Jesus’ order to “Go into all the world” means boots on the ground.
I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked and there before me was a white horse. Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. (Revelation 6:1-2 NIV)
Ever notice how some responses purposely deceive? Evasive answers surface in investigations because the truth incriminates. Since deception is meant to throw us off the trail, the answer will sound believable, but is it truthful? Once untruths happen in our church pulpit, we should question everything we have heard.
The rider in the important Revelation 6:1-2 passage (above) is an example. Many Christian teachers have said this is Jesus on the white horse. The illustration at the top is entitled “Jesus on White Horse with Bow and Arrow.” “Well it could be,” we say. “Western good guys, like the Lone Ranger and Zorro, rode white horses, so it fits a stereotype.”
“Is it Jesus?” This is a serious question with huge implications. Is stating “Jesus rides out” in Revelation 6:1-2 a desperate attempt to veil the rider’s true identity? Believing it is Christ can be only for one reason: Because we want to!
Utilize the “Major Rules of Bible Interpretation” to learn the facts. Is it “Jesus” because of his horse’s similarity with that of Revelation 19:11-16? Examine and compare. What does the rider in Revelation 19 have that the other is missing? Absent in Revelation 6:1-2 are crowns, many in fact, and eyes that blaze like fire. In 19:11-16, we have names signifying he is the glorified Christ. There are different weapons: the sharp, two-edged sword from Jesus’ mouth versus a bow.
“Is rider one Jesus?” The context of Revelation 6 shows four riders, not just one, and woes on the earth with each opened seal. Jesus does not fit the immediate context.
To resolve seeming conflicts, we gather all relevant Scriptures, then let the evidence speak for itself.
Imagine you have reviewed the above. Teaching on our subject is “an expert.” He confidently declares the Revelation 6:1-2 rider is Jesus. You raise your hand.
Teacher: “I’m sorry, I am lecturing. I do not take questions during my lectures.”
Student: “Excuse me, but this is a point of clarification. I want to be sure I understand what you just said.”
Teacher: “I thought I was quite clear. What don’t you get?”
Student: “From Chapter 5, we agreed that Jesus is the Lamb of God. Isn’t that correct?
Teacher: “Yes, but…”
Student: “In Chapter 6 the Lamb opens the first seal, and out rides the one you say is “Jesus.” Correct?”
Teacher: “That’s, uh-er, but…
Student: “Then, in 6:3, it reads, ‘When the Lamb opened the second seal…’ Please help me see how ‘Jesus the Lamb’ can open seven seals and ‘Jesus the rider’ be out conquering at the same time?”
Teacher: “What’s your name? See me after class.”
There is no substitute for common sense. Check the references in Matthew 24:4-5, 10, 22-26, and 2nd Thessalonians 2:9. Ask “who” might be behind the confusion about identities, then we will know the “why”.
Put Scriptures together and we see why those with a false message of “peace and safety” (1st Thessalonian 5:3) would like Christ’s followers misled. Any questions?
If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. (1 John 5:16 NIV)
Do not agitate the lion! What fool sticks his finger in the eye of the king? Will not such a thing be judged?
Since the time of the Roman Empire, laws have been made to punish anyone who does injury to the emperor, a monarch, or head-of-state. “Causing harm to a reigning sovereign,” is a rough translation of the French “lese-majeste.”
Thailand’s lese-majeste laws sanction anyone who defames or attacks the king, his queen, a regent or the heir-apparent to the throne. If guilty, sentences range from three to fifteen years per count, making Thailand’s lese-majeste laws the world’s strictest. I contend the weakness of democracies is an unwillingness to enact such laws.
Blasphemy is what God, the High King of Heaven, calls the act of defaming Him or diminishing His glory. For such an offense, do we know what His consequences are? There will be no forgiveness or mercy, since it is a treacherous act against a Holy God (Matthew 12:31).
Can you imagine the furor in America if a judge gave a three-year jail sentence for insulting President Trump or members of his family? Would that we could enforce lese-majeste! We could use at least some restraint. But, alas, I fear it is too late.
Our system of government appears bound for the ash heap. At the root of America’s great schism is “an absence of fear for God in particular or of authority in general.” Authority is being undermined by government leaders who demand respect themselves. Insolence and vulgarity, directed at the leader of the free world, cast a long shadow on the future of free speech.
