Friday, November 28, 2014

The Precursor of the the Ten Horns?



Are we seeing the precursor to the Ten Horns? Perhaps so. The Ten come together for one prophetic reason. Time is getting short, I think, and let's not forget that other clock etched with 144,000 marks on the dial. History is moving toward a prophesied end. Now!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Once Saved, Not Always Saved

As addressed in the Apocalypse, the churches at Ephesus and Thyatira were such that apart from Christ's penetrating gaze below the surface, they would look to be fantastic churches. But Christ found fault with the believers there, and not of a minor nature. The churches at Ephesus and Thyatira were threatened with eternal loss (though veiled in figurative language) because of what Christ saw. I would think these threatening statements would go a long way toward destroying the conception of once-saved-always-saved.

In the case of the Church at Sardis or Laodicea, even though neither church had much to commend them for, the threat to ultimate salvation was as clear, maybe even clearer. There were in those congregations folk who were just not persisting in the obedience of faith. That is not a situation Christ is willing to overlook. What I infer from this is that true faith can become the sort that isn't, and if it isn't, it holds no weight in the eyes of him who matters.

Who would argue that the letters are not written to what Christ considered genuine churches? What he could commend in them he did, what he couldn't, he sought to amend. The assumption seems to have been that the members of these churches were part of the kingdom, but that their status as such was in danger. Those considered presently part of the body of Christ by Christ could end up not retaining that status if repentance was not forthcoming. Their status could be considered Once-Saved-Not-Necessarily-Saved-Thereafter, it seems to me.

If Adam and Eve, pristinely, immaculately made by God, can fall from belief into estrangement with God and sin, then anyone with less wholeness (i.e. all the rest of us, even the born-again) can fall too. If those born-again would fall, they'd be just as lost as Adam and Eve and the host born to them afterwards. If humans as perfect as they can be this side of eternity fell from a state that was deemed "good" in God's sight into unbelief and separation from God, then why would anyone in Christ think he or she could not?

Monday, November 3, 2014

The End-times Gel



This, this and this make an interesting coalescing of circumstances. The revival of the King of the North, the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, and the arrival of the False Prophet are all significant occurrences within the framework of end-times prophecy, and all will occur within a relatively short span of real-time.  It is interesting, at least, that there are stirrings on all three fields at the same time.

Friday, October 24, 2014

How Does Apostasy Occur?

"For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law."   Romans 3:28 NIV 

Justified, in regard to the verse above, means to be declared righteous or acceptable to God. Guilty humans at trial under a magnifying glass in a cosmic court need a verdict of "not guilty" in order to be freed from the consequences of sin. Without being justified by God they will be bound over to judgment, which in a cosmic context, unfortunately, can only be cosmically ultimate. For someone actually guilty (as are all humans before God) there can be no escape in such a court on the basis of technicalities, obfuscation, ignorance, prejudice or character (i.e. good works).

Faith, as used in the above verse and as generally understood as "saving faith", is an apprehension of who Jesus is and what he has done which moves a person to trust Christ as his or her savior and follow Christ as his or her leader. As long as a person has faith that Jesus came from God, died for his or her sins, rose bodily from the dead victorious over sin and death, and is his or her Lord, that person is justified without the possibility of change in status. However, if such faith is lost or reversed, then so too is the condition for justification, and hence salvation, and the result is apostasy or falling away. We can lose our salvation, therefore, if we lose our faith.

Works, as spoken about in that verse, are actions of mind or body which accrue toward the worker's justification. In this instance, they are specified to be in the context of the law, i.e. the Mosaic Code. However, works of the law cannot possibly effect justification because: 1) good works have no power to erase or nullify bad works; 2) even the works of law associated with sacrifices intended to remit sins cannot undo the sin nature of the sinner, which has him or her in sin, virtually, before the last whiff of smoke has dissipated; and 3) it is impossible for the blood of animals to cleanse a guilty human conscience. [How could they? Neither party (God or the sinner) has any "skin in the game."]

Since salvation is not founded upon nor attributable to works then neither can a loss of salvation be the result of such. Our works, in themselves, good or evil, do not have the power to engage, alter or to unravel what Jesus Christ has already done on the cross and in rising from the grave. Whereas keeping a clean conscience is a boon to faith, keeping or not keeping a clean conscience can neither keep one saved nor cause him or her to lose salvation. Sin, though it doubtless arises out of some sort of unbelief, cannot be the source of apostasy anymore than it is the source of salvation; otherwise, virtually every Christian would eventually apostatize.

