The Song of Simeon

(Simeon) took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”    Luke 2:28-32

Following is my dramatization, if you will, of the Song of Simeon from my novel, The Substance Hoped For.

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In the priest’s court of the temple sat Simeon.  The rest of the priests went about their duties without paying too much attention to him.  They were either too young to fully realize the significance of who he was or too accustomed to his presence to let it make much difference…anymore.  He was too old to do any real work, but there were a few who still valued his wisdom and sought his council.  His true value was no longer in how many rituals he oversaw or sacrifices he made.  It was in his total experience, his accumulated knowledge.  And one other thing.

Simeon had spoken with God, and God’s replies were not discovered in a temple scroll.  It had been a conversation.  Simeon had been a good priest and found favor with Yahve.  In return for his devotion and righteousness before Him, God had promised something to him; a Personal Favor.  Simeon would not die before seeing the Christ of God in the flesh.

That promise, once made known, had caused no small disturbance among the priests, the sons of Levi.  That meant that the advent of the New Covenant was upon them, and that was a very troubling thought.

While the Children of Israel professed to be anxiously waiting for the coming of the Savior first promised to Adam and Eve and later to their father, Abraham, they were not necessarily ready for it.  This was a race of people whose heritage was waiting.  They had spent centuries and generations waiting for the fulfillment of prophecy.  Sometimes they did it well and sometimes not, but they waited…a lot.  Egypt and deserts had special meanings in their collective memory.  Their heritage of waiting had been passed down through the generations until it had virtually become their religion.

Until Simeon.  With his revelation came the scary realization that the prophecy was at hand.  He was fairly young when it happened, but even so everyone knows that a man will only live for so long.

After the initial flurry of soul-searching, however, most people came to see that nothing was happening right this moment.  The old conditioning set back in, and they waited.  They were perhaps a bit better at the waiting now, because there was a time frame that they could comprehend, but, given Simeon’s youth at the time, this could still take years.  Time dragged on, and the waiting assumed its familiar face.

Most people began to forget Simeon.  They stopped paying attention to how old he was getting, which was the obvious sign that something should be happening pretty soon.  The younger priests had heard the story but had not experienced it firsthand.  It was nothing more than another “bible story” to them, and they gave it no more credence than they did any other.  To them, Simeon was just an exceptionally old priest who should be dying any day now.  It didn’t look like any promise was going to be kept.  He was just a nice guy to have around and humor in what seemed to be his patient disappointment.

As he raised his eyes toward the steps that descended to the Israel Court where only Jewish men and boys were allowed, no one noticed.  When he stretched out his legs, some nearby were merely careful not to trip over him.  As he stood, a few priests cast a quick glance and had only a brief thought that Simeon must be changing his routine today.  When he started toward those steps, he started catching some real, if slight, attention…

Simeon approached Mary, who held Jesus tightly to herself.  She saw his face and the years that it wore.  She was a long while getting past the long, white beard and sallow, wrinkled skin.  She looked beneath the grizzled eyebrows and caught her breath.  His eyes!  They were so unlike the rest of him!  They were strong and warm and loving and… they were young!  They shone and twinkled and smiled at her.

A crooked, leathery hand cupped her face and thin lips smiled for her alone.  She felt as though she had been given a blessing.  Or was it a thanks?  She could not tell.

He broke his gaze from her and beheld the Child.  Jesus looked up at him with the sort of quiet, wide-eyed innocence that children save for new faces.  He even seemed to open His arms to Simeon, who slowly and gently lifted Jesus from His mother’s arms.  He nuzzled the Child playfully, eliciting a laugh from Jesus.  Simeon kissed His cheek tenderly as a father would and then cradled the Infant in the crook of his arm.  With his eyes raised to heaven, he spoke in a voice that was strong but pitched only for this small gathering.

“Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your Word.  For mine eyes have seen your Salvation, which You have prepared before the face of all people; a Light for the revelation of the Gentiles, and for the glory of Your people, Israel.”  He looked once more at Jesus, stroking Him as though He was the most Precious Thing he’d ever held.  A sadness entered him, and he turned to Mary.  “Behold, this Child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that is spoken against, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.  And a sword shall pierce through your own soul also.”

Once more, the leathered hand cupped her face, and he gently kissed her cheek.  She locked onto his eyes again, but they had changed.  They had aged.  They were still of the same character she had glimpsed moments ago, but they had succumbed to a fatigue that had been held at bay too long.

He handed the Child back to her.  He seemed like a man who had feasted and finally had his fill.  Regretfully, he pushes back from the table, knowing that the great dinner has ended.  It’s time to sleep.

