Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Mercy or Wrath

When the people of a city or nation cast off restraint and reject God, they lose their spiritual protection and leave the powers of evil unrestrained. They have the authority to bring judgment against the city or nation, but they often wait until sin is filled up so they can do more evil. The powers of evil execute judgment in a way that causes the most harm and pain, because they love to rob, destroy and kill.

God will sometimes pre-empt this judgment so that less harm is done, and to ensure that his purposes are accomplished. Because the people have turned away from him, he does not have authority to bless them, but the does have the right to send judgment.

By getting his angels to bring the judgment, rather than waiting for the powers of evil to deliver it, he can turn it for good, and use it to achieve his purposes. The holy angels hate executing judgment, because they love to do good. They will only do it, if they have a clear prophetic word from God’s prophets explaining how it will bring glory to God.

God’s people sometimes need to choose. Will they wait for the power of evil to execute their plans, or should they ask God to bring a pre-emptive judgment that is more merciful.

An example is the judgment after David counted his fighting men (2 Sam 24). When he realised he had done wrong, the prophet Gad came to him with three options:

  • Three years of famine in the land.
  • Three months of running before his enemies while they pursued with the sword.
  • Three days of plague.
David chose the third option. This was a bit selfish, because he was the one who had sinned, but the people would suffer most. This is a reminder that when the leaders of a nation sin, it is their people who suffer most.

When the judgment started, David realised that he had been selfish and cried out,

I have sinned; I, the shepherd, have done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Let your hand fall on me and my family (2 Sam 24:17).
But it was too late, because the decision had been made.

Nevertheless, David had made the right decision, perhaps for the wrong reason. He explained the reason to the prophet when he made his decisions. He said to Gad,

I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man (2 Sam 24:14).
There were really only two options. One option was to come under judgment executed by God. The other option was to fall into the hands of man, literally the hands of Adam. David did not fully understand this, but Adam had lost his authority when he sinned, so falling into the hands of Adam literally meant falling into the hands of the powers of evil.

Two of the three judgments, would be executed by the powers of evil. The famine and defeating war were their plans for Israel once David’s sin had given them the right to do it. (The powers of evil are often divided and disagree over what they want to do. If David had chosen the plan of one group, the Holy Spirit would have rested the other group, so they would not be able to fulfil their plans.)

Even though David did not realise that he was avoiding falling into the hands of the power of evil, he did realise that it was best to choose the judgment that would be executed by God. God opened David’s spiritual eyes and he saw the angel of God with the sword of death outstretched. This was terrible, but it was better than would have happened if the powers of evil had been able to execute evil for three years or three months. Three days was merciful by comparison, and when David repented of his selfishness, God cut it short to less than a day.

When a nation hardens its heart, the power of evil get authority to work their plan in it. The Holy Spirit often shows a prophet what the powers of evil have planned. The prophet must be careful not to prophesy these plans, except as a warning (if you keep doing this, that will happen), because it increases the authority of the powers of evil to do their stuff. Sometimes, the prophets may see several forms of evil, that different factions of the power of evil would like to do (they are seldom united).

The prophets in this situation should ask God if there is a pre-emptive judgment that he can bring that would be better for the nation than what the Holy Spirit has shown them the powers of evil intend to do. It will often not be nice, but it will usually be better than falling into the hands of the powers of evil. The prophets may need to pray for a lesser more merciful evil, so that God has authority to execute it.

David, and through him Gad, had authority in Israel. When Gad prayed and told God their choice, it gave God authority to send his angel to release the plague. It was a terrible plague, but at least it was a good angel bringing it. This was better than releasing evil angels to do their thing.

In the same way, prophets may sometime have to make a similar choice. They might need to choose to give God authority to bring a pre-emptive judgment. That will be hard to do, but it is usually better than waiting for worse evil to come from the hands of the power of evil.

Gad had a relationship with David, so he was able to consult with him. Many prophets will not have a link to the political powers, so they will not be able to consult. They will have to seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and make the decision for their nation.

Many prophets have seen terrible things happening to their nation. They should check before prophesying them, to make sure that God has not shown them what the powers of evil want to do, because their vision might be what will happen if the nation is left to its own devices, but it might not be what God wants to do. The prophets should acknowledge that judgment is inevitable for the nation, but recognise that there is a milder judgement that God could bring, if he were given permission to act in the nation.

