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If There is No God . . . Part Two – By Ed Wood

 

Suppose your friend remains unconvinced by the arguments we examined in the first article that the odds that life could have come into existence by chance are so fleetingly small as to be impossible. Now what? Let’s therefore regroup and come at the problem from another direction.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that there is no God and see what that premise does to the things most people take for granted in everyday life.

I went to college way back in the 1970’s majoring in Earth Science, a time still characterized by the uncertainty and turmoil of the decade preceding it. Though the unrest was on the wane, it was still a time of questioning many pillars of our society such as how the government was being run, capitalism in general, and whether or not God was dead or even if he ever existed at all.

I remember as if it were yesterday when an upperclassman told me in my first freshman weeks something to the effect of, “By the time you’re done here, you won’t believe in God.” I disagreed with him but I can’t for the life of me remember whether I made a good case for my point of view or not. As it turned out, college did not turn me into an atheist and I’m hoping that over the course of the intervening decades I can better defend my beliefs.

Where Science Leaves Off

I’ve always been fascinated by science, ever since the day my mother had sent away for a map of the solar system back in 1959 (I know the date because I discovered its copyright year on the Internet). The sun, planets, and other celestial objects were presented in full, vivid color, and totally captured my attention. From there I went on to getting books on astronomy and the other sciences, an activity that has lasted up through today! Truth is, not being the scholarly type by nature, science is about the only subject I consistently “aced” in school.

I came to appreciate the ability of science to explain how things were put together and how they work, from atoms to stars, single cells to people. I’ve also learned its limitations, the things it couldn’t explain. There are two categories of the latter: things presently unknown which the future likely would resolve and those that are unquantifiable that which will forever lie outside its grasp. Let’s take a look at some of those of those “immeasurables.”

A Pound of Trust

Ever trust anyone or anything? At some point in your life you must have, though a lot of people would strongly deny they ever did. Here are some simple examples: When you go to the grocery store every week and buy a can of soup, aren’t you trusting that what’s inside isn’t actually a lethal poison?

How about when you got into your car to go to the store in the first place? Didn’t you trust that your vehicle was designed in such a way that it would get you there without falling apart en route? Or that the guy with the red light wasn’t going to T-bone you when you drove through the intersection when you had the green?

Admittedly, it gets more complicated when it comes to trusting in any kind of relationship because you’ve probably noticed by now that no one is perfect – including the owner of the face that looks back at you in the mirror every day. Unless you have some level of trust, life pretty much becomes impossible. You might not realize it, but you trusted the total strangers who filled the soup can and those who designed and assembled your car.

Trust is not something science can handle because it can’t be measured or seen. Show me a pound of trust, or any other emotion, for that matter, but it exists all the same. Science is even more at a loss to demonstrate where it came from in the first place.

It’s time now to explore some other “immeasurables” in the context of a universe with or without God.

Why Get Upset?

Unless someone is a sociopath, just about everyone in every culture has a capacity for outrage under some pretty universal circumstances. For example, harm coming to a family member or friend at the hands of someone else. Little kids getting horrible diseases and having to suffer through no fault of their own. Watching a hardened criminal get released on a technicality to commit crimes again. Grappling with someone close to us dying. I’m sure you can make your own list.

The question here is, what is it that gets us so upset about these things? Is it just a matter of self-interest in hoping that the bad things we see happening to others won’t happen to us or is there something more that we can’t quite put our fingers on but is an integral part of our natures? If it is, why is it so?

Putting God into the picture makes the answer a lot easier because we who believe humans are made in his image. The Bible shows us the same sorts of things also outrage God. The evidence of this lies in what Jesus did when he was here. He cured the sick, stood up for the downtrodden, raised the dead, and finally in the greatest of all miracles, was raised from death himself. God makes the concepts of “good” and “evil” genuine because he was the one who defined them in the first place.

Removing God from the equation nullifies everything the Bible teaches as well as the reason we should be indignant about anything because from the atheistic point of view whatever happens is nothing more than a roll of the dice.

Isn’t it therefore interesting that most atheists will still be just as upset over the same things that believers are? Their problem is, unlike those who accept the existence of God, they have no logical reason for their dismay because whatever happens is all the product of random chance.

Morality

One’s point of view regarding the existence of God means everything when it comes to good or evil, right or wrong. For the believer, God is the ultimate lawgiver who defined these things in absolute terms even before he made the universe. These standards are clearly seen in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), Jesus’ summary of the moral law expressed in the Commandments (Matthew 22:34-40), and his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, chapters 5, 6, and 7). Since believers accept that God made the absolutes of the physical laws on which the cosmos operates, absolutes of morality are certainly consistent with his character.

But what do we have if there is no God?

In this case, the concepts of right or wrong are totally in the eye of the beholder. The problem is that if everyone freely “did their own thing,” no stable society could ever exist. Since it was necessary for people to be able to live together cooperatively, they had to come up with some rules to make it possible, some means of governing. Across the span of history right into the present, we see all manner of variations of government ranging from reasonably free kinds where its citizens have a voice in how they are governed to rigid autocracies like North Korea where only the voice of the guy on top matters.

For a country like the United States which was founded by men who believed in God (despite what the modern historical revisionists would have you believe) many of the biblical principles of right and wrong found expression in its original founding principles and laws, a legacy which reaches up into the present, yet is no doubt under challenge in our present times. Even so, we are still a lot better off than those atheistic dictatorships where one man and his underlings call the shots. One need look no further than Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia, or Kim’s North Korea to find examples of a state-defined morality those of us in free countries find totally repulsive.

If God does not exist, however, none of these systems or societies is better or worse than any other in absolute terms because right and wrong are defined by whatever the respective society says they are. If one decides that killing some of its residents simply because they are of a certain ethnic group is okay while another society finds this abhorrent, so what? Nothing is intrinsically evil or good because there is no ultimate “Lawgiver” to define these terms in the first place.

Despite this, I would wager to say that most people, even atheists, function as if there really are some kind of universal standards that operate at a level beyond civil law and at times supersede it. That was certainly Dr. Martin Luther King’s premise in his letter from a Birmingham jail in 1963:

“One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all.’ ”

As we all well know, his premise was based entirely on his belief in God who defined what was just and unjust in absolute terms right from the start – or, in our case, before the universe ever came to exist.

But Dr. King is only right if his premise of God’s existence is correct. Otherwise, his views on racism being evil are nothing more than his personal opinions, not better or worse than the opinions of a leader of the KKK or neo-Nazi group.

To sum it up, a believer in God can logically argue what is right and wrong based on his or her premise that he established the standards. An atheist lacking this basic premise cannot logically claim anything being intrinsically good or bad, even though most of them go through life acting as if this is the case.

Explaining Awe

Ever watch a particularly striking sunrise or sunset? Or see the arch of a rainbow in the summer sky after a thunderstorm? Or gaze up into a perfectly clear night at a sky speckled with thousands of stars?

How did it make you feel?

If you’re like most of us you experienced a sense of awe, even if you know the science behind what you were seeing. There is just “something” about experiencing such things that touches one in a way that words cannot describe. We don’t know if other creatures we consider to have a reasonably high order of intelligence are also capable of feeling what we call “awe,” but we know for certain that we can.