Who Do You Trust?

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God.    Psalm 20:7

It’s hard to know what to trust these days.  One news source slants things one way.  Another source predictably trumpets a different perspective.  Headlines and colored graphs try to instill fear in us so we come back to them for more information.

I remember trying to get home from Dallas, TX when America Airlines employees went on strike in the late 90’s.  There were 4-5 connections before I finally got home, but I made it.  One memory burned into my mind was being in one of the countless lines snaking around the terminal when this beautiful woman came striding along, microphone in hand and cameraman in tow.  Raising her microphone like a beacon, she yelled at the top of her lungs, “Who’s pissed off and wants to be on TV??”

Apparently, she was out sick the day they taught journalism at journalism school.

News isn’t news.  It’s entertainment at best.  At worst, it’s propaganda to get as many people as possible to follow their tune.  Oh, some self-deluded souls might think they are serious reporters, but they haven’t smelled the coffee yet for all the Kool-Aid they’ve drunk.

There are decent sources around, but you really need to read around and not take everything you see/hear/read as undiluted truth.  Think critically.  Ask questions about how information X could be slanted. Hopefully you read my recent article How to Lie with Statistics.

Some put their trust in CNBC, some in Fox.  Some sit before their favorite source for information like peeping birds, mouths agape, waiting for another worm to be delivered.

We should do our best to understand the world around us; we live here, after all.  Plus, the one news source that is unimpeachable – the Bible – has given us veiled glimpses into the future.  We need to be alert and watch as Jesus instructed us to recognize the signs He gave us.

People are overly fixated on “666.”  Daniel’s prophecies tell us that one will come who will be a world leader and even broker peace in the Middle East, a seven-year treaty with Israel.  But the treaty will be broken halfway into that treaty, beginning the Apocalypse.

Daniel provides the first “rough draft” of end times prophecy.  Jesus gave us something more refined in Matthew 34, often referred to as The Olivet Discourse.  Finally, we have Revelation, which definitely pegs the weirdness meter and is virtually opaque.  How much is supposed to be literal?  How much is symbolic language?  That debate has raged for centuries!

But let’s study it all anyway.  We might not understand it, but of we know it we can recognize it when it happens!

For example, one of Daniel’s prophecies concerned a goat that would race quickly across the world and conquer all.  Daniel asked the angel what it meant and was told it was not for him to understand, just record.

Centuries later came Alexander the Great.  He was the goat.  No, not the Greatest Of All Time.  Did you know Greece’s national animal is the goat?  Not unlike our bald eagle.  You’ve heard of the Aegean Sea?  It’s Greek for the Goat Sea.

One could know Daniel’s prophecies without understanding them…until they happened!

See Daniel; The Ram and the Goat and Daniel; The Ram and the Goat, Continued.

So…where was I?  Oh, yeah.  Some trust in CNN, some in Fox, some in Twitter, but let’s all keep our heads during the turmoil of our times. Let’s all trust in the Lord, our God, the best news source since the invention of writing.

Keep reading Him, studying Him…and trusting Him!!

How About Something NOT 2020?

Then God said, “Let there be a firmament (sky) in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven.    Genesis 1:6-8

I’m utterly fed up with COVID and politics.  So, in the immortal words of Rocket J. Squirrel (gosh, I hope you get this reference), “Now here’s something we hope you’ll really like!”

Voyager 1 and Voyager 2.  You know those names, right?  They are the two space probes essentially launched to leave our solar system in opposite directions after first doing flybys of our neighboring planets.  Even if you weren’t born when they were launched, I’m sure you’ve heard of them.  Every now and then there’s something on the Discovery channel or in the news about yet another new piece of information from both Voyagers.

It surprised me to read that those probes were launched 43 years ago!  They left the solar system a while back and are streaking through interstellar space.

This week I saw an article about how NASA has been out of touch with Voyager 2 since March.  They finally had to cut contact to do some needed repairs and upgrades to the antenna used to communicate with it.  That work is now done, and NASA sent a signal out to Voyager 2.  It answered.

Here’s the truly amazing part.  Voyager 2 is now 11.6 billion miles from earth, traveling at an astounding 35,000 mph!  How far away is that?  After “calling” Voyager 2, the NASA team had to wait over 34 hours to hear it say, “Hello.”

Here’s a visual.  This is a picture of earth taken by voyager as it left the solar system.  NASA was just looking for some shots back at the solar system, not thinking about getting a shot of home.  One sharp-eyed photo analyzer saw a dot in the frame that looked kinda blue-ish.  She realized it was earth!