Some prophetic people have bitter stomachs, often through frustration and rejection. If they are not careful, they can become hard, and slip into enjoying and prophesying what the enemy plans to do. They have the wrong half of the truth. True prophets make sure they understand God’s purpose, before they prophecy judgment.

In New Zealand, prophetic people have warned of a tsunami that destroys Christchurch, an earthquake that destroys Wellington, and a volcano that destroys Auckland. I suspect that these people have heard what the powers of evil would like to do, if sins are filled up and they get authority in the land. But these events are not God’s intent for the nation.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Three Types of Vision

Christians with discernment can receive three types of vision.

  1. Some visions show what the people deserve. They show what the wrath of God demands. Eg Amos 7:1.
  2. The Holy Spirit sometimes shows his people what Satan wants to do. When people turn away from God, they give him authority to fulfil his plans. He is a destroyer, so these visions are often destructive. Spiritual people who are not Christians may also receive these visions, but from a different source.
  3. Some visions show what God is going to do to turn his people back to him, as his wrath is tempered by his mercy. The purpose of these visions is refining and purifying (Amos 7:7-9).
  • They first two types may be the same. Satan has the right to execute the curses of the covenant.
  • The first type of visions should be prayed against. The mercy of God should be claimed. (Jer 18:20; Jer 14:21; Dan 9:4-19; Ps 106:23).
  • The first type should not be proclaimed as if were God’s will, as this would give the devil permission to do it. If it is announced, it should be conditional. “This is what will happen, if you keep on the way that you are going”
  • The second type should be prayed against. We resist the enemy by disagreeing with his words and visions and declaring. “That is not God’s will” (Eph 6:10-18).
  • The second type of vision should not be proclaimed as this would give glory to Satan. If Christians agree with this vision, it gives him authority to implement his plans, even if they are contrary to God’s will.
  • The third type of vision should be prayed into being. It might still be harsh, but because its purpose it mercy, it is right to pray for it. It is part of God’s refining process. When we declare these visions, it gives God’s authority to do his will on earth.
  • A prophet who always looks to God’s wrath is imitating Satan. A true prophet must centre on God’s mercy.
  • When a vision is received, we must pray to find what type of vision it is. We must get God’s perspective, before we proclaim the vision.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Speak without Manipulating

Prophets are God’s spokespeople. Their task is to speak out God’s message. They do not have to get the people to obey it. That is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit. If prophets try to force people to change, they are being presumptive.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Ready to Save the World

From Kingdom Authority (pp 80-81).

God had a plan to restore authority on earth, by sending his son and then the Holy Spirit to establish the kingdom. This was a good plan, but God did not have authority to implement it.

Most Christians assume that God is all-powerful and can do whatever he chooses, but if that were true, God could have put the situation right as soon as sin came into the world. He did not do that because he had freely given authority over the earth to humans. That gift was unconditional and God is faithful and true, so he could not go back on his word.

When humans sinned, God did not grab his authority back. That would turn it into Imposed Authority, and he was not interested in that. Although humans had surrendered to evil, God still recognised them as the legitimate authority on earth, so he could not intervene until he was invited by people with authority on earth. Getting that authority took thousands of years.

God was not slow to send Jesus, but sent him as soon as everything was prepared. During the thousands of years that had gone by since humans sinned, he was not sitting around twiddling his thumbs. He was waiting for people with authority on earth to give him permission to act. Because most humans had surrendered their authority to the powers of evil, this permission was quite difficult to get. He needed dozens of prophets to complete the task.

God knew that the powers of evil would not give up their stolen authority without a fight, so he did not send Jesus until everything he had planned on earth was ready. This is why he waited so long before sending him. He had to wait until the political situation was right and the people he needed were willing to listen to the Holy Spirit and do his will.

The Roman Empire was ruling most of the earth. Roman law established peace in Israel, allowing Jesus to move around freely. Israel was divided into three provinces with the Romans ruling Judea directly through a procurator. The sons of Herod ruled the other two provinces. This allowed Jesus to operate below the Roman radar by doing most of his ministry in Galilee. He could move across the Jordan, whenever he needed a place of safety.

