The Gospel of the Kingdom

The Olivet Discourse

As I explained in the previous post a lot of Christians placed their faith in politics, people, and their hope in false prophecies regarding the reelection of Donald Trump.  Poor exegesis and perhaps no exegesis was the cause. Again, I did not want Joe Biden and I firmly believe that he and his administration represent abject evil. Still, God allowed it. He also allowed Nebuchadnezzar. As Christians, we need to depend on God and be guided by the Word instead of politics. Politics is the way of the world. Rather than viewing the times according to a new prophet with a new word from God we are commanded to study ourselves approved and rightly divide the Word of Truth. We are to view ourselves, the events of our lives, and the times in which we live through the lens of scripture.  Any serious study regarding the role of prophecy in the New Testament will quickly reveal that it involves Holy Spirit inspired preaching and teaching directly from scripture, not inspired additions to what is already written. That said, false prophecies are a mark of the end times.  So is persecution.  As for those who proclaim themselves to be apostles and able to operate in all the gifts, the qualification for such a title is given by Paul in 1 Cor 2 Cor 11. It involves being beaten, whipped, caned, shipwrecked, stranded at sea, starved, naked, thirsty, and robbed, considered a weakling, a fool, and persecuted by fellow believers, all the while being a servant to all and above all prioritizing one’s “deep concern for all the churches”. Martyrdom, not prosperity was their final reward.

Our Hope in Two Parts

We must understand that the Gospel message preached by the apostles was two-fold. The first was the Gospel of Salvation whereby Jesus conquered sin and death and made a way for all people to be reconciled to the Father by grace through faith that was in itself a gift so no one may boast. This is the meaning of Jesus’s words “It is finished”. The second was the Gospel of the Kingdom that remains to be fulfilled. Together they are Maranatha.  Jesus has come.  Jesus is coming. It was not a message of an earthly kingdom NOW, as even the apostles initially thought.  While the message was most certainly prophetic it had absolutely nothing to do with our prosperity or comfort in this life. Nor were the disciples consumed with themselves, their identities, or their own reflections as they imagined them to be in God’s eyes. Rather the Gospel of the Kingdom that they preached was an apocalyptic one rooted in the Old Testament, especially the book of Daniel.

So what time is it?

Jesus gives the disciples a near bullet-point outline of events leading up to the establishment of His Kingdom on earth in Mat 24 and the first part of what is commonly known as the Olivet Discourse.

He was extremely clear in answering the disciple’s question regarding the sign of His coming and the end of the age. He prefaced or book ended the outline by pointing to the Temple and saying,

“You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” Mat 24:1-2

That prophecy was fulfilled when the second temple was destroyed by the Romans under Titus in 70AD.

The outline begins in Mat 24:3

  • First He said to be careful that no one deceives you that many would claim to be “Christ”. It is important to remember that the Bible was not written in English.  Therefore we must not take our understanding based upon our English Bible versions for granted. Christ is Greek for “Christos” and means “anointed”. Consider for a moment how flippantly we toss that word around today. “They will deceive many” Mat 24:4-5. While anyone claiming to be Jesus today is sure to be dismissed out of hand, “anointed” also refers to those who presume themselves qualified to speak in His name.  Many claim to be anointed today. Many are being deceived.
  • Then Jesus describes the coming birth pains. War and rumors of war, nation against a nation. While we tend to read “nation” as “country”, nation translates to ethnos or people group. It is the word from which the English word ethnicity is derived. There will be pestilences e.g. plagues and locusts, etc., famines and earthquakes. Of course, all of these have continued throughout history and there are multitudes of false prophets who have tried to time the second coming accordingly. That is perhaps one reason why so many pastors today avoid eschatology completely. We know for certain that all of these have increased in scope and frequency since Jesus was crucified. It would appear that earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, forest fires, and storms, in particular, have increased in size and or frequency over the last several decades. Climate change activists warn of coming droughts and famines.
  • Then His followers will be hated, persecuted, and killed. This too has continued and is once again on the rise throughout the world today. One need only visit the Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors websites to see that global persecution of Christians is on the rise. More Christians have been martyred in the last century than on all previous centuries combined. Granted the severity of persecution in the US is nowhere near that of places like Iran, China, and Ethiopia to name a few. Yet given the admitted spirit and agenda of the current administration, its sanctioned organizations like BLM, ANTIFA, etc. and the growing negative public perception of Christians it’s not hard to imagine what could be coming soon.
  • And many will be offended, betray one another. I could be wrong but I am unaware of any other time in history when the Body of Christ has been so divided.
  • And hate one another.
  • Then many false prophets will deceive many.
  • And lawlessness will abound
  • And the love of many will grow cold.

It doesn’t require a statistician to see the exponential increase in these four in my lifetime alone. In addition to false teachings in the church, they are increasingly fueled by a post-modern and or neo-Marxist world view that eliminates the idea of objective truth and especially objective moral law. It is the same spirit of anti-Christ that resulted in the deaths of at least one hundred million people in the previous century alone. 