All the more astounding is that Voyager, cosmically speaking, isn’t that far outside the solar system yet.  It’s barely left the neighborhood.  The nearest star is light years away.  It is hurtling through a great void, and NASA is hoping to learn more about interstellar space as it goes; radiation types and levels, etc.

I read a book by a Christian astronomer, and I was awed by the vastness of space he described.  He wrote that if two galaxies were to cross paths, there would be no cataclysmic collisions and explosions as they barreled through each other.  There is so much emptiness in each galaxy that they would just pass through each other with nothing of note happening!

He also posited an interesting theory that the background radiation noise that is ever-present in the universe is not from the supposed Big Bang.  He observed that everything gives off some sort of radiation or signal.  Even water.

If you read the Creation account in Genesis above and think more galactically than locally, you’re presented with a description that isn’t just about water separating land and sky, but water separating our universe from heaven.  He envisioned our universe as a sphere encased in water.  Such a boundary layer at the ends of the universe would give off precisely the same radiation “noise” that is now attributed to the Big Bang.  True?  We cannot know, but it is a theory that fits both the Creation account and scientific facts.

Isn’t that just like our God?  He’s always thinking and doing things so much bigger than we can fully appreciate!  We live in a Creation where billions of miles don’t even get you very far from the “zip code” of our solar system.  We exist in a vastness that so great that earth becomes a barely recognizable blue dot easily missed in a photograph.

A tiny blue dot.  Insignificant except for one thing; it’s where He put us.  It’s where he loves us so much that we are indeed the center of His universe!

We ARE Living in Biblical Times!!

“‘And it shall come to pass in the last days,’ says God, ‘That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.’”    Acts 2:17

Several years ago I told my pastor about an incredible book I’d read; 23 Minutes in Hell by Bill Wiese.  Wiese fell asleep one evening just after noticing the time.  He woke up in hell.  God was there with him.  God’s purpose in taking him to hell was to show him just how bad it really is and to take that message back to earth.  Warn the people!  You need to put a little “fire & brimstone” back in the preaching!

When the episode was over, he woke up, screaming in terror over what he’d just been through.  His wife came running from the bedroom.  As he calmed down, he noticed the clock; 23 minutes had passed.  It took him a while to finally start talking and writing about his experience.  When he began opening up about it, he found himself to be part of a community of people who have had the same experience.  All have been charged with getting out the message that hell is real and is waiting for those not saved through Christ.

My pastor responded that he thought this and all of the near-death stories can’t be true.  God doesn’t need to come to us this way anymore, he explained.  We have His Word in the Bible.  God worked like that in biblical times.  No longer.

I’m not buying that for a second.  God can good and well do whatever He thinks needs to be done.  His Creation, His rules.  From where I sit, I think my pastor’s seminary training biased him against the possibility of God sending modern day prophets to the world.  If it wasn’t part of the seminary curriculum, he wasn’t buying.  I’m not saying that everyone who has been through seminary necessarily has this bias, but I think that risk is there.

But we ARE living in biblical times in more ways than one.  Daniel, Isaiah, Jesus’ Olivet discourse, and Revelations, to name a few, describe what end times will look like and events that will lead to those days.  The Bible described “biblical times” yet to come.

Beyond near-death experiences and visits to hell by His chosen prophets is the appearance of Jesus among Muslims in the Middle East.  It is a real phenomenon that has been happening for some years now.  Muslims who are not sold on their own religion and seeking the truth don’t know where else to look.  There are no bibles within easy reach.  Jesus, in His endless mercy, comes to them in dreams and tells them He is the One they seek.  These dreams are causing many conversions among Muslims.

You might recall hearing about a protestant pastor being held in Iran (I think) for preaching the Gospel.  I listened to a radio interview of his wife.  She related how both of them were visited by Christ in their dreams.  They didn’t wake up suddenly Christian, but that was the start of their coming to faith in Jesus.

So think on it!  Just as He came to the Old Testament prophets, the Apostles, and more, Jesus is making Himself known to those who seek Him or to those He simply chooses.  Not unlike Saul/Paul.

“Killing Christians” by Tom Doyle with Greg Webster is a collection of accounts of persecution, torture, and martyrdom among Christians in the Middle East.  Most all of them are Muslims called by Christ Himself through dreams.  The book is not gory; it does relate horrible things, but it offers no gruesome detail, no nightmare-inducing descriptions.

What is remarkable is how Christ is calling Muslims, and in one nail-biting event, directs the escape of a mother and her children to the safety of a refugee camp.  Their bravery and commitment to Jesus, some suffering torture and martyrdom, are awe-inspiring.  I can only hope that, if I am called to suffer for Christ, I can receive the same strength they did.