  • Messianic expectation was at a high level. People were longing for the peace and justice of God.
  • The Jewish establishment controlled the temple in Jerusalem. They were ready for confrontation with Jesus.
  • John the Baptist was ready to announce the messiah.
  • Peter was being toughened up ready for when the church would get going in Jerusalem.
  • Paul was being trained up ready to take the gospel to the gentiles and write his letters.
  • John was ready to begin a journey that would end with him writing the book of Revelation. His prophetic work would give God authority to act long into the future.
  • Mary was willing to care for a baby, a huge burden for a young woman.
  • Joseph was willing to obey the voice in his dreams. He was brave enough to flee to Egypt; very scary for a Jewish family.
  • The wise men were ready to come and provide Mary and Joseph with economic security. They did not give Jesus toys for play. They provided his parents with gifts that could be sold in any economy at any time for their survival.
If any of these people had failed to fulfil their calling, God’s plan would have turned to custard.

The devil probably knew that something was up, but sending a messiah as a baby was so strange, he was confused. He would have killed Jesus, if he had the chance. The wise men set the cat among the pigeons by going to Herod to find the king, instead of following the star to Bethlehem. The devil stirred Herod into a killing frenzy in Bethlehem, in a futile attempt to get rid of a threat he did not understand (Matt 2:16).

After thousands of years, the time was right and everything was in place, so God sent his son. The prophets had announced the Messiah and described his ministry in full. Their declarations gave God authority to send his Son as a Messiah, but they were dead. He needed people on the ground to give life to these prophesies.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah (Luke 2:25-26).
Simeon’s prayers and prophecies gave God permission to send his Messiah. Anna’s prayers also gave him authority to send Jesus. She recognised him when he was born.

There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher... She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying… she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem (Luke 2:36-38).

Anna and Simeon knew God intended to send the Messiah in their time. They announced his coming to those “who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem”. Their prophecies and prayers gave God authority to send his son.

The great salvation had begun.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


A massive weight of expectation to lay on one day. More than any day can bear.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Gospel Hope

I really liked these words from chapter 2 of Brian Zahnd's book called A Farewell to Mars: An Evangelical Pastor's Journey Toward the Biblical Gospel of Peace.

Jesus is the Savior of the world! This world that you and I inhabit—where we go to work, do our living, raise our children, and try to find meaning and happiness— Jesus is the Savior of that! Jesus is not a heavenly conductor handing out tickets to heaven. Jesus is the carpenter who repairs, renovates, and restores God’s good world. The divine vision and original intention for human society is not to be abandoned, but saved. That’s a big deal! It’s the gospel!

In fact, in the eight gospel sermons found in the book of Acts, not one of them is based on afterlife issues! Instead they proclaimed that the world now had a new emperor and his name was Jesus! Their witness was this: the Galilean Jew, Jesus of Nazareth, had been executed by Roman crucifixion, but God had vindicated him by raising him from the dead. The world now had a new boss: Jesus the Christ. What the world’s new Lord (think emperor) is doing is saving the world. This includes the personal forgiveness of sins and the promise of being with the Lord in the interim between death and resurrection as well as after the resurrection, but the whole project is much, much bigger than that— the world is to be repaired!

If what we mean by “Jesus saves the world” gets reduced to “saved people go to heaven when they die ,” then Jesus is simply the one who saves us from the world, not the Savior of the world. But this is not what the apostle John meant when he spoke of Jesus as the Savior of the world. John was talking about something much bigger and much more expansive than individuals “accepting Jesus as their personal Savior.” John (and the rest of the apostolic writers of the New Testament) presented Christ as the Savior of God’s good creation and the restorer of God’s original intention for human society. This is the gospel! This is the apostolic gospel, and it’s a gospel that gives us an eschatology of hope. By eschatology of hope, I mean a Christian vision for the future that is redemptive and not destructive— more anticipating the New Jerusalem and less obsessed with Armageddon. In our anxiety-ridden world, who can doubt that we desperately need an eschatology of hope?

Far too many American Christians embrace a faulty, half-baked, doom-oriented, hyperviolent eschatology, popularized in Christian fiction (of all things!), that envisions God as saving parts of people for a nonspatial , nontemporal existence in a Platonic “heaven” while kicking his own good creation into the garbage can! Framed by this kind of world-despairing eschatology, evangelism comes to resemble something like trying to push people onto the last chopper out of Saigon. But this is an evangelism that bears no resemblance to the apostolic gospel proclaimed in the book of Acts. Christianity’s first apostles evangelized, not by trying to sign people up for an apocalyptic evacuation, but by announcing the arrival of a new world order. The apostles understood the kingdom of God as a new arrangement of human society where Jesus is the world’s true King. Put simply: because Jesus is Lord, the world is to be redeemed and not left in ruin.
Brian has hit the nail on the head. In these times, we desperately need an eschatology of hope. Unfortunately, from reading the rest of the book, I am not sure if he has found one yet.

