Love Never Fails

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Galatians 5:6b NIV)

On consecutive days last weekend, a large group of Americans turned out in different cities to demonstrate for what they believe in. The March for Life on Friday, the 18th, saw tens of thousands support the right to life for the preborn. Self-interest was not the motivation for the many who traveled the long distance to brave the cold in the nation’s capital.  Love was the reason.

Saturday, the 19th, witnessed massive numbers of women marching in major U.S. cities. Female celebrities’ speeches and the signs carried a message that no one would confuse with love. If love was their motive, they would have been in D.C. on Friday, standing for their unborn sisters.

The love on Saturday was the fawning media’s coverage as opposed to media’s involvement in the hatred that boiled over for students of a private catholic school in Covington, Kentucky. Seems that a fake news story about a group of the school’s teens at Friday’s event stirred hatred and threats from across the country, so many in fact, that the school needed armed-guard protection for classes this week.

In the Crosshairs

So where’s the love? Love is in the crosshairs because those who preach about tolerance also shout hate. Today Jews and Catholics are publicly despised, but tomorrow it will be all who call themselves Jesus’ followers. Fear not dear Christian brother and sister, because love never fails.

Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:6-8a)

To commemorate the life of a man who knew full well about violence, the recent M. L. King annual holiday was celebrated in America. Who better than Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. understood what was provoked by exposing hypocrisy and a demonstration for equal justice under the law? For Dr. King, his actions provoked an assassin peering through the crosshairs and pulling a trigger. This giant-figure in American history also understood love’s power, because he saw it overcome hostile threats, fire hoses, police brutality and ignorance, to change minds. In speeches, Dr. King exhorted the faithful, since it was natural to grow weary in the struggle. He often put it like this:

“You can beat us with clubs, burn our churches, attack us with your dogs, and put us in jail but we will still love you. Yet be assured of this, we will wear you down with our love.”

Change comes at a price

Hearts are only changed by love, but for hate to be defeated a price must be paid. The Covington Catholic students now know something about that.

For love to shine, hate must be exposed.

Love walked with three young Hebrews in the fiery furnace. Love shut the lion’s mouth. Love hung on a cross. Irresistible force that it is, love never fails. (Quote from unknown source.)

Deception Surrounding Matthew 24

Since a king’s word is supreme, who can say to him, “What are you doing?” Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. (Ecclesiastes 8:4-5 NIV)

To illustrate that some deception is a learned skill, our picture (above) is of a magician ready to pull a surprise out of his hat. The craft is called sleight-of-hand. After a seasoned magician’s illusion, we typically ask, “How did he do that?”

As with other crafts, magicians are usually mentored. In Charles Dickens’ novel “Oliver Twist,” the mentor Fagin worked with The Artful Dodger and other urchins training them to walk London’s streets and to stealthily remove a wealthy man’s pocket of its valuables. Fagin, more than anyone, knew such things must be taught. Skills like pick-pocketing are not naturally acquired.

So it is with the type of deception surrounding Matthew 24. It was not naturally acquired. Taking what we read at face-value is natural and what Jesus intended. Mentoring is necessary to promote an “any moment” rapture since there is no plain, “face-value” way to support it with Scripture. Skill and craftiness are mandatory, if one is to declare Jesus’ Matthew 24 prophecy is irrelevant to Christians.

The same applies to those who teach The Olivet Discourse is not meant to be understood as literal end time prophecy. Naturally, if one is taught to take the Gospel’s preceding and following chapters literally, then Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 (The Olivet Discourse) should be understood literally as well or so one would think. Literal is natural. If the plain sense makes sense then we have the right sense. Beware of teachers who proposes something other than common sense, no matter how clever it sounds.

The same scrutiny that we may give a magic act or a card trick needs to be directed at those who speak for God concerning prophecy. In Matthew 24:4, Jesus warned, “Watch out that no one deceives you!” The Lord’s specific warning was about cunning deceivers in the last days who loudly claim that He is the Christ. Many will be tricked or victimized. With a magician we know they are performing an act, with false teachers and false prophets we will not know it was a skillful performance until it is too late.

Taken alone, this post may be confusing. It would be worth it to review from the beginning. In our 10-part series, we have attempted to expose the most common tricks used to turn saints away from Jesus’ clear foretelling of future events.

Knowing the “5 Major Rules for Bible Interpretation” and slowing down the verbal sleight-of-hand is the key. It is my fervent hope that this blog’s readers will examine the preceding articles and be forearmed against Satan’s deception in the last days.

“Let the reader understand” -Jesus, Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14

If this series has done nothing but educate on the Major Rules of Bible Interpretation then I have done my job.

We are here to help. Your insights are always welcome.

Rule #5, The Five Major Rules

Rule #5, The 5 Major Rules of Bible Interpretation

“Watch for near/far prophetic applications in Scripture.”

