Sunday, June 28, 2009


Saving My Wife

Q. I am unequally yoked for, now, thirty years with my second wife. Although she claims to be an atheist, I believe she tends more to agnosticism. She claims things of a “spiritual” nature hold no attraction or importance in her life. Yet, she responds with hostility and even anger when the issue is even mentioned.

My wife’s hostility to the mention of spiritual matters leads me to believe she is not entirely persuaded that God does not exist, but I still see nothing apart from His intervention to allow her to consider her need for salvation.

My question, then, is there any way, except by a spiritual awakening by God Himself, to “reach” an atheist who, by the nature of her unbelief, is unaware of a need for salvation? Can one do anything except pray for God’s intervention in the case of a person who resists even the mention of things of a spiritual nature?

A. There are only 3 things we can do to influence another person in this area. The first is to explain the gospel, the second is to demonstrate it in our own lives, and the third is to pray.

You’re right, the hostility is based in uncertainty. But it’s also a sign of polarization, forcing the other person into a more extreme position than they would otherwise take. Eventually it becomes impossible to retreat from such a position.

You’ve completed steps 1 and 2, now it’s time to focus on step 3. Pray.


Bible's Mysterious Questions

Joseph’s Dreams

Q. I have a question about Genesis 37:9-10. Joseph has a dream that his brothers and father and mother will bow down to him. Later on when Joseph is in Egypt it appears that his mother did not come to bow down to Joseph because she died. What can this moon be referring to and how was it fulfilled?

A. Joseph had two dreams in Genesis 37. When the brothers bowed down before Joseph (Genesis 42:6) they were fulfilling his first dream of the 12 sheaves of wheat (Genesis 37:5-8). Notice how Jacob was guessing at the meaning of the second dream (Genesis 37:9-10), not really interpreting it.

From Rev. 12:1-6 we see that in the second dream, the woman (Rachael) is a type of Israel giving birth to the Messiah (represented in the dream by Joseph) who will rule the nations with an iron hand. Before Him every knee will bow.

Some have counted over 100 instances in the life of Joseph where he serves as a type of the Messiah. In fact, the Essenes, who believed in two Messiahs, named the first one Messiah son of Joseph.


Major Religions During Tribulation?

Islam And Catholicism

Q. I enjoy your website tremendously and thank you for your wisdom and insight. I’ve always thought (and been taught) during the Tribulation the Roman Catholic Church would be the religious system of the antichrist. However, in recent days, as I listen to the news and do research on the Internet, I’m hearing more and more how Islam is gaining a hold in Euprope and even in America with all the universities and mosques spring up it seems almost overnight and with the Moslem leaders’ talk of conquering the world. What are your thoughts on Islam being the religious system of the antichrist during the tribulation vs. the Roman Church?

A. I think the Rapture will leave the Catholic Church in a state of utter chaos with a significant number of its members gone. Islam on the other hand won’t be adversely affected at all. And if the anti-Christ comes from the Eastern leg of the Roman Empire he’ll likely be at least nominally Moslem. Since the two religions share an admiration of both Mary and Jesus, as well as a works based view of salvation, I can see the possibility of an accommodation that would make the combined group far and away the most dominant religion of the post-rapture world.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

If you deny Him, He will deny you

Denying That Jesus Is God

Q. I’ve been reading a lot (on another website) and I must say when read completely his Papers sound like Biblical Truth??? I attend a Baptist church house and I don’t want to approach my Pastor yet. I feel that you will be able to assist me in understanding these writings. My concern right now as he writes, the “Church” has everything wrong, especially the claim that Jesus is God!

A. First of all, John 1:1, Paul (in Col 1:15), and the writer of Hebrews (Hebr. 1:3) all say that Jesus is God. Jesus claimed to be God, (John 10:30) telling the disciples that having seen Him, they had seen the Father (John 14:9). Even God called Jesus God in Psalm 45:6 which is repeated in Hebr. 1:8. The first chapter of Hebrews is devoted to this issue. These claims can not be refuted. If Jesus isn’t God in the flesh then the Bible can’t be trusted.

Even more importantly, people who insist that Jesus is anyone other than God Himself fail to understand the theological implications of what they’re saying. Think about it. Only God is sinless and only God can forgive sin. And yet the Bible makes both claims for Jesus. If someone else could have saved us then God could have sent anyone. But there wasn’t anyone else, so He had to become man and do it Himself. It’s the only way we could be saved. So if it wasn’t God Himself in human form who died on that cross then none of us is saved. It’s that simple.


Monday, June 22, 2009


Prophetic Dreams

Q. What does the Bible say about dreams? How are they important, in both prophetic and “day-to-day” purposes?

A. There are several instances of dreams serving as messages from God in the Bible. For instance Jacob’s son Joseph had 2 prophetic dreams . Later, Pharaoh and two of his officials had dreams that Joseph interpreted. Nebuchadnezzar also had two that Daniel interpreted for him and Joseph of Nazareth had several in connection with the Lord’s birth. The Magi were also warned in a dream to stay away from Herod upon leaving Bethlehem. And there are other examples.

Quoting Joel, Peter said that in the last days young men would see visions and old men would dream dreams. (Acts 2:17)

So there is periodic mention of dreams being messages from God in both the Old and New Testaments. But that’s not to say that all or even most dreams are messages from God. In fact those that are appear to be quite rare. From the Bibles’ descriptions it seems that each person who had a dream of that sort knew it was a special message, and in those cases when they weren’t able to understand it, God sent someone to interpret it for them.

