JESUS, AND THE THIRD TEMPLE

Rooted and Grounded In Christ

The anticipation of the building of athird templein Jerusalem ismounting as many evangelical Christians look to the Middle East, persuaded that such a temple will eventually become the center of a futuristic reign of Christ.

Those who embrace this view may be surprised to learnthat God has never requested, or desired a permanent house made with human hands.

In Acts 17, the apostle Paul preaching at Mars Hill, to the men of Athens, said the following:

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things… ~ Acts 17:24-25

In scripture, the first temple (aka Solomon’s temple) was build as a result of a desire in David’s heart to…

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ARE YOU TRULY READY FOR THE COMING OF CHRIST?

No other topic stirs more debate among Christians than that of the end times and the coming of the Lord. People are infatuated with the ideas of the rapture, the antiChrist, the mark of the beast, the millenium, and the signs of the times leading to the ultimate climax of life as we know it.

While the Bible does give us glimpses into future events, I think too many have missed the most constant message about the coming of the Lord given to us in the New Testament, which is the call to godliness in expectation of the appearance of Christ.

Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. ~ 2 Peter 3:13-14 

Throughout the New Testament the theme of preparedness can be seen over and over again in view of the coming of the Lord. Oftentimes, preparedness is preached to the unbeliever with sayings such as, “Jesus is coming, are you ready.” However, the message of preparedness in the New Testament is not a message aimed at unbelievers. It’s aimed at believers.

And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. ~ 1 John 2:28

From the Olivet Discourse given by Jesus in the gospel accounts until the final chapter of the book of the Revelation, the theme of living righteously and godly in expectation of the coming of Christ is repeated over and over again.

In his Olivet Discourse, Jesus says the following:

Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. ~ Matthew 24:45-51

In the book of the Revelation Jesus says, Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. ~ Revelation 16:15

Unfortunately, too many Christians (especially evangelicals in the West) have corrupted their faith with political ideas of Christian nationalism. Instead of taking seriously the call to be pure at the coming of Christ, they react to conspiracies which take advantage of their end time ideas such as labeling certain aspects of politics as part of an antiChrist system. End time beliefs without obedience to the call to godliness results in the manipulation of Christianity for politicians, who arouse Christians to a type of “political holy war” for their own selfish gain.

Yet the Bible teach us that we are to follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord ~ Hebrews 12:14

This is evident in Paul’s exhortation to the Thessalonians:

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: to the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. ~ 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

Why is it important that our heart be established unblameable in holiness before God at the coming of the Lord? It is because real faith is not a one time believing experience which has no fruit of godly living. Real faith in Jesus is lived, and when Christ appears at his coming we will be rewarded not for a moment in time when we once believed the gospel, but for the endurance of our faith in Christ.

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls...Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ… ~ 1 Peter 1:7-9, 13

There is not a shred of evidence that can be presented that the New Testament teaches that a person can have a conversion experience and then live a life of ungodliness and be Ok when the Lord comes. In fact we are told to put away the traits of the old life of sin in view of the coming of Christ.

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:.. ~ Colossians 3:4-6

Notice that Paul tells the Collossians to modify the impulses to sin that are in the flesh because of the coming of Christ. Consider also Paul’s words to the Christians in Rome:

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. ~ Romans 13:11-14

Again and again, the message in the New Testament is to put away sin in expectation of the coming of the Lord. While many have the idea that since they were once saved by the grace of God, God will overlook a life of ungodliness when Christ returns, the Bible says otherwise:

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. ~ Titus 2:12-15

According to the apostle Paul the grace of God that brings salvation teaches us us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in expectation of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. How can we expect to be saved by grace if we deny the teachings of grace?

