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To Christians unhappy or critical of this year’s US presidential election result…

Donald TrumpDonald Trump’s campaign promises may indeed prove empty. Such a disappointment would certainly not be the first time in history. Or he may prove a tyrant, or instigator of war, or simply inept. He may even be the AntiChrist (though this is unlikely, for scripture hints that AntiChrist will be adored and lauded by all from his first public emergence, and the same can definitely not be said for Mr Trump). On past record, at best, or hopefully worst, he may be expected eventually to adequately fill the shoes of a hypocrite. Yet it is always preferable to be a hypocrite than an apostate, better to attempt much and fail in more, than attempt nothing, better to be a fool than a thief, better to pay lip service to God, than openly vex the saints. Thus, in the case of Trump’s election victory, a Christian must ask himself, “What then can I be thankful for, if not this?”, and assuming one prayed beforehand that God’s will would be done in the matter, “Is the outcome an answer to my prayers?”

As a Christian, my primary, indeed my only criterion in secular elections is the prolonging of freedom to preach the gospel on earth. I believe this to be the highest good and goal of mankind, and those who oppose it to be the most abominable and greatest enemies of man and God. In a more noble age we would have had presidential candidates (on either side) of a higher moral calibre, but we do not live in a noble age. Yet with Trump, if he delivers on his promises, Christians will get some of what we want and have particularly been praying for, namely a degree of protection and relief (however small) from Islam and from the politically correct forces who misguidedly seek to appease Islam and/or build a hedonistic utopia by gagging and culling Christians.

I felt as unhappy, unsafe, forsaken and scandalized living under two terms of Obama as many Christians now claim to feel under Trump, and for eight years I had to content myself with the solace of Romans 13:1-7, 1 John 5:14-15, and Mark 9:29. Thus a great many Christians, not just in America, but all around the world, and including myself, concluded that the Obama years and the attendant ascendancy and toleration of like regimes and ideologies which shamelessly promoted and protected the most hideous crimes committed against the loveliness of Christ and His Bride, were (with scriptural precedent) a divine judgment and a righteous chastisement and curse upon vapid 21st Century Christianity, and, feeling a personal failing and responsibility for that, many set about literally attending upon much prayer and fasting to a degree not seen in the church for fifty years or more. Thus these saints can now reasonably be entitled to believe that such an extraordinary (and widely predicted to be impossible) election result as the 2016 outcome is indeed either further chastisement and exhortation to further prayer and fasting (never a bad thing), or an answer consequent to their prayers, the stuff of miracles, as the raven feedeth the prophet, indeed, a reward to good and faithful servants.

On paper at least, a Trump presidency gives us, God’s saints, a respite not to be sniffed at, a new hope that the Word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified for at least the next four years, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men (2 Thess 3:1-2). It should be taken not as a license to complain, bemoan and despair, but as a challenge and opportunity for greater and higher personal service.

Overnight, on November 8th 2016, the world has been turned upside down, the mortar kicked from between the bricks, and barrier walls loosened, the deck reshuffled, the tidal flow reversed, and any perceived entrenched obstacle which may have hitherto hindered or restricted Christian ambition and activity has now (or will, following the inauguration next January) likely realign itself in the opposite direction to facilitate egress. If your yoke was hard and your burden heavy under Obama, could it honestly be more so under Trump? “But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows and saying, ‘We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented’. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He hath a devil’: The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners’. But wisdom is justified of her children. Then began Christ to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: ‘Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes” (Matthew 11:16-21).

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Bowie Death: The Real Story

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For anyone still confused by my earlier post about David Bowie rising from the grave, I here present the explanation: It was simply a Biblical illustration with real-world application, a common sermon technique for bringing the two thousand year-old gospel story into a modern context, not twisting scripture to fit the modern world, as the manner of some is, but twisting the modern world to fit scripture.

I was inspired, (or rather provoked), moved even, by the great many mournful and morbid outbursts of grief among non-Christians on Facebook regarding Mr Bowie’s death. Some comments reminded me directly of the despondency and confusion of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus following Jesus’s death, as recorded in Luke 24:13-34: “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel. And beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.”

Bowie’s followers, now bereft of him, may feel the hopelessness of their spiritual situation and the pointlessness of human life on earth more keenly than ever. For their real tragedy is not that they are without Bowie, but that, in the words of Ephesians 2:12, they are “without Christ.” For they are… “…aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world”.

