Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Rhodes Responds to Newsweek: A Committee Determined the Bible Inerrant

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

Was the Bible's claim to inerrancy determined by a committee?

On our television program Christ in Prophecy, we asked this question of Dr. Ron Rhodes, the founder and director of a ministry called Reasoning from the Scriptures, located in Frisco, Texas. His ministry specializes in defending Christianity against Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, the cults, world religions, and about any group that teaches false doctrine. He is a seminary professor and an excellent writer who has written more than 70 books! His latest one is titled, The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy.

Dr. Rhodes addressed some of the outlandish statements Newsweek magazine had made in a recent article that distort the Bible and treat Christianity with contempt.



The Inerrrancy Determined by a Committee Argument

"Nowhere in the Gospels, or Acts, or Epistles, or Apocalypses does the New Testament say it is the inerrant Word of God. It couldn't. The people who authored each section had no idea they were composing the Christian Bible and they were long dead before what they wrote was voted by members of political and theological committees to be the New Testament."

First of all, let's recognize that it wasn't committees who determined the Word of God. They recognized that the Bible was the Word of God. Even in New Testament times, the New Testament books were already being recognized as the Word of God. In 2 Peter 3:16, Peter acknowledges that everything Paul wrote was the Word of God, using the same word for Scripture as is used of the Old Testament Scriptures, and in the Jewish context at that.

In 1 Timothy 5:18, we find a reference to Luke's Gospel, as well as the book of Deuteronomy, and they are both collectively called Scripture.

Even during his own lifetime, people recognized Paul was writing Scripture. That's why Paul had his works read in a number of churches because they were Scripture.

The Doctrine of Inerrancy grows out of the Doctrine of Inspiration. What does that mean, the word "inerrancy"? It means "without error." There are no mistakes. There is no error in the original documents penned by the original writers of Scripture.

We need to be careful about this claim, because some evangelicals have tried to redefine inerrancy. They have tried to redefine it to mean that the Bible is inerrant in the sense that there are no intentional deceits. Now, wait a minute, based on that definition everything that you've ever written is inerrant and everything I have written in inerrant. That's not what the Bible means. If it's the Word of God, it has to be inerrant. How could God make an error?

That really gets back to the Doctrine of Inspiration, because the word "inspired" doesn't mean inspiring to read like Shakespeare. It means that the Scriptures are breathed out by God. God is the source of the Scriptures.

The great verse to go to is 2 Peter 1:21 which says that the biblical writers were brought along by the Holy Spirit, or driven along. It is a very strong word in the original Greek. The only other place where that word occurs is in Acts 27 where Paul is on that big ship and he is there with a bunch of other men and this big storm comes up. The wind is just really picking up and the sailors are trying to control where the ship is going, but they couldn't do it because the wind was driving them along. That is the same word used of the Holy Spirit who was driving the Biblical authors to write what they wrote. So, yes, humans were involved, but the Holy Spirit drove them along.

Here is what I'm building up to — God does not err. The Scriptures come from God. Therefore, the Scriptures do not err.

All throughout the Scriptures, we do see indications for inerrancy, that Scripture cannot be broke. For example, what did Jesus continually tell the Pharisees and the Sadducees about their traditions? He said you guys are constantly going back to your tradition and ignoring the Word of God, but it is the Word of God that is authoritative.

Where did Jesus win His confrontation with the Devil (Matthew 4:1-11)? How did He defeat the Devil? It was Scripture.

On and on we could go, but what we see in the New Testament is that the Scriptures speak with the voice of God and with the authority of God. The Scriptures have the authority of God because they came from God. So, these guys who talk about contradictions and so forth, they haven't really studied the issue.

I want to tell you something. The Bible may have apparent contradictions, especially in the four Gospels. They may have apparent contradictions, but not genuine contradictions. It is truer to say that the Gospels have differences. But, listen to me on this, if all four Gospels were identical, what would the critics say? They'd then claim that one guy wrote them all or were copying from each other. It's the same as if you've got five witnesses saying exactly the same thing in the courtroom. They are going to claim "Collusion! Collusion! Collusion! Collusion!" And so, I'm glad that we've got four Gospels that have different details.

Still, the Gospels don't contradict. I used to have a friend who was a policeman, and he would write up reports at the corner where there was an accident. Everybody had a different report and there were different things that were being shared. By taking all those reports together, he could develop a composite report. In the same way, we look at the different details provided in the four Gospels and then we understand that we can build a composite account of what took place in the life of Jesus.

It is real important to understand that a partial account does not mean a faulty account. It's real important to understand that faulty human interpretations are not to be equated with God's infallible revelation. Human interpretations can conflict, but God's revelation does not conflict.

For example, the greatest evidence that the Bible really is the Word of God is fulfilled biblical prophecy. Prophecy had such a powerful impact on me when I was a youngster, I was teenager, and at the time I was involved in show business of all things, working in Hollywood. I was backstage working with Shirley Boone one day, this is Pat Boone's wife, and they were talking about prophecy. I never heard of this stuff before. I never heard about the Second Coming or the Rapture or the Tribulation. Long story short, biblical prophecy proved to me that the Bible really is the Word of God, because only God knows the beginning from the end.

After all, what other book in the world contains fulfilled prophecy? Hundreds of prophecies have been fulfilled.

When I looked at the Old Testament prophecies about the First Coming, that is what got my attention. When I saw all those prophecies had been fulfilled literally to the crossing of the "T" and the dotting of the "I" in the New Testament, I knew nobody could do that. Prophecies about individuals, cities, towns, nations, empires — all came true! And so, what I did was knowing these prophetic fulfillments were from God, I decided I was going to turn my life over to the Lord. I dumped Hollywood and went to seminary.

God did a radical work in my life. If God can change me, God can change anybody.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Rhodes Responds to Newsweek: The Bible Doesn't Condemn Homosexuality

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

Is the condemnation of homosexuality in 1 Timothy a modern invention?

On our television program Christ in Prophecy, we asked this question of Dr. Ron Rhodes, the founder and director of a ministry called Reasoning from the Scriptures, located in Frisco, Texas. His ministry specializes in defending Christianity against Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, the cults, world religions, and about any group that teaches false doctrine. He is a seminary professor and an excellent writer who has written more than 70 books! His latest one is titled, The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy.

Dr. Rhodes addressed some of the outlandish statements Newsweek magazine had made in a recent article that distort the Bible and treat Christianity with contempt.



The Homosexuality Isn't Condemned in the Bible Argument

"The condemnation of homosexuality in 1 Timothy is a modern invention, since the word 'homosexual' did not exist until 1,800 years after 1 Timothy was written."

It is true that in the history of the English language the word "homosexual" has been a fairly recent development. It's a compound word meaning "same-sex." That recent developments have caused such a word is in and of itself a sign of the times right there. But, the thing of it is, is that this argument has been presented as a smokescreen argument to do away with the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality. I'm sorry, but that just won't work.