The Christian life is not a sprint, it is a marathon, and we are called to lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us… Hebrews 12:2. We are to run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. ~ Hebrews 12:2

Notice that it is “with patience” that we run our race. Yet patience is often the one attribute which is the least desired by believers, but Jesus said, “in your patience possess ye your souls.” ~ Luke 21:19

The apostle Peter speaks of the trial or testing of our faith being rewarded at the appearance of the Lord, and James tells us that the trial of our faith works patience, but James does stop there, he tells us to let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. ~ James 1:4

Nothing prepares the believer for the day of the Lord like patience.

In his letters to the Thessalonians, Paul mentions patience in context to the coming of Christ: And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:5

Have you ever given any serious attention to that verse? Have you sought to allow the Lord to direct your hearts into both the love of God and the patient awaiting for Christ’s return?

James says something similar to Paul’s words to the Thessalonians: Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. ~ James 5:7-8

God is a patient God and he calls his people to be patient. This is evident in Peter’s words concerning the coming of Christ:

This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night… ~ 2 Peter 3:1-10a

The concept that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day is sometimes often thought of in view of eschatological timelines, but the context is the patience of the Lord. The Lord is long suffering and does not want anyone to perish, and neither should we. We are called to live in a manner which adorns the doctrine of godliness, holiness, and righteousness and this should be our pursuit in this life as await the coming of the Lord.

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things (the things which have to do with the love of money); and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: . ~ 1 Timothy 6:10-14

Notice that Paul tells Timothy to follow after (pursue) righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, & meekness. Paul instructs Timothy to do so without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is a command we should all take to heart.

With that said, are you truly ready for the coming of Christ?

DID JESUS SUFFER IN HELL?

Rooted and Grounded In Christ

Jesus came in the flesh and redeemed us with his precious blood through the offering of his body for our sins. After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples and said, Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.  ~ Luke 24:39

The book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus took on flesh and blood to redeem us.

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the…

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THE EGREGIOUS ERRORS OF HYPER PRETERISM

Rooted and Grounded In Christ

Those who embrace hyper Preterism err egregiously in that the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70 becomes their Biblical hermeneutic. This results in very faulty theology in other Biblical truths such as the blessed hope of the coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, eternal judgment, the new heavens and new earth, etc. Some of them go as far as to deny the existence of Satan.

The destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70 must be understood in view of the whole counsel of scripture rather than the whole counsel of scripture being interpreted through the lens those events.

HYPER PRETERISM REJECTS A FUTURE COMING OF CHRIST.

Hyper Preterism claims that Christ already came in 70 A.D. when Jerusalem was besieged and the Temple was destroyed. The words of Jesus concerning the events of 67-70 A.D. from the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24) are interpreted…

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ANTICHRIST

Within western Christianity the concept of an antichrist is often linked to the political views of those within the church. This is especially evident among evangelicals. Many think of an antichrist as a world leader, a politician, or possibly a wealthy person who uses their wealth for evil and political purposes.

These ideas are often the breeding ground for conspiracies, false prophecies and belief that there is a deep state influence among those who have differing political views. Such ideas often create fear and hysteria, and have led some sincere people to do foolish things as they engage in a kind of “political/religious holy war”.

Does the Bible teach us to embrace such ideas about antiChrist? Notice that I did not say the antichrist” but, antichrist. This is because the Bible mentions antichrist and antiChrists (pural), but never once does the Bible use the description of the antiChrist.

Why is this important?

It is important because we must approach any truth in scripture from the clear texts which mentions the truth we are seeking to correctly understand. It is from the clear texts that we glean understanding from the not so clear texts. Yet many attempt to cast interpretations on unclear texts while completely ignoring what is said in the clear texts. When our interpretations of unclear texts are not aligned with what is revealed in the clear texts, we can be sure that our interpretations are very bad at best.

The clear texts which specifically mention an antiChrist have nothing to do with anyone outside the church (i.e., the household of God). In every instance it is always a reference to apostasy within the church. Thus apostasy within the church should guide our understanding regarding antiChrist.

In scripture, the apostle John is the only writer who uses the term antiChrist. He uses it three times in his first epistle and once in his second epistle. Each time it has to do with apostasy. If we rightly understand John’s message about antichrist, we will better understand Paul’s reference to apostasy and the man of sin in 2 Thessalonians.