  • But those who endure will be saved.

The exact nature of that endurance is clarified in Rev 12:11

  • And (in the midst of all this) the gospel will be preached within all of the world as a witness to all Nations (ethnos, people groups) Please note the word “witness” does not refer to passing out tracks on a street corner. Witness means “Martyr”.

Then the end will come. Mat 24:15

This is the opposite bookend in the outline. The verses that follow further clarify what Jesus outlined here.

THIS IS IMPORTANT

You will notice that at no point did Jesus say the church will be evacuated (Raptured) and spared from the Great Tribulation. The truth be told the idea of a Pre-Tribulation rapture never existed before 1830.  Jesus was clear. The church must endure and the gospel will be preached amid, and as a result of, that enduring.  Those hungry for revival will be happy to know that a deep dive into Joel 2 will reveal that the greatest revival on earth will accompany the greatest tribulation the body of Christ has ever known.

Obviously, my flesh would prefer that the whole world came to Jesus amidst my own comfort and prosperity followed by a quick cloud ticket out before things get uncomfortable.

The fact remains that the gospel has always thrived the most amidst persecution.

In addition,

Tribulation, not prosperity is the seed of the Hope that does not disappoint. Rom 5:3-5

Suffering is part of God’s plan.

Keep in mind I am only sketching things out here.  Again, we know in apart and we all see as in a glass darkly. You might see things differently.  If so I’m happy, (actually excited) to look at any scripturally base argument that you (not a YouTube video) can provide.

Moving on…

“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),.then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains…” Mat 24:15-16

The New Testament was not yet written during the Apostle’s missionary journeys, let alone the book of Revelation. The Book of Daniel was their primary Gospel. Hence Jesus would have expected them to know what He was talking about. The abomination of desolation was in direct reference to Dan 9:27Dan 11:31, and especially Dan 12:11-12.

For those who love deep dives,

Dan 12:11-12 gives and the exact timeline for when the Tribulation will begin and end.  Contrary to popular belief, Mat 24:36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”  is not a broadly stated principle implying that Jesus could come at any time.  It specifically refers to the period between the end of the tribulation and the Dan 7 appearance of Jesus.  As for the tribulation itself, do the math.  1290+1335 = 2625×365 = 7.2 years. That is where we get the 7-year timeline for the tribulation.

– Suffice it to say that at some point the daily sacrifice will be taken away and the abomination of desolation set up. Dan 12:11 sets this time period at 1290 days or 3.5 years which according to my model would be the midpoint of the Tribulation. Those claiming that the A of D took place in Jesus’s day or the Dome of the Rock was it must ignore the context of Dan 12:11-12. The Dome construction was a six-year project completed in 691 AD. The daily sacrifice was taken away in 70AD. Even if we interpret a day as a year that leaves us with 621, not 1290. The only way the math works is if we take the week in Dan 9:27 to mean 7 years and “days” in Dan 12:11-12 as literal days. The only other option is that we are nowhere even close to the end and none of what I am saying matters. However, if  I am correct, the daily burnt offering will be re-implemented. It is alsoworth noting that Rabbinic law requires that the sacrifice be performed on the Temple Mount but not necessarily in the temple itself. At the very least a third altar needs to be constructed. It has. In fact, we saw a portable altar ready to be towed into place when we were in Israel. The problem is that Temple Mount is home to the Dome of the Rock which is a Muslim Mosque. Jews are forbidden to worship there even though it sits in the center of Jerusalem and the entire area is under the control of the Jordanians. 

Enter Donald Trump

Perhaps you heard of the Abraham Accords whereby President Trump brokered a deal that resulted in formerly hostile Arab Muslim nations making peace with Israel to include a realignment of powers that looks a lot like the Kings of the North and South in Eze 38.  (More on that later provided there is enough interest as this is already becoming a sermon outline.)

Perhaps more importantly, Saudi Arabia is now Israel’s ally and Jordan no longer has exclusive control over the Temple Mount. Saudi Arabia is the site of Mecca to which Muslims are expected to make at least one Hajj (pilgrimage) in their lifetime.  Therefore, in my opinion, the Temple Mount may be much less of a concern to them. 

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority has expressed concern over rumors that the Dome of the Rock will soon be replaced by a 3rd Jewish Temple. Of course, the Jewish Sanhedrin has been negotiating behind the scenes for years and preparing to begin construction within just days of receiving permission to return to the Temple Mount. Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in full support of this effort. 

My point here is that I am viewing world events through the lens of scripture.  The next event that believers should be watching for is not a miraculous restoration of traditional American values, as comforting as that would be, but the return of the Jewish people to the Temple Mount and the re-institution of the Daily sacrifice. 

