When is “The Tribulation”?

If you live in Yemen, Syria, or fire ravaged California, the Tribulation is now. If you are sold into slavery in Libya as a black man, what could be worse. If you are an infant in Indonesia used for sex by an adult male and tossed into a ditch afterwards to die, this is not the promised land. If you live in China and are forced to marry someone you do not care for because children are supposed to obey their parents, you just might be one of the 500,000 rural Chinese women each year who commit suicide by drinking fertilizer.

Perhaps you are a Venezuelan whose Communist nation threw money into a sinkhole and now you are scrounging through the garbage dump for a piece of rotten bread. You might live in Germany and be one of the blue-eyed, blonde white women raped by Muslim immigrants.  Angela Merkel lost her post because of her open door policy, but you are still traumatized, and perhaps pregnant. Or you live in Central America and some guy in the USA gave you money to travel to the US border where he guaranteed you that the Democrats would let you in – but there are armed guards there?  Where will you go?

Maybe you are the unlucky girl friend whose fiance Maniskumar slipped her poison to kill off her unborn child? Maybe he thought the Republicans would not be funding abortions anymore. Maybe he thought the Democrats were too weak in Washington to keep abortion funding in the budget? Maybe if you are pregnant you should think twice about this man you want to marry?  This sounds like tribulation to me.

Perhaps you live on the coast of North Carolina where 8 trillion gallons of water was dumped in one hurricane, ruining the crops, killing the swine and sweet potatoes and making life and a future impossible for decades to come. Or you could live on the street in the Philippines; 1.2 million kids plus mom and dad and 2 or 3 other children. Fortunately it is the tropics so it never gets cold – just wet.

Perhaps you’d prefer Nigeria where one Sunday the Boko Haram may find the Christians in church, lock the doors from the outside and set the church on fire. Eight of the ten largest nations persecute Christians … death, imprisonment, denial of jury trails, or any trial at all, separation from children and economic deprivation. In Michigan as a female you may suffer genital mutilation which can led to life long disease and pain. It’s child abuse of the worst kind, and, as usual, females are the victims.

From my comfy perch in the mountains of North Carolina I can blandly believe that I am living in a sane and protected world.  I am not.  All around me there is tribulation for my peers in the Christians faith. Yes, we are facing the end; it is now, and it is creeping towards us day by day.

#tribulation #tribulations

Different Kinds of Knowing

Most languages differentiate between simply acquaintance, intuitive feelings  and real knowledge.  But most Bibles do not offer an explanation of which verb “to know” is under in any passage which means the translator must do the work.

Different Verbs for Know

Here is an example of why the King James can be confusing:
Acts 19:15  the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
There are two different words for ‘know’ here, so let’s translate this again:
Acts 19:15 Jesus I know, and Paul I’ve heard about, but who are you?
In English we say I am getting to know you, or the first level of interpersonal relationship. We could also say that the first few years of schooling are getting to know words and numbers. We memorize at this level but there is no foundation of understanding; information is impersonal, understanding is personal.

Ginosko vs. Ouida

Greek, the language of the New Testament, has two words for knowing – ginóskó: to come to know, recognize, perceive and ouida, a word reflecting the knowledge of personal experience.
Ginosko is a root common in English seen in words such as knowledge or agnostic.  It means perception or understanding; it goes deep into the personality.  Believers respond occasionally to the question, How do you know you are saved and they reply, “I know that I know that I know.” For the non-believer it isn’t much of an answer but for other believers, we all understand.
Oida according to artists is an acronym for Observe, Imagine, Discover and Apply by looking at the natural world and creating something new based on your appreciation.  Writers would not use this word for knowing God; they use gnosis instead.
Here are some Bible verses that use the word ginosko:
Genesis 2:9   And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Notice that God did not give man knowledge if physics and French literature, just good and evil.  On this foundation mankind was to make good decisions enforcing good and resisting evil. Clearly this did not happen.

