The Evangelical Universalist Forum

The Temple, the Antichrist, and the Structure of Revelation

You’re right Chad, and sooo glad I don’t… the video however affirms Hermano’s concerns — all I can say is WOW!!

I think President Trump, should have chosen this person - as a Christian faith adviser. Perhaps some of his miracle spring water would make this impeachment soap opera go away. :crazy_face:

No,actually you are right and I tend to agree with your view about the video, but I also acknowledge that politicians do what they need to do to win elections. It is just a fact of life like taxes and cars breaking down :grimacing:

So how do you view the idea of lesser evil? As it deals with politics? Are you a staunch in the wool right is right, or is there a place of gotta get what we can view? :smiley:

Ah, but Davo, you do! you do! We all do. Mexico is also rife with dominionism/ the New Apostolic Reformation, and so is Australia.

The Fox News article I linked to above (“Pastors, worship leaders pray for Trump in Oval Office amid impeachment fight”) highlights the participation of Brian Houston of Hillsong Church in Australia. And Hillsong Church of Australia, and Bethel Church of California, work hand in hand for the dominionist agenda.

Consider this article:

Australia’s Prime Minister duped into endorsing the ‘Awakening Australia’ event?

Nah not really Hermano — dominion theology like dispensational eschatology have this in common… neither has ANYTHING to do with biblical prophecy.

And in-kind — Donald Trump like Brian Houston have this in common… both are shallow and shifty, IMO.

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Also Paula White has been a Word of Faith proponent (name it and claim it) and if you listen to Trump speak he sometimes says things that sound unrealistic or greatly exaggerated and in the WOF theology you can speak things into existence if you have enough faith! I wonder if Trump subscribes to this?

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This is my recent comment from Bowsixtysix’s post, “The Rapture, Are we going to heaven?,” which is also relevant to this thread:

A lot of good points. You appear to support a post-Tribulation rapture:

I agree with you. But I believe these verses describe the third of three raptures–the final rapture–which happens just before the Wedding feast, before the Second Coming, as I recently discussed in “The Temple, the Antichrist, and the Structure of Revelation,” and depicted in my chronological Revelation chart linked to therein.

I don’t pretend to know with certainty, but possibly Enoch and Elijah were taken up to Paradise alive, and Paradise (a.k.a. “Abraham’s bosom,” Lk. 16:24) is a temporal location, which used to be located in Sheol below, adjacent to Hades; but which was relocated above with Christ at his ascension (Ephesians 4:8 ESV, cf. Lk. 23:43 & 2 Cor. 12:3-4), and is now apparently neighboring, but separate from, God’s throne room.

Again, please consider my lengthy discussion in my original post. I believe the first, pre-Tribulation rapture will provide escape for Christians who hear God’s call, just as Noah heard God’s call, and escaped the Flood in the Ark (a type for Christ, as well as a type for the first rapture).

Regarding Christ’s reference to Noah in the last days, I would argue there will be two “takings,” one of the alert righteous who hear God’s call, like Noah; and later, one of the wicked:

Matthew 24:39-42 (NIV)
39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them [airō] all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken [paralambanō] and the other left.
41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken [paralambanō] and the other left.
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.

As Arthur E. Bloomfield points out in Signs of His Coming: A Study of the Olivet Discourse (1962):

Days of Noah chart

Jesus proceeds to amplify his reference to the days of Noah by telling about those who would be taken and those who would be left. Some readers have connected the word took (took them all away) with taken (one taken and the other left) and have gathered that those so take will be carried away to judgment.

There is no confusion in the Greek, for the words are not the same. The word for taken means to take along side of one—as a companion—“So shall we ever be with the Lord.”

Two men may be so closely associated that they are sleeping in the same bed; one is a Christian and the other is not. During the nigh the Christian is taken. Even more spectacular will be the going of those who are working with others. They will disappear, leaving only their clothing, even as Christ left His clothing in the tomb.

Fearing God?

by Hermano, 21 January 2020.

Is God a harsh Judge, or a loving Daddy? Are people to be afraid of Him, or to rest in Him?

Fear and Death

Hebrews 2:14-15

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—
15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

Death was not part of God’s design: the legalistic devil brought death into Creation through the open door provided by man’s first sin (Rom. 5:12 and 1 Cor. 15:21-22).