At some point after that, the Anti-Christ who according to Ezekiel comes from Gog, which is somewhere in the area of present-day Northern Syria and Southern Turkey will be revealed.  He will be identified by the false peace in Dan 9 followed by the end of the daily sacrifice and the abomination of desolation. We can only speculate what that might be. Still, the back-to-back adjectives “abominable” and “desolate” imply that it will be pretty clear when it happens.

These two events mark the point where we can begin the 7-year count down.

What follows in Mat 24:16-28 pertains to details and instructions for Israel during the  Tribulation particularly in reference to Jer 30 and what is commonly known as The Time of Jacob’s Trouble. This will be the final and most severe chastisement of Israel such that if those days were not shortened no flesh would survive out of which the biblical, as opposed to the current self-appointed Remnant believers will emerge.

Mat 24:29-31 describes the return of Jesus and what many call the Rapture. This is in direct reference to Dan 7:13-14. Entire volumes have been written on this chapter in Daniel but suffice it to say that The Son of Man in Daniel is the Son of Man to which Jesus referred to Himself at least 78 times. It was His primary identity, declaration of His deity, and the main reason why the Jewish leaders wanted Him dead.

Mat 24:32-51 and Mat 25 provide more details regarding our preparation and response in parable form.  They are not separate events.

You may have noticed that I didn’t say a whole lot about the Book of Revelation here. The reason is simple.  It is the hardest to understand and characterized by the most insane and twisted interpretations of any book in the Bible. Hence a majority of eschatologically minded believers tend to be more concerned with avoiding the Mark of the Beast, than provoking the Jewish people to jealousy. The Book of Revelation is impossible to understand without a firm grasp of Old Testament end times prophecy.  Don’t even think about delving into Revelation without first understanding Daniel, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Joel, and Ezekiel for starters.

Finally, a correct understanding of eschatology is a fantastic evangelistic tool. Most people don’t want to hear they are sinners.  Almost everyone is interested in the End Times. That opens the door to the full Gospel message especially as we witness the fulfillment of end times prophecy.  A correct understanding of eschatology could also potentially determine whether a believer ends up in Heaven or Hell.  For example, I often wonder what might cause a great 2 Thes 2 falling away that would correspond with the man of perdition (the anti-Christ) being revealed?  What better cause could there be than a reported 71% of believers who currently adhere to a pre-tribulation rapture view suddenly, finding themselves left behind? What about those with a post-millennial view  committed to transforming the culture and “making earth great again” so Jesus can return?  What happens when everything they believed in and worked for is shaken and burned up and they face imprisonment and death? 

And you thought crushed MAGA dreams were bad?

Listen maybe I am completely wrong and the faithful will get a cloud ticket out of the tribulation? What do I know? After all, I’m only studying, not prophesying.  In that case, great! Apart from the last 16 years of being married to the most wonderful wife beyond anything I ever could have imagined, the majority of my time on earth has been brutal, full of tragedy, and heartbreaking. Maybe suffering is too much of a norm for me.  Or maybe I have a partial understanding of what Paul meant when he said,

To live is Christ. To die is gain.

I will continue to pray for the grace required to be faithful even unto death.

Maranatha!

God Chose Joe Biden

Now take a deep breath.

As reluctant as I am to risk sounding overly dramatic there are a few things I need to say here for the sake of context.  Since coming on the mission field, we have seen people shot and killed, run over by trucks, hacked to death with machetes, and children abused in ways I won’t mention. We have seen normalized poverty and suffering beyond anything most Americans can imagine. We have come to understand that suffering is and always has been the norm for most of the world. For the record, if you have the ability to read this then you are part of the less than 1%.

We have stared down the barrels of M-16s certain we were going to die. We have been present when an AK-47 was about to be unloaded on a crowd then miraculously broke in half before it could be fired. We ministered in the Amazon basin to Huaorani who had recently killed 19 Teromanane because they had kidnapped three Huaorani children and smashed the skulls of others on trees, then watched God orchestrate a miraculous reconciliation when a blood bath should have been the norm.  We’ve been surrounded by spear-wielding Shuar tribesmen at a roadblock. “Oh God no!” Oh please Jesus no!” our drivers exclaimed. Once again we were sure we were going to die only to be saved because our driver had recently introduced their chief to Christ. 

We trusted God and chose not to flee when it looked like Honduras was descending into civil war.

We did the same when Covid began, borders closed and the US state department said the last emergency evacuation flights were departing. We did the same when Eta hit and again during Iota. Once again we nearly died and were delivered instead. We lost everything we owned and became homeless then found the greatest blessing in that loss. We gave up careers, family, and prosperous life in Hawaii that most people only dream of because we endeavored to follow Jesus’s command to forsake all we owned, pick up our cross and follow him.

In the midst of all this, we have found the tribulation of Rom 5:1-5 and the patience of James 1:1-4  to be vital to understanding the word of God and God’s ultimate plan. We have walked all of this out in the context of Prov 3:5-6. We have had zero income for over four years yet God provides exactly what we need to survive just as He does for the birds of the air.  He guides us to whom we should serve and provides for them too.