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear God and shun evil. (Proverbs 3:7)
“No fear of God or authority” means we slander and think nothing of it. Each day brings fresh disrespect, threats, attacks and insults. There’s no fear because no one ever pays for the harm they do. So what results from all this? We have a general breakdown in authority resulting in increases in police officers shot, with many gunned down ambush-style.
It is no coincidence Satan worship is rising in popularity in the Western world. According to the late-Saul Alinsky, in his “Rules for Radicals” Dedication to Lucifer, the evil one is the original radical. Once a certain percentage commit to spreading lies, hate and discontent, a tyrant will eventually assume power. Look at the 20th Century successes of the revolutionary Communists and Fascists.
There is little doubt of what will replace what we now have, but failed to protect? Since God places rulers on their thrones, an attack on authority is a lese-majeste against the Most High. Read Romans 14, then, before it is too late, teach respect and pray for those in authority so that we all may live in peace.
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.)
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 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
“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.
Rule #4, The Five Major Rules of Bible Interpretation
Before truth is realized, all seeming Scriptural contradictions must be harmonized. – R. Van Kampen, The Sign, p.11
With knowing the rules comes our responsibility to use them. Perhaps this is why many long-time church-goers are hearing for the first time that rules for Bible interpretation exist. By acting like they do not, we only fool ourselves. As my good friend recalled: In Connecticut, where he once worked, there hung a sign: “Ignorance of the rules is no excuse!” The Lord’s Words are the supreme judge, even if we choose to discount them (John 12:44-48).
The enemy wants God’s people in the dark, especially about what is coming, so the devil casts doubt, spreads confusion, disinformation and fear, all through willing human agents. To cut through the fog around prophecy, we must have Light, the pure light of God. That entails using “The 5 Major Rules of interpretation” to remove all darkness from what God has declared.
A cloud has been cast on Matthew 24 by “Christian leaders” whom we have traditionally trusted. They earned our trust by teaching wonderful stories about Jesus. That is good in itself, but on the end times, whether duped or not, they practice deception.
Here’s an example where many are badly misinformed and where the failure to utilize Rule #4 has played to Satan’s advantage: It focuses on the two future events, “the rapture and Jesus’ return.”
The scenarios presented to Christians cover the gamut. They range from “Our Lord can come any moment” to “not until after the seven years of tribulation” or “not at all, not in a physical way” at the other end of the spectrum. (By “not at all,” I refer to teaching that states Christ’s return to reign is allegorical or “not to be taken literally.” See “Rules of Interpretation,” Rule #1.)
For over a century, the extreme positions of “any moment” or “imminent” vs. “allegorical” or “non-literal” have battled it out for “Most Popular.” Did it ever occur to either side in this debate that the truth may lay in the middle? Instead of regarding those with whom we disagree as the enemy, could we sit down in love, then apply “The Rules of Interpretation” to harmonize (bring together) positions. It is possible, but only if truth is the goal. Since I have experience with both sides, I am willing to mediate. If one side or the other breaks a rule of interpretation, we will disallow that argument. The contest ends when irrelevant arguments are removed from consideration and all relevant information is on the table.
It is like marriage counseling; help is available but only if each partner is willing to seek some middle ground. Egos must be put aside or we will never know that a third, more logical option is waiting. When all evidence is presented, harmony will be realized
The false dichotomy of either Jesus’ teaching on the Mount of Olives was “not to be viewed as literal” vs. it was “to be taken literally but only by Jews” become irreconcilable differences, and that is how the devil wants it.
Next: In our search for harmony, can we move to the unshakeable ground of Biblical truth on the timing of the rapture? Yes, but only by following the rules.
They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. – Jesus, Matthew 24:30b-31 NIV)
At the outset we wrote that a serious charge has been leveled at Matthew 24. This verbal assault on the credibility of Jesus’ teaching was launched years ago from noted sources within the Christian community. Since there was no decisive response, the charge has taken on a life of its own.
It has been asserted that Matthew’s Gospel was exclusively written to Jews. It is time this argument is put to rest.
Deceptions like this about Matthew 24 plus the application of the Five Major Rules of Bible Interpretation to combat the many false narratives are the subjects of our series. The internet has numerous links like those that maintain “the prophecy in chapter 24 does not apply to the saints.” Part of the evidence, in their words, is, in Matthew 24, there is no mention of “the Church.” Therefore, they say, the Church has been taken up in the rapture before Jesus prophesies on the Mount of Olives. Does that also eliminate the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, from our consideration. There’s no mention of “the Church” in that passage either.