It’s important to remember that when God sent someone, He provided them with credentials. Joseph had demonstrated his ability with the Baker and the Wine Steward before he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, and Daniel revealed Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to him even though its contents had been kept secret. And both men gave all the credit to God.


Sunday, June 14, 2009


OSAS, The Whole Story

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

If you follow our “Ask a Bible Teacher” feature, you know how many comments I’ve received lately that question the Doctrine of Eternal Security (aka Once Saved Always Saved or OSAS). Based on their content I’ve concluded that many people neither understand OSAS nor have they considered the alternative.

Let’s Begin At The Beginning

It’s time to set the record straight once and for all. What does it take to be saved? I think the best answer to that question is the one the Lord gave in John 6:28-29.

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

Here was a perfect opportunity to list all the things we have to do to meet God’s requirements. Jesus could have rattled off the 10 commandments. He could have repeated the Sermon on the Mount. He could have listed any number of admonitions and restrictions necessary to achieve and maintain God’s expectations of us. But what did He say? “Believe in the one He has sent.” Period. It was a repeat of John 3:16, confirming that belief in the Son is the one and only requirement for salvation.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

A few verses later in John 6 He said that this wasn’t just His idea, as if that wouldn’t be enough, but that His Father was in complete agreement. And not only would our belief suffice to provide us with eternal life, but that it was God’s will that Jesus lose none of those who believe. You and I have been known to disobey God’s will, but has Jesus ever done so? And isn’t He the one who’s been charged with the responsibility for keeping us? Let’s read it.

“For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:38-40)

Just in case we missed this promise, Jesus made it again even more clearly in John 10:28-30. “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” The Father and the Son have both accepted responsibility for our security. Once we’re in Their hands, no one can get us away.

I have purposely only used words straight from the Lord’s own mouth to make this case because I can already hear the choruses of “Yes Buts” mounting as those who refuse to take them at face value get ready to trot out their favorite verses denying Eternal Security, misinterpreted though they are.

The one characteristic of God’s that gives us the most comfort is knowing that He can’t lie or change His mind or contradict Himself. He can’t say something in one place and then say something entirely different in another. He’s consistent. If He says that we’re saved solely because of our belief in Him, and that He’s accepted responsibility for keeping us so, then we can count on that. As we’ll see, anything in the Bible that seems to contradict these simple, straightforward statements has to be talking about something else.

But first, since He puts so much emphasis on belief, let’s take a closer look at that word. What does He mean when He says “believe”? It must be more than just a casual thing because reliable statistics show, for example, that 85% of those who come forward to “receive the Lord” at a crusade or other evangelistic outreach never form any connection with a church or Bible Study or in any other way demonstrate a relationship with the Lord afterward.

And Jesus spoke of the seed that fell on rocky places. He said, “This is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.” (Matt. 13:20-21) If these people were saved and then fell away, all His promises above have been broken. There must be more. So what does it mean to believe?

The Greek word for believe is “pistis.” According the Strong’s Concordance, it’s a “conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it.” In connection with the Lord Jesus, it means “a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God.”

The Apostle Paul gave us valuable insight into the nature of this belief. He wrote, If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)

This isn’t just some intellectual thing that carries us away on the words of a captivating speaker, only to leave us flat a short time later. It’s a conviction that’s formed deep in our heart, the realization that Jesus is not just a man. He’s the Lord Himself, and He took upon Himself the penalty due us for our sins, which is death. And to prove that God counted His death as sufficient, He raised Jesus from the dead to be seated beside Him in the Heavenly realms. (Ephes. 1:20) Since God can’t dwell in the presence of sin, and since the wages of sin is death, every one of our sins has to have been paid for. If even one remained unpaid, Jesus would still be in the grave. We have to believe that Jesus rose from the grave in order to believe that we will.

It’s that kind of belief that gets you saved and keeps you that way, because it sets in motion a chain of events that’s irreversible. There are four links in this chain. You supply two and the Lord supplies two. You hear and believe, and the Lord marks and guarantees.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)

The word translated “deposit” is a legal term. Today we would say Earnest Money. It’s a down payment that constitutes a legal obligation to follow through with the purchase. If you’ve ever bought any Real Estate, you’re familiar with the term. If not, here’s another example. It’s like we’ve been put on “lay away.” The price has been paid and we’ve been taken off the display shelf until the one who has purchased us returns to claim us. In the mean time we cannot be bought by anyone else, because we legally belong to the one who has paid the deposit. “You are not your own,” we’re told. “You were bought with a price.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

All of this happened at our first moment of belief, before we could do anything to either earn or lose our position. The man on the cross beside Jesus is the prototype for this transaction. Having done something bad enough to get himself executed, he was promised a place in Paradise solely because he believed in his heart that Jesus was the Lord of a coming Kingdom.

Paul made it even clearer when he repeated this incredible promise in 2 Cor. 1:21-22. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

This time He removed all doubt as to just Who it is that keeps us saved. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. What could be clearer?

Union And Fellowship

If the Doctrine of Eternal Security is so clear then why all the disagreement about it? I’ve found two reasons. The first is the two-sided nature of our relationship with the Lord. One side is called Union and is Eternal and Unconditional, based only on our belief. Ephesians 1:13-14 describes our Union with God, sealed and guaranteed. Once we’re born again, we can’t become unborn. It’s good forever. The Holy Spirit is sealed within us from our first moment of belief until the day of redemption.