The grief-stricken disciples mentioned above in Luke 24 would soon be surprised by joy, and their entire belief-system overturned to a life-changing degree by an encounter with Jesus risen from the grave. It made me wonder how David Bowie’s fans (ie, his ‘disciples’) would react if Bowie himself were to rise from death and begin preaching a monotheistic religion based on repentance and faith in him as unconditional lord and leader of their lives? Predictably, his fans would be no more inclined to follow him than they would follow Christ, because when it comes down to repentance and putting faith in the actual true and living God, history has adequately demonstrated that people generally turn away from such spiritual opportunities and instead prefer to keep hold of their sin, and pride, and their old lifestyle. Thus, David Bowie’s fans prefer a David Bowie they can be comfortable with, a David Bowie to call their own, they want a David Bowie in their image, not in God’s, a David Bowie who gives them feelgood music, not a David Bowie who tells them how to live their life. If it came to it therefore, fans would not actually want a resurrected Bowie.

In a similar vein, so many people (even scientists and learned intellectuals) wish that extra-terrestrials from space would one day visit earth, and indeed much funds are annually poured into research projects seeking evidence of intelligent life in outer space. But the likely outcome of any extra-terrestrial contact would be that most people wouldn’t dig what the aliens wanted to tell them. Think it through: Any change which beings from another galaxy brought to earth would have to be radically different to earthling preferences, or logically it wouldn’t be worth the journey. If they were little or no different from ourselves, we would reject them as useless, or if they brought a markedly different and non-human culture with them, we would repel them as inconveniently and unpleasantly alien immigrants and usurpers. It would turn out that most earthlings actually wouldn’t want to accept the change, and would end up wishing the extraterrestrials had never come in the first place. And this is exactly what happened with Jesus: A true God is necessarily “not of this world”, (John 8:23) and is therefore rejected as an unpleasant alien. The Jews wanted a messiah, but when he came, they didn’t like him. John 8:47 “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God”. John 8:37-41: “I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father”. And Bowie fans would likely have the same problem with a resurrected Bowie. This is also what the rock band The Who’s 1969 concept album ‘Tommy’, was about: People hope and beg for god-like leaders and transcendent knowledge, but when they get it, they generally find the cost of discipleship too high (listen to The Who’s ‘We’re not gonna take it (Never did, and never will)’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKDO19Y0KWg and the original with lyrics here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9vZgSTMXm0

Thus, my aim in writing the piece is to advise people to “turn from dead idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9). David Bowie of course cannot help you to Heaven, nor deliver you from Hell. And had he tried to, whether in life or death, be sure that his fan-base would have dropped to almost zero overnight.

To further make the point, I also peppered the post with paraphrases and parallels with scripture, and for any who didn’t recognise the scriptural sources, I now list them below as annotations to the orginal article text:

“I told you so”, said the elated superstar. “I was pretty far gone, but this proves that there is, and will be, a resurrection of all human bodies, some for punishment, and some for rest and reward in Heaven”:

John 5:25, 28-29
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
“the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”

“If you’ll just turn your back on your existing lifestyle and beliefs and follow me”:

Luke 9:23:
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

“I can square things for you with God”:

John 5:26-27 “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.”

“Speaking to a small group of close friends and colleagues yesterday afternoon”:

John 20:19-20 “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.”

“Mr Bowie went on to say that “just like a seed of wheat, you can’t grow into the full plant that you’re supposed to be until you actually die and are buried in the ground”:

1 Cor 15: 35-37 “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain.”

“Giving your life to me is like dying now, in advance. Gets it out of the way, see? ‘Cos you’re either born once and die twice, or born again and die only once. If you wait until you really die, it’ll be too late, and then you’ll have to have your second death in the Lake of Fire”:

Rev 20:14-15 “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

John 8:24 “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”

Romans 6:3-11 “3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“You can’t get round it on your own. Just being a good person won’t help you”:

Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”

Galatians 2:16 “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

Ephesians 2:8: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”

“I can only help fans if they have unconditional loyalty”, said the musician:

Mark 8:34 “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

“I’m the only person who can give you that all-important ‘second birth’”.

John 3:3 “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”.