Apostasy is departing from the faith. It starts with some disappointment or disillusionment with Christ and ends with one abandoning the trust he or she has in who Christ is and what he has done. If one does not trust in Christ as the Son of God, nor rely upon his death and resurrection for justification before God, that one cannot possibly be saved so long as he or she remains in such unbelief. It matters not that he or she believed at one time or even that he or she was baptized.

Sin is not and never can be the cause of apostasy!  Faith is what effects justification, and a departure from faith is the only thing that could effect a loss of salvation.  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Turkey on the Brink

This is interesting...



And this makes it more so...


I am watching this very closely now, since with the advance of ISIL from Syria into Iraq, the revival of the Kingdom of the North (the Seleucid Empire) would be accomplished in one fell swoop if Turkey moved and took over ISIS. The door would then be open for the contemptible one to step forward.

If Turkey did invade and secure the area, it's not like any territory won is going to be returned to Assad (especially from a NATO ally). Furthermore, the U.S. would likely welcome such, since it would then finally have the means of keeping allied boots on the ground in Iraq to quell the contentious Sunni population.

The Antichrist would not have to immediately thereafter come to the fore, but nothing prophesied would stand in his way except, perhaps, the breaking of the sixth seal. If Turkey invades and takes over the Islamic State, it can only be a matter of days, weeks, maybe a couple of years until the Antichrist arises.

There is one wrinkle I should at least acknowledge: it is possible that ISIS could instead take over vast swaths of Turkey and thus produce the revival of the Kingdom of the North. This is much less likely at this point, but ISIS is growing in every way every day. I could see the potential of an ISIS surge which ended up gaining fifth-column Turkish support. Stranger things have happened!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Indestructible Souls and Irresistible Grace

"Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."     Genesis 2:7 (NASB)

The breath of God is a precious thing.

God's breath imparts that something that makes a human soul, that makes one a person. Not that every person animated by that breath is the person of God, but it is God's breath that infuses all of the capacities of soul that personhood builds on and without which there would be no person. It communicates those characteristics of personhood that are analogous to God's personhood. That breath is spirit, and more than anything else in all creation represents something directly emanated from God's being. 

Think about that: something within humans that makes them persons represents a direct input from the person of God. Some repercussions of that astounding fact are easily enough perceived--humans exercise choice (freewill), are creative (even to the extant of bringing something out of nothing), love, and... wait for it... humans are eternal. Once God invested his own breath in humanity, the persons that result have an essence that will never pass away. What an astonishing thought!

God's breath may exist eternally, but that does not translate into those infused by that breath living eternally. Breath that is separated from God does not respire, it does not go out and come in (as it were). God's breath must be actively with God, in tune with God, in contact with and in the presence of God to live. Cut off from God, separated, it merely exists. It projects some measure of its capacity for personhood, but it is dark, really, lifeless.

In order for one in whom God has breathed the breath of life to live, he or she must walk in agreement with God; however, even God cannot make creatures who possess his image but who do not exercise creaturely freedom thereby. His image makes such freedom necessary and irresistible grace impossible. Creatures made in God's image, by the capacity of choice in that nature, must freely choose agreement with God. That is an action of faith (i.e. trustful reliance) without which it is impossible to please God--faith is what it takes for free creatures to live in agreement with God.

Whereas it is very true that God loves everyone he's made, those made in his image with the capacity of choice have no future without faith. The Gordian knot is that no one born since the Fall of Man can make that choice of faith unless the Spirit has enabled him or her. However, if the enablement was such that one was rewired to make that choice without the possibility of not making it, that one would cease being in the image of God. The breath that confers such is indestructible, so it is impossible for the grace that underlies enablement to be irresistible and enablement to be a guarantee.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Does God Love Our Children Less Than We Do?

Does the God who breathed life into them love our children less than we do? We would never write them off, or send them to into flames no matter what they had done. Yet, it appears that God is willing to. Do we love and care for them more than he does? No, but we certainly tolerate sin and the company of sinners more than he does.

Whatever is not of faith is sin, so faith is the key for our children. If our children do not come to trust God there will be nothing that can be done for them. There is no obligation that could be enforced upon God in the name of love which could cause him to give eternal life (freedom) to those who do not trust him. Could God allow the evil of sin and rebellion to continue just because some of those who have faith happened to have children who did not? Not without resigning his throne as God!

Since the Fall, however, no one is able to believe (at least effectively) without divine enablement. The Spirit of God attending the word of Christ is the instigator of such enablement, so if our children do not hear that word and come to faith thereby they have no possibility of life. Oh, they may be graced under a parental umbrella for a spell, but there are no reliable coattails to heaven. Those who do not trust God can have no eternal hope.

