Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Looking Forward with Hope: Becoming an Heir

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Are you an heir of hope?

New Year's greetings to all of you! To ring in this new year, Dr. David Reagan, Dennis Pollock of Spirit of Grace Ministries and I discussed on television's Christ in Prophecy why you should be looking forward to the future with great hope.


Christ in Prophecy Panel


Heir of Hope

Dr. Reagan: Let's turn our attention for a moment to what it is that a person must do in order to be an heir of the hope that is offered by Jesus Christ. A great Christian hymn has these words, "My faith is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness." What in the world does that mean?

Dennis Pollock: That statement gets right to the heart of Evangelical Christianity. Evangelical Christianity stands on the fact that we just take the Bible seriously. We read the New Testament and we believe what it says. At the heart of that is the fact that we can only be acceptable in God's eyes through faith in who Christ is and what He has done for us by sacrificing Himself on our behalf on the cross.

Man's natural inclination is to try to find acceptance before God by his own works, his own deeds, and by being a good guy. We'll compare, "I'm not as bad as my neighbor. I'm a lot better than these people I see in the news. And, those Hollywood people, oh my, I'm so much superior to them. So, surely God will accept me." But, the Bible says regardless of whether you are a pristine little PTA President, an old lady who wears a white bun in her hair, or whether you are a motorcycle gang member that's done horrific things like shoots drugs into your veins, we are all sinners and we all need Christ.

The only hope we have is in Jesus Christ by putting our faith in Christ, His Death, the His shedding of His own blood for us. The Bible says so much about blood, and that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. The Bible also says so much about faith. We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through faith. It's through faith alone. It's through faith in Christ alone. Because of the power of Jesus' shed blood, and by receiving Christ through belief in that His death and His resurrection were for our sins, we are then received in God's sight. We are accepted. It's an amazing thing!

We are made as if we had never sinned. The Bible says, "He made Him who knew no sin" (that is Christ) "to become sin for us." He was hanging on that cross becoming sin for everyone of us. And, the Bible goes on to say, "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." So, there's a tremendous transfer of our sins to Christ, but His righteousness is transferred back to us.

We've got to get life right, but that's only possible through faith in Christ, not faith in Christ plus being a good guy or doing lots of good deeds; but simply faith in Christ. Once we have that faith and we are born again, we will want to do good works. We live a good life as best as we can, but we are only before the Father made justified by faith in Christ.

Nathan Jones: It reminds me of that very Christianese word "atonement." Atonement, dictionary.com describes means, "satisfaction, or reprobation for a wrong or injury," and basically in Christianity this word means "being reconciled back to God."

And, what does reconciliation mean? Back in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve walked with God and talked with God and there was intimate fellowship between them all. But sin came, a rebellion against God that separated man from God, and ever since then God has worked all of history through Christ's death on the cross to bring us back in Heaven one day to that total reconciliation and relationship with God again. That's what human history is all about. It's about getting us back to where we can walk with God and talk with God and have fellowship with God once more, looking at Him face to face again. We can only achieve that by accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior.


Apostasy Kills Hope

Dr. Reagan: The Bible says we'll know we are in the End Times because one of the identifying signs will be gross apostasy. I'd say that we are in the midst of such gross apostasy right now, as there are many evidences of it.

I ran across one instance of apostasy the other day that directly relates to this sign. The pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in New York City, who's also a woman, called a press conference and she said something to the effect, "I just want to let you know that I'm sick and tired of a bloody religion, and so we've taken our hymn book and we've cut every song out of the hymn book that refers to blood, because we don't want people to think we are a vampire religion." Of course, they are going to have to change the name of the church, because it's Calvary Baptist.

Dr. Reagan: What's your reaction to her claim, that we've got to get the blood out of Christianity?

Dennis Pollock: If you do that with the Bible, then you basically throw the whole Bible out. The Bible makes it clear that Christ's shed blood is necessary for our salvation. The only question is this, "Are you going to make up your own religion, or are you going to accept the religion of Jesus and Paul and Peter and what they had to teach? Who is the better theologian? Is it Christ and Paul, or is it this gal from New York City who says we are going to do away with the blood?" The Bible makes it clear it is by Jesus' shed blood that we are justified, and by His blood that we are forgiven. We either go with the Bible, or we throw it out and create our own religion. I'm not willing to do that.

Nathan Jones: I think we Christians use the word blood without giving its proper context. Christians are always talking about blood, blood, blood to the point where in the past people watched the Christians who took Communion and thought Christians were cannibals. I think we have to explain what we mean when we say blood. The blood isn't just the flowing of blood, or that we have to have blood all over the place. It means sacrifice of one's life in place for your life. So, in the Old Testament we're taught that one's sins separated us from God. God temporarily gave us the death of an animal in place of our death. But, when Jesus died on the cross, His sacrifice and the shedding of His blood finally took our place so that belief in Him made final payment for the penalty of our sins. Justice was paid in full.

Dr. Reagan: And, the sacrifice had to have been paid by a perfect human being, and Jesus was that human being. His blood paid the price. How can you get away from the blood of Christ if you are truly a Christian?

Dennis Pollock: You cannot. That's what makes Evangelicals, well, Evangelicals. We believe what Paul had to teach. We believe what Peter said he saw. We believe what Christ Himself claimed and taught, that you must be born again through faith in Christ and the shedding of His blood.

Dr. Reagan: Praise God for the sacrifice that Jesus made!


Becoming an Heir of Hope

Dennis Pollock: I'd like to extend to you an invitation to become an heir of the hopeful promises of God. You may feel like you have no hope, but there is hope for you in Jesus Christ. You can do that by reaching out to God in prayer, accepting His Son Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and repenting of your sins.

The Bible says the only reason Jesus has not yet returned is because God does not wish any to perish but that all should come to repentance. The Creator of this universe is a God of love, grace and mercy. He is also a God of hope. He wants you to have hope. You cannot find that hope in politicians or in wealth. The only true hope comes as a gift of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Put your faith in Jesus today as your Lord and Savior and your heart will be flooded with hope.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Looking Forward with Hope: Heaven Defined

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What is your hope in Heaven actually mean?

New Year's greetings to all of you! To ring in this new year, Dr. David Reagan, Dennis Pollock of Spirit of Grace Ministries and I discussed on television's Christ in Prophecy why you should be looking forward to the future with great hope.


Christ in Prophecy Panel


Heaven Revealed

Dr. Reagan: I've noticed when I go to Christian groups all the time what happens when I get up and ask, "What is your hope as a Christian?" that nearly always they will respond, "My hope is Heaven." But, "What exactly does that mean?," I'll ask. Why, there's just total silence as nobody knows how to answer.

Where is Heaven? What does it mean to go to Heaven? Are you going to have a body? Are you going to be recognizable? Are you going to know people? The people respond, "We don't know." And yet, the Bible answers these questions for us. So, what are some of the specifics about our future hope?