Early Church Fathers believed that the angels were assigned to care for man and oversee his physical environment; but that when Lucifer went off the rails, he began to maliciously corrupt nature. So, things like tsunamis, malaria, and carnivorous animals reflect the devil’s meddling with nature after the Fall (Gen. 3:17), and are not part of God’s original design. (Please see “Question 24: Is Satan Involved In Every Evil Occurrence?” in Richard Murray’s free ebook, God Versus Evil.)

Death is a long continuum with many gradations: it encompasses sadness, depression, sickness, old age, physical death, and finally, hell. People suffer all of these, but they also worry about being overtaken by additional shades of death during their short tenure on earth: such “what if’s” as cancer, murder, rejection, abandonment, unemployment, insolvency, homelessness—and the list goes on.

Jesus came here to “break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil.” He came to free those who who all their lives have been held in slavery by their fear of death, and to provide salvation from ALL of death’s gradations. He came to offer abundant life (John 10:10).

Fear and Religious Legalism

The gospel is the great news that we can be freed from sin and death by surrendering to Jesus, and inviting him into our hearts to reign in us. Since the cross, everyone who hears and believes the gospel can freely receive a divine blood transfusion from Christ, and pass from death into his victorious life!

But the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of God’s nature via “by-the-letter” religion has distilled fear into a very potent brew: what could be more frightening to non-Christians than the prospect of not measuring up to the impossible standards of a legalistic, vindictive God, dying a failure, and subsequently being cast into a never-ending torture chamber? (Often, “evangelism” comes down to selling fire insurance: “Come to Jesus! He loves you, and doesn’t want to do all the bad things to you he’s going to do if you don’t come to him!”)

And even after we become Christians, it’s easy to stay focused on ourselves; sermons are often centered on us and what we need to do: “Seven steps to follow…” “Three keys…” “Five principles…” Just like non-Christians, we worry about demands in our lives, and how to juggle our limited natural resources (of, e.g., time, energy, money, health, love, wisdom, knowledge) so we can meet those demands—sometimes being driven to connive, and manipulate others. We clench and horde our natural resources, saying to ourselves, “If I share with you, then there might not be enough left for me!”

Instead, we should be focusing on, and resting in, the gracious JESUS, letting go of our hoarded natural resources, and standing under the waterfall of his unlimited free supply (Lk. 15:31) of supernatural resources (of time, energy, money, health, love, wisdom, knowledge, et al)—resources that everyone needs. (Speaking of the “law of supply and demand” —in relation to theology instead of economics—: grace supplies, but law demands.)

Performance-centered Christianity (legalism) is steeped in fear. Among us evangelical Christians, fear especially comes out with daggers if you fall into overt sin. Choose your flavor:

-We’ve got Calvinism, which says that if you go seriously astray, then maybe —although you were our close friend at church for twenty years—you were not really predestined for eternal life by God after all? So pull yourself together and get back to acting predestined!

-And Arminianism, which says that if you go seriously astray, then maybe —although you were our close friend at church for twenty years—you are going to lose your salvation. So shape up or ship out!

Fear and the New Age

After leaving the New Age movement and becoming a Christian, Warren B. Smith began writing on the subject of spiritual deception. He has written six books and numerous booklets, but our focus is on the following booklet:

Fearing God in a Fearless New Age

I greatly appreciate Smith’s work in exposing the influence of the New Age in the Church, but I must disagree with him about his use of particular verses in Matthew 10 in trying to build his case in this booklet.

But let me first say that in “Fearing God in a Fearless New Age,” Smith does rightly warn that A Course in Miracles —a 1975 New Age curriculum by Helen Schucman (later promoted by Marianne Williamson on The Oprah Winfrey Show )— presents a false Christ who teaches that all fear is delusional, and that we are all “God.”

Further, Smith exposes how the New Age Christ being channeled in A Course in Miracles teaches that, “when humanity overcomes its ‘fear of God’ and is collectively ‘awakened’ by ‘God’s dream’ to the reality that they are God—then and only then—can inner peace and world peace be finally realized.”

And in this booklet, Smith also aptly examines how certain Christian leaders, such as Robert Schuller, Rick Warren, Mark Batterson, and Jason Mitchell, have been influenced by the New Age idea that all fear is delusional, and that these teachers are mainstreaming this and other false New Age ideas into the Church.

