize our need to “strengthen that which remains”; we need to look to those in our brotherhood that are weak, discouraged, weighed down but not cut off, and we need to strengthen them while there is time to straighten out our paths.

I believe it is a mistake to assume that we will get our houses in order when the pressure comes, when those things that will make up our trial arrive.

WATCH AND PRAY

Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation ~Matthew 26:41

Repeatedly Jesus exhorted the disciples to “watch and pray”.  The days ahead will be difficult for the Church, especially those who have not exercised themselves to godliness, and those who are disconnected from the body, but how much more perilous will those days be for those who did not “watch and pray”?

Do you know the signs of our dear Lord’s return?  Are you “keeping watch”?  Have you sought the Lord’s counsel lately, and besought His mercy?

PREACH THIS GOSPEL AND MAKE DISCIPLE UNTO THE END

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. ~Mt. 24:14

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. ~Mt. 28:19-20

Many in the Church today have laid down their swords in cowardice before a seemingly overwhelming enemy and refused to fight the good fight; their condemnation is just (Revelation 21:8).

But we are not without might in this generation; the power of God for salvation is sharp and sure, it has not been blunted, nor has it been compromised.

I believe that it is the duty of the Church in the face of all that we face to take up the fight with greater boldness and preach “repentance in the name of Jesus Christ in light of the Kingdom of God”; for the righteous to do any less is an egregious sin.

LET THE CHURCH BE THE CHURCH

I believe the day warrants the elders and pastors of the Church meeting together to seek counsel from God on how they ought to walk in these difficult times.

So what is the answer for the Church in light of these troubled times, and even more so as we approach the end?  I believe the answer is to let the Church be the Church!

 

The Inescapable Conclusion

For those who have talked trash about Donald Trump, I believe it is time to ask a question: why is a message of fury, outrage, indignation, covetousness, and pride so effective?

Though I do not support Donald Trump, and regardless of my high regard for Dr. Carson and belief that he and others who do support him have pure intentions, I’m trying to get at something that goes much deeper than our politics.

If our answer to this question does not lead us to the inescapable conclusion that this nation is in desperate need of the gospel, and subsequently to the conclusion that you bear the undeniable commission of the Lord to preach His gospel, then you have reached the wrong conclusion.

It’s not liberalism or one political party or another that is to blame for the deep chasms of division and resentment we see in this nation; it is generation after generation that has forsaken the pursuit of God in favor of money, power, and pleasure! Generations brought up under the very shelter of the Church!

No, I believe the inescapable conclusion of today’s time is a very clear demand for the Church to rend its heart and weep with repentance! Not for show, nor for revival, but for godly sorrow! For the Church to continue to live in luxury in the face of such wickedness today is an atrocity that I cannot even fathom. To neatly lay blindfolds over our eyes and content ourselves with squeezing every last bit of comfort out of life while we can before the whole land goes to hell is a sin not unlike that of offering our children up on the altars of Molech.

I believe the only acceptable conclusion for a Church that stands face to face with today’s world is to perfect our repentance, forgive those we bear grievances against, be relentless with mercy, and be fierce with the gospel. You cannot repent with a sincere heart if you do not forgive those you have grievances against; your political leaders, your neighbors, your family, your friends, and your church- you must forgive all who have injured you and extend relentless mercy to those who have fallen and are trying to get back up.  And we must preach the gospel with the fierceness of the martyr!

Genesis 6-8: Noah and the Flood

Critical Apologetics Issues:

The account of Noah and the flood is foundational.  From baptism to the end times, the account of Noah and the flood is necessary to understanding God’s revelation in scripture to mankind.  It is no surprise, therefore, that it has received such an array of critical attacks that need to be answered.

Apologetics is quite literally means “to speak in defense of” something; from the Greek “ἀπολογία” (apologia).

  • See Philippians 1:7 “Defense and confirmation of the gospel”
  • See 1 Peter 3:15 “Always being ready to give a defense for the hope that is in you”

Far from apologizing for the gospel, the defense of those things that are written in God’s word is the front lines in which the gospel is preached and the strongholds of the enemy are torn down.