You can simply Google the phrase “Jesus Appearing to Muslims” and be awash in links to stories.  Go to YouTube, make the same search, and see all of the videos that pop up with one testimonial after another.  Here’s a sample link to an article:

Is Jesus Christ Reaching Out to Muslims Through Their Dreams?

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/07/05/is-jesus-christ-reaching-out-to-muslims-through-their-dreams/

From the article:

“Tom Doyle, author of the upcoming book ‘Dreams and Visions: Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World,’ and a staffer with e3 Ministries, says he’s seen this phenomenon before.

“We’re seeing that all around. We’re hearing about people that have never even thought about Jesus as savior,” Doyle told Charisma News. ‘They’re content Muslims and they’re having dreams over and over.’

“Doyle believes that ‘our God is a fair God’ and that many Muslims are seeking and that they don’t know where to go. So, rather than a more overt conversion, he claims that Jesus is coming to them in their sleep.”

Just so happened he was in the first link I tried, but there are many more!

Are we living in biblical times?  Oh, yeah!  Are we living in End Times?  Well, I’m just not sure.  It feels like it when stacked up against the Olivet Discourse, Matthew 24.  There are many things happening that sure feel like they are of “biblical proportions.”  Jesus exhorted us to WATCH!  In modern parlance, keep your head on a swivel!  See as much as you can.  Share what you see and learn with other Christians.  Sharpen yourselves against each other.

Because there are now young men seeing visions!

God is Then

But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time He brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea.   Isaiah 9:1

You read the title right. God is “then” not “there.” Isaiah prophesies a future event in the past tense. The New International translation reads, “but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan.”

This is definitely predicting something yet to come, as much of Isaiah does. I found great comfort reading this passage last Sunday in church. I often say that God is in the future, waiting for us to get there. God exists outside of time. He is the only Being that does. Even Satan, God’s arch-nemesis, cannot make that claim. That is why God’s prophecies are often impenetrable. He gives us information of things that will happen just to let us know He has a plan, that he is in control. He doesn’t tip His complete hand, because the enemy is listening.

Giving us every detail of what and when in Scripture would be like country A going to war against country B and disclosing their entire order of battle! Example: the Normandy invasion of World War II was a very closely guarded secret. The Allies went to great lengths to not only conceal their plans but conducted multiple misinformation operations.

Recall that Daniel received the first prophecies ever to outline future events all the way to the end days. The prophecies were so cryptic that Daniel asked God for clarification. God replied that these things were not for Daniel to know. He was to record and preserve them for future generations who would be able to figure them out.

agents-of-babylon-2

Great book explaining Daniel!

My favorite is the prophecy of a goat who runs so fast that he doesn’t even touch the ground. The goat destroys the powerful ram, establishing the fourth great kingdom Daniel’s earlier prophecy of the Colossus. In retrospect, we can see that this referred to Alexander the Great, who conquered the known world by the time he entered his 30’s! How do we know that Alexander was the Goat? Greece’s national symbol is the goat! You’ve heard of the Aegean Sea? Aegean is Greek for “goat.”

Alexander’s incredibly fast triumphs were predicted as the goat that ran so fast it didn’t touch the ground. Further, as he approached Jerusalem intending to loot and raze it, the high priest went to the temple to ask God what to do. He was told to greet Alexander with great respect.

Alexander was so impressed that he left Jerusalem intact and even offered a sacrifice at the temple under the direction of the high priest! Leaving, Alexander told the high priest to ask for anything he wanted. The reply was to allow the Jews to practice their faith anywhere in his kingdom forever. Alexander agreed. That’s how the festival of Purim came about centuries later. Read the book of Esther.

We can see the proof of God’s reliability in prophecies that have been fulfilled in our past. When future prophecies are about to come true, the clues God gave will help people of those days see them coming and prepare.

This is why I advocate reading all books of prophecy…even the difficult Book of Revelation. We might not be able to understand the prophecies, but we should know them so we can recognize events when the unfold.

Study. Make use of reliable commentaries. Be ready for the future, because God is…then!

How Will the World End?

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the [a]bowls of the wrath of God on the earth.”   Revelation 16:1

We find entertainment in the strangest things. One development over the last few years is the question of how the world will end. It’s easy to find TV shows, YouTube videos and more offering different scenarios on how the world will be obliterated.

It could be super volcanoes like the one at Yellowstone that doom us. Maybe a meteor that we don’t – or do – see coming. Pollution, Global warming, thermonuclear warfare…the list goes on. There isn’t much we could do about any of those except hug each other good-bye.