I have always believed that God wants us to have and an eschatology of hope. That is why I wrote my book Times and Seasons.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014


I have always wondered why the leaders of England were so enthusiastic about entering the First World War. It seemed like such a pointless exercise, you would expect some people to have seen it. I have just listened to a lecture by Dr Robin Archer at the London School of Economics. He explains that a strong anti-war movement was active throughout Europe prior to the war. It quickly died when war broke out. He says that the language of honour was important in justification for the First World One.

Archer explained that the Honour Code common in Europe at the time had the following characteristics.

  1. Fear of shame due to loss of reputation and respect.
  2. A person facing this shame must demonstrate a willingness to engage in physical confrontation that risks major personal loss, up to and including death.
  3. The individual must eschew calculations of cost and benefits, or the balance of reasons.
The essence of the code was willingness to engage in uncalculating confrontation in order avoid loss of reputation.

The importance of honour can be seen in the speeches of some of the leading politicians.

Edward Grey - Foreign Secretary 3 August 2014:

If in a crisis like this we run away, I doubt whether whatever material force we might have at the end, it would be of much value in face of the respect we should have lost. Britain would lose all respect and sacrifice its good name and reputation.
Herbert Asquith Prime Minister 6 August 1914
I can only say, that if we had dallied or temporised, we as a government should have covered ourselves with dishonour. What are we fighting for: to fill an obligation, not only of law, but of honour, which no self-respecting man could possibly have repudiated.
Keir Hardie –Scottish Union Leader and Pacifist
Honour is always the excuse. We shall look back and wonder at the flimsy reason.
David Lloyd George, Future Prime Minister
Fate has reminded Britain of the great peaks of honour we have forgotten.
Emmeline Pankhurst Suffrage Leader
Every man should go to battle like the knights of old with absolute honour to his nation.
Quaker Leader
Avoiding war would have been dishonourable and discreditable.
George Murray, leading peace campaigner, who became an apologist for war, and wrote a pamphlet called How Can War Ever Be Right that appealed to honour and interest.
Interest-based arguments are unclear and uncertain. Honour based arguments are decisive. The argument for peace fails, because it judges war as a profit and loss account, and it leaves out of sight the cardinal fact that in some causes it is better to fight and be broken than yield peacefully, but sometimes the more active resistance to the death is itself a victory. When the question arises, there is no counting of costs, no balancing of good and evil, this is the very essence of honour
Every family that lost a son in the war with given a penny inscribed with the words,
Freedom and honour.
Andrew Fisher, who became Prime Minister of Australia.
Our last man and our last shilling shall be offered and supplied to the mother country in maintaining her honour and our honour.
This explains a lot. In issues honour, considerations of good and evil, or cost and benefit were irrelevant. Defending honour took priority, even if it led to pointless injuries and death.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Nassim Nicholas Taleb is quite well known for his book the Black Swan. It describes the events that no one expects to happen. The probability of these events occurring is impossible to compute.

His latest book is called Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder. In this book, he divides things into three categories: fragile, robust, antifragile. Fragile things need tranquillity, but they rarely get it. The antifragile grows stronger through disorder. The robust does not care, but it tends to be unattainable.

Antifragile systems are weakened, if they are derived of variation. Interventionists often do this. They aim to make things more robust, but because variation is reduced, they actually increase fragility.

Absence of fluctuations from a market causes hidden risks to accumulate with impunity. The longer it goes on without a market trauma, the worse the damage when a commotion occurs.

