Monday, August 31, 2009

End Time Wars - #5-6 Heaven And The Saints

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

The Bible describes nine separate end time wars. We have looked at the first two of these conflicts — the War of Extermination based on Psalm 83 and the First War of Gog-Magog based on Ezekiel 38-39. The next two end time wars we addressed in the sequence definitely take place in the Tribulation — the Conventional and the Nuclear Wars of the Tribulation.

The fifth end time war takes place in the heavens, while the sixth is waged on Earth by the Antichrist against the Jews and the Tribulation believers in Jesus Christ.


5) The War in the Heavens — Revelation 12

The next end time war is totally different in nature from all the rest. It is a supernatural one that will occur in the heavens in the middle of the Tribulation. It is most likely prompted by an attempt of Satan to once again take the throne of God.

Satan and his angels are opposed in this war by Michael and his angels. Michael is an archangel who is pictured in the Hebrew Scriptures as the commander-in-chief of the armies of God (Daniel 10:13, 21 and 12:1). Michael and his angels prevail in this war, and Satan is cast down to earth. His access to God's throne is cut off (Revelation 12:9-10).

War in Heaven

When this happens, Satan realizes that his time is short because he knows Bible prophecy (Revelation 12:12). In his rage, Satan decides to destroy the Jewish people, and this decision leads to the next war.


6) The War Against the Jews and the Saints — Revelation 12

Satan hates the Jews with a passion for several reasons:

  1. They are the Chosen People of God.

  2. God used them to provide the Scriptures to the world.

  3. It was through them that the Messiah came.

  4. God has promised that He will bring a great remnant of them to faith in His Son at the end of the Tribulation.

There is going to be another holocaust during the latter half of the Tribulation. When Satan is cast down to earth, he will possess the Antichrist (Revelation 13:2) and inspire him to annihilate all the Jews. This is the reason that Jesus referred to the last half of the Tribulation as "the great tribulation" (Matthew 24:21) — not because this half will be worse than the first half, but because the wrath of Satan will be focused on the Jews.

Some of the Jews of Israel will flee to a place in the "wilderness" where they will be supernaturally protected by God (Revelation 12:13-14). Many believe this hiding place will be the ancient city of Petra, located inside a box canyon in modern Jordan. There is good reason for this assumption because Daniel 11:41 says the Antichrist will be prevented from conquering Jordan when it is part of an end time rebellion.

But Zechariah 13:8 indicates that two-thirds of the Jewish people will be killed by the Antichrist during this time, and Revelation 12:17 says the Antichrist will also war against the "offspring" of Israel — namely, those "who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus." I believe this is a reference to all those who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior during the Tribulation, both Jews and Gentiles.

It is no wonder that Revelation 7:9-14 pictures a great multitude of martyrs in Heaven, so great that it cannot be counted. They are identified as "the ones who are coming out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:14).

So the Antichrist will be very successful in his war against the Jews and the Saints, but he will fail in his ultimate goal of annihilating all the Jews. For we are told repeatedly throughout the Scriptures that a great remnant of the Jews will live to the end of the Tribulation at which time they will receive Yeshua as their Messiah. (See: Isaiah 10:20-23; Zechariah 12:10; Romans 9:27-28; and Romans 11:25-26.)


In the fifth installment of this "End Time Wars" series, we will look at the seventh and eighth wars in the end times sequence — both the Middle East Campaign of the Antichrist and we'll finally address the Battle of Armageddon.

Friday, August 28, 2009

End Time Wars - #3-4 Conventional And Nuclear

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

The Bible describes nine separate end time wars. We have looked at the first two of these conflicts — The War of Extermination based on Psalm 83 and the First War of Gog-Magog based on Ezekiel 38-39. Both of these wars may very well happen just before or after the Rapture, but most likely sometime before the upcoming 7-year Tribulation.

Now certainly into the Tribulation in the sequence of end time wars, we will look at the Conventional and the Nuclear Wars of the Tribulation.


3) The Conventional War of the Tribulation — Revelation 6

The book of Revelation states that a major world war will break out soon after the Tribulation begins. This war is described in Revelation 6.

Four Hoursemen

Although the Antichrist will rise to world power in Europe through cunning, deception, and intrigue (Daniel 8:23), he will have to resort to military power to conquer the world. Asia, Africa, and South America have spent too long casting off the shackles of European colonialism for them to suddenly surrender their sovereignty peacefully to a new European dictator — regardless of how brilliant and charismatic he may be.

We are told in Revelation 13:7 that the Antichrist will ultimately achieve "authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation." This authority will be achieved through war. Revelation 6 records the outbreak of this world war. It results in the death of one-fourth of humanity, or 1.5 billion in today's terms (Revelation 6:8).

The War of Psalm 83 results in the destruction of the inner ring of Muslim states around Israel. The War of Ezekiel 38 and 39 produces the defeat of the immediate outer ring of Muslim states.

But the vast majority of all Muslims live outside the Middle East, the largest Muslim nations being Indonesia (201 million), India (144 million), Pakistan (140 million), and Bangladesh (115 million). These nations are the ones who are most likely to produce the strongest resistance to a Western, non-Muslim dictator, and they will be destroyed either in this war or the one that follows it.

In other words, I believe God is going to use the Antichrist as His hammer of wrath to destroy Islam.

But many other nations in the world will also have to be subdued, and that leads us to the next war of the end times.


4) The Nuclear War of the Tribulation — Revelation 8 & 9

At some point, the book of Revelation indicates that the conventional war will morph into a nuclear holocaust, resulting in the deaths of another one-third of Mankind, or another 1.5 billion people (Revelation 9:15). This means that in the first two wars of the Tribulation, more than one half of humanity will die.

A hint that the conventional war will become a nuclear one is found in Revelation 8:7 where it states that the escalation of the war will result in one-third of the earth being burned up. Another hint is found in Revelation 16:2-11 where we are told that "loathsome and malignant" sores will afflict people at the end of the Tribulation, something that would be a natural consequence of radiation from the use of nuclear weapons.

It could very well be that this nuclear holocaust could be what Jesus had in mind when He stated that in the end times men will faint from fear over the expectation of the things coming upon the world, "for the powers of the heavens will be shaken" (Luke 21:26).

This war is portrayed in the book of Revelation in chapters 8-9 as a series of "Trumpet Judgments."


In the fourth installment of this "End Time Wars" series, we will look at the fifth and sixth wars in the end times sequence — both the War in the Heavens and the War Against the Jews and the Saints.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

End Time Wars - #2 The First War of Gog-Magog

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Every time a war breaks out in the Middle East, I receive a flurry of phone calls and email messages asking if it could be the War of Armageddon. This question is prompted by the fact that most people are familiar with only one end time war — the one that has been popularized in movies and novels as the "Battle of Armageddon." In reality, the Bible describes nine separate end time wars.

We have looked at the first of these battles — the War of Extermination based on Psalm 83. Next in the prophetic sequence is the First War of Gog-Magog based on Ezekiel 38-39, the war when Russia invades Israel with certain specified allies, all of whom are Muslim nations today.


2) The First War of Gog & Magog — Ezekiel 38 and 39

The security provided by the Psalm 83 war will not last long. The Arab nations will turn to their natural ally, Russia, and cry out for help.

And the Russians will be very happy to respond, for they have always dreamed of taking the oil fields of the Middle East. They will, therefore, launch an invasion for the stated purpose of helping the Muslims destroy Israel, but their unstated agenda will be to use the Arab invitation as an excuse to expand their sovereignty over all the Middle East. This ulterior motive is described in Ezekiel 38:12 where it says the Russians will come "to capture spoil and to seize plunder."

The invading armies will be supernaturally destroyed by God "on the mountains of Israel" (Ezekiel 39:4). The Lord will accomplish this destruction through earthquakes, pestilence, hail storms, fire, brimstone, and battlefield confusion (Ezekiel 38:19- 22). Even the Jewish people will recognize that the victory belongs to the Lord, and many will open their hearts to the Lord (Ezekiel 38:23). In fact, this event could mark the occasion when the 144,000 Jews of Revelation 7:1-8 accept Yeshua as their Messiah and are sealed by the Lord for special service throughout the seven year period of the Tribulation.