The proverbial midnight hour is His favorite time to come through.

Contrary to the “name it and claim it” in the 1st world church, we have learned that the purpose of prayer is for us to align with God’s will – not His will with ours. We have learned that His will is best even when it seems to fail in our eyes and external circumstances appear tragic. We have learned that His will has little if anything to do with our comfort in this life. Any prosperity is always incidental to His purpose. Today we own almost nothing and we are more grateful than ever.  Still, when we look at the suffering that surrounds us we feel powerless, greedy, and spoiled.

We have it too easy.  We have too much.

We have learned that the Christian walk is NOT about our being blessed. Rather it is a stripping away of the desire to be blessed.  It is a burning up of all the fluff, our silly significance, our image, our performances, facades, and narcissism to reveal the body of death that hangs around all of our necks for which God gave His only begotten Son. 

We have come to understand that our life is not about OUR identity.

It’s about His.

Today we look at ourselves in the mirror and see that much dross remains, much that needs to be stripped, much in us that still needs to die. Being on the mission field just makes it easier to remember the reflection we saw after we walk away. We understand that this makes zero sense to those who presume to teach and promise Justice or Heaven on earth now. Ironically we have friends whom we love and who insist on preaching the very things we have already obediently rejected. The mere fact that we are alive today is a testimony of Jesus.

Still, I’m always a little afraid that people will read what I write, and get caught up in the drama of the tale, and focus on the deeds of man rather than the deliverance of God. Therefore I am compelled to remind you that I am a true off-scouring of all things, the guy who was delivered from 20 years of addiction amidst a suicidal charge at a man with a shotgun because I didn’t have the guts to do it myself. I abandoned my kids and came to know Jesus during a 5-year prison stint. I am the very definition of a weakling and loser.

I can’t even take credit for surrendering to Jesus because I was apprehended by Him.

I needed to write this in order to give context to the hard things I am about to say.

Many Christians placed their faith and hope in politics and the reelection of Donald Trump. For the record, I wanted him to be reelected and there was a part of me that wanted to believe the myriad Trump prophesies that guaranteed it. Not because I am a Trumpophile who believed he was a Cyrus like savior. I simply looked at his policies aside from his tweets and media spin. His policies supported biblically sound Christianity. That sounds honorable enough; right? Yet if I am brutally honest it’s because Trump’s policies made my life easier.

Biden’s policies Do Not.

While the “Trump prophets” spoke with convincing authority and conviction and people we love sent us video after video of them,  I had serious doubts because what God was supposedly saying to His alleged prophets wasn’t lining up with what God had already said in the bible.  

Amos 3:7 was foundational for those who wanted to believe in a prophetically declared Trump second term.

“For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.”

Ironically the book of Amos tells the story of Israel falling into idolatry and hypocrisy during a time of political stability and prosperity. 

Sound familiar?

And God said,

“I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps, I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters…” Amos 5:21-24

Paul acknowledged a gift of prophecy for comforting, encouraging, and exhorting. Yes, I am aware of Eph 4:11. However, I remain thoroughly unconvinced that an official office of Apostle and Prophet are valid today. We know a tree by its fruit. Many Trump prophecy adherents became obsessed and angry to the point of threatening violence toward those who would dare to question “God’s Prophets” and even the prophets themselves when they repented. Jeremiah Johnson received multiple death threats after he repented. That said, there are true biblical prophecies that have been fulfilled and whose accuracy is historically verified. Many still remain. However, nowhere in the New Testament are we commanded to submit ourselves to the authority of a contemporary prophet.

Rev 19:10 seems clear

“And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Jesus and Paul warned about a coming multitude of false prophets. What so many fail to realize is that we are not commanded to be seers and followers of seers. We are commanded to STUDY. Therefore a good rule of thumb is

The times NEVER determine truth. Rather the Truth illuminates the times.

While there is no doubt that Donald Trump was elected according to God’s will in 2016, the same biblical principle applies to the election of Joe Biden in 2020. Do I like it? No. But at the end of the day, it is God who establishes Kings.  Nothing on earth happens that He doesn’t cause or allow.

To say otherwise is to invalidate the sovereignty of God.

Any despondency on the part of Christians now is a result of unmet expectations, and in many cases, because they asked amiss James 4:2-4. They definitely failed to understand the times.  Jesus warned about this.  Interestingly He was rebuking the Pharisees  when he  declared “a wicked and perverse generation seeks after a sign.” Later in the same chapter, He warns about the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees who in addition to being the religious leaders of the day were also opposing political factions.  This is worthy of reflection in the context of those seeking after the myriad politically leavened Trump prophecies that have so damaged the witness of Christians today.

Bullwinkle and a contemporary seven sons of Sceva offered a prayer to their heavenly Father from the capital floor.