Fear and the Proper Interpretation of Scripture

But I disagree with Smith’s use of the traditional interpretation of Matthew 10:27-28 to support his argument that being afraid of God is good. Smith says:

Our Spiritual Adversary, through his deceptive “God’s dream” theology, wants to redefine fear as something that is the opposite of love and not even real. He wants to eliminate fear because he does not want us to fear and revere the one true God. He does not want us to know the benefits and blessings that come from fearing God. And he most certainly does not want us to know that Jesus Christ Himself specifically taught that we should all fear God. Jesus said we are not to fear those who kill the body, but we are to “fear him” who is “able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:27-28)

I have made suggested amplifications to, and then discussed, these troubling verses in Matthew 10 in another post to show that the devil is the frightening one being referred to, not God. I will quote from it here:

And Joseph Prince has pointed out the need to correctly understand what the “fear” of the Lord actually is, by using Scripture to interpret Scripture (my emphasis in bold):

The “fear of the Lord” in the new covenant of grace is about honoring, worshipping, and reverencing God as God in our lives. “Fear” here does not refer to being terrified or afraid of and feeling threatened by God. Just ask yourself, which understanding of God resonates in your spirit? A loving Jesus who gave up everything for you, or an angry God looking for every opportunity to judge, condemn, and punish you? The Holy Spirit in you will point you to a God of love, while the devil will pretend to manifest the King’s wrath and find every opportunity to roar at you.

Today, the only fear God wants you to have is a wholesome fear of the Lord, which Jesus Himself defines as the worship of God.

When the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he said, “All these things [all the kingdoms of the world and their glory] I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Jesus, quoting from the book of Deuteronomy, replied, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve’ ” (Matt. 4:9–10).

Now, if you do a quick check on what Jesus quoted in the book of Deuteronomy, it actually says, “You shall fear the LORD your God . . .” (Deut. 6:13). So Jesus defined the “fear” of God as the “worship” of God. In other words, the only “fear” that you should have in your life is the worship of God. Worship Him and all your fears will fade away in the light of His glory and grace.

I have often asserted in this forum that God does not kill —even in the face of Bible passages which explicitly state otherwise. I have argued that the believers who wrote the Bible occasionally misattributed to God things actually said and done by the “god” of this age, Satan; but that we can see “progressive revelation” in the Scriptures themselves about our unchanging God’s true nature of pure love. As Professor C.S. Cowles has said,

While Jesus affirmed the Hebrew Scriptures as the authentic Word of God, he did not endorse every word in them as God’s. He rejected some Torah texts as representing the original intention and will of God, such as Moses’ divorce laws (Mark 10:4-9). He displaced Moses’ laws governing vengeance with his new ethic of active nonviolent resistance, of “overcoming evil with good” (Matthew 5:38-42; Romans 12:21). His command to “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44) represents a total repudiation of Moses’ genocidal commands and stands in judgment on Joshua’s campaign of ethnic cleansing.

In progressive revelation what we see is … reflective of the human mediators’ growing understanding of his [God’s] character, will, and gracious saving purposes in Scripture. Isaiah, for instance, saw into the mind and heart of God more clearly than Moses when he virtually dismisses the whole sacrificial system that Moses believed to have been instituted by God, instructions that are given in great detail in Exodus and Leviticus. In contradistinction to Israel’s entire temple-cult and priestly system, Isaiah asserts that God does not require “burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals,” and that he took “no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.”

Fear and the Parables of Jesus

But what about violence in some of the parables of Jesus himself? As Richard Murray says later in God Versus Evil (my emphasis in bold),

The teaching concept here is simple. By using comparison to that which is familiar, a conceptual bridge is built which allows us to cross over into the unfamiliar. And while these stories might useful in a general way as a teaching tool, nobody would claim that EVERY facet of the story would have to have a precise Heavenly corollary.

The parables are often “rough-edged” and full of flawed humanity such as “wicked kings” (Luke 18) and “vengeful vineyard owners” (Luke 20) and “evil fathers” (Luke 11). To think that Jesus was trying to attribute these flaws to the Heavenly Father is unthinkable and unwarranted.

