Chatting with a Dispy – 17

mount-olives-split-2A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website.  I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction,  lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.”  We pick up in continuing my previous response to statements on his web site.  This is the final discussion, and if you have survived the discussion, my hats off to you.  Thanks for tracking with me and my brother.


RE:  Surely I hope you won’t tell me that the Lord comes back (Rapture) and only takes some of His people to heaven, leaving some on earth for the next coming?

Well, you have it close.  Read Matthew 25, the 10 virgins parable again.  5 foolish virgins are looking for his return, that’s not what the world does; they think they are Christians, but they are not.  See also Matthew 7:22, and Rev 2-3.

I am not sure what you are referring to with Matt 25. How does the parable of the ten virgins show that the Lord only takes a few of His people, and leaves the rest on earth for a second “rescue”?  Are you saying the 5 foolish virgins get a second chance to be accepted by the Lord at some future time?

Matt 25:10-13

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’  But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

It seems there is no hope offered to the foolish virgins after the door is shut.  They were told “I do not know you”.

Matt 7:22 is a reference to final judgment, not the rapture.

Matt 7:22

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 perform many miracles?’

Rev 2-3 – Not sure the connection you are trying to make with this set of verses

(If you could define your point instead of just quoting a reference, it would be most helpful.)

Water, does, indeed, cleanse us from being unclean; one of the marks of sin.

Zech 13:1 states “a fountain will be opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity”

Please note that the passage does not say that the water cleanses from the “marks” of sin. The fountain is opened … for sin and for impurity.  (Insertion of words into the text is not a good practice!)

I have enjoyed our conversation and wish you the very best.  May God the Father and Jesus our Savior shower you with grace.

Blessings


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Chatting with a Dispy – 16

mount-olives-split-2A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website.  I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction,  lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.”  We pick up in continuing my previous response to statements on his web site.

That means they are prophecies, prophetic, rehearsals, they teach us prophecy!  That’s why I know so much about the prophetic things that you are asking, because I’ve studied the feasts, and their meaning, and so, I understand scripture in ways that you do not.

You are correct there – Many things you have said escape me – You seem to link passages together without any justification other than one word, and have the confidence that your interpretation is unassailable.

I do live by faith.  Faith is an action verb in the bible, not a “non action belief” as the thought is in the west.  My actions are clearly evident, in my business, and in my prophecy website.

(Didn’t you just confess to defrauding someone?  But that is neither here nor there – )

As for symbols, if Jesus is a person, and if we will all see him “face to face”, how will that be possible if there are billions of people?  Would he not, at some point, tell people to go home, and get to work?  And at those times, the people will have reminders around them, as Zech says, the pots and pans will be inscribed “holy to the Lord”.

Do you/they not have the Holy Spirit?  Do you/they need “pots and pans” to supplement your/thier relationship with the Lord?

Yes, I do apply Isa 65 to the millennium.  The refreshed earth is a fitting description of the future millennium.

I am glad to hear that you admit to applying a scripture that specifically states one thing (the new heavens and new earth) and you are using it to describe a completely different time period (a 1000 yr period prior to the new earth and new heavens).  That is your decision, but do not tell me that you are faithful to the Word of God at the same time.

How does 2 Thess 1:8 fit in?  Very well with 1 Thess 5,

HOW?

which refers to Ezekiel 38-39,

Where does 1 Thess 5 (entire chapter?) refer to Ezekiel 38-39?

which also describes a time of 7 years.

Ezekiel 39:9
And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years:

This is the only verse that refers to seven years in Ez 38-39.  How does burning weapons (I assume wooden weapons, since they burn), have anything to do with the coming of the Lord in flaming fire?

And why do you choose seven years, when just a few verses later, seven months are referred to?

Ezekiel 39:12
And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land.

Ezekiel 39:14
And they shall sever out men of continual employment, passing through the land to bury with the passengers those that remain upon the face of the earth, to cleanse it: after the end of seven months shall they search.

Too many loose ends Brother!

At the time of the rapture, God will rain fire down to destroy the enemies attacking Israel from the North.

I think you mean at the time of the Second Coming, God will rain fire down…., right?

If that is what you mean, and you are associating the 7 years of weapons burning with the Second Coming, then the first 7 years of the Millenium will have fields of weapons burning? Or is it during the entire tribulation that the weapons are burning?  If so, the rapture and the attack you see in Ezekiel on Israel happens at the same time?

Not every wicked person on earth attacks Israel at this time, so there are plenty of wicked people left over to enter the tribulation, and from them, “survivors”, too.

RE:  If those worthy are taken up at the rapture, and when the Lord comes back, all that know not God will be consumed, who is left? The text does not say “all”.

Granted!  Does it need to?  Two types of people are in the world – those who know God and those who do not know God.  (Is there a third type of person?)  I assume in your thinking, that there are two types of wicked people, those who are attacking Israel, and those who are not attacking Israel.  Is there a passage that clearly describes these two wicked groups and their distinction from one another?

It says “them that know not God”.  Obviously, if they did know God, they would not be attacking Jerusalem, of which we are commanded to pray for the peace of.


Please visit next time as we continue to discuss issues that arise between my dispensational friend and myself.

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Chatting with a Dispy – 15

mount-olives-split-2A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website.  I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction,  lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.”  We pick up in continuing my previous response to statements on his web site.

You can look at Colossians 2 in another way, why are you judging me for saying that the Feasts of the Lord are important? Are you not judging me in regard to the new moon, when you should not do so?  I refuse to let you judge me, so there!

I think you are having fun with me here, and that is great, but in case you took offense….

Why would you refuse rebuke?  As Christians, we should look for the Lord to be using His Word through other believers to mold and transform us into His image.  I am sure you want that for your life and refusing the Word is not a wise position to be in.

As a matter of fact, we are to judge those within the church!  1 Corinthians 5:12 states that Christians are not to judge those outside the church, but those inside the church.  (It seems we get that backwards very often!)

1 Corinthians 5:11-13

But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.  For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

(BTW – I only brought up Col 2:16 to show that the feasts were of no importance.   I really didn’t intend any judgment on your beliefs, but since you reacted so strongly, you might consider the passage again! )

And yes, they are shadows of things to come!