Included in the correlating handout are articles which deal with critical apologetics issues regarding Noah and the flood.

  • How could Noah build something So Large?
  • What is known about Noah and the Ark?
  • Kinds: How many animals were on the Ark?
  • How could the animals fit on the Ark?
  • How could Noah care for all the animals?
  • How could the animals breathe?

These and many other issues are dealt with in the included printout taken entirely from Answers in Genesis.

Critical Apologetic Questions on Noah from AIG

 

 

Genesis 6: The Ark Prepared Whilst Wickedness Abounds

Point 1 (Genesis 6:1-7, 11-13)

As man began to fulfill God’s commandment to

Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish, birds, and every living thing on the earth”, (Genesis 1:28)

The LORD saw that man had subjected all creation to wickedness and filled the earth with violence.

The LORD saw that every intent of the heart was only evil continually…” (Genesis 6:5)

God had given man a dominion as His stewards over all creation- to fill the earth and subdue it- and man used his stewardship to fill the earth with violence and subject it to wickedness; and God was deeply grieved and began withdrawing His Spirit from man (Genesis 6:3-4)!

God even saw that “all creatures” on earth had become corrupt (Genesis 6:12):

God saw how corrupt the earth was, for every creature had corrupted its way on earth.

Note From Our Times: ANIMALS have recently been observed NOW committing homosexual acts.

 

Here, the Sovereign looked down upon man and pronounced his condition; that every intent of his heart is evil.  It’s self-seeking and vain glory!  The nakedness of mankind’s shame was again exposed by God- only this time there would be no covering’s provided by God, but instead, the LORD would cleanse the face of the earth with His wrath.

Noah stands preaching to us today: “the patience of God DOES come to an end; His wrath WILL come!”

 

—IMPORTANT NOTE:

God does not abandon His purpose in creating man, not even when the world is covered in darkness and man’s wickedness saturates every thought and imagination that comes into his heart; God knew “the end from the beginning” (Isa. 46:10)- Remember, it is mortal man that tries to make sense of the past in the darkness of time, but the long journey of the past only makes sense in the Light of the future!

Therefore, with such evil in the world, God’s word focuses on the deliverance of Noah from wrath in the Ark.  In other words, God is telling you- O end times Church- to focus on your deliverer, not your calamity!

“Set your minds on things above, not on things on the earth!  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God!  When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory!” (Colossians 3:2-4)

READ: Romans 8:18-26 “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us…”

 

Point 2 (Genesis 6:8-10)

God tells us of the “generations” (NASB) of Noah; and we are not told first off of his progeny, but rather, of righteousness.  Preceding God’s recitation of Noah’s “generations” we find that Noah found grace from the LORD- before anyone can be brought into the line of righteousness as an heir they must first find GRACE!

It is here that we see Jesus foreshadowed again: Christ is “grace upon grace”- Noah found grace.

Let us consider Noah’s generation of righteousness (which is revealed at greater length in the entire chapter 11 of Hebrews):

(PREACH) By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. (Hebrews 11:7)

“Noah condemned the world”, just as we die to the world:  the floodwaters, which represent our baptism into the death and resurrection of Christ by the Holy Spirit, were the means by which the whole world was condemned to Noah, and by which Noah died to the whole world- when he emerged from the Ark he emerged into a new world.

 

 

Of Noah’s generations it is said:

  1. He was righteous and blameless in his generation.
  2. He walked with God.
  3. His progeny: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

 

Point 3 (Genesis 6:13-22)

“Elohim” spoke to Noah (God’s Genesis 1:1 name), and told him that the Creator of Heaven and Earth is coming to destroy creation.  “Elohim” declares the end from the beginning with what will ultimately be fulfilled at the return of Christ:

And God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold I will destroy them with the earth.’

  • See Isaiah 34:1-4 “Let the earth hear, and all that is in it; for the indignation of the Lord is against the nations…”
  • See 2 Peter 3:10-13 “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise…”

 

From this point on God speaks exclusively regarding Noah’s salvation:

  • The Ark of God’s covenant by which Noah would be delivered from God’s wrath.
  • The floodwaters of God’s wrath by which Noah would be delivered from the wickedness of the world.