The other side is called Fellowship and it’s a bit more complicated. Fellowship is that state of continual closeness to God that enables Him to bless us in our daily lives, by making things happen for us and protecting us from attack. It’s like He’s teamed up with us to give us a supernatural advantage. Fellowship is defined by 1 John 1:8-9 as being both Earthly and conditional upon our behavior. Even as believers, as long as we’re here on Earth we’ll continue to sin. Since God can’t abide in the presence of sin, our unconfessed sins interrupt our Earthly relationship with Him and may deprive us of blessings we might have otherwise received. We’re still saved in the eternal sense, but out of Fellowship here on Earth.

When we’re out of Fellowship, we’re legitimate targets for our enemy’s mischief, just like Job was. His sin was self-righteousness and because he wouldn’t confess it, God had to let Satan afflict him in order to bring him to his senses. For a New Testament illustration, look at the parable of the Prodigal Son. (Luke 15:11-32) Like the younger son, we’ll still belong to our Father’s family, but won’t receive any of its blessings while we’re out of Fellowship. And like both Job and the Prodigal, when we return to our Father and confess our sins, we’re immediately purified from all unrighteousness and restored to Fellowship.

One reason that many Christians live such defeated lives is that having only learned about the Union part of being a believer, they only know that God has forgiven their sins and that they’ll go to be with Him when they die or are Raptured. They don’t realize that they still need to confess every time they sin to stay in Fellowship. And so, being deprived of God’s providence, they may become discouraged and even stop praying and attending church. Other believers, who don’t understand the dual relationship either, look at the mess they’re in and think they must have lost their salvation. Like Job’s friends, they look in God’s Word for confirmation, and by taking verses out of context, believe they have found the proof.

Union and Fellowship are not just New Testament ideas. In the Old Testament, even when Israel was being obedient in thought and action, doing their best to please God, the priests still had to sacrifice a lamb on the altar every morning and every evening for the sins of the people. 1 John 1:9 is the New Testament equivalent of those daily sacrifices for sin. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. It was written for believers who are already saved, but are in danger of being out of Fellowship because of their sins.

The Gift And the Prize

The other reason people get confused is that there are two types of benefits in Eternity. The first is the free Gift called Salvation that’s given to all who ask in faith irrespective of merit and guarantees our admission into the Kingdom. Ephesians 2:8-9 is the model, saying that salvation is a Gift from God.

The second consists of Heavenly rewards we can earn for the things we do as believers here on Earth. Philippians 3:13-14 are good verses for explaining this. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. In addition to the Gift, there’s a Prize.

A gift is something given out of love, irrespective of merit, and is never taken back. A prize, on the other hand, is something we qualify for and earn. And if we’re not careful we can lose it. (Rev. 3:11) Paul had already received the Gift of salvation, it was behind him. Now he was focused on winning the Prize as well.

In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 he explained the difference in greater detail. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

No Olympic athlete was satisfied just to have qualified to participate in the games. Everyone wanted to win the victor’s crown. Likewise, we shouldn’t be satisfied just to have received the Gift of salvation. We must now live our lives as believers in such a way as to win the Prize as well.

The Bible calls some of these prizes crowns, and while the athlete’s crown soon wilted away (it was a wreath of ivy) the crowns believers can win last forever. They’re worth making some sacrifices for. That’s why Paul said, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Cor. 9:27) The crowns are identified as the Everlasting Crown (Victory) in 1 Cor 9:25, Crown of the Soul Winner in Phil 4:1 and 1 Thes 2:19, Crown of Righteousness in 2 Tim 4:8, Crown of Life in Jas 1:12 and Rev 2:10, and the Crown of Glory in 1 Peter 5:4.

The difference between the Gift and the Prize is also seen in 1 Cor. 3:12-15. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

At the judgment of believers, the quality of our work on earth will be tested by fire. Only work that survives the test will bring us a reward. But notice that even if all our work is destroyed in the fire, we’ll still have our salvation. Why? Because it’s a free Gift, given out of love, irrespective of merit.

The Lord mentioned other rewards as well. In Matt. 6:19-21 He advised us, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

There are things we can do as believers while here on Earth that will cause deposits to be made to our heavenly account. Some believe that this passage refers to the way we use the money we’re given. Do we use it to enrich ourselves, stacking up possessions that far exceed our needs? Or do we use it to further the work of the Kingdom? Here’s a hint. Our tithe is what we owe to God. It’s what we do with the money we have left that really counts. And with the measure we use, it will be measured to us. (Luke 6:38)

To summarize, in the New Testament there are verses like Ephesians 1:13-14 that talk about Union. There are verses like 1 John 1: 8-9 that talk about Fellowship. There are verses like Ephesians 2:8-9 that talk about the Gift and there are verses like 1 Cor 9:24-27 that talk about the Prize.

Those that stress belief, explain the permanent nature of our bond with God, and are directed toward eternity are Union verses. Those that involve grace and faith are Gift verses. Those that require work and are directed at the quality of our lives on Earth are Fellowship verses, and those that require work and involve eternal rewards are Prize verses.

When you view Scripture from this perspective, all of the apparent contradictions disappear and you no longer have to wonder why God seems to be saying one thing here and something different there. The issue becomes one of correctly identifying the focal point of the particular passage you’re looking at. Determine the context by reading verses around it, and assign it to one of the four categories.

Give Us An Example

Hebrews 6:4-6 is a passage often cited in opposition to Eternal Security. The entire letter is to Jewish believers who are being enticed back into keeping the Law, so the context is New Covenant vs. Old. And in verse 9 the writer hints that he’s been talking about things that accompany salvation. That tells us that verses 4-6 are not related to salvation but things that accompany it. More importantly the idea that a believer could do something to irretrievably lose his salvation is in direct contradiction to the very clear promise that the Holy Spirit is sealed within us from the very first moment of belief until the day of redemption.