Check your verb tense in the verse you are referring to.  I think you may be referring to one or both of the following texts

Heb 10:1

For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. (Heb. 10:1)

Col 2:16 – 17

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]:  Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.

The previous verse are declaring the law (generally) (Heb 10:1) or the dietary regulations and religious observance of certain days (Col 2:16) as shadows of things to come.  Consider that the law was given millennia prior to the cross, and at that time, were prophetic of the time of the Messiah.

If that is so, then the feasts were prophetic to the nation of Israel, beginning in the time of Moses.

The seven feasts are:

  • Passover – Nisan 14-15
  • Unleavened Bread – Nisan 15-22
  • First Fruits – Nisan 16-17
  • Pentecost – Sivan 6-7
  • Trumpets – Tishri 1
  • Atonement – Tishri 10
  • Tabernacles – Tishri 15-22

The Passover feast is fulfilled in the crucifixion

1 Corinthians 5: 6-8

Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?  Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth

The Feast of unleavened bread seems to be implied in the above passage also, and is fulfilled as we live in sincerity and truth.

The Feast of the First Fruits seems to be implied as being fulfilled in many references to Christ being the firstfruits, or the early Christians as being “firstfruits”

Romans 8:23
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Romans 16:5
Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits ·of Achaia unto Christ. 

1 Corinthians 15:20
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

1 Corinthians 15:23
But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

1 Corinthians 16:15
I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)

James 1:18
Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Revelation 14:4

These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

(As an aside – it is interesting that those described in Revelation, which I think you would identify with trib saints, are firstfruits, not last fruits!)

The day of Pentecost is a completed prophecy (Acts 2)

I do not know of any other statements in the New Testament that directly links a feast to a fulfillment.  Of course there are references to “trumpets” and any linking with the feast of trumpets is arbitrary to say the least since the scriptures do not specify any historical event.  The same goes for the day of atonement and feast of tabernacles.  (I would think the day of atonement might be associated with the crucifixion also, but that is merely guess work on my part. (and we do not want to guess!!!)


Please visit next time as we continue to discuss issues that arise between my dispensational friend and myself.

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Chatting with a Dispy – 14

mount-olives-split-2A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website.  I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction,  lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.”  We pick up in continuing my previous response to statements on his web site.

As for the feasts, we have freedom to observe them or not, according to my limited understanding, but perhaps when the Lord returns, that liberty will be eliminated, as Zech 14 clearly teaches.

But you see, Zech does not clearly teach that we have liberty to observe the feasts now!  Where do you get the idea that as Christians, we are to observe the feasts?

Galatians 4:9-11

But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?  You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.

Obviously Paul was making a point that the Galations were observing OT holidays (calling them weak and beggarly!), and due to this, Paul considered these actions to be proof that they didn’t “get the gospel”

Will you argue with God?

I have found that I struggle with many issues in the Word, and I find that many times some of the OT prophets struggled, even argued with God, and found clarity after a period of struggle and questioning. (Consider Jer 12:1-2)

Jeremiah 12:1-4

 Righteous are You, O LORD, when I plead with You;
Yet let me talk with You about Your judgments.
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why are those happy who deal so treacherously?
You have planted them, yes, they have taken root;
They grow, yes, they bear fruit.
You are near in their mouth
But far from their mind.
But You, O LORD, know me;
You have seen me,
And You have tested my heart toward You.
Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter,
And prepare them for the day of slaughter.
How long will the land mourn,
And the herbs of every field wither?
The beasts and birds are consumed,
For the wickedness of those who dwell there,
Because they said, “He will not see our final end.”

So, I have to admit, I have sometimes argued with God!  Have you never questioned or been puzzled by issues that are troubling in the Word?

I will argue that you, if you live during that time, and don’t observe the feasts, and travel to Jerusalem, Zechariah will be proved right, and you will be proved wrong, and upon you will be no rain, because later, the Bible says that all scripture is inspired of God, and there sits Zechariah, challenging our understanding.

According to your own teaching, I will not be on the earth at this time.  You still are thinking this is the end of the tribulation, right?  And you are a pre-tribber, right?  Since I am a Christian, according to your teaching, we will be raptured prior to the period of Zechariah 14, right?  So this is an empty arguement!


Please visit next time as we continue to discuss issues that arise between my dispensational friend and myself.

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Chatting with a Dispy – 13

mount-olives-split-2A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website.  I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction,  lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.”  We pick up in continuing my previous response to statements on his web site.

If you truly want to follow the Person of Jesus, you would pay attention to the Holy Spirit, which leads us into all truth, and you would gravitate towards the truths of the statements of the apostles of Jesus, who told us that we ought to:

  • to “exercise discernment” (Heb 5:14),
  • to “try the spirits” (1 John 4:1),
  • to “give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:13),
  • to “meditate” and carefully think about the Word of God (1 Timothy 4:15),
  • to “study to show thyself approved unto God” (2 Timothy 2:15),
  • to demonstrate your honour as you “search out a matter” (Prov 25:2),
  • to show your nobility as you “search the scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11), and
  • to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).

I agree wholeheartedly with the above statements, – I am unsure why you are bringing these items up, unless you feel I am in need of correction, of which, if that is the intent, I accept the rebuke.  (I would appreciate a specific issue that I need to address.)

If you are going to do all of that, there are quite a few concepts our Saviour wants you to get, such as the ten commandments,

Are you obedient to the ten commandments?

Search the scriptures Brother.  The New Testament tells me that Jesus has all authority in heaven and earth, and I need to pay attention to Him.  If He tells me to obey the ten commandments, I will seek to.  Show me in the new testament all ten commandments.  It is a very interesting study! (A bit frustrating if you are looking for all ten commandments, though!)

BTW, the ten commandments are not concepts, they are commandments!

and a lot more!

What else, other than the ten commandments, do you see as being a “concept” that Jesus wants me to get?  I need to know, in order to follow them.

I am curious what you consider to be the authoritative source for your life?  Are the ten commandments enough?  What about the sacrificial system and the ceremonial cleansing? Must I follow the commands of the Old Testament to be right with God?

If you don’t follow those, you cannot live in peace with your fellow man, and if you love God, and if you love your neighbor, you will follow them a lot more easily.