The problem with artificially suppressed volatility is not just that the system tends to be extremely fragile, it is that at the same time, it exhibits no visible risk. Also remember that volatility is information. In fact, these systems tend to be too calm and exhibit minimal variability as silent risks accumulate beneath the surface. Although the stated intention of political leaders and economic policy makers is to stabilise the system by inhibiting fluctuation, the result tends to be the opposite. These artificially constrained systems, become prone to Black Swans. Such environments eventually experience massive blowups, catching everyone off guard and undoing years of stability, or, in almost all cases, ending far worse than they were in their initial volatile state. Indeed, the longer it takes for the blowup to occur, the worse the resulting harm to both economic and political systems (p.106).
United Stages policy makers assume that they are creating stability in the world. They are actually eliminating antifragility.
In spite of what is studied in business schools concerning “economy of scale”, size hurts you at times of stress; it is not a good idea to be large during difficult times. Some economists have been wondering why merging corporations do not appear to play out. The combined unit is so much larger, hence more powerful, and according to theories of economies of scale, it should be more “efficient”. But the numbers show at best, no gain from such increase in size-that was already true in 19789, when Richard Roll voiced the “hubris hypothesis”, finding it irrational for companies to engage in mergers given their poor historical record. Recent data, more than three decades late, still confirm both the poor record of mergers and the same hubris as mangers seem to ignore the bad economic aspects of the transaction. There appears to be something about size that is harmful to corporation.

As with the idea of having elephants as pets, squeezes are much more expensive relative to size of large corporations. The gains are visible, but risks are hidden. This leads to fragility (p. 279).
During the season that we are going into, we will need churches that are antifragile. They will not be megachurches.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Black Mass

John Gray’s latest book is called Black Mass. It is subtitled Apocalyptic Religion and Death in Utopia.

Christians apocalyptic literature describes a traumatic event that transforms society. With the enlightenment, thinkers neglected Christianity, but retained the apocalyptic hope.

Modern revolutionaries such as the French Jacobins and the Russian Bolsheviks detested traditional religion, but their conviction that the crimes and follies of the past could be left behind in an all-encompassing transformation of human life was a secular reincarnation of early Christian beliefs. These modern revolutionaries were radical exponents of enlightenment thinking, which aimed to replace religion with a scientific view of the world. Yet the radical Enlightenment belief that there can be a sudden break in history, after which the flaws of human society will be for ever abolished, is a bi-product of Christianity.

The history of the past century is not a tale of secular advance, as thinkers of Right and Left like to think. The Bolshevik and Nazi seizures of power were faith-based upheavals just as much as the Ayatollah Khomeini’s theocratic insurrection in Iran. The very idea of revolution as a transforming event in history is owed to religion. Modern revolution movements are a continuation of religion by other means.

Since the French Revolution a succession of utopian movements has transformed political life. Entire societies have been destroyed and the world changed for ever. The alteration envisioned by utopian thinkers has not come about, and for the most part their projects have produced results opposite to those they intended. That has not prevented similar projects being launched again and again right up to the start of the twenty-first century, when the world’s most powerful state launched a campaign to export democracy to the Middle East and throughout the world.

When the project of universal democracy ended in the blood-soaked streets of Iraq, this pattern began to be reversed. Utopianism suffered a heavy blow, but politics and war have not ceased to be vehicles of myth (pp. 2-3).
Modern Politics has been driven by the belief that the world could be shaped by humanity alone (p.15).
During the past generation, the Right abandoned the philosophy of imperfection and embraced a pursuit of Utopia (p.32).
Gray assumes this faith in political transformation has been destroyed.
The faith in Utopia, which killed so many in the centuries following the French revolution is dead. Like other faiths, it may be resurrected in circumstances that cannot be foreseen , but it is unlikely to trouble us much further in the next few decades. The cycle in which world politics was dominated by secular versions of apocalyptic myth has come to an end… Iraq was the first utopian experiment of the new century and maybe the last (p.184).
I think Gray is wrong. The neocon politicians that dominate American political thought have not been put off by Iraq, but are itching to have another go. They sorted Libya and Ukraine, and now they would like to have a go in Syria against ISIS.

The ultimate secular utopian movement is the Beast of Revelation. With the current political forces at work, it could be getting close.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Hebrew is an interesting language. It does not have a large number of words, so the same works can have several different meanings. The meaning of Hebrew text is not nearly and precise as the Greek text of the New Testament.

This means that we must be careful when reading the Old Testament. The English translators will have chosen the meaning of each word, based on the context, but there will often be other possible meanings. We must be aware that the English translation gives the appearance of a precision that does not exist in the original Hebrew text.

