Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nuggets of Wisdom from Proverbs

I just returned from a time of vacation with my daughter’s family.  During that time I was privileged to sit in on devotions and enjoy the insight provided by the girls as Dad read from verses in Proverbs.  I had been wondering what kind of series I could do next on the blog and sense that this would be a good direction to take.  Our world lives according to the wisdom of man, and we followers of Jesus desperately need to understand the wisdom of God’s word and live accordingly.

I am not going to comment on every verse—only those that especially speak to my heart concerning the time in which we live.  As usual, I will quote from the King James Version of scripture. 

Reminder—These words are a record of the word of God through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to Solomon.

2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…..”

Solomon explains the reason he recorded these proverbs in the very first words of his book. 

Proverbs 1:2–6 “To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.”

Solomon declares that he desires to teach people wisdom, instruction, and understanding.  Wisdom is the ability to use what you know and apply it to how you live; it’s choosing the right way to do the right things.  The Hebrew for “instruction” includes the idea of chastisement, warning and discipline.  Understanding is the ability to discern meaning and intention. 

Already, the plate is full.  Knowledge abounds and is readily available in this age of information and technology.  The understanding needed to use that knowledge in the right way for the right purposes is greatly lacking.  Often that lack is due to lack of discernment and/or the refusal to exercise discipline in light of the warnings provided by history and experience.

Subtilty makes reference to discretion and prudence.  I think Solomon is saying that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand the wisdom of God.  This wisdom is available to those who are young and on the journey of gaining knowledge.  Discretion is another word for discernment, and the implication is that discernment is attained through instruction just as surely as is knowledge.  This speaks to the importance of the instructor.  As we continue on our journey, Solomon will be clear in declaring that our instruction should be rooted in the knowledge of God.  Only those so rooted will be able to provide the right type of instruction.

I like the wording of the NLT for verses 5-6: “Let those who are wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. And let those who understand receive guidance by exploring the depth of meaning in these proverbs, parables, wise sayings, and riddles.”

(to be continued…)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Followup on review of “The Harbinger”

After perusing some of the newsletters and websites I normally keep an eye on, I am appalled at the lack of discernment among so-called discerning Christians.  I am truly amazed how the professing body of believers is unable to understand the position of Israel as the means through whom God reveals His heart and character to the nations of the world.  Without that understanding, you might as well throw out most of the Old Testament as having any relevance whatsoever to the person of faith today.

Though we cannot apply specific promises to Israel to America or any other nation for that matter, God reveals through His words and actions toward Israel a blueprint that can be applied to His people of any time or generation.  

Yes, 2Chronicles 7:14 was stated in context as a response to Solomon regarding the people of Israel; however, the promise is applicable to “my people who are called by my name.”  I am one of those people; and if you are a believer, so are you.  Can the general populace of our nation pray that prayer and expect a response from God?  No.  Can true believers in America as a whole pray that prayer and expect a response from God?  I believe, Yes.  The sad truth is that the body of believers in our nation and throughout the world is a composition of diverse groups who are intent on taking a stand based on differences of understanding of scripture rather than seeking unity of spirit based on the leading of the Holy Spirit and a literal interpretation of the word of God.  

Scripture is clear in declaring that the Lord is the same today as yesterday; He never changes.

Malachi 3:6 “For I am the LORD, I change not.”

Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

It is based on His character that Christians can look at God’s actions toward the nation of Israel and gain an understanding of how He deals with His people of all times.  I am also reminded of a verse in Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”

It is certainly not beyond reason to expect to see parallels between the rebellion of “God’s” people throughout the years and God’s actions towards them in light of that rebellion.  It is also not surprising to me that God would provide a special word of prophecy to Israel in Isaiah that would also be applicable to America and meant to serve as a modern day prophetic warning to the people of this nation.  

I’ll be the first to admit that I get confused when “Christian leaders” cannot agree on what Scripture has to say----especially when it seems clear to a “normal” believer like me.  In my study of scripture, I have often gained points of illumination through the writings of people with whom I can agree very little or with whom I agree only in part.  I choose to take the nuggets of revelation that contribute to my understanding as coming from the Holy Spirit.  I am careful on my website and this blog to declare that what I write is according to my understanding.  Scripture is very clear in stating that every believer is to be accountable to search God’s word for confirmation of any teaching.

Acts 17:11 “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

I’ve read the criticism that Mr. Cahn has appeared on shows with those who are identified as false teachers.  If that is the case, you better stay away from Hal Lindsay, Chuck Smith, Ray Comfort and others who appear on TBN.  I have personally benefitted from some quality programming on that station; but overall, in my opinion, it is a station that primarily promotes false teachers. 

I am also reminded of these words from the Apostle Paul.

Philippians 1:15–18 “Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”

Jonathan Cahn very clearly presents the gospel; and I, for one, pray that many will read his book and turn to the word of God as Bereans to ascertain whether or not his message is biblical.  I believe it is.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn

Several months ago I listened to Mr. Cahn’s teaching connecting the events of 9/11 to Isaiah 9:10.  I thought it very interesting and was delighted to learn that he had written about this teaching in novel form since I knew it would provide an interesting format to better analyze the teaching in the form of a hard copy for future reference.  