Why do we have this ability? It certainly isn’t required to help us find food, shelter, or to procreate. Could it be related to the universal tendency of humans throughout history to develop some kind of religion which goes beyond just an attempt to understand or perhaps even control aspects of nature that are at the time unexplainable and uncontrollable?

It seems that for some reason we humans seem to have wired into our being some kind of impulse to seek out something much greater than ourselves. I might be wrong but I’m of the opinion that it takes a real struggle for someone to turn into an atheist because they have to make a concerted effort to go against this basic drive all humans seem to have.

Perhaps the best evidence of that is just how vehemently atheists defend their point of view when challenged by someone who does believe in God. Why is that? After all, if God doesn’t exist, aren’t they making much ado over . . . nothing? Seems like an atheist has to work awfully hard at denying God, as if trying to shut out a persistent inner voice that keeps telling them that they are completely wrong! (See 1 Kings 19:9-12)

Bigger than Us

According to Genesis, the first two people knew right from the start that there was “someone” else besides themselves who was much greater than they were. It is likely in their sinless beginning that this relationship with God was on a level far beyond any which was possible after separation caused by the Fall, although there are many incidents of “close encounters” of various kinds afterward throughout the Bible (e.g. Genesis 28:10-17; 18:1; Exodus 3:1-4:16; Ezekiel 1:26-28). When Jesus came to live among us, mortal humans once again could talk to God face to face but even then only Peter, James, and John, got to behold the merest a glimpse of his true glory (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8 ).

However, for most of history since the expulsion from Eden, our knowledge of the one True God has been limited (1 Corinthians 13:11-12) which led to just about every society developing some kind of religion. The earliest were usually some kind of nature worship. In the midst of something like a powerful storm, a total solar eclipse, or the aurora borealis (or australis in the southern hemisphere), this is perfectly understandable. Most of the things in the natural world are much bigger than we are and still remain beyond our ability to control even with the technology of the Twenty-first Century. Nature-religions such as Wicca still exist today and are even finding “scientific” incarnations in the more extreme elements of the environmental movement.

Generally, though, many cultures moved from worship of nature to the “deities” they believed to be controlling it. Only comparatively recently has the idea of “one God” become predominant, with variations amongst them. The one true God has repeatedly made himself known directly across early history to men such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, to name but a few, right up into modern times, most clearly as Jesus of Nazareth, the record of these encounters faithfully preserved across the millennia in what we now call the Bible.

If we accept the existence of God as revealed in this Bible, then it makes a lot of sense that he would instill a trait to seek him out in every human who has ever lived. Unfortunately this quest has all too often led to what in some cases have become bloody confrontations among peoples of varying views across the ages, right up to the present.

Even conflicts which are not overtly termed as “religious wars” have religious underpinnings. In the Twentieth Century, World Wars 1 and 2, the Korean War, the Viet Nam War were between free societies based on Judeo-Christian principles against those in which the “state” (or its respective leader) was the object of worship, as was the Cold War of the century just past.

Today, the increasing rise of Islamic terrorism against Jews and Christians is a particularly ugly, escalating and clearly religious conflict, though it seems that the politicians and media just aren’t seeing it in these terms. I have no doubt the inability to see this reality is but one component of our age that will ultimately bring about the war of Armageddon as the Antichrist tries to take over the world claiming to be “God” and demanding worship as such. With that in mind, it’s time to consider what may be the most important question of all.

A Plan for Humanity?

From the perspective of the pure evolutionist, humans, whales, trees, or algae evolve only in response to their respective environments. If they fail to adapt successfully, they become extinct. There’s no “plan” for any of them, no predetermined destiny. If something ends up going extinct, then it either failed to adapt or was at the wrong place at the wrong time like the dinosaurs when the asteroid hit Earth 65 million years ago and killed off most of them.

If it happens again while we’re still here, we could share their fate. We could even do it to ourselves in a global nuclear war or in developing and turning loose a lethal virus into the environment. An Armageddon is now a real possibility. But if the atheists are right, it doesn’t matter because nothing – including us – has any real purpose anyway. We’re only here as the product of totally random chance

Yet if one instead subscribes to a universe designed and run by God, then humans were created in his image and he has an overall plan for them. Many religions of the world have their own concepts of where we will eventually end up, but for our purposes, we’ll stick to the one that the Bible reveals since it is, in my opinion, reliable to a much higher degree than any of its competitors (a vast subject of study and commentary in itself). That plan is to bring those who believe in him into his presence for all eternity by the atoning sacrifice of his Son Jesus and to one day recreate the entire universe and come to dwell among us in the New Jerusalem on a new Earth.

Without God, there is no plan. On an individual level, once one takes his or her last breath, as far as they are concerned, it’s the end of the line. As a species, our future would continue to unfold in a random manner until it ceases to exist just like the countless other species that came before us Barring divine intervention even if we manage to hang on for a long haul, our sun’s increasing output will one day make life on Earth impossible, evaporating our oceans and turning our planet into a second Venus. But it gets worse because billions of years from now the sun will expand into a red giant and swallow up Mercury, Venus, and possibly Earth itself.

We might be smart enough by then to figure out how to make a mass exodus to Mars to escape the solar fires, but even that will be temporary. Presupposing we did manage to survive the flames, the sun will eventually contract and cool off. The problem will then become one of dealing with the intense cold instead of the searing heat.

If we are then advanced enough technologically to travel to another star system to escape our dead one, it will only delay the inevitable once again because no star lasts forever, nor will the universe itself. There are even some theories that matter itself will be torn apart as the fabric of space continues to expand leaving only an unimaginably cold, dark, nothingness behind.

Just as death is an inescapable fact of life for the individual, so it will be eventually be for everything if there is no God to intervene. (Personally, I like the ending of Revelation 21 and 22 a whole lot better!)

Conclusion

I hope this article and its predecessor have provided something for both believers and non-believers to ponder and hopefully discuss, should the opportunity arise. If you, like me, are a believer, then you have real reason to hope for the future. Perhaps the arguments here may help in convincing others that our hope is a genuine one and one in which they, too, can share.

If There is No God . . . Part One – By Ed Wood

It’s probably safe to say that 40 years ago most Americans took the existence of God as a given, and even more than that most of them believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Of that majority, most of them were Christians, and of this set, going to church on Sunday was just what one did on a Sunday morning. Fast forward to the second decade of the Twenty-first Century and all of the above are in a dwindling minority. With the denigrating assaults both subtle and overt from those who claim God doesn’t exist, those of us who remain have every reason to feel like a threatened species. Furthermore, those of us who consider ourselves Christians and still believe in the authority of the Bible can probably be categorized as positively endangered. (It certainly feels that way at any rate.) To quote Bob Dylan, “The times, they are a changin.’” To quote yours truly, “They are changin’ all right, but not for the better!”

If you’re reading this article, odds are you are a member of the last group I mentioned and the odds are also good you know at least a few people who think all this stuff about God is a lot of nonsense. The intent here is to give you some questions and thoughts you might bring up the next time the topic of whether there is a God or not comes up in the conversation.

