Proving All Things In The Age Of Information Overload

Proving All Things In The Age Of Information Overload
Vol: 23 Issue: 5 Thursday, April 5, 2018

”Information overload” is a term that has come to mean ”a state of having too much information to make a decision or remain informed about a topic.” Too much information can cloud the facts, harden the heart, blind one to the obvious.

Sir William of Occam saw the need to address the problem of information overload as early as the 14th century. A philosopher, Sir William formulated what became known as “Occam’s Razor” as a philosophy for processing information overload.

Occam’s Razor says, in a nutshell, “the simpler the explanation, the more likely its correctness.” Another way of saying it is “the most obvious explanation is the most probable.”

We live in an age of conspiracies and conspiracy theories, but Occam’s Razor still cuts through the excesses of information to get to the heart of the truth of a matter.

But information overload doesn’t just cloud the facts and blind one to the obvious. It also tends to harden the heart and sear the conscience.

How many “Amber alerts” does it take before they blend into the white noise of the day? How many murder/suicides of whole families before we tune them out?

How many reports of corrupt politicians before we accept political corruption as simply the way things are done?

The equation works like this: “The more you know, the less you see.” It all gets jumbled together in a massive flow of information that gets input before we’ve had time to process it all.

We live in the generation in which the sheer volume of information related to Bible prophecy creates its own kind of information overload and its companion results.

There’s so much evident fulfillment of Bible prophecy on a day to day basis that it tends to cloud the facts. Trying to sort out the facts tends to blind one to the obvious. And too much information tends to harden the heart and sear the conscience.

The Bible says, “Prove all things and hold fast to that which is good.” (1st Thessalonians 5:21)

It would appear that Sir William stole Occam’s Razor from the Apostle Paul. Paul is telling the Thessalonians to subject everything submitted to you to be believed to a proper test.

The meaning here is, that they were carefully to examine everything proposed for their belief. They were not to receive it on trust. They weren’t to take it on faith because of who proposed it or how.

They were to apply the proper tests of reason and the Word of God and what they found to be true they were to embrace, and what was false they were to reject.

Christianity does not require men to disregard their ability to reason. It does not expect them to believe anything because others say it is so. The Bible uniquely demands the application of reason to the Word of God.

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 1:18)

“Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob.” (Isaiah 41:21)

Acts is filled with examples of the Apostles applying reason to the Scriptures when preaching Christ as the way of salvation.

“And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” (Acts 24:25)

Christianity doesn’t demand that believers abandon their reason and logic at the door.

It requires we exercise both, and in so doing, proves itself to be of God.

Assessment:

“And this I say,” Paul told the Colossians, “lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. . . As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him.”

The meaning here is simply this: “Since you have received Christ as your Lord as He was preached to you, hold fast the doctrine which you have received and don’t be distracted by some new philosophy.”

It means proving all things by applying reason and logic and Occam’s (or Paul’s) Razor to the Scriptures. Sometimes, we can get so caught up in the minutiae of Scripture that we become blinded to the Bible’s Majesty.

All the various prophecies we are witnessing coming to pass in our lifetimes have been studied by every generation since the time of the Apostles. They all waited in vain, searching the Scriptures for some hint that the return of the Lord was near.

In this generation, there is no need to search for clues, or dream up some vague interpretation of some obscure bit of Scripture and try and make it apply to a given situation. Seeing God’s Hand in unfolding history has become so routine that it blends into the rest of the white noise of information overload.

Let’s step back and look at the Bible’s Majesty, rather than the minutiae, for a change.

The Bible was compiled over a period of 1604 years (BC 1492-AD100) by forty different authors, each writing his portion of the overall Book independently. The various authors were kings, statesmen, priests, herdsmen, tax collectors, fishermen, a physician, and itinerant preachers and prophets like Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah.

Few of them knew of the existence of the other at the time they wrote their portion. Some books were composed during the same periods of history from different perspectives, some were penned over a period of centuries.

But each book flows into the next as if the entire work were penned by the same Mind. The Bible cross-references itself across its whole library of 66 individual books; 39 in the Old Testament, 27 in the New. The Bible is unique in that it is a series of progressive revelations from God given over a period of centuries:

The judges knew more than the Patriarchs, the Prophets than the judges, the Apostles than the Prophets. Yet the Old and New Testaments cannot be separated. You cannot understand Leviticus without Hebrews, or Daniel without Revelation.