So what could these believers be in danger of falling away from due to their sins? Fellowship. And what could prevent them from being restored? The practice of Old Covenant remedies for sin rather than invoking 1 John 1:9. They’d be relegating the death of the Lord to the same status as that of the twice-daily lamb. The Law was only a shadow of the good things to come, not the realities themselves. Once the Reality appeared, the shadow was no longer effective. And what would be their penalty? Living a defeated life, bearing no fruit, all their works burned in the judgment of 1 Cor. 3. But still saved? Yes. Hebrews 6:4-6 is a Fellowship passage.

Suppose There Is No Security?

In closing, let’s look at the alternative. What are we faced with? If Hebrews 6:4-6 for example applies to our salvation then if we ever sin after being saved we’ll be lost forever with no way back, because the Lord would have to be crucified all over again to retrieve us. The New Covenant would be worse than the Old, not better. They were condemned for their actions. According to Matt. 5 we’d be condemned for our thoughts. They couldn’t murder. We couldn’t even be angry. They couldn’t commit adultery. We couldn’t even have a lustful thought. Think of it. No anger, ever. No lust, ever. No envy, ever. No idolatry, ever. No favoritism or discrimination, ever. No impure thoughts or deeds of any kind, ever. Is this the Good News, the incomparable riches of His Grace? Did God become man and die the most painful death ever devised only to put His children into an even more untenable position than before? Are we saved by grace only to be placed under the constraints of an even more severely administered law? I can’t believe so.

Some take a more moderate view of this saying that God would never take back the gift of salvation, but that we can return it. To justify this position they have to put words in the Lord’s mouth. When He says in John 10:28, “No one can snatch them out of my hand,” they have to insert the phrase “but us” after “no one”. Same with Romans 8:38-39.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. They have to insert the phrase “but us” after “in all creation”.

None of this defense of Eternal Security is intended to condone sin. As an indication of our gratitude for the gift of salvation, believers are continually admonished in Scripture to live our lives in a manner pleasing to God. Not to earn or keep it, but to thank the Lord for giving it to us. And to help us do that, the Holy Spirit has come to dwell in us to guide and direct us, and to pray for us. Since the Spirit of God lives in us we are no longer controlled by the sin nature and can choose to please God by the way we live. And even though we do this out of gratitude for the Gift He’s already given, which is Union with Him, He blesses us both here on Earth (Fellowship) and in Eternity (the Prize). Selah 10-07-06


Does OSAS promote sin?

Does It Matter Whether I Sin Or Not?

Q. I continue to read your question and answers. I have accepted Christ as my Savior but am having trouble accepting that I can continue to commit adultery, to steal, murder or whatever and be in heaven with him. Was his death a licence for me to be able to do all these things and be saved or can his spirit live his life through me and I stop doing these sinful things? Or either way I go I am saved?

A. Our salvation is based on belief, not behavior, but it’s not a license to sin. Over and over we’re admonished to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit and change our behavior as a sign of our gratitude for what we’ve been freely given. This change pleases the Lord and so He blesses us with His favor and gifts of all kinds. If we don’t follow the Spirit’s guidance we’re both communicating our ingratitude and disqualifying ourselves for these additional blessings. This explains why so many Christians live defeated fruitless lives. But since our salvation was extended as a free gift conditioned only on our faith to receive it, we’re saved either way. For a more complete explanation read OSAS, the Whole Story.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Answers From Billy Graham

I know Christians say Jesus was divine, but how could He be divine and still be a human being? After all, we're all imperfect, and we can mess things up pretty badly. But God can't do that, can He? — G.L.

A: Dear G.L.,
No, God can't "mess things up" or commit sin of any kind. He is absolutely pure and holy, and there isn't even a hint of sin within Him. The Bible says, "Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong" (Habakkuk 1:13).

Nor, the Bible says, did Jesus commit any sin. I know that's hard for us to understand; if we're honest, we know we sin every day. But Jesus was both fully human and fully divine - He was God in human flesh. Centuries before His birth, the prophet Isaiah foretold that "'The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel' - which means, 'God with us'" (Matthew 1:23).

And because Jesus was divine (as well as human), He never sinned. That doesn't mean He wasn't tempted - because He was (see Matthew 4:1-11). But He resisted the most intense temptations Satan could devise - and because He did, Jesus remained sinless to the end. The Bible says that He was "tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). This is a profound mystery - but it's true.

Why is this important? The reason is because only a sinless, divine Savior could save us. He was without sin, but on the cross all our sins were placed on Him, and He took the judgment we deserve. He did this because God loves us. Are you trusting Christ alone for your salvation?


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Ark in the Millenial Temple

The Ark And The Abomination

Q. Thank you for your study and for answering our questions. My question is do you think we could be missing a literal reading of Dan 9:27? I know many translations vary, but Luther translated it “And upon the wings shall stand the abomination of desolation” and I was wondering if it could possibly mean that the antichrist might set up an image, whether a statue or a hologram of himself, right atop the rebuilt ark in the rebuilt temple. The mercy seat above the ark has two angels with outspread wings. Isn’t the mercy seat supposed to become the throne of Jesus when He comes to reign in the new Jerusalem. What better place to put an idol of himself?

A. There’s been much speculation about the Ark of the Covenant and its mercy seat, which was God’s Throne when He dwelt among the Israelites in the First Temple period. Various explorers and scholars have reported knowing of its whereabouts and some even claim they’ve seen it.