In 1 Timothy, the Greek word that is used there, if you look in the most accurate Greek lexicons like Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich as the standards, is that the word means "men who engage in sexual relations with other men." That's what the word means. Now, whether or not you want to say the whole phrase, or use the word homosexual, the meaning of 1 Timothy 1:10 is the same, and that is that God is condemning homosexuality.

I might mention to you what Paul says there in 1 Timothy 1:10 is in perfect keeping with what he says elsewhere. For example, in Romans 1 the author talks about unnatural affections between men and men and unnatural affections between women and women. Paul makes the same point in 1 Corinthians 6 where he says that homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Now, to be fair, a number of different kinds of sinners are mentioned in that context, so we are not ganging up on homosexuals. Still, homosexuality is one of a number of sins that could keep you out of the Kingdom of God.

The interesting thing there is what Paul says to the Corinthians right there in 1 Corinthians 6. He said some of you used to be homosexuals, but you've been delivered by the power of the Lord Jesus and you've been sanctified. Therefore, both Paul and I am certainly wishing for all homosexuals to be delivered from their lifestyle.

I'm not trying to come across as mean-spirited, or unfair, or narrow minded, or any of those things. We must be clear on what the Bible actually teaches on this, because eternal souls are at stake. We need the truth. What we need today is for Christians to be bold enough to tell the truth in the name of Jesus. This is what Scripture teaches on homosexuality, and so, if I might add, the Scriptures also speak strongly against same-sex marriage.

Look to Matthew 19:4-5 when people claim that Jesus never talked about homosexuality. It says, "'Haven't you read,' He replied, 'that He who created them in the beginning made them male and female. And it also said for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two will become one flesh.'" It'd be correct to say that Jesus Himself, by defining what marriage is, was saying that homosexuality, adultery and fornication are not the definition of marriage.

Of course, Jesus is pointing back to Genesis 2 where marriage is invented. God is the one who invented it. And, as the Inventor of marriage, God is the One who determined the genders that participate in it. Marriage is for one male and one female.

Marriage between one man and one woman is seen throughout the rest of the Bible. Take 1 Corinthians 7 for example. There Paul is giving instructions to husbands and wives about meeting each other's needs. He says the man must meet the needs of the woman, and the woman must meet the needs of the man. There's a very clear gender distinction between the two.

I could go a lot more on this, for it is very clear from the Bible that homosexuality is a sin. By virtue of that fact, same-sex marriages are a sin as well. And, so is adultery and so is fornication The Bible makes it very clear the only moral sex is that between a husband and a wife.

I think that too often one of the problems that we see in the Church to be fair is that there will be individuals speaking out against homosexuality when they haven't dealt first with their own problems.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Rhodes Responds to Newsweek: 1 Timothy and 2 Peter Are Forgeries

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

Are 1 Timothy and 2 Peter in the Bible forgeries?

On our television program Christ in Prophecy, we asked this question of Dr. Ron Rhodes, the founder and director of a ministry called Reasoning from the Scriptures, located in Frisco, Texas. His ministry specializes in defending Christianity against Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, the cults, world religions, and about any group that teaches false doctrine. He is a seminary professor and an excellent writer who has written more than 70 books! His latest one is titled, The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy.

Dr. Rhodes addressed some of the outlandish statements Newsweek magazine had made in a recent article that distort the Bible and treat Christianity with contempt.



The Pauline Forgeries Argument

"It is the universal opinion of biblical scholars that both 1 Timothy and 2 Peter are forgeries."

Everyone believes it, he is saying, right? What doctor is the author again? What professors did he ask?

Well, that is just nonsense! These guys offer some arguments that they think are just killer arguments, like claiming that Paul didn't write 1 Timothy, but they aren't.

Do you know what their arguments are? First of all, they'll claim the style of writing is a little different in 1 Timothy, so Paul couldn't have written it. Not only that, they'll point out that Paul likes to talk about big theological themes in his books, and 1 Timothy doesn't have any big theological themes, and so therefore Paul could not have written it. They will also go on to say that they think the book was written in the Second Century, and if 1 Timothy was written in the Second Century, Paul couldn't have written it because he died in the First Century. Then they'll claim that the error that Paul was dealing with in 1 Timothy was Second Century Gnosticism.

These are the kinds of weak arguments that they offer. So, let's just evaluate them real quickly.

First of all, let's look at the style. In Romans, Paul was writing to the Church at Rome theology about justification and sanctification. When he was writing to Timothy, his young friend who started up a church, He's writing like to one of his little pals. Timothy was one of Paul's close, intimate friends. Obviously, the style is going to be a little bit different.

Really, there are no theological themes in 1 Timothy? That's what you're bringing to the table, Newsweek, really? The fact is that what you find in 1 Timothy is a discussion of the atonement of Jesus Christ. Is there any bigger theological theme than the atonement of Christ?

Paul also talks about Christ being the mediator between God and man.

By the way, 1 Timothy is not dealing with Second Century Gnosticism. Its dealing with First Century Jewish legalism. So, Newsweek got it wrong from beginning to end.

As for 2 Peter being a supposed forgery, this is another one of those comical things where they just didn't reading the text very carefully. The reason these skeptics claim that 2 Peter is not given the evidence of being written by Peter is because the style is completely different from 1 Peter. If you look at the book, it's got different words and different style than 2 Peter does. They are just different.

Have they even read 1 Peter? If you read 1 Peter and you come to chapter 5 verse 12, what does Peter say there? Peter says, "This letter has actually been written down for me by my scribe Silvanus." He was a stylist. He was an expert in Greek linguistics who wrote this down for Peter. Peter then would have checked what Silvanus recorded over to make sure it was exactly right before it then went out to the churches.

In 2 Peter, Peter didn't use a stylist. He wrote it by himself, and he is a little more sloppy than the scribe who recorded 1 Peter. But, both of them came from Peter.

My point is that these skeptics' arguments are ridiculous! The sad thing is that most Christians are too illiterate to even know this stuff, and so therefore there will be a lot of Christians who will believe the lies that are set forth in this article.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Rhodes Responds to Newsweek: God is Not a Trinity

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

Does the Bible truly teach that God is a trinity?

On our television program Christ in Prophecy, we asked this question of Dr. Ron Rhodes, the founder and director of a ministry called Reasoning from the Scriptures, located in Frisco, Texas. His ministry specializes in defending Christianity against Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, the cults, world religions, and about any group that teaches false doctrine. He is a seminary professor and an excellent writer who has written more than 70 books! His latest one is titled, The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy.

Dr. Rhodes addressed some of the outlandish statements Newsweek magazine had made in a recent article that distort the Bible and treat Christianity with contempt.



The Elusive Trinity Argument

"The Trinity, the belief that Jesus and God are the same and with the Holy Spirit are a single entity, is a fundamental yet deeply confusing tenet. So where does the clear declaration of God and Jesus as part of a triumvirate appear in the Greek manuscripts? And they declare, 'Nowhere!'"