The greatest mystery concerning this war is its timing. Most have placed it at the beginning of the Tribulation. Others delay its start to the middle of the Tribulation. Increasingly in recent years, the tendency has been to place it before the beginning of the Tribulation.

The best discussion of timing that has yet been written can be found in Ron Rhodes' book, Northern Storm Rising. He concludes that it is most likely to occur 3 1/2 years prior to the Tribulation. One of his most important reasons for this conclusion is that Ezekiel 39:9 says the Jews will spend seven years burning the weapons captured in the war, and the book of Revelation says they will be run out of the land in the middle of the Tribulation (Revelation 12:13-17). Since the middle of the Tribulation will occur 3 1/2 years into that seven year period, that means the only way the Jews could spend seven years burning the weapons is for the war to start at least 3 1/2 years before the Tribulation begins. (Note: The "burning of weapons" could refer to captured nuclear fuel.)

Does this mean the wars of Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 and 39 must occur before the Rapture? Not at all. The Rapture could occur anytime before, during, or after these wars. Keep in mind that the Rapture is not what marks the beginning of the Tribulation. The Tribulation will begin when the Antichrist signs a security treaty with Israel (Daniel 9:27). There could be a period of several years between the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation.

For further information on the Gog-Magog War and its timing, see the article series Timing Gog-Magog.


In the third installment of this "End Time Wars" series, we will look at the third and fourth wars in the end times sequence — both the Conventional and Nuclear Wars of the Tribulation.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

End Time Wars - #1 War of Extermination

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Every time a war breaks out in the Middle East, I receive a flurry of phone calls and email messages asking if it could be the War of Armageddon. This question is prompted by the fact that most people are familiar with only one end time war — the one that has been popularized in movies and novels as the "Battle of Armageddon."

The Valley of Armageddon

The concept comes from the book of Revelation where it says that armies will gather in the end times at a place "which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon" (Revelation 16:16). This term literally means the Mount of Megiddo and refers to the ancient fortress of Megiddo that controlled the Valley of Jezreel. In English the word was transliterated as Armageddon, and the term came to be applied to the Valley of Jezreel which lies in front of Har-Magedon, running diagonally across Israel from Haifa to the Jordan River.

Valley of Jezreel Map

Most people are surprised to discover that there is no reference in the book of Revelation, or any other place in the Bible to the "Valley of Armageddon," nor is there any reference to the "Battle of Armageddon" — but more about that later. People are even more surprised to learn that Bible prophecy reveals nine wars in the end times and that Armageddon relates to only one of these.


The Next Prophetic War

Most prophetic scholars have long believed that the next great end time war will be the War of Gog & Magog that is described in Ezekiel 38 and 39. This, for example is the stated position of Joel Rosenberg in his popular book, Epicenter. This war will start when Russia invades Israel with certain specified allies, all of whom are Muslim nations today.

But I seriously doubt that the conflict described in Ezekiel 38 and 39 will be the next war of end time Bible prophecy. There are two reasons why I feel this way.

First, there is a condition for the war of Ezekiel 38 and 39 that has not been met. Three times in Ezekiel 38 — in verses 8, 11, and 14 — it states that the war described in that chapter will not occur until the people of Israel are living "securely" in "unwalled villages."

Israel is not living in security today. It is bombarded daily by missiles from Gaza, and it is constantly under the threat of missile attacks from Hezbollah in Lebanon. There is also the ever present threat of terrorist attacks, a threat that has forced Israel to construct a 400 mile long wall down the center of the country. In short, it is laughable today to even think of the Jewish people of Israel as living "securely" in "unwalled villages."

The second reason I doubt that the war of Ezekiel 38 and 39 will be the next end time war of Bible prophecy is because the nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38:5-6 as the allies of Russia do not include a single Arab state with a border adjacent to Israel. The nations identified are Persia (Iran), Cush (most likely modern day Sudan), Put (Libya and possibly Algeria and Tunisia), and two regions that lie within modern day Turkey (Gomer and Bethtogarmah). There is no mention of the nations that share a common border with Israel — namely, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Gaza.

Why are the nations located next to Israel not mentioned as allies of Russia? I believe the best explanation of this mystery is the one supplied by Bill Salus in his book, Isralestine. He proposes that the next end time prophetic war will be the one described in Psalm 83, a war between Israel and its neighbors. He believes this war will produce the conditions that are necessary for the war of Ezekiel 38 and 39, and I agree with that conclusion.

With that point clarified, let's now take an overview of the end time prophetic wars in their likely chronological sequence, starting with the first in this series.


1) The War of Extermination — Psalm 83

The psalm states that the immediate neighbors of Israel will launch a war for the purpose of "wiping out Israel as a nation" (verse 4). The nations described as being a part of this nefarious effort are those with a common border with Israel today (verses 6-8). The rest of the psalm is a prayer for the victory of Israel (verses 9-18).

The outcome of the war is not stated, but we know from other scriptures that Israel will be victorious. For example, in Zechariah 12:6 we are told that in the end times Israel will be like "a firepot among pieces of wood and a flaming torch among sheaves, so they will consume on the right hand and on the left all the surrounding peoples..." Also, in Amos 9:15 we are told that once the Jews are re-established in their land, "they will not again be rooted out from their land."

Bill Salus believes this war will result in an overwhelming victory for Israel, resulting in great territorial expansion and enhanced national resources. It will also produce the security spoken of in Ezekiel 38.


In the second installment of this "End Time Wars" series, we will look at the second war in the end times sequence — the First War of Gog & Magog.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Defining The Emergent Church Movement

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

One of the signs of the end times is a great proliferation of false doctrines and teachers (Matt. 24:11,24; 2 Pet. 2:1). And, one of the most growing of these false doctrines today is the Emergent Church Movement. But, many people are scratching their heads trying to figure out just what this movement is all about.

Eric BargerAn explanation of just what the Emergent Church Movement is was taken to one of today's foremost defenders of the faith, Eric Barger, the founder and director of Take a Stand! Ministries headquartered in the Dallas area. Eric is an authority on the cults, the New Age, and rock music today. From his past as a former drug addict and rock n' roll musician who was deeply involved in the New Age movement, Eric has emerged since he gave his life to Jesus Christ to become one of today's greatest defenders of Christianity in America.


Eric, just what is the Emergent Church Movement and what do they believe?

The Emerging Movement came out of the young leadership network about 10 years ago, so it is a very, very new thing. But, it is all about the idea that the post-moderns have been left behind, that group of people, and there needs to be a new church now emerge to meet their needs or to reach them. And, I am all for reaching post-moderns, before-moderns, after-moderns.

Post-modern would be people who are in the post-modern generation. That would be people around my age (57) and younger. The Post-modern Age can be defined by its lack of formally accepted standards, a lack of good doctrine, and a lack of knowing what truth really is. Your reality is what you make it, which in reality is a New Age idea that you create your own reality and do your own thing.

The standard of where truth is has changed or where the anchor of what holds us together and where we can figure out what the word "truth" is. That is called "Epistemology," where we find out where our knowledge comes from and where beliefs and truths intersect.

Origins

One of the fellows that came out the Emergent Movement from right in the very beginning said that the conversation about doctrine is what bothered him. They were conversing on whether God really know the future? Does gender come with distinction? Is homosexuality really a sin? Do we have to keep the doctrine of the Trinity? Is there a need for the doctrine of the atonement? They began to check off these things that they were conversing about.

It seems to me like that the whole thing in the Garden of Eden that caused the fall of mankind was a conversation about whether God's truth was God's truth or not. This is the exact same thing again. This is the new liberalism and it is extremely prophetic. Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 2 to let no one deceive you by any means for that day shall not come until there come a falling away first. A falling away, or rebellion the Greek word there of course is, apostasia, an apostasy. And this is what we see happening.

An Emergent church in the Emergent Movement starts as the youth group of an evangelical church and they emerge out of it. So, I can see why there is a strong feeling that they are conservative because they come out of it. And then the church realizes, "Hey, wait a minute! They are not following what we are doing. They are cutting all ties. They are not listening to leadership." And, they go and spin off and form their own church.

Redefining "Evangelicalism"

The catcher is that those in this new liberalism hide under the guise of conservatism, calling themselves evangelicals. These people claim to be us, and if this is evangelicalism, I am no longer an evangelical.

The word "evangelical" has lost it's meaning. It has been redefined. It used to mean that a person who was an evangelical was a person who relied on the Word of God for everything they believed and all of their actions and attitudes in life. Today, for "evangelical," it just doesn't.

Reinterpreting the Bible

For three days in February this year at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, Brian McLaren, a leader of this movement, redefined Christianity. He said the term "the world" in John 3:16 is not talking about spiritually lost people, but is talking about the Earth. They then showed a film by the Sierra Club.

He says Jesus came to save and die for the Earth? He then said the term "Kingdom of God" is not a spiritual term or a religious term, but it is a political term and that it meant God's eco-system or God's global love economy.

What They Believe

The Emergent Movement is just the same old liberalism. It is the old Social Gospel in new clothes.

The are looking for something different then conservatism or atheism. They want a spiritual experience. Rob Bell, another one of the leaders in this movement from Grandville, Michigan, has 10,000 people in his church. And to paraphrase he said, "This is just not Christianity dressed up. We are discovering Christianity as an Eastern Religion." That is where it is going!

To sum up the Emergence Movement, it teaches:

  1. experience over reason
  2. spirituality over doctrine and absolutes
  3. images over words
  4. feelings over truth
  5. earthly justice more important then salvation
  6. social action that trumps eternity

Brian McLaren

That explains to me how the leader Brian McLaren on the back cover of his book Generous Orthodoxy could make the comment that he is a Buddhist, a Confuscist, a Jew, is in everything, and is also a Pentecostal, non-Pentecostal, charismatic and non-charismatic. In reality, he doesn't believe in anything! Now, his books are being published by major and once reliable Christian publishing houses.

While Brian McLaren is considered a leader of the Emergent Movement, he is more the godfather of it. There really is no leader as these people are all self-styling and do their own thing.

I went to a conference that hosted Brian McLaren and I was of course shocked that this was happening. I wanted to go hear from the horse's mouth. And so, a pastor friend of mine and I went together. We both took a lot of notes. In the Friday night meeting, the songs that were sung any Wiccan priest could have sung along with because they were so morbid. They were all about the earth, that it has been tortured and raped. No glory of God, no worship of God in them could be found. Then they showed a film by the Sierra Club. Next, McLaren went through the redefinition of the terms of Christianity. At the end, we were looking up and front and we couldn't quite tell what it was up there in front on these tables that they had. We were a few yards away from it. McLaren said, "Now if you feel lead, come up and take water out of the vat and rebaptize yourself into the new Christianity." And then he said, "While you are there, make sure you put your hands in the dirt to find out what needs to be saved."

Now, again, this is not a voodoo ritual we are talking about. These are people who claim to be evangelicals, who are sold at Christian Bookstores, and are speaking in our seminaries and Bible colleges around the country.

We must take the churches and seminaries back for God. We should be concerned about it. This has become a problem for all denominations.


For more information on what the Emergent Church believes, check out our article What Does the Emergent Church Movement Believe?.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Identifying Doctrinal Liberalism

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

One of the signs of the end times is a great proliferation of false doctrines and teachers (Matt. 24:11,24; 2 Pet. 2:1). If doctrinal liberalism is indeed the most dangerous of these false teachings today, as apologist Eric Barger has declared, then how do we recognize if we or others have fallen into that error?

Eric BargerThe question was taken to one of today's foremost defenders of the faith, Eric Barger, the founder and director of Take a Stand! Ministries headquartered in the Dallas area. Eric is an authority on the cults, the New Age, and rock music today. From his past as a former drug addict and rock n' roll musician who was deeply involved in the New Age movement, Eric has emerged since he gave his life to Jesus Christ to become one of today's greatest defenders of Christianity in America.


Eric, how can we recognize someone in the cult of doctrinal liberalism?

One thing I have noticed as we have moved into these end times and are getting closer and closer to the coming of the Lord is that there are more and more attacks upon Jesus and who He is. More and more are saying He was just a great man, that He was a good teacher, that He was a wonderful person, or He was merely a good moral person. They say, "But God in the flesh? Come on!"

Let's never forget that these doctrinally liberal people, and we have liberalism throughout all the denominations and in our seminaries, if you are going to find the most liberal spot in the seminaries and denominations, look at the very top. That is a sad scenario, but that is the truth.

It is us guys out here who they would look at as backwards and hayseed and all those things since we don't see it as "intellectually" like they do, and we just couldn't have been educated enough. I guess I haven't been educated enough to realize the Bible isn't God's Word, because I believe that it is God's Word. I believe it from cover to cover that it is God's Word.

I was reading recently a quote from a very liberal theologian named Marcus Borg. He is part of the Jesus Seminar, which as we all know, is not about the Jesus of the Bible. It is a very, very liberal place. He said that when he went to seminary that convinced him that the Word of God was not a God-inspired thing. He concluded that it was a man-made book and that it wasn't God's book. At the Jesus Seminar, one of the most apostate things that has come on the Christian scene in a long time, they are voting on the which words are the words of Jesus! Did He say it, did He not say it?

Rudolf Bultmann, the liberal theologian who is partially responsible for this seminar, talked about demythologizing the Bible, you know, you have to take all the myths out. The myths would be the Resurrection, and myth of the Virgin Birth, all those things.

The co-chairman of the Jesus Seminar is John Dominic Crossan. I read a quote in Time magazine where he said that Jesus' body was laid in a shallow grave and torn apart by wild dogs!

That may be a good reason why you ought to really be careful where you go to seminary to make sure you are going to hear the truth, because some of our kids are going to go to seminary during a very vulnerable time in their life. And, they can be completely tripped up for eternity.

This is a form of godliness but denying the power thereof, and Paul said to Timothy from such turn away, don't have dialogue, don't figure out what you have in common. I can dialogue with people if they are willing to say that Scripture is what our dialogue is about and that it is truth and everything comes from that. But, when people are denying the foundational doctrines of the faith, do like Paul said and run from them like they were a disease.

A little leaven will leaven the whole lump, and that what's happened to our denominations today. We want to sit around and intellectualize and have committees on whether God's Word is God's Word, instead of realizing there is a lost and dying world out there, because they do not see the world as lost. They think good works will do it. You see, works have replaced salvation by grace in the liberal mind.

We have on my website a poll that was taken now about 9 years ago. In that poll there were 7,500 ministers polled throughout each denomination. 13% I believe of Lutheran pastors did not believe in the Resurrection. It got down to 51% of the United Methodist ministers didn't believe in the Resurrection. These are people who are involved in some sort of religious philosophy, but they have disqualified themselves from being authentic ministers by their lack of belief in the very doctrines they are supposed to be upholding.

What hope do we even have if the people in the pulpit aren't telling us the truth?

Friday, August 21, 2009

On The Most Dangerous Cult

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

One of the signs of the end times is a great proliferation of false doctrines and teachers (Matt. 24:11,24; 2 Pet. 2:1). So, I wondered, what group would be considered the most dangerous of these false cults today? Could it be the Mormons, the Jehovah Witnesses, the Masons?

Eric BargerThe question was taken to one of today's foremost defenders of the faith, Eric Barger, the founder and director of Take a Stand! Ministries headquartered in the Dallas area. Eric is an authority on the cults, the New Age, and rock music today. From his past as a former drug addict and rock n' roll musician who was deeply involved in the New Age movement, Eric has emerged since he gave his life to Jesus Christ to become one of today's greatest defenders of Christianity in America.

You, too, might be surprised which cult Eric says it actually the most dangerous.


Eric, just which group do you believe is the most dangerous cult out there?

I believe the most dangerous cult is any person, church, or denomination who doesn't faithfully represent the First Century Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is those who claim to be Christian, but do not present the Biblical truth. And, they are all around us.

I have often said the Liberalism that teaches another Gospel inside our churches is way more damaging then all the satanist getting together on Halloween night to pray out in the middle of a clearing and do a ritual.

More people will go to Hell who are sitting in a church on a Sunday morning thinking everything is hunky-dory because they have been baptized, or they're good people, or they have heard a message, or they gave God their one hour a week, or whatever it might be — some other way then through the cross and blood of Jesus. That is what liberalism teaches, that it is all about good works. That's called the "social gospel." We have seen it take over the mainline denominations who were once very evangelical a 100 to 150 years ago.

Christianity is not a self-styled religion. We have beliefs, and the beliefs have been left behind. We have doctrines that held us together. Paul's charge to Timothy was to go preach the Gospel and reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine.

We better know what those doctrines are. People think that it is out-of-bounds to mention that somebody who would call themselves a Christian is a cultist. When you look at the central or essential doctrines of the Bible, if people are not holding onto those central doctrines, like for example you would find in the Apostles Creed, what makes us Christians? What could possible make that term stick to us?

What are the essential core doctrines that we are talking about? Well, they are the blood of Jesus, how you are saved, about the inerrancy of the Scriptures, about who God is, and about the deity of Christ. Those are the central doctrines of the faith.

Now, we can disagree about prophecy and all those other issues, and how to baptize someone, sprinkle or dunk, all those issues. We can disagree on those things and be agreeable and loving and call each other "brother." But, when someone comes to me and says, "Well, I am a Christian, but I don't believe the Virgin Birth." I will say, "Well, listen, you can call yourself a Christian, but I can't call you brother. If you don't believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, then He couldn't have been the Savior."

Why are we monkeying around with Christianity or something called Christianity, or somebody who says the Resurrection is irrelevant? Those two things — the virgin birth and resurrection — are the big things. Those two things seem to be the hot buttons, and they are the things that have caused the liberal theologians of 150 years ago or so to begin to disavow many the doctrines of the faith and pull so many into cultic apostasy.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Quick Q&A: Will I Be Saved When The Lord Returns?

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

That depends on your response to Jesus.

The Bible says that all people are sinners and need to be saved (Romans 3:23). The Bible says that there is only one way to be saved and that is by receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior (John 14:6).

Those who have refused to repent of their sins and receive Jesus as their Savior are subject to the wrath of God (John 3:36). If they die in their sins, or if Jesus returns before they repent, they will suffer the eternal punishment of Hell (Revelation 20:11-15).

But if you repent of your sins and confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you will be saved, and you will spend eternity with God (Romans 10:9-11 and John 6:47).

Again, the choice is yours. Salvation is a free gift of God through Jesus (Romans 6:23), but you must reach out and receive the gift in faith.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Quick Q&A: Is Jesus Coming Back Soon?

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

In Revelation 22:20 Jesus said "I am coming soon." And, He meant exactly what He said.

God is not in time. He does not experience time the way we do. The Bible says that to God a thousand years is like a day (2 Peter 3:9). The way God sees time, Jesus died on the cross two days ago.

This is a very fascinating point since the prophet Hosea says that the Lord will ascend to Heaven and stay there until the Jewish people cry out in their affliction (the Tribulation). He will then return to earth "after two days and will raise us up on the third day that we may live before Him" (Hosea 5:15-6:2). In other words, Hosea says the Lord will return after two thousand years, and the Redeemed will be resurrected to live before the Lord for a thousand years (the Millennium).

We are at the end of that two thousand year period right now!

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Quick Q&A: Are The Jews Still The Chosen People?

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Definitely!

Romans 11:29 says "the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable." In Romans 11:1-2 Paul says that "God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew." And in Romans 9:4 Paul says that God still has covenants (the Abrahamic and Davidic) and promises to fulfill with the Jewish people.

The Jewish people were chosen to be a vehicle of blessings to the nations (Genesis 12:1-3), and they have been. Through them God gave the world the Scriptures and the Messiah. They were also chosen to be witnesses of God (Isaiah 43:10-12). They remain a witness to this day. Their history shows that when you are faithful to God, He blesses; when you are unfaithful, He disciplines; and when you repent, He forgives and blesses again.

The Jews are currently under discipline, but before the end of the Tribulation, a remnant will repent and receive Jesus as their Messiah. Read Romans 9-11 and Zechariah 12:10 & 13:1.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Quick Q&A: Will We Know Each Other In Heaven?

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Yes, definitely.

We are told that we will have glorified bodies like the one that Jesus had after His resurrection (Philippians 3:21). Once the disciples got over the shock of His resurrection, they easily recognized Jesus whenever He appeared to them (John 21:1-7). In like manner, the disciples recognized Moses and Elijah when they appeared at the transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17:1-5).

We do not become non-entities at death. We retain our individuality and personality. God constantly refers to Himself as "the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" long after their deaths. His fellowship with them is obviously continuing in Heaven (Luke 20:37-38).

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Power Of Music

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

Does music have the power to move people to action? Can sadistic lyrics be tuned out of one's mind? Does music define or reflect a culture?

Eric BargerLamb & Lion Ministries interviewed one of today's foremost defenders of the faith, Eric Barger, the founder and director of Take a Stand! Ministries headquartered in the Dallas area. Dr. James Kennedy once told his congregation everyone needs to read Eric Barger's insights. And, the late national radio host Marlene Maddox called Eric one of the utmost authorities on the cults, the New Age, and rock music today. From his past as a former drug addict and rock n' roll musician who was deeply involved in the New Age movement, Eric has emerged since he gave his life to Jesus Christ to become one of today's greatest defenders of Christianity in America.

We asked Eric to share his experiences as a musician and producer and asked what he has learned concerning the power of music.


You say that rock ‘n roll music of old is nothing compared to what we are exposed to today. What do you mean?

The music may be somewhat similar in the way it is constructed chord-wise, but that is about it. The lifestyle is the thing that got me. I was being role modeled by the rock musicians while I was going to church as a child and did all those things. But, when I started playing in bands on Friday and Saturday nights, suddenly I wasn't going to church on Sunday morning. Even if a person is not an authentic born again Christian, but yet just a church member, if the Devil can separate you from Christian fellowship then he's got you right where he wants you — isolated.

By the time I was 16 I was the only kid in my high school taking drugs, mind you this is 1966 at this point and time. I was the first kid to get kicked out my high school for having hair touching his ears, to give you an idea of what era I lived in. We lived in a much more conservative era in general back then. But, something happened in the 1960's with the summer of love and all the stuff that took place, though in actually it was the summer of hedonism, but it was called the "Summer of Love." Woodstock was in 1967.

I look back at that era and realize that the music wasn't so much as the lifestyle and the rebellion and the anarchy that was being brought into it. The most rebellious song on the radio when I was a little, little boy was probably, "It's My Party and I Will Cry if I Want To."

But, look at today. What we've got as drugs and sex are the main issue in the music today, as well as rebellion and counter culture. Rape, violence and murder — these are the things being sung about. It is telling a story about violence. It is saying, "Go and do it!" And, whether our kids are going and doing it or not, it is part of the culture we are in. But, you listen to that enough and you begin to realize that the culture is beginning to act these things out.

And, it's not just music. The film industry with all of their violence and immorality in films, they come back and say, "Oh, you think that is going to have an impact on somebody just watching a two hour movie?" Hey, people pay millions of dollars for a one minute ad which can affect behavior. Advertising works, otherwise they wouldn't be doing it. Nobody would be spending that money at the Super Bowl if people were not affected. And, even video games and the Internet, well that has a little bit of all of that involved.