But when you read the Bible’s account of the rebuilt Temple (Ezekiel 40-46) you discover that the Ark is not mentioned anywhere. In fact, although there are several references to a Temple on Earth in the End Times the Bible’s only mention of an ark is in the Temple in Heaven (Rev. 11:19) I think the idea of a re-discovered Ark could just be an explorer’s dream.

The Ark was God’s throne. Jesus was promised David’s throne (Luke 1:32) which is a euphemism for rulership over Israel.


Comparitive Religious End-Time Prophecies

Moslem Vs. Christian Prophecy

Q. I’ve noticed many times that when speaking of End Times, many teachers seem to give the Islamic prophecies the same credence as they do to Biblical prophecies. Is there a basis for belief in any Islamic prophecies? Some Christian teachers compare the Mahdi with the AC as if he is really going to show up in the End Times.

A. I can’t speak for the motives of other teachers but I find it interesting that the one some Moslems look to as a messiah figure bears a striking resemblance to the one Christians know as the anti-Christ. For example, they’ll both come on the scene during a time of great chaos, they’ll both claim to be peacemakers, both will have 7 year reigns after which comes judgment, both will head up a one world government and a one world religion. This can’t be coincidental.

Do I think al Mahdi will come? Absolutely. But not because Moslem prophecies say so. I believe he’ll come because Biblical prophecies say the anti-Christ is coming.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Prosperity in perspective

Christian Prosperity Crisis

Wilfred Hahn

Researchers point out that one of the main differences between the U.S. financial crash and others — for example, that of Japan in the 1990s — was that it was households (individuals and families) that became heavily overindebted. This was not the case in Japan, nor the Asian crisis of the late 1990s, nor those in Scandinavia in the early 1990s. There, it was more the actions of companies and governments that led to these crises. But why in the case of America’s situation, did people became so easily seduced to take on such huge amounts of debt and to accept the vain predictions of perpetual prosperity? Responsibility of stewardship was thrown to the wind and the idea that prosperity and wealth was both eternal and effortless was the common belief.

It may have to do with another main difference. Namely America’s major religion—a post-modern, utilitarian aberration of the Biblical Christianity. This may seem a harsh statement, but I believe that the facts well support it. Most definitely, America is the most Christian-professing, major nation in the world. That religious belief and philosophy had an impact on economies and financial markets is a well established fact. Why do Chinese households save so much? Could it be that their Confusion culture is predisposed to such behavior? Max Weber (see The Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism) and other social economists developed a framework for such religious/economic connections.

Crucially, only in North America do we find such a significant influence of the Prosperity Theology. It is a teaching that will have played an insidious and contributing (perhaps causal) role in America’s final slide into financial crisis and decline. We want to examine this connection further by investigating some of the doctrinal distortions behind this movement which merges Christianity and money into the eschatological timeline.

Deeply Rooted False Prosperity Beliefs.

While Prosperity Theology tends to be more associated with the charismatic segment of North American Christianity, it could be said that virtually all of North American Christianity has been infected with its influences. This perspective co-exists comfortably with the ideology of the American Dream. For centuries the “Christian nation” of America has been a land of opportunity, espousing upward mobility and success for all who seek it.

Prosperity thinking is therefore subtly imbedded in the psyche of Western Christians. It is almost considered an entitlement in some circles. Of course, most will perhaps not swallow the teachings and techniques of the likes of Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar and Peter Popoff — he of the “divine transfer” — and many others. After all, some of these more extreme teachers in this community even go so far as to claim that if you have much faith that you can “get wealth.” Just send in your seed faith offering and you may get a “divine wealth transfer” or “100-fold” return.

In this bartering system with God, one is taught to expect that He may choose to reciprocate your seed offering with a monetary or material blessing of some kind. It could be a sizable check arriving in your mailbox from a mysterious source or some other lucky happenstance. Unfortunately, this erroneous teaching about money promotes the notion that God runs His kingdom on the principle of monetary and material incentive. How crass. God manipulates Christians to love Him and to obedience through the carrot of material wealth and well-being? They confuse the realm of Mammon for the Kingdom of God.

Theological Wealth Distortions Everywhere

False gospels are deadly, their heresies distorting virtually every doctrine, world view and eschatological perspective. In like manner, Prosperity Theology radiates its destruction into many doctrines and perspectives. If its destructive contributions to America’s recent demise were already not convincing enough, there is yet more to consider. A sure sign of all false gospels is their perspective on money.

Every single false teaching or heresy mentioned in the New Testament epistles was associated with greed or an inordinate affection with money and wealth. This is evident today as it was then. If anything is different, it is that some of these heretical perspectives have become much more systemized than they were in New Testament times.

Though beliefs held by certain Christian sects may appear rooted in scriptural teaching, it is disturbing to discover how subjective and unfounded these are. These beliefs simply do not hold up under the scrutiny of all Scripture. This theology even merits an entry on Wikipedia which points out that this “somewhat similar (yet strikingly different) belief appears in most "New Thought" religions, Unity, Religious Science, Divine Science denominations.” It should seem strange that such commonality is found with these other religions.

Moreover, Prosperity Theology does not even pass the test of common sense. If the promises of Prosperity Theology were legitimate and observable, then it should be discovered that its adherents indeed would be wealthier than the general population. Yet, the opposite is true.

According to the surveys of the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life2, the average income level of all Christians is less than that of other faiths. For instance, the percentage of protestant Christians with incomes over $100,000 per annum is 15%. This is less than Muslims (16%), Jews (46%), Buddhists (43%) and Hindus (43%).

