Is it the End of the World?

Is it the End of the World?

Worldview?

posted by jfletcher

A lot of Christian ministries that propose to teach “biblical worldview” disregard what we know as the Old Testament, at least in the context of the story of the Jewish people and Bible prophecy.

In many circles today within Christendom, the study of Bible prophecy is not only lightly regarded—it is marginalized. Many pastors claim that it is “controversial” (what is the Gospel, then?). I suspect they are more embarrassed than anything else. For quite some time, seminary professors and highly visible Christian leaders in America have at least insinuated that “careful thinkers” have moved beyond a “literal, wooden” interpretation of Scripture.

What they really mean is that they want to take personal Bible study out of the hands of the common man and create a sort of evangelical papacy, in which scholars and high-profile teachers can tell us what it means.

In reality, such teachers reject the Bible’s predictive prophecy because they do not like the reality of a sovereign God. Rather than interpret prophecy as history written in advance, they consider it merely history.

Although we constantly hear propaganda to the contrary, the Bible is really not that hard to understand.

For example, a ubiquitous theme through the Hebrew Scriptures is the return of the Jews to their ancestral land, after a long period of exile. Although many scholars attribute these passages to the return from the Babylonian exile in the sixth century B.C., too many details simply don’t fit that scenario. They do fit an end-times scenario. In Isaiah 11:11 (attributed to the Babylonian exile, but notice the phrase “the second time.”) we read:

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.”

If this return refers to the Babylonian exile, the pagan country due east of Israel, why do we see that the Jews are returning not only from what we know today as the Mediterranean Basin, but from “the islands of the sea”? Does this not fit the modern historical record with remarkable exactness? The Babylonian exile was the return from exile in Babylon, period.

Today, millions of Jews from virtually every country in the world have come back to their ancestral land.

The critics of Bible prophecy are attempting to create an alternate reality. They want to live in one devoid of a God who tells us the end from the beginning.

Do yourself a favor: read the Old Testament with these ideas in mind. What do you come away with?

Judgment

posted by jfletcher

“But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.
“And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.” (Isaiah 49:25,26)

In an age of extreme skepticism, the Bible is often mocked as being outdated, irrelevant, or a mistake-ridden mishmash of myth and xenophobic propaganda.

Actually, it claims to be the very Word of God, and just one of the ways in which it is self-authenticating is in its remarkable consistency of fulfilled prophecies.

With the death of Osama bin Laden, we are able to see the continuation of God’s judgment on those who oppress the Jews. The Pharaoh of the Exodus, Babylonian kings, the Assyrians, the Romans…as Mark Twain said, all sit in twilight now. Those great, ancient, dead civilizations join Hitler, Stalin, and certain jihadists in death.

In Scripture, the Lord says that He will feed the enemies of the Jews their own flesh. They will go down to destruction.

This week proves the durability of that narrative.

Not All Enemies Are Enemies

posted by jfletcher

In the War on Terror, and for those of us who “side” with the good guys, it’s important to remember that there are good people in the Arab world.

An AP story that appeared in USA Today brought this truth to light. As the barbaric police state of Bashar Assad’s Syria cracks down/murders its own citizens who protest the regime, there is light and hope.

In a recent bloodbath in the southern city of Daraa, members of Syria’s 5th Division first refused to fire on civilians and then protected them from fire from other units. This is highly significant and cause for celebration.

In a world gone mad, it’s nice to see that people in the world’s hotspots can and do practice humanitarian gestures.

Let’s pray for the people of Syria, in particular the citizens of Daraa, and specifically for those men in the 5th Division.

  • To read about the death of a Christian Pakistani in retaliation CLICK HERE
  • CLICK HERE to read how Christians in Nigeria and Pakistan are worried
  • How should Christians react to bin Laden’s death? CLICK HERE to read several thoughts
  • To watch the video of the President’s statement, CLICK HERE
  • READ HERE as Beliefnet’s Jim Fletcher asks if all Muslims are evil
  • To consider the heart-felt thoughts of Debbie Lee, mom of the first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq, CLICK HERE
  • CLICK HERE to read bestselling author Linda Howard’s reaction
  • To consider the thoughts of Beliefnet’s Kirsten Jackson, CLICK HERE
  • CLICK HERE to watch the reaction of New Yorkers at Ground Zero
  • CLICK HERE for photos and the text of the President’s statement
  • To read the reaction of Beliefnet’s Ryan Gaffney CLICK HERE
  • CLICK HERE to read Beliefnet writer Donna Calvin’s reaction
  • Beulah Land, Sweet Beulah Land

    posted by jfletcher

    “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.” (Isaiah 62:4)

    Generationally, I sit between people who survived the Depression, and those who no longer need wristwatches because they have smartphones.

    I thought about this tonight as I turned off the Bose playing Jack Johnson and decided to watch “Classic Gospel: Ryman Gospel Reunion,” hosted by Bill Gaither. The program was a few years old—Vestal Goodman and J.D. Sumner were still with us. Other artists with arcane names, such as Squire Parsons, gave me a warm feeling, as I recalled “simpler times.”

    One of the songs featured on this special was “Beulah Land,” written by Edgar Page Stites and John R. Sweney. As with so many things going on in our world today, it reminded me of Bible prophecy.

    “Beulah Land” was a name coined by the prophet Isaiah in the eighth century B.C. Its use comes late in the biblical book of Isaiah, and refers to the Land of Israel.

    Some commentators attribute this passage to the Jews’ return from the Babylonian exile, which indeed occurred a few centuries later. However, I would argue that the Beulah Land passage is looking far ahead in time, to the Messianic Age. Notice in Isaiah 62 that Jerusalem will be “a praise in the earth.” The Jews are referred to as “the holy people” and the “redeemed of the Lord,” with Jerusalem being “a city not forsaken.”

    If one reads the Old Testament, one of the recurring themes is the restoration of the Jews to their ancestral land, for a final time. This is what some refer to as “the Messianic Age” and others, particularly evangelicals, call “the last days.”

    Certainly in the past, Jerusalem has been forsaken many times, and the Jews have been maligned and certainly not held in esteem. That will change, according to Isaiah.

    Although “the Holy Land” today is in unrest, and the Arab-Israeli conflict seems to have enveloped the whole world, we are promised by God that one day, all will be made right in the world.

    What a sweet promise tonight, coming on the heels of the sweet memories of the gospel program. Truly, the days we think of as simpler were probably not better. Bible prophecy tells us that better and sweeter days are ahead.

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