Now the details regarding the Ark of God’s covenant begin to be revealed:

 

  1. The Ark is God’s covenant with Noah provided by grace and entered through faith.
  2. The Ark’s design is revealed in advance.
  3. The Ark had one window.
  4. The Ark had many rooms.
  5. The Ark had one door.
  6. The Ark was God’s deliverance during the outpouring of His wrath

 

  • See Psalm 32:6-7For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You in a time when You may be found; surely in a flood of great waters they shall not come near him. You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.”
  • See Luke 11:13How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!

Noah and his sons labor to build the ark for anywhere between 55 to 75 years (high estimates are 100+ years).

(v22) “Thus Noah did”

By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear (Heb 11:7)

 

Genesis 7: The Great Flood

Point 1 (Genesis 7:1-6)

The LORD watched Noah, who was moved with godly fear as he received God’s warning by faith; God saw Noah’s faithfulness all these long years of thankless, sweat-stained, blood-stained, ridiculed labor, and declared;

“Come into the Ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation.” (Genesis 7:1)

By the labor of faith Noah entered the Ark.

So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.  For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.  Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.” (Hebrews 4:9-11)

Jesus Christ is the Sabbath-rest of God. Enter His rest at the invitation of His word (Matthew 11:28) whereby every sincere heart of faith is filled with the grace of God. Let us be diligent to set our hope on the firm foundation of Christ’s return; to take up every promise of God whereby we may become partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4); and to abound in the joy of our salvation through blessing and trial by offering to God our sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15).

Hear this: today we must be moved by the same godly fear that moved Noah by faith!

1 Peter 4:17For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

See Matthew 24:27-41

 

Point 2 (Genesis 7:7-24)

This is when everything ceased being faith for Noah and everything he had believed in became reality; for years Noah was moved with God fear by faith to labor for things that seemed so far off.  The world continued as it had always been- life, merriment, death, and new life- but Noah and his family forsook the passing pleasures to pursue something that was utterly veiled to their understanding.

  • The floodwaters began to rage as the fountains of the deep were broken
  • The widows of heaven were opened.

 

Then God commanded Noah to enter the Ark:

So those that entered went in as God had commanded Noah; and the LORD shut him in.”
(Genesis 7:16)

Noah is sealed into the Ark by the LORD:

  • See Ephesians 4:30
  • See Romans 8:35-39

 

 

Genesis 8: Noah Delivered and God’s Covenant with Creation

Point 1 (Genesis 8:1-14)

The floodwaters of God’s wrath that cleansed the face of the earth from the exceedingly great wickedness of man brought deep sorrow to God:

I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. (Ezekiel 33:11)

Every creature of God’s “very good” creation was destroyed; the fierceness of God’s wrath- the wrath that can only be fully satisfied by Christ- broke loose upon the face of the earth with great noise, terror, and power.  And in this moment God was utterly robbed of any pleasure in His creation.  No song of nature.  No beauty of the fields.  Nothing on earth but the Ark carrying the line by which the greatly anticipated Seed that would crush the Serpent’s head was left on the face of the earth.

Then Elohim remembered Noah in the Ark and brought a wind to dry up the earth.

After the Ark came to rest on Mt. Ararat Noah began sending out birds to see if the earth was ready to receive him again;

 

  1. First the Raven
  2. Then a Dove (returned).
  3. Again a Dove (returned with an Olive Branch).
  4. And again a Dove (Did not return).

 

Olive Branch Meaning: Romans 11:17-21. Olive Branch representative of Israel into which the Gentiles are grafted!

 

Point 2 (Genesis 8:15-22)

Now that the earth is dried up God spoke to Noah again;

“Go out of the Ark, you and your household, bring out with you every living thing that is with you so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” (Genesis 8:17)

 

Noah is now breathing the hope of new life and builds an altar to the LORD to sacrifice a burnt offering of every clean animal and of every clean bird.