Acts 4:10-12 “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

“The chart-topping pop star, famous for songs like ‘Starman’ and ‘Heroes’, will be holding an open-air rally for “anyone who wants to turn up, really”, tomorrow in New York’s Times Square:

1 Cor 15:6 “After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep”.

“I’m going to actually finally rise to Heaven in about a month, but before I go, I want as many people as possible to see me alive again, and hear about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for eternal life that I’m offering.”:

Acts 1:3 “To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”

“God’s been planning this for a few thousand years. I came to actually make the necessary self-sacrifice, and make it happen”:

1 Peter 1:18-23 “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever”.

Hebrews 9:7-16 “But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:
8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:
9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
Foundation of the world
Galatians 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”

“Known as ‘rock’s chameleon’, famous for regular changes of image, this is not the first time Bowie has reinvented himself and tested the loyalty of followers”:

Luke 22:31 “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat”

“But most fans were overjoyed to learn of the star’s latest incarnation today. Pete Fisher, a recruitment analyst”:

Peter, a fisher of men, Matthew 4:18-19 “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

“…and long time devotee from London who flew to New York after hearing of Bowie’s decease at the weekend and has been camping in the park near the Bowie residence since Tuesday said: “I’m not surprised he’s finally made the ultimate transformation. I’ll certainly be putting my faith in him after this”. Another fan, Joanna Lewis:

…Joanna, one of the women who discovered Christ’s empty tomb (Luke 24:9-10)

...’Lewis’, a westernization of ‘Levy’ and Levite.

….from Baltimore,

Baltimore in Maryland, US state named after Mary.

“…wearing shocking red hair and silver eyeshadow streaked with tears said, “We thought it was all over, no one else worth following, there was nothing else to live for, but this changes everything now”. Bowie responded to blogging critics ridiculing such ardent fans by saying: “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16).

“In a formal statement, the star also later blasted the press and cynics for not believing him: “I’ve spent a lifetime with you, you’ve all seen and heard my stuff, I’ve consistently given my best, and have never lied to you. I fulfilled everything that was expected of me and more. You ought to trust me by now”:

Matthew 5:17: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”

John 3:12 “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?”

Luke 24:44-47 “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem”.

Luke 7:30-34 “But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.
31 And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like?
32 They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.
33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil.
34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!”

John 8:40 “But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God.”

Matthew 26:55 “In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me”.

“Think carefully: Do you really think you have any other way out of here? You know all the songs, search through them:
Even Morrison told you, ‘no one here gets out alive’. How else are you going to avoid death and Hell?”

John 5:36-40 “I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.
37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.
38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.
39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life”.

“Who would you sooner trust? Me, or Christopher Hitchens? He didn’t rise from the grave: I did. He had no control over his eternal destiny: I have. Follow me, and you’ll have it too”:

John 6:66-69 “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”

“Bowie later added on his blog: “Some people will get it, others won’t. It’s always been like that. My music isn’t for everybody. But God knows all about that and makes sure that the people who need to hear it will hear it. He knows who’s worth the trouble, and who isn’t”:

John 6:64-65 “But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.”

“In fact, He’s already got a book with their names written in it. It’s the sort of thing an omnipotent God knows about”:

Rev 20:12-15 “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire”.

“But bottom line, the point is, you only get one shot at Heaven, there’s only one way, and my role is to make sure you find it.”:

John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”.

“Dad and I talked about this for a long time, and in the end we decided that my resurrection from an awful death was the absolutely best way we could come up with of assuring you that I am the way to go, and also that I really care. Once the plan went into motion, it wasn’t something I could just walk away from. With my death and resurrection, I’ve secured the best deal for you you’re ever gonna get”:

1 Peter 1:18-21 “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”

Luke 24:46 “And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.”

“Satan’s the man who sold the world”:

Genesis 3:4, 13-14 “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
Genesis And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.”

2 Cor 11:3 “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

Romans 7:5-6, 14 “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.”

Matthew 4: 8-9 “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me”.

“I’m the man who bought it back”:

Galatians 3:8-14 “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith”.

Romans 8:22-23 “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, 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.”

“You can be heroes just for one day, or have a mansion in Heaven for eternity”:

John 14:2-3 “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also”.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.

John 12:25 “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal”.

Matthew 13:43 “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father”.

“I’ve done the necessary heavy lifting”:

Hebrews 9:22-28 “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”

“…now it’s up to you to receive the offer”:

John 1:10-13 “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God”.

“I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:20).

“Representatives of the Islamic faith, whose prophet ‘Mohammed’ is still dead, are reported to be enraged”:

Acts 17:31-32 “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.”

