Friday, May 20, 2011

ready for the rapture?

Of course you're not.  Nobody is.

So- tomorrow at 6PM, there's supposed to be an earthquake in the east somewhere, and all the Believers in Jesus get to make that cool trip to clouds and watch as God destroys the rest of the world over the next 6 months or so.

Wow.  Some people actually believe this stuff.  Needless to say, there's a veritable plethora of reasons why this probably won't happen.  Strike that.  Won't happen.

Every few years, some whack job with a calculator and a very basic understanding of Scripture comes up with something like this.  This is far from the first time, kids.  William Miller (no relation- thank God) predicted that the Rapture would happen sometime in 1843, and his followers sold their possessions and climbed a hill in Ohio in October, 1844 to wait, only to be sorely disappointed.  (that's the first one I can think of)  Paul Yongghi Cho predicted it in 1989 again.  They just don't learn.  The bottom line is this- no amount of math, equidistant lettering, secret codes or Dean Brown exogesis gets around Matthew 24:35-37, Mark 13:31-33 and Acts 1:6-7.  (To name but a few)  

It's totally ok with me if people want to run their mouths over their 1+1=5 calculations, but there's really two major issues with it- one self serving and one not so much so.

  1. This kind of thing makes all Believers just look stupid.  I don't know about you, but I do a darned fine job of making myself look stupid on a daily basis, so I don't need their help.
  2. This kind of teaching is false prophecy, plain and simple.

It's the second reason that is really the most troubling and from two really interesting viewpoints.  The fact that anyone claiming Christ as their Savior would even entertain this kind of idiocy is very troubling, because the Bible is full of statements from Jesus and the Apostles saying that there will always be false prophets, and that we need to be aware of them.  The people who entertain this are plainly not cognizant of passages like Matthew 7:15-23 (and 24), or other passages in Acts, 2nd Peter and the Gospel of John.  The final false prophet, shown in Revalation is actually the Anti-Christ- but I don't think this latest idiot has that much juice- and besides, Satan knows Scripture and would never even attempt to get around it.

(And, yeah- I'm saying that this latest prophecy is probably not given by Satan.  It's a foolish man, apart from anything else that is doing this)

The other troubling aspect of false prophecy is that Deuteronomy 18:20 is pretty clear on what is supposed to happen to the false prophet.

I make no secret of the fact that as far as Rapture disposition goes, I'm more of a post-tribber than anything- and that's if the Rapture - as we have heard about it for the last 30 years or so -  is even real.  (I'm not saying it isn't, so please don't start a flame war over that.)  Whatever disposition you adhere to is fine- but, for me, I actually don't care if it's pre, post, during- all I want is to be with Jesus, and however it happens, happens.  I'm not going to worry about the actual semantics of it.  Personally, I think that all that Rapture theology does is divert people's attention from what is important to something that isn't, and that they don't really have control over anyway.  God's ultimate desire for all of us is redemption and reconciliation - end of line.  Nothing else matters.

Monday, May 2, 2011

a cause for celebration?

It's been awhile.  The knee is better; the back is worse.  <sigh>  I hate getting old.

One of the things I really hate about getting old (beside the physical falling apart) is the fact that with age, comes wisdom.  More often than not, that wisdom is a good thing- it's welcomed.  You see things a tad more proactively, and if you're really lucky you even get to act upon that foreknowledge.  Unfortunately, you also get to see things in light of a bigger picture.

Osama bin Laden is dead.  Good riddance, I say.  Last night, when the news first broke, my initial reaction was, literally, "WOO-HOO!  WE GOT THE BASTARD!".  I then had a good nights sleep- hardly because an inflamed boil on the buttocks of society had been lanced, but because the drugs that I took for my back problem, coupled with a nice 3 fingers of Tullamore Dew had the desired effect, but I digress.......

When I awoke this morning, that feeling had changed, drastically:

Ezekiel 33:10-11
Son of man, say to the Israelites, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of[b] them. How then can we live?”’ Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’

Obadiah 1:12-14
But look not thou on the day of thy brother in the day of his disaster, and rejoice not over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither speak proudly in the day of distress. Enter not into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, look not thou on their affliction in the day of their calamity, neither lay ye hands on their substance in the day of their calamity. And stand thou not in the crossway, to cut off those of his that escape; and deliver not up those of his that remain in the day of distress.

So, what does this mean?

I'm no Biblical scholar.  I won't claim that I am at all, but what I think it means is that God is basically telling us that even though the wicked get what they deserve, it is not a cause that He celebrates.  And, since God would be the only One who would able to actually be above the wickedness, only He could celebrate, and since he doesn't, we definitely shouldn't.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that bin Laden got what he deserved.  No doubt at all.  The world is a far, far better place without his taking up any kind of oxygen displacement.  He was the dregs of what any thinking person would describe as a meaningful member of society.  His brand of his religion is backwards and has no merit at all (and, I am NOT lumping Islam into this category- I am saying that he was apostate to the bulk of Islam as a whole) and hopefully, this will be the end of that part of it, but I also think that this is the beginning for us as society.

Here's the deal- and really give this some thought for a second before you dismiss it out of hand.  That pig was fond of saying that we (the U.S.) did not deserve to live, and that our lives are forfeit because we don't share his viewpoint.  He declared that there were no innocents in the world, and that anyone who stood in the way of Shariah Law and his particular viewpoint of Allah deserved to die, and more than that- he would celebrate when that happened.  

If we do the same thing, aren't we just as bad in some small way?

Now, before anyone gets too red in the face about me even foisting the possibility that the U.S. is anywhere near the swine who ran off to a cave to hide, and in his final moments took refuge behind an innocent woman (only to suffer sudden lead poisoining of the left eye as a gift from a very sure-shotted U.S. Navy Seal) - I am not saying that.  I am saying, however, that this day presents a really interesting challenge that might possibly really show the other parts of the world that we actually get it.  Instead of celebrating his death with chants of "USA!  USA!  USA!", we can and should bend a knee and thank God that we live in a country that is protected by heroes, and repent of our own sins before a just and Living God.  

Killing Osama bin Laden was not a sin- I truly believe that.  It had to be done.  But, what people seem to fail to realize is that killing, necessary or not, does come at a price of our collective souls.  It's not enough to take care of one complete asshole and call it a day- now the real work has to begin.  It isn't good for kids to parade in front of the White House and celebrate this moment as some kind of fraternity party with crowd surfing - this is hardly the time for that.  It is time that we, as a country, put our money (and our faith) where our mouth is and stand up and make a difference.  

I'll finish by saying this- God Bless and keep the men and women of our armed forces.  They did an outstanding job in what must have been a grisly and ghastly affair, and they are to be commended for doing a job that few of us could ever do.  Those people who took part in this operation have every right to celebrate a job well done.  We, as the people that are being protected- our job is not to celebrate it (or use it as a political statement to get re-elected.......everyone feelin' me on that one?) but rather, to acknolwedge that once again, God has provided for us.

God Bless the USA!