Drilling down into comparisons between Christian denominations themselves, the same non-confirmation is evident. If one assumes that prosperity teaching is to be most prevalent in evangelical Pentecostal sects, the falsehood of this teaching is found to be most fraudulent. The Pentecostal demographic is the poorest of all, with the exception of Baptists in the Historically Black Tradition.3 48% of Pentecostals have incomes less than $30,000; only 7% greater than $100,000 per annum. That compares to 31% and 18% in the Christian population overall, respectively.

Clearly, the promises of Prosperity Theology are a hoax. Much worse allegations could be made. It would be considered a financial sham were its promoters to be seen to be preying on the hopelessness of its congregants. In that sense, it would not be much different than the consumer credit business. Just which demographic has historically proven to be the most profitable credit market for financial institutions … at least up until the GFC? The poor. It is these people that are made to pay high loan fees and interest rates and tend to run high balances on their credit cards with exorbitant charges. This gospel is certainly not “releasing the oppressed” as was Christ’s mission. (Luke 4:18)

Why is it that Christians are so gullible? It may be for the same reason that the thickest complaint file of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in America is the category of religiously-associated fraud. When con artists or teachers imply a relationship with God or make a purported scriptural reference promising prosperity, the wallets are opened unthinkingly. Charismatic churches time and again have proven themselves most vulnerable to the flimsiest of Ponzi schemes. It is simply astounding.

This quote from an op-ed article published just recently in the Russian online news portal, Pravda, offers a disturbing perspective. The journalist, though somewhat irreverent and an apologist for the official Russian Orthodox Church, does make some connections between America’s economic slide and liberal Christianity:

“First, the population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system based on pop culture, rather then the classics. Americans know more about their favorite TV dramas then the drama in DC that directly affects their lives. They care more for their “right” to choke down a McDonalds burger or a BurgerKing burger than for their constitutional rights. Then they turn around and lecture us about our rights and about our “democracy”. Pride blind the foolish. Then their faith in God was destroyed, until their churches, all tens of thousands of different “branches and denominations” were for the most part little more then Sunday circuses and their televangelists and top protestant mega preachers were more then happy to sell out their souls and flocks to be on the “winning” side of one pseudo Marxist politician or another. Their flocks may complain, but when explained that they would be on the “winning” side, their flocks were ever so quick to reject Christ in hopes for earthly power. Even our Holy Orthodox churches are scandalously liberalized in America.”4

In the populist mindset of prosperity and easy money, what Christian might not be tempted to think that God and country abandoned them should they experience hardships and trouble during an economic downturn such as the Global Financial Crisis (GFC)? What Christian would not be inclined to whine to God, as did Jeremiah: “Will you be to me like a deceptive brook, like a spring that fails?” (Jeremiah 15:18) Jeremiah figured that since he was walking with God and answering His calling, that he deserved special treatment. He bargained with God, saying “I never sat in the company of revelers, never made merry with them; I sat alone because your hand was on me, and you had filled me with indignation. Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable?” (Jeremiah 15-17-18)

How did God respond? He didn’t even acknowledge the complaint. He simply said this: "If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me.” (verse 19)

No doubt, all 12 of the New Testament apostles settled this same issue in a satisfactory manner. They were doing the Lord’s will and were all blessed with rich robes and fine foods. Actually, directly to the contrary. 11 of them died an unnatural death. All of them physically suffered for their beliefs. Was this just? Said Paul, “Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love […]” (2 Corinthians 6:4-6).


1. Prosperity theology,, accessed April 25, 2009.

2. U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, February 2008, Table: Income Levels of Major Religious Traditions, pg. 60.

3. Ibid, Income Level by Protestant Denominations, pg. 80.

4. Stanislav Mishin, Op-ed, Pravda Russia, June 1, 2009

About the Author:

Wilfred Hahn is a global economist/strategist. Formerly a top-ranked global analyst and one-time head of a large global investment company with worldwide operations, his writings focus on the endtime roles of money, economics and globalization. He has been quoted around the world and his writings reproduced in numerous other publications and languages. His most recent book is The Endtime Money Snare: How to live free. For resources on "endtime economics" and to subscribe to the free newsletter, Eternal Value Review, visit Wilfred's website

Saturday, June 6, 2009

3 days 3 nights?

Solving the Three Day Three Night Mystery

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

In Matthew 12:38 Jesus is asked for a sign that He’s the promised Messiah. The religious officials had just accused Him of using the power of Satan to perform His miracles, and so He described the only sign they would see. “Just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish,” He said, “So will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matt. 12:40).” By this He meant that because their hearts were hard they would only know for sure that He was their Messiah after they had killed Him, but His response resulted in a 2000 year controversy surrounding the time of His death.

What’s a Sabbath?

Actually the controversy exists largely among gentile believers. Most people familiar with the Jewish religion and culture figured it out long ago. But to gentiles who don’t know about these things, the phrase in John 19:31 identifying the day after the Crucifixion as a special Sabbath means that Jesus had to have been crucified on a Friday, because even gentiles know that the Jewish Sabbath is Saturday. Many otherwise competent resources (such as the Study Bible I use) make that mistake. And everyone agrees that He rose again on Sunday. There isn’t any way you can put three days and three nights between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning. Hence the controversy.

So let’s get it straight. Sabbath means holy day. There is one every Saturday in Israel, but there are also several during the year that are date specific. That means they are always observed on a specific calendar date, regardless of the day. They’re like our Christmas. It always comes on the 25th of December no matter what day of the week that happens to be.