Nathan Jones: I love this verse! First Corinthians 2:9 reads, "However, it is written, no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him." But, the Bible does give us hints about just what that future is.

Dr. Reagan: And, the very next verse says, "God has revealed those things to us through His Spirit." So, the descriptors are there, but people don't know what they are because they haven't heard the preaching on Bible prophecy.


Where is Heaven?

Dennis Pollock: Actually, Heaven is what we call the great eternal city — New Jerusalem. It's where God is. It's where Christ is. The Bible not only tells us about it, but it also tells us there will be a time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth. This New Jerusalem will merge with this restored earth and this will be our home base forever.

You're right, a lot of people don't get very specific about Heaven primarily because they don't take the biblical descriptions that are written and believe they will literally be the case.

Dr. Reagan: I think most Christians have an ethereal view of Heaven. Their idea is they are going to be floating around on a cloud playing a harp in an ethereal world, maybe where they are kind of merged with the God of the universe, kind of a Hindu concept of the spirit being merged with the universal spirit. But, the Bible says, no, we're going to have tangible, perfected bodies. I'll have some hair. My knee won't hurt me anymore. We're going to have perfected bodies. We're going to live on a new earth that's refreshed and redeemed. We'll I've in the New Jerusalem in the presence of Almighty God, forever and ever serving Him. I can get excited about that!

Nathan Jones: Think about how long the Lord has been working on the New Jerusalem. John 14:2 tells us, "In my Father's house there are many rooms, if it weren't so I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you." Now, if it took six days to create the Universe, and Jesus has been working on the New Jerusalem for 2,000 years, then it's going to be just incredible. That's going to be our home base for the foreseeable future.


Running to Heaven as Your Goal

Dr. Reagan: I find that quite often since Christians don't know really what's going to happen, well how can you get excited about something you don't know anything about? How can you get excited about a surprise birthday party? You can't. How can you get excited about the coming of the Lord if you don't know what's going to happen when the Lord comes? The more I study Bible prophecy the more excited I get about what is coming. Instead, most Christians are clinging to this wretched world that we live in. They're clinging to it as if it is all we've got.

Nathan Jones: It reminds me of my old track and field days. I used to be a runner and sometimes the coaches would move me from a sprint into a long distance race. The long distance race meant you had to at least go a quarter mile around the track. It's agony for a sprinter to have to do that. You can't see the finish line, and so as you're running you are thinking, "It's never going to come, it's never going to come." But, once you came around that last turn and you see the finish line, hope would spring to life and everybody running started going faster when there's a destination in sight. When that destination seems like it's never appearing, and we don't know what the result of our exertions will be, then we are not excited about running that race. But, when we know what our destination is, we know that the race thank goodness is finally done and possibly there's a medal waiting at the end of it.

Knowing and seeing where one is going gives us hope and a bright future, and that's what Heaven provides for us all.

Dr. Reagan: And, only when you look at the specifics, and in fact the Bible does give specific details concerning our eternal destiny.

Dennis Pollock: The Church a lot of times wants to throw out the details and just concludes, "Let's just sum Heaven up by saying it will be good and we will be happy." But, no, there are tremendous details. When you look ahead and you read what God has said, and you begin to believe it, it makes a tremendous difference in the way that you live right now.

I have to share this quote from C.S. Lewis. He believed Heaven will be better than any of us could ever imagine. He said, "If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were those who thought the most about the next world." He also said, "The Apostles themselves who set foot on the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English evangelicals who abolished the slave trade — they all left their mark on the earth precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven." He observed, "Since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become ineffective in this one."

Lewis left us with this advice, "Aim at Heaven and you'll get the earth thrown in. Aim at the earth and you'll get neither."


In the last part of this series on looking forward with hope, we'll share how you can become an heir of hope.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Looking Forward with Hope: Tied to Faith

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What is our hope as Christians?

New Year's greetings to all of you! To ring in this new year, Dr. David Reagan, Dennis Pollock of Spirit of Grace Ministries and I discussed on television's Christ in Prophecy why you should be looking forward to the future with great hope.


Christ in Prophecy Panel


Hope and Faith Connected

Nathan Jones: Our hope is that there is something beyond this wretched, miserable life. There is something beyond the pain and suffering that people have to endure every single day. The Bible gives us the hope that this life is more than just a breath, telling us about a never ending future of glory and wonder.

We can go through a list of different topics about our future with Christ, but we can know for sure about our hope for the future. The Bible in Hebrews 11:1 says that, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see." Hope, faith, and love go together so that we can have that excellent hope for the future.

Dennis Pollock: As you know, in the Christian world hope has gotten kind of a bad rap in a lot of cases. A lot of people see hope as for the wimpier believers and faith for the strong believers. So, if you are really strong in the Lord you've got faith, but if you are not so strong you can at least hope for a few better things.

Dr. Reagan: I didn't know I was a wimpy believer!

Dennis Pollock: Now, I didn't say I agreed with that. I just said that's how a lot of people see hope. Actually, the reality is that hope and faith go hand-in-hand.

Hope is very close to faith, but is not quite the same. The Bible says that Abraham in hope believed, so for him there was faith, but there was also hope.

There are two characteristics about hope. First, it's future. The Bible says hope that is seen is not hope, so hope is always a look forward.

Secondly, there is an emotional context to hope. The Bible uses several different scriptures to speak about rejoicing in hope. The Bible says we become partakers of Christ if we hold fast to the confidence and the rejoicing of hope firm to the end. Then Paul says we should be rejoicing in hope and be patient in tribulation.

So, faith says its mine. Faith looks at the promises of God and says they're true. Christ's death on the cross, the shedding of His blood, and His resurrection means I can have eternal life. Faith believes it and marks it down as done, but hope does more than just believe it. Hope gets excited about it. Hope says, "Man, I just can't wait until it happens!"

Hope also gives you the courage to endure. That's why the Rapture and hope are tied so closely together, because they say no matter how bad the world is, no matter how bad our situation is, there's a glorious coming of Christ that's going to make everything good. Peter said, "Set your hope fully on the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." Peter was writing to a suffering and persecuted people. Life for them was not really very much fun, and they were not very happy. But, he said to take our hope and place it entirely on the glory and the grace that's going to come to us as Christ is revealed and will one day soon appear for us.


In the next part of this series on looking forward with hope, we'll delve into what our hope in Heaven actually means.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Looking Forward with Hope: Absence Leads to Death

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Can not having hope kill you?

New Year's greetings to all of you! To ring in this new year, Dr. David Reagan, Dennis Pollock of Spirit of Grace Ministries and I discussed on television's Christ in Prophecy why you should be looking forward to the future with great hope.


Christ in Prophecy Panel


Hopelessness Kills

Dr. Reagan: One of the things that impressed upon me many, many years ago concerning the essentiality of hope for life was the book called Man's Search for Meaning. It was written by Viktor Frankl. Viktor Frankl was a psycho-analyst who spent World War II in a Nazi death camp. All of his family members including his wife were killed in that death camp. He was the only one who survived.