Let’s start by defining two important terms. First, we have “atheists,” which adamantly claim that there is no God. Second, we have “agnostics” which aren’t sure there is one. Either way, these are the people you might want to discuss some of the things we’ll explore together, bearing in mind that what you see here is by no means comprehensive. That’s another way of saying that you should feel free to add topics of your own.

With this introduction now presented, let’s begin!

A Universe Tuned for Life

Before we look into some of the intricacies of life itself, it would probably be a good idea to see what kind of conditions have to exist for any reasonable amount of time. By the way, I’m only going to deal with carbon-based life mainly because it’s the only kind we know definitely exists. Given, there might be some exotic forms based on other elements out there somewhere, but until we find an example of it, anything we say in this regard would be pure speculation.

To the best of our knowledge all carbon-based life needs liquid water somewhere along the line. Water is about the closest thing to a universal solvent that we know. From its simplest to its most advanced forms, water plays a vital role somewhere along the line. Whether immersed in it or carrying around its own personal supply, only liquid water allows the incredibly complex biochemistry of life to take place. Even in creatures or plants which can survive extended periods of inactivity on times of drought, they all had to have water with which to start out and to recover their activity and ability to procreate.

Interestingly, the Bible itself alludes to the importance of water in the creation:

Genesis {1:1-2} In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

 2 Peter {3:5} For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water.

Our astronomers looking into the heavens have seen the presence of water in primarily its gaseous and solid forms not only in many of the worlds and satellites orbiting them in our own solar system, but many light years off into deep space in interstellar clouds. Finding it in its liquid state, the prime requirement of life, is comparatively rare and fleeting, Earth being the only exception with its vast quantities, and, not so coincidentally, Earth being the only place where life is known to exist.

There’s a good reason for water being rarely found in its liquid form anywhere but here because it requires a very narrow temperature range and certain density of atmosphere to exist. Under the pressure of one Earth atmosphere, liquid water exists only in a range of 100° Celsius or 180° Fahrenheit. It is possible to raise the boiling point past 212° F. by boosting the atmospheric pressure, but at a certain point things just get far too hot for the organic molecules life requires to stay intact. Lowering the pressure in turn lowers the boiling point, but the limit here is that going too low brings it below the freezing point. This is the condition we have with Mars today where the atmosphere is too far thin for liquid water to persist on the surface.

However, considering that temperatures in the universe range from just above -273° C (-459.4° F) in certain interstellar clouds to many millions of degrees (the temperature scale in these extremes no longer being significant) within the interiors of stars and their outer coronas, finding the “Goldilocks” conditions where the environment is “just right” for life is a rare thing, indeed..

But there’s more! If any of the fundamental physical laws of the universe were just slightly different than they are now, “rare” would easily become altogether “impossible.” Against an infinite amount of possibilities, the laws which govern the operation of the universe are “just right” to permit the existence of life.

In another fascinating example of the Bible being far ahead of its time, Isaiah (circa Eighth Century B.C.) recognized this very thing:

Isaiah {45:18} For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I [am] the LORD; and [there is] none else.

Oh, well, maybe it’s just luck that our universe “just happens” to be one in which life can exist at all someplace within it, after all. But can luck accommodate what we will look at next?

Abiogenesis – Life from Lifelessness

According to modern science, the fact that life arose on Earth is the result of the chance meetings of atoms and molecules at the right place at the right time. Now there are 92 naturally occurring elements available to create chemical compounds and of them only hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorous are needed to build the molecules on which life as we know it depends.

Well, if we assume there are 100 billion stars in our galaxy each with at least one planet where liquid water is possible, and 100 billion galaxies in our universe, plus some 13.7 billion years of time, it seems the abiogenesis people have a lot going for them. That sure is a lot of time and places for atoms to form all kinds of molecules. Is even that all enough?

All life on earth depends on molecules of RNA and DNA to exist and reproduce. These, in turn are made of proteins which are in turn made of amino acids. There are some 300 of these amino acids, twenty of which are needed to build the proteins. There are two types of these, left and right-handed, based on how their molecules are formed and as far as we know, only the former are used. Next step is to get the correct ones into the right order to makes the proteins which in turn also have to be the right ones in the right order to make the RNA and DNA needed for life. Again, these two very complex molecules are just components.   A lot more is needed to make even the very simplest form of life – and don’t forget that liquid water, either!

If this all sounds complicated, it is, especially to a layperson such as myself. I’ve have read various  estimates that life occurred by “accident” would take a lot more time than the universe has existed for everything to come together in the right order for life to come to exist. Perhaps even more convincing than this is there is not a single bit of evidence of life ever arising from inanimate sources, not one, even when attempts are made to do it artificially in the lab. And here’s the kicker – if some scientist ever did succeed, the premise that mere random events could create life are shot to pieces because it required the scientist’s active intelligent intervention to make I happen!

Here’s something you can try on an agnostic or atheistic acquaintance. Next time he or she is over at your house and asks you where you got your TV, stereo, or computer, tell them these things spontaneously came into existence in your back yard out of the mulch pile. If they don’t believe you, you might then ask them how then they can believe life which is, as we have seen is immeasurably more complicated, could come to exist in the same manner.

Really, could we be that lucky?

A Controversy

Let’s take on the subject of evolution verses creationism, because I believe there are elements of both that play into the story of how our universe came to be.

I agree with the Creationist view that God is in fact the Creator of everything just as the Bible claims. Furthermore, I believe he still is actively directing its course across the ages and will continue to do so until the end of time as we know it.

To my mind, part of that direction incorporates what we call evolution. The essential truth of this theory is that life adapts to changing circumstances in varying degrees. The evidence of this seems beyond contradiction as we look at how life adapts to fill in virtually all of Earth’s multiplicity of biomes from its frozen polar regions, to the steaming tropics and scorching deserts, and even to the depth of the sea near geothermal vents where water temperatures soar beyond water’s boiling point with only the immense pressure of the overlying ocean keeping the water in a liquid form.

This evidence appears in the Bible itself in Genesis 3:17-19 where life changed markedly to a changing Earth which was a direct consequence of Adam and Eve’s rebellion in allowing Satan into our world and his subsequent actions to corrupt the perfection Earth and universe formerly had. Weeds sprang into being where none had ever exited before and some animals became carnivorous, not to mention that humans and every living thing becoming subject to age and death.

Another characteristic of evolution is to cause a diversification of species. This is clearly evident in that for most any species of plant or animal we can imagine, there are many different variations. For example, there isn’t a single kind of bird. There are crows, woodpeckers, ostriches, hummingbirds, etc. Same goes for just about everything else. Perhaps this characteristic to create such diversity over time explains how Moses could fit all the land species of his era into the Ark, something that would clearly be impossible to do today.

Perhaps the biggest bone of contention between pure evolutionist and creationist thought is the controversy over the origin of human beings. The former insists that humans are nothing more than very sophisticated ape-relatives (making us being a monkey’s uncle a real possibility?)  while the latter maintains God created us independently from the very soil of the ground itself. Though our genetic makeup is indeed very close to that of the primates, there has never been found in the fossil evidence the proverbial missing link which would establish that ancestral connection. Never!