This kind of sounds like the Jehovah's Witnesses. They have the same kind of argument against the Trinity. So far we've seen the author's gotten his fallacies from Dan Brown novels, and now we are seeing that he is getting stuff from the Jehovah's Witnesses. Everything but from the Bible.

Anybody who has studied the Bible can answer this. I think my kids who just went to Christian schools could answer that very easily. Let me just answer it this way. First of all, the reality that he can't understand the Trinity doesn't mean anything to me. Do you really expect a finite being to be able to understand the infinite God? If we could, He wouldn't be God!

In terms of the actual biblical evidence for the Trinity, let me just quickly give you five planks.

The first plank is that there is one God, and that is something that we see from Genesis to Revelation. It is a thread that goes all the way from Genesis to Revelation — there is one God.

The second plank is the Father is called God all throughout the Bible. Nobody disputes that.

The third plank is that Jesus is called God on many, many occasions. He is called God in John 1:1. He is called "The Great I Am" of Exodus 3:14 and John 8:58. He and the Father have the same divine nature in John 10:30. The fullness of deity dwells in Jesus Christ according to Colossians 2:9. Thomas confessed Jesus was God in John 20:28, "My Lord, and My God." That is exactly right. "I am the First and the Last," Jesus says in Revelation 1:8.

My point being — Jesus is God, just like the Father is. Jesus has the same title as the Father.

The fourth plank is that the Holy Spirit is called God. After all, He is called the Spirit of God all throughout the Bible. The Holy Spirit has all the attributes of God. In Acts chapter 5, lying to the Holy Spirit is equated to lying to God.

So, what have seen so far? There is one God. The Father is God. Jesus is God. The Holy Spirit is God.

The fifth plank is that there are three-in-oneness within the Deity. This is going into the Greek. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus says, "Baptize in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit." In the original Greek, the word "name" is singular indicating one God. But, also in the Greek, there is a definite article in front of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. In English definite articles don't matter that much, but in the original Greek definite articles mean everything. Those definite articles distinguish the three persons in the one name of God.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Rhodes Responds to Newsweek: The Bible Is a Bad Copy

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

Is the Bible a bad copy full of conflicting variances?

On our television program Christ in Prophecy, we asked this question of Dr. Ron Rhodes, the founder and director of a ministry called Reasoning from the Scriptures, located in Frisco, Texas. His ministry specializes in defending Christianity against Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, the cults, world religions, and about any group that teaches false doctrine. He is a seminary professor and an excellent writer who has written more than 70 books! His latest one is titled, The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy.

Dr. Rhodes addressed some of the outlandish statements Newsweek magazine had made in a recent article that distort the Bible and treat Christianity with contempt.



The Differing Variances Argument

"In the past 100 years or so, tens of thousands of manuscripts of the New Testament have been discovered, dating back centuries. And what 'biblical scholars' now know is that later versions differ significantly from the earlier ones. In fact, even copies from the same time periods differ from one another."

That is a common claim of liberal critics, and I emphasize that word "liberal." The fact is that in talking about the New Testament manuscripts, I like to go back just a little bit further and begin with the Dead Sea Scrolls because that way we can understand the accuracy.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered back in 1947. One of the really cool things about that discovery is we now gained two different Isaiah manuscripts that were dated at 125 BC. Now what is cool about that is that the previous earliest manuscript that we had of Isaiah was from 895 AD. That means these manuscripts are separated by a 1,000 years!

When you compare the two sets of manuscripts, one of the things that you discover real quickly is that they are identical in 95% of the case. The 5% variation is mainly misspellings. Not a single doctrine is affected. That means accuracy. That is a 1,000 year span, and yet you've got that kind of incredible accuracy.

That brings me to the New Testament. There are differences in individual New Testament manuscripts. They are call variance. But, you see the thing is, even the critical scholars, people like Bart Ehrman who is attacking the New Testament, even they will admit that 99.9% of these variances have no consequence at all. Mainly they are misspellings or occasionally a word might get reversed. It might say "Christ Jesus" instead of "Jesus Christ" as an example, but in no way does it ever effect a single doctrine.

I want to illustrate to you the accuracy of understanding in what the original documents of the Bible actually said. I want to do an exercise with you if I could.

There is going to be an original document that we no longer have. I've got five copies of it, and I am going to read the five copies to you, and you tell me what you think the original said. The first manuscript says, "Believe in Jesus Christ for salvation." The second manuscripts says, "Believe in Jesus Christ for salvation." It's identical. The third manuscript says, "Believe in Jesus for salvation." The fourth manuscript says, "Believe in Jesus Christ to be saved." The fifth manuscript says, "Believe in Jesus Christ for salvation."

They all mean the same thing. Could you come up with the original? Of course you could determine the original! That's 95% of the case in the New Testament manuscripts. It's just like that. In fact, there are only 40 places in the New Testament where scholars have looked at it and have been more concerned about the exact reading, and not one of those effects any meaning in the New Testament.

I want to tell you something really important here. Did you know when Jesus and the Apostles quoted from the Old Testament, they didn't quote from actual books written by Moses, or Daniel, or Ezekiel, or Jeremiah, or any of those other guys? All that Jesus and the Apostles had were manuscript copies of those books. But, guess what? When they quoted from those books, they quoted from them as Scripture. They considered those manuscripts as so approximate to the original that they had virtually no hesitation in accepting those manuscript copies as the Word of God.

Surely the reason for the accuracy, of course, is God has been superintending this by protecting His Word. It is exactly correct that the scribes through the centuries treated the biblical manuscripts as the Word of God. When they made copies, they had a way of counting the letters across and the letters down to make absolutely certain it was a correct match. They used proof texting beyond proof texting. It was a very tedious process. Of course, that process shows itself in the Dead Sea Scrolls, especially when we compare those copies of the book of Isaiah.

Obviously, a God who can create a universe can keep a book remaining accurate across the centuries.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rhodes Responds to Newsweek: The Bible Is a Bad Translation

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

Is the Bible we have today a bad translation of a translation of a translation?

On our television program Christ in Prophecy, we asked this question of Dr. Ron Rhodes, the founder and director of a ministry called Reasoning from the Scriptures, located in Frisco, Texas. His ministry specializes in defending Christianity against Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, the cults, world religions, and about any group that teaches false doctrine. He is a seminary professor and an excellent writer who has written more than 70 books! His latest one is titled, The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy.

Dr. Rhodes addressed some of the outlandish statements Newsweek magazine had made in a recent article that distort the Bible and treat Christianity with contempt.



The Bad Translation Argument

"No television preacher has ever read the Bible. Neither has any evangelical politician. Neither has the Pope. Neither have I. And neither have you. At best, we've all read a bad translation, a translation of translations of translations of hand-copied copies of copies of copies of copies, and on and on."