Because of their “rough-edges,” scholars have long warned us to only glean broad points from the parables. In other words, we shouldn’t get “hyper-literal” in thinking EVERY detail of the story lines up perfectly with Heaven. Parables are there, rather, to just get us thinking about Heavenly dynamics in new ways. They don’t fill in ALL the revelatory gaps on a one-to-one ratio. We have to let the Holy Ghost do that.

We must let the Spirit translate the parable for us, helping us know which perfect facts to focus on and which flawed facts to leave behind. Like we crack the shell off of a nut before eating it, or remove the skin off an orange before consuming it, so too do we need to remove the “human husks” off the parables before we use them to define the character of God.

The fact that many parables contain violent, petty, unjust and wrathful rulers does NOT mean that God is likewise violent, petty, violent and wrathful. Jesus used flawed humanity, warts and all, to make heavenly points. Like with many Old Testament passages, we must let Jesus alone excavate, elevate and illuminate the character of God.

Jesus acknowledged that parables do NOT speak clearly to the human mind (Mark 4:10-12). So, why would we PRIORITIZE less-clear parabolic statements by Jesus over the more numerous and perfectly clear statements He makes concerning His Father’s nature…

…Moreover, in other passages, such as Matthew 21:33-41 and 25:24, the violence of the king/ruler is PRESUMED by the audience but NEVER approved or endorsed by Jesus as accurate. So too today, many likewise wrongly presume a violent and vengeful image of God without actually EVER hearing from the Holy Spirit about it.

Fear and Bible Translation Biases:

And then there are sometimes even Bible translation biases that add to the fears of their readers. Take John 15:1-8 (NIV), the story of the Vine and the branches, for example:

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
2 He cuts off [Greek: airō] every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.
4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
6 If you [Greek: tis, an indefinite anyone] do not remain [abide, dwell, live] in me, you [3rd person singular: he/she] are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

In John 15:2, Strong’s G142 - airō, sometimes translated “cut off” or “taken away,” would better be translated in this verse, 1. to raise up, elevate, lift up. (Note: only the New King James Version even acknowledges this alternative translation…as a footnote!)

So the intention of John 15:2a is actually to encourage Christians!

But later in John 15:6, Jesus goes on to warn non-Christians.

In John 15:6, when Jesus said, ‘If you do not remain/abide/dwell in me [have a relationship with me], you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned,’ he was NOT referring to unfruitful Christians: they are lovingly “lifted up” by the Vinedresser for better growth. In 15:6 he was transitioning to warn those who refuse to believe that he is the Son of God. He was describing people who are looking for life outside himself: branches which never were connected to the true vine.

(For Christians worried about losing their salvation, remember: you didn’t earn salvation by your good performance, so you’re not going to lose it by your bad performance. God’s gifts, which would include the gift of salvation, Rom. 6:23, are irrevocable, Rom. 11:29. See grace teacher Paul Ellis’s thoughtful discussion about John 15 here.)

And here is another scary example of translation bias I addressed earlier in this thread:

And finally, what is actually meant by “the wrath of God” and “the justice of God”?

Fear and the Wrath of God

As discussed by Richard Murray, in Talmudic literature, the Jews equated God’s wrath with Satan’s oppression.

And in the Scriptures themselves, when we read about David’s sin of numbering the fighting men of Israel (instead of just trusting in God), in the first record of this event in 2 Samuel 24:1, David was said to have been incited by “the LORD,” whereas a later account of the same incident in 1 Chronicles 21:1 amends the story to say that David was incited by “Satan.”

But Jesus —who exactly represents his unchanging Father— met this error of the misattribution of murderous wrath to God head-on in John 10:10:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Make no mistake: the great harvest is coming, and the Second Person of the Trinity, God the Son, will sit in judgment and separate the wheat from the weeds. The unrepentant will all be cast into the agonizing lake of fire, located somewhere outside the new Jerusalem (Rev. 22:15). However, they will be there in the presence of our wonderful Savior and his angels during that terrible eon (Rev. 14:10 and Luke 15:10; compare Daniel 3:25). And eventually, in that consuming fire (Heb. 12:29) of love (1 John 4:8, 16), those captives to sin will gradually have their deceptive cords of bondage burned off—as they are willing; and eventually, each one will repent and choose to freely receive Jesus of Nazareth, God’s gift of reconciliation, and come into the City through the always open gates to receive the water of life (Rev. 22:17).

John 3:16-17

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world [cosmos, universe] through him.