The sharing of similar physical characteristics between humans and primates seems perfectly reasonable in that a bipedal humanoid form with hands which had opposable thumbs works out very well to the surrounding environment, so that’s what God used in both cases.

But it doesn’t end there, as we’ll see next.

No Intelligence Required

Survival for plants is a pretty straight-forward affair. Provide liquid water, the necessary elements from the soil, sunlight (for most plants), and a method of reproduction, and you’re in business. For animals, you again need liquid water, a method to reproduce, and plants, other animals or both and the basic needs for species survival are met.

Of course to achieve these ends for animals requires one more condition: being able to avoid being eaten by other animals and being able to outrun any other animals you might want to eat if you happen to be a omnivore or carnivore. Bottom line it need not take a lot of smarts to do any of these things as the life comprising most of Earth’s readily proves. Viruses and bacteria are not at all Mensa candidates and do very well, right?

This being said, the question for strict evolutionists becomes: “Why intelligence?” The routine answer is that our pre-human ancestors being physically weaker probably slower than the animals they wanted to eat or that wanted to eat them caused them to become smart enough to plan strategies and weapons to overcome this disadvantage. But why go to all that trouble when they could have just “evolved” to become stronger and faster with a lot less effort?

The truth is, the major reason the human race is in such a precarious spot today is because of our supposedly evolution-derived high intelligence. If the direction of said evolution is to increase the odds of the survival of a species, how can this be explained?

In my view, the reason our unique intelligence exists is that for some reason God wanted us to have it. Contrary to the evolutionist view, it did not slowly come to pass as humans developed from an off-shoot of a common ancestor shared with the apes, but was present in the very first people God created, as the book of Genesis tells us.

Conclusion

In this article we’ve endeavored to take a look at the reasons that the creation of the universe, our world and all the life upon it requires a lot more than just random chance to the end that should this subject come up with an acquaintance who adheres to a “no God” creation you’ll have some points to make that might just cause them to consider the weakness of their position.

To be sure, some will never be convinced, but it is possible that it might just cause a few to consider the possibility that you might be onto something here. If that does happen, you will have at least opened a door that they considered walking through before and beginning a journey that might just one day lead them into the gates of heaven itself!

Next time, we’ll explore how the some of the very basic premises of our society are affected if one subtracts God from the equation.

Stay tuned!

Thy Kingdom Come . . . . By Ed Wood

Matthew {6:9-13} After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (The speaker here is Jesus.)

It is probably safe to say that all Christians, and perhaps a large number of non-Christians as well, recognize the words above which have since become known universally known as the “Lord’s Prayer.” In this article we’ll focus specifically on the ones which concern God’s coming kingdom. Strangely enough, Christians don’t entirely agree on when it will come, or how it will come, or even what it is! Let’s see if we can sort out some of these mysteries.

Let’s see first if there is an equivalence between the “kingdom of God” and the “kingdom of heaven. In the following passage, Jesus relates how one must enter the former and some of those who will be there:

Luke {13:24-30} Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all [ye] workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you [yourselves] thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and [from] the west, and from the north, and [from] the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.

Concerning the manner of entering the kingdom of heaven we have Jesus saying:

Matthew {7:21-23; 8:11} Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity . . . And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.

With these passages, it appears that the kingdom of God and kingdom of heaven are clearly one and the same. Let’s see now if we can determine whether this kingdom already exists or is something yet to come. From the Old Testament we have:

Genesis {28:10-12} And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and [put] them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

Ezekiel {1:1} Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth [month,] in the fifth [day] of the month, as I [was] among the captives by the river of Chebar, [that] the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.

Daniel {7:9} I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment [was] white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne [was like] the fiery flame, [and] his wheels [as] burning fire.

Luke {2:13} And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  (This is a verse from the account of the appearance of the angels announcing the birth of Jesus to the shepherds who were tending their flocks in the night.)

This evidence clearly shows this magnificent kingdom is already in existence “someplace” in a realm quite distinct from our own. However, from what we see below, it also appears to be closer than we might think:

Matthew {3:1-2} In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew {4:17} From that time* Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. *The time after John the Baptist was imprisoned by Herod..

Matthew {10:5-7} These twelve* Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into [any] city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. *The twelve apostles

Matthew {12:27} And if I * by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast [them] out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. *Jesus

 “The kingdom of heaven is at hand . . . the kingdom of heaven is come unto you.” From what Jesus said and did above, something of God’s kingdom is already here, ushered in by the Lord himself. Yet one must remember that the Bible has to be taken in its entire context, not just by selected passages. What then, are we to make of this?

Revelation {21:1-5} And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.

Clearly the kind of world we are living in now is nothing if not a direct opposite of what God’s kingdom is like. The explanation for this seeming contradiction might be resolved in the verses below:

Matthew {13:31-32} Another parable put he* forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.. *Jesus.

With this passage, we introduce the added element of time. Just like the grain of mustard seed in the parable above, I believe that though Jesus initiated the coming of the kingdom of God during his First Advent, it will only arrive upon Earth in its full maturity after the conclusion of the Millennium with all the characteristics described in the Revelation account.

In the three years of his public ministry, Jesus gave other tantalizing “previews” of this kingdom by his words and deeds. Some appear in the Beatitudes (Matthew chapters 5-7) and show us quite profoundly just how different the standards of this kingdom are compared to those upon which the world has operated ever since Adam and Eve lost Eden. Jesus also healed the incurable, somehow multiplied a few fish and loaves of bread to feed thousands, calmed a raging storm in the Sea of Galilee, and brought the dead back to life just by his word. These actions demonstrated that he had truly initiated the kingdom of God on Earth.

Two Conflicting Kingdom Views

There are two primary differences of thought about the nature of this kingdom in the present world. One says the full benefits of the kingdom are already available while the other maintains that while began with the arrival of Jesus, we do not have access to all of them yet. So, which one is right? The answer is obvious enough, found just by looking at the world around us.

We certainly do not see the paradise described in Revelation, but a sin-damaged planet that’s getting worse by the hour. Even so, it is not totally divorced from God’s Presence or influence. Perhaps the best way to look at it is how things were during Jesus’ ministry. To be sure, the world was far from an idyllic place while he walked among us that first time, but as we have seen he did introduce aspects of the kingdom of heaven into our world. Yes, it’s true that there were miraculous events recorded in the Bible prior to Jesus’ life, but with the arrival of God in human form, the veil was drawn back more than ever before. His teachings, miracles, and, most of all, his resurrection and ascension were unmistakable revelations of a coming age will be totally different from the one we and our ancestors have experienced since the Fall.

At this point, I think we can agree that the kingdom of God, though initiated nearly 2000 years ago has yet to arrive in its completeness. The next logical question we should address is how that’s going to happen. Again, there are two basic and opposite views.