Personally, I think Mr. Cahn did a wonderful job with his first novel.  Although I have read what I believe to be some unfair criticism of his work, I don’t think anyone with an open mind can ignore or make light of the parallels outlined in his teaching.  He carefully differentiates between America and Israel and continually makes note of the fact that Isaiah 9 was a message regarding ancient Israel.  He also states, correctly so in my opinion, that Israel provides a pattern for the nations to understand how God deals with His people.  Though there are varying opinions concerning the “Christian” foundations of our nation, the fact is that our identification as a Christian nation was widely accepted both in this country and throughout the world until the last half century.  The quotations he uses from the historical record speak for themselves in establishing the foundation for the astonishing parallels he identifies.

Frankly, I don’t see how Mr. Cahn could have developed this teaching without the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  I think God has raised him up as a modern day prophet to the people of America just as surely as He raised up Isaiah to sound out a warning to the people of Israel.  Mr. Cahn’s focus throughout is to turn the thoughts of the reader to the word of God with an emphasis on God’s love and mercy.  He also necessarily declares that in light of a pervading culture of sin righteous judgment becomes necessary to produce repentance and salvation.  In no way did I ever get the feeling that he was trying to promote himself; he sincerely seems concerned about getting out the message of warning that America so desperately needs to hear at this time.

I would encourage anyone who hasn’t read the book to read it with an open heart.  I have already shared this book with some in my family and hope to share it with many more.   I think it could serve to open up channels of communication with some who would never choose to discuss scripture but just might be drawn into discussion about a book on the NYTimes bestseller list.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


As I begin this post I would like to once more post the words of Jesus concerning the Noah and the flood.

Matthew 24:37–39 “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”

The Lord is making the point that the flood didn’t come until Noah and his family were shut safely in the ark.  I am also reminded that God didn’t allow judgment to fall upon Sodom and Gomorrah until Lot and his family were safely out of harm’s way.  Paul told the Thessalonians that believers are not to experience the wrath of God.

1 Thessalonians 5:9–10 “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.”

Jesus declared in his letter to the churches that was specifically addressed to Philadelphia that they would be kept from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” (Revelation 3:10)

So, does the scripture tell us when the wrath of God begins?

Revelation 6:12 & 17 “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal…. For the great day of his wrath is come….”

Both with Noah and with Lot scripture records that judgment fell quickly once they were in safety.  Personally, I have come to believe that the rapture happens closely connected to the opening of the sixth seal, but I still count myself a pretribulationist—not prewrath.  So, let me backtrack a bit. 

Most pretribulationist prophecy teachers assert that the rapture is pictured when John is called up to heaven at the beginning of Revelation 4.  For a long time I just accepted what they taught, but it always bothered me that Jesus was nowhere in sight.  He clearly told His disciples that when He came to take them to His Father’s house, they would be with Him forever.  We are also told in scripture that when Jesus ascended to heaven He was seated on His throne at the right hand of God the Father awaiting His glorious return.

Hebrews 10:10–13 “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.”

This clearly did not describe the scene that greeted John upon his arrival in heaven in Revelation 4.  Traditional prophecy teachers posit that the 24 elders seated around the throne represent the raptured church.  Others teach that they are prophets from the Old Testament and the disciples from the New Testament.  Again, this didn’t make sense to me; John didn’t recognize any of them. 

Also, John was openly grieved when no man was found worthy to take the scroll and open the seals.  Then suddenly appeared “a Lamb as it had been slain before the throne and “He” takes the book out of the right hand of God the Father on the throne.  John is obviously seeing Jesus returning to heaven after having suffered the death of the cross and emerging victorious through the resurrection.  Chapters 4-5 in Revelation are similar to other chapters in the book that provide historical background or spiritual insight to events being recorded, e.g. Revelation 12.

No student of scripture can study the first five seals of Revelation and not notice the similarity to the signs of the times mentioned in Matthew 24.  I am continually coming back to these sections of scripture and seeking a better understanding. 

Currently, I understand that the first five seals have been opened.  I think the Lord must have started opening those seals shortly after returning to heaven because I truly believe that the souls under the altar are all the martyrs of the church age.  Real persecution in the tribulation period doesn’t start until the second half after the implementation of the "mark of the beast."  Because Jesus described the signs in Matthew 24 as birth pains, it follows that these events would be a part of the world scene with increasing frequency and intensity as the time for His return nears. 

So what about the rider on the white horse?  I think the rider on the white horse represents Satan and/or his man of sin appearing as an angel of light.  He doesn’t know the time of the Lord’s return any more than we do and has had to be ever ready with his man of sin, his peacemaker, in every generation since the resurrection.

2 Corinthians 11:13–15 “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” 

I think it is important to note that the time of God’s wrath against His enemies and the 70th week 7-year tribulation period are two distinct events that happen basically concurrently.  The time of God’s wrath is the time of His vengeance against His enemies, the wicked, prophesied by so many of the Old Testament prophets.  The tribulation period is intended as a purifying fire to produce a believing remnant in the nation of Israel also foretold by the prophets of old.

I think that the rapture and the recognition of the onset of the day of God’s wrath in connection with the sixth seal set the stage for the Antichrist to establish his 7-year covenant.  The world will be desperate for a leader who can instill confidence.  Remember, he will be a man of supernatural ability and will make use of lying wonders in this time of chaos and destruction.  

2 Thessalonians 2:8–10 “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
I think it will also serve to open the eyes of spiritual understanding of the 144,000 Jewish witnesses who will be sealed as God witnesses on earth during the first half of the tribulation. 

It is only after this that John sees a great multitude of people from every nation, kindred and tongue standing before the throne and the Lamb clothed in white and praising God for their salvation.

Revelation 7:9–10 “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”

It seems as plain as day to me that this multitude represents the raptured body of believers.