And, to show just how far off scientists are on their dire predictions, here are a few from an article at Answers in Genesis about global warming:

  • In 1967, Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich said it was “already too late” to stop a long famine period that would be at its worst by 1975.
  • In 1970, many scientists predicted a new ice age by the 21st century, the depletion of all the rivers in the US, and a lack of oxygen in the atmosphere.
  • In 1978, scientists said there was “no end in sight” to a 30-year cooling trend.
  • In 1989, rising sea waters were thought to obliterate nations by the year 2000.
  • In 2008, the Arctic was expected to be free of sea ice in the summer by 2018.

Obviously, none of these have come true by a long shot. The Bible does give us some information by way of Jesus’ Revelation to John, chapter 16.

Seven BowlsHere are what the seven bowls say will happen as God pronounces judgment on earth:

Bowl #1 – Malignant sores will inflict every man and animal. It’ll be some sort of trans-species virus or bacteria.

Bowl #2 – The sea turns to blood, and everything dies.

Bowl #3 – Rivers and springs of water also turn to blood.

Bowl #4 – The sun heats up and scorches humanity

Bowl #5 – Darkness afflicts the earth. Revelation says that “men will gnash their tongues because of the pain” from their sores and burns in the darkness.

Bowl #6 – The Euphrates River dries up.

Bowl #7 – A great, worldwide earthquake that destroys islands and levels mountains. Hailstones weighing “about the weight of a talent” will fall. Depending on whose talent you use, that could mean anywhere from about 60 – 130 pounds!

After all of this, Babylon the Great will fall. No one is too sure about exactly where Babylon the Great is. Everyone has a theory. For example, because Revelation describes it as a world commerce center, some believe it to be New York City.

Prior to that, The Anti-Christ will come to world power. We all know his number will be 666, but there are too many ways to run that to count. However, his major considered action will be to make a peace treaty with Israel for seven years. He will break that treaty half way through after 3.5 years. That will mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation.

Super volcanoes? Maybe. Global warming? Doesn’t sound like it’s in the cards. Lack of oxygen? Um…no. If you really want to discover the indications of the end, just look to Revelation. Jesus also gave us a sneak preview in Matthew 24.

If you want more information on the Anti-Christ, you can review my 12/29/18 article, Daniel – Antiochus & the Antichrist, which is a summary of information from Agent of Babylon by Dr, David Jeremiah.

How will the world end? As fantastic as some of it sounds, the Bible gives us a pretty good idea.

If you doubt some of these things could be true, you might also look at my series on The Exodus Case, starting with Joseph in Egypt, which reviews archeological support for the events of Exodus having happened exactly as told!  You’ll see that even in the most fantastic parts of Exodus, archeology agrees with it.  Even ancient, secular histories confirm what the Bible tells us.

 

Transfiguration

Now Jesus and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi;   Mark 8:27

Unearthing the Lost World of the CloudeatersI’ve been reading Unearthing the Lost World of the Cloudeaters by Stephen Quayle and Dr. Thomas R. Horn. You might recognize the name Stephen Quayle. He is a leading expert on the Nephilim of Genesis 6 and archeology about their skeletons which continue to be found up to the present day. This book is a scholarly discussion of their existence and how the fallen Watchers presented themselves as gods from the earliest times.

The authors made an intriguing observation about Jesus’ Transfiguration. I’ll lay it out here in broad terms.

enochFirst, let’s go back to the Book of Enoch. I wrote a series on it that you may want to refer to at some point. Enoch wrote a lot about the fallen Watchers. The Watchers are a class of angels whose job was to…watch. Some of them followed Satan in his revolt. Each had an assigned territory on earth they were to watch over.  This assignment of geographical territories to angels is confirmed in Daniel 10:12-14. This documents when an angel, dispatched from God to Daniel, was delayed two weeks by the “Prince of Persia.” This was obviously an adversary who engaged him in battle. He was delivered by the archangel warrior, Michael, who came to engage the fallen Watcher, allowing the angel (probably Gabriel) to get away. You can read more in Daniel and the Archangel.

Some – not all – Watchers joined in Satan’s revolt, but they were all a little skittish about trying to do an end-run on the Almighty. The gist was that they needed to make a pact among themselves that no one would break ranks. This was to be all or nothing!

Such a meeting couldn’t really happen in heaven, so they agreed to meet on earth on Mt. Hermon to make their binding pact. Mt. Hermon has a long history of being a place of oaths.