How the Kingdom of God Will Arrive:  Two More Conflicting Views

The first is called “dominionism” and its adherents claim that the church will slowly transform this world into the kingdom. Once that’s done, Jesus will return to rule and that will be that. Think of it as culminating into a universal Christian theocracy, if you will.

Dominionism, whether overtly expressed or not, has influenced much of the modern church today. For example, from the Book of Common Prayer used by the Episcopal Church we have in this prayer for peace:

O Almighty God, kindle, we beseech thee, in every heart the true love of peace, and guide with thy wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth, that in tranquillity thy dominion may increase till the earth is filled with the knowledge of thy love; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (BCP page 207).

The petition in the prayer is for God to guide those who lead the nations with the “wisdom” to “in tranquility” turn our troubled planet into a utopia Of course, anyone who is familiar with Bible prophecy is keenly aware that the Last Days will be characterized by anything but tranquility. All human government falls far short of God’s standards, even the best of them. In his God’s eyes they all look “beastly” (Daniel, chapter 7). The worst “beast government” of all will be controlled by the worst beast of all, the Antichrist (Daniel, chapter 7; Revelation, chapter 13).

Here’s a thought: If Christians are to ultimately take over the world, what does the condition of Twenty-first Century Earth say about the kind of job they’ve been doing for the last 2000 years? Shouldn’t things be a whole lot better by now if Christians are supposed to be moving humanity toward utopia through their own efforts?

A final proof of the error of the dominionist viewpoint is that the Bible tells us unambiguously that believers (or saints) will most certainly not prevail by their own methods to establish the kingdom of God on Earth:

Daniel {7:21} I beheld, and the same horn* made war with the saints, and prevailed against them. *The Antichrist.

Revelation {13:6-7} And he* opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. *The beast, referring to the Antichrist.

The rule of the Antichrist, aided and abetted by a second beast known as the false prophet (Revelation 13:11-18), will only end by the return of Jesus, not by anything even the saints of that day can do:

Revelation {19:19-20} And I saw the beast*, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet** that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. *The Antichrist ** The second beast.

Interestingly, this idea of a world take-over by some type of human government is not a new idea, nor is it limited to dominionism. It has parallels to the Islamic belief that it a Muslim theocracy will one day rule the world under the “mahdi.” It can also be found in Hitler’s assertion that his Third Reich would rule the planet for a thousand years and Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s claim that Communism would one day “bury us” (the capitalist countries comprising the free world) in a speech he gave in the 1960’s.

I think what we see here is Satan’s tendency to repeat one of his strategies with only the details and faces being changed. It seems safe to conclude therefore that Dominionism is nothing but a rehashing of an old tactic that has failed every time throughout history because it is nothing more than a lie. The devil is merely exploiting once again the classic human inability to learn much from history.

The alternative to this, for lack of a specific name, we can call “Anti-dominionism” and define it as the course of history being totally under God’s control with the ultimate result of “making all things new” (Revelation 21:5). It is only into this new reality, free from the sin that poisoned our universe in the dim past, that God’s Kingdom will finally at long last arrive and only at his direction and timing, not ours!

Concluding Thoughts

Does this mean that we as believers are to just sit back placidly and wait for it to happen? I think not because Jesus said:

Luke {12:35-37} Let your loins be girded about, and [your] lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed [are] those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.

Matthew {28:19-20} Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world.

We are to be watching continuously for his return and to be getting out his message while we watch because it is only by the truth that we can stand against the evil that is growing exponentially in our End-Times World. By doing so we will add to the count of citizens who will enter that promised kingdom of God and live forever where:

Revelation {21:4} God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

From all indications, the time is short, maybe even shorter than we can imagine. So, we would be wise to remember Paul’s words as he quoted Isaiah (Isaiah 49:8):

2 Corinthians 6:2} For he* saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now [is] the accepted time; behold, now [is] the day of salvation. *God

It’s time to get busy, don’t you think?

Isaiah’s End -Times Earth: The Human Condition – By Ed Wood

In the previous article, we took a look at the physical conditions that would characterize the planet as history comes to its inevitable conclusion. It seems that to get a more complete picture, we should take a look at what kind of people will populate this disintegrating world.

Where it Began

Isaiah {5:20-21} Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto [them that are] wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

Human beings are great at self-justification ever since the Fall in the distant past. Way back when, God gave the first two people an entire world, perfect in every way. Death, hardship, disease, and pain was unknown. They needed only to reach out their hands to get fruit from the trees which God had caused to grow in Eden. Only one thing was off-limits – the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

I’ve often wondered about why God would have even put this tree in the garden in the first place. Wouldn’t the subsequent history of the human race been so much better if it hadn’t been there in the first place? To be sure, it would be presumptuous for me to give you a definitive answer, but I can’t help to speculate all the same. I believe it has everything to do with free will. It would have been easy enough for God to hard-wire his first pair of creation to always follow his dictates. But he did not. Perhaps the reason for this is that forced devotion is nothing but a lie and the Bible teaches us that Satan is the father of all lies (John 8:44), not the God of All Creation. God wanted people to be able to make a choice – to genuinely choose him or not. But more often than not, we still don’t and the world and society we wake up to every day is the sad result.

Adam and Eve made the first bad choice in human history and immediately tried to justify it:

Genesis {3:6} And when the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, and that it [was] pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make [one] wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and ave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

It’s even better if there we can find someone else to blame, as Adam and Eve did when God caught them:

Genesis {3:12-14} And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest [to be] with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 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.

Adam blamed Eve for giving him the fruit, no to mention God for giving him Eve in the first place.  Eve blamed the serpent. Any of this reasoning sound familiar? It should in a time where standard procedure is to blame someone else for messing up, rather than ourselves.

The results of our initial fall have plagued the human race making much of its history the dark tale that it is. Over and over empires have risen and fallen in a process that has hitherto been inescapable. The United States which was founded on Judaeo-Christian values is certainly on its way to collapse as it increasingly turns away from God and his biblical principles. Behaviors and lifestyles which were once considered aberrant are either now embraced as a new norm or excused by reclassifying them as a psychological or physical disorder, thus relieving those who perform them of personal responsibility.

Let’s look at some particulars which apply to the fall of societies of the past:

Moral Inversion

Of course, we already have seen Isaiah’s short but profound assessment of End-Times society. The kind of world he saw in the future is hauntingly familiar to those which  preceded him in the distant past. Genesis, chapters 6-10 gives us an account of the status of the kind of society that existed during the time of Noah:

Genesis {6:5-6} And GOD saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

The dire situation of those days was no doubt aided and abetted by the half-human, half demonic giants (Nephilim) that existed at that time (Genesis 6:1-4). Apparently Earth itself was affected, as we have seen in a previous article:

Genesis {6:11-12} The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.

In fact, it was so bad that the only remedy was for God to totally erase it and start over with Noah and his family. Interestingly Jesus said:

Matthew {24:36-37} But of that day and hour knoweth no [man,] no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe [were,] so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Since we can rely on the absolute certainty of Jesus’ words, this kind of society will exist once again at the end of history. Let’s see where we already are in reference to those of the past.