The Bible is unique in its simplicity of speech. It is written in a style so universal that it can be translated into any known language.

The Bible contains thousands of details of science, history, geography, medicine, and astronomy. Not a single fact contained in Scripture on any of these topics conflicts with any known evidence.

Isaiah said the earth was round. (Isaiah 40:22) Job wrote from the Middle East of polar ice caps and permafrost.

Ecclesiastes (1:7) and Job (36:27-29), Jeremiah (10:13) and Psalms (135:7) together present the complete description of the hydrological cycle that sustains life on earth.

Four different human authors, four different points on the historical timeline, four different backgrounds (none of them science) but their individual accounts, taken together, outline in detail the complete hydrological cycle of the atmosphere — millennia before its existence was even confirmed by science.

As a work of history, no single historical event, personage, king, kingdom or timeline has ever been conclusively disproved by anyone. Every new discovery confirms the Bible’s account.

No event that can be disproved ever has been. Concerning the accuracy of Luke as a historian, for example, F. F. Bruce writes:

“A man whose accuracy can be demonstrated in matters where we are able to test it is likely to be accurate even where the means for testing him are not available. Accuracy is a habit of mind, and we know from happy (or unhappy) experience that some people are habitually accurate just as others can be depended upon to be inaccurate. Luke’s record entitles him to be regarded as a writer of habitual accuracy.”

The Bible contains advanced medical knowledge regarding sanitary practices and disease prevention not known to Western medicine until the late 1800’s. God instructed the Israelites to burn the garments of leprosy victims.

Western medicine didn’t learn that leprosy was an infectious, rather than hereditary disease until 1873. (It wasn’t until the 20th century that we learned leprosy can survive for up to three weeks on clothing.)

God told Moses to use hyssop oil as a purifying agent. Hyssop oil has been shown to contain 50% antifungal and antibacterial agents.

God commanded the Israelites to perform circumcision on the 8th day of a male child’s life. Specifically, the eighth day. Medical researchers recently discovered that the two main blood clotting factors, Vitamin K and Prothrombim, reach their highest level in life, about 110% of normal, on the 8th day after birth. These blood clotting agents facilitate rapid healing and greatly reduce the chance of infection.

(In fact, performing a circumcision on a child before or after the eighth day requires a Vitamin K supplement injection.)

Back in the 12th century, the Jewish sage Maimonides discovered what he believed to be coded messages hidden in the Bible. Maimonides, working by hand, discovered what he thought were coded words made up of mathematically calculable equidistant letter sequences.

Using computers in the 1990’s several mathematicians from Hebrew University and a Defense Department code specialist named Harold Gans discovered mathematically provable codes do exist at equidistant letter sequences.

After demanding a series of tests to prove the theory, the actuarial journal, “Statistical Science” presented their findings with the following disclaimer:

“Our referees were baffled: their prior beliefs made them think the Book of Genesis could not POSSIBLY contain meaningful references to modern day individuals, yet when the authors carried out additional analyses and checks the effect persisted.”

Wrote the “Biblical Review:”

“The capacity to embed so many, meaningfully related, randomly selected word-pairs in a body of text with a coherent surface meaning is stupendously beyond the intellectual capacity of ANY HUMAN BEING or group of people, however brilliant, and equally beyond the capacity of ANY CONCEIVABLE COMPUTING DEVICE. The phenomenon cannot be attributed to ANYTHING within the KNOWN PHYSICAL UNIVERSE, human beings included.”

Applying Occam’s Razor to the known evidence about the Bible, there can be only one of two possible conclusions.

1) The Bible is a collection of stories and myths that just so happen to coincide with provable history, medicine, geography, astronomy, etc., plus coincidentally, provably forecasts the future with 100% accuracy;

or,

2) The Bible is true in every provable way, and could only have been written by God. So God exists, heaven exists, hell exists, Jesus is real, salvation is real, and so is eternity.

But sometimes, even after being saved many years, the enemy will launch another information overload assault on my reason and try and convince me that it’s all a myth.