The special Sabbath John referred to is the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and it’s a date specific holy day; always observed on the 15th of the month they call Nisan, which corresponds to March/April on our calendar. So the first thing we learn is that the special Sabbath mentioned in John 19:31 wasn’t a Saturday.

In fact there are three special Sabbaths (or Holy Days, if you prefer) in the month of Nisan alone; Passover on the 14th, the Feast of Unleavened Bread which begins on the 15th and runs through the 22nd, and the Feast of First Fruits on the Sunday morning following Passover. Of the three, only Unleavened Bread prohibits work like the weekly Sabbath, but all have both a historical and prophetic purpose and like all days in the Jewish calendar they begin at sundown, following the pattern of Genesis 1. (This also confuses Gentiles since our day begins at midnight.)

The Passover Lamb

The next issue we have to address is the sequence of events in the week we call Holy Week. In Exodus 12, where the Passover was ordained, we learn what that sequence was. God told the Israelites to select a lamb on the 10th day of the month and inspect it for defects until the 14th. This means through the end of the 13th. Then at twilight they were to slaughter and roast it, eating it that same evening. Using some of its blood they were to paint their door posts red to protect them from the plague coming upon Egypt at midnight.

Jesus came to fulfill the prophecy of the Passover Lamb, to save from death everyone who applies His shed blood to their lives. The only day He ever allowed the people to hail Him as King was on the day we call Palm Sunday, and as we’ll see it was the 10th day of the month. He did this to fulfill the selection process for the Passover Lamb. When the officials told Him to quiet His disciples, He said that if they became quiet, the very stones would cry out (Luke 19:40). For this was the day ordained in history. It was the day He officially became the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world. It was 483 years to the day from the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, spoken of by Daniel the Prophet as the day the Messiah would present Himself to Israel. (Daniel 9:25) A little while after the officials spoke with Him, He condemned Jerusalem to utter destruction because they did not recognize the day of His visitation (Luke 19:41-44).

The next three days were filled with the most aggressive debate and confrontation with the officials in His entire ministry. He was being inspected for any doctrinal spot or blemish that would disqualify Him as the Lamb of God. They found none, and finally no one dared ask Him any more questions. (Matt. 23:46)

Tradition, Tradition

Some years before the birth of Jesus the Passover celebration had been changed and in the Lord’s time called for a brief ritual meal of lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs (horseradish) to begin the 14th followed by a great and leisurely festival meal on the 15th, when the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins. This tradition is still followed today.

The 14th became known as Preparation Day (Mark 15:42, Luke 23:54, John 19:31), because on it they made ready for the great feast day beginning at sundown, after which no work was permitted. Matthew identifies the day after the Crucifixion as the day after Preparation Day (27:62) so all four Gospels agree. Jesus died on Preparation day, the 14th of their month Nisan, which is Passover. He ate the ritual meal with His disciples in the Upper Room, and then was arrested, tried, convicted, and put to death; all on Passover. He had to be, in order to fulfill the prophecies of the Passover Lamb.

So just like the Lord had commanded in Exodus 12, He was selected on the 10th, inspected on the 11th, 12th, and 13th, and executed on the 14th of Nisan.

How Do We Know This?

A little over 100 years ago a believer named Robert Anderson was head of Scotland Yard’s investigative division. He became intrigued by the three days and three nights issue and enlisted the help of the London Royal Observatory to investigate the problem since astronomers can locate the exact position of the planets and stars on any date in history. Since Passover always falls on the 14th, and since the Jewish calendar is lunar (moon) rather than solar (sun) oriented, there is always a full moon on Passover. This fulfills Genesis 1:14.

Plotting the course of the Sun and Moon they documented the day and date of every full moon. The Royal Observatory discovered that the first Palm Sunday was the 10th of Nisan, the day when Exodus 12 says to select the lamb. Therefore Passover, the 14th, was Thursday. The Feast of Unleavened bread began on Friday the 15th, Saturday the 16th was the weekly Sabbath, and Resurrection Morning was also a Sunday, the 17th. From Thursday to Sunday there are three days and three nights. Here’s how it works. It’s a little confusing to our way of thinking because the Hebrew day changes at sunset, which means that night precedes day. But read carefully and you’ll see that it makes sense.

As I’ve said, Jesus had to die on Passover to fulfill the prophecy. Early that Thursday morning the Jewish leadership gotten permission to crucify Him. (Matt. 27:1-26) His fate was sealed and He was hanging on the cross by 9 AM, as good as dead. His actual time of death was about 3 PM and His body was laid in the tomb sometime later, since the officials wanted it off the cross before sundown brought the Feast of Unleavened Bread, after which no work was permitted. By then Jesus had been in Sheol for several hours. Thursday was day one.

Because in Jewish reckoning the night precedes the day, at sundown it became Friday the 15th, night one, and the special Sabbath John mentioned began (John 19:31). At sunrise it was Friday day, day two. The next sundown brought Saturday night the 16th, night two, and the regular Sabbath began. As of sunrise it was Saturday day, day three. At sundown on Saturday it became Sunday night the 17th, night three, and sometime before sunrise Jesus rose from the tomb. Three days and three nights. When the women arrived to anoint His body, He was already gone.

So in the week Jesus died two Sabbaths that permitted no work were observed back to back: The Feast of Unleavened Bread on Friday the 15th, and the regular weekly Sabbath on Saturday the 16th. In Matthew 28:1 we read that at dawn on the first day of the week (Sunday the 17th) the women who were close to Jesus went to the tomb. Luke 24:1 tells us they were going to anoint His body for burial. The two Sabbaths had prevented them from doing so earlier. But He wasn’t there. He had risen. Being the Sunday after Passover, at the Jewish Temple it was Feast of First Fruits. At the Empty Tomb it was Resurrection Morning.