Am I saying that Christians should not be involved in politics? Of course not. I am saying the inane politicization of our faith rooted in bad exegesis and wrong eschatology has resulted in absurd alignments with controlled opposition like Qanon and other false prophetic movements. These may now be used as criteria for our identification and vilification possibly followed by our nullification and destruction.  That is exactly what the Nazis did to the Jews and Communists did to Christians during the previous century. 

Today we have friends and family along with as much as half of America that genuinely believes that white supremacy, Qanon, Proud Boys, Neo-Nazis, and Donald Trump, are true representations of Christianity. Now the media is selling people on the idea that the political left has the moral high ground and that Joe Biden and his WOKE neo-Marxist entourage will bring moral correction to white cisgender male-dominated alt-right Christian extremists.  And don’t try to change their minds. 

They’ve seen it in the news.

Replacement theology holds that the Jewish people broke their covenant with God when they crucified Jesus and therefore were rejected by Him. The church became the new Israel, and Christians, not Jews became God’s new chosen people. Its seeds were probably sown in Germany after the Protestant Reformation When Martin Luther copped a resentment and wrote “Set fire to their synagogues or schools, ”. Of course, he also chastised the Catholic church for its mistreatment of Jews. So who knows? Regardless of who started it, many Christians are unwittingly impacted by a false ethnocentric and contemporary nationalistic view of scripture. 

They mistakenly if not unconsciously correlate end-time prophecies about Israel with the USA. 

All other errors that result from the politicization of Christianity flow from there. Any belief that holds God’s ultimate plan to be about the USA, conservatism, and patriotism is just as aberrant as those who believe Jesus was a social justice warrior who came to oppose an economic and political system on behalf of minorities.

He came to conquer sin and death.

Let’s get something straight.

Replacement Theology is antisemitic and was the basis for Nazi theology.  The Nazis were not Christian. They were occultists masquerading as Christians in order to leverage the political influence of the church. Bad exegesis and eschatology on the part of believers permitted it. It is questionable whether the Nazis would have come to power all had there been enough biblically sound Christians making disciples. There Jesus covered this in Mat 7:21-23.  Still, there were true Christians amidst the Nazis like Deitrich Bonhoeffer, Corrie ten Boom, and Oskar Schindler to name a few.  In addition to 6 million Jews, there were countless other Christians numbered among the additional 5 million non-Jewish misfits that perished in Nazi concentration camps.  Interestingly one major attraction of the Nazi version of replacement theology was the promise of a “make Germany great again” type of blessing and prosperity under a human savior in accordance with Rom 13. Please do not misunderstand. 

I am not saying that Trump or Pro-Trump Christians are Nazis, or that simply loving one’s country makes one a Nazi. 

I am saying many are oblivious to the roots of the current exegetic and prophetic apostasy and the appearance of evil that the Bible commands us to avoid.

Lots of people and groups claim to be Christian today. But going to church and claiming to be a Christian do not in themselves make one a Christian. Many people exalted Trump as a prophesied “man of prayer”.  Still, we know a tree by its fruit provided we are willing to honestly look at the fruit. I have no doubt that Trump grew in his walk with Christ since 2016. Still,

Donald Trump is at best a baby born again believer.

Today the media is promoting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as devout Christians.

Yet the criteria for being Christian is determined by Jesus and the correct application of the words written in the Bible not its counterfeits, detractors, and abusers. Trump supported Christianity by supporting his Christian base, but Trump rarely talked or behaved like a Christian let alone a prophesied “man of prayer”. While Christians hung on every word that might be correlated with the Bible and held him up as America’s MAGA savior, Trump himself said that he’s never asked for forgiveness. That’s kind of important. Now a devout Joe Biden is financing global abortion and promoting transgenderism to name a few. It doesn’t matter if it’s a neo-Nazi, a neo-Marxists, a WOKE Christian, a modern-day Pharisee, a uni party Rebublicrat misrepresenting God for political gain, or a false for-profit prophet claiming God said things He never said. 

Any position or TEACHING that violates scripture is false and represents the same spirit of anti-Christ that blinds the world.

Rick Joyner is notorious for the prophetic. We’ve always liked him because he tended to look inward regarding things that need to change. Unfortunately, he bit the “Trump is God’s anointed” bait hard, went off the proverbial Richter, and started talking about a coming civil war led by veterans and members of law enforcement. That narrative resulted in the moderate left freaking out and an open door for extreme left opportunists like John Brennan.

No, the gun is not real. Someone photoshopped it in.  The point is that Joyner set himself up to be set up.

Recently Rick Joyner publicly repented.  Now he is saying that God told him Trump lost because America and especially God’s people did not turn from their 2 Chron 7:14 wicked ways. I didn’t need a prophetic word for that to make perfect sense to me.

2 Chron 7:14 has always applied to God’s people even though we consistently apply it to everyone but ourselves.

Ron Cantor said God told him in September that Joe Biden would win. He said the Lord told him that while His original plan was for Trump to serve two terms and that Trump supporters would ultimately provoke Trump to become more like Jesus,

Trump supporters became more like Trump.