I am not sure your intent in saying the above?  If I love God and my neighbor, I am following all the commandments.

Matthew 22:37-41

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Luke 10:26-28

He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

(what do you mean by “a lot more easily”?)

Please note, I still have trouble, because I don’t like defrauding my fellow man with paper money, but what can I do when they demand it?!

I am not sure what you are referring to?  Are you defrauding someone?  What can you do?  You need to obey Jesus!


Please visit next time as we continue to discuss issues that arise between my dispensational friend and myself.

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Chatting with a Dispy – 12

mount-olives-split-2A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website.  I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction,  lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.”  We pick up in continuing my previous response to statements on his web site.

Brother

Wow – a bit surprised by your comment.

I assumed that the cleansing of sin in Zech, due to your association of its description in the same context as the second coming of Jesus, would have the cleansing effect as described after the crucifixion, and not merely a ceremonial act. Hebrews mentions, not a ceremonial washing, but the actual sacrifices given in the old covenant, as being insufficient to “make the comers thereunto perfect”  If the sacrifices were not able, how much less a ceremonial washing?

Hebrews 10:1
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

(It would seem foolhardy to return to a shadow when the body is present!)

During my drive home tonight from work I was thinking about the original verse under consideration in context – Zech 14:3-5 – which states

3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.

Verse 5 states “and ye shall flee…”

Who is fleeing?  If this is the second coming, all the Lords enemies will be destroyed, all the saved will be with the Lord, and if the mountain is cleft from east to west, any bystanders (who would be left?) will be destroyed by the techonic action.

And what are they fleeing from?  Obviously, if this is the second coming, the lost will be destroyed, the saved will be with the Lord and who else is there?

Have a great weekend!


Please visit next time as we continue to discuss issues that arise between my dispensational friend and myself.

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Chatting with a Dispy – 11

mount-olives-split-2A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website.  I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction,  lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.”  We pick up in continuing my previous response to statements on his web site.  During this discussion, I fear my brother may have lost some focus on the questions at hand.  I will leave this to the reader.

Sin is often a misunderstood concept.  I know it can mean a range of things, from “missing the mark” to “debt”.  Can literal water cleanse that?  Also, many of the “do nots”, resulted in the condition of being “unclean” until washing in literal water, which did fix the uncleanness.

So, literal water was not a spiritual thing, but actual instructions for washing the physical flesh.

When a people decided to obey the Bible literally, say, in the USA about 100 years ago, and actually wash, diseases that had unknown causes began to go away, particularly infant sepsis.

See, doctors would open dead bodies doing autopsies, and then help mothers deliver babies, without washing, and moms and babies were dying at a rate of like 9%, which is high, and they did not know the source was dirty bacteria that could be eliminated simply by hand washing in water.

So, does literal water cleanse sin?  Often, YES!

Furthermore, are our waters impure?  Often, YES!

And this water is specifically stated that it is “for Jerusalem”, it is not “for the world” which it would be if it were some sort of spiritual water, therefore, I see it as literal.

Why would you have a problem with those waters being literal?

Didn’t God cause a literal stream of literal water to come from the rock that Moses struck?

Didn’t one of the prophets instruct a man to wash himself in the Jordan River 7 times to become clean, and even though the Jordan was not the cleanest river, still, it worked?

Sincerely,

Brother


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Chatting with a Dispy – 10

mount-olives-split-2A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website.  I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction,  lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.”  We pick up in continuing my previous response to statements on his web site.  During this discussion, I fear my brother may have lost some focus on the questions at hand.  I will leave this to the reader.

Brother

Thanks for such a quick response!  I am really enjoying our discussion!  Let us continue.

If you take the landing of Jesus literally, please consider this

Zech 13:1 states “a fountain will be opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity”

If we understand the fountain literally, the natural conclusion would be that the fountain waters cleanse from sin.

Would this be acceptable to you, and if not, on what basis do you reject the fountain as being literally able to cleanse from sin, but accept “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives”, as the physical return of Christ

As an aside, notice that it does not say that He lands on the mount, or descends on the mount, or even that he climbs the mount to get to the top.

Thanks again, and have a great day!

Carl


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Chatting with a Dispy – 9

mount-olives-split-2A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website.  I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction,  lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.”  We pick up in continuing my previous response to statements on his web site.  During this discussion, I fear my brother may have lost some focus on the questions at hand.  I will leave this to the reader.

I believe you ask very good questions.  Some of the best I’ve ever heard asked!  To what intent does the prophets say “god treads on the mountains”?  I must reply I know of many possible intentions, and I know that God often teaches mankind through parallels, examples, similitude’s, and first doing things in the natural, and then the spiritual.

For example, when Adam and Eve sinned, God gave them animal skins, not Levi’s.  Thus, there was an “animal sacrifice” from the beginning to teach of death, and consequences of sin, and that a sacrifice can provide a covering for sin.  As we now know, 6000 years later, Jesus’s death for us provides for us white robes that cover our sins.

What is being communicated that God walks on the mounts?  Good question.   I can only guess and make an educated Biblical guess, in fitting with all other scriptures and doctrines.  what is your guess?

I have walked on mountaintops.  Have you?  What did you see and feel?  I see a great view all around; it’s not just “the outdoors”, but it’s an amazing feeling to see so much.  Often  you are exhausted when you get there.  I feel peace.  I feel humbled.  I feel exhilarated.  I feel an appreciation for the creation.  I often feel I can commune with God.

I was a skier.  We take a chairlift to mountaintops.  It’s not the same, but often, just a little bit similar, or only a bit less so.

One thing I have noticed about the outdoors is the sense of freedom, yet also, the sense of lack of security; without the comforts of civilization.  There is freedom, and fear.

There is also no slavery in nature.  Only man engages in debt slavery with one another.  Animals do not do such horrible things to one another.

But what do scriptures say about mountains?  They are often places of worship of God, or of false gods.  The “temple mount” in Jerusalem is a holy spot.  Moses saw the burning bush in the mountains, on holy ground.

Is God “mystical” and so “spiritual” that things can not be understood or  practical?