Out of Frankl's experiences he came up with a whole new concept of psychotherapy called Logotherapy. Until that time psychotherapy was built upon the Freudian concept that the fundamental motivating factor in life is the sex drive, but he came out of the death camp saying, "No, not at all." The fundamental drive in life according to this man, who by the way was not a Christian and so was looking at it from a secular worldview, is the will for meaning. He believed we are fundamentally motivated by the desire to find meaning in life. People must find meaning, and if they cannot find meaning then life becomes meaningless. When life becomes hopeless, people die.

Frankl noticed while he was in the death camp that as Christmas approached the Jewish people would say, "We are going to be released at Christmas." He admitted there was no reason or rationality for that claim except for the fact that they knew that all of their captors claimed to be Christians and that Christmas was an important day to them, so they assumed they were going to be released at Christmas. That news would spread all over the camp and everybody would get their hopes up that they were going to be released at Christmas. Christmas would come, Christmas would pass, and he reported that by the hundreds the people would just lie down in bed and die. They gave up. They had no hope. That's how important hope is to life just going on.

Dennis, you once mentioned to me a story that I think Chuck Colson told about the Nazi work camps. What was that story?

Dennis Pollock: Yes, it's a fascinating story which goes exactly along with what you've been saying. Colson tells of a concentration or work camp where the prisoners were forced into working for the Nazi machine. They were prisoners, so they didn't want to, but they had no choice but to work. The workers had their particular jobs to help the army out with whatever it was they were making.

One day the Allies came over on a bombing raid and blew up the whole place, and so they had no more machinery to do any kind of work. The leaders of the prison camp were determined to keep these guys busy, though, but they had no more machinery to do anything. So, they told them, "Alright, tomorrow you are going to go out and you're going to dig this hole." The guards had them working on a huge pit which they dug out for that particular day. There were a lot of prisoners, so they could make a huge gaping hole. They went to bed wondering, "Why in the world did we do that? What's the point of that? Maybe we are going to hide in it during the next bombing raid."

The next day comes along and the commander tells them that they are going to go fill the very same hole up. They just went out and undid what they had done the day before. The following day they are told they are going to dig a new hole somewhere else. The Nazi's just had them digging holes and filling them up.

In some ways you might think digging useless holes would be superior to building war materials as at least they weren't helping the Nazis anymore. They were just doing meaningless work, but despite that small comfort the prisoners began to crack. Some of them committed suicide and some ran for the fence so that they were shot down and electrocuted. They just couldn't handle the reality that what they were doing had no meaning whatsoever.

If you don't believe in Christ and in the coming of Christ and His future reign of the world, then life is meaningless. If life is meaningless that's when a person begins to do these kinds of irrational and suicidal things.

Dr. Reagan: I was reading an article by Dave Hunt recently and he was talking about the Atheist view of life. He said, "Stop and think about it for a moment. How disheartening it must be for an Atheist. The Atheist greatest hope is that there is nothing after life."

Dennis Pollock: Yes, that's the best he can hope for.

Dr. Reagan: What kind of hope is that?

Nathan Jones: It reminds me of Hebrews 6:19, "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain." What a great thing it is to be a Christian! We have that anchor to our soul that gives our life while here on this earth purpose, and that purpose is to do good works for the Lord until His return (Eph. 2:10).


In the next part of this series on looking forward with hope, we'll plumb the depths of how hope and faith are connected.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Looking Forward with Hope: Essential to Life

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How important is hope to life itself?

New Year's greetings to all of you! To ring in this new year, Dr. David Reagan, Dennis Pollock of Spirit of Grace Ministries and I discussed on television's Christ in Prophecy why you should be looking forward to the future with great hope.


Christ in Prophecy Panel


Hope's Necessary For Life

Dr. Reagan: The Bible says that the Creator of this universe is a God of hope. The Apostle Paul wrote, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor has the mind of man conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him."

But, we live in a world characterized by increasing fear and despair. People fear such things as terrorism, war, cancer, bankruptcy — the list goes on and on. Perhaps I could sum it up by saying that people fear the uncertainties of life and the certainty of death. The bottom line is there's an overwhelming need for hope, and most of mankind seems to be seeking that hope in all the wrong places.

How important is hope to life itself? Is it essential or not?

Dennis Pollock: I think the answer to that can be found when you look at where people are and what the situation is when there is no hope, when for them things seem utterly hopeless. Probably the worst and ugliest thing that a person can do to themselves is to kill themselves. Suicide is always the case when Satan is lying and whispering in someone's ear, "Your life is bad and it's going to be bad tomorrow and it's going to be bad next year. It will never improve." But, no matter how bad your life is, if you get the idea it will get better, eventually you can get through the hard times. It's when you're convinced not only is it terrible now, but it will always be this way, that's basically hopelessness and that's when people start to think about suicide.

Let me give you a little illustration. When we were children (and I don't know if it happened to you, but in my case) there were times when we'd be playing softball and choose up teams. After the first inning the score would be 10 to 1 and you find yourself on the losing side. Now, let's say you are playing seven innings and you are thinking after the first inning, "We had a lousy inning, but next inning we'll get it back." So you play one more inning and now it is 15 to 1. That's usually when the realization comes into your mind, "We've lost this game. We don't have what it takes. There's no way." You know you've still got five more innings to play. How does that knowledge affect you? Well, for most kids what happens is you get silly, you fool around, and you daydream. You don't take the game seriously anymore. You don't give it your best effort, because in your mind you're already a loser and there's no hope. The good thing about that situation is finally the game would mercifully come to an end and you could get on, and maybe the next day you would be on a better team.

It's not quite so funny when people see themselves as losers about their very life. Their life is bad. They're a loser already and there's no hope. That's hopelessness, but the Bible has so many good things to say about hope.

Dr. Reagan: That's so true, for Romans 15:13 says point blank our God is a God of hope. But, Satan loves to whisper in people's ears, "There is no hope."

Nathan Jones: I don't think you have to even be a loser to be hopeless. While you were talking about people who feel like their life is destined to be a loser, I thought about Simon and Garfunkel. They wrote a song called "Richard Cory." It's a very famous song about a man who had everything. He was born of a banker. He had power, grace and style, and he had lots of money. The main character is singing about how wretched it was to work in Richard Cory's factory. And then, one day, he reads in the paper that Richard Cory had killed himself. He was aghast, wondering how could a guy who had everything go and kill himself.

Even if we are winners in life, according to how man sees it, we are not winners. There's still that emptiness — that God-shaped hole — in us that needs to be filled. No matter how successful we are in life, we will always despair in the end without the Lord.