The odds of flipping a coin to determine whether a politician will win or lose are 50/50 from the start. Those are better odds than day trading stocks where the odds begin at 33 1/3. In any case, guessing looks like prophecy or brilliance when you are right. If that sounds complicated the Bible simplifies it even more.  Deuteronomy 28 says if a prophet says “God said” and what he says does not come to pass then God didn’t say it. Do not listen to them.

We have a wagon load of false prophecy today. 

1 John 4:1 says Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Part of that testing involves discerning who is being glorified.  Is Jesus being lifted up or is someone else?  Are we more fascinated with the prophets we chase from meeting to meeting and conference to conference always in search of yet another feel-good word for or about ourselves?  We must ask ourselves, “am I really praying “Thy will be done”?  Or do I believe what I hear because they say what I want to hear?

Answering that requires some deep and potentialy uncomfortable honesty.

Today the Church has the false WOKE gospel with its neo-Marxist roots that make Jesus into an earthly political revolutionary. Most Christians don’t know it exists let alone its insidiousness. On the other hand, racism does exist. But instead of addressing it as an individual sin we have institutionalized it and are teaching a racially divided interpretation of the Gospel in direct opposition to Gal 3:28-29 and 2 Cor 5:16-19.

We are to regard no one after the flesh.

We have cheered the bombing of innocent people to hell in the name of American interests. We abhor our children are being offered up to Moloch in the name of women’s health but only a relative few do so in public. Instead of repenting, we are now moving to kill babies outside the womb. Meanwhile professing Christians and even pastors are giving their consent.  We are perverting the Imago Dei by sexualizing children, normalizing paraphilias, and following the exact path of reprobates that Paul described in Rom 1:18-32. Our silence guards our comfort.  

The Body of Christ is more divided than ever and our children are deconstructing in droves. Why? Because we taught them to idolize their IDENTITY rather than worship the sovereign God.  We have Interfaith, Chrislam, and the Perenialism of Oprah and Richard Rohr masquerading as the true gospel. We have the fake prosperity gospel and NAR pastors signing off on practices as insane as grave sucking and canceling racism by the authority of Gandalf. We have the Vatican siding with globalists, validating the New Age and denying the existence of Hell.  We have mega churches and billionaire pastors who rail against homosexuality while world-renowned ministers and heads of Christian Universities are living in sexual sin until they are caught and in some cases until they die. Many embrace the message that because Abraham was wealthy it is God’s will to make them wealthy while ignoring the words of Ezekiel.

“Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”

Finally, we have political prophets and the Qanon movement that promised a Storm that would culminate in a 3rd Great Awakening (a.k.a.. revival) ushered in by Donald Trump and led by John F Kennedy Jr. who is still alive.

It doesn’t matter if you can look at that list above and say “well none of that applies to me.” That’s not the point.  When God judges a nation he judges a body not just one part.

Ironically the aforementioned sins are the exact ones for which God sent Israel into bondage. That so many continue to proclaim Trump will still be President in 2021 as if he were a messiah and the USA were the fulfillment of the gospel of the Kingdom is the very reason why the left correlates Christians with Nazis, atheists call us crazy, people fall away, and God may have removed His hand from the USA.

I’m ok with being persecuted for righteousness’s sake but not stupidity.

Apart from the Jewish people, the Bible is clear that God has no national preferences Rom 2:11-16 Acts 10:34-35.  Granted some administrations and citizenry have been decidedly more Christian and God-fearing than others. Still, the fact remains that Jesus was not an American and the bible does not mention the USA.

Not even once.

The biblical story in a nutshell is God’s plan to redeem ALL of His fallen creation. That said, the story of His current emerging earthly government begins in Genesis with Jacob and ends in Revelation with the restoration of Israel and Jesus on the throne in Jerusalem. There’s a whole lot of tribulation in the interim. While it is the primary responsibility of the Church to preach the gospel of Salvation and the Kingdom with the hope of provoking the Jewish people to jealousy, the culmination of the kingdom story always was and always will be first and foremost about the Jewish people. The most significant final events will play out in Israel and the surrounding nations,- not the USA. 

Any other eschatological view will always result in some form of apostasy.

Listen, I love my country too. But the USA is not the center of HIS-story.  Many people point to Trump’s support of Israel as a reason why God put him in. However, as I will show in upcoming posts a sound scriptural argument can be made for a second Trump term being an impediment to God’s stated plan. It is a plan that gives a lot more reason to be hopeful than a little old MAGA plan.  Bottom line, nothing happens that God does not cause or allow. 

There is a part of me that genuinely grieves for those who are feeling so lost and confused and even in denial. But then the best thing I can do is to refer them to the first few paragraphs of this blog. “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” Not Prosperity.

Joe Biden is President. 

Kamala Harris is next line followed by Nancy Pelosi, Patrick Leahy, then Antony Blinken if something happens to him.