The nature and seriousness of this accusation against the integrity of a vital Bible prophecy deserves our full attention and a thoughtful response. First, we examine Rule #4, “Before truth is realized, all seeming Scriptural contradictions must be harmonized.”
As seen by the video link, those arguing the charge also state lengthy plausible cases. What is missing, however, is what Rule #4 is about: We do not hear an attempt to “harmonize the Scriptures” that seemingly conflict with their argument. Their words sound like they come from lawyers rather than truth-seekers. All the evidence needs to be laid on the table before conclusions are reached. (The previous posts in the series help serve that purpose.)
Utilizing the previous rules, we come to Matthew 24:30-31 (see above). “And he [the Son of Man] will send his angels with a loud trumpet call [refer to 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Mark 13:26-27, Luke 21:25-28] and they will gather his elect from the four winds…
“Plain meaning,” “the context of the verses,” “comparing Scripture with Scripture” and now the attempt to “harmonize any contradictions”–let’s play by the rules! We ask, “Have God’s elect (‘the Church’ by their definition) been raptured prior to Matthew 24:31, Mark 13:26 and Luke 21:25-28?” The harmonized evidence clearly shows this is the one and only “taking up of the chosen” to meet Christ in the air! There should be no argument. The only way any support or argument exists is to ignore the rules of interpretation and the rules of evidence.
There is much more proof. I encourage you to read Lifesaver and The Prophets, Priests and Kings Series or Robert Van Kampen’s The Rapture Question Answered: Pure and Simple.
Anyone who says that what Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24:30-31 cannot be the rapture (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) has a bigger problem than their integrity. They have an issue with Jesus (John 12:47-50, Revelation 22:18-19).
Truth is the goal, yet truth is not dependent on how skillful one argues. jf
As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom. (Daniel 7:21-22 NIV)
“In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue will arise… He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.” (Daniel 8:23, 25)
Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me… Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:9, 12-13)
Starting with “Deception Surrounding Matthew 24” this series is intended to alert God’s people to a diabolical attempt to deprive them of prophetic truth. If that scheme fails, the evil one desires to distract the elect or lull them to sleep so Jesus’ warnings go for naught (cf. Luke 21:34-36).
Most Christians assume all will be fine, so they are woefully unprepared. All will not be fine (cf. Mark 13:3-23). We have been fed a diet of fake news while being denied the truth. As a result, we have focused on clever stories taught by men (2 Peter 2:1-3). If that is not the work of the Destroyer, then what is?
For example, a recent warning by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was issued and submitted to the U.S. president. It stated that Americans need to prepare for a “profound” EMP emergency. A summary was published in The Washington Examiner in an article “Start Prepping Electric Grid Prime Target.” So why was this very real emergency ignored by the same media that inundates us with dire warnings about climate change and the Trump Presidency? Is there a scheme to literally keep us in the dark?
We argue irrelevancies while truth goes wanting. The fact is that we are being set up. The enemy will have many trust in a false savior (i.e. “the man of lawlessness”) by keeping us ignorant of the plain warnings of prophecy. We are being fed baby food from the pulpit while we have not had 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12 “The Rebellion, the Revealing of the Antichrist and the Coming Great Delusion” faithfully explained. Why not? I smell a rat!
Scripture offers three witnesses. (See above.) Each testifies to a coming time of great distress for God’s saints and to the glorious salvation Christ brings them thereafter. Their context is identical and each passage speaks of the saints at the end of this age. Each warning is articulated by heaven’s representative, so their authority is unassailable. If we employ Rule #3 of our 5 Major Rules of Bible Interpretation, “Comparing Scripture with Scripture,” we will have confidence that our interpretation is an absolute certainty. If we apply the other four rules, it will be unshakeable.
Knowing our understanding is accurate has nothing to do with “an expert’s agreement”. Our interpretation is entirely objective. When we apply the rules and arrive at truth, we learn that so-called experts are not needed.
The truth eagerly submits to rugged examination based on the rules. On the other hand, the “inventors of clever stories” act as if the rules do not exist or they are above them. They insist we should believe their fabricated tales. It is a fallacy of logic to suggest that because much of what a teacher says is true then everything else they state is also. Comparing Scripture is an indispensable step in the process if we are to firmly grasp what will surely take place.
Next time: We examine another major deception involving Matthew 24.