The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear those words is the Dan Brown novels. I'm not kidding. The Da Vinci Code is a book that had these same kind of arguments. I think the author of that article got his arguments out of there.

This article makes it sound like there was a translation of a translation of a translation of a translation, and so on and so forth. His assumption is as if the Bible started in Hebrew and got translated into Aramaic, then into Greek, then into Latin, then into whatever other language that transpired. That's a completely false premise.

When it came to translating the Bible, what happened was that the New Testament was translated from Greek manuscripts. The Old Testament was translated from Hebrew manuscripts.

Now here is something really cool to think about. We've got over 25,000 manuscripts of the New Testament and many of them date very, very early. For example, we have Vaticanus and Sinaitucis which both date to the Fourth Century. We've got the Chester Beatty Papyri which goes back to the Second and Third Century. We've even got one manuscript that goes back to 120 AD, which is one generation separated from the four Gospels. What that means is accuracy.

It's correct that there are more manuscript evidence than there is for any ancient writings. Consider Plato. Plato predated Christ by a couple of hundred years. The earliest manuscript we have from him is 1,300 years later, and our total number of manuscripts is seven. Homer, who wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey, the copies we have available were written some 700 years or so after Homer's time, and so we don't even know if Homer really wrote them.

With the New Testament, we've got 25,000 that go back very, very far. They are very close to New Testament times. Here is something else to think about — even if by some freak accident we lost all 25,000 of those manuscripts, did you know that we could reproduce the entire New Testament except for 11 verses in the writings of the Church Fathers? There are 36,000 quotations by the Church Fathers of the New Testament. All but 11 verses we could reconstruct accurately if we lost all those 25,000 manuscripts. The good news is we haven't lost those manuscripts.

So, we've got the 25,000 manuscripts plus the writings of the Church Fathers. Let me tell you, this article doesn't know anything. It doesn't know its end from its beginning. You can trust your Bible based upon the real evidence.

Monday, June 22, 2015

What Are the Wars of the End Times? Why, God?

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch MP3 PDFBy

Did you know that the Bible contains prophecies about nine wars in the end times? That's right, a total of nine. That fact comes as a shock to most people who are familiar with only one namely, the War of Armageddon. Most people are very surprised to learn that the War of Armageddon is not the only end time war.

We will end our study of the wars of the end times by answering this question, "Why, God?"


Why, God?

Now, as we reflect back at these end time wars, there is always a question that seems to just simply leap out. It is the question, "Why in the world is all this going to happen?" Why, for example, is there going to be a period of unparalleled horror on the earth called the Tribulation? Why would a God of love allow the slaughter of these wars to occur? This is very disturbing to most people, and you know that it should be.

The answer, though, is really very, very simple: God must deal with sin. He has to do so because He is a holy God of justice and righteousness.

Personally, I'm glad the Bible teaches that God is going to deal with sin and that there will be judgment. You know why? God's promise of judgment means that life has meaning. If we're never going to be accountable for anything, life has no meaning.

The irony of the Tribulation is this: even when God pours out His wrath, His fundamental purpose is never to punish. Think about that for a moment. This is the glory of our God. Even when He pours out His wrath, His fundamental purpose is not to punish. Instead, we're told over and over, His fundamental purpose is to bring people to repentance so they can be saved.

In 2 Peter 3:9, we are told the only reason Jesus Christ has not returned. It's because God wishes for more people to be saved. God does not wish that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But many, if not most, will perish. It is God's perfect will that all should be saved. But in His permissive will, He allows people to be lost as they reject Him and His Son.

Judgments can motivate people to repentance. The prophet Isaiah put it this way. He wrote, "When the earth experiences God's judgments, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness." The fact of the matter is that a great number of people will turn their hearts to God during the Tribulation, so large a number that no one can count. They're a great host coming from every tribe and nation.

Where do you stand in your relationship with God? Have you been saved by grace thru faith in Jesus? Or, have you rejected Jesus and are therefore living under the wrath of God?

Think about it. Grace or Wrath? Think about eternity.

Friday, June 19, 2015

What Are the Wars of the End Times? 7-9

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch MP3 PDFBy

Did you know that the Bible contains prophecies about nine wars in the end times? That's right, a total of nine. That fact comes as a shock to most people who are familiar with only one namely, the War of Armageddon. Most people are very surprised to learn that the War of Armageddon is not the only end time war.

We will continue our study of the wars of the end times with wars 7-9.


#7. The Middle East Campaign of the Antichrist

That leads us to the seventh war of the end times — the Middle East Campaign of the Antichrist, described in Daniel 11.

Daniel 11:40-45 describe a military campaign of the Antichrist in the Middle East that occurs at the end of the Tribulation. These verses, and related verses in Revelation, could very well indicate that when the Antichrist becomes absolutely insanely obsessed with destroying the Jews and the Saints, that the nations of the world see an opportunity to rebel against him. The nations in the Middle East will be led by the King of the North, probably Syria. Those will also be led by the King of the South, probably Egypt.

Daniel says that when this rebellion occurs, the Antichrist will come into what he calls the Beautiful Land to put down this terrible rebellion. He says that he will conquer all of that area except Jordan. And, he says just as he seems to be completely victorious, that he will hear rumors from the east and rumors from the north that deeply disturb him.

Daniel also says the Antichrist will retreat with his armies to an area between the seas where he will come to his end. It appears that armies out of the east will come, maybe that 200 million army mentioned in Revelation. An army out of the north will also come, possibly the armies of Gog and Magog of Russia reconstituted. He will retreat to the area between the seas, which of course would be the Valley of Armageddon.


#8. The Battle of Armageddon

This brings us then to that famous battle, which is no battle at all, as you will see. It brings us to the Battle of Armageddon mentioned in Joel 3, Zechariah 14 and Revelation 19.

It appears that just as the armies from the east and the north start arriving in the Valley of Armageddon to challenge the Antichrist, that's when the Lord breaks from the heavens. He arrives on the Mount of Olives. He speaks a supernatural word and all the armies are instantly destroyed.

In reality, there is no Battle of Armageddon. Jesus doesn't lead an army out to fight the Antichrist. He simply speaks a supernatural word, for after all, this is the One who spoke and the whole universe came into existence. He will speak and the Antichrist and his forces will drop dead in their tracks.

We are told in the Bible that Joel 3:16 says that the Lord will roar from Zion and utter His voice from Jerusalem. Isaiah 10:16 says the result will be a wasting disease. Zechariah 14:12 says that it will be a plague that the Lord will speak and it will cause the flesh of the soldiers to rot while they stand on their feet. Their eyes will melt in their sockets and their tongues will rot in their mouths. The blood will be as deep as a horses bridle for a distance of 200 miles.