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.  For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.  To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.  And who is sufficient for these things?  2 Corinthians 2:!4-16

Noah’s sacrifice foreshadowed the complete redemption of all creation that would be made by Jesus Christ in the end; by this sacrifice Noah diffused the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ.

 

In the past God has cursed man’s dominion at the fall of Adam and Eve; even so again God struck man’s dominion again at the flood.  Now God makes a covenant;

I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.  While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night, shall not cease” (Genesis 8:21-22)

 

 

Prophetic Signs of Noah’s Time:

  • Mankind gave and took in marriage and bore sons and daughters (Ch. 5)
  • Mankind multiplied on the face of the earth (6:1).
  • Mankind’s wickedness was widespread on the face of the Earth (6:5).
  • Every intent of their heart was evil (6:5).
  • Noah found Grace from God (6:8)
  • Noah’s generation was righteousness (6:9)
  • The Earth itself was also corrupt before God (6:11).
  • The Earth was filled with violence (6:11).
  • Every creature (people and animals) on earth had corrupted its ways (6:12 see v7).
  • God judged Noah’s faithfulness during the years of construction (7:1)
  • The Ark is God’s covenant with Noah
  • The Ark’s design is revealed in advance, as Christ was foretold by the prophets.
  • The Ark has one window.
  • The Ark has many rooms.
  • The Ark had one door.
  • The ark was God’s deliverance during His outpouring of wrath.

 

Don’t Silence the Preacher

Think about the world we live in for a moment. It is now possible that we can silence anyone in our life that confronts us with just the click of a button; you can tell facebook to silence people you don’t like, while still keeping the appearance of “friendship”, you can hit the “silence” button for incoming calls from people you don’t want to hear from, and you can customize your news feeds to only hear the perspective that you want to hear from.

And then there’s this:

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4

Do not turn from the one who rebukes sin in your life; turn from those who enable it!

 

Are you a mocker? Are you a slanderer? Are you a liar? Are you and adulterer or fornicator, either by intercourse or by lust? Are you a murderer, even by anger? Are you an idolater, even by greed and the love of money? Are you an idolater, even by your stomach? Are you an idolater, even by molding a Christ in your own image? Do you approve of what is evil in God’s sight? Do you condemn that which is approved by God? Are you a coward? Are you a drunkard? Are you lost in revelry? Is your heart weighed down with the cares of this world? Do you mock God in saying that you will not reap the corruption that you have sown?

If you are a teacher yourself, do you use God’s word for your own agenda?  Do you seek the praise of men?  Do you promise liberty in your preaching while being a slave of corruption yourself?  Do you seek to make disciples after yourself?  Do you bind those who are walking in the liberty of Christ?  Are you a coward in the face of wolves?  Do you lord yourself over others with a heavy hand?

Don’t turn your ears from the truth towards the lie that says “you surely will not die, though you eat the forbidden fruit”.

Come and drawn near to Jesus. Come and repent, and leave your body of sin dead at the cross! Be washed in the blood of Christ and receive the Holy Spirit, that you may live!

The Marks of Good Eschatology

Eschatology is the name academics gave to the study concerned with prophetic end-time events.

Earlier I was meditating on the divisions caused in the Church over eschatology and lamenting the power that pride has over the subject.  I feel the division among brethren, and many Christians subsequent reaction of repulsion, are the egregious casualties of this affair.  But it should not be this way!

So I felt compelled to look at some of the marks of good eschatology. These are not meant to support any one eschatological position over another, rather, they are meant as principles by which we can judge our own positions; they are principles that have helped me to move away from certain views because they did not bear these marks.

ESCHATOLOGY ISN’T SEPARATE FROM FAITH

We must bear in mind that eschatology is not separate from the faith; the same marks of soundness that apply to the other aspects of our faith also apply here!

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Our understanding of eschatology should not create panic, weakness, or an unstable mind in us; if it is from God it will be in accordance with the Spirit that He has given to us.

AGREES WITH THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD

Acts 17:11  “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

One of the foremost marks of good eschatology is that it is in agreement with the whole of God’s counsel on the subject.