Things will become more clear when we stop asking “Why?” and start asking  “What?”

Jesus was extremely clear in answering the disciple’s question regarding what would be the signs of His coming and the end of the age?

Stay tuned for the outline in part 2

Maranatha!

Choose Your Hill

The likely duration of the devastation in Honduras is just starting to sink in following our outreach last week. The sense of powerlessness we felt as we passed miles and miles of tarp cities along the way is hard to describe.

1 min video no script just footage.

Meanwhile, Josh fell hard off a ladder and injured his shoulder. His arm is in a sling.  If that weren’t enough our ministry vehicle has big issues and 

We are grounded for a few weeks.

What to do, what to do?…

I know. How about we catch up on the news.

Errant Epistemology

As usual, our world is in turmoil over worldviews and politics.  As always there are many on both sides of the political sewer stream who believe they know the truth. Yet apart from hands on daily experience the only thing any of us really know for sure is the content of what we have been told or shown via some form of media. Like it or not most of what we consume only skews reality.  As a media creator myself I know that some of that skewing is inevitable. Some is by design.

Inevitable causes result from the emphasis being determined by the creator. If you watch one of my videos you inevitably see what impacts me. I want you to see and feel what I see and feel. That’s why I’m creating it. The greater my passion the more my own biases pass through the lens of your perception, world view, and life experience. You then draw your own conclusions and pass them onto others. The process goes on ad Infinitum.

On some level, every media consumer becomes a co-errant creator.

Skewing by design is intentional and may be used to honor or dishonor the subject.

Anyone who has been interviewed by me knows that I cut errors. Any hesitation, confusion, cussing, stuttering, or farting is removed such that even the most awkward and nervous subject looks like a seamless orator. I do this both for the sake of time and honor. The dark side of this is that people can be made to say things they never said.  All it takes is a simple switching of camera angles and adding b-roll to cover spliced clips.  For example, I could ask you what you thought about cockroaches in one question and what you think about puppies in the next then splice the answer to the first question onto the second and walla!  You have been transformed from a clean person into a genocidal puppy killer. 

Yes, it’s really that easy.

Viewing is skewing

The diminishing attention span and patience of viewers as well as the accelerated speed at which people scroll through SM messages requires videos to be shorter and shorter.  Advertisers know they have no more than 5-15 seconds to hook you or you will scroll through their message on your device.  That’s why they allow you the “Skip Ad” option. As a result, billions of people make instant and completely subjective decisions regarding truth and the nature of reality everyday based on media titles and headlines like “Trump Invokes Insurection Act” alone.

You don’t have the wisest serpent in the den to discern where this might lead.

What is True?

Four years ago on New Year’s Eve, we were en-route back to Kauai from Africa where we had attended the Iris Global Harvest School of Missions.

Africa was paradigm-shifting, to say the least.  We saw what it means to really lay it all down for the sake of the gospel.  We learned that while miracles and projects happen and doctrinal differences always arise, mission work a.k.a. Christianity begins and ends with intimacy with God and stopping for the one in front of you

Thankfully it wasn’t until we returned that we heard the myriad controversies regarding Heidi Baker. Like any famous person she is enshrined by some and bedeviled by others. Suffice it to say that anyone who has not personally encountered her on the mission field should stop talking.

The same applies to Christians talking about anyone’s character whom we only know via the media. As it turns out I have been duped too. Allow me to be the first to repent of this.

The entire body of Christ is comprised of fallen, cracked pots.

How easy it is to forget the brokenness that drew us to Christ in the first place.  Still, the body of Christ has had challenges with discerning and holding onto truth from the start. One minute the Corinthians are on fire for the gospel. Then getting rebuked for sexual immorality in next. 1 Cor 5 On a good day we prophecy in part, know in part, and see in a glass darkly. Therefore everything we do must be grounded in a love for one another that we model before others. John 13:35  Otherwise we become loud dystopic clangs in an already dying world. 1 Cor 13:1

There’s a lot of clanging today

I don’t know about you but I can be pretty fiery. It doesn’t take a whole lot of media viewing to stoke my stupidity and expose my deficits in this area.

Part of the problem is that our society has become an ocean of normalized narcissism where personal opinions and significance have become idols and are monetized by Social Media. Yup being angry at someone because they disagree with the ALMIGHTY ME is narcissistic. Calling for revolution or civil war is psychotic. It may be coming soon thanks to the new religion of

Self-aggrandizement and maligning others in the temple of the smartphone.

“The Social Dilemma” is an absolute must for anyone who has ever asked questions like “How could anyone believe the Marxist driven Portland riots were a peaceful protest” or “How could any Christian support a Nazi white supremacist homophobic rapist like Donald Trump?”

The answer is scarier than you might imagine.