#9. The Second Battle of Gog and Magog

Mercifully and joyfully, the Battle of Armageddon will be followed by 1,000 years of peace. The reign of Jesus from Jerusalem results in the world being filled with peace, righteousness and justice. Swords will be beat into plowshares. The wolf will dwell with the lamb. Little children will play with snakes because they will no longer be poisonous. Jerusalem will be lifted up as the highest place on planet earth.

Jesus will reign as King of King and Lord of Lords. David in his glorified body will be the King of Israel. Multitudes will come from the earth to see the King of Kings. His glory will go out through the whole world.

The blessings of God will flow through the Jewish nation to all the nations of the world to the point that when one Jew walks by, ten Gentiles will grab his robe and say, "Can we walk with you because we know that God is with you." What a glorious time that's going to be!

Satan will be bound. Sin and crime will be greatly reduced. But, there will still be seething rebellion in the hearts of many, if not most, of those who are born during that time.

There is going to be a great population explosion during the Millennium. Those who go into the Millennium in the flesh will all be saved people, but they will begin to repopulate the earth. Their children will have to come to the point where they are going to believe in Jesus or not. The point that the Bible makes is that most will not. There will be seething rebellion in the hearts of most people.

Why would there be resentment in the hearts of people in the midst of a perfect reign of Jesus Christ? The answer is really very simple. The answer is simple because Jesus is going to rule with a rod of iron. He will give the law. The law will be strictly enforced by those of us who will be reigning with Jesus in our glorified bodies. Those living in the flesh will deeply resent the fact that they cannot freely pursue their worldly lusts because they will have that sin nature in them. They know that if they step out of line there will be instant arrest, instant trial and instant punishment. There will be no appeal, because every person ruling will have the mind of Christ. Justice will be swift, justice will be certain, justice will be sure. And so, they simply grind their teeth and say, "We love you Jesus," but they will be grinding their teeth.

Thus, when Satan is released at the end of the Millennium, the majority of those in the flesh will unite in one last great rebellion against God. The ninth war of the end times — the Second Battle of Gog and Magog. The rebellious peoples of the world, led again by Gog and Magog, will revolt against Jesus and try to overthrow Him.

Because this war is entitled the War of Gog and Magog, it's often confused with the war in Ezekiel 38 & 39. There are some now saying they are the same war, but they are not. They are two different wars. This can be proved very simply in Ezekiel 38 & 39 where the War of Gog and Magog is a war of Russia with Muslim allies coming against Israel. In Revelation 19, we have Russia with all the world coming against Jesus Christ. Big difference between these two wars!

History is going to end as it began — it goes in a circle. It began with two people in a perfect environment who rebelled against God. It is going to end up with all of humanity living in a perfect society, but the majority will make the same decision to rebel against God. One of the many purposes of the Millennium, and perhaps one of the most important, is for God to prove to mankind that Man has an inherent sin nature that can only be redeemed by the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ.

The religion of Satan has always been Humanism — the belief in man. The philosophy teaches that Man is inherently good and capable of perfection through education and social justice. Humanist therefore believe that if society can be perfected, Man can be transformed and also be perfected. But, the Bible teaches that mankind is fatally flawed with a sin nature that makes people naturally evil.

The Bible teaches that the only solution to the sin problem is the transformation of the Holy Spirit that begins when the person accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. God will prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt when He puts all of mankind into a perfect society for a thousand years and then mankind will respond with rebellion.

Again, the Second War of Gog and Magog will be the last war of history. Following it, God will take the Redeemed off this earth and He will place us in a New Jerusalem which He is now preparing. He will then consume the earth with fire to burn away the pollution of Satan's last revolt. Out of the fiery inferno will come a New Heaven and a New Earth. This earth redeemed. This earth refreshed. This earth perfected.

God will then lower the Redeemed down to this new earth inside the New Jerusalem and He will come to earth to live in their presence eternally. Eternal peace is coming! War is going to be gone forever. This hope of mankind will not be achieved by diplomats. It will be a gift of God through Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, who died to redeem mankind and all of the cosmos.

All I can do when I think about that is shout from the depths of my heart, "Maranatha, Maranatha, come quickly, Lord Jesus!"


In the fourth and last part of our series that answers, "What are the wars of the End Times?" well also answer the question, "Why, God?"

Thursday, June 18, 2015

What Are the Wars of the End Times? 4-6

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch MP3 PDFBy

Did you know that the Bible contains prophecies about nine wars in the end times? That's right, a total of nine. That fact comes as a shock to most people who are familiar with only one namely, the War of Armageddon. Most people are very surprised to learn that the War of Armageddon is not the only end time war.

We will continue our study of the wars of the end times with wars 4-6.


#4. The Nuclear War of the Tribulation

In Revelation 8 & 9 we come to the fourth war, and that is the Nuclear War of the Tribulation. What appears to happen here in the book of Revelation is that the Conventional War started by the Antichrist begins to morph into a nuclear war resulting in the deaths of another one-third of those left alive. If you calculate that, one-third of those left alive is another 1.5 billion. That means that by the middle of the Tribulation, 3 billion people will die in 3.5 years. That's one-half of all humanity is going to die in the first 3.5 years of the Tribulation!

I have preachers all the time call me and say, "Do you think we are in the Tribulation?" And I say to them, "Let me tell you something, if you go into the Tribulation you will not have to ask anybody if you are there, you'll know. You'll know without a shadow of a doubt!"

There are some hints that the Conventional War is going to become a nuclear one. For example, one of the hints is found in Revelation 8:7 where it says the escalation of the war will result in one-third of the earth being burned up. One-third of the earth being burned, that sounds like nuclear war to me.

Another hint is found in Revelation 16 right at the end of Revelation, as at the end of the Tribulation where we're told that loathsome and malignant sores will afflict people all over the earth. That's something that would be a natural consequence of radiation from the use of atomic weapons.

It could very well be that the nuclear holocaust was what Jesus had in mind when He said 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.

This war is portrayed in the book of Revelation in chapter 8 & 9 as a series of Trumpet Judgments.


#5. The War in the Heavens

This brings us to the fifth war — the War in the Heavens. This next war is different from all the others because it is a supernatural war. This war occurs in the heavens in the middle of the Tribulation. It is most likely prompted by an attempt by Satan to take the throne of God one last time.

We are told that Satan and his angels will be opposed in this war by Michael and his angels. Michael is an Archangel who is pictured in the Hebrew Scriptures as the commander and chief of God's armies and as the special protector of Israel. Michael and his angels will prevail in this war and Satan will be cast down to earth. His access to Heaven will be cut off. In his rage, Satan decides to destroy the Jewish people. This decision leads to the next war.


#6. The War against the Jews and the Saints

The next war is the War against the Jews and the Saints. It's launched by the Antichrist at the motivation of Satan. The Antichrist launches this war in the second half of the Tribulation for the purpose of killing every Jew on planet earth and their Christian defenders.