Our God is practical.  Idolatry is an affront because it is a useless waste of time, dishonors God, and is often used to pool money from misled people and steal from them, as they trust in a false idol rather than reality.

Jesus said about trees that do not bear fruit, to cut them to the ground.

Mountains are not very useful forms of land; the land is often unfit for human use, unfruitful, and in the sierras, the land behind the mountains is desert, since the mountains drain the precipitation out of the clouds as the clouds move up over the mountains, so the mountains also make large parts of the earth less useful.

Perhaps God intends to level the mountains, to make the earth more useful and fruitful?

Perhaps mountains are an affront to God, lifted up places that compete with the Glory of God.

Perhaps mountains represent fallen angels, who will be destroyed.

Perhaps mountains represent kingdoms of man, who will be destroyed.

Perhaps mountains are like temples of worship, like pyramids built in the shape of mountains.

Perhaps God will destroy not only the physical mountains, but all things like mountains, fallen angels, kingdoms, worthless land, worthless idols, etc.

There are video games where you can “terra form”.  Often, tearing down the mountains and filling the valleys lets you build a bigger city with more people.

I have often wondered if there would be any such thing as skiing on a mountain when God comes to restore the earth.  I don’t know.

But in no case can I use any sort of spiritual lesson or teaching to deny what the Bible or the prophets say.

God can, and usually does both, first the physical, then the spiritual.   If Jesus comes back to land on, and destroy a mountain, I believe the best interpretation is to take that literally, and to understand that the literal future fulfillment is the beginning of what will take place around the world, and in the spiritual fulfillment, as God will destroy all kingdoms set against him, as well, which we know he will do.

But in no case, is the spiritual interpretation to be used to deny the physical and literal, when there are no problems with the physical being fulfilled.

Brother


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Chatting with a Dispy – 8

mount-olives-split-2

A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website. I gladly acceptedx.,, cvnX n the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.. I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction, lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.” We pick up in continuing my previous response to statements on his web site.

Genesis 10:25
And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.next subject.

Does God walk literally upon the mountains? I know not, nor do you. I live near a mountain. I know that nobody lives on top of the mountain, and the vast majority of the time, nobody is on top of the mountain. I know that Mt. Everest is desolate, and thus, there is nobody who lives near who could confirm or deny such a thing, therefore, the question is impossible to confirm or deny.

But even more, it is IMPOSSIBLE to deny!

As we know from scripture, Jesus, in resurrected form, appears to his disciples in ways that they cannot discern that it is even Jesus. The Bible also says that God is invisible.

Colossians 1:15
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

If an invisible God walks literally upon the mountains where there is nobody around, how in the world are you able to deny such a thing? You are completely incapable to say that God does not literally walk upon the mountains, and you are completely incapable of making a doctrine, or teaching, that God does not do such things, when the Bible clearly says that he does.

Be careful. It’s best to just believe scripture, rather than try to deny it. And if it requires the denial of scripture, then you are on very bad ground.

Sincerely,

Brother

Brother

In your last response you said – “Does God walk literally upon the mountains? I know not, nor do you. “Why does Amos say He does? Is it not to inform us of something?

In the original post, I believe you said that you expect Jesus to touch down on the Mt of Olives and because of this, that the mount would split (or something to that effect). This is the context of my discussion. Is the prophet Zechariah describing a literal touching of the mount with God’s literal feet? Correct me if I have read you wrong, but I think you would interpret Zechariah that Jesus would land/touch/set/stand/ etc on Mt of Olives in fulfillment of Zech 14. I merely brought Amos and Micah into the discussion to ask if these incidents are of the same literalness.

No one wants to deny the Word. I surely do not, and I am convinced you are striving to be faithful. Finding the intent of a scripture should not be construed as a denial of scripture if it rubs you or I the wrong way. Remember that the Word is to transform us, not us try to conform the Word (to our liking!)

I would agree the Bible clearly teaches that God “treads on the high places of the earth” and “the LORD cometh forth out of his place” and that He will “tread upon the high places of the earth” causing the mountains to be “molten under him” and the valleys “shall be cleft, as wax before the fire…”.(v4). My concern is to try to understand what the prophet was trying to communicate.
If, as you say, no one can deny or prove whether an invisible God walks on the mountains, to what point did the prophet tell us these things?

Next question

If we take Zechariah in a literal manner

Verse 8 – the “fountain of living waters,” Could this phrase represent a spiritual truth? Zech 13:1 states “a fountain will be opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity”
If we understand the fountain literally, the natural conclusion would be that the waters cleanse from sin. Would this be acceptable to you, and if not, on what basis do you reject the fountain as being literally able to cleanse from sin, but accept “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives”, as the physical return of Christ (Notice that it does not say that He lands on the mount, or descends on the mount, or even that he climbs the mount to get to the top.)

Please do not respond asking me if I believe in the physical return of Christ – I surely do and with every day expect it sooner and sooner!

Looking forward to your response

Be blessed


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Chatting with a Dispy – 7

mount-olives-split-2A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website.  I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction,  lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.”  We pick up in continuing my previous response to statements on his web site.

Brother

I admit error in the Rev 19 passage concerning the trumpet. Thank you for noting it!  If we continue in the Word of God, our faith will increase, and this discussion will be fruitful.

When God judged the earth in the Flood, the geography changed significantly, God both raised up the land, and he separated the earth in the days of Peleg.  It would not surprise me if God changed the physical mountains in a restored earth, to level out much of the high places around the globe, by bringing down Mt. Everest to more reasonable levels of elevation, in fact, scripture hints at that very thing.  But yes, mountains can also mean spiritual strongholds.

Brother

I understand about the Flood issues, and that the topographic “adjustments” were a result of judgement.  It is certainly possible that this may happen. (I am not so sure about the Peleg thing, but that is immaterial!)

It is interesting that the mountain of the Lords house is referred to as being above the hills/mountains, not that the hills/mountains are lowered.  Laying waste to mountains and hills may refer to the bounty being produced on them being destroyed (see the next line where the Hebrew poetry commonly uses the second line to further explain the first line, ie the vegetation being dried up further explains “the mountains being laid waste”!), not that the mountains would be flattened.