“…while, following consultations with the US Department of Justice, The Chief Rabbi and legal representatives for the Church of England issued a joint statement: “Mr Bowie’s stance is controversial, but we can find no fault in him. After all, there’s nothing more you can do to a man who has already died, in effect enduring the greatest legal sentence any court of law can pass”:

Matthew 10:28 “fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Romans 6:7-10 “For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.”

Hebrews 9:15-17 “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth”.

“One’s only option is to take his claims at face value, and see what happens on ‘the other side’”:

Romans 1:16-17 “the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”

“The American Humanist Association and readers of Rolling Stone Magazine are jointly petitioning for Bowie’s name to be struck from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. A spokesman for the coalition stated, “Somebody with this amount of cultural influence, especially on young people, ought to keep his spiritual beliefs to himself”:

Romans 2:14-15 “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another”.

“The Vatican was unavailable for comment”:

Titus 1:10-11 “For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake”.

 

Epilogue:

In the week since David Bowie died, three more ‘superstars’ have also lost their lives (and souls): Actor Alan Rickman, Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey, and Mott The Hoople drummer Dale Griffin. As their heroes and idols continue to die off amid social network fanfares of hysterical grief, the world refuses to accept that these dead idols are of no eternal help to them whatsoever, and worth no veneration whatsoever. They merely rot in the ground, empty skulls and bones returning to the dust from whence they were created. “For there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved than Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom God raised from the dead, neither is there salvation in any other” (Acts 4:9-12).

In Jesus Christ alone is found salvation from sin. In all history, He alone rose from the grave, as a proof and signpost to Heaven for some, and a warning to others.

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death: But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. 

Acts 17:31 “Because God hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead”.

 

Eschatological Teaching: Is it edifying?

2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works”.

One cannot justifiably place emphasis on the scholarly and beneficial validity of studying, discerning, speculating, stipulating, validating and confirming as accurately and with as much credulity, certainty and personal commitment as possible the approximate dates, places and particular people concerned in fulfilled prophecies, and actual events, recorded in Old and New Testament history, and not equally treat and teach all the scriptures which plainly discuss, for our edification, the redemption and resurrection of Christ’s church with the same certainty, specific detail, and respect. To say “Christ will come again, but we don’t know when, so we will stay off the controversial subject and not teach it for fear of being regarded as fanatics”, is inconsistent with prescribed Christian behaviour. The world dismisses you as a fool as soon as you give your heart to Christ, ninety percent of Christendom likewise further dismisses you as soon as you dip below the waters of fully immersive baptism, and ninety-nine percent of the rest further dismiss you when you begin giving ten percent of your income to the church every week. Where do you want to draw the line of not wanting to be regarded as a crank? Is this line drawn under any particular verse in scripture? Where does the Bible say “That was for then, this is for now, that was for them, this is for you”? Where does it say “Don’t preach anything that’s hard to prove”?

menton-rapture
19th century statue on gravestone in international cemetery, Menton, France, photographed by the writer. The figure is clearly sculpted as rising through a broken tomb lid, its supports so cleverly constructed as to appear to float on nothing, as if being “caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air”. Among a plethora of predominantly Roman Catholic imagery in the same cemetery, this was the only recognisably Christian tomb, and the only edifying one, portraying as it does, the sure and certain hope of the resurrection. Whoever built and paid for this expensive tomb design, or was buried beneath it, knew what and in whom they believed, and were persuaded that He is able to keep that which they had committed unto Him against that day.
Photo copyright ©2012 Adam Nixon

The force with which both Christ and the New Testament writers encourage believers to expect not just His return, but also an immediate miraculous translation to Heaven for an unspecified number of nevertheless specified undead souls precludes any redundancy in the task of both searching and proclaiming the scriptures for details of what, when, and who the event will concern. The ‘rapture’ may be held to be pre-, post-, pan-, a-, or intra-millennial, partial, dead-only, live-only, both, some, all, or not at all, but we must assume that, in keeping with all scripture, certainties can be learnt about it, not vagaries supposed. Certainty of scriptural doctrine is what separates the people of God from pagans and Roman Catholics, and supernaturally empowers us above their wiles. We must assume that, as with all scripture, and also with all that He has revealed of Himself in the Creation, God wishes us, not just to know how He has ordained events in the future, but also to learn from it in such a way that guides and influences our comportment in the present. As the bird rises and sings at dawn, so will we benefit from discerning to do likewise. If all scripture is profitable for thoroughly furnishing us unto all good works, then only one of the differing millennial positions can be correct: The others are wrong, and will bear fruit of bad works.