Satan hates the Jewish people. He hates them with a passion. He hates them because they are the chosen people of God. He hates them because through them God gave the world the Scriptures. He hates them because through them God gave the world the Messiah. He hates them because God has promised over and over and over in His Word that one day He is going to bring a great remnant of the Jews to salvation in Yeshua the Messiah.

As a result of this war, 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 and inspire him to annihilate the Jews. This is the reason that Jesus refers to the last half of the Tribulation as the Great Tribulation, not because it is going to be worse than the first half, but because it is going to focus on the Jewish people and their complete annihilation from planet earth.

Some of the Jews of Israel will flee to a place in the wilderness where they will be supernaturally protected by God. Many believe that hiding place will be the ancient city of Petra located inside a box canyon inside modern Jordan. There is good reason for this assumption, because Daniel 11:41 says the Antichrist will be prevented from conquering Jordan when that part of the world rebels against him at the end of his reign. But, despite this supernatural protection in Jordan, Zechariah 13:8 says that two-thirds of the Jewish people worldwide will be killed by the Antichrist at this time. That will be a holocaust greater than the Nazi holocaust!

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 Lord and Savior during the Tribulation, both Jew and Gentile. It is no wonder that Revelation 7 pictures a great multitude of martyrs in Heaven coming out of the Tribulation, so great that their number cannot be counted. They are identified as those coming out of the Great Tribulation who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

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 the Jews. 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 look upon Him whom they have pierced and weep and wail and mourn and cry out for the depths of their heart, "Baruch Haba Bashem Adonai," meaning "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord."


In the third part of our series that answers, "What are the wars of the End Times?" well look at wars 7-9.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

What Are the Wars of the End Times? 1-3

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch MP3 PDFBy

Did you know that the Bible contains prophecies about nine wars in the end times? That's right, a total of nine. That fact comes as a shock to most people who are familiar with only one namely, the War of Armageddon. Most people are very surprised to learn that the War of Armageddon is not the only end time war.

We will now begin our study of the wars of the end times with the first three.


#1. The War of Israeli Extermination (Psalm 83)

The first — the War of Israeli Extermination — is described in Psalm 83. Psalm 83 states that the immediate neighbors of Israel will launch a war for the purpose of wiping out Israel as a nation. The nations described as being a part of this nefarious effort are those with a common border with Israel including Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Gaza. All of these share a common border with Israel.

The second half of Psalm 83 is a prayer for Israel's victory. The outcome of the war is not specifically stated in Psalm 83, but we know from other Scriptures that Israel will be victorious. For example, Zechariah 12:6 says that in the end times Israel will be like a firepot among pieces of wood, and a flaming torch among sheaths, so that that they will consume on the right hand and on the left all the surrounding peoples. They are going to be like David against Goliath.

Author Bill Salus believes this war of annihilation will boomerang on the Arab nations and will result in their overwhelming defeat, producing great territorial expansion and enhanced national resources for Israel. And yes, peace will come to Israel.

Incidentally, it is during this war that Israel will most likely destroy Damascus in fulfillment of the prophecies in Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 19. These passages say that in the end times Damascus will be destroyed and it will never be built again.


#2. The First War of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38 & 39)

The security provided by the Psalm 83 War will not last long, because what will happen is that the Arab nations will turn to their natural ally Russia and cry out for help, resulting in the First War of Gog and Magog. This war is described in Ezekiel 38 & 39. This is where Russia comes down against Israel with certain specified Muslim allies.

The Russians will be delighted to respond to the Arab cry for help, because they have always dreamed of taking over the oil fields of the Middle East. They will therefore launch an invasion for the stated purpose of helping the Muslims destroy Israel. Their specific allies will involve the outer ring of Muslim states that surround Israel, all but Saudi Arabia.

I believe that the unstated agenda of the Russians and their real motivation will be to use the Arab invitation as an excuse to expand their sovereignty over all the Middle East. This alternative 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. The Lord will accomplish this destruction through earthquakes and pestilence, hail, fire and brimstone, and battlefield confusion. Even the Jewish people will recognize that the victory belongs to God, and it will open many of their hearts to the Lord.

The greatest mystery concerning this war is its timing. Most have placed it at the beginning of the Tribulation. Others have delayed it to the middle of the Tribulation. But, increasingly in recent years, the tendency has been to place it before the beginning of the Tribulation. The reason there is so much question is because the Bible does not say for sure when it will occur, and there is room for honest disagreement on this. Probably every person has a different view as to when this war will occur. So, there is room for honest disagreement.

In recent years, as said, the most common view that is coming out these days is that this war will start before the Tribulation. The best discussion of timing that has yet been written I think can be found in this book Northern Storm Rising by Dr. Ron Rhodes who lives in Frisco, Texas. He's a great writer!

Dr. Rhodes concludes that this War of Gog and Magog will most likely occur 3.5 years before the Tribulation starts. Here's his reasoning. The Tribulation lasts seven years. Ezekiel 39:9 says that the Jews will spend seven years burning the weapons that they capture in that war, likely nuclear fuel, but they are going to be burning weapons that they captured in that war for seven years. Revelation 12 tells us that 3.5 years into the Tribulation the Jews will be evicted from the land by the Antichrist, and most will flee to Jordan. Therefore, the only way the Jews could spend seven years burning the weapons, Ron argues, is for the war to begin 3.5 years before the start of the Tribulation.

This brings up another question. Does this mean that the wars of Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 & 39 must occur before the Rapture? Not at all! The Rapture can occur any moment before, during, or after these wars. Keep in mind that the Rapture is not what starts the Tribulation. The Tribulation will begin when the Antichrist signs a security treaty with Israel. There could be a period of several years between the time of the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation.


#3. The Conventional War of the Tribulation

This brings us to the third end time war — the Conventional War of the Tribulation — mentioned in Revelation 6. Although the Antichrist is going to rise to power in Europe through cunning, deception, intrigue, and his charismatic personality, I believe he will have to resort to military power to conquer the world. Asia, Africa, and Latin America have spent the last 200 years casting off European colonialism. They are not suddenly going to turn around to some European leader, no matter how dynamic and how charismatic he may be, and say "Please come and rule us." They are not going to do that. They are going to resist any leader who rises to power in Europe, regardless of how brilliant and charismatic he maybe.

We are told in Revelation 13:7 that the Antichrist will ultimately achieve authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation, and I believe 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. You ever stop and make those calculations? One-fourth of humanity in today's terms means that this war that happens at the beginning of the Tribulation, 1.5 billion people will die!

This carnage is called the Seal Judgments.

The result of the Psalm 83 War and the war described in Ezekiel 38 & 39 results in the destruction of Islam in the Middle East. But, there are many other Islamic nations in the world that will also have to be taken care of. The largest Muslim nations in the world are not in the Middle East. The largest Muslim nations are Indonesia with 200 million, India with 145 million, Pakistan with 140 million, and Bangladesh with 115 million. Those are the big Muslim nations of the world, and none of which are in the Middle East.