Christ's Return Equals Hope

Dennis Pollock: Dave, when I first started working with you I noticed that one of the themes that you would focus on was hope. You preached about hope. You wrote about hope. So, I started to wonder, "What's the connection between hope and the coming of Christ?" How does that work with your main theme concerning the return of the Lord. And so, I began to study the Scriptures, and one, I found hope is a major theme of Scripture, but two, it has a special connection with the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, probably that classic passage on the Rapture — 1 Thessalonians 4 — where Paul says the Lord will descend from Heaven and the dead in Christ will be raised and we'll be caught up together with them, well that entire line of thought is preceded by Paul saying to the Thessalonian believers, "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope" (1 Thes. 4:13). The whole premise of what Paul is going to present about the Rapture is based on the fact that we do have hope.

Dr. Reagan: I was reading 1 Corinthians 13 one time — that beautiful love poem by Paul — and I got to the very end where the last verse says there are three great Christian virtues: faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love. I started to move on and the Holy Spirit said, "Wait, read this again." So, I read it again and again and suddenly as I began to think back over my life. I grew up in the church. I was there every time the door was open and I could think of hundreds of sermons I had heard about faith. I could think of thousands I had heard about love. But, I could not think of a single sermon I had ever heard about hope, because hope is directly related to Bible prophecy and Bible prophecy is ignored in the preaching and teaching programs of most churches. And yet, the more you know about Bible prophecy, the greater your hope will be because you learn about the promises of God for the future.

Nathan Jones: We had such an instance of hope derived from Bible prophecy sent to me this week. As you know, I get all the email questions that come in and I answer people's questions, which is a blessing. This one gentleman named Christopher wrote, "I live with chronic pain. I can't sleep. I'm in agony all of the time. At three in the morning I get online and I watch "Christ in Prophecy" because your message of the Lord's soon return gives me hope." It's stories like this that prove that knowing Jesus is coming back gives people hope.


In the next part of this series on looking forward with hope, we'll hear some shocking stories about how hopeleness can kill.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Six Reasons For Wanting Jesus To Return: 6

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Why do you want Jesus Christ to return?

New Year's greetings to all of you! To ring in this new year, Dr. David Reagan, Dennis Pollock of Spirit of Grace Ministries and I discussed on television's Christ in Prophecy six reasons why all who profess to be Christians should earnestly desire that this year would prove to be the year when the Church will be raptured out of this world.


Christ in Prophecy Panel


Reason #6: The Church Receives Its Promises

Dr. Reagan: The sixth reason why we as Christians should all be yearning for the coming of the Lord has to do with the promises that God is going to fulfill regarding the Church. What are those?

Dennis Pollock: He has promised us eternal life, that we would reign with Christ on the earth, and ultimately that we would reign with Christ forever. God always keeps His promises, so when Christ returns we are going to be given an area to reign with Jesus Christ.

Dr. Reagan: Are you going to be a mayor, or governor, or what?

Dennis Pollock: Well, I haven't yet decided. I thought I might be talking with the Lord about just where I would best fit in. But, on the other hand, He may have His own ideas. [chuckle]

Dr. Reagan: You know that God said there is going to be some of the degree of reward based upon our works in the kingdom now, and that some during the Millennial Kingdom would be put over one city, and one over two, and one over five or whatever number.

Dennis Pollock: Yes, the Master said in Matthew 25, "You have been faithful in a few things, I will make you ruler over many things." Now, a lot of people think Heaven is where you play the harp, you sit on a cloud, and if you're lucky someone comes over to your cloud and enjoys a little harp time in a duet with you. But, the Bible does not say we will play harps forever, and doesn't say we will sing forever either. It says we will reign with Jesus Christ forever.

Dr. Reagan: One of the things I'm really looking forward to is the promise to the Church that we are going to receive glorified bodies. I'm ready for mine, I really am! My left knee hurts every time I take a step from arthritis and all that sort of thing. I'm just looking for that day when there's not going to be any of those pains and I have a glorified body. I can hardly wait!

The Lord has made so many, many wonderful promises to both Israel and to the Church. We don't need to claim their promises, and they don't need to claim ours. He is going to fulfill all of these promises.

Dennis Pollock: God's gotten very specific about those promises, too. When you look at Revelation, John describes this New Jerusalem that will be our home for all of eternity. He gives all kinds of details about it. We know it'll be made of a transparent gold. We know there will be gems. The gates will be made of pearls. We actually know the dimensions of it which is around 1,500 square miles and then 1,500 miles high. These are truths. This is God saying to His people, "Hang in there! You may not be doing too well right now. You may be living in some little shack, but I have something amazing for you and I am going to give it to you." And, God always keeps His Word.

Dr. Reagan: Praise the Lord!


Personal Reasons For Wanting the Return of Christ

Dr. Reagan: Do you have any personal reasons why you are desiring the Lord's return in this year?

Nathan Jones: Well, for me, it hits rather close to home. My elementary age son Zachary has autism. He still can't talk. He will never be able to do the things a normal boy does. He will grow up and be a kid in an adult's body, as there is no cure for autism. Concerning the promise of having a glorified body, I know when I go up to Heaven one day that my son Zachary will be whole again, and the whole of the millions of people in Heaven will be celebrating and glorifying God for that transformation. That's the day I live for!

Dennis Pollock: For me there are so many reasons, but there's this one reason I sometimes think of that might be a little unusual. When you are born again your love for Jesus is so strong and there is a euphoria and you just feel like all you want to do is live in His presence, but then you come down to earth and you find you still have this nature that wants to say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, and wants the wrong thing. You realize there are these two natures in you at war with one another, and so you never feel quite comfortable no matter how spiritual you can get. I've sometimes been in the most anointed spiritual states and yet suddenly the flesh will just put a thought in my mind or an urge and I will think, "Where did that even come from?" But, when Christ comes and gives us our new bodies, He is going to do an extraction. He is going to take out that sin nature so that we are going to serve Him in purity without that ugly sinful nature that we have.

Dr. Reagan: I agree. I have a grandson who is afflicted. He just doesn't know who he is or who I am. You can't hold him. You can't touch him. He can't even have a haircut without being put to sleep. I dedicated two books to him because he is a constant reminder to me that we live in a fallen world where the innocent suffer. I look forward to that day when Jason will be able to talk with me, I'll be able to throw a football to him, and we will be able to have fellowship with one another. That's going to happen when the Lord Jesus Christ comes back.

I'm also looking forward to a reunion with family members and church members who have gone on before me.

Concerning Bible characters, I can hardly wait to meet David, and to see David lead a worship service. Boy, that will be something! Or, can you imagine sitting in a Bible study where John is teaching the Book of John? Oh, there are so many wonderful things that I look forward to!


Grabbing Hold of God's Promises

Dr. Reagan: The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15, "Oh, death, where is your victory? Oh, death, where is your sting?" Only a Christian can look death in the face and sneer at it with such words, and that's because our Savior Jesus has conquered death. He has promised that those who put their faith in Him will also overcome death. Here is how He put it in John 11:25, He said, "I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me shall live even if he dies." You can be assured of eternal life.