About two years ago I wrote Truth or Trump where I discussed what I learned during my old Forex trading days regarding how media manipulates markets and political narratives for profit. I concluded that political rage is destroying the witness of Christians. In the Anatomy of Deception, I covered the economic theory of Reflexivity and what George Soros termed the Fertile Fallacy and the Manipulative Function by which he determines reality. These also drive markets, public opinion, and behavior. That all of the aforementioned entities are working together to reform humanity in the forge of social media is- well… terrifying.

“The Social Dilemma” was a proverbial capstone.

God and Government – Fear Not

While there are all sorts of typological analogies that can be drawn from the Old Testament regarding kings and kingdoms, it is God who establishes both in accordance with His disposition toward nations. Our God-given rights can only be revoked by Him.

His disposition toward Israel in Habakkuk 1 and Jerimiah 19 looks very different from Isaiah 45.

Hence He established both Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus.

Those who assume God didn’t establish Joe Biden and stand ready to redo 1776 should consider the almost prophetic words of John Adams in a letter to the Massachusetts Militia on October 11, 1798.

“We shall have the Strongest Reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned us by Providence. But should the People of America, once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another and towards foreign nations, which assumes the language of justice and moderation while it is practicing iniquity and extravagance; and displays in the most captivating manner the charming pictures of candor frankness & sincerity while it is rioting in rapine and insolence: this Country will be the most miserable habitation in the World. Because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition revenge or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

The operative question here is; do the words, “moral and religious people” describe our nation today?

If that gets you thinking then you might be ready to read The Killing of Uncle Sam.  Whatever you might think of Dr. Rodney Howard Brown’s controversial theology, he is writing as a historian. It definitely lends perspective to the words “turn from their wicked ways” in 2 Chron 7:14

“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

The bibliography alone is worth twice the price of his book. 

Many of problems we face today are largely a result of our nation’s collective obsession with Netflix and sports instead of history, civics, and sound Bible exegesis.  That two generations increasingly view what amounts to neo-Marxism as compassionate Biblically sound doctrine is a reaping of what we have sown.

Today we are in a very precarious position.

Everyone is being gaslit.

Everyone needs to question their epistemology.

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s … thick with evidence that a truth is not hard to kill and that a lie told well is immortal.” – Mark Twain –

Our desire for and self-proclaimed God-ordained entitlement to justice comfort and prosperity is the source of our undoing.  That’s the round about way of saying, “mammon kills!” Those are hard words but Jesus had hard words for those who should have known better. They are preserved for our edification.  He and the apostles preached and modeled a message of total surrender of everything but the gospel.  In the end, none but Judas backed down.  All were beaten and killed for preaching it.

They did so amidst the following political climate and under rulers whom they never once opposed on political grounds.

  • Herod Antipas imprisoned and beheaded John the Baptist in 28AD for criticizing his marriage.
  • In 37AD well known Caligula embarked on a reign of terror which included the execution of James and the imprisonment of Peter from which he miraculously escaped.
  • He was succeeded in 41AD by Claudius, who expelled all the Jews from Rome.
  • 62 AD saw Nero who blamed/set up Christians for the Great Fire of Rome in 64AD.  He is best known for burning Christians as human candles and sending them to their deaths in the amphitheater. Both Paul and Peter were executed by Nero in 66AD.  Nero committed suicide in 68AD and was succeeded by Vespasian, 69AD.
  • Titus destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem in 70AD. He died in 81AD and was succeeded by his younger brother Domitian.
  • Domitian continued to persecute Christians because they wouldn’t worship the Roman gods or sacrifice to the Emperor.  He exiled the apostle John to the  island of Patmos in 89AD

The Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount define our rights.

Here are some more hard words.

The gospel is not a call to political change, comfort, prosperity or even justice in this life. The Gospel is a call to die.

There is a poignant scene in the passion of the Christ where Mary is seen clutching fists full of the earth as her son is being nailed to the cross.  She rises from her knees in conjunction with the soldiers pulling the cross into its vertical position then opens her fists to release the earth as the cross drops into the supporting hole. No one including the disciples understood what was happening until after the resurrection.  The very act that brought eternal hope to the world emptied all of them of any hope they had in it.

All of us must get to this point.

Cathy and I often wonder how we and others would react to the crucifixion of our King if it happened today.

I suspect many would be calling for revolution and civil war.

Rev 13:10 is clear.

There is a lesson for America there.

As for us our heart and our hill are best described in the words Cathy recently wrote to a friend.

Bringing Hope in a dying world is our heart cry. That Hope on a starving person’s death bed is longer lasting than any hot meal. Of course, a hot meal is good and important too. But knowing that when they leave this world, even if they are all alone, that Jesus’ arms are open and, ready to receive them into eternity with Him is all that will matter then. That said, our prayer request is that this message of Hope will cross the language barriers, that Holy Spirit is active and Jesus is glorified.  That we will continue to hear and be obedient to God’s leading and that

His will be done!”  

Now might be a good time to pause from climbing the summit of success and define the hill upon which you are willing to die.

Maranatha!