Isa 2:12 merely states that the day of the Lord will “come upon everything high…, upon all the high mountains”.  This does not mention that the mountains are lowered, but that the day of the Lord will come upon the mountains –  whatever that means is not specifically mentioned (that I can see at least!)

Two quick questions for you to consider from our previous discussions

Amos 4:13 – God “treads on the high places of the earth”

    • Does God literally walk on the mountains?

Micah 1:3-4 – states “the LORD cometh forth out of his place” and that He will “tread upon the high places of the earth” causing the mountains to be “molten under him” and the valleys “shall be cleft, as wax before the fire…”.(v4)

    • Will God will literally come down out of heaven and walk on the high places causing the mountains to melt?

Thanks for the response – Able to get back to you during coffee break so it worked out well.  Looking forward to your next comments.

Be blessed.

Carl


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Chatting with a Dispy – 6

mount-olives-split-2A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website.  I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction,  lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.”  We pick up in continuing my previous response to statements on his web site.

Is your standard Biblical, because it does not seem to me that you are consistent here in applying it.

I think you are asking me two questions here.

Biblical? – Since I am seeking to understand the apostolic method of interpreting the OT, I would hope that my methods are Biblical.

Consistent? – I may be (certainly AM) very much a novice at this, and with this admission, understand that consistency of application may be weak.  If you see a specific instance in which I am not interpreting a passage in light of its genre and context, a challenge would be most welcome.

In other words, you appear to be grasping at gnats, but swallowing a camel.

If I appear to be doing this, please give me an example from my previous texts.

Since you make a big issue over the “different” trump reference in 1 Thess 4 vs. 1 Cor 15, but the entire lack of a trumpet in Zech 14 and Rev 19 seems to not bother you at all, as if you are willing to “swallow” the idea that there is a trumpet in passages that do not mention it, and yet, claim that there is enough of a difference in the trumpet in 1 Thess 4, that it’s somehow significant of something?

Again, the issue (trump issue in 1 Thess and 1 Cor) is not a major point, simply an item to call to your attention for the sake of clarity.  I do not recall mentioning a trumpet with regards to Zech 14.  (That passage dealt with the topographic disturbance of the City of Jersusalem and the physical splitting of the Mount of Olives).  Rev 19, of course, has a trumpet mentioned within the text, but I do not recall the trump being an item of discussion within my message.

 Be blessed.


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Chatting with a Dispy – 5

mount-olives-split-2A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website.  I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction,  lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.”  We pick up in continuing my previous response to statements on his web site.

I’m sorry, I’m the one who owes you an apology.  I did not see, I was blind, I did not see that you noted that passage DID mention the “trump of God”, but that your position had nuances that I did not detect right away.  More often than not, I get people who claim the text does not contain the words it does contain, and the debate is rather simple, yet they will still refuse to admit error.

I can see this discussion may be very good.  Now I will admit confusion further, as to the nature of how you reason and argue.

Repeatedly, you are saying to me to not “build doctrine on silence”, yet, when the text of 1 Thess is silent on the issue of whether the trumpet is sounding, you build upon that, and use that silence as somehow enough proof to discern a difference of significance.

Well, when do you apply your standard, and is your standard Biblical, because it does not seem to me that you are consistent here in applying it.  In other words, you appear to be grasping at gnats, but swallowing a camel.

Since you make a big issue over the “different” trump reference in 1 Thess 4 vs. 1 Cor 15, but the entire lack of a trumpet in Zech 14 and Rev 19 seems to not bother you at all, as if you are willing to “swallow” the idea that there is a trumpet in passages that do not mention it, and yet, claim that there is enough of a difference in the trumpet in 1 Thess 4, that it’s somehow significant of something?

Brother

I am glad that we can continue with our discussion.  I do hope that in the midst of our discussion you may see more than just comments on the Text, but a desire to edify and build each other up in the faith.

Now I will admit confusion further, as to the nature of how you reason and argue.  Repeatedly, you are saying to me to not “build doctrine on silence”,

Agreed

yet, when the text of 1 Thess is silent on the issue of whether the trumpet is sounding, you build upon that,

My intent is to point out that your comment “Both chapters also teach the resurrection and of the trumpet blast” is not accurate.  The second passage – (1 Thess) does not mention any noise from the trumpet.  Just that the Lord is “coming with… the trump of God”

and use that silence as somehow enough proof to discern a difference of significance.

The significance is minor, but I only sought to draw to your attention a point you may want to edit on your site.

Well, when do you apply your standard,

As to a standard to apply, I assume you are referring to my understanding passages within the Word.  I seek to be as literal as possible unless the context demands I consider a symbolic/poetic/spiritual interpretation.  You see, I was a very good dispensationalist for much of my Christian life.  One of the items I believed was that every prophecy of the first coming of the Lord Jesus in the OT was fulfilled literally in the NT.  I believed that passionately for many years.  I was so convinced that I assumed it was unassailable.  Then I began a study a few years back on how the apostles interpreted the OT showing the messianic fulfillment in Jesus.  This study began my reconsidering of my literalistic interpretive methods.


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Chatting with a Dispy – 4

mount-olives-split-2A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website.  I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction,  lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.”  We pick up in continuing my previous response to statements on his web site.

I’m open to discussion to the extent that the Bible commands; I’m to try to be able to give a ready answer to all who ask for the reasons for my faith; and yet also, given the limited amount of time in life, I’m also directed to not waste time with people who are unworthy, or who are blind, or people who simply are not yet able to bear truth.

1 Corinthians 3:2  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

That being said, to discern what kind of person you are, I have one basic question; why did you write the following:

RE: Disagree

1 Corinthians teaches that “the trumpet shall sound” and 1 Thessalonians that the Lord descends “with…the trump of God.”  Only 1 Cor specifically teaches the sounding of the trumpet.

Can you read the following, and why didn’t you see it, or do you have an explanation, or apology?  Or, how do you react when proven wrong?

1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

See, it’s one thing to be ignorant, it’s another to be willfully ignorant.  In the first case, people just don’t know where in the Bible it teaches about the rapture.  In the second case, like yours, you have known for 30 years, and you specifically claim that the Bible does not say what it so clearly does.  What can explain that kind of willful blindness?  I’m very curious.