The Psalms often use doubling couplets. Scholars say this a type of poetry, and it is. But there is another reason for the doubling. The writer repeats the concepts in a different way to make the meaning clear. We should be careful about taking the meaning of once line of a couplet, if it is inconsistent with the other line of the couplet, because it could indicate that we have misunderstood the meaning of the words.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Dinosaurs (2)

We live in an age that is fascinated with by size and power. I presume this is the explanation for the popularity of Ice Road Truckers, and also the dinosaurs. However, Christians who are captivated with dinosaurs should understand that they are impressed with the handiwork of the powers of evil.

The more serious fascination with size and power occurs in the political arena. Modern people love big government and are fascinated by powerful leaders. The Bible labels these big human governments and political empires as beasts. These beasts are also the work of the spiritual powers of evil, in a desperate but futile effort to retain authority on earth. The accumulation of political power amplifies the principalities and powers to leverage their power on earth in a massive way.

The good news is that these Beasts will become extinct too. The Book of Revelation explains how the Beasts will be destroyed, like millstone thrown into the sea. They will disappear and never return (Rev 18:21).

In a way, the fate of the dinosaurs is a prophetic sign. They represent the peak of the activities of the spiritual powers of evil in the age before the birth of Jesus. They were wiped out during the flood, which was the biggest authority shift during that age.

The political beast described in Revelation represents the peak of the activity of the powers of evil during the current age. They will be wiped out and become extinct following the biggest authority shift during the age that follows Jesus ministry on earth. Their demise will be so dreadful that people of the world will lose their fascination with political empires. I presume that interest in dinosaurs will go the same way.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Dinosaurs (1)

I am intrigued by the modern fascination with dinosaurs. Christians are often asked where they came from. It is hard to be certain about this, but my answer is that they were not created by God. I presume they were made by the evil angels. During the thousand years between the fall and the flood, the spiritual powers of evil had a fairly free hand on earth so they were able to do enormous damage to God’s creation.

The evil angels do not have the ability to create new species, as God did, but they could modify the genetic material of existing species to make new ones. We know from the Bible that they did this to create giant people (Gen 6:4). I presume that before they made the giants, they practised with other species, and made some very large animals. As part of this they could have modified the genetically material of some birdlife and produced the dinosaurs.

The spiritual powers of evil love destruction and death. They are impressed with size and power and strength. Animals that are large, fierce and terrifying look like their handiwork.

The peak of God’s creation was humans (Psalm 8:5). He is more interested in quality than size and power. We are quite small and weak, but we have an amazing ability to think and understand. We have a huge capacity for love, justice and creativity. Humans are vastly superior, to the feeble adaptive efforts of the powers of evil.

The spiritual powers of evil created the dinosaurs for two reasons.

  • They wanted to show off, but failed. Their attempts at species modification produce size, but failed to match God on quality.
  • They wanted to make it too dangerous for humans to live on earth. They hoped the spread of the dinosaurs would make it impossible for humans to survive. This would give them a huge advantage, because God gave authority on earth to humans. If humans became extinct, there would be no one with authority to take authority on earth back from them. The powers of evil would be in the driver’s seat forever.
The dinosaurs came quickly and disappeared equally as fast. The reason is that they were not sustainable on earth. God had created a world that was not designed to support this type of life. The last of the dinosaurs were wiped out in the flood, because God did not want them on the ark, and there was nowhere else for them to go.

Saturday, December 06, 2014


I do not agree with the popular Tribulation, Rapture, Millennium Eschatology (TRM) that is still held by many Christians.

  1. I used to teach this eschatology, but when I studied the scriptures seriously, I found it was not there. It is produced by imposing a perverse interpretive framework on the scriptures. I have written extensively on this on my website and in Times and Seasons.
  2. The TRM eschatology minimises the victory of the cross and assigns the powers of evil authority they are not entitled to and they have made great use of it. It minimises the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
  3. The forecasts produced by the TRM eschatology are continually proved wrong by history. I have seen the dates changed dozens of times since I became a Christian (remember 1978). A model that continuously produces incorrect predictions is a worry.
  4. I have seen the damage done by this eschatology. I have seen young Christians pull out of their university courses, or sell their business, because they took this teaching seriously (fortunately most Christians don’t). They are now disillusioned with lack of purpose, because they forsook their calling and were disappointed when what their teachers would happen did not. This is sad, because they were the cream of the crop.
  5. The TRM eschatology is impossible to live by. If the tribulation will break out in 2017 