The Acceptance of “Alternate Lifestyles”

Perhaps one of the most glaring examples of morality gone awry today is the growing acceptance of homosexual behavior in most of western civilization. For example, in the United States alone homosexuals are being accorded hate crimes protection which heterosexuals do not have, being allowed to marry and adopt children, serve in the military, and in many protestant denominations be ordained clergy people.

Though not speaking specifically of the acceptance of same-sex relations, this has indeed been a problem throughout the human race’s tenure on Earth, and the Bible has many references to it and its eventual results of a moral reversal upon any civilization, the most prominent being the account of the conditions characterizing Sodom and Gomorrah:

Genesis {13:13} But the men of Sodom [were] wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.

It is very likely this wickedness was broad-spectrum, not confined to any one failing, but rather to a multitude of evils. Peter once said:

2 Peter {3:9} The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

God is a God of patience, holding back on judgment in hopes that a person, or collectively, a society, will turn back onto the right path. He’ll also spare it to save a righteous remnant as we can see in this discourse:

Genesis {18:23-32} And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that [are] therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the  righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which [am but] dust and ashes: Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for [lack of] five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy [it. ] And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do [it] for forty’s sake.  And he said [unto him,] Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do [it,] if I find thirty there. And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy [it] for twenty’s sake. And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy [it] for ten’s sake.

We all know how this turned out. God couldn’t find any righteous souls in these ancient twin cities of evil other than Lot and his family. In an exchange between Lot wishing to protect the visiting angels the Lord had sent to survey the situation from his neighbors we discover one specific evil which afflicted this society:

Genesis {19:4-5} But before they lay down, the men of the city, [even] the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where [are] the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know *them.* The term “know” here is used in the same context as in Matthew 1:25, which means have sexual intercourse.

It is sad, but true, that this same acceptance of perverted behavior prevalent in Sodom and Gomorrah, and such great empires of the past as Greece and Rome is now being repeated in Europe and the Americas. It is certainly not occurring in a vacuum, but rather is but one symptom of many. For the two cities of Abraham’s time its end came as a result of direct divine intervention once Lot and his family were told to depart:

Genesis {19:24-25} Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.

Sometimes God employs the tools at hand as we see him use the Hebrews to execute judgment on the evil original inhabitants of Canaan, of the Assyrians to bring it to the northern kingdom if Israel which had become corrupted, and Babylonians to do the same thing to the southern kingdom of Judah for the same reason. If powerful empires like those of the past can fall, there is no reason to think the even one as strong as the United States is immune. The common denominator is that no society can call “evil good and good evil” forever, be it from thousands of years in the past or right outside the door today.

Genetic and Electronic Manipulation

Technology has reached the point where the separation between the organic and inorganic is quickly fading. Implantable devices to aid failing ears, eyes, and hearts are already commonplace. Advances in genetics are creating modifications to existing life. Though many of these have positive benefits, as with any technology they can be misused for evil purposes. Adolf Hitler engaged in research to create a master race and it may not be long before the first trans-humans created by mechanical and genetic means walk the Earth in a terrifying replication of the Nephilim super beings of Genesis, adding yet another element to the scenario Jesus himself revealed which we mentioned in the beginning of this article – that of the days of Noah revisited. Now we’ll look at more examples from the New Testament.

1) Idolatry and Apostasy

Luke {21:8} And he* said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am [Christ;] and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. 

I Timothy {4:1} Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.  *This is now the case in much of Western Protestantism. Such departures from biblical doctrine such as pluralistic salvation, acceptance of homosexual behavior even among the clergy, and even the incorporation of pagan practices have become commonplace in many of the mainstream denominations today.

2) Persecution of Christians

Matthew {24:9} Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and yeshall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.  

3) Family conflicts

Luke {21:16} And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and [some] of you shall they cause to be put to death.  Jesus is the speaker here. 

4) Wars

Luke {21:9-10}But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end [is] not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 

5) People become heartless:

Matthew {24:10,12}And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. . .  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 

The words above are all from Jesus himself. Below, we get Paul’s words:

6) The increase of the acceptance of homosexual behavior and the reason for it:

Romans {1:21, 26-27}Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

7) A summary of end-times humanity:

Romans {1:29-32} Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

2 Timothy {3:1-5} This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Concluding Thoughts

When we read all these words written thousands of years ago, it is both striking and chilling just how familiar they sound to we who reside in the Twenty-first Century. One cannot pick up a newspaper or listen to the news on radio or television and not know that something is clearly wrong. Attending this realization is another that it all appears to be totally out of our control, and on a large scale that’s certainly true. Those of us who read and believe the Bible know the path history must inevitably follow – and we are seeing it happen before our eyes.

On a personal level the situation is very different. God created each of us with a free will, giving each one of us the ability to decide where we will spend eternity. This all depends on whether we accept Jesus’ offer of salvation or not. As he explained to the apostle Thomas, he is the only way to achieve 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.

But be warned – the Bible tells us that this opportunity will not last forever:

Isaiah {55:6} Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.

2 Corinthians {6:2b} . . . behold, now [is] the accepted time; behold, now [is] the day of salvation.

Isaiah’s End-Times Earth – By Ed Wood

 

A Ravaged World

            Of all the ancient prophets of the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament in the Christian version, Isaiah (circa 8th Century B.C.) was clearly the most prolific. Some of what he had written has already come to pass, perhaps the most spectacular example being this:

Isaiah {44:28 – 45:4} That saith of Cyrus, [He is] my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid. Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call [thee] by thy name, [am] the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.

When one realizes that what he related here was not to happen until the 6th Century B.C., his incredibly accurate account, even to the actual naming of the Persian king Cyrus the Great, certainly gives him credibility. That being said, it is probably safe to assume that what he said about events in advance of our own time over 2700 years later will be similarly reliable – and remarkable!

Since the mid 1960’s the environmental movement has flourished, its premise being that the earth and its resources are finite. The images from space of our fragile world seen at a distance floating alone in the blackness of space have no doubt reinforced that reality. (Along those lines, take a look at Isaiah 40:21-23 and Job 26: 7-10 for a “modern view” of Earth.) All the indications are pointing to the reality that this is true and that our unwise use of our world is having increasingly pronounced consequences on all levels. Did Isaiah see this coming as well? Judge for yourself:

Isaiah {24:1-3} Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word.

In the passage above, Isaiah details a wholesale wasting of the earth that ultimately will affect everything and everyone, regardless of location or economic status. He is not alone because even a cursory reading of the book of Revelation affirms this repeatedly with graphic clarity depicting the earth as being subject to great upheavals, some due to our own actions, most, however, due to God’s direct intervention as a kind of last-ditch effort to get wayward humankind’s attention.

But at this point most of our problems seems to be the result of our own actions. God called upon us humans to take care of the planet he had made and blessed with life in all its diverse forms (Genesis 1:26-29). Quite frankly, based on the alarming rates of species extinctions in this time, we’ve done a lousy job of it. The next verse is clear enough about that:

Isaiah {24:4} The earth mourneth [and] fadeth away, the world languisheth [and] fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.