Sincerely, Brother

Brother – I am a little confused – the text in 1 Thessalonians is merely stating that the Lord is descending with the trump of God.  (He may be blowing it, but 1 Thessalonians doesn’t specifically say that! – As a matter of fact, 1 Corinthians doesn’t say that the Lord will be blowing the trump, just that the trump sounds …”at the last trump, for the trumpet shall sound”….)

I am a little confused about who I owe an apology to?  I asked you some questions because a brother informed me that you were open to discussion and debate.  (I find it very profitable to engage with believers in discussion to sharpen my own understanding.)  When I am proven wrong I would like to think I accept it.  (Admittedly, I sometimes become quiet, but eventually realize that truth is more important than my ego or traditions.)  If I have offended you or caused you any conflict, I will not continue this discussion.  If you would like to continue, please do so, understanding that my concern is – “What does the text say!”

In any case, may God bless you and draw you into His love.

Carl


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Chatting with a Dispy – 3

mount-olives-split-2A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website.  I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction,  lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.”  We pick up in continuing my previous response to statements on his web site.

Revelation 19

Of the many methods of interpreting Revelation, you have opted for the “futuristic” method. 

What is going on in Revelation 6:1-2? Could this be a picture of the Christ going out to conquer?

What about Revelation 7:15 – 17? I bring this passage into the discussion only due to the reference to the living waters, which I believe you may associate with the millennial kingdom, after the return of Christ.

What is Revelation 11:15-19 describing? Could this be a picture of the return of Christ? How can you place the return of Christ in chapter 19, when it also seems to be taking place in Revelation 11

What about Revelation 14:14-16? It seems that if I were to take this passage literally, the earth will have been reaped by the end of this passage. This is usually associated with the second coming(?)

Although chapter 19 is commonly thought of as being a picture of the return of Christ (and I think it is, for whatever it is worth), these other passages also have some merit to them.

My point is this – Revelation is a book of the revelation of Christ, and is apocalyptic in nature, which demands that we look at each passage carefully, considering each argument. With so many (valid) interpretive methods for the book of Revelation, it seems unwise to depend on a debatable passage to build a highly detailed doctrine.(ie. the return of Christ after the tribulation. (There is no absolute time line given in Revelation, nor should we expect one, since it is written in a highly symbolic form.)

Carl


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Chatting with a Dispy – 2

mount-olives-split-2

A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website. I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred. I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction, lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.”

There is no debate that Revelation 19 and Zechariah 14 teach on the physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ in power after the tribulation.

Disagree

There is much debate that both Revelation 19 and Zechariah 14 teach on the physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ in power after the Tribulation

Let’s discuss Zechariah 14 first. Zechariah is considered an apocalyptic book, with the last chapters containing visions that are difficult to understand, and is very similar, in some aspects as the book of Revelation. For Zechariah to mention that “His feet shall stand on the mount of Olives” and considering the highly symbolic nature of the vision (see below for considerations on the symbolic nature of the vision), it is difficult for me to take this completely literally.

It is important to compare scripture with scripture, so with that in mind, consider some of the OT prophets who spoke of similar circumstances – ie His feet on mountains….

Amos 4:13 – God “treads on the high places of the earth”

Does God literally walk on the mountains?

Micah 1:3-4 – states “the LORD cometh forth out of his place” and that He will “tread upon the high places of the earth” causing the mountains to be “molten under him” and the valleys “shall be cleft, as wax before the fire…”.(v4)

Will God literally come down out of heaven and walk on the high places causing the mountains to melt?

It seems Zechariah, along with many of the prophets, are describing future times of judgment (for at least the prophets current generation) in pictures that communicate to the Hebrew mind. (Remember that we live in a scientific, analytical age, that might not be as conducive to understanding the prophets as it is to understanding physics or mathematical concepts.)

Symbology of Zechariah

A few question to address if we take Zechariah in a literal manner

Zechariah 14:8 – the “fountain of living waters,” Could this phrase represent a spiritual truth? Zechariah 13:1 states “a fountain will be opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity”

If we understand the fountain literally, the natural conclusion would be that the waters cleanse from sin.

Zechariah 14:10 – All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses.

I assume that if the Mount of Olives will be literally split, the same interpretive stance would be used to understand verse 10. If so, all of Jerusalem will be lifted up. Comparing scripture with scripture, I see Micah making some similar comments about Jerusalem (house of the Lord) in Micah 4:1

Micah 4:1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.

Taken literally, the house of the Lord will be close to 6 miles above sea level (Mt Everest, at 29,000′ above sea level is 5.5 miles above sea level) How people will flow into this is hard to understand, with winds up to 177 mph, and temps dropping to -76^. (I hope the living water has antifreeze in it!)

I hope you understand that I am being a bit facetious, and I hope it is taken in with a “grain of salt”. (You see, even nowadays, we understand each other using phrases that are particular to our culture – ie a grain of salt.)

I find it to be a great challenge to try to understand the mindset of the OT prophet, and it takes time and patience to fit it all together.

One example is that when a prophet mentions “mountains” in a vision, he can sometimes mean a “kingdom. Check it out – it is a quick study that helped me in a somewhat better understanding of the Old Testament prophets.


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Chatting with a Dispy – 1

mount-olives-split-2

A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website. I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.. I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction, lets chat with a “Dispy.”

Brother

A friend directed me to your page and mentioned that you are open to discussion. If you don’t mind, I would like to challenge you on some of your teaching. I hope I do not come off as offensive or argumentative, but I do want to know what the Bible, and only the Bible says.

I have been a believer for many years and have spent much of my Christian life in the dispensational camp. Although many of your points are familiar, I do not want to assume too many things. I have spent the last 3-4 years considering alternate approaches to understanding the Word of God and have slowly pulled away from a literalistic approach for some passages.

What I intend to do is to copy some teaching from your website and comment within the text. (my comments are indented & italicized)

Rapture in: 1 Thessalonians 4, 1 Corinthians 15:

There is no debate that 1 Thessalonians 4, and 1 Corinthians 15 teach on the rapture.

Agree

Both chapters also teach the resurrection and of the trumpet blast.

Disagree
Actually 1 Corinthians teaches that “the trumpet shall sound” and 1 Thessalonians that the Lord descends “with…the trump of God” Only 1 Corinthians specifically teaches the sounding of the trumpet.