I think the Antichrist will use this Conventional War of the Tribulation to conquer all the Islamic nations of the world.


In the second part of our series that answers, "What are the wars of the End Times?" well look at wars 4-6.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Ron Rhodes on the Muslim Antichrist View

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

Could the Antichrist be a Muslim?

On our television program Christ in Prophecy, we asked this question of Dr. Ron Rhodes, the founder and director of a ministry called Reasoning from the Scriptures, located in Frisco, Texas. His ministry specializes in defending Christianity against Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, the cults, world religions, and about any group that teaches false doctrine. He is a seminary professor and an excellent writer who has written more than 70 books! His latest one is titled, The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy.



Ron Rhodes on the Muslim Antichrist View

That's a hot button topic as of late. I actually know a number of the people who've written about this subject. I have to say that the people who write about this, I have found them very nice people, but their theology is just very, very bad.

If I might put it this way, how would it be possible for the Antichrist to be a Muslim in view of what we know from Scripture elsewhere that's going to be true about the situation of the end times? For example, we know from 2 Thessalonians 2 that the Antichrist is going to claim to be God, right? What Muslim would ever claim to be God? It completely goes against the Muslim Creed. The Muslim Creed says that there is one God named Allah and Muhammad is his prophet. No good Muslim would ever, ever claim to be God. And how would the Muslim world respond if one did claim to be God? They would kill him immediately. He'd be history. So, that's an impossibility.

There's no way you can wiggle your way out of that fact, though I've seen Muslim Antichrist view supporters try. The guys that are writing books on it try to argue their way out of this complication. It's worse than fiction! You just can't wiggle your way out of that truth.

Furthermore, how could it possibly be true that Israel would accept a seven-year covenant from a Muslim leader? Daniel says the covenant is going to start the Tribulation. Just look at the situation in Israel today. There has never been a time in human history than there is like today where we have a situation where the leaders of Israel are suspicious of the Muslim leaders of the world. The Israeli leaders know that the Muslims want to push Israel into the sea. They want the land back. They think the Holy Land belongs to them because Allah promised it to them. So, they want it back, and they are willing to go to any means to get it back. They are not going to trust a Muslim Antichrist on that.

Furthermore, have you considered the fact that Muslim prophecy is not cohesive. It's all over the map! When you've read the books written by some of these Christians who are setting forth this idea that the Antichrist will be Muslim, it sounds like the Muslims have a cohesive viewpoint and a coherent viewpoint. That's not the case! A lot of the sources of these mixed views come from tradition, and it is just scattered all over the place. Islamic end time views are not found in the Koran. They're found in the Hadith, which are the various sayings of Mohammed that they've kind of patched together over the centuries.

To me, the case for a Muslim Antichrist is weak at best. I think that it can even be called deceptive, because we are looking for the wrong things in the world.

Not only is it ridiculous to think that Israel is going to accept a peace treaty from a Muslim leader, but to think that a Muslim leader is going to allow Israel to rebuild their Temple? That's not going to happen, given the fact that their own holy temple is right there.

Then you have the statement over in Daniel that the Antichrist is going to rise from among the people who destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD, found in Daniel 9:26. Those people were the Romans. Supporters of the Islamic Antichrist view will argue that the Roman legions were made up of people from the Middle East who were conscripted into battle, so it really is the people of the Middle East and not the Romans who destroyed the Temple. That's historically not true, but even if it were true, it is irrelevant because it was a Roman army under a Roman general under the command of the Roman Senate in Rome.

In my book Northern Storm Rising about what Ezekiel 38-39 describes as the Gog and Magog War, Russia and the Islamic nations are destroyed by God. The timing clues would place this battle just before the Tribulation. How then could Islam even be a player during the Tribulation?

We've got several things that happen there right at the beginning of the Tribulation. We've got the Rapture that takes place which removes Christians from planet earth. Then this Ezekiel invasion could take place either at the beginning of the Tribulation or maybe 3.5 years before it begins. Either timing, God is going to take out those Muslim invaders.

The result of this war is that we have there two main people groups who would stand against the Antichrist's false religion, and they've just been taken out of the way. Islam's demise makes it very, very easy for the emergence of the false religion of the end times, because as long as you have the Muslims and the Christians on the earth, those two groups would stand against the Antichrist's religion, but now they've been taken out of the way at the onset, leaving the Jews which the Antichrist beats on the last half of the Tribulation.

So, to me, these events all just fits together like pieces of a puzzle.

The Muslim Antichrist view is a classic example of reading headlines into the Bible, which has been a major problem for years. Therefore, I always exhort people not to do that. The proper policy is to first find out what the Bible says about biblical prophecy, and then understand what the Bible says about the subject. I'm not talking just about the northern storm rising issues, but like the description of the Antichrist found in 2 Thessalonians, as well as what the Bible says in the book of Revelation about the one-world empire, and so forth. Once you understand all that, then and only then do you watch the world to see if there are legitimate correlations.

Some headlines to think about. Russia already has set a precedent for working with the Muslim nations and standing against Israel. We saw this back in the Six Day War. We also saw this back in the 1970's when several Muslim nations including Egypt were invading Israel. Russia was the muscle behind that attack. They were the intelligence behind that invasion. And, Russia provided the weaponry. Russia has already worked behind the scenes in moving against Israel. So, if anybody expresses skepticism that the Gog and Magog War could happen in the end times, well just look at history, because the coming alliances are already happening.

Even as late as the 1940's, there were skeptics saying, "Oh, you guys are absolutely nuts!" when it came to Israel becoming a nation again. Even after Israel was established in 1948, scoffers claimed Israel would be just here today and gone tomorrow with no chance of existing.

The wonderful side to skeptics, such as Preterists for example, is that we can always point them to real events in real history that are illustrations of real prophecies. There is nothing like a prophetic stamp of biblical approval like that on their viewpoint.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ron Rhodes on the Timing of the Rapture

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

Which view concerning the timing of the Rapture is correct?

On our television program Christ in Prophecy, we asked this question of Dr. Ron Rhodes, the founder and director of a ministry called Reasoning from the Scriptures, located in Frisco, Texas. His ministry specializes in defending Christianity against Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, the cults, world religions, and about any group that teaches false doctrine. He is a seminary professor and an excellent writer who has written more than 70 books! His latest one is titled, The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy.



Ron Rhodes on the Timing of the Rapture

Which view of the Rapture is correct? Some say it happen before the Tribulation, in the middle of the Tribulation, before what's deemed the wrath of God near the end of the Tribulation, or at the very end of the Tribulation. I believe that the Church is going to be raptured before the Tribulation period. It makes good sense for a number of reasons.

First of all, if you examine all of the Old Testament prophecies that deal with the Tribulation, the Church is never mentioned once. If you look at all the New Testament prophecies that deal with the Tribulation, the Church is not mentioned once.