Dennis Pollock: All the religions of the world except Christianity teach that you must earn your salvation through good works. Only Christianity teaches that salvation through good works is impossible. Sinners cannot justify themselves to a perfect and holy God. Jesus was sinless. He died in our place as an atonement for our sins. All you have to do to receive that atonement is to place your faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

Nathan Jones: You can do that by praying a simple prayer, confessing to God that you are a sinner and that you are sorry for your sins, and that you desire to receive Jesus as your Savior. Salvation is a free gift of God through faith in Jesus. It's not something you can earn.

Dennis Pollock: If you decide to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, let me urge you to seek out a Bible believing church where you can make a public profession of your faith in Jesus. Submit yourself to water baptism and start growing in the faith.

Nathan Jones: You will now have claimed those wonderful promises of God.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Six Reasons For Wanting Jesus To Return: 4-5

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Will world peace become a reality?

New Year's greetings to all of you! To ring in this new year, Dr. David Reagan, Dennis Pollock of Spirit of Grace Ministries and I discussed on television's Christ in Prophecy six reasons why all who profess to be Christians should earnestly desire that this year would prove to be the year when the Church will be raptured out of this world.


Christ in Prophecy Panel


Reason #4: The Nations at Peace

Dr. Reagan: The fourth reason that I would like to see Jesus return is because I want to see the nations receive what they have been promised; namely peace, righteousness, and justice.

Dennis Pollock: Amen! In Psalm 2 the Father says to the Son, "Ask me." What a nice thing for the Father to say, "Ask me and I will give you the nations as your inheritance." And that is going to happen. The Bible not only says that Jesus inherits them, but we are going to have a part in all of that inheritance.

Dr. Reagan: Yes, and you mentioned Psalm 2. Right before that portion that you quoted it says that all the leaders of the world are in conspiracy against God and His anointed One. Shaking their fists at God they are saying like, "Who are you to tell us what we can do and what we cannot do." Then it says, while they are doing that God sits in the heavens and laughs, because a day is coming when He is going to set it all alright.

Dennis Pollock: Yeah! The thing that makes prophecy so exciting is that when you read this and you say, "You know what? I believe it's going to happen just like it says." It's thrilling!

It's wonderful to think of Christ reigning over the nations. Isaiah 24 talks about how the Lord will reign gloriously in Jerusalem before His elders. Of course, there are some who say, "Surely that can't be." But, what part of "the Lord will reign in Jerusalem" do you not understand? The Lord will reign in Jerusalem. That's a thrilling thought to think about, that Jesus is actually going to come to this earth. Jesus said He would come again, and so He will do that. He will reign gloriously over this earth and He will be Lord.

Dr. Reagan: That's the problem I have with Amillennialists who tell me that Jesus is reigning right now. They say He's reigning from Heaven over all the nations of the world. But, I always respond, "Well, if He is, He's doing a terrible job of it, because every nation of the world is in rebellion against Him." But, what a day that is going to be when all the nations are truly subjected to Him.

Nathan Jones: They certainly haven't read Micah 4 which talks about all of the nations. It declares, "Nation will not take sword up against nation, nor will they train for war anymore." Think if we took the national economies, say something like 50%-60% of some of our budgets are put towards defense, and we put that money towards helping people and building and growing. To top it off, nobody would be killing each other. We would not be losing brothers and cousins and family members to Afghanistan and Iraq and all these other wars. No longer! What a world that would be. All of that money being given to agricultural implements instead of war would mean no more needy, no poor, and no food problems.

Dr. Reagan: What a day that will be!

Dennis Pollock: What's so pathetic, as World War I was coming to a close some of the leaders of the nations said we needed some kind of organization to make sure world war never happened again. They came up with the League of Nation, but that obviously didn't work out too well as World War II came along. As that war was coming to an end, some of the leaders including Roosevelt and some others declared that we needed a new organization and this new one will make sure that war doesn't happen again, and that was the United Nations. Well, we can see how that has worked out. Once Jesus Christ returns there will be that peace that everybody is looking for, but only then when the Prince of Peace comes.


Reason #5: Israel Receives Its Promises

Dr. Reagan: The fifth reason I want to see Jesus return is because I want to see Israel receive what they had been promised. What's that?

Dennis Pollock: They have been promised two major blessings. First off, which is the greatest blessing really, is that they would serve God from their hearts. People like to say Israel is a hard-hearted people and that God has washed His hands of them, but God has made some amazing promises to them.

I want to read a Scripture from Ezekiel. This is a scripture that is often misused to apply to Christians, and they'll claim, "When you got born again this is what happened to you." Now, that is true, but it was first promised to the Jews. God says to the Jews, "I will give you a new heart... I will put a new spirit within you... I'll take out your heart of stone... I will give you a heart of flesh... I will put my spirit in you. He says, "I'll cause you to walk in my statues, and you will keep my judgments... you will do them."

Now, God always keeps His promises. God does not depend on whether Israel does this or that, as God Himself is going to do what He wills to accomplish. For instance, God has promised that Jesus will reign. Christ will come and will reign over an obedient Jewish people, but not only obedient, they will be raised up to a place of primacy in the world.

Before Christ ascended His disciples asked Him, "Will you at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?" And, it's very interesting what He didn't say. Jesus didn't reply, "Well, that's a stupid question! Why in the world would you ever think?" No, Jesus didn't say that. He just said, "It's not for you to know the times and seasons when this is going to happen." So, Jesus was indirectly saying it will happen, but you don't need to know about the timing of this right now.

So, there will be a time when Israel will be restored to a place of prominence on the earth. This persecuted people — a people who have been hated and despised like no other people — will be raised up. God always keeps His promises. We have all done various projects that we have just gotten tired of and just put them on a shelf and never finished them, but God's not that way. When God starts a project, He will finish it, and Israel is His project. What He has said He will do, He will do.

Nathan Jones: I think it's exciting that Zechariah 8:23 tells us what the world will finally be like for the believing Israel. It says, "In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of their robe and will say, 'Let us go with you because we have heard that God is with you.'"

Dr. Reagan: Boy, what a promise! Today the Jew is the object of jokes and hatred and persecution, but in that future day in time when the Jews are elevated as the prime nation of the world, everyone will want to walk with a Jew.

Nathan Jones: And, like Dennis said, the important difference is they will love the Lord Jesus as their Savior.

Dr. Reagan: That's the point. In Old Testament times they always ran to Egypt every time they got in trouble. Today they run to the United States. But, we are seeing the prophecies say that in the end times all nations will come against Israel, which includes the United States. We have seen our nation turn against Israel. A day will finally come when there will be nobody for Israel to turn to. At the end of the Tribulation the remnant that is left will finally turn their hearts to God, and they will cry out, "Baruch haba beshem adonai" which means "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord," and the Lord will come. He will gather those believing Jews in a third regathering. We've had the regathering from Babylon, the regathering in unbelief going on right now, and a regathering in belief will finally come. They will be established as a prime nation of the world and all the blessings of the Lord will flow through the Jewish people to all the earth. What a day that will be!