Neither chapter mentions anything about having to endure the tribulation before the rapture comes.

1 Corinthians was written in response to heretical teaching about the resurrection, 1 Thessalonians was written due to “their ignorance” (verse 13).

I do hope you are not going to build doctrine out of silence. It is true that neither chapter mentions anything about having to endure the tribulation, but it also doesn’t teach on the indwelling of the saints with the Holy Spirit. The apostle was addressing a specific issue, and his silence on other issues neither proves or disproves anything!


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Chatting with a Dispy – Introduction

mount-olives-split-2

As many who follow this blog may know, I used to be a single minded, zealous dispensationalist.

My passion for “the truth” was unassailable, and I would keep myself from any teaching that might weaken my biblically pure understanding of “the truth”.

To be anything other than a “dispy” was a sign of theological weakness and compromise with the world.

Looking back at my attitudes and actions, I was an offensive blow hard that built walls around people, and tore down bridges of discussion.

I lived in this condition for decades and only by the grace of God, did I allow myself to consider other biblically based opinions.

Currently I consider myself a post dispensational Christian.

A more important lesson learned was not simply a theological understanding, but the manner of discussion when chatting with fellow believers of a different stance. The Word is clear, and provides a challenge for this writer!

Gracious words

Colossians 4:6

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person

With Gentleness and Respect

1 Peter 3:15

…in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

After this shift in my eschatological thinking and manner of discussion, a brother in the Lord asked if I would visit with a brother who held to the dispensational doctrines. The discussion was to center around Zechariah 14.

I gladly accepted the invitation.

This and following posts will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred. I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake

With that introduction, lets meet together at our next post to begin chattin’ with a “Dispy.”

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Sun Moon & Stars – Matthew 24:29

A brother asked me about Matthew 24, you know, about the sun, moon and stars falling from heaven.

The passage goes like this…

Matthew 24:29

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

meteor showerWell, I told him what I thought and he seemed to consider my answer with some suspicion, almost as if I had my head on backwards. Don’t get me wrong – I appreciate the challenge, if only for my own learning and research. So off we go to the Word to consider passages that use the same terminology. Scripture interprets Scripture and we have to remember that the Master came to earth to fill the three offices of Prophet, Priest and King. As the preeminent Prophet, He was anchored in Old Testament thought and speech, communicating to an audience steeped in the Sacred Writings.

With that said, I have done a quick search for the three words “sun”, “moon”, and “stars” in the Old Testament, hoping to find a clue to base my understanding of the Lord’s message.

The full passages, from the Old Testament prophets, are found in the end notes of this post since they are somewhat lengthy, and I want to get to the meat of the matter.

The verses I found are

  • Isaiah 13:10

  • Ezekiel 32:7

  • Joel 2: 10

  • Joel 3:15

As an aside, as a young Christian, I believed that the New Testament was the “be all and end all” of everything I needed to be concerned about. The Old Testament was important, but we have more important information in the New Testament. I think that is like saying the roof of a house is more important than the walls of a house. How can I say that? Without the Old Testament, the New Testament would be completely hollowed out.

Consider

If all the Old Testament quotations and allusions were obliterated from the New Testament, the books would have no coherent message. Some single verses in Matthew 24, for example, refer to THREE Old Testament passages. Three passages crammed into one verse!!!*

Without the Old Testament, the Jewish nation (if you could argue that a Jewish nation would exist?) would have no history, culture or religious life that the Messiah could communicate within. The Old Testament set the context of the Master’s teaching and prophecies.

So with all that said, lets look at each of these passages.

stars_falling_from_the_skyFirst off, as a younger believer, (hey – I’m still young Jerry!) when I saw these type of Old Testament verses, I would consider them to all be referring to one event, and that event was the same event that Jesus prophesied of – the end of the world. I really didn’t consider the context of the passages because it just seemed so obvious. Maybe I was wrong. (Hint – Yup, I was wrong!)

Passage #1 Isaiah 13:10

Isaiah 13:10

For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.

Lets see if Isaiah is directing this to anyone specific.

Isaiah 13

1 The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see.

Chapter 13 is the beginning of a section in Isaiah directed to the nations. The first nation to be dealt with is the nation of Babylon.

But how is the Lord going to bring about this judgement?

Isaiah 13

4 The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the LORD of hosts mustereth the host of the battle.

The Lord musters the kingdoms of the nations. He even names them for us! Interesting side note that the Lord defines the force He is mustering as multiple nations. This is precisely what occurred when the nations of the Medes and the Persians, joined together to defeat Babylon. (The Medes became the dominant people group within this cooperative effort.)

Isaiah 13

17 Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.

The Medes and the Persians are the nations that the Lord used to obliterate the Babylonian empire, in one night!

So, in the midst of a passage where the Lord is speaking to a specific nation (Babylon) about other nation(s) (the Medes and Persians), He refers to the sun, moon and stars being darkened.

What gives?

Option 1 – Literal Darkening of the Sun Moon and Stars

During the siege, the smoke would be so heavy that all light would be obliterated from sight. Considering the poetic nature of so much of the Old Testament, this option doesn’t hold much weight in my mind. Especially since the takeover of Babylon was so dramatic and quick. In one night the nation fell and the Babylonian governing authorities were eliminated.

Not much to see here folks – Lets move along!!

Option 2 – Literal Dissolution of the Sun Moon and Stars

Obviously, the sun moon and stars were not darkened permanently or even temporarily. I have never found any record of the sun, moon, and stars being darkened during the siege of Babylon.

The stars did not literally cease to exist. I am thankful for the sun hanging around. I just can’t imagine being cold all the time! I left Canada for the warmth of Texas. I love da sun!

Option 3 – Symbolic Representation of Authorities

Story time!

A long time ago in a world far far away, before the Jewish nation was formed, a young boy had a dream. In this dream he referred to the sun moon and stars.

Genesis 37

9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.

10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?

When Israel (Jacob) heard this dream, he was shocked. As head of the family, Jacob was the authority over the entire clan. It was obvious that Joseph was stating that he would be the authority in the future. Jacob bowing to his Son? What arrogance! What pride! What accuracy!!