When did you begin to see American culture change for the worse?

I remember when the Beatles came to the United States, and they seemed so innocent and so much fun and all that. But, I remember when they came out with that album where they are all standing around the grave of the Beatles. Well, that was really a symbolism of the fact they were changing their whole course and that they were going to go into Eastern mystical experiences and bring that into the culture. I have said for years I don't think we would have the New Age movement in the same effect that we have it today had it not been integrated into the culture through the Beatles, and the work of the Beach Boys and a couple of major actors and actresses, who really westernized those things and brought the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to America. Through them transcendental meditation became the standard to those people and to that era.

Those groups are what probably got me involved with looking into Eastern Mysticism as a religion instead of looking to my basis in Christianity, which I did have a basis in. The Beatles and Beach Boys and some of the other groups in that era affected those who are now our presidents and congressmen and senators and judges. And, that may be part of the problem we've got in the culture. The permissiveness of that time and lack of standards where the anchor for the world. Truth and right and wrong have been moved so greatly that we can't figure out what truth is anymore.


What is the message of much of the music of today?

There are no standards.

No standards make it so that you are your own God, and of course that is the heart of the New Age philosophy. The New Age movement is looking for spiritual experiences through Eastern Mystic philosophies. That is also the bottom line for humanism, which would never claim that there is a God anyway, but they become their own God by saying there is none.


How can parents help their children avoid falling for this false message?

It is so important for parents to be aware of what their kids are listening to. I don't think that most parents are really aware what they are listening to.

I have said for a long time that I think if a child or teenager lives in your home and under your roof that it is your responsibility to find out what is going on in their room. I will never forget after a meeting in Saskatchewan one night maybe 20 years ago, when a group of ladies came to the alter with a lady who was so broken she could barely walk up there herself. She was crying and I came down as we were finished with the meeting. I came down off the platform and I asked one of the ladies, "What is wrong with this lady, what is going on here?" And they said, "Her son committed suicide." And I said, "What happened?" And she said, "She hadn't been in his room for two years, and when they broke the door down they found him dead with a shotgun. They found ceremonial knives, the room was all painted black, and he had all the occult books. He had a pentagram painted on the floor. The mother had no idea he was practicing the occult and was maybe a satanist."

I think parents need to get involved with what their kids are listening to. Let's warn people to be careful and just don't take the sound of the music and think that is all you have to be concerned with. Let's look at the philosophy being taught by it, because as a musician I knew the power of music.

Now, I recorded people who went on to Grammy Awards, like Kenny G for one, and the group Queensryche. I helped do the tape that got their record deal for them. I look at those and I think of the power of their influence.

Queensryche, by the way, was the first group that I ever saw that encouraged people to follow a global government and a one world order. Originally, I had no idea. I saw a quote from their lead singer about five years after they made it, and this is a terrifically talented guy, but he said we are just here to try to encourage kids and the people that listen to us, that they should follow a one world government. They said that would be the thing that will solve all of our problems. I mean, I had no idea.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

God Changed My Life - A Testimony

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

Can someone who is so steeped in the sex, drugs and rock n' roll culture find Jesus? Is there no hope of freedom for those who are engrossed in Eastern mysticism and the occult? Can Jesus fill the emptiness and hurt of this world?

Eric BargerLamb & Lion Ministries interviewed one of today's foremost defenders of the faith, Eric Barger, the founder and director of Take a Stand! Ministries headquartered in the Dallas area. Dr. James Kennedy once told his congregation everyone needs to read Eric Barger's insights. And, the late national radio host Marlene Maddox called Eric one of the utmost authorities on the cults, the New Age, and rock music today. From his past as a former drug addict and rock n' roll musician who was deeply involved in the New Age movement, Eric has emerged since he gave his life to Jesus Christ to become one of today's greatest defenders of Christianity in America.

We asked Eric to share his amazing testimony with us.


How did you come from a lifestyle of drugs and rock n' roll to become a leader in Apologetics?

Well, it was quite a trek if you will, to make it from one place to another, but God has his way.

My wife and I met each other when I was producing records and I was playing in a rock band. We were both drug addicts and we were both involved in New Age occultism. When I met my wife she had a case full of witchcraft books. I was throwing the I-Chin and the arrow sticks and reading my astrology chart faithfully and religiously. And so, that was where we were. In the process our marriage was nearly falling apart and having two daughters that my wife was very concerned for them, and I wasn't being a father at all. I was living the rock n' roll lifestyle.

In that process we found a Christian marriage counselor. It happened by me closing my eyes and putting my finger down in a phonebook. But, it turned out to be a true Christian counselor. In Seattle in the late 1970's who knew what you might get under Religious Counselors. Back then that was the hot bed of New Age philosophy in those days. And, it is still is to a certain extent today.

After about the third visit I didn't want to go back anymore, because I was under what I now understand as conviction. I didn't want to go back anymore, but my wife kept on going. She bought a Bible she received about Jesus Christ. I was there when the marriage counselor actually lead her through the sinner's prayer and she confessed Jesus.

You would have thought that a guy like me would have figured out that maybe it was good for me, too. Instead, I got her out to the car, lit up a joint, blew smoke in her face, went home, packed a suitcase, and left for three weeks. I mean, that was where I was at. I did not want this religion. She wants to be a Jesus freak, well not with me! That's where I was coming from.

In those three weeks my wife found a little church around the corner from our house. She had gone and started a Bible study with some friends she knew that were Christians and suddenly she was hooked up with them. When I came back home you would have thought then I would have gotten saved. When I walked into the kitchen I expected to see the Apostle Paul's sister cooking dinner, but it didn't work out like that.

For two years I put my wife through a living hell, and she stuck it out and stayed with me. She was about to the end of her rope until on a rainy, cold, night in February 1981 she found my car sitting outside one of my girlfriend's houses. And remember, if you are in the rock music industry it is kind of like you can do your own thing as there are no restraints and no rules. It's complete anarchy to yourself, so whatever you want hedonism is the rule. In the process of all of that I had overdosed on cocaine that weekend after a three day binge. I was a heavy drug user. I had used drugs for 14 years and was a 3 1/2 year addict to cocaine costing $1000-$1500 a week, or somewhere in that neighborhood. And, mind you, now I am producing records. I have what all my peers all call "good." I am driving around a really nice car and I've got way too much money and too many credit cards for a guy my age and no sense at all with what to do with them. I have what the world calls "good," and yet I am so empty inside. I am pouring these drugs in trying to hide the pain, trying to cover it up. Well, I was on a three day binge on cocaine.

It's a long story how it came to this, but on a rainy, cold, Sunday night that whole weekend was stormy in Seattle. I went to our house to ask my wife for a divorce and in the process of it all, because of a book she had bought in the bookstore to keep her mind off of me, things she had marked in that book, I opened it up and saw where it said that God hates divorce. I just fell on the floor and God got a hold of me and she came down off that couch and put her arms around me and began to hug me and console me. I look back at that picture and I think that is Jesus hugging the adulterous drug-addict through his wife. And I remember, she says although I don't remember but I remember her telling me later on because, remember, she is straightened out. She has gotten saved and she is off drugs. My daughters were not involved because they were gone at that point to Grandma's house, so they didn't see any of this. But, at 3 or 4 in the morning I finally confessed Christ and I just began to say, "God forgive me." I believe that was the spot where Jesus came into my life and my sins were forgiven.

The next morning we went to see our marriage counselor and when he prayed with me that morning something happened that I can't explain. People say that God doesn't do miracles today, well, I am a walking miracle. I never went through any rehab or any drug withdraws. I was delivered that morning and never went back. I mean, that is what God did for me. Now, God uses drug rehab, don't get me wrong, and I don't want anyone to think out there that there is something wrong with them and that they missed it somehow, or that God doesn't love them. But, God delivered me quickly and called us into ministry within just a couple years. Some of the greatest miracles that God performs today are the miracles of transformations in lives like he transformed my life.