Qasr AntarQasr Antar is on Mt. Hermon and is the highest temple of the ancient world. It is made of hewn stone and stands at the summit of Mt. Hermon. It was documented by Sir Charles Warren in 1869. He also discovered a limestone stele on the site. It was translated by George Nickelsburg: “According to the command of the greatest a(nd) Holy God, those who take an oath (proceed) from here.” He connected this inscription to the oath taken between the fallen Watchers under Semjaza and were bound by a curse if any broke the oath. French Archeologist Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau said that Hermon was said to have become known as “the mountain of oath.”

Another interesting note regarding the inscription is that the god mentioned is a Hellenized version of Ba’al, which would make sense. Quayle and Horn make a lengthy case in their book that Ba’al was one of Satan’s alter egos, portraying himself as a god to humans. The account given in Enoch lends credence to this idea.

The case, then, is made for Mt. Hermon being Satan’s mount. We already know that Mt. Zion is God’s mount from numerous Bible passages. For example, “Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, Is Mount Zion on the sides of the north, The city of the great King.” Psalm 48:2. Also Revelation 14:1 – “Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion…”

This brings us to our opening verse from Mark 8: “Now Jesus and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi;”

Transfiguration 2Mark 9 begins with the Transfiguration six days after arriving at Caesarea Philippi. “Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves.” Notice that they are in Caesarea Philippi, so it can’t be God’s mount, Mt. Zion. Mark doesn’t tell us the name of the mountain, but it isn’t too hard to find out what “high mountain” is nearby. Caesarea Philippi is at the base of Mt. Hermon!

According to BiblePlaces.com, Caesarea Philippi has been known by other names throughout history, starting with Baal-Gad. This agrees with the interpretation of “god” on the stele found at the temple Qasr Antar on Mt. Hermon.

So, God has Mt. Zion, and Satan has Mt. Hermon. Jesus being transfigured on Mt. Hermon is a huge in-your-face event! Jesus was stepping into the ring, sounding the bell, and announcing He was there to kick some pointy ass. This was God putting up a bunch of floodlights like at a movie premiere, announcing to Satan that His Champion is here. He’s taking Mt. Hermon, the rest of their mounts and territories…everything!

Every fallen Watcher had His territory, and they all rolled up under Satan. But 1 Corinthians 15:27 tells us, “He has put all things under His feet. But when He says, ‘all things are put under Him,’ it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted.”

So, the Transfiguration wasn’t just a private performance for Peter, James, and John. This was the Trinity taking the gloves off on Satan’s home turf, tossing his living room, and telling him that he’s got a fight on his hands!

In.  Your.  Face!!

The Challenge of Revelation, Part 5

RevelationWatch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.   Matthew 24:42

Pre- or post-tribulation Rapture; which is it? Why is it so important? It’s going to happen as God ordains, so us knowing makes no difference, right? Relax, have faith, and keep your arms and legs inside the Bible until the Apocalypse comes to a complete stop, right?

Well, yes. True up to a point. But I also believe that today’s American Christian community is pretty well lying back, content with the Gospels, Epistles, and select Old Testament Bible stories. A lot believe the Rapture will come before the Great Tribulation. The mind set trends toward, “Thank God I won’t have to live through that!”

So, when it happens after the Great Tribulation, and they are still here, do you think their faith might be shaken? Is it possible they’ll be mentally scrambling, wondering what the heck they did wrong to have missed being raptured out? Might they start doubting the rest of what they had believed in?

Frantic CrowdThe anti-Christ shows up. Aliens come among us as ones who are closer to God and can show us the rest of the way. How many people are going to be going bat guano crazy, desperate for the salvation they think they missed and blindly follow the liars? What if church leaders tell us to follow our alien brothers as those more enlightened and closer to God? How many will be deceived in their desperate hour?

In Part 4 of this series, I shared documentation on Scofield’s questionable background and reasons to view pre-tribulation rapture as unbiblical. It certainly fits with an overall plan to deceive “even the elect,” whose lack of study and watchfulness makes them vulnerable.

Am I absolutely, unquestionably rock solid on this reading of the Rapture? Based on Matthew 24 and Revelation 6, I think I’m on solid ground. Add to that the history of Scofield in Part 4, and I think I’m pretty well there.

Am I going to get into a heated argument with someone over this? Am I going to proclaim pre-tribbers as damned for their “heretical” beliefs? No. I just offer what I have learned. Read and contemplate and pray. Decide on your own. Don’t let the “experts” sway you. Don’t swallow everything that comes out of the sacred halls of learning just because.