Some people try to equate his time of death with the burial of His body and say you can’t count Thursday as day one, because His body wasn’t laid in the tomb until sunset was upon them. But that doesn’t make sense. A person’s death always precedes his or her burial, sometimes by several days. In the Lord’s case it was several hours.

Others argue that this view doesn’t permit three full days and three full nights in the tomb but that’s not what the Scripture says. It simply says three days and three nights. If you move his death up to Wednesday like some teach to get three full days you violate the Passover Lamb prophecies. The Thursday date is the only one that will accommodate both the Passover Lamb and the three day three night prophecies. Selah

Yet Another Three Day Three Night Question

Q. RE: Solving the Three Day Three Night Mystery. So if He died on a Thursday how did we start to celebrate His death on Friday?

A. Here’s a two-part answer. First, as the Church grew it took on more and more of a Gentile personality, and there came a time when it wanted to be free of it’s identification as an offshoot of Judaism. The western branch of the Church wanted to celebrate the Resurrection at the time of the Spring Solstice since there were already pagan celebrations in place (The Feast of Ishtar) and it would fit into the culture better. This is how “Easter” got its name and got disconnected from Passover.

The Friday date came from a misinterpretation of John 19:31 where it says that the day after the crucifixion was a Sabbath. Since the Jewish Sabbath was on Saturday, Gentile logic held that the day before had to be a Friday. But, as I stated in my article, there were two Sabbaths on the weekend that Jesus died, the regular Saturday Sabbath and the the “special” Sabbath John was speaking about. It was the Feast of Unleavened Bread and it fell on Friday, the day before. Therefore Jesus died on Thursday.

Three Days Three Nights Follow Up

Q. If Jesus died on Thursday (Passover), and if at sundown immediately the feast of Unleavened Bread began, and if at sundown Friday the regular Sabbath started (Saturday), what day did the women buy and prepare the spices to anoint the body of Jesus? Mark says in 16:1 that they bought and prepared the spices “when the Sabbath was over,” speaking of Unleavened Bread, but Luke says they prepared the spices and perfumes and then rested on the Sabbath (Lk 23:56).

A. In the KJV Mark 16:1 says they had bought spices, indicating they had bought them previously, and Luke 24:1 says they had already prepared them when they went to the tomb, confirming the KJV translation of Mark 16:1. Also, John 19:39 says that Joseph and Nicodemus brought 75 lbs. of spices with them when they first took to Lord’s body to the tomb.

As soon as Jesus was put on the cross they knew he was going to die. Someone would have had all day Thursday to buy and prepare the spices for His burial, since Thursday was a work day. Joseph and Nicodemus brought some with them when they quickly laid His body in the tomb at sunset and the women brought the rest when they came back after the two Sabbaths to finish the job.

When Did Jesus Die?

Thanks so much for your web site, it has been a blessing. Once again, here is another thought about the timing of our Christ being crucified. I’ve read a lot of the articles, and they all make good sense, however I never seen in any of them a couple of scriptures that are very important.

Some suppose it was Good Friday, you say Thursday is the only day, while others say Wednesday. The gospel accounts all added together give us the clearest picture of all, setting aside Jewish traditions. Some say you must account for the traditions, I say the Holy Bible alone will give you the answers. Studying the Gospels, in conjunction with the old testament, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday that He went into the temple for the first day of inspection. Therefore the three day inspection ended on Tuesday.

The reasons I believe this are the two scriptures in Mark and Luke. The gospels say there was and earthquake when Jesus gave up His Spirit. The graves were open. The following day they could do no work. The day of the resurrection there was another earthquake. This leads to Friday.Luke 23:55 say the women followed to see where Jesus was laid, vs. 56 says “they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.” Some believing this Sabbath to be Saturday correctly.

Mark 15:47 says the women beheld where He was laid. Mark 16:1 says, “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint Him.

My question is how the could buy and prepared the spices before and after the sabbath, if the Sabbaths were not Thursday and Saturday? Was Jesus therefore crucified on Wednesday? Thank for your answer.

A. You’ve read my article on the Holy Week events so you know I think the Bible says that Thursday is the only possible day. Exodus 12:3 says that the 10th day was for selecting the Lamb. Then came 3 days of inspection, the 11th, 12th, and 13th, and then Passover the 14th.

Palm Sunday was the day of selection. It was the only day in His life that He allowed them to call Him the Messiah and can’t be counted in the inspection process. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were for inspection, and that makes the Crucifixion on Thursday, Passover. Friday was the Feast of Unleavened bread, a special Sabbath where no work was allowed, Saturday was the regular Sabbath, and Sunday was the first day of the week when the women went to the tomb and found it empty.

Neither Luke 23:55-56 nor Mark 15:47-16:1 contain anything to dispute that. Assuming they didn’t know in advance when Jesus was going to be executed, the women had two opportunities to buy spices after the time He was condemned to death and before they saw the open tomb. The first was anytime Thursday before sunset, and the other was Saturday evening after sunset when the second Sabbath ended. John 19:39-40 supports the earlier purchase, saying that Nicodemus and Joseph had 75 pounds of spices with them when they laid the Lord in the tomb. The fact that Mark 16:1 says that the women had bought spices, which implies some time before Sunday morning, gives further support to the early purchase.