This principle has personally led me out of many errors as I found that the positions I held did not agree with God’s revelation!  If God had intended for us to take our understanding of end-time events from only one book, He would have given us only one book.

NOT OF PRIVATE INTERPRETATION

2 Peter 1:19-21  “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit”

You might call this “a mark of humility”, or “a mark of unity”, or “a mark of submission”, or perhaps you might call it “a humbling mark of submission that brings unity”?  Either way the mark is clear that good eschatology is such that has been sharpened by the whole body of Christ and not one that originates and is contained within a single human source.

Far too often we are afraid of allowing our eschatology to be examined by others, and when we examine other people’s eschatology, we often times do not afford them the patience and time necessary for this process of public interpretation to take place.

I thank God always for the brothers in my life who have sharpened my eschatological positions over time.  But I thank God the more for the irreplaceable and undeniable work of the Counselor in leading me into all truth!  For in a place of public interpretation how are we to know which is the voice of God and which is the voice of man unless it is the Holy Spirit bearing witness to the truth?

And so this mark humbles us among one another and draws us desperately near to the feet of the Counselor who will lead us all into the truth!

THE PURPOSE OF CHRIST’S INSTRUCTIONS

1 Timothy 1:5  “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from a sincere faith”

Good eschatology will not work contrary to sound teaching, rather, it will agree with the purpose of God’s commandments:  it will produce love, first for God, then for His creation (the pinnacle of which is mankind).

Now it’s important to understand that this love is from a “pure heart”, a “good conscience”, and a “sincere faith”.  Some who do not possess these may argue that any eschatology which includes God’s severe judgment upon sinners would diminish our love for God, but that is not so for those who are born of the Word by the Spirit of God!  Good eschatology, not to mention sound doctrine, does not appeal to the state of corrupt men, rather, it pulls corrupt men out of the mire and washes their hearts, cleanses their conscience, and purifies their faith, if they will have it at all.

Thus we must ask whether our eschatology builds up love from a pure heart, or defiles the heart with pride, bitterness, and hate?  Does it build up our love from a good conscience, or does it go against our consciences that were made clean by the sacrifice of Christ?  Does it build up our love from a sincere faith, or does it lead us astray from the faith that was once and for all delivered to us by Christ?

FERVOR FOR CHRIST’S RETURN

One of the marks of good eschatology that is nearly impossible to fabricate is a sincere fervor for the return of Christ!

Revelation 22:17, 20  “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come.  Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.  He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly’.”

Good eschatology will produce in all the saints of God a fervent and unquenchable desire for Christ’s return!  It causes the things of this world “to grow strangely dim”, and magnifies the things of Christ.

We should examine ourselves to see whether or not our eschatology produces a greater desire for life on this earth, or life in the age to come?

DRIVES HOLINESS AND GODLINESS

Jonathan Edwards, who preached a sermon back in the 1700’s entitled “sinners in the hands of an angry God”, during which people fell out of their seats and clung to pillars in repentance, prayed “Oh God, stamp eternity on my eyeballs.”

2 Peter 3:11-12  “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”

If you do not have eternity in view, I am certain you will not live a life of holy conduct and godliness in this seductively wicked world!

Peter combined three of the most unpopular topics in the Church today into one unequivocally important lesson: holiness, judgment, and the fear of God are necessary to the Christian life, and to grasp these three you must have the King of king’s return in mind.

One of the clearest marks of good eschatology is that it drives you to live a life of holy conduct and godliness.  Any eschatology which leaves your everyday life wholly untouched is shallow and good for nothing but temporary intellectual stimulation- and the Church definitely needs no more of that!

SANCTIFICATION

1 John 3:2-3  “Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it has not yet appeared what we shall be, but we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.  And every man that has this hope in Him purifies himself, even as He is pure.”

Good eschatology will inspire sanctification in us through hope!  Eschatology that produces no sanctification through hope does not have Christ in view!