All I have to do to dispel the attack is remember there are only those two logical choices and Occam’s Razor.

Coincidence? Occam’s Razor says that cannot be possible.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on August 2, 2007

A Polite Society

A Polite Society
Vol: 23 Issue: 4 Wednesday, April 4, 2018

1950’s-era science fiction writer Robert F. Heinlein observed, in one of his science fiction novels in which he depicted future society as a kind of Wild West in which all citizens were armed and duels were commonplace; ”An armed society is a polite society”.

In the American West in the 1880’s, a man could find himself in a fight to the death over a perceived insult.  Shooting a card cheat caught in the act was justifiable homicide in practice, whether or not it was codified in law.

Disrespecting decent women was an offense that could put one on Boot Hill pushing up daisies before sundown.  And one thought twice about using a gun to commit a robbery, since the odds were better that even that every other person in the room was armed, as well.

That is not to say I am an advocate of returning to the era of vigilante justice as handed down from the barrel of a .44 Colt.  That said, it doesn’t change the basic truth behind Heinlein’s contention: An armed society IS a polite society.  Moreover, an armed society is a safer society.

Consider, for a moment, the terror inspired by the Beltway sniper case.  People living in the area surrounding the Washington DC area were terrified by the prospect of being gunned down at random in the streets by a crazed gunman. (Or gunmen, as it turned out)

Had John Muhammed and Lee Malvo had to worry about whether or not every person they saw might be armed with a weapon, the killing spree might never have begun.  Throughout America’s cities, gang violence runs rampant.  Gangs control entire neighborhoods in some cities, terrorizing and victimizing with relative impunity.

Some Los Angles gangs require prospective members to commit a murder as a form of initiation.  To fulfill their initiation, they just walk up to a stranger in the street at random, pull out a gun, and shoot him in public in front of witnesses.

Gangsters call that ‘making their bones.’  Such murders are seldom solved, since random shootings leave little for police to follow up on, greatly diminishing the chance of getting caught.  Remove the risk of getting shot by some bystander, and it is practically risk-free.

If the possibility existed that armed passers-by might pull out their own guns and shoot them in return, the practice would suddenly become a whole lot riskier.  And a whole lot less common.

I recall a movie I saw once in which a couple of crooks decided to stick up a neighborhood bar.  They walked in, took up positions on either end of the bar, and announced it was a stickup.  What they didn’t know was this was a bar frequented by off-duty police.

Every cop in the bar simultaneously pulled his weapon and pointed it at the bad guys.  The robbers, outnumbered thirty guns to two, surrendered meekly in what was a visually hilarious scene.

One of the many terrorist manuals confiscated in Afghanistan included a plan in which various terrorist cells would send its members out knocking on doors in American neighborhoods and then shooting whoever answered the door.  When revealed by authorities, the plan sent chills up and down spines across America, as it was intended to do.

But if behind every door was an American armed with a gun, the terrorists’ plan would have been noteworthy only because of its stupidity.

The Swiss have the most liberal gun laws in Europe.  Every Swiss citizen is required to both own, and be proficient with, his own gun.  That is the secret to the famous Swiss neutrality that has kept it free from invasion for centuries.  Even Adolf Hitler respected Swiss neutrality.  Switzerland, with its armed population of gun enthusiasts, would be too costly to take by force.

A relative handful of well-armed and motivated citizens can hold even the most powerful military forces at bay.  Just look at what a handful of armed insurgents — out of fifty million Iraqis — have been able to accomplish against the most powerful military forces the world has ever seen.

Pretty much every American concerned with homeland security recognizes the threat posed by our porous border with Mexico.  For years, the federal government argued that federal agencies were doing the best that they could.

Until armed members of the “Minutemen’ took up positions along the border and illegal immigration was immediately choked off.

Assessment:

The 2nd Amendment says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”.

The Supreme Court decided in a landmark case styled “The United States v. Miller” that the 2nd Amendment did not apply to ordinary citizens, but instead conferred a special privilege on the National Guard.

This interpretation was one of those that make you go, “Hmmm.”  In this view, the 2nd Amendment confers the right to bear arms to the government.  It would, therefore, be the only amendment specifically granting a special right TO the government among a series of amendments designed to LIMIT the rights of government and to enumerate the rights of the people.