We have been warning readers about popular Christian teachers who are attacking Jesus’ prophecy. From both extremes of the “how to interpret Matthew 24″ issue, we have anxious Christians. Individuals on both sides are deeply concerned about America’s political drift from a long-held tradition of economic liberty toward socialism. They say, “Where has socialism ever worked? Show us when a government takeover of commerce has ever benefited the people it promised to help?” Their argument is called “an appeal to history.” God also says, “Look at history!” Rule #5 is an example.

Where is His-story largely told but in the Old Testament. Rule #5 encourages believers to look for “near/far prophetic applications” in the account of God’s people. The “near” is a past model for what is promised in the future. The “far” shows that if He can do it once, God will do it again–but next time for the world to see.

The LORD is faithful to all his promises. (Psalm 145:13b NIV)

God’s angel spoke to Daniel while in Babylon. The prophet described the “near” and “far” warning signal for Israel.

“The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood… He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple, he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” (Daniel 9:26b, 27).

As our savior, the Lord recorded the “why” “what,” “when” and “where” in Scripture. The “why” is “destruction will be poured out” on Jerusalem. The “what” was “the abomination that causes desolation,” the “when” was “near” while the “far” was halfway into the last seven years. The “where” was inside the temple’s courts.

Centuries after Daniel’s prophecy, Antiochus Epiphanes appeared, ruler of the Greek-Syrian Empire. After sacrificing a pig on the sacred altar, this antichrist-figure proclaimed himself to be God, placing his image inside the temple (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:4).

Those privileged to have the Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek version of Daniel’s prophecy, but ignored it, paid with their lives. (See The Apocrypha’s 1st and 2nd Maccabees). Eighty thousand died, forty thousand violently, while another forty thousand were taken into slavery.

Two hundred years later, Jesus said that Daniel 9:26-27 was a sign of His coming and of the end of the age. Those throughout the world choosing to reject it, will do so at their own peril.

Jesus said, “Let the reader understand:” Readers of the Scriptures, The Book of the Law and the Prophets and The Old Testament. Many others have Matthew, Mark and Luke. Failure to take the Lord seriously will result in a mass execution of Jew and Gentile.

Those like Judas Maccabeus who in 168 B.C. fled to the mountains, lived to tell what happened. He read and understood. Naysayers who discouraged taking Daniel’s prophecy to heart, tragically, were unprepared. They stood around like frozen statues waiting to die. It will be just like that again, only the massacre and ensuing time of great distress will be global. Take heed.

Next: A short series summary

Deception Surrounding Matthew 24

“So when you see standing in the holy place, the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel–let the reader understand–then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”   From Jesus Olivet Discourse, Matthew 24:15-16 NIV)

Our mind often submits to our will and accepts the lies it prefers to God’s truth. For example, if we fear a time of great distress, then we will seek an alternative explanation of last day’s events. If we are determined to choose a path other than the one God provided, what do we think will happen?

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. (Proverbs 14:12)

Our series about Matthew 24 and the “The 5 Major Rules for Bible Interpretation” is vitally important, since it informs God’s people that deception has infiltrated a key prophetic teaching of Jesus. As a result, many Christians cannot accurately speak on the sign of Christ’s coming and of the end of the age.  All this despite having Bible translations that cannot lead to a meaning other than the one God intended.

In Jesus’ warning (see top of page), he offers the signal God has prepared for his saints. The hard labor of childbirth will suddenly come on His people; they must immediately evacuate and flee to a place of safety. Yet, the “any moment rapture” teachers would have Jesus’ followers believe this will not apply to them. According to their doctrine, before the time of great distress, believers will have been taken to heaven. According to their teachers, Jews in Judea, not the Church, are those for whom the warning is intended–or so they say.

“Watch for near/far prophetic applications in Scripture.” Rule #5, “The Five Major Rules of Bible Interpretation”

A huge, insurmountable problem with the “imminent, any-moment Jesus returns” argument is that their advocates have ignored the above rule, as well as others. It is the same on opposite ends of the last day’s argument. They both apply the above rule to some things (such as Jesus’ first coming as a baby in Bethlehem), yet brush it aside in any discussion regarding Jesus’ second coming. The sad part is that long ago no one called either side to account for breaking the rules. Now it looks like millions who could be saved, will die.

It is ironic that what opposing “any moment” and “allegorical, non-literal or already happened” teachers actively promote, has already reaped catastrophic consequences.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana, The Law of Repetitive Consequences 

If only God’s people knew history. Eighty thousand who lived in Jerusalem and Judea were slain by the sword of a Gentile king. Forty thousand including pregnant women, nursing mothers, infants and children, suffered a violent death. Another forty thousand were spared but carried away to serve as slaves. It was because they ignored God’s warning written into prophecy. Did they even know Daniel’s prophecy? Were the “educated” dismissive of the prophet? Those who lived to write about it, fled to the mountains at the first sign of the abomination that causes desolation. 

In our last segment, we will examine the catastrophic events of 168 B.C. and the near fulfillment of prophecy that concerns the last days.