Here’s the over-arching point of this whole series…and pay close attention here…Read both the Bible and current events. Watch to match up what your Bible says to what’s happening around you. Don’t be so dogmatic in your interpretations so as to alienate your brothers and sisters in Christ. They are, hopefully, also working out their own salvation “with fear and trembling.” If we disagree, we do so respectfully, praying for us ALL, the whole community of Christ, to understand and watch well.

Think of it as a defensive ring of soldiers in a battle. Each one looks in the direction he has chosen to watch. But everyone in the circle is listening to the rest for the alarm from another direction. Just in case. We NEED each other, even if we disagree. In the end, we hold fast to the faith, walking arm in arm into glory.

The Challenge of Revelation, Part 4

Revelation18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.   Revelation 22:18-19

Why is Cyrus I. Scofield such a pivotal figure in the pre-tribulation Rapture movement? He wrote The Scofield Reference Bible, revised in 1917, but that has come up for debate. Indeed, the content is as suspect as the authorship. Let’s take an extremely high-level view of Scofield’s history to see what real story is. The following is distilled from an article by Anne Wilder Chamberlain. The link to the full article will follow.

To trace back, the idea of a pre-tribulation rapture was introduced by the Jesuit Ribera in 1591. From the beginning of the early church, the church fathers saw prophecy as “linear historic.” In other words, Revelation relates a future history that will be played out over the entire course of the Christian era. This was Ribera’s effort to stop Reformers from identifying the Roman Catholic church as a probable “whore of Babylon.”

Almost 200 years later, “In 1767, a Chilean-born Catholic Priest, Manuel de Lacunza y Diaz came to Imola, Italy, when the Jesuits were expelled from Spain because of their brutality.” Note that the Jesuit order has been linked to the New World Order scheme within the Roman Catholic leadership in addition to their “enforcer” reputation.

Lacunza made himself out to be a Jewish rabbi, Juan Jushafat Ben-Ezra. He wrote The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty as Ben-Ezra. The upshot of this 900-page tome is that the Christian faithful will be raptured, thus escaping the Great Tribulation.

“In 1828, “Glory and Majesty” was translated into English by a radical cultist London preacher named Edward Irving. Lacunza’s views could have died there, for most in England saw Irving as a heretic.”

Margaret McDonaldAt the same time, Margaret McDonald of Scotland claimed to have received a divine revelation from God about the rapture. She sent it in writing to Irving, and her story ended up in print. Her family history contains ties to the Knights Templar, who settled in her home town after leaving France. One of their tactics for hiding their agenda was to adopt a Christian guise to hide their true religion.

Then John Nelson Darby, an author who was working at dividing history into ages, “…went to see Margaret and her family shortly after she gained notoriety for her vision, and in later years, claimed them as his own.”

Darby took his newfound doctrine and started travelling extensively to promote and embellish it. So much travel was unusual in that age. Yet he never seemed to want for funds. “He came to America several times and traveled all across the country to preach dispensation. As “luck” would have it, there always seemed to be wealthy benefactors nearby.”

“On at least one occasion Darby went to Saint Louis and met with Presbyterian minister James H. Brookes (1830-1897), Scofield’s mentor.”

And now we have the connection to Scofield. Just the lineage of the pre-trib rapture can now be seen as highly suspect. But then we have Scofield himself.

Brooks was a key leader in the Niagara Bible conferences, which drew notables in evangelism such as D.L. Moody (YMCA, Moody Bible Institute, Bible Institute of L.A.).

Scofield’s benefactors figured that getting Scofield into those organizations would accelerate injecting the false doctrine into the Christian community.

Cyrus ScofieldJust who was Scofield? Here are some “highlights” from his history:

He married a Roman Catholic woman and had two girls with her. He deserted all three in 1877, leaving them destitute.

This after spending time in prison for multiple frauds with lawyer John J. Ingalls. It was in prison he “found” Darby through his writings. Darby singled him out as perfect to propagate his brand of “Christianity.” They met and moved forward together when he was released…early.

Historian Joseph Canfield says, “The very sudden quashing of the criminal charges without proper adjudication suggests that Scofield’s career was in the hands of someone who had clout never available to either Ingalls, Pomeroy, or anyone of the Choteau Clan. But, the career was to be of such a nature that Leontine, the Catholic wife, had to go.”

He then took on a young woman as mistress, left her for a third, whom he married but who later divorced him. So much for the sort of character Paul described for a bishop in his first letter to Timothy.

Charles G. Trumbull published a series of a collection of so-called Sunday School articles by Scofield as a book. The Life Story of C.I. Scofield in 1920 by the Oxford Press, it is the official “white wash” to clean up Scofield for future generations. It contains many inaccuracies, including a “conversion” story that happens, not in jail, but at a law office that did not even exist at the time.”