The love of God is broad and deep, but its object is humans made in his image with creaturely freedom. It is important to God that our children be in his image and have creaturely freedom. Everyone made like that must come to the place where, freely, they trust God and choose to follow him. Our children must come to that place or be separated from God forever.

Perhaps we could never bear to write-off our children and would always find a way to preserve them and commune with them. We are not God. We do not see what he sees and do not have the pure moral clarity he does. God does love our children, but not with sin-stained, sentimental affection like we are apt to. He loved them enough to make them in his image and to redeem that image eternally through the sacrifice of Christ.

God wants our children with him forever, but that is not possible if they do not trust him.

Monday, August 25, 2014

God Outside of Time

Omnitemporality is a concept which describes God's relation to time. It assumes that time is properly a dimension of matter, energy and space, and therefore is an intrinsic property of creation. Just as a creator with the quality of aseity cannot be in space, neither can he be in time. Therefore, a creator with the quality of aseity could neither be subject to nor dependent upon time.

An analog for understanding omnitemporality is omnipresence. Both attributes together speak to the Creator's relationship to space/time, and as omnipresence has been fairly well understood and defined, so too can omnitemporality be understood and defined. In relation to space, God's omnipresence is such that every point in space is before God--he is everywhere present at once. In relation to time, God's omnitemporality is such that every point in time is before God at once (in other words he doesn't have to wait, he's already there... and still before).

Time began with the beginning of creation, and only has meaning within that creation. Outside of creation, there is no before since time does not exist there. To apply a time construct to God, for instance "before the creation," is to attempt to apply a descriptor that has no meaning in the situation to which it is being applied. Such attempts can only lead to confusion and inaccuracy in describing or understanding God or his thoughts and actions apart from creation.

Time is contained in the bubble of thought in the mind of God which is creation. It has no impact nor meaning outside that bubble. It will only have existence within that bubble as long as that bubble is maintained. When that bubble is dissolved and replaced a new regimen will be established, which may or may not have a quality like time.

As for God, He is.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

God's Nature and Creaturely Freedom

God's Nature
God has the quality of aseity. He is completely self-sufficient and utterly free. Though he is immutable, he is not inactive. He has sufficient power and complete knowledge to do or not do as he pleases.

God's Relation to Creation and Time
God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, has made all that is other than himself, and having created all things, he knows them completely. God is not impassible in regard to creation, but is interactive with it. All creation is before God at every point (i.e. everywhere is in his presence), but he is not in creation nor contained by it. God can step into the limitations of space and experience that space, but always with his omniscience and omnipresence intact, apart from that point of contact.

God is timeless, and is properly outside of time just as he is outside of the rest of creation. All time is equally before him at every point, although God is not in nor constrained by time. That which is in time (creation), experiences time and is limited by its sequential nature, but God is present with equal facility in the past, present and future, simultaneously (as it were). God can step into the limitations of the moment (time) and experience that moment in real time, but always has his omniscient, omnitemporality intact, apart from that point of contact.

God's Omniscience
God's knows all that can be known. In acting in regard to creation, from the perspective of creation in any time reference, God sees and knows that action and its consequences in all time references. We must plan before we execute our actions or be at the mercy of things ignorantly set in motion, but God is able to see all at once by virtue of his omniscience outside of time. Therefore, he can act, direct and know the end from the beginning, at once, without the necessity of a pre-planned blueprint.

God's Sovereignty
God governs by law and by intervention, of which he sees the effects at once without the limitations of sequence (time). From the viewpoint of creation, there is a quality to God's governance which appears as if the clock was wound at the beginning and is now unwinding. From God's perspective, he knows at once the shape of that unwinding, not because he has minutely determined every second, but because he understands what he has made and how it functions, and sees every second at once.

The laws of nature are the manifestation of God's will for nature. Things act according to law, but without the necessity that each action was specifically willed by God. God's sovereignty is not expressed in the minute detail of every occurrence, but in the laws that produce it. If one were to throw a ball against a wall, the ball would bounce as it does because God wanted a myriad of forces to act the way they do which resulted in such a bounce in time, rather than because God wanted that ball to bounce that way at that time.

Creaturely Freedom
All things in God's creation have a nature by which they are governed and are interacted with by the rest of God's creation by its nature. Some natures are more god-like than others, with human beings (and probably at least some of the angels) being made in the very image of God. The nature of human beings, in their degree of freedom to act, will be most reflective of God's freedom. Apart from an analogous freedom as that possessed by God, human beings would not be in God's image, but only reflect God's attributes as does all creation.