            The passage above goes far beyond the idea of just breaking the physical laws God set forth under which our living world functions to a more fundamental concept – we have broken God’s moral rules as well and it is no doubt that this is the prime and underlying reason we are in trouble environmentally. Isaiah says as much below:

Isaiah {24:6-12, 17-20} Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left. The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, all the merryhearted do sigh. The mirth of tabrets ceaseth, the noise of them that rejoice endeth, the joy of the harp ceaseth. They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it. The city of confusion is broken down: every house is shut up, that no man may come in. [There is] a crying for wine in the streets; all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone. In the city is left desolation, and the gate is smitten with destruction . . . Fear, and the pit, and the snare, [are] upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come to pass, [that] he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake. The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.

            You’ll notice there is a gap in the above. The reason for that is that the intervening verses jump ahead in time before Isaiah returns to his theme of a ruined Earth.  Also, note the concluding references to the earth being “shaken.” According to USGS data, earthquakes have increased dramatically in both frequency and intensity worldwide since 2002.

Since the Bible follows its own rules of evidence (two or more witnesses – see Numbers 35:30; Deuteronomy 17:6; John 8:17), we see repeated confirmations of the world being damaged in the Book of Revelation. Some of this again is no doubt done by our own hands, up to and including what might be the deployment of a nuclear device (Revelation 8:10-11), while such “natural” disasters such as earthquakes might truly be “Acts of God” in response to evil. Jesus has said that the last days of earth would be as the “days of Noe (Noah),” [Matthew 24:37]. Then, as it will also be in the future, there was just no other remedy to human sin but God’s profound intervention.

Right now, God is restraining himself from drastic actions, but this will not last indefinitely:

Isaiah {42:14-15} I* have long time holden my peace; I have been still, [and] refrained myself: [now] will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once. I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools. * God.

Why such restraint? The answers may be found here:

2 Peter {3:9} The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

2 Thessalonians {2:7} For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he* who now letteth** [will let***,] until he**** be taken out of the way. * God ; ** withholds; *** withhold (from the Greek word katecho, Strong’s Concordance);  **** the Holy Spirit. The reasoning here is that every believer is a temple for the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 4:8; 1 Corinthians 3:16) and in the removing all believers from the earth at the Rapture, God also removes the Spirit’s present restraining influence of evil, allowing the Antichrist to come to power.

It is important to realize once again that God sent the warnings to Isaiah sometime during the Eighth Century B.C. Here we are over 2700 years later and for the most part his message has been ignored.

Yet despite the inevitability of the deterioration of Earth, I believe that we still have a responsibility to do whatever we can not to make the situation worse. God gave us this marvelous world as a gift, the only one we know for sure is capable of supporting life in this entire universe. To purposely abuse it even at this late stage in history is, to my mind, showing ingratitude. This is certainly not to say we should buy into the “new world order” philosophy that the more extreme segments of the environmental movement are currently pushing to usurp national sovereignty for their own purposes of gaining influence and power. It is more a case of having the common-sense attitude of not trashing our own “living room.”

I believe we have arrived at a unique time when the convergence of stresses in the political, religious, economic, and environmental conditions of our present day are unprecedented in human history. Yet Jesus told his disciples that what we are experiencing today is but the “beginning of sorrows:”

Matthew {24:3-8} And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what [shall be] the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all [these things] must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom*: and there shall be  famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these [are] the beginning of sorrows. *Military conflicts in the 20th Century killed more people and caused more damage than any other time in history. Revelation reveals that warfare will continue ultimately culminating at the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:12-14; 19:11-16).

            The Lord also told us what we should be doing right now:

Luke {21:28, 36} And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh .  .  . Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

 

The Light in the Darkness

As bleak as things look right now, it will soon get a lot worse. However, this is not the end of the story because with the physical return of the King of Kings, everything will begin to change:

Isaiah {11:1-9} And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

When Jesus, the Word of God through whom all things were made (John (1:10), comes back with his saints (Daniel 7:18-22; Jude 1:14-15) to put an end to the Battle of Aramageddon and initiate his rule upon the earth (Revelation, chapter 19), not only will those mortals that remain alive after the Tribulation experience true and pure justice for the first time since the Fall of Man (Genesis, chapter 3), but the planet itself will be restored to a near-Eden state. Isaiah reveals more of what life will be like on Millennial Earth:

Isaiah {35:3-10} Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them [that are] of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come [with] vengeance, [even] God [with] a recompence; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame [man] leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, [shall be] grass with reeds and rushes. And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it [shall be] for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err [therein. ] No lion shall be there, nor [any] ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk [there:] And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

             Isaiah {55:10-13} For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper [in the thing] whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap [their] hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign [that] shall not be cut off.

             As wonderful as life will be during Jesus’ 1000 reign on a renewed Earth, even this will pale in magnificence compared the eternal realm to follow:

Isaiah {65:17} For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

Revelation {21:1-4} And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

  

Conclusion

             It seems as if the philosophical battle between faith and science has always been a part of human culture. Until Jesus returns it is likely to remain this way. Perhaps the basic reason is the rigidity of the most zealous proponents of each viewpoint. Neither side willing to consider that maybe, just maybe, the other might have some valid points.

I have personally found that, more often than not, agreements between what the Bible teaches and what modern science expresses are much more common than one would think. Science accurately points to the incredible order and design of the universe, the Bible accurately points to the One who caused it to exist in the first place.

In short, science tells us the “How,” the Bible tells us the “Who.”

In our brief study of Isaiah’s prediction of the kind of world that will exist at the end of this present age, it seems that one indeed does complement the other. But unlike the fearful and dark future science envisions, the Bible tells us that ultimately the best is yet to come!

MIND GAMES – By Camilla Smith

Question.  How much time to you give to your Beloved Heavenly Father?

Another question.  How much time are you spending watching videos about giants, fallen angels and CERN?   How many hours are you worrying about politics and making America great again? Reality shows?   Celebrity stories?   Video games?   How’s that working for you?   How does it make you feel?   Sad?  Depressed?   A little nervous and anxious?   Can you still function?

The internet is chock full of stuff of legend (or what we were told were legends—guess the jokes on us—it’s all real).  All this “stuff” is really fascinating and unfortunately, it’s part of the reality that we know now, and will help keep ourselves and others from being deceived.

But does it get into our heads?   What is it doing to us emotionally, psychologically, spiritually….physically?    I’ve worked in the medical field for 36 years.   If ever there was a definition of epidemic…it’s a psychological epidemic these days.   Millions are living in a constant state of FEAR!

Here is truth.   You do not HAVE to go down the path of anxiety and depression.   It’s not necessary to let anyone label you with panic disorder, anxiety attacks, or PTSD.  If you are told you have it, and if you believe it, you have a good chance of becoming it.   You don’t HAVE to own it.  You don’t have to take that shiny spanking new “psychological ID card” and put it in your wallet and let that be your identity.   You don’t have to become that person they’ve just diagnosed you as being.   Don’t let yourself become “Hi, I’m Susie and I have anxiety.”

“”And who of you, by being worried, can add a single hour to his life?”  Matthew 6:27.