How did you get there from that point into ministry?

I began to read the Scripture like crazy and I had good mentoring. The marriage counselor was a good mentor to me. He was solid. He had been a pastor and he was doing marriage counseling and selling real estate, and doing marriage counseling in his real estate office. He didn't have a congregation to preach to on Sunday, so he got me every Tuesday. He began to minister to me and really poured himself into me.

I'll tell you how it happened. I was listening to Christian radio, voraciously listening to everything out there. I was just hungry for God and was hearing the great teachers at that point and time. There was a station in Seattle where I heard Walter Martin everyday and I heard J. Vernon McGee and all the great teachers.

At night the radio also had these people on who were not Christian and I knew a little bit to know that wasn't it. They had a known occultist on the radio at night. So, I made an appointment with the station manager. I called him up and was going to go down and straighten him out because maybe he really don't know. It was from that instance, meeting the owner of the station and challenging him about some of the programs that he had on, that a week later he called me and said, "How would you like to have a program on the air?" The owner of the station told me, "No one has ever challenged anything I have done in 30 years of radio in this town." He owned the number one rock n' roll radio station in the northwest as well. By the way, that is the first time I realized that just because it says it is Christian doesn't mean it is. Well, I walked in and he told me there was no theological test to buy radio time on the station.


You actually grew up though in a Christian family and gone to church and all, hadn't you?

My family were cultural Christians. My grandparents took me to church and I was baptized against my will when I was about 2. I heard all about the things in Scripture, I heard about all about the great stories in the Bible, and heard all about Jesus. I sang in the choir and was in the kids plays at Vacation Bible School, but I didn't know Jesus.

There are a lot of people out there right now that because of all of their works and all of the good stuff they do, even by the Bible they might read every day and even by the prayers they might pray, they think that does it for salvation. But, none of that does it until you confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and that you are a sinner and you turn from your sins in repentance and follow after Him. That is the whole key right there.

I just encourage anybody right now that if you do all this Christian stuff it is just so many good works, but none of those things can absolve our sins and none of those things can take us to Heaven. None of that makes us be born again.


How quickly did you start doing your radio program?

I did the radio program for 2 years. And, during that period of time I started doing the seminars and I was also the youth pastor at a local church. I studied like mad during that time. But, I started doing the one night seminar on rock music wherever a door might be open, and now it has turned into about 40 different messages that we have full blown PowerPoint for.

I'm kind of a mixture of a teacher and evangelist now.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What Apologetics Is

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

For the average Christian, the word "apologetics" is a very strange and sometimes scary word. Does it mean the act of one who goes around and apologizes for the Christian faith? Can one be an expert in apologetics? So, just what is apologetics, anyway?

Eric BargerLamb & Lion Ministries interviewed one of today's foremost defenders of the faith, Eric Barger, the founder and director of Take a Stand! Ministries headquartered in the Dallas area. Dr. James Kennedy once told his congregation everyone needs to read Eric Barger's insights. And, the late national radio host Marlene Maddox called Eric one of the utmost authorities on the cults, the New Age, and rock music today. From his past as a former drug addict and rock n' roll musician who was deeply involved in the New Age movement, Eric has emerged since he gave his life to Jesus Christ to become one of today's greatest defenders of Christianity in America.

Eric was asked a number of question related to that curious word "apologetics."


What does "apologetics" mean?

Well, I try to explain that every time I speak or mention that word, because there is always someone out there who doesn't understand. "Apologetics" is the Bible school term for the defense of the faith. In fact, the word that we get the English word "apologetics" from is found eight times in the New Testament and it is apologia. Maybe the most famous reference to apologia is 1 Peter 3:15, which says we are to be ready to give every man an answer. And, that's the word "apologetics," from apologia.

We are to be able to defend the faith, and that is what apologetics is — the defense of the faith.


What do you do in apologetics?

I am going to throw out another term to you — "polemics." Polemics is often times exposing other religions for being worthless in order to save someone. So, polemics and apologetics move together. Apologetics is understanding Christianity and being able to defend that, and to explain it to the culture in such a way that people will understand orthodox biblical Christianity. Polemics then is the exposé about false cults. And that is a lot of what I do, dealing with cults, the New Age Movement, and the occult.

I have written about all of those things and, of course, speak about them full-time. This is our 25th anniversary in the full-time traveling ministry, so I have been out there doing it quite awhile.


What aspect of Christianity do you find needs the most defense?

Sound doctrine.

We see a church today with many people who believe, and they go to church every week, but I think there is a void in preaching and teaching the sound understanding of the elements of Christianity that make up Christianity, such as the virgin birth, blood atonement, salvation by grace, the inerrancy of the Scripture, who God is, who Jesus is, etc. I mean, we don't have a lot of teaching like that today. There is some and, of course, a lot of pastors are preaching that all the time. But, I think that in evangelical circles there is a void on these things, and I am concerned about that.

Doctrine is important. The word "doctrine" is used 50 times in the Scriptures. We ought to understand that if we don't have that, if we don't understand good sound Biblical doctrine, then we're really game for the cults, and we are game to become cultist ourselves.

Most people do not realize that most of the people that joined a cult over the years were Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterians and so forth. They are people who just grew up as cultural Christians, but really didn't know anything about the faith and could not defend anything. They just inherited the faith and that was it.

If we don't know what we believe, when the storms hit us or when other religions are before us and confronting us saying that they are "the way," then we won't know what to say. Not only will we not be any good to get through to them to present the real Jesus who can save them eternally, but we will fall prey to it, too.

The Mormon church has a huge promotional campaign going on to try to appear like a more enlightened Christian denomination today. They are preying on Christians who don't know their doctrine.

When people tell me that doctrine is really not all that important, one of the things that immediately comes to mind is the doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus. It is amazing how many Christian leaders there are today who would even deny the resurrection of Jesus. And you know, if He wasn't resurrected, we don't have a faith. We better find another religion, because He could have fulfilled all the other prophecies in the Scriptures about the Messiah, but if He didn't raise from the grave He wasn't the Messiah.

Also, perhaps the doctrine that has been dismissed the most as just being completely irrelevant is the doctrine of the virgin birth, but that is an important doctrine. I mean, Jesus was God in the flesh.


How can pastors teach doctrine if they also consider the Bible isn't inerrant?

If the Bible is filled with errors then you just can't teach doctrine. You will fall back on what many preachers today seem to be falling back to, and that is the self help type of study that it's all about you and not about God. Every sermon ends up being about you and what God can do for you. Too much of the preaching today is all about the here and now and not about eternity.

Again, the virgin birth and the resurrection in my opinion are the two most attacked doctrines and the ones most marginalized. The virgin birth, for example, if Jesus wasn't born of a virgin then we've got errors in the Scripture because Matthew 1 is very clear that He was born of a virgin. Isaiah talks about the virgin birth as one of the prerequisites for the Messiah. And so, Jesus either was, or He wasn't. And, the same is true with the Resurrection, either Jesus was or He wasn't. These are two things that I talk in detail about.

For instance, we have a major Christian University in the Dallas area and a few years ago the Professor Emeritus of New Testament at that University gave an Easter sermon and it was so revolutionary. The Dallas Morning News posted the whole sermon. It went like this: after Jesus died the disciples sat around the table and they just remembered things Jesus said and it was kind of like the followers of Martin Luther King after he died. They sat around and drank coffee and said, "You remember when Martin said this, you remember when Martin said that." And, as they talked about Martin, he came alive in their hearts. And, that is all there was to the Resurrection — Jesus just came alive in their hearts. Sounding just like Oprah, this example shows a feeling experience and not a believing experience, with no literal interpretation.

Without a belief in the inerrancy of the Scriptures, you can teach doctrine, but it won't be right doctrine.

Monday, August 10, 2009

God Will Remove The Church

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Couldn't God just protect believers during the Tribulation? Is it really necessary to remove them from the earth?