Your eschatology is the lens through which you peer into eternity, without it, your hope becomes obscure and fuzzy.  You need good eschatology to have strong hope in Christ so that you can weather the storms and persevere to the end.

CONCLUSION

Untold desolation has happened in the Church because we have lost sight of eternity!  When I was in high school and college I was a runner.  I ran cross country and track- I loved running!  I learned very early that it is imperative to form that when you are sprinting that you keep your eyes forward and fixed on the finish line.  You can’t take your eyes off the end or you lose momentum.  In much the same way the Church has drifted aimlessly and lost focus on our goal because of our eschatology.  Many Churches meander from trend to trend because they have taken their eyes off the end!

If your eschatology is good, it will stabilize your faith and produce a sound mind, a strong faith, a fervent perseverance, and a lifestyle of holy conduct and godliness, but if your eschatology is bad all kinds of things can go wrong; a bad eschatology produces an unstable mind, robs the work of evangelism, causes panic, and creates apathy.

Don’t let anyone rob you of the vast treasures of Bible prophecy!  Jesus told the Church to “watch and pray” because He wanted her to be prepared for the end and keep alert.

The Mark of the Beast

The Mark of the Beast justifiably attracts a great deal of attention: scripture says,

“they shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:10-11).

Obviously there is good reason why we want to identify the mark of the Beast.  But, I think even more important than trying to identify the mark of the Beast before the Beast himself is even made known is knowing the characteristics and signs of the mark.

Let’s let scripture be our standard and the Holy Spirit be our guide:

Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.  And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.  He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.  He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or* the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:11-17) [* some versions render: “unless he has that mark, the name of the beast or the number of his name.”]

The mark of the beast is the work of the second beast, who causes the whole world to receive the mark and worship the first beast.  Through the power that the second beast demonstrates in the world he is able to deceive the earth and is made responsible for making the world set up an image to worship the beast.

Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” (Revelation 14:9-12)

John is then given a revelation of three angels, each tasked with proclaiming a certain message to the whole world; the first one proclaims the gospel, the second declares Babylon is fallen, and the third warns the whole world that anyone who worships the beast and his image and receives his mark will partake in the wrath of God forever.

Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. (Revelation 19:20)

This is the point of the Lord’s return to reign for 1,000 years.  The beast and his false prophet are captured and cast alive into the lake of fire.

And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)

Here begins the 1,000 year reign of Christ with His saints who did not worship the beast or receive his image.

It is evident that the focus of the second beast, the false prophet, is in causing the world to worship the Beast- who John called anti-Christ and Paul called “Man of Sin”- there is less emphasis given to “buying and selling”, which is mentioned once as part of the false prophet’s work to make it so that no one can buy or sell without the mark.

Let’s look at this again:

He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.The false prophet has two things that he accomplishes: he causes the world to “receive a mark”, “and that no one may buy or sell except who has the mark”.

A lot of Christians assert that the mark of the Beast will be an implanted RFID-like chip through which all transactions will take place- a position I once took myself as well- but I no longer believe that it is profitable to make this speculation, rather, I believe it is more profitable for us to pay careful attention to several things that are clearly stated in the text:

  1. The mark of the Beast is identified in scripture as “the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:11).
  2. The mark is part of the false prophet’s work to deceive the world into worshiping the Beast (Revelation 13:12, 15).
  3. There will be angelic proclamation warning the whole world not to take the mark of the Beast (Revelation 14:9)
  4. But the false prophet will use mighty power to deceive the world (Revelation 13:13).
  5. Whoever possesses wisdom is admonished to calculate the number of the beast- which is the number of a man.

All of these passages, Revelation 13:12, 15; 14:11; 19:20; 20:4, speak of those who “worship the beast and take his mark”.  Causing the world to worship the Beast is the false prophet’s purpose, and he’ll be given power and authority by which he will exert unheard of pressure upon the earth to this end.

These are the words of God appointed for blessing in a day of great trial- I pray we study these things, which were written- not so that we could boast in our eschatological positions, but “so that we would not be made to stumble”- beyond the narrowly defined eschatological positions that so often “content us” and dampen our zeal to understand these things.