The Sexual “Know”

Luke 1:34   Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
Here is a common use of the word ‘know’ in King James English, the sexual “knowledge” of two persons required to be exclusive to them. You do not hear it much these days but Bible readers need to understand this usage.
The Book of First John has 31 references to the word know. It profiles all the things believers should know, and how you, the reader can discern the difference between truth and lies.
1 John 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
In this case the truth that is missing is Jesus who is the way, truth and life.  (John 14:16) The passage is telling us that the person is not born again.

Jesus “Not Knowing You” is Important

Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Holy Spirit Baptism

Finally there is spiritual knowledge imparted in the Holy Spirit Baptism:
I Corinthians 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
This kind of knowledge comes straight from the spirit of Christ to your spirit and then to your brain. Many people confuse the baptism of the Holy Spirit with knowledge that is obtained through study or from another person. But Holy Spirit directed information is especially helpful to you because it empowers you to apprehend situations and truths when others do not.
How often have you heard someone say, “I get bad vibes about that guy” and later it is discovered that he had hidden problems.  That kind of intuition is given by the spirit.  Very often small children have this feeling as well.
If you want an instructive Bible study, find a concordance and look up every use of the word know and tie them all back to the original Greek.  It will be an eye opener.

How the Internet Confuses us about Space-Time

This morning, 5 a.m. I received a letter from South Africa – a woman wanting a dream interpretation. After I answered that, I spent time chatting with a computer guru in South Asia. I realized that this kind of international use of time and space is one of the reasons so many people think socialism is OK.
 
They have been living in the world of internet where time and space mean so little. It is one global internet government. But that does not translate to the intimate world of my local police, fire, and animal control. Government is not global, and cannot be. Besides it was tried once and was a mammoth failure.

The Facebook Dilemma is Theological

PBS tonight (10/29/18) had a 1 hour show on their issues with Facebook data collection and usage. The problem is that Zuckerburg’s goal of getting the planet to communicate with each other openly is that he did not take into account that there are evil workers in the world today and many of us out here do not want to “friend” them in any way. Nor do we want them to have our data and private messages.

This is also the dilemma of Millennials and other younger people who have not been taught what evil is. They have assumed it is the creation of culture rather than an intrinsic factor in the universe. And one man, even with 2,000 employees, has no ability to police anything that large or determined to corrupt.  The road to Facebook hell is paved with good intentions.

Tomorrow they’ll have another 1 hour continuation.

What is the “Will of God”

There are Three Wills of God
For the Human Race
  • The will of God for all human beings. That includes the demand  (1) that the human race believe in Him as Creator (2) He wishes all men to be saved and none perish, which depends on the action of the individual.  (3) that all repent of their sins and ask for God’s forgiveness based on their forgiveness of those who have wronged them (4) that all confess sins.  Confess means to “speak with” or simply to agree with God’s assessment of your situation before him.  If God says you have larceny in your heart,  He wants your knowledge of your inner self so when you agree with Him about your real condition, you are on the road to change.

I taught a Bible study years ago where the only thing they seemed to learn was how to confess someone else’s sin. So I quit!

For an Individual
  • The second will of God is what He desires for you personally, and all 7 billion individuals of planet earth. God has a plan for every human life. (Jeremiah 29:11) New believers often ask this question when they are eager to grow in Christian knowledge and power. Telling them that the will of God is given in the 32,000+ verses of the Bible is a little overwhelming, even though it is true.  The Bible is the will of God, but individual verses do not apply equally to all individuals at once.  To the rich man he did not say,  Your daughter is healed this very hour, or to the blind man He did not say, sell all you  have an give the money to the poor. God’s commands are individually specific. Expect to hear from Him.
For Nations (Ethnos) (Acts 17:26)
  • The third will of God is His desire for individual nations to fulfill their destiny on earth. One of these caveats is that nations are to keep their hands off other nations. God is not a globalist; He repeatedly refers to “ethnos” in the Bible as being His way of having a variety of cultures, individuality and responsibility for nations. Many nations are so badly governed the people have little control over their nation’s destiny. In democracies however, we have both the option and the accountability for what our government does as a unit and how it handles international affairs.