Yes, the Lord could provide believers with supernatural protection. In fact, He will do precisely that when He provides saints who are present in the Tribulation with protection from the stings of the demonic locust attack that will be part of the trumpet judgments (Revelation 9:4).

But God's promise to the Church during the Tribulation is not one of protection, but one of deliverance. Jesus said that when the signs pointing to the Tribulation "begin to take place," believers are to look up because their "redemption is drawing near" (Luke 21:28). He also urged believers to pray that they might "escape all these things" (Luke 21:36).

There really is no purpose for the Church to be present during the Tribulation. It is a time of the pouring out of God's wrath upon those who have rejected His grace, love and mercy.

There are some who argue that the Church must be "purged" during the Tribulation to purify it. But to me, this idea is absurd. The blood of Jesus is sufficient to cleanse us of all our sins. That is an accomplished fact for those who have put their faith in Jesus (Ephesians 5:26-27). Furthermore, the concept of purging the Church during the Tribulation converts the whole period into a Protestant version of purgatory. It also violates the wedding imagery that the Bible uses to describe the relationship between Christ and His Church. Jesus is not going to beat up His Bride for seven years and then marry her!

Some who believe that the Church will go through the Tribulation often point to the example of Noah and his family. They were left on the earth as God poured out His wrath, but they were protected by the Lord. But this example ignores the fact that Enoch was raptured out of the world before the flood began (Genesis 5:24). I believe Enoch is a symbolic type of the Church and Noah and his family are a type of the Jewish remnant that will be protected through the Tribulation until the day that the Messiah returns.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Revelation Infers A Pre-Wrath Rapture?

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Can an argument be made for placing the Rapture near the end of the Tribulation?

Some have tried to do this, arguing that the wrath of God is not poured out until the end of the Tribulation. This is concept is called the "pre-wrath Rapture."

The cornerstone of this concept is that the terrifying events during the first half of the Tribulation are due to the wrath of Man and Satan, and not to God. Since the Church is only promised protection from the wrath of God, the Rapture will not occur until near the end of the Tribulation when God will pour out His wrath on the world.

This concept raises a serious theological problem because it questions the sovereignty of God. It assumes that Man and Satan can act apart from God's will, when the fact of the matter is that neither can do anything God is not willing to permit. The Bible often portrays God carrying out His will through evil persons or nations. One of the classic examples is when He allowed the evil nation of Babylon to discipline Israel by destroying Jerusalem and the Temple and by carrying the surviving Jews away into captivity. It was an action that prompted the prophet Habakkuk to ask why God would punish those who are evil with those who are more evil (Habakkuk 1:13).

Any carnage wrought by Man or Satan during the Tribulation will still constitute the wrath of God. They will simply be His instruments. The Bible says God sits in the heavens and laughs over the plots and deeds of evil men, not because He does not care, but because He has everything under control (Psalm 2:1-6). The point is that He has the wisdom and power to orchestrate all evil to the triumph of His will in history. That's why the psalmist wrote that "the wrath of man shall praise You [God]" (Psalm 76:10).

I think it is also important to note that when God pours out His wrath, He does not always do so directly. One of His most common ways is to simply back away from the nation or person and lower the hedge of protection around them. This is clearly spelled out in Romans 1:18-32. That passage says that when people rebel against God to the point that they begin to worship the creation rather than the Creator, God "gives them over" to the evil in their hearts. In other words, He just steps back and lets evil multiply. The passage further states that if they still refuse to repent, He steps back again and "gives them over to degrading passions." And if they persist in their rebellion and sin, He finally "gives them over to a depraved mind" at which point the society destroys itself. Such destruction could be viewed as the wrath of Man, but it is really the wrath of God working through Man.

There is another serious problem with the pre-wrath Rapture concept. It relates to the fact that all the wrath of Revelation is specifically portrayed as the wrath of God. Where do the seal judgments originate? The answer is from the throne of God as Jesus opens each seal of the scroll that was in the Father's right hand (Revelation 6:1). And where do the trumpet judgments originate? The same place — from the throne of God (Revelation 8:2). When we arrive at the bowl judgments in Revelation 15:1, we are told that with them, "the wrath of God is finished."

Another problem with the pre-wrath concept is that it does violence to the chronological order of Revelation. The seal judgments are viewed as the wrath of Man and Satan, occurring during the first half of the Tribulation. The trumpet and bowl judgments are considered to be the wrath of God. They are lumped together at the end of the Tribulation. There is no justification for putting the trumpet judgments at the end of the Tribulation. They are clearly placed in the first half of the Tribulation in the chronological layout of the book of Revelation.

One final problem with the pre-wrath concept of the Rapture is that it disputes the fact that there is no purpose for the Church being in the Tribulation. The Tribulation is the 70th week of Daniel, a time devoted to God accomplishing His purposes among the Jewish people, not the Church.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Revelation Infers A Mid-Tribulation Rapture?

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Isn't a mid-Tribulation Rapture inferred in Revelation?

Some people think so. They point first to 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 which says the Rapture will occur at the blowing of the "last trumpet." They then point to Revelation 11:15 where the seventh and last trumpet of the Trumpet Judgments is blown. Since this seventh trumpet appears to be blown in the middle of the Tribulation, after the Antichrist kills the two witnesses, the argument is that this must mark the time of the Rapture.

There are several problems with this argument. In the first place, there is nothing in the Bible that identifies the seventh trumpet of the trumpet judgments in Revelation as the "last trumpet" of 1 Corinthians 15. The assumption that the two are the same is just that — an assumption. It is a shaky assumption because the trumpets of Revelation are announcing judgments that are aimed at unbelievers. They don't have any relationship to believers.

Now, there is a trumpet that the "last trumpet" of 1 Corinthians 15:52 can be identified with. It is the "trumpet of God" which 1 Thessalonians 4:16 says will be blown when the Rapture occurs. With that in mind, consider the fact that the last trumpet of the trumpet judgments in Revelation 11:15 is not identified as the trumpet of God but as the trumpet of an angel.

The second problem with the mid-Tribulation Rapture concept is that the seventh trumpet of Revelation 11 really doesn't relate to the middle of the Tribulation at all. Its blowing triggers a flash-forward to the end of the Tribulation to the proclamation that "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever" (Revelation 11:15).

Another thing to consider is that 1 Corinthians 15 was written about 45 years before the book of Revelation. Thus, it seems logical that the reference to a "last trumpet" must refer to something in the Old Testament that the Corinthian church would have been familiar with. That would most likely have been the trumpet referred to by both Joel and Zephaniah — the trumpet that will be blown before the Day of the Lord's judgment (the Tribulation — see Joel 2:1 and Zephaniah 1:16).

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

No Rapture In Revelation?

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Why isn't the Rapture specifically mentioned in Revelation?

The book of Revelation implies a Pre-Tribulation Rapture without specifically mentioning the event. In chapter 4 verse 1, John sees a door open in the heavens and he is raptured to Heaven in what appears to be a symbolic type of the Rapture of the Church. In Revelation 19:11, John sees the heavens opened again, and Jesus descends on a white horse, with the Church accompanying Him (Revelation 19:14). Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation focus on the Church, but there is no more mention of the Church until the end of the book (Revelation 22:16). From chapter 4 through chapter 21, there is only mention of "saints," which would be those who accept the Gospel during the Tribulation.

The Bible never specifically defines the timing of the Rapture by tying it to any other event like the re-establishment of Israel or the rebuilding of the Temple. Even its proximity to the Tribulation is inferred rather than definitely stated. That's because the Rapture is an imminent event that could occur at any moment.

There are strong scriptural inferences that the Rapture will occur before the Tribulation begins. A couple of those are found in Jesus' Olivet Discourse as recorded in Luke 21. Jesus stated that when the end time signs "begin to take place," we are to look up, for our redemption will be drawing near (Luke 21:28). Note that the redemption will come not at the end of the signs, but as they begin to take place. Jesus then added that believers should pray earnestly that they might "escape" the Great Tribulation that is coming upon "all those who dwell on the face of the earth" (Luke 21:36).