In the last part of our discussion on six reasons why believers in Christ should be anxious for Jesus' return, we'll continue on to reason six and then share our personal reasons for wanting Christ to return quickly.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Six Reasons For Wanting Jesus To Return: 3

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Did Jesus also die for the redemption of the Creation?

New Year's greetings to all of you! To ring in this new year, Dr. David Reagan, Dennis Pollock of Spirit of Grace Ministries and I discussed on television's Christ in Prophecy six reasons why all who profess to be Christians should earnestly desire that this year would prove to be the year when the Church will be raptured out of this world.


Christ in Prophecy Panel


Reason #3: The Creation is Restored

Dr. Reagan: A third reason I want to see the Lord come back is because He is going to fulfill promises He has made to the Creation. What would those be, Nathan?

Nathan Jones: The Bible, especially in Romans 8, talks about the Creation being under bondage. It is under the curse of God. It is suffering just as much as we humans are.

If the Creation had consciousness, which it doesn't, it too would yearn too for the time when it would be redeemed. That time can only happen when the Sons of God are revealed (Rom. 8:19). Believers in Christ are considered the sons of God. We are the ones who will get our glorified bodies one day. The Earth during the Millennial Kingdom of Christ will get you could say its glorified body in a way as the curse will be lifted. That's when we get to those verses where it says the lion will eat straw and the wolf will lie down with the lamb. What a wonderful picturesque time period this will be when the Earth will be restored! Then, afterwards during the Eternal State, the Earth will be totally restored in what's called the New Earth.

Dennis Pollock: I don't know whether Global Warming is a reality or not, but one thing I do know is that the world has a bigger problem than Global Warming, and that is the problem of sin and decay that is all over our world.

Nathan Jones: The Law of Entropy.

Dennis Pollock: No matter what you are looking at, it will decay and it will grow old. It will eventually dissolve and be annihilated. Nature is in bondage to the process of decay. Only when Christ returns will that process be reversed.

It's amazing that in the original first few generations of man you read in the Bible that these guys lived to be around 900 years old. Then, suddenly after the Flood and man doing some more damage to the Earth and to himself, you can look at the life spans and they drop quickly down to 500, then down to 400. Within a few generations when we are down to where Abraham starts, then it became a big deal for him to father a baby at 100 years of age. But, back in Noah's day and before that it was no big deal at all to have a baby at 100 years of age. Those guys did it all the time.

Yes, the very Earth itself and the process of our own growth has all been corroded and corrupted by sin and the process of decay.

Dr. Reagan: The whole of Creation is in bondage to decay. That is part of the curse that came as the result of sin entering this world.

I find that most people are not aware of the fact that when Jesus died on the cross, He died not only to redeem mankind, but He also died to redeem all of Creation. This was indicated in Old Testament times when the High Priest would go into the Holy of Holies once a year and he would sprinkle the blood on the Mercy Seat. This was a symbol that one day the Messiah would die and through His blood we would be able to cover the Law of God and the demands of the Law of God. By grace we could finally be reconciled to God.

What most people ignore is that it says the High Priest always stepped back and he sprinkled the blood on the ground in front of the Mercy Seat. That was a symbol that the blood of the Messiah would also make it possible for all of Creation to be redeemed. God loves His creation.

When I was growing up in the church I was taught that when the Lord came back there was going to be a big explosion and the whole Creation would cease to exist. We would go off into a never-never world and exist as spiritual beings floating around on a cloud playing a harp. We wouldn't be tangible nor have bodies or be on the Earth.

But, the Bible teaches just the opposite. Again, God loves His creation. He's going to redeem His Creation. In the original Creation there were no poisonous plants, no poisonous animals, and no meat eating animals which are all part of the curse. The Bible says the lion will eat straw with the ox. It says a little boy will play in the hole of the adder because the snake will no longer be poisonous. I believe those are real promises that God is going to redeem and refresh and return this Earth to what it was at the original time of the Creation.

Dennis Pollock: Yes! Christians aren't anti-environment. Some people have accused us all of being the people who throw our garbage out of the car and just don't care about our environment. We do care and we should care, but we are realistic enough to know that this world and the environment will never be what it should be until Christ returns.


Review

Dr. Reagan: Okay, let's take a moment for review. We are discussing six reasons why Christians should desire the soon return of Jesus and thus far we have mentioned three.

Nathan Jones: The first is that Jesus might receive what He has been promised; namely honor, and glory, and power over all the kingdoms of the earth.

Dennis Pollock: The second is that Satan might receive what He deserves; namely total defeat, dishonor, and humiliation.

Nathan Jones: And the third is that the Creation might receive what it has been promised; namely regeneration, restoration and refreshment.


In the next part of our discussion on six reasons why believers in Christ should be anxious for Jesus' return, we'll continue on to reasons four and five.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Six Reasons For Wanting Jesus To Return: 1-2

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Why should believers in Christ want Jesus to return?

New Year's greetings to all of you! To ring in this new year, Dr. David Reagan, Dennis Pollock of Spirit of Grace Ministries and I discussed on television's Christ in Prophecy six reasons why all who profess to be Christians should earnestly desire that this year would prove to be the year when the Church will be raptured out of this world.


Christ in Prophecy Panel


Reason #1: Jesus Gets What's Promised Him

Dr. Reagan: The writings of the Early Church Fathers revealed that during the first 300 years of the Church Christians often prayed "Maranatha." That's an Aramaic expression that means, "Oh, Lord come." The enthusiasm for the Lord's soon return, though, seemed to just wane out and die about 400 AD, and for most of Christendom the desire has never been rekindled. Most Christians today seem to be yawning rather than yearning for the Lord's soon return.

I believe that the return of Jesus is going to occur in two stages. The first, which could occur any moment, is called the Rapture. It will take place when Jesus appears in the heavens to take his Church — both the living and the dead — out of this world. The second stage will be the Second Coming, when Jesus returns to this earth with His Church to reign for a thousand years.

I also believe that most Christians are apathetic about the return of Jesus because they are simply ignorant of what is going to happen when Jesus comes back. I know that from personal experience because that was my case for many years.

Think of it this way, how can you get excited about an event that you know nothing about? For example, how can you get all pent up with excitement about a surprise birthday party? You can't; it's a surprise. My personal apathy about the Lord's return rapidly dissipated when I discovered what is going to happen when Jesus returns to this earth.

I want to share six reasons why I'm yearning for the Lord's soon return. The first, I want to see Jesus receive what He has been promised, which is honor and glory and power.

Dennis Pollock: The last time the world saw Jesus He was on a cross being crucified. Now, I'm not talking about the believers as they saw Him after His resurrection. The last time the world saw Jesus, that is the ungodly, it appeared that He had been totally defeated by His enemies. But, when they see Him again at the glorious Second Coming, He will not be looking beaten or bloody or bruised or anything like that. Jesus will come in glory.