2 Corinthians 5:19

God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Fear and the Justice of God

Regarding what is meant by “the justice of God,” author Steve McVey has pointed out (my emphases in bold):

…[T]he God-as-Judge viewpoint does not present a biblical picture of what divine justice is about at all, but is a legalistic perspective that comes from human culture. Biblically, to “bring justice” does not mean to bring punishment, but to bring healing and reconciliation. Justice means to make things right. Throughout the Prophets, justice is associated with caring for others, as something that is not in conflict with mercy, but rather an expression of it. Divine justice is God’s saving action at work for all that are oppressed, as the following verses demonstrate:

Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow (Isaiah 1:17). Note what happens when one does right by seeking justice. The oppressed are encouraged and the helpless are helped.

This is what the LORD says: "` Administer justice every morning; rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed (Jeremiah 21:12). Justice is done when the oppressed is rescued.

This is what the LORD Almighty says: ` Administer true justice: show mercy and compassion to one another (Zechariah 7:9). How does one administer true justice? By showing mercy and compassion to everybody involved.

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you ; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice (Isaiah 30:18). What is the reason our Lord wants to be gracious to us? Because He is just.

If we want to understand the concept of justice as the writers of the Old Testament did, then we must see it as a “setting things right again.” There is no conflict between God’s justice and His mercy. They both flow from His love.

To summarize: in actuality, “the wrath of God” is rebellious people’s wrath toward God, and is personified in Satan. Thankfully, however, “the justice of God” guarantees that eventually every crooked thing in Creation WILL become straight (Luke 3:5-6).

God, the Savior of ALL men (1 Tim. 4:10), is not willing to abandon even one lost sheep (Luke 15:4)!

(Disclaimers about “grace teachers” I enjoy, whom I referenced or quoted above:

  • Dr. Paul Ellis of Escape to Reality, is an annihilationist and a preterist.
  • Joseph Prince, senior pastor at New Creation Church, while he is a futurist holding to a Pre-Tribulation rapture, nevertheless speaks in conferences alongside dominionists from Hillsong and Bethel.
  • Dr. Steve McVey, president of Grace Walk Ministries, seems to have punted on any mention of Satan or Premillennialism, and veered off into quantum physics and mysticism.)

Note: this essay is available as a pdf file: “Fearing God?.pdf

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So Hermano 101 is… God’s wrath becomes man’s wrath — and therefore conversely the opposite must likewise be true, thus…

Jas 1:20 …for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Becomes…

Jas 1:20 Hermano …for the wrath of God does not produce the righteousness of God.

And so the likes of…

Prov 20:2 The wrath of a king is like the roaring of a lion; whoever provokes him to anger sins against his own life.

Becomes this…

Prov 20:2 Hermano The wrath of God is like the roaring of a lion; whoever provokes him to anger sins against his own life.

Interesting :question:

NOPE!!

:unamused:

Why didn’t God destroy the devil or at least ban him from the Garden?

That’s the wrong question Steve. One needs to ask… WHY does Hermano attribute to the devil what those texts he references CLEARLY states was… the man, Adam!?

In other words Hermano, Satan being the master of deception is pitted against Eve and Adam presumably innocent & having no experience with sin or deception. Is this a fair fight, did A & E have a realistic chance to resist?

2 Corinthians 11:4
For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

Regarding the Second Coming of Christ, we (futurist) Christians are looking for the return of Christ to defeat the Antichrist, and then set up his Millennial Kingdom on earth. But the eschatological traditions of various other religions include “messianism,” and so they too expect a coming savior.

“Jesus” is highly esteemed by many non-Christians right along with other religious leaders such as Buddha, Krishna, Confucius, Laozi, and Mohammed. Jesus is referred to by them, by various honorifics such as Yogi, Adept, Avatar, Shaman, Way-show-er, Master, and Guru.

Timing is key. I have argued in my original post (above) that what is imminent (what comes next prophetically) is not the return of Christ, but the rise of Antichrist. And that the Antichrist will be hailed by the world as a hero, because he will appear to bring humanity back from the brink of annihilation, and lead us into a time of peace and prosperity, in what is actually a massive deception orchestrated by Satan.