In 1 Thessalonians 1:9 and 1 Thessalonians 5:9, we are told that the Church will be delivered from the wrath to come. Now there are a couple points to make there. The wrath to come is not just general wrath that we all experience. Rather, it is a specific period of wrath. It is the wrath to come which we Christians are to be delivered from it.

The Greek word for "delivered" there means "to be snatched away from." The Church is promised to be snatched away from the wrath to come. To me, that goes right along with 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 where it talks about how Christians are going to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Christians are going to be snatched up to meet the Lord in the air.

Just think about that for a minute. Doesn't the Lord have a long pattern of delivering His people before judgment falls? God delivered Noah before the Flood fell. He caught Enoch up to His side before the Flood fell. The spies were out of Jericho before the judgment fell on Jericho. Lot was out of Sodom before judgment fell on Sodom. I could go on and on. That is in keeping with who God is. And so, God is going to rescue the Church before His judgment falls upon the world.

It is such fallacious thinking when some people say that of the 21 judgments that fall during the Tribulation, according to Revelation, that only some of those judgments are God's wrath and some are man's wrath and some are Satan's wrath. Some even say that wrath means Hell, therefore God will save us from Hell, but not all of these judgments. There is man's wrath, but you've got to understand the context of Scripture, because the wrath of God is expressed through man's wrath.

How did God chastise the Israelites in the Old Testament? Through the Assyrians. The Assyrians were his whipping rod. You see, God can use human wrath as an expression of His own wrath.

We've got to realize that the Church is not going to be judged twice for the same sins. Jesus took my sin on the cross. He's not going to make me pay for that same sin again. Can you imagine a judge sitting there in his court of law looking down at a criminal and saying, "I am taking all of your crimes upon myself and paying for them. You will not have to deal with any of your crimes, I'm taking them all on myself. But, I'm going to send you to prison anyway for seven years where you will be cruelly treated." That wouldn't make any sense!

Why beat up on the Bride of Christ? Isn't the Rapture called the blessed hope? What hope is there is you have to live through 21 earth-shattering judgments? If you've got to go through that kind of punishment, how could it possibly be blessed?

Jesus says, "Watch for me. I can come at any moment. Watch for me." I'm living looking for the coming of Jesus Christ, because His return in imminent. If I didn't believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, I would be living looking for the Antichrist, not Jesus Christ.

There's a wedding metaphor that's often used in terms of the Rapture. In ancient weddings, there would be a man or woman who would get betrothed. Then the man — the groom — would go to his father's house to prepare a place in his father's house for them to live. Then at some undetermined time, the groom would come back to fetch his bride.

That is a kind of picture of the Church. We are betrothed to Christ. We are the Bride of Christ. Christ is now preparing a place for us in the Father's house, according to John 14. At an undetermined time, He's going to take us from the earth to the place that He has prepared. Notice that in John 14 the passage says Jesus takes the Church to the place where He is. He doesn't remain on earth like He does at the Second Coming. He takes us away from the earth to where He is in Heaven. That's not Post-Trib, that's not Mid-Trib, that can only fit a Pre-Tribulational scenario.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Ron Rhodes on the Signs of the End Times

Nathan JonesWatch MP3 PDFBy

What can we know about the signs of the end times?

On our television program Christ in Prophecy, we asked this question of Dr. Ron Rhodes, the founder and director of a ministry called Reasoning from the Scriptures, located in Frisco, Texas. His ministry specializes in defending Christianity against Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, the cults, world religions, and about any group that teaches false doctrine. He is a seminary professor and an excellent writer who has written more than 70 books! His latest one is titled, The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy.



Ron Rhodes on the Signs of the End Times

I like to describe the signs of the end times as "God's intel in advance." God tells us what things are going to be like in the end times before Christ comes for us. In terms of the signs of the times, I like to talk about what I call the Convergence Factor. What I mean by that is that I don't just think there is one prophecy that is coming to pass in our day. I don't think that there is just two prophecies that are coming to pass in our day. I think that there are multiple prophecies in our day either coming to pass, or the stage is being set for them to come to pass, and they are all converging in our day for the first time ever.

For example, the thing that got it started was the rebirth of Israel back in 1948. That's the Super Sign which we see prophesied back in Ezekiel 36-37. Right after those chapters talks about Israel being reborn as a nation, the text goes on to say that following that event, the Jewish people would be streaming back to the Holy Land from every nation in the world. That's never happened before in human history. When Israel was in bondage to Babylon, the Jews streamed from Babylon only back into Israel. The Scriptures say that after Israel is born again in the last days that Jewish people from all over the world will continue to stream back to the Holy Land. That regathering has been happening decade by decade, year by year, ever since then.

The text goes on to say right there in Ezekiel that sometime after Israel is reborn as a nation there will be a military coalition that would emerge in the north. This military coalition will move against Israel. When you look at the nations that make up that coalition such as Iran, the Sudan, Libya, and all the nations that are up and around the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea such as Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and all those 'Stan Nations what that means is that these are Muslim nations in conjunction with Russia that are going to move against Israel.

Notice that pattern. Israel gets reborn as a nation. The Jews are streaming back to the Holy Land. Sometime after that, there's going to be this big invasion called Gog and Magog. The stage is being set in our own day for this big invasion! Russia already has an alliance with many of these Muslim nations. Islam didn't even exist back in Ezekiel's day. People might have wondered back then what do those nations have in common that would make them move against Israel? Well, today we know.

There's a number of signs other than Israel. For example, in the middle of the Tribulation according to Revelation 13, we understand that the Antichrist is going to wield economic control over the entire world. The only way that he could ever do that is if there was a cashless society. If our society was still based on cash, then people could still buy things with cash. The only way he'd be able to enforce a domination economically is if we had a cashless society. That is where we are headed right now. That is a sign of the times.

There are other signs related to technology, like for example in Revelation where it says that the Two Witnesses in Jerusalem are going to be killed. Their bodies are going to be left in the middle of the street and the whole world is going to look upon them. That video is going to go viral all over the Internet. Then, three days later, they are going to stand up and be taken up to Heaven.

All of these signs are converging in our day. There are other signs we could talk about, but the point is what the ancient prophets said thousands of years ago are coming to fruition in our day. You would have to be blind to ignore it!

We don't know the date or the hour of Jesus' return, for our Lord has told us that cannot be known. But, we can know that we are in the season of the Lord's return.

So, here's a warning for us. In Matthew 16, Jesus told the Jewish leaders they could see that a storm is coming by looking at the sky, but they couldn't even read the signs of the times and know that He is the Messiah. They should be able to recognize that He's the Messiah based on the Messianic prophecies. They'd missed the signs of the times.

That is a warning for each one of us. What you and I have to do is to understand what the signs of the times are. Then we need to watch to see if there are correlations between world events and biblical prophecies. If you do that, you come to understand that indeed we are in the season of the Lord's return.