There is an expression in the Bible that is used for the Lord's return that is not often used by the Church. I find it interesting that in the Bible sometimes they use certain words that we somehow have never grabbed hold of. One of the words that is used for the Lord's return frequently in Scripture is the word "Revelation," as in the revelation of Jesus Christ. Peter said to put your hope firmly upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Also, the final book of the Bible is called "The Revelation," but not just a general revelation, it is the Revelation of Jesus Christ. That word means "unveiled, revealed," He will be "no longer hidden."

Right now you and I serve a Master whom we have never seen. The world has written books about Jesus. They've painted paintings of what they thought He might look like. But, the truth is we've never seen Him. And yet, on the day when He comes for the Church at the Rapture, we will see Jesus as He truly is. Later at the Second Coming every eye will see Him, and He will be glorified. He will appear in glory. I'm looking forward to that.

Nathan Jones: There are just some great verses in the Bible that explain this, such as Psalm 22:27-31, "All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord." All of it! Picture what the world would be like if that was the situation today. "And all the families of the nations will bow down before Him. Even those who go down to the dust will kneel before Him." The Lord will be revealed to the whole world and all the nations will see Him. That is an exciting and victorious moment which we share in as Christians — coheirs of Christ.


Reason #2: Satan Gets the Judgment Due Him

Dr. Reagan: The second reason I want to see the Lord return is because Satan is going to receive what he deserves, which of course is total defeat, dishonor, and humiliation. I can hardly wait for Jesus to crush him under His feet!

Dennis Pollock: In my boyhood the big thing was cowboy movies and television shows. Cowboy movies were big. Nowadays, it's more super heroes. But, they had one thing in common — both in the cowboy movies and in the super hero movies of today the story usually spends about the first half of the movie showing you how despicable the bad guy is. You get to the point that you hate him. You want to see him get crushed. You want to see him be absolutely destroyed. And then, in the second half, usually the good guy begins to engage him and finally overcomes him.

Well, in some ways that's like the history of this planet. We have seen the bad guy. Satan is the most cruel entity that there is in this universe. He delights in misery. He has a good time when children are abused, when women are raped, and when people die prematurely. He loves to see human misery. He is the ultimate bad guy. But, the Bible tells us the good guy is coming. In fact, there is a place already reserved for the bad guy. Jesus said that Hell, also called the Lake of Fire, is a place prepared for the Devil and his angels. It will be at the coming of Christ that Satan will be dispatched and placed in that pit for a thousand years and then ultimately cast into the Lake of Fire.

Nathan Jones: Isaiah 14:12-17 is a wonderful verse about the humiliation of Satan. It reads, "Those who see you stare at you.. they ponder your fate. Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble?" Satan is going to be brought so low and we will get to rejoice over him and see that all happen. It'll be exciting! When Jesus returns Satan's end will begin.


In the next part of our discussion on six reasons why believers in Christ should be anxious for Jesus' return, we'll continue on to reason three.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Joseph Smith: The Ego-Maniacal Prophet

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We first looked at Joseph Smith's life and the bizarre discovery he claimed to have made which founded the Mormon cult. Now we'll look at Smith's status as a prophet.

One of the first and most important principles of the Mormon faith is that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. In fact, many would contend that he was the greatest prophet of all times. In defense of this claim, his followers point to prophecies of his which were fulfilled in history.

The first of these is an oral prophecy he supposedly gave on August 6, 1842 in which he prophesied that the Mormons would continue to suffer affliction until they moved to the Rocky Mountains where they would become "a mighty people."7 This prophecy is contained in the diary of a man named Anson Call, but the prophecy was not recorded by Mr. Call until 1845 (after Smith's death), and it appears as an interlinear insertion which experts have determined was added after the Mormons actually arrived in Utah.


Joseph Smith

A second famous prophecy the Mormons point to is one that Smith supposedly made in May of 1843 when he proclaimed that Stephen A. Douglas would aspire to the Presidency and would be defeated if he ever turned against the Mormons.8 This prophecy was supposed to be in the diary of a man named William Clayton, but it has since been discovered that the manuscript of that diary contains no such prophecy.

The third prophecy that supposedly validates Smith as a true prophet of God is one given in February of 1844. Smith prophesied that "within five years the Mormons will be out of the power of their enemies."9 This prophecy came true. By 1849, the Mormons had set up their theocracy in Utah and were no longer plagued by their enemies.

Perhaps Smith's most spectacular prophecy is one he supposedly made in 1839.10 It was not recorded at the time, but it is quoted in many Mormon historical documents. Smith stated that the wrath of God was hanging over Jackson County, Missouri (because of the way Mormons had been treated there). He warned that if the people of the county did not stop persecuting Mormons, "you will live to see the day when it [the county] will be visited by fire and sword... the fields and houses will be destroyed, and only the chimneys will be left to mark the desolation."

This prophecy was fulfilled in 1863 when Union troops were ordered to burn all houses and crops in the county because of the anti-Union guerrilla warfare being waged by its residents. The resulting action was considered to be one of the worst atrocities of the war.

One other prophecy by Smith that Mormons point to is one he made about his bodyguard, Porter Rockwell.11 Smith reportedly told Mr. Rockwell that if he never cut his hair, he would die in bed. Rockwell complied, and in spite of living a very violent life, he died peacefully.


Prophetic Failures

But what Mormons conveniently overlook are the myriad of prophecies Smith gave which were never fulfilled — prophecies that clearly mark him as a false prophet.

Richard Packham, a retired attorney and former Mormon, has compiled a list of more than 60 prophecies by Joseph Smith that have never been fulfilled to this day.12 Among the more significant are the following:

Prophecy #1 — Temple to be built in Independence, Missouri.
In September of 1832 Joseph Smith prophesied that the New Jerusalem and a new temple would be built in Zion, Missouri, a site near Independence.13 He further stated that his generation would not all pass away until these events took place. The temple was never built in Smith's lifetime or within the generation of his contemporaries. The Mormons were driven out of Missouri in 1839. The site where the temple was to be built is not even owned today by the Mormon Church.

Prophecy #2 — The End of all nations.
In December 1832 Smith prophesied that South Carolina would rebel against the federal government, resulting in a war that would spread worldwide and would result in the "full end of all nations."14 Nothing needs to be said about the failure of this bizarre prophecy.

Prophecy #3 — The Return of the Lord.
In 1835, as the prophecies of William Miller were growing in popularity, Joseph Smith stated that "the return of the Lord is nigh — even fifty-six years should wind up the scene."15 The 56 years passed in 1891. In a diary entry dated April 6, 1843, Smith repeated this prophecy, stating the Lord would return when "I am 85 years old, 48 years hence, or about 1890."16 Smith was killed when he was 39 years old.

Prophecy #4 — The Liberty jail prophecies.
In March of 1839 Smith issued a whole package of prophecies from his jail cell in Liberty, Missouri.17 Among other things, he predicted that his enemies would be destroyed "by the sword," that his friends would never charge him with transgressions, and that God was about to change the times and seasons. None of these prophecies came true. The enemies of the Mormons were not destroyed, God did not change the times and seasons, and Smith's friends did turn on him with serious charges that ultimately led to his arrest and death.