So with that said, lets begin with John’s first epistle:

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. ~ 1 John 2:18-24

Notice that John is not warning his audience against political leaders or influential wealthy people in the world. He is warning them against those who come from within – “they went out from us, but were not all of us.” In his letter to the Galatians, Paul mentions false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily (secretly) to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage (Galatians 2:4). Peter warns that there would be false teachers among you, who privily (secretly) shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. ~ 2 Peter 2:1-2

In John’s mention of those who went out from us, and Paul’s mention of false brethren, and Peter’s mention of false teachers, there is deceit and falsehood involved. This is what antiChrist is – it is the deceitfulness of false Christianity and apostasy from the truth which leads those who are seduced away from the truth in Christ.

In his second epistle, John says, “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” ~  2 John 2:7

Notice that John specifically references deceivers against the gospel as being antichrist.

John continues: Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. ~ v. 8-11

Again, John is not referring to politicians in the world, he is referring to deceivers in the church who have crept into the household of God to lure God’s people away from the truth in Christ. If we would simply give this some thought, we would remember that the theme of warnings against apostasy runs throughout the entirety of the New Testament. In the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Jesus repeatedly warned against such deceivers and the New Testament writers repeatedly warn also. 

Consider that John says in his first epistle, “as ye have heard that antichrist shall come”. What had they heard? Nowhere in scripture can we trace that they had heard that a political leader would be an antichrist. However, we can see over and over again the repeated warnings in the New Testament to be on guard against false apostles, false prophets, and false teachers who lead God’s people into apostasy.
And this line of thinking matches John’s description of antichrist.

Notice again John’s use of the word antichrist in his second epistle: For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. ` 2 John 2:7

Notice that in his second epistle, John uses the description, antichrist, as a reference to deceives who deny that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. What does it actually mean in John’s writings that Jesus Christ came in the flesh?

Jesus Christ coming in the flesh is a reference to God manifested in the flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul refers to this as “the mystery of godliness” (1 Timothy 3:16). It is important to point out that John opens his first epistle claiming that Jesus is the eternal life which was with the Father from the beginning, and Jesus is the one through whom we are called into fellowship with God.

In his warning against the many antichrists, John says, Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. ~ 1 John 2:24-26

John’s statement “These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you”, is a reference to the many antichrists which he mentions just a few verses earlier.

John continues:

But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. And now, little children,
abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. ~1 John 2:27-29

John mentions the anointing (a reference to the Holy Spirit) in context to the truth of Christ abiding in us. Interestingly, one of the tactics of modern day false teachers is their continual misrepresentation of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. 

The real Holy Spirit from God causes God’s people to be rooted and built up in Jesus Christ and in him alone! The Holy Spirit exalts Christ and glorifies him. The one who truly has the Spirit of God leading them will find their joy in fellowship with Jesus and the Father in accordance with the gospel.

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. ~ 1 John 1:3-4

Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye
rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: ~ 1 Peter 1:8

It is Jesus who brings joy that is full of glory to our lives and this is how we know the Spirit from God.

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. ~ 1 John 4:1-3

First, notice that John says we are to try the spirits. How do we do that? By the message they bring. The more we are grounded in the message of Christ given to us by the apostles (not those claiming to be apostles in our time but the apostles appointed by Jesus) who gave us the New Testament. John is adamant about this when he says:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us; ) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. ~ 1 John 1:1-3

Our fellowship is with the one that his apostles declared to us.

Peter says something very similar when he says, For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. ~ 2 Peter 1:16

After Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father, Peter gathered the disciples together to select Judas’s replacement because the scripture had declared of Judas, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. ~ Acts 1:20

From this scripture Peter concluded,  Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. ~v. 21-22

Since the inception of the church, there has been a need for the true witness of Christ because of impostors who bring another Jesus, another spirit, and another gospel other than the one delivered to us by those whom Jesus chose.

Consider that Jude begins his epistle by saying, Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Jude 1:3-4

Those who are antichrist do not deny a concept of a Jesus created in their deceiving, another Jesus of another spirit, and another gospel. They deny the original, who is the Living Christ and the Lord of glory, the only begotten Son of God.

Shortly after Peter mentions that they were eyewitnesses of his majesty (2 Peter 1:16), he tells his audience that the holy scriptures are a more sure word of prophecy and that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation.

But what does it mean that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation? I will get to that in a moment, but before I do, allow me to point out that Peter goes on to say that the prophecy of the scriptures did not come from the will of men, but holy men of God spoke as they moved by the Holy Spirit.

It is in this context that Peter writes, But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. ~ 2 Peter 2:1-2

False teachers do not testify of Jesus. They testify of themselves and of another gospel. They claim to have spiritual revelation from the Spirit as they twist scripture to support their claims. They employ private interpretations to seduce and make merchandise of God’s people. They spawn damnable heresies which ultimately deny the Lord Jesus Christ.

John tells us to try the spirits. False prophets, false teachers, false apostles, are all antiChrists. They will not stir your heart for Jesus. They will not lead you to have your entire affection set on Christ your Savior. An antichrist will always make himself a kind of mediator so that you follow him and not Jesus. Believing that Jesus Christ has come is the flesh is much more than an acknowledgment of a man named Jesus who came into the world. It is the entire message of the gospel that Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son, and God is revealed to us in Christ, and the Father has made Christ alone to be to us his wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.

Finally, notice that John uses very similar language in chapter 4 as he does in chapter 2

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.  ~1 John 2:18

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. ~ 1 John 4:3

In John’s writings antichrist is apostasy, deception, and the falsehood of seducers who lead God’s people away from the true faith in Christ.

What about Paul’s man of sin? That will have to wait till my next post on this topic.

Keep your eyes on Jesus!

PRAYING FOR GOD’S MERCY

Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellow soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me. ~ Philippians 2:25-30 

Praying for God’s mercy has become my go-to so often when I pray for others who are in trouble. In the text above Paul refers to his dear friend, Epaphroditus, who was very sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on Epaphroditus and healed him. Not only was God merciful to Epaphroditus, but God was also merciful to Paul. Paul says, God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.

Death affects more than the one dying. Death also affects family and friends by the sorrow it brings. It’s important that we understand that even as Christians we still need God’s mercy. The writer of Hebrews encourages us that because Jesus, who was tempted at all points like we are, is at the right hand of God, we should come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.  ~ Hebrews 4:16

We all know that we are dependent on God’s grace, but let us not forget God’s mercy because we need it just as much. Throughout the Old Testament, God’s people appealed to God’s mercy in times of trouble. Mercy is not just for the sinner, it is for the saint as well, and we all need God’s mercy in our lives especially in times of crisis.

Nothing expresses humility in prayer like the plea for mercy, and when we seek God’s mercy we are humbling ourselves and appealing to God’s kindness and compassion to meet our needs.

Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy… ~ Psalm 33:18

THE THRONE ROOM

A common habit used among some evangelical Christians is to describe the place of God’s throne is “the throne room”. However, the Bible never uses this expression to describe God’s throne. It is entirely made up by people and not scriptural at all.

Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? ~ Isaiah 66:1

Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things? ~Acts 7:48-50


There are many scriptures in the Bible which speak of God’s throne, and never is his throne confined to a “room”, so please stop it with this vernacular if you have the habit of referring to the place of God’s enthronement as “the throne room.”  God is enthroned in majesty in the heavens, not confined to some room in the heavens.

Let your beliefs about God and Christ, who is seated at God’s right hand be aligned with the revelation given to us in the scriptures.

KAT KERR (Part Two)

I recently received a very good question in response to my article on Kat Kerr. I have decided to answer it publicly. Hopefully it will be helpful for those who want the truth. Here is the commenters response to the article:

Hello, I have read your post. It seems your main argument is about SEEING GOD. And it’s clear from your standpoint that no one can see God.

The first thing I would like to understand is, what is SEEING GOD in this context? Is it about seeing all the details of his face? If a man sees the form of God in his brilliance, can we say he has seen God or he hasn’t?

Like if a man stands before God’s throne, and he beholds the brilliance of his essence, is this enough for us to say he has seen God or not?

So help me define well the context in which we are looking at the aspect of SEEING GOD. Thank you.

Here is my reply:

Thank you for the comment, and that is a very good question. Before I answer it I want to say there are many reasons why Christians should reject Kat Kerr’s claims but the most obvious one ought to be her claims of having seen God. 

There were instances in the Bible where people saw God (his form, and/or his glory), not many but only a few, and no one saw his face. I will address this momentarily, but before I do, consider the following:

First, the fact that only a few in scripture had such encounters with God ought to be an indicator to us that such experiences are rare.

Secondly, those who had such experiences with God did not have recurring experiences like Kat Kerr claims to have. Unfortunately, it’s becoming all too popular among false teachers to boast of trips to Heaven. One of them claims to have been to Heaven some ridiculous amount, something like 700 times or so.

Thirdly, those in scripture who had such experiences were deeply affected by God’s glory and power. Their experiences were holy and sacred, unlike today’s false teachers who describe Heaven like a mystical Candy Land or Disney World. The descriptions by Kat Kerr and others who make such claims are in stark contrast to those who had encounters with God in scripture. There is absolutely nothing they have in common.

Fourthly, heavenly experiences in scripture were according to God’s sovereign will in contrast to today’s Heaven travelers who profit from their tales speaking as if they can take off and go to Heaven any time they want to. In fact I recently watched one among them teaching people how to have Heavenly trips.

Now to answer your question. In scripture there were people who had visions of God, but never once does any of them see God’s face. When Moses asked God to see his glory, God specifically said to Moses, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. Notice that God uses the expression see my face and see me interchangeably. This holds true throughout the entirety of scripture, as no one has ever looked on the face of God except his only begotten Son, Jesus.

No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. ~ John 1:18

It might be of some help to mention that not even Jesus ever mentioned what God looks like. If anyone is qualified to tell us what God looks like, it was Jesus, and he never did.

There is not a single place anywhere in scripture that describes God’s face, and no one who had a vision of God ever described his face, or even claimed to have seen his face. A case could be made that doing so is forbidden by the second command “thou shalt make no  graven image”, yet Kat Kerr claims she could draw a picture of God’s face from her photographic memory if she were an artist. She is lying.

Consider that if God himself said to Moses “no man can look on my face and live”, and no one in scripture, not even Jesus describes what God’s face looks like, then who is Kat Kerr to claim she could draw the face of God because of her photographic memory? This is the kind of question that Christians should ask rather than being gullible and believing this woman. There is an atheist who has a blog who refuted this woman’s claims with scripture. It truly is shameful when an atheist will take the time to appeal to scripture to refute the lie of a false teacher while a sect of Christians will not, but would rather believe a lie over the scriptures.

I have have an article addressing the visions of God that I will link below:

https://rootedandgroundedinchrist.com/2021/07/25/what-does-the-bible-teach-about-visions-of-god/

To read my original post Kat Kerr post follow this link:

https://rootedandgroundedinchrist.com/2021/01/20/kat-kerr/

THE MARK OF THE BEAST FRENZY

There are many unscriptural ideas that people have regarding the mark of the beast. These ideas often circulate on social media sites and are steeped in conspiracies. Its unfortunate that many times well-meaning evangelicals are responsible for the spread of such false doctrines about the mark of the beast. In this article I want to briefly address some of the more prevalent ideas circulating in our current climate.

Since the current mark of the beast frenzy surrounds the covid 19 vaccines, the examples I am sharing in this article are comments from social media regarding the vaccines being the mark.

THE BEAST SYSTEM

Many have bought into the idea that there is a “beast system” that we must avoid at all costs. One person said the following about the covid vaccines:

“…it’s setting things up perfectly so when the time comes to accept the mark they will already be prepared and mentally just go with it.” 

Another person said this:

“No it’s not the mark, yet. What we’re seeing is how easy it will be to convince the masses when the true mark comes.”

The idea of brainwashing people so that they will succumb to the mark of the beast is not scriptural at all. In scripture there is no system set up which leads people like sheep to the slaughter to receive the mark of the beast. In scripture an authoritarian ruler arises declaring himself to be God and demanding worship before there is ever a mark. Only after a second beast arises which is loyal to the first beast is a mark implemented by the second beast. In scripture, only those who hate God and refuse to repent of their wickedness show allegiance to the beast and take his mark because they worship him.


GLOBAL LEADERS CONSPIRING

Another example of a false dichotomy about the mark of the beast is idea that globel leaders are working together to control the population.

Notice how this comes through in the three comments below:

Its the beginning…they’re observing global behavior …that’s why the plandemic..and now pushing vax mandates… All ties into the NWO…and their evil plan. The Mark of the Beast.

I take it as a trial for the mark and it’s proving to be successful. Talk about setting the stage

This is exactly the conclusion I have come to. They are conditioning people and setting the stage for the antichrist.

Contrary to these comments, the mark of the beast is not the result of global leaders working together to control people. The beast of the book of Revelation is a singular individual and the mark of the beast corresponds with the name and number of the name of the individual whom the apostle John sees in a vision  as “a beast”.

The scripture says, Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six ~ Revelation 13:18.

The beast of the book of the Revelation is an individual (an authoritarian ruler), and the mark corresponds with his image and the number of his name. The Bible warns us to be wise regarding this, yet so many are foolishly believing that the mark of the beast is a result of the formation of many gobel leaders working together to control people.


SUSPICION

For many, suspicion drives their understanding more than truth and facts. This comment below demonstrates how many think regarding the mark of the beast:

I guess I can’t say unequivocally that it isn’t, so I’m steering clear.

This is a classic example of the fear that is rampant with so many people who want to “steer clear” just in case it’s the mark. Such notions fester the beliefs that a person can unknowingly take the mark of the beast and be condemned to eternal damnation even though they may love God and want to serve him. In scripture there are clear warnings about what the mark is and not to take it, and absolutely no one takes it unknowingly.

The notion that someone could accidentally take the mark of the beast and be damned to eternal punishment when they had no intention of doing wrong is completely foreign to the teachings of scripture, and the prophecy given to the apostle John in the book of the Revelation. Those who believe that people who have been vaccinated for health reasons have received the mark are dishonoring the the character of God and the faith in Christ. If you think that a servant of God can unknowingly take a mark and be condemned to eternal damnation, you have become like those that the apostle Peter describes when he speaks of those who turn the scriptures to their own destruction.

It is shameful that any christian would believe such nonsense.


THE TRAP

Then there are those who think the mark of the beast is an evil trap to deceive the ignorant. this idea runs close to the last one mentioned above. Notice how it comes through in the following comments:

I agree, I think it’s a test run of sorts.

It’s conditioning.

True, it is the precursor to the mark.

Work’s like a trap, from the beginning

YEP! And if we comply…it will lead to the mark!

Could be a trial run

Again, there is no text anywhere in the book of the Revelation that reveals that the mark of the beast is taken by ignorant people who were conditioned to blindly follow whatever global leaders tell them to do.


OVER SPIRITUALIZING

The beast that the apostle John saw in a vision was symbolic of a real person and should be rightly interpreted to be understood correctly. Here is one example of over spiritualizing:

The body is the temple. This is the abomination that maketh desolate.

Notice that this commenter joins two separate things from scripture to come up with a “spiritual” conclusion. First, he says “the body is the temple”. The Bible teaches that our bodies as believers are the temple of the Holy Spirit and members of Christ. The Bible does not teach that the human body is a generic temple. Our bodies as members of Christ are God’s temple because His Spirit dwells in us. Secondly, this commentator mentions the abomination of desolation in a fashion that isn’t aligned with scripture.

In scripture, the abomination of desolation specifically refers to the desecration of the Jewish temple in 70 A.D., and Jesus told his followers this:

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day… ~ Matthew 24:15 -20

Notice that all the details and terminology is specifically related to the Jewish people of that generation. The abomination of desolation, spoken by the prophet Daniel stands in the holy place. What holy place? The one in the temple. This entire dialogue began when Jesus’s disciples commented about the splendor of temple, to which Jesus responded by prophesying its destruction, saying, not one stone would be lifted upon another that shall not be thrown down. ~ Matthew 24:2

The holy place is a reference to that first century Jewish temple. Jesus also mentions Judaea, the nearby mountains, the Jewish style homes, and the Sabbath. These words are in a Jewish context regarding God’s judgment on the temple and not in a Gentile or United States of America context.

Finally, Another commenter expressed their suspicion of the mark overtaking people like sheep lead to the slaughter in this way:

No, but when they flip that 5 G switch, it will dumb them down and cut that connection to God, enough that they will accept the mark willingly.

In the book of the Revelation, the mark of the beast is not a form of mind control given to the brained washed. It is a mark given to those who hate the living God and worship the beast which is a man who is an authoritarian ruler claiming to be God. Those who take the mark do it because they willingly reject God and refuse to repent of their sins. – “and they repented not to give him glory.” ~ Revelation 16:9

Repentance, or refusing to repent is a willful decision. Those who took the mark in the book of the Revelation were the unrepentant who aligned themselves with the blasphemous beast – a man who is an authoritarian ruler, claiming to be deity.

In closing, I want to say the following. There was a person who informed me that they felt sorry for me after I communicated to them that I am vaccinated and I love God and worship and bless his holy name. Their belief that the vaccine is the mark of the beast carried more weight in their response to me than the fact that I love God and worship God. When you embrace an ideology that unsuspecting Christians who love God can unknowingly take the mark of the beast and be doomed to eternal damnation even though they love God, something has gone terribly wrong in your thinking and understanding of God, Christ, and the gospel.

If this is you, it is you that have been deceived, and not those taking the vaccine.

ARE THE COVID 19 VACCINES THE MARK OF THE BEAST?

The hysteria over the covid 19 vaccines is off the chain, and there are many people who are convinced that it is the mark of the beast, or at the very least a precursor to the mark. Some refer to it as part of the mark of the beast system, as if there is such a thing, but what is the mark of the beast according to the Bible? For the answer we ought to consider the narrative in which we find the mark of the beast in scripture.

The first mention of the mark of the beast is found In Revelation 13 where we find that there are two beasts which rise to power. The first beast is recognized by everyone and is worshipped. He gets his power from the dragon, who is Satan. Both the dragon and the beast are worshipped, and the beast openly blasphemes God. He is permitted to have authority over all nations for 42 months. His coming to power and having authority over all nations and being worshipped by the nations happens before any mark (of the beast) is established.

This beast is an authoritarian ruler who comes to power and is worshipped but he does not cause anyone to receive a mark. The mark is only established after a second second beast arises.

The second beast exercises the same authority as the first beast and causes the people to worship the first beast. He performs great signs in allegiance to the first beast. The second beast makes an image of the first beast and causes it to speak so that the image of the first beast causes those who would not worship his image to be slain. The image of the first beast is a key component to understanding the mark of the beast. 

In this context the second beast causes everyone to take a mark showing their allegiance to the first beast. This mark does not exist when the first beast only is in power. It comes into being after the second beast arises to prominence and exalts the first beast as a god to be worshipped. We are then told, “This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.” ~ v. 18

The first beast is a ruler, and the second beast continues to promote the dominance of the first beast. This fits like a hand in a glove with Nero Caesar and his successors in the first century near the timeframe of the destruction of the temple. But let’s assume it’s not Nero so as to  address the fears that people have that the covid 19 vaccine is the mark.

The mark of the beast does not precede the beast. If there is no first beast (an authoritarian ruler claiming to be god), who has been worshipped by all nations, there is no mark as of yet. The mark only comes into being after the second beast comes to power.

The mark of the beast has nothing to do with fighting viruses in order to save lives. It has everything to do with allegiance to an authoritarian ruler who is revered as a god.

Unfortunately, too many people have end time beliefs about the mark of the beast that are predicated on conspiracies using proof texts rather than diligent study of God’s word. For example they think the mask and/or vaccine mandates set forth by some businesses and institutions qualify as the mark because one of the details in scripture is that “no man could buy or sell” without having received the mark. Such eisegesis (reading into a text one’s own ideas) truly lacks understanding and critical thinking.

If a grocery store, a restaurant, or any other business requires masks or vaccinations, it is for health and safety reasons, not for allegiance to a ruler who claims to be God. The real truth is there has never been a time in history when it has been so easy to purchase goods without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home. In fact, the pandemic has caused businesses to seek more ways to sell their goods and services in order to stay in business and make a profit. Rather than looking for ways to restrict consumers from doing business with them, they are adapting and providing more options for consumers to purchase their products.

You can purchase restaurant food, groceries, household products, and just about anything your heart desires straight from your computer, iPad, or cell phone. Many businesses even provide curbside pick-up where they will deliver your purchases straight to your vehicle. Again, there has never been a time when making purchases has been so easy. Businesses are not stopping people from buying their products, and the businesses which regulate who enters their facilities do so for health safety reasons. Such easy online purchasing would not exist if the vaccine qualified as the mark of the beast.

Conspiracy driven interpretations of scripture cripples one’s ability the correctly understand the truth of scripture. It also undermines the validity of our faith in the eyes of the world. When Christians claim that there is a ““mark of the beast system” in which people can unknowingly take a mark which causes them to be condemned in the eyes of God they bring a reproach on the gospel. In scripture, those who received the mark of the beast do so because they willingly oppose God.

Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” Another angel, a second, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.” And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.” Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” ~ Revelation 14:6-13 

If one would simply study the scriptures and think critically and with clarity, they would immediately eliminate the covid vaccination from any potential of being the mark. The vaccine is not the number of a world ruler demanding worship. The fact that there are many God fearing people who have been vaccinated and continue to love God, worship God, and serve God after being vaccinated ought to give people a clue.

No one in scripture who takes the mark takes it accidentally, and no one who takes it wants to serve the one true God. Those who receive the mark have rejected God before taking the mark.

And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea. And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments. And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds. ~ Revelations 16:1-11

The mark of the beast has to do with apostasy against God, and refusing to repent. It has absolutely nothing to do with a humanitarian act to combat a deadly virus. Those who claim that a person who takes the vaccine for health reasons are unknowingly condemned by God for taking the mark of the beast are demonstrating that they have no understanding of God’s character. God gave his only begotten Son to save sinners. He doesn’t damn those who take a vaccine to protect themselves and others from a deadly virus.

The idea that the vaccine is the mark of the beast is truly a false doctrine that opposes the gospel and the revelation of God in Christ. If you are Christian and you are peddling such conspiracies, you need to stop it. You are not thinking critically, nor are you studying so as to shew yourself approved unto God, a workman that needed to not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

If you have read to this point and have a few extra minutes, I invite you to click on the link below (THE MARK OF THE BEAST FRENZY). In that article I address some of the ideas floating around and why they are not scriptural.

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THE MARK OF THE BEAST FRENZY

https://rootedandgroundedinchrist.com/2021/08/17/the-mark-of-the-beast-frenzy/