The Most Important Message

I have been asked this question many times. It always goes something like this:

  • Isn’t the message of the harbingers the most important message to America today, don’t you agree?
  • Isn’t the message of the 69th week of Daniel the most important message to our generation, don’t you agree?
  • Isn’t the message of the four blood moons the most important message in the world today, don’t you agree?

    I do not know if these were meant to be rhetorical questions or not, but the answer to each one is:

  • No!
  • No!
  • Of course not!

    But the one question I was never asked is what do you think then is the most important message in the world today? Since this is my blog I will take this opportunity to answer that question.

The answer to that is the same message for the last two thousand years: Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so or as Jesus so eloquently put it: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

We need to realize that prophecy will be filled. The evidence of filled prophecy in the Bible leaves no doubt that the rest will be filled. Lessons from Tyre for example show how exacting filled prophecy can be. There were several prophecies written about Tyre and they were all filled, just not at the same time. [i]

  1. Many nations would come against Tyre. The siege of Nebuchadnezzar took place within a few months of Ezekiel’s prophecy. The city of Tyre was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar, who did major damage to the mainland as Ezekiel predicted, but the island city remained primarily unaffected. Regarding the prediction that “many nations” would come against Tyre, the historical records surrounding the illustrious city report such turmoil and war that Ezekiel’s prophecy looks like a mild understatement of the facts. After Nebuchadnezzar’s attack of the city “a period of great depression” plagued the city which was assimilated into the Persian Empire around 538 B.C. (Fleming, p. 47). In 392 B.C., “Tyre was involved in the war which arose between the Persians and Evagorus of Cyprus” in which the king of Egypt “took Tyre by assault” (p. 52). Sixty years later, in 332, Alexander the Great besieged Tyre and crushed it (see below for further elaboration). Soon after this defeat, Ptolemy of Egypt conquered and subjugated Tyre until about 315 B.C. when Atigonus of Syria besieged Tyre for 15 months and captured it (Fleming, p. 65). In fact, Tyre was contested by so many foreign forces that Fleming wrote: “It seemed ever the fate of the Phoenician cities to be between an upper and a nether millstone” (p. 66). Babylon, Syria, Egypt, Rome, Greece, Armenia, and Persia are but a sampling of the “many nations” that had a part in the ultimate destruction of Tyre. Thus, Ezekiel’s prophecy about “many nations” remains as a historical reality that cannot be successfully gainsaid.
  2. The inhabitants of the villages and fields of Tyre would be slain.
  3. Nebuchadnezzar would build a siege mound against the city.
  4. The city would be broken down and the stones, timber, and soil would be thrown in “the midst of the water.” In his dealings with Tyre, Alexander asserted that he wished to make a personal sacrifice in the temple of Heracles on the island city of Tyre. Apparently, because the Tyrians considered their island refuge virtually impregnable, with war machines covering the walls, and rapidly moving water acting as an effective barrier from land attack, they refused his request. Upon receiving their refusal, Alexander immediately set to work on a plan to besiege and conquer the city. He set upon the task of building a land bridge or cause way (Siculus calls it a “mole”) from the mainland city of Tyre to the island city. Siculus stated: “Immediately he demolished what was called Old Tyre and set many tens of thousands of men to work carrying stones to construct a mole” (17.40). Curtius Rufus noted: “Large quantities of rock were available, furnished by old Tyre” (4.2.18). This unprecedented action took the Tyrians by complete surprise. Fleming noted: “In former times the city had shown herself well nigh impregnable. That Alexander’s method of attack was not anticipated is not strange, for there was no precedent for it in the annals of warfare” (p. 56). And yet, even though this action was unprecedented militarily, it was exactly what one might expect from the description of the destruction of Tyre given by Ezekiel hundreds of years prior to Alexander’s actions. The mainland city was demolished and all her stones, timber, and soil were thrown into the midst of the sea.
  5. The city would become a “place for spreading nets.” George Davis, in his book Fulfilled Prophecies that Prove the Bible, included a picture of Syrian fishermen under which the following caption appeared: “Syrian fishermen hauling in their nets on the probable site of ancient Tyre, which perished as predicted by the prophet” (1931, p. 11).
  6. The city would never be rebuilt. From this twelfth-century A.D. text, then, we learn that by that period of time the city known as ancient Tyre lay completely buried beneath the sea and a new city, most likely on some part of the island, had been erected.

The we can look at the prophecies about Jesus, where he would be born, how he would be born, how he would die and if all these and more were filled in His death, burial, and resurrection, why not the ones about His second coming and His judgment?

But if all the bad news about prophecy coming to pass and judgment coming there is good news, which is the Gospel. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus to save sinners like me. Prophecy will be filled but judgment can be avoided if we turn to Jesus for salvation but this comes with a warning. We may think all good people go to heaven. We cannot stop at John 3:16, we must continue reading:

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:17-19)

God would never condemn a person to hell. That is right; we do it to ourselves when we reject the gift of salvation Jesus offers. How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? (Hebrews 2:3)

From the sermon The Most Important Message In The World. You can listen to the whole message here.



 

[i] The information about Tyre is edited from the Apologetics Press website the article about Tyre. https://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=13&article=1790 accessed 30 July 2014.

 

 

 

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On Pride and Abominations

Man’s Problem

Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 6:15)

Pride in Abominations

The people of Judah in the day of Jeremiah had lost all sense of shame. When they committed abomination we are told not only where they not ashamed but they could not even blush. They were in a place of proud rebellion against God and were in a place where they were about to be judged by God and be taken captive by the invading armies of the Chaldeans. Before we can go any further we need to understand exactly what is an abomination?

The word itself is to`ebah and defines something or someone as essentially unique in the sense of being “dangerous,” “sinister,” and “repulsive” the speaker. (i) Now if we take the position (as I do) that the Bible is the words of God, then the speaker is God Himself. If you do not take the position that the Bible is the very word of God, then the rest of this post will not make any sense to you. The thought that when you commit something the Bible calls an abomination, we are considered by God to be dangerous, sinister, and repulsive. The question is then what does God consider to be an abomination? You all may be thinking of one thing, but the list is more extensive and may surprise some of you.

  • If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination [to`ebah]: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (Leviticus 20:13)
  • Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small. But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination [to`ebah] unto the LORD thy God. (Deuteronomy 25:13-16)
  • These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination [to`ebah] unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. (Proverbs 6:16-19)

It goes far beyond the surface of what even the conservative Christian thinks. We all think of homosexuality as an abomination (and it is) but so is corrupt business practices, being a liar, pride, murder, false witness, planning and thinking about revenge, sowing discord (being a gossip and that includes your “prayer request” used to bear tales about others). All these things (and there is more in the Bible). They are all abominations. There are not “super abominations”, abominations, and “abominations-lite” to fit our particular preferences. One is no better or worse than another.

Under man’s law, the price of murder is much higher than perjury but to God the punishment is all the same: And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:27). Eternal life in the heavenly city is lost. There is a high price to practice abominations. If you are not written in the Lamb’s book of life, then there is only one other place for you to go:

And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:14-15)

Fortunately for us, God does not leave man in this situation without any hope.

God’s Solution, Man’s Rejection

Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. (Jeremiah 6:16)

Stand ye in the ways [that is when you are at the crossroads] and look. This is not a choice between the lesser of two evils. If that is the situation you need to do as Charles Surgeon said: If you come to a choice of two evils, choose neither. (ii)

When I read this I thought of the famous Robert Frost poem The Road Not Taken, especially the last stanza: I shall be telling this with a sigh/Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—/I took the one less traveled by,/And that has made all the difference. (iii)

Jesus says it plainly this way: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

That is what the choice at the crossroads is all about: the choice between life and death, between blessings and cursings. My way or God’s way, and despite God’s loving call to us, so often we reject Him, and it just does not make any sense but the Bible tells us why:

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. (John 3:19) and professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, worshiping the creation rather than the creator who is blessed forever, Amen. So we go our own way in rebellion to a loving God heading for a sinner’s hell missing the rest promised to us.

We stand at the crossroads in our lives. We each have choices to make. Which path will we walk down? Will it lead to life everlasting or everlasting death?

The choice is ours and nobody can make it for us. To enter the narrow gate, to choose to walk the narrow way, the path our Saviour walked. Will we be a source of blessings or cursing? Do not miss the rest God has for you. Make a choice today, and remember not making a choice IS a choice.

This post is a modified excerpt from my sermon Living Life @ The Crossroads. You can listen to the whole sermon here.

i. Abomination, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, © 1984, 1996 Thomas Nelson Publishers, E-Sword Edition

ii. Charles Spurgeon. (n.d.). BrainyQuote.com. Retrieved July 20, 2014, from BrainyQuote.com Web site: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/charlesspu165811.html

iii. Frost, Robert “The Road Not Taken” http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173536 accessed 17 July 2014

A Surprising Result

I was challenged to write a paper (if I could) on the defense of the traditional roles of women in the church. Based on his response he probably expected me to have a revelation that this stance was somehow wrong. I would not mind comments or feedback (from either side), just keep it respectful is all I ask. The entire paper is about 12 pages, I include the introduction in this post.

Introduction

Few topics are more divisive now than what is the biblical role of women in the church. This topic has been of some confusion to me for some time because people I respect are on both sides of this issue and they both use the Bible to back up their claims.

I have spent literally years on and off studying this topic trying to find a biblical answer that would satisfy my own soul on this. In coming to my conclusions I have made two major assumptions in my study.

  1. I always take the highest view of Scripture and the highest view of God.
  2. The Bible does not contradict itself.

In taking the highest view of scripture and of God I am taking the Bible literally and not allegorizing it unless it is clearly an allegory. In taking the highest view of God I am making the assertion that while context and understanding the social climate is important to understanding scripture, it does not negate the plain teaching of scripture.

What does a low view of God and the Bible mean? It means in the circumstances I described that we are limited God by saying He could not understand what was coming in the future and make an allowance for it. God could not have made His Word applicable to all generations and therefore since things are different now certain parts of the Bible just do not apply any more.

The question then becomes which parts are universal and which are not? Obviously the parts I like are universal while the parts I disagree with only apply to specific situations in the past, that way I can make the Bible say whatever I want. This does not do the Bible or the God of the Bible justice. Point two flows naturally out of point one. Since the Bible is the Word of God and we hold it in the highest view, there are no contradictions in it. Where there appears to be contradictions, there is only lack of understanding on the part of the reader. The onus then falls on me to “rightly divide the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

Read the entire essay here: Women In The Church