Prophecy #5 — The United States Government to be overthrown.
In May of 1843 Smith prophesied that if the United States government did not redress the wrongs suffered by the Mormons in Missouri, the government would be "utterly overthrown and wasted."18 The federal government rejected the Mormon petitions and their "wrongs" were not redressed, yet the U.S. government continued to exist.

Prophecy #6 — His son to succeed him.
In April 1844 Smith prophesied that his son would succeed him and would become "president and king of Israel."19 The child was named David. Needless to say, he never became "president and king of Israel." Nor did he succeed his father. He died in 1904 at the age of 60, after spending the last 27 years of his life in an insane asylum.


Other Failed Prophecies

Many of Smith's incorrect prophecies, like the one concerning his son, were related to individuals. For example, in 1835 he prophesied that Orson Hyde would go to Jerusalem and prepare the way for the regathering of the Jewish people.20 Hyde never went to Jerusalem.

In like manner, in 1837 Smith prophesied that the president of the Church's Council of Twelve Apostles, a man named Thomas Marsh, would go forth "unto the ends of the earth" to preach to both Jews and Gentiles.21 Less than two years later, Marsh was excommunicated!

In 1841 Smith declared that a fellow named George Miller was a man "without guile" who could be trusted, and that no man should "despise my servant George, for he shall honor me."22 Seven years later, George Miller was excommunicated.

When you consider Joseph Smith's sordid record of failed prophecies, can there be any doubt that he was a false prophet who spoke for anyone except the true God of this universe?


A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

In conclusion, let's take a look at one of Smith's most spectacular fulfilled prophecies, one that Mormons never mention. In July of 1828, when he was 23 years old, Smith made the following proclamation:23

"For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him."

On May 26, 1844 (at age 39) Smith made the following statement in a public sermon:24

"Come on, ye persecutors, ye false swearers! All hell boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! For I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-Day Saints never ran away from me yet."

These startling words make it clear that in the short span of 16 years, Smith became an ego-maniac. He became the epitome of the arrogant man he warned about in his prophetic statement in 1828. One month after his blasphemous sermon, his 1828 prophecy was fulfilled when he was killed by his enemies.


Notes

7) Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Major Problems of Mormonism, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1989, pp. 85-86.

8) Ibid., pp. 86-88.

9) Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1901, seven volumes, vol. 6, p.225.

10) Nephi Lowell Morris, Prophecies of Joseph Smith and Their Fulfillment, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1926, page 180.

11) Harold Schindler, Orin Porter Rockwell, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1966, pages 108-109.

12) Richard Packham, "Joseph Smith As A Prophet," www.exmormon. org/prophet.htm, accessed 9/11/2003.

13) Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Doctrine and Covenants, Salt Lake City, Utah, many editions, section 84:2-5,31. A copy of this publication can be found on the Internet at the following address: www.lds.org.

14) Ibid., section 87.

15) History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 182.

16) Doctrine and Covenants, section 130:14-17 and History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 336.

17) Doctrine and Covenants, section 121:5-15.

18) History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 394.

19) Michael D. Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1994, p. 644.

20) Prophecies of Joseph Smith and Their Fulfillment, p. 261.

21) Doctrine and Covenants, section 112.

22) Ibid., section 124:20-21.

23) Ibid., section 3:4.

24) History of the Church, vol. 6, pp. 408-412.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Joseph Smith: Founder of the Mormon Cult

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

The Mormon Church is the largest Christian cult in the world today, claiming a membership in excess of 10 million.1

It is a cult for many reasons, the most important being the fact that it proclaims a false Messiah. The Jesus of the Mormons is the brother of Lucifer, one of thousands of gods created by the super-god, Adam, an exalted man. The Mormon's perverted concept of Jesus is just one of many demonic doctrines which the church inherited from its founder, Joseph Smith.2


Smith's Origins

Joseph Smith (1805-1844) was born in Vermont and raised in upstate New York near a town called Palmyra. This was the heart of what came to be called "the burned-over district" because of its frequent and fervent Protestant revivals.3


Joseph Smith

Smith claimed that his first revelation from God came at the age of 14 on the Smith family farm. In subsequent encounters, Smith said that God revealed to him that all Christian groups since the death of the apostles had strayed from the true Church of Christ. He claimed that he was given the responsibility to restore the one and only true church.4

In later visions Smith claimed that he was led to tablets of gold stored in a nearby hillside. These tablets supposedly contained a history of the ancient inhabitants of North America. His "translations," written in perfect King James English, were published in 1830 as the Book of Mormon. This book was to become the sacred scripture of Mormonism.


Smith's Church

Smith formally founded his church — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — shortly after the publication of his book. His "driving personality and immense personal charisma" resulted in explosive growth for the new church.5

Shortly after the establishment of the church, Smith moved to Kirtland Mills, Ohio, where he hoped to establish the kingdom of God on earth. A banking panic in 1837 caused the economic collapse of the Kirtland settlement, and this, together with spreading rumors of polygamy, caused many Mormons to leave the church. Smith headed west to Missouri. Within a year, a civil war broke out between Smith's followers and their neighbors who feared their growing political might. The governor of Missouri ordered the Mormons to leave the state.

This time Smith and his flock headed east to Illinois. In 1839 they founded a new city called Nauvoo on the Mississippi River, near the city of Quincy. Within five years the city grew to nearly 20,000 residents. Once again, the rapid growth stirred suspicion and resentment among their neighbors. Opposition to the Mormons intensified as rumors of polygamy began to spread. (Polygamy was still a confidential tenet of the faith.)


Smith's Martyrdom

In 1844 Smith announced that he was going to run for President of the United States. This announcement fueled a new wave of antagonism toward the Mormons. The climax came shortly thereafter when a newspaper controlled by Mormon dissenters revealed the church's practice of polygamy. Smith was outraged over this revelation, and he ordered the destruction of the newspaper's press. He was arrested for inciting a riot and was imprisoned in Carthage, Illinois. Before he could be tried, a mob broke into the jail and brutally killed both him and his brother.

The murder of the founder led to a split in the church. The majority rallied around Brigham Young who, as president of the church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, claimed to be Smith's rightful successor. He soon led his followers west to Utah. Those who rejected Young's leadership eventually formed the Reorganized Latter-Day Saints and selected Joseph Smith's son as their leader. They remained in Missouri and claim to this day to be the true church.6


In the second part of this two-part series on Joseph Smith, we'll look at his status as a failed prophet.


Notes

1) Christian Apologetics Research Ministry, "The Mormon Church Statistics," www.carm.org, accessed 11/02/2003.

2) Ed Decker and Dave Hunt, The God Makers, Harvest House, revised edition, 1977.

3) Unsigned article, "Joseph Smith," Encyclopedia Britannica 2002, Deluxe Edition on CD.

4) Unsigned article, "Joseph Smith," Public Broadcasting System website, www.pbs.org, accessed 9/21/2003.

5) Ibid.

6) Encyclopedia Britannica 2002.