Anxiety, depression and panic are of the devil.   Our enemy, ha’shatan (satan), loves a worried and frenzied mind.  He lurks around you, waiting for that worry to begin and he pounces on it, sending you into a Tasmanian tailspin.  He’s a master deceiver and he loves to confuse and distract us.  He’s our adversary and he loves to keep us going at such a whirlwind pace that we have no time to connect to our Savior.   I have to say—by what I see every day in my work, he’s doing an awesome job of keeping people in a state of fearfulness and panic.   What good is worry?   It’s wasteful and frankly, doesn’t it make you MAD that a demon could get in your mind and make you worry?   Worry will not solve any problem you have…it is actually like a form of worship–worshipping a problem (and sometimes a “problem” that doesn’t even exist).   You have the Power of the Blood of your Mashiach, Yahshua, for taking down strongholds!   These are demonic strongholds, plain and simple.

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses (strongholds).”   2 Corinthians 10:4.

Coming from a “former” chronic worrier—it took me 52 years to figure out that I can’t fix other people.   I can’t fix their problems, I can’t fix their illnesses.  I can’t make others happy.   I can’t fix the world’s problems.  I can’t end hunger, cure disease or stop crime.   I can’t make people not worry.   Yahshua tells us NOT TO WORRY!   Why do we continue to do it?   Stop!   Pray!   Stop and Pray!!

What are you filling your mind with?   What are you watching?  Do you watch TV shows, movies or the news (sad but true) that make you feel combative, irritable or angry?   What are you reading and who are you talking to?   How much time do you spend on social media that might be agitating and yes, frankly, depressing you?

Or, are you making Your Father in Heaven your primary focus—are you yoked to Him?   Do you stay in constant communication with Him all day, every day?   When something happens, do you immediately think, “What am I to learn from this, Father?”  Is He your All In All?   For Your Father’s Mighty Arms is where your peace lies, my friends. 

The internet and its hot topics have drawn us in.   We know more now than we ever really wanted to know, don’t we?   I certainly don’t like knowing that much of the history we were taught is a “gigantic” coverup.   No pun intended there.

But I firmly believe YHWH is telling us, “Enough.  It’s enough now.  You know what you need to know—now come back to Me.”  

It’s time to stop the madness, saints.   Disconnect from the world and tune in to your Master.   It’s time to walk and talk with Him and pray us Home.

Enoch was taken Home.   He was walking with YHWH and then he “was not”, for he was taken.   Gee, do you suppose there is a message in Enoch’s story for us who are waiting for Yahshua to call us up?

WHAT DOES “WATCH” REALLY MEAN? – By Camilla Smith

My heart is heavy today. I will try to put in words what I’m feeling the Father is impressing on me to share.

We “watchmen on the wall” have been blessed with such a network of technological wonder. Social media, the internet, face-time, blogs, tweets, and twitters to name a few.   We have access to every piece of information we could ever ask for (that in and of itself is a mystery to me—just who IS the internet?). Much of that information, these days, is false.  We know that now. We think we’re getting correct information from our sources, and in many cases, we are. But, is it bogging us down—sorting it all out?

What I’m saying is…with all our efforts at piecing together this mystery called the Rapture of the Church, are we neglecting our relationship with our Almighty Father? Are we leaving Him on the back burner while we feverishly pour through, sift, investigate, navigate, post, un-post, comment, un-comment, agree, disagree, and agree to disagree? To what end, my fellow watchmen? When do we stop our endless search for the “key,” and turn to our Father and say simply, “Father—we’re at the end of it all here. We can’t possibly know Your thoughts, Your ways, Your timing…You’ve told us that Yourself!   Father, is it now time for us, Your servants, to stop looking for clues, and start hitting our knees?”

Or maybe this, “Father, we’ve tried and tried to do Your will, keep ourselves and our fellow brothers and sisters informed, stay apprised of the news, tie events to Scripture, and rightly divide Your word. Is it time, Father, to leave this in Your hands and realize that You desire US? Are we focused more on YouTube than on You?”

I’m so guilty, completely guilty…. countless hours. And there my Bible sits. Waiting for me to pick it up. I utter prayers, short ones, repetitive, not always wholehearted ones.   And there His Word sits. It hurts my heart to say these words.

And, let me make it very clear. I LOVE our prophecy community. I LOVE our leaders and teachers whose due diligence is incomparable. I LOVE that each and every one of us who loves Bible prophecy can’t get enough of end times updates. I LOVE and am so GRATEFUL for our prophecy experts who keep us informed—the hours, the sweat, the blood, the tears, they put into their messages, I can’t even imagine. They’re living their call. They’re feeding their flocks. The Father must be well pleased with their dedication as they combat the daily ravages and assaults launched upon them (this is NOT one of those).   We’re so grateful. We soak in their every word! We are consumed by it. I imagine the Father must find great joy, knowing that we want to be with HIM! And yes—there are fantastic and valuable teachings on YouTube. I’m so grateful for online sermons and teachings and have benefited greatly from them.

But are we WITH HIM while we’re still here? He’s calling for us soon…but He hasn’t YET. Are we making Him NUMBER ONE in these waning weeks, days, or hours that we have left? Maybe He’s waiting on us, my dear brothers and sisters. Maybe, He wants us to cut the ties. Separate out. Leave our gadgets alone and spend that time in His Word, in His presence…pitching our tents with Him and Him alone. And maybe He just wants to hear, finally, exhaustively, “Father, Your Will Be Done. Father, Your Kingdom Come.”

 “It is the glory of the Father to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings to search out a matter.”   Proverbs 25:2

“O, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of YHWH!   How unsearchable His judgments and untraceable His ways!”   Romans 11:33

“The secret things belong to the Father, our Elohim, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.”   Deuteronomy 29:29.”        

Indeed, it is a conundrum. There is a fine line. We have an excitement that is palpable in our souls and we yearn for revelation and insight. We long for Yahshua’s calling for us in that glorious day—The Rapture! More now than ever, we must pray for discernment and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance as to the perfect balance. We must always watch and heed the signs. We’re watchmen—that’s what we do. My brothers and sisters, we’ve left “normal” and there’s no turning back. We’re in uncharted waters here. We’re being purified. We’re being readied. We’re being drawn to the Heart of our Elohim. We’re almost Home.

Beloved Abba Father,

We thank You for the blessings You give us each day. Father, we ask that You forgive our shortcomings and convict us where we need to improve. Father, we ask that You help us, Your servants, to maintain focus in these final hours of history. Abba, we pray that You help us grow and be washed in Your Word, and that You remind us and keep us trained on Your Promise, Your precious Son, Yahshua, Your Holy City, Yerushalayim, and the Apple of Your Eye, Israel. Father, we beseech You to bring Your Kingdom to fruition and bring judgement on the evil that surrounds us more and more each day. And Father, please fill us with Your Holy Spirit—Your Ruach Ha’Qodesh, and grant us strength and grace to seek Your will in our lives, and the desire to have the Mind of Yahshua. Remind us to pray Your Word to You and share it with those whom you give us opportunity. Thank You, Father. Until we see You face to Face, we come before You humbly and expectantly.

Ah-Mein.

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