It is simply ludicrous that the Founding Fathers would convey the right to bear arms to itself.  They already conferred the responsibility to provide for the common defense to the Congress.

Did the Founding Fathers feel the need to tell the Congress, (via the people’s “Bill of Rights” no less), that the Congress could use GUNS to defend against foreign enemies?  What did they think Congress was going to use, absent the 2nd Amendment?  Spitballs?

The Supreme Court’s interpretation grows even more bizarre when viewed in light of USC Title 10, Chapter 13, Section 311 (a);

“The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are commissioned officers of the National Guard.”

And, “(b) The classes of the militia are- (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.”

Note that Title 10 doesn’t identify those who are qualified to join a militia, or even those who have, but identifies all able bodied Americans between 17 and 45 as already being members of ‘the militia’ by default.

Ummm, run that Supreme Court decision by me again?  The 2nd Amendment gives the right to bear arms to the militia, but not to ordinary citizens?

Despite propaganda to the contrary, guns are used in America more than twice as often for defensive purposes as they are for offensive purposes.  Bad guys choose their victims based on the likelihood they might be armed.

When I was a police officer, our department issued a cruiser to each officer to take home, and to use off duty within the city limits.  The idea was to convey the image of a much larger police presence on the street than there actually was.  In addition, an off duty officer in his cruiser was automatically available for backup as needed.

It also accomplished something else.  In ten years, I never had to lock the doors to my house when I went out, as long as that cruiser was parked in my driveway.  The homes of police officers are rarely deliberately chosen by burglars as preferred targets.

Especially if there looks like there might be someone home.

Noted John Stossel in his column from 2005,

“As Alex Kozinski, a federal appeals judge and an immigrant from Eastern Europe, warned in 2003, “the simple truth — born of experience — is that tyranny thrives best where government need not fear the wrath of an armed people.”

“The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do,” Judge Kozinski noted. “But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed — where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.”

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on October 19, 2005

Featured Commentary: Regret the Begets? ~Wendy Wippel

”Take Heed That No Man Deceive You”

”Take Heed That No Man Deceive You”
Vol: 23 Issue: 3 Tuesday, April 3, 2018

When He was asked, ‘what will be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?’ (Matt 24:3) one of the first things Jesus said was: “take heed that no man deceive you,” but He warns us not to follow them.

He also warned the Church that in ‘the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33).

That is not to say that the Church plays a role in the time generally referred to as the Tribulation Period. There’s plenty of tribulation in the world for the Christian right now already, but Jesus is letting us know its all according to Plan, so don’t worry.

I believe the Bible makes it clear that the Tribulation Period is the Seventieth Week of Daniel, the time of ‘Jacob’s Trouble’.

It is for this reason that I believe the pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine to be correct according to the Scripture.

To follow the flow of Bible prophecy during the final hours of the Church Age, there must first be an understanding that there IS a ‘Church Age’.

There are few Christians who deny the existence of a ‘Church Age’ — the Bible is divided into Old Testament and New, after all — most churches acknowledge the Birth of the Church at Pentecost, and so on.

But when it comes to the Tribulation, understanding Bible prophecy and the signs of the times, conflicting doctrines are often preached within the same messages by the well-meaning who solemnly pronounce the conflicts as ‘mysteries of faith’ — or they ignore Bible prophecy altogether.

If there IS a Church Age, then there was something before — and something that comes after. That is the basic premise of Dispensationalism. Dispensational theologians divide human history according to the way God interacted with man at that time, into seven ‘dispensations’ of God’s grace.

The time before the Fall was the Age of Innocence, after the Fall, but before the Flood the Age of Conscience, and so on.

Of interest to us at this juncture are the Ages of the Law and the Age of Grace (Church Age).

Don’t get pulled down a rabbit trail, stay with me here. Forget all the clever but somewhat cloudy arguments from those who’ve ‘dug deeper into God’s truth’ and just follow the simple map for now.

You can always go back later if you get lost. I’m not trying to deceive anyone.

Either there was an age under the Law of Moses that ended with the introduction of the Age of Grace at Pentecost, or there was not. If your Sunday School doesn’t teach that, better take another look at your Bible.