This is the gravity and certainty with which we must approach and appreciate the apocryphal texts. To say that there merely may, or may not be a premillennial rapture is incorrect, and a waste of scripture. To say that there definitely is or is not one, is the more correct stance, and if any doubt remains for either position, one must pursue that doubt until it dissipates and is replaced with tangible scriptural edification for the Christian life.

The spirit of the modern age, and the Devil who tirelessly works so successfully within it to confuse, discourage and embarrass Christians from any certainty or credibility, has, in recent years, silenced the mouths of upward-looking Christians and churches who were at one time equally successfully embarrassing the gates of Hell by preaching such glad tidings of the physical resurrection against it that their minds were so daily and unshakeably set on Heaven as to propel a great age of missionary zeal, now sadly past. Is it not entirely plausible that C.S. Lewis’s demon Screwtape, would, on this very subject, instruct his protege Wormwood in the 21st Century to seek to quash and ridicule all mention and hope of a miraculous and dramatic resurrection, not just of Christ, but of us, the brethren He died to save and raise in the same likeness? Screwtape would write: “Whatever you do Wormwood, do not allow the patient to imagine that God would extend such grace as to be able and willing to give him a miraculously happy ending. Rather, let the patient, even the most humble patient, indeed especially the most humble patient, opine that as his good works do not merit his salvation from Hell, his innate sins do not merit his rapture from tribulation. Let him be happy to be a Christian, but not too happy. Let him be sure of salvation, but unsure of the specifics, let him be optimistic about the future, but not about the near future. Let him think there will be clouds before the sunshine, and that Heaven is a kingdom which dispenses winter before summer. Above all, don’t let him think that the gospel (‘good news’) is exactly and all that. Let him temper the heaven-sent joy of his salvation with earth-born human common sense and pious notions of moderation. Let him suppose that personal expectation of a miraculous deliverance is too sensual a fantasy for the pure and true Christian soldier to indulge in. With this strategy, we shall scour such expectations of miraculous divine intervention not just from the Christian liberal camp, but from the scriptural conservatives as well, and bring them a step closer to ecumenical fellowship, as Herod and Pilate found unexpected friendship in the mocking of Christ.”

Whether you are pre-, post-, or whatever-millennial, you are duty-bound to put your eschatological leanings to the test, and be not silent in the present day about the last days. Teach your position hard, and note with care what fruit it bears. For eschatological scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. If a Christian or church experiences problems in the present, the cause may lie in their view of the future.

Expressing a minority personal opinion is now illegal

The Death Of Free Speech

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Dolce & Gabbana: “The only family is the traditional one”.
Elton John called D&G’s comment “judgmental”.
Dolce replied: “I was talking about my personal view without judging other people’s choices and decisions”.

Signor Dolce is correct, and this final quote of his exposes the very root of the problem: The new politically correct ethic holds that a person cannot express a personal opinion without it being classified as a judgement, and that if the opinion differs on a cherished point, it is regarded as a hostile, ‘hating’, bigoted, invalid, and illegal judgement.
Thus, all dialogue is now reduced to a policy of “Do not openly disagree with me, or I will run crying to mommy (or the government) to come and punish you”. This of course is the philosophy of the kindergarten playground, yet it now passes for the modern definition of democracy, and it will (and already has) in fact led to the death of democracy, free speech, intellectual dialogue, progress, and civilisation itself. And all just to keep a few kinky fornicators happy, who are just 1.5% of the population. Men, are we going to stand for this? #BoycottEltonJohn
Full story here:
http://www.worldmag.com/2015/03/dolce_and_gabbana_double_down_on_pro_family_stance

Duty Faith and Pink

pastor-preaching

“It is the preacher’s business to show wherein spiritual inability consists: not in the lack of soul faculties, but in the absence of any love for Him who is infinitely lovely. Far be it from us to extenuate the wicked unbelief of the unregenerate.”

“When Peter said, ‘Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out’ (Acts 3:19), He that is exalted to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins, sent His Spirit and Grace with the Word to work repentance and conversion in His own elect. And though they spoke the Word, promiscuously to all, yet He only spake it to His own. It was sent with the power of the Spirit. It never was sent with the Spirit of Faith to any but His own: ‘When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the Word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed’ (Acts 13:48)”.

Quotes above taken from a thought provoking article I found at this link:
http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/articles/dutyfth.htm