In producing his reference bible, one considered act was travelling to England to hook up with Westcott and Hort. Despite being known as bible scholars, they were occultists and formed a private club, Hermes, which had a reputation for “aggressive homosexual behavior between members.”

It should now be apparent that Scofield was a scoundrel, intent on introducing heretical doctrines into the Christian church.

http://proliberty.com/observer/20090507.htm

NEXT: The Revelation Challenge, Part 5, What was the specific purpose for him and his handlers?

The Challenge of Revelation, Part 3

Revelation“These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”   Revelation 7:14

Why do we have such a hard time with Revelation? There is the language, no doubt. John saw a vision of the future, which may have included both technology and natural phenomena that he had no frame of reference for.

For example, from Revelation 8:8 – Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea,…

What do you think? A huge meteor like the one in the movie Armageddon? Why not? The likely result could very well be “…third of the sea became blood. And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.”

There are the locusts from the bottomless pit: The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle. 10 They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails.”

Two possibilities exist here. One, John may be trying to describe a piece of technology from the future. Two, these may actually be living creatures. How is that possible? A few years ago I published Animal Human Crossbreeding. It is being done right now. So, if Satan wants to, who says he can’t produce these monstrosities?

Revelation 9:10 – “And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.”

Apollyon. The Greek god Apollo. In other words, at one time, a demon or Fallen Watcher presented himself as the Greek god Apollo.

From Wikipedia: “Apollo was an oracular god—the prophetic deity of the Delphic Oracle. Medicine and healing are associated with Apollo, whether through the god himself or mediated through his son Asclepius, yet Apollo was also seen as a god who could bring ill-health and deadly plague.”

Not exactly a nice guy. But then, neither is anyone in Satan’s camp.

CERN FacesBy reading current events NOT from ANY mainstream media, but online, I’ve learned about C.E.R.N. In short, it’s an exceptionally powerful collider used by physicists to smash sub-atomic particles together and…see what happens. One goal they’ve admitted to is to open portals to other dimensions, perhaps send a message through and see what comes back. There are pictures online of shots taken by cameras to document events inside the collider. They purport to be a millisecond opening of a portal. Faces are discernable.

Um…

See my article You Can’t Make This Up. Here is the salient portion on this topic:

One of the facts about this super collider is that “CERN was built at a very interesting location. “CERN is partially situated (at) “Saint-Genus-Poilly.” The name Pouilly comes from the Latin “Appolliacum” and it is believed that in Roman times a temple existed in honor of Apollo, and the people who lived there believed that it is a gateway to the underworld. It is interesting to note that CERN is built on the same spot.”

So they built a dimensional portal machine on the ancient site of Apollo’s/Satan’s temple. And past residents believed it was a gateway to the underworld. And just where will those locusts come from?

Am I saying that CERN will be the mechanism to release the locusts from Revelation? Not definitively, but it lines up OK right now. And this is how you read Revelation. You read it and get it into your head, whether or not you currently understand everything in it. You watch as Jesus said to – stay up on current events and the word around you – and you look for matches.

No one finds Revelation to be an easy read. Herein lies the rub. The current reality of conservative ‘church-dom’ is the idea that these things are so deeply complex and so highly technical, they are almost completely beyond the reach of the common man. Admittedly, even the church fathers like Dionysius of Alexandra struggled with Revelation. But, given that, we’ve stopped trying.

My friends, we’ve talked ourselves out of being able to understand ANY of Revelation – and a good deal of the rest of the Bible – because we don’t speak Greek, Hebrew, haven’t gone to seminary…fill in an excuse. Instead of working at it, we go running back to the Gospels and few of the epistles where the going is a bit easier. Even then, we feel we need an “expert” to teach us the depths of scripture.

Whom did Jesus teach? Who spread His Gospel? Fishermen. Tax collectors. Prostitutes. Do you really think that there’s something they understood that you can’t? They were bright, sure enough. But they weren’t educated. We can hear Jesus’ words just as well as they did.

That’s why a good many of us fell into the pre-trib rapture nonsense. We took an expert’s word for it. Who was the expert? If C.I. Scofield were still alive, we could ask him. Scofield is the one who, with the aid of some very strange and very rich bedfellows, pioneered the popularization of PreTrib with enormous success, in the early 1900’s.

NEXT: The Revelation Challenge Part 4 and Scofield’s role

extraordinary. Link: Cyrus I. Scofield and the Tribulation)