The Bible teaches there is a purpose FOR the Church Age. The Jews first, then also the Gentiles.

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in,” Paul writes in Romans 11:25.

The blindness of Israel to the coming of the Messiah Jesus is ‘in part’ and conditional — ‘until the fullness of the Gentiles is come in’ to the Church.

I needn’t go into exhaustive exegesis — it is either clearly what God intended to be understood as written, or it is not. Truth needs no propping up — it can stand by itself nicely, thank you.

Paul pictures the three kinds of spiritual human beings — Jews, Gentiles, and the Christian redeemed out of each group. There is no fourth option in Scripture. Every human falls into one of these three categories, according to the Scriptures.

What happens when ‘the fulness of the Gentiles be come in’ then?

According to Daniel, the Dispensation of the Age of the Law was limited to seventy ‘weeks’ (of years) totaling 490 altogether, starting from the command to rebuild the temple given Ezra by Artexerxes.

Daniel said the time would run concurrently until the Messiah is ‘cut off’ after 69 weeks (483 years). The seventieth week resumes sometime in the future with the introduction of antichrist. 

(See Daniel’s 70th Week for more information).

The ‘fullness of the Gentiles’ is the conclusion of the Church Age. It is hard to see that any other way.

Misunderstanding the Dispensations allows one to end the Church age in the middle of the tribulation with the Rapture. But then there is no sense to Daniel’s 70th Week, since it is now just three and a half years.

Set aside all the deep thinking and careful, painstaking calculations and tortured interpretations for now and just look at the obvious, clear and logical flow.

If there IS a point when the ‘fullness of the Gentiles is come in’ AND there is a point in which the 70th Week of Daniel resumes, then there is a point BEFORE and a POINT after. Just like beginning of the Church Age. There was a point BEFORE Pentecost, and a point AFTER.

Since the Church Age is for the gathering of the saints, and Daniel’s 70th Week is set aside for the national redemption of Israel (the purpose specifically given by Daniel FOR the 70th Week) and for the judgment of God against a Christ-rejecting world (the purpose from the perspective of John) why, logically, would the Church Age end with any less definition than it began?

Why would the Age of the Law resume while the Church is still here? What then, is the ‘fullness’ of the Gentiles? Logically, I mean, following the simple path, not the contorted one that creates so much friction and division.

Ignoring the clear pattern of dispensational truth in the Scripture in favor of something more complicated and therefore, somehow, deeper, appeals to the human propensity for pride. (“I know something you’re too stupid to figure out”)

But does it make clear sense? Where does it lead?

Christians are exhorted to walk ‘by faith and not by sight’ but I’ve heard pre-tribulationalism decried as ‘the Great Escape’ and its preachers called false teachers who were not preparing the Church for the coming tribulation.

From this perspective, if I don’t teach that we are going to go through the Tribulation, you won’t be prepared to stand. So you need survival gear, a year’s supply of dessicated food, some gold (money won’t be any good) and maybe a nice underground shelter.

THEN, you will be ‘prepared’ for the coming troubles, during which time you’ll walk by faith and not by sight when the antichrist is about to kill your children in front of you unless you take the Mark. Uh-huh.

My favorite argument is that Dispensational pretribulationism is a new doctrine first introduced by Margaret MacDonald in 1820. So how come I’m quoting the Bible instead of her?

Regardless of when you think the Rapture happens personally, did you ever notice how MAD people get if you don’t agree with THEM?

There is no profit in preaching a pretribulation Rapture and eternal security. I can’t sell you dessicated food, gold for the coming catastrophe or even a book on what to do if you get left behind, because if you are saved, you won’t need it and you won’t get left behind. No money in that.

And if you believe me — then neither can anybody else. (Maybe that’s why they get so mad, who knows?)

We are living in the last days. The signs of the times are all around us. The Lord is coming soon, and when He comes, the Bible says that the dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with the Lord in the air. (1 Thessalonians 4)

When Jesus ascended into heaven, an angel appeared to the Apostles, (not to the Gentiles) “Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven. ” (Acts 1:11)

To the Gentile world at the Second Coming; “Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.” (Revelation 1:7)

Unless you have different definitions for the words “every” and “all” then what would Christians be ‘wailing about’ at the Lord’s 2nd Coming? It’s what we’ve been waiting for since His Ascension.

A pre-Trib Rapture leaves nothing to sell to see you through the Tribulation. No motive to deceive. Like the Gospel, it’s simple and direct.

First, the ‘fullness of the Gentiles be come in’ and the Rapture, then the pouring out of God’s Wrath on those who make war against the Jews, then the national redemption of Israel at the Second Coming, and finally, the destruction of antichrist and introduction of the Millennial Kingdom.

Simple. In harmony with Scripture.

The only incentive for preaching it is to tell people they need to get saved — NOW, not later when the antichrist hands them his calling card.

“And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.” (Matthew 24:3-4)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on January 15, 2003

Featured Commentary: What’s Your Brand? ~Steve Schmutzer

One Generation, Somewhere In Time. . .

One Generation, Somewhere In Time. . .
Vol: 23 Issue: 2 Monday, April 2, 2018

Depending upon whom one asks the question, mankind has been on this planet for somewhere between six thousand and six million years. The six million year figure is the extreme end of the evolutionist’s estimates, where the six thousand year period is the time frame generally accepted by creationists.

Allow yourself to dwell, for a minute, on just how long six thousand years really is. Not inabstract, cosmic terms, but rather, in terms of human society. It was only six hundred years ago that conventional wisdom said the earth was flat. Mankind had been on the earth for more than five thousand five hundred years before we learned otherwise.

America, the greatest nation the world has ever known, is only two-hundred and thirty-three years old. It was just one hundred and fifty years ago that Americans were willing to kill each other over the right to own other human beings as property.

Only sixty-five years ago, human beings were being shoveled into ovens in their millions or shot down into mass graves at the hands of citizens of one of the oldest and most cultured civilizations in Europe.

Even at six thousand years, man has been here a long, long time, when you think about it.

Bible prophecy indicates that mankind’s time on this earth is limited and predetermined. Scripture tells us that God created the earth in six days, and on the seventh, He rested.

According to Psalms 90:4,

“For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.”

2nd Peter 3:8 tells

“that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”

The prophet Hosea, speaking to the Jews who survived the Babylonian exile, prophesied,

“After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.” (Hosea 6:2)

And approximately two thousand years later (after two ‘days’) the Jews of Israel resumed their place among the nations of the world after a two thousand, five hundred year absence.

Hosea’s reference to the third day, in which ‘He will raise them up and they shall live in His sight,’ takes place a day AFTER their ‘revival’. This correlates to Ezekiel’s vision of ‘valley of dry bones’ that come together, revived as “an exceedingly great army” but, “when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.” (Ezekiel 37:8)

Israel is revived, but not yet ‘alive’ in His sight until their national redemption at the conclusion of the time of ‘Jacob’s Trouble’ that ushers in the Millennial Kingdom.

So, it is safe to infer from Scripture that time, from our perspective, is predetermined, and is running down like a stopwatch that was started ticking at the fall of Adam and Eve. There is a day already determined,

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matthew 24:36)

Scripture deals with time in a way that is difficult for us to grasp; from the perspective of the One knowing “the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done” (Isaiah 46:10) time is a constant state of ‘now’.

It makes following the Scripture’s timeline difficult, which is why God promised there would be signs — or ‘mile markers’ — to let us know when time, as we understand it, is running out.

Assessment:

This is a good place to revisit the term, “last days” since my email often reflects a sense of confusion about what the term means. After all, many argue, the Apostle Paul thought he was living in the last days, and here we are two thousand years later. . .

This line of reasoning adds credibility, at least on the surface, the scoffer’s argument; “People have been forecasting the return of Christ in every generation, etc.”

“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2nd Peter 3:3-4)

Again, there is that reference to the ‘last days’ again. The term ‘last days’ has two meanings. In the first and broadest sense, it refers to the entire period of the Church Age, since it is the final Dispensation of human government before it is reclaimed by Jesus Christ at the beginning of the Kingdom Age to come.

In the second and more specific sense, it refers to the period of time between the restoration of national Israel and the onset of the 70th Week of Daniel — the generation of whom Jesus said,

“This generation shall not pass away until all these things be fulfilled.” (Matthew 24:34)

The meaning is derived from the context. The Prophet Joel prophesied,

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” (Joel 2:28)

The Church Age began with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in all believers, starting with the Apostles at Pentecost. Of Pentecost, Peter explained;

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2:17)

The context makes it clear that in this instance, the reference is to the Church Age as the “last days.” On the other hand, the Apostle Paul warned of ‘perilous times’ (2nd Timothy 3:1-5) in the ‘last days’.

But the context indicates he is referring to the ‘last days’ in the sense of the last generation of the Church Age — since Paul’s prophecy of social conditions echoes the description of the Laodicean Church Age of Revelation 3:14.

The same can be said of Paul’s warning to Timothy (1st Timothy 4:1-3);

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”

It is one of the unique oddities of this generation that the phrase ‘Christian fundamentalist’ means the same thing as ‘radical extremist.’

Paul warned of a ‘departure from the faith’ — what is ‘fundamentalism’ if it isn’t following the fundamentals — unchanging doctrinal truths?   Paul said that the doctrines of demons and seducing spirits would supplant the doctrines of Christianity.

Christian ‘fundamentalists’ believe that only those who put their trust in Christ will be saved. The world calls that “too exclusionary” and envisions a form of religion that embraces all faiths as equal in the eyes of God.

That non-exclusionary version of Christianity is championed by the foundational documents of the World Council of Churches, founded in Amsterdam in 1948. And is central to the principles of the UN’s Global Religious Forum.

It also fits precisely with John’s description of the global religion of antichrist, which he described as having ‘two horns like a lamb (a counterfeit form of Christianity) but spake as a dragon (Satan)” (Revelation 13:11)

In this generation, the so-called ‘true’ Christians are the ‘tolerant’ ones who recognize all faiths as equally valid. But if all are equally valid, then are they not all are equally invalid?  If Rastafarianism is equal to Christianity, then Christianity is equal to Rastafarianism. No?

In any case, those who hold to a literal understanding of John 14:6; (Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me”) are deemed intolerant at best, fundamentalist or extremist at worst.

“And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1st John 4:3)

The spirit of antichrist as John describes it, is to this generation, a matter of national US domestic policy.  Two teachers recently faced jail time for offering mealtime prayers at a Jan. 28 lunch for school employees and booster-club members who had helped with a school field-house project.

Ezekiel places the Gog Magog War in the “latter times” but in context, it is clear it is referring to the last generation, rather than the broader sense of the Church Age.

For Ezekiel’s prophecy of a Russian-led, Islamic invasion of Israel to take place, Israel must first exist. “Israel” was conquered, assimilated and thereby lost to history before Ezekiel was born.

From that day until May 14, 1948, no sovereign nation called “Israel” existed anywhere on the planet. The context puts Ezekiel’s war in the last days of the last generation, at a time when Israel is a ‘land of unwalled villages, dwelling ‘safely’ during a temporary period of false peace.

Israel has existed under a series of periods of false peace, but it has yet to dwell ‘safely’ during any of them. And, at this point, Israel is building the wall Ezekiel says has to come down. It is the number one sticking point in Arab-Israeli negotiations. Any successful outcome will have to include the dismantling of the hated ‘Apartheid Wall’, as the Palestinians dubbed it.

The scoffers will argue that the “last days” is a generic term with no specific meaning as part of a general argument that there is nothing unique about this generation that points to the soon return of Christ. “Since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue. . .” etc.

That is why there is such a division within the professing Church about the timing of the Rapture, the relevance of Bible prophecy, the Tribulation, Millennial Kingdom and so on.

One can take a Scripture and use it to validate almost any theological argument, unless it is taken in context. Then the Bible interprets itself. It is up to us to study the Word, rather than accepting logical-sounding arguments out of context at face value.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. . . But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.” (2nd Timothy 2:15,23)

The Word, rightly divided, says that we are the last generation before the Return of Christ. That means that many of those reading these lines will be among those who will never, ever, die! It is to us — this generation — that the Apostle Paul was speaking when he promised;

“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1st Thessalonians 4:16-17)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on October 17, 2009

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