So regarding the messianism in other world religions, I would suggest my coming “Antichrist” will be someone else’s coming “messiah”:

  • Shia Muslims are looking for the 12th “Mahdi” who vanished in 941 AD.
  • Sunni Muslims are looking for the first appearance of “Mahdi.”
  • Hindus are looking for the Tenth Avatar, “Kalki.”
  • Buddhists are expecting the appearance of the Fifth Buddha, “Maitreya.”
  • And like Buddhists, many New Agers and Theosophists believe Maitreya (an “ascended master,” that is, a high-ranking member of “the Masters of the Ancient Wisdom” --which is a hidden Spiritual Hierarchy) will soon manifest himself to all humanity and usher in a new era of peace and happiness; while other New Agers are waiting for the “cosmic Christ” (a divine spirit) to fall upon all humanity so that people around the world can recognize their divinity and thus leap forward in their evolutionary advancement, and in their ability to access their human potential and innate psychic powers.

Regarding warnings about false signs and wonders in the end-times, performed even by people identifying themselves as Christians, I thought this post by “Kate” in another thread, who asks about difficult verses in the Book of Hebrews, could be relevant:

Let me say again, I do not believe a genuine Christian can lose his salvation:

John 10:28-29 (NIV)
28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

As I said in my original post above,

(Parenthetically, let me add that those genuine Christians who are deceived in the last days, and choose to mistakenly follow the spirit of Antichrist—with all of his later flattery and sensuality—while they may be deaf to the call of the first rapture, will later finally wake up and repent when the Antichrist turns on them. They will certainly be ready 1,260 days/3.5 years later for the second rapture! Rev. 12:1-6 and Rev. 7:9-14.)

Now, what of someone who associates himself with Christ, and identifies himself as a Christian, yet is not actually “born again”? As Paul exhorted:

2 Cor. 13:5
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

To consider a specific example of someone being very closely associated with Christ and the gospel, and doing wonders, yet who was actually unsaved, recall Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve original apostles:

Matthew 10:1 (NKJV)
The Twelve Apostles
1 And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.

Acts 1:24-25 (NIV)
24 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen
25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.”

Note: the remaining eleven original apostles themselves were not “born again” until after Jesus breathed on them and imparted his Holy Spirit, which he did only after his resurrection. John 20:19-22.

And later, John explains that those who walk with us Christians, as we walk with the Lord, but who later turn away and deny Christ, were never actually “of us” to begin with:

1 John 2:18-19, 22-23 (NKJV)
Deceptions of the Last Hour
18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.

22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.
23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

And Jesus himself warns of those who will definitely consider themselves Christians, and who will even prophesy and do wonders in his name, and yet are actually false brethren:

Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV)
True and False Disciples
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 MANY will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’
23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

  • How is it that these people consider themselves Christians, but are not?
  • What false gospel have they accepted, and wrongly believed to be true?

Apparently, a salvation by doing, instead of by believing: something to be earned, instead of freely received. A gospel of works, and not of faith:

Hebrews 5:13 (NIV)
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.

Romans 1:17
For in the gospel the righteousness OF GOD is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

I’m happy with the perspective that we are saved by faith, and judged by our works.

Can you explain what that means?

Here’s an interesting quote from the intro from a paper on the matter of antichrist

An inventory of ways biblical antichristos passages are interpreted reveals several tendencies. The term is often used as a projection of one’s fears or as a means of furthering group solidarity against perceived threats. ‘Those who would threaten our values and beliefs’, an apologist might argue, ‘are doing the work of “the Antichrist”’. Associations establish linkages, then, with other biblical threats and villains, and before you know it, entire theological systems of antichristic speculation come to dominate the apologetic landscape, functioning theologically as a means of eschewing perceived threats and reinforcing commitment to particular interpretive stands. Hence, additional interests in dividing truth from error become attached to antichristic passages as a means of constructing larger rhetorical arguments against perceived religious threats—both real and imagined.

Paul N. Anderson Antichristic Errors: Flawed Interpretations Regarding The Johannine Antichrist pg. 196

Maybe this popular book might provide some insight - into this topic! :crazy_face:

Obviously it’s hyperbole because Jesus said “all things are possible” with God and it’s God’s will that everyone should be saved, so which statement is true? “All things are possible with God” clearly is true and “impossible” is hyperbole and a warning to Jewish believers who were falling away.

Sounds right to me. But I wanted to point out to others that you’re quoting me as I quote “Kate.” Also, as I said on Kate’s original thread: