“. . . there is no doubt about one hard and fast conclusion: the grip of anti-Semitism on the inhabitants of Planet Earth 70 years after the Holocaust remains powerful and perhaps impervious to reason. Why single out one of the world’s tiniest populations for such hatred? To that question, […]
This message is from the 2012 Olivet Convocation in Ohio. This was not the last message of the conference (it was next to last), but it was the message that asked the question that every conference should ask: so what? How do we live this out? Phil Norcom opened with passages in Mt 24, 25 and Joel 3. A blessed dialogue among brothers ensued.
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We are not saying that the harlot is strictly synonymous with Jerusalem. On the contrary, it is very clear that the harlot represents something much more expansive in power and influence (Rev 17:15). Still, Jerusalem is nonetheless contemplated as ‘that great city,’ which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt. How can this be? In her apostasy, the ‘faithful city” is described as belonging in spirit and practice to the “city of confusion,” the symbol of world rebellion. The contradiction of the faithful city’s conformity to the spirit and practices of the surrounding nations was a constant lament of the prophets.
Written in 2002 with the subtitle: Some Comments on the Tragedy of September 11, 2001 Part I was written by the late Art Katz, and is still available on the Art Katz Ministries website. Part II, by Reggie Kelly, is below: For just as “the whole world lies in wickedness,” […]
Since judgment must begin at the house of God, nothing should be more sobering for the church’s consideration than the clear truth that one declared purpose of the coming unequaled tribulation is to bring Jacob to the end of his power (Deut 32:36; Dan 12:7). It is very significant that […]
[…] Things are coming that will be tragic and pathetic beyond our ability to bear. Our hearts will break, as our faith will be tested to the core. “It will be a terror only to understand the report” (Isa 28:19). This was the prophet, Habakkuk’s, dilemma. He was perplexed at God’s choice to use a nation of far greater ferocity and wickedness to come down for the scourging of His covenant elect.
The prophet knew keenly the nation’s covenant dereliction, but it was difficult for Habakkuk to find the equal weight of justice, not so much in the severity of judgment, but in God’s choice to use as the instrument of that judgment a nation that far exceeded Israel for cruelty and pagan defiance of covenant righteousness (see Isa 10:5). It was particularly God’s use of a nation far more wicked and fierce than the victim nation that constituted the offense to Habakkuk’s own human perceptions and relative measurements. We see not as He sees (Isa 55:8-9).
This is the mystery of God’s use of evil in behalf of His elect. We need to see that behind the ‘fierce countenance’ (Deut 28:50; Dan 8:23) of Satan’s hatred (in this case, the “ancient hatred” of Esau, which has found modern expression through the spirit of Islam; Ezek 35:5), it is ultimately God Himself that is opposing Israel by permitting their enemies to prevail against them. The Antichrist, as pre-typified in the King of Assyria is called the “rod” of God’s chastisement (Isa 10:5). It is God Himself who puts hooks into the jaws of the northern invader (Ezek 38:4). God employs the “evil thought” of a wicked principality (Ezek 38:10) as the very means by which He brings judgment and corrective discipline upon His people for their neglect of the covenant relationship. In Rev 17:16-17, there is a curious use of language that shows the absolute sovereignty of God in the employment of evil for His more ultimate purpose. The decision of the ten kings to support the Antichrist in His assault on the Harlot is something that God Himself has “put” in their hearts “to fulfill His will …” […]
[…] It is the age old question of God’s wise use of evil, yet this more than anything else provides the greatest demonstration of His unlimited power to accomplish His ultimate and highest purpose in glory. God’s ability to bring the greatest good out of the worst evil (Acts 2:23; Rev 13:8) is His glory. This ‘bright side of the dark picture’ is basis of hope in Isaiah, Habakkuk, Daniel, and all the prophets, since the gospel does not begin in the New Testament. That the glory of grace should be revealed against the backdrop of an undiminished severity of holy justice demonstrates something about the power and character of God that nothing else could ever do.
So yes, Satan is indeed ‘free’ in the sense that he is not coerced. However, in keeping with God’s over-ruling use of evil, Satan, like all created things, is perfectly “ruled over” in the sense of God’s sovereignty. As the wrath of man is made to praise Him (Ps 76:10), so too is the rage of Satan made to serve the plan of God. He is always made to hang on his own gallows and to fall into the snare that was prepared for the just (Prov 28:10; Est 7:10), as God has also prepared a snare for all pride, both human and demonic, in the prophetic mystery of Christ (compare Isa 8:14-15; 28:13 with 1Cor 2:7-8). […]
[…] When it comes to Israel’s unbelief, it is amazing to see all that conspires to reinforce it. Not only centuries of “Christian” antisemitic behavior, but even how certain verses are translated, let alone interpreted, compounds the distance between church and synagogue. Take for example the Jewish translation of Zech 12:10. Compare it with most Christian translations and you will see what I mean. Of course, Christian linguists, such as Walter Kaiser in his book, “the Messiah in the Old Testament” argues the translation question with decisive evidence for the messianic interpretation. But the average believer must take considerable pains to be informed. It may be effective on some occasions, but it’s not always quite as easy as quoting Zech 12:10 as proof that the Jewish nation pierced their own Messiah. .
Or take Dan 9:25-26. Our translations stress our Christian conviction that the anointed one that is “cut off” is the Messiah by capitalizing the word for anointed and translating the passage with a definite article, “the Messiah the Prince”. This is all legitimate, but the informed Jewish position sees this as speaking only of “an anointed prince,” which they typically interpret as referring to Onias III, the officiating high priest who was murdered when Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the Jewish alter in the 2nd century B.C, who, of course, became the great archetype of the Antichrist in later apocalyptic literature. [..]
But as I have said before: Even if it is insisted that “kept from the hour” should be interpreted as physical exemption, the word “hour” in Revelation is never used of the entire tribulation, but most particularly of the day of God almighty at its end (compare Rev 16:14-16 w/ […]
[…] In considering judgment on nations and particular localities, we should remember the pattern we observe in scripture. However righteous and set apart, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel were required to taste the bitterness of exile along with the rest of the apostate nation. Therefore, though the end of an individual may be quite different in the ‘long run’, he or she may well be required to suffer in the judgements that descend on a nation whose iniquity has come to full. That is the pattern we see in Israel’s exile, and I can’t see where it would be too different in a world where the church is called to be a ‘diaspora’ people, scattered throughout the earth as a witness people. Why, even the church’s sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s table are suitably quite portable. We are a pilgrim people, in every place, and often on the move.
The church is called to be a light in a dark world. What part of the world does not lie in wickedness? Where does one go to hide their loved ones from the judgment that hovers over a cursed land? If we flee from certain levels of societal debauchery that seems to especially concentrated in some cities or nations more than others, we might well be fleeing to a worse place where God has marked a perhaps more hidden but just as hateful kind of pride. […]