One scripture simplifies what God wants for every person: “This is the will of God, even your sanctification.”  That’s a word we rarely hear; it means there is something in your heart or mind or body that needs to be cleaned up. To sanctify means to make holy, and to make holy means you have access to the presence of God in a great way than you did before. If you fail to go through the cleansing process, your life is marred and you do not enjoy the fullness of God’s promises.

Some people wander around the desert of personal sin, guilt, blame and error and never get anywhere near the promised land. But if you persist, you’ll find the plans of God.

The happiest human beings are those who live in the plans God has for them.  God knows better than you do what you are called to do. Many non-Christians find that place anyway, or live on the edge.

God is in the Details

After you learn what God wants you to do in life, then the next part is living in the sure revelation that your decisions about that life are on target. This is the hardest part of all. It involves the detail of a life – how to spend money, where to live and work, how to use your time comfortably. More often than not it is just “being led.”

Obedience brings Blessings

One of the  greatest blessings in my  life was when I decided to sit in the middle seat in the plane which is usually the most uncomfortable.  The man next to me and I talked for an hour. I felt as those I had entered the kingdom of God and was in heaven with another believer. As  a writer isolated in a town of 1,000 in the high mountains, I see and talk to very few people that know anything about the Kingdom of God, much less actually live in it. God gave me that blessing out of the blue.

 

The Kingdom of Heaven (God) vs. Heaven

Defining Heaven vs. the Kingdom of Heaven or God

The gospels frequently mention both the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God.  Reading the King James Version, one might think these are two separate places, but there is a reason for the difference in language.

Matthew uses the term kingdom of heaven exclusively.  This is to be expected of a Jew who dares not mention the name of God.  Even today you will read statements from Jews who carefully put a hyphen or underline between G and D (G_d or G-d) as to not breathe the name of the Almighty.  On only five occasions in Matthew the Kingdom of God is used. Luke and Mark use the term Kingdom of God exclusively. The book of John uses the Kingdom of God only twice.

Kingdom of Heaven & Kingdom of God the Same

So what is it?  The kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God refer to the same place but Heaven is a separate place. In heaven, God is in charge.  Jesus prayed for this version of heaven, that is where God is in charge come to earth so we can enjoy it here and now, not wait until after we die. From the Lord’s prayer:

Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. We are to seek it first so we can enjoy it here.

Jesus’ parables about the kingdom emphasized that with the proper attitude you could enjoy the kingdom right now.

Matthew 10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

What is The Kingdom

The Kingdom of God is defined in Romans 14:17.  For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

No, we do not need to wait until we die to have righteousness, peace and joy or any part thereof.

Matthew 6:33  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

The Kingdom is Won by Our Spiritual Warfare

Having sought the kingdom, how do you know you have a portion of it? You know you are a kingdom person by your warfare against the demonic world.

Matthew 12:28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.  I feel sure the Pharisees and Sadducees in Jesus’ time scratched their heads over this one. In fact they called him names!

The kingdoms of heaven (God) are distinct from Heaven, a place distinct from planet earth, our final reward.  While we have the demonic to deal with here and now, in heaven Satan and his henchmen are conquered.  In fact, because there is no evil in heaven, there is no reason for them to be there.  Evil is God’s way of requiring us to make a decision – on earth – of whom we are to worship and obey.

Today’s Victory is Over the Demonic World

The victory of the kingdom of God (heaven) is the victory over the demonic world.  This is shown in the scripture about Peter being given the keys to death and hell.

Matthew 16:  18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Read Peter 1 and 2

Now that I know that Peter was given the keys to handling the demonic world, I think I shall read the two books of Peter again.  I do not want to miss the Kingdom if it is so close by.

Antisemitism Brings a Curse

We talk of the trouble we bring on ourselves – drugs and alcohol, laziness, going with the wrong crowd, thinking we can get away with something, cheating. Mamma said this was bad and Dad whopped you good if he caught you, but there is something worse.

And that is to be cursed by God. Genesis 12:3 in a Christian Bible says this:

And I will bless (do good for, benefit) those who bless you,
And I will curse [that is, subject to My wrath and judgment] the one who curses (despises, dishonors, has contempt for) you.
And in you all the families (nations) of the earth will be blessed.”

I quoted the Amplified Version just in case there was any doubt about how serious this is. When you go after God’s people you bring His wrath down upon you.  Of course you do not recognize it. You call it bad luck. Or maybe you’re in a mess because of your parents, or the lousy school system, or where you live, with drug dealers all around.

The Bible was written for everyone to read. It is in hundreds of languages; you can even find it free on the internet, in Vietnamese! No one is going to point a finger at God someday and say -Why didn’t you tell me that these Jews were special to you?

Most people know that if you mess with a man’s family you can expect trouble. Time was not so long ago that a fellow would come to the house to date a girl and Daddy would be sitting on the porch with a shotgun across his knees.  Some guys turned tail and ran.

If a natural father can do that, how much angrier will God be when you mess with His People?  And his Family is very large.  They live all over the world, and they don’t have name tags that say, My Daddy is God.

They tell me that antisemitism is on the rise. Well, let’s just check the TV weather man and the newspaper for floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, famine and drought.  This is one quick way God can get His message out.  (See the book of Amos for details.) And look what happened to Germany in the 1940s!

But, you complain, “I don’t do that; other people in my community do that. ”

Here’s the reason we face the music together.  Jesus said, “The rain falls on the just and the unjust.” If you are part of a community that tolerates this you suffer along with everyone else.

You can’t change hearts and minds; that is a tough job. But you can warn people – as I have done here.

Click here for commentary regarding President Trump moving the US  Embassy controversy.

Click here for information linking Fascism, Islamism and Anti-semitism.

Link between Democratic Socialism and Antisemitism.

Why Americans Must Support Israel

Boycotting Israel – the Ultimate in Antisemitism

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What Bible should I Buy

A Bible these days is a major expense, unless you want one with such tiny typeface one can barely read it. Over the past 50 years I collected a whole book case shelf of them and I can give you some experienced advice. If you are serious about Bible study you will eventually want more than one.

King James Version:  There is a good reason people fall back on this translation in spite of the “thees and thous and hath and believeth” and other old-timey words. King James followed the turbulent times of Queen Elizabeth and there was wrangling among the religious groups about which Bible was the real word of God. The King brought together all the leaders of these factions and said, translate this Bible and we will make it the law of the land as far as religious reading is concerned. The result was that, for its generation, it is  accurate.  It is the most quoted for the following 400 years, for example Lincoln’s Second Inaugural address.

Amplified Version: The Lockman Foundation printed this many years ago and it makes a good study Bible. It is much larger because each line contains synonyms for many of the key words.  For example,

Matthew 6:33 But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.

Passages fleshed out like this make for good places to meditate on his word.  Because it is so much larger you should consider a leather binding because the hardcover makes it bulky to handle.  The same is true of The Message.

New American Standard Bible: This version too is from the Lockman Foundation and is my Go-To version. For example, consider this verse from the King James.

1 Corinthians 15:33    Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
Now from the NASB. 1 Corinthians 15:33 New American Standard Bible   33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
Isn’t that what you just told your teenager?

The Message: This is a modern translation by Eugene Peterson, who translated the American Bible society version that limits the English language to a high school educated person. Given its use of slang, people think it is a paraphrase.  It is not.  I prefer it myself for all the historical parts of the old Testament. Here is an example.