This dream greatly influenced the Jewish nation and the prophets took this phrase (sun moon and stars) and used it to describe earthly authorities of their time.

If so, and since Jesus was the greatest prophet ever, he may have been leaning on these passages when He spoke of the sun moon and stars being darkened in Matthew 24. (Hint – Isaiah 13 is accepted by most scholars as the passage Jesus was referring to in Matthew 24:29)

With that, I will leave you with the remaining 3 passages. (I’m not gonna do all the work for you!)

Check it out (and consider!) to see if there is consistency in the interpretation I am suggesting.


*An example of three Old Testament verses referred to in one New Testament verse can be found in Matthew 24:15. That verse alludes to Daniel 8:13, Daniel 11:31 and Daniel 12:11.

By the way, this isn’t all that rare in the New Testament! Don’t even get me thinking about Revelation – That is nuts!!!


Full Passages

Isaiah 13

1 The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see.

2 Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles.

3 I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness.

4 The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the LORD of hosts mustereth the host of the battle.

5 They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the LORD, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.

6 Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.

7 Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt:

8 And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames.

9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.

10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.

11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.

12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.

13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.

14 And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land.

15 Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword.

16 Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.

17 Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.

18 Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.

19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

20 It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.

21 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.

22 And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.

Ezekiel 32

1 And it came to pass in the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, in the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

2 Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say unto him, Thou art like a young lion of the nations, and thou art as a whale in the seas: and thou camest forth with thy rivers, and troubledst the waters with thy feet, and fouledst their rivers.

3 Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will therefore spread out my net over thee with a company of many people; and they shall bring thee up in my net.

4 Then will I leave thee upon the land, I will cast thee forth upon the open field, and will cause all the fowls of the heaven to remain upon thee, and I will fill the beasts of the whole earth with thee.

5 And I will lay thy flesh upon the mountains, and fill the valleys with thy height.

6 I will also water with thy blood the land wherein thou swimmest, even to the mountains; and the rivers shall be full of thee.

7 And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light.

8 All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord GOD.

9 I will also vex the hearts of many people, when I shall bring thy destruction among the nations, into the countries which thou hast not known.

10 Yea, I will make many people amazed at thee, and their kings shall be horribly afraid for thee, when I shall brandish my sword before them; and they shall tremble at every moment, every man for his own life, in the day of thy fall.

11 For thus saith the Lord GOD; The sword of the king of Babylon shall come upon thee.

12 By the swords of the mighty will I cause thy multitude to fall, the terrible of the nations, all of them: and they shall spoil the pomp of Egypt, and all the multitude thereof shall be destroyed.

13 I will destroy also all the beasts thereof from beside the great waters; neither shall the foot of man trouble them any more, nor the hoofs of beasts trouble them.

14 Then will I make their waters deep, and cause their rivers to run like oil, saith the Lord GOD.

15 When I shall make the land of Egypt desolate, and the country shall be destitute of that whereof it was full, when I shall smite all them that dwell therein, then shall they know that I am the LORD.

16 This is the lamentation wherewith they shall lament her: the daughters of the nations shall lament her: they shall lament for her, even for Egypt, and for all her multitude, saith the Lord GOD.

Joel 2

1 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;

2 A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.

3 A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.

4 The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run.

5 Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array.

6 Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.

7 They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks:

8 Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.

9 They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief.

10 The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:

11 And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?

12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:

13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?

Joel 3

1 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,

2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.

3 And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink.

4 Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render me a recompence? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head;

5 Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things:

6 The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border.

7 Behold, I will raise them out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompence upon your own head:

8 And I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off: for the LORD hath spoken it.

9 Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up:

10 Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.

11 Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD.

12 Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.

13 Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.

14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.

15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.

16 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

17 So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.

18 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.

19 Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.

20 But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.

21 For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion.


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Purpose of Prophecy – Mark 15:43-46

brown book page

Biblical prophecy has a purpose. Am I sure I get it?

A few days back I was listening to Mark 15 and a few verses grabbed my attention.

Mar 15:43-46

Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.

In that passage, Joseph of Arimathea took the body of Jesus, wrapped it in fine linen and placed it in a tomb.

OK – so did he perform this action out of obedience to the Word?

Did he see an Old Testament passage and decide to take action to fulfill the prophecy? The text says that Joseph “took courage”, but does not define the motivation of the action. Was it simply to bring some honor to his Rabbi, or was it due to his seeking to obey Isaiah 53:9.

Isaiah 53:9

And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

In this instance, the text seems to teach that the fulfillment of the prophecy was not Joseph’s objective.

If so, this particular prophecy in Isaiah was not given to inform prior to its fulfillment, but after its fulfillment.

Well – if that is generally true of prophecy, do we in the modern church look at Biblical prophecy correctly?

Do we try to find out the future for our own purposes? Granted, some information – the Olivet discourse comes to mind – was given to the apostles prior to the destruction of Jerusalem, that they might escape the judgement of God through the Roman armies on the nation of Israel.

Even considering the Olivet discourse though, might the higher purpose of that prophecy be somewhat different from merely saving the disciples lives? After all, most of the apostles were going to be martyred, and persecution was going to fall on the church shortly after the fall of Jerusalem.

I suppose the general thought of trying to figger out the future is very popular among western Christians of a certain stripe. I admit I used to delve heavily into future forecasting, but am now considering the wisdom of that attitude.

A year or so back, a particular passage in John got me thinking. Actually, when I read it carefully, it created more questions than answers! Jesus is talking to His disciples, telling them of a particular future event and actually lets them know WHY He tells them.

 John 13:19

I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.

Did you catch it? “…that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.”

The purpose was to direct the disciples faith to the person of Christ after the fulfillment of the prediction, not to instruct them on how to save their own bacon. Not for some temporal reason, but to direct the attention to the Messiah.

Could this be the highest purpose of prophecy?

Should we consider this to be the primary focus of prophetic interpretation?

When we come to a particular prophecy in the Word, would this concept Lightning help us to know the heart of God better?

Would it help us to rest in Him instead of hurrying about protecting ourselves from what we think may happen?

Lets consider Biblical prophecy to be a gift, not to primarily inform us of future events, but direct our attention to the One who is faithful!

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