In this regard, Paul states in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 that believers are waiting for "His Son from heaven... that is, Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come." And Jesus told John to write to the church at Philadelphia, representative of faithful Christians, that "because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth" (Revelation 3:10).

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rapture Timing

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Does the Rapture mark the beginning of the Tribulation?

No, the Bible does not state anywhere that the Tribulation begins with the Rapture. I believe the Rapture could occur months or even years before the Tribulation begins, although it is likely to occur near the beginning because the Tribulation is the time of the pouring out of God's wrath, and 1 Thessalonians 1:10 says that Jesus will "deliver" His Church "from the wrath to come."

Another reason for believing the Rapture is likely to occur near the beginning of the Tribulation is because 2 Thessalonians 2 says that the Antichrist cannot be revealed until a "restrainer" is "taken out of the way" (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7). I believe that restrainer is the Holy Spirit working through the Church. Thus, when the Church is removed, the Antichrist will be unleashed, and the Tribulation will begin.

The prophet Daniel indicates that the starting point of the Tribulation will be a "covenant" that the Antichrist will arrange for Israel that will evidently guarantee the nation's peace and enable the Jews to rebuild their Temple (Daniel 9:27).

Escapism?

I want to address those who ask, "Aren't those of you who believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture a bunch of escapists who are not willing to suffer for the Lord?"

There is nothing wrong with being an "escapist." Noah was an escapist and so was Lot. And Jesus said that when the end time signs begin to appear, we are to pray "to escape the things that are about to take place and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36).

Certainly we are called to suffer for Christ (Romans 8:17). And anyone who truly stands for Jesus in this world will be persecuted (John 15:19). We are assured that as believers we will suffer tribulation in this world (John 16:33), but we are promised that we will be exempted from the great tribulation that will one day come upon all the world (Revelation 3:10).

Monday, August 3, 2009

Misconceptions Concerning Bible Prophecy: 10-14

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

Has the Church replaced Israel in God's promises? Wasn't all Bible prophecy fulfilled during the First Century? Can we know anything about the timing of Jesus' return?

Don PerkinsLamb & Lion Ministries interviewed Bible prophecy expert and all-around nice guy Don Perkins, the founder and director of According to Prophecy Ministries in San Diego, California, about how he would respond to 14 common misconceptions that are out there concerning Bible prophecy. The following are the last five Don was asked to comment on.


10) The Church is the fulfillment of all the Kingdom promises in the Bible.

Some believe there's no Kingdom yet to come, or that the Kingdom has already come. But, the Church has not replaced Israel. There are physical prophecies that must take place, and since they haven't been literally fulfilled yet, they must so in the future. Christ will sit on the physical throne of His father David. Isaiah 9 says the government will be on His shoulders. Now, we know Christ rules and reigns within us, that's true. He doesn't reign over the nations of the world at this time. So, He must and He will come to physically reign.

That's one of the fundamental teachings of Amillennialism is the idea that Jesus is reigning over the whole world right now through His Church and the Kingdom is here. But, if He's reigning over the nations of the world today, He's doing a very poor job of it because every one of them is in rebellion against Him. I mean, if you watch the local news you would know that Jesus is not reigning over all the nations.

God's always had a kingdom on this earth. His original kingdom were the patriarchs who responded to Him in faith. Then the Kingdom became more manifest in Israel. Then the Kingdom became more manifest in the Church. And next, the Kingdom's going to become more manifest in the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ. But even then, it's going to become permanent on the New Earth when Jesus surrenders the Kingdom to His Father. And, it will truly be a theocratic kingdom where God will rule.


11) The Church has replaced Israel and inherited its blessings.

That's nonsense! Those prophecies, they are physical prophecies. The fact that Israel is a nation today tells me that is not so.

Replacement Theology has resulted in more anti-Semitism than any other thing. For 2,000 years both the Catholic Church and Protestantism have taught that the Church replaced Israel, that God washed His hands of Israel, that there's no purpose left for Israel, and Israel today is an accident of history. It's nonsense. Read Romans 9-11. God has a plan for Israel. All through the Old Testament it says so. Romans 9-11 asks, "Has God washed his hands of Israel because of their unbelief?" The Church for 2000 years has said "yes!" But, what does Paul say?

The Church doesn't like those three chapters — nine, ten and eleven — of Romans. But in those chapters Paul gives a stern warning to the Church not to exalt themselves against Israel because God has a future plan for them.


12) Bible prophecy was all fulfilled in 70 AD.

To me this is the weirdest thing I have ever heard taught in Bible prophecy. I do not know of anything weirder than this, and yet there are people all over the place being deceived by the teaching that the prophecies in the Book of Revelation were all fulfilled in 70 AD when God poured out his wrath on Jerusalem.

I've studied the Book of Revelation, and the end of the Book of Revelation tells me that I'm going to spend eternity in an eternal world with my God. If the Book of Revelation is complete today, what I'm seeing today is not what the Book of Revelation teaches. Revelation has not been fulfilled.

Those who hold this view — they're called Preterists — teach that Nero was the Antichrist. I mean, again, all those are false views.

That whole theology depends on one thing — that the Book of Revelation was written before 70 AD. All the evidence — internal, external, everything — says it was written in 95 AD. In fact, the Early Church Fathers state that point blank that's when it was written, and that's when Domitian began to persecute the church. The persecution under Nero was a concentrated persecution in Rome. For Domitian, it was all over the empire, and that occurred in 95 AD.

For them to teach that the Book of Revelation is complete, again, they're spiritualizing a lot of things. They're putting things together that really do not fit.

Every time I hear somebody say that all the prophecies were fulfilled in 70 AD it reminds me of Paul saying, "Avoid these two guys!" and named them because he said they teach the resurrection has already occurred and had already past. These guys, the most radical of them, are teaching that the Second Coming has already occurred.

One danger of that view, that belief, that misconception, is that it robs the Church of the hope of eternity. I mean, again, if the Book of Revelation is complete, then this is all we have to look forward to.


13) The Church is destined to take over the world and reign over it for a thousand years and then the Lord will return.

Now that's a falsehood for sure. That is a misconception because it's totally out of sync with the Scriptures. We know that the Church will be raptured. We know that the Church will come back with Christ, going into the Millennial Kingdom. The Church will not fulfill that event and then Christ comes back. This turns it all upside down. This view has us presenting the Kingdom of Jesus. But, it won't happen. Jesus is coming to establish the kingdom!

You'd have to spiritualize a lot of Scripture to say that the Church is going to take over the world. Jesus said that the vast majority of people will always reject the Gospel. The Church is not going to take over the world. It won't happen. Jesus is going to take over this world!

The Millennial Kingdom is a good example of man running the Kingdom. Even though Christ will be here, even though Christ will be a man, we'll still have sin. It's going to be like God's last attempt to show mankind that you cannot live without God.

Many people today are errantly trying to get people into politics to change the government to make this Millennial Kingdom come to pass.


14) There is absolutely nothing that can be known about the timing of the Lord's return.

I don't believe that because in Romans 13:11-12 it says, "And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here."

How can we know the time? Now, it doesn't mean that we know the actual date, but Christ has given us indicators showing that we are in the time period — the season — of His return.

Jesus proclaimed that when we see these things, we'll know He's at the very gates and is about to return. Hebrews 10 states there are things that we can see that will show us we're in the end times. Where we see the indicators is proof to us that Jesus is almost at hand.

For me, because I understand the signs of the time and the indicators, it has put an urgency in my heart to evangelize. I can see the indicators like the nation of Israel is here. 100 years ago today, there was not one single, tangible, measurable sign. The first one was November 1917 with the issuance of the Balfour Declaration. Today, there are so many signs it's like God has a neon light in the sky flashing on and off saying, "Jesus is coming soon! Jesus is coming soon!" There's so many you can't keep up with it, but there are many signs and we can know that the season is near.