Matthew 6:33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

This is like having the Lord sitting at your side in an easy chair and speaking to you directly. This Bible too should have a leather cover as it is heavy.

New International Version: This is popular in some places.  I put it last because I found some areas where it is not translated from the Greek as closely or as properly as I would prefer.

This passage in Romans is mistranslated in the NIV.

Romans 7:24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death
NIV What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?

In the King James the adjectives properly modify the nouns; in the NIV they do not. (I am pretty good with Greek.) But that is personal and it is after all God’s word. If someone gave you that version do not throw it out.

JB Phillips New Testament translation: Phillips was a contemporary of both JRR Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, Bible students together. JB is down to earth.

Here is an example from the King James, Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

JB said:  No man can justify himself before God by a perfect performance of the Law’s demands—indeed it is the straight-edge of the Law that shows us how crooked we are.

Phillip died before finishing his translation of the Old Testament. Wags at the time referred to it as “Phillips’ 66.”

Jerusalem Bible: This is a Catholic edition. I especially like its version of Deuteronomy which as you know is not light reading.

Common English Bible: This is in wide use because it is plain, clear and not far from the King James.  The New King James Bible modernizes the words and is also in wide use. As you might suspect the Jewish Bible is a version translated by a Messianic Jewish believer and is appropriate to that audience.  With so many foreigners coming to the faith, it is an option for many people, especially Muslims who will appreciate the history.

The point of having a Bible for your children is this – will they read it  If it is too arcane or difficult of course they won’t. A Bible purchase should be appropriate to the age and background of the reader.  As we change, so should our Bible reading habits.

Getting through the Bible in one year is approximately three chapters  day. Now that’s not all that hard, is it?

What is the “Generation” that will not Pass Away?

If there is a scripture that a critic could site as being false, this might be it.  (And there are those always looking for a way to cut Jesus down a peg.)

Luke 21:30-33 (PHILLIPS) “Look at a fig-tree, or indeed any tree, when it begins to burst its buds, and you realise without anybody telling you that summer is nearly here. So, when you see these things happening, you can be equally sure that the kingdom of God has nearly come. Believe me, this generation will not disappear until all this has taken place. Earth and heaven will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Some versions of the Bible actually say this:

Luke 21:32 (ERV) 32 “I assure you that all these things will happen while some of the people of this time are still living.

The Kingdom of God is in our hearts, yes, but now after 2,000 years plus, we can hardly say this has happened in fullness.

But let’s look at the passage more closely. Generation comes from a root word that has greater meaning in the 20th century. That is the word “gene.” From this basic word we get the word genus, or a type of living thing. There are no genes in minerals, as far as we now know. Genes are in people and people pass their genes down to their offspring. Here is the dictionary definition:

noun, plural genera [jen-er-uh] (Show IPA), genuses.
1.Biology. the usual major subdivision of a family or subfamily in the classification of organisms, usually consisting of more than one species.
2.Logic. a class or group of individuals, or of species of individuals.

If we look at this passage in the light of what we now know about genes, it makes sense. The type of people who will bring in and completely understand the Kingdom of God are those whose genes were planted in the 1st century believers, an actual species of believers who are Kingdom people.

That is the group that will not pass away. This also explains this peculiar verse, which I notice is often mis-translated!

Psalm 22:30 A seed shall serve Him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.

Every man was believed to have the promise to conceive a generation which in Jewish tradition is 40 years. Jesus brought forth seed, i.e. children, His born-again believers. That is His generation. But Jesus did not serve a full 40 years; He lived only 33 years. The generation He has been promised will serve out those additional 7 years.

We are now approaching the 7,000 year. Man has been here now 6,000 years; the 7th thousand-year will be the millennium when we enjoy a thousand-year reign of peace. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it. At the end of that 7th thousand-year, Jesus will have received his full 40 year generation as a father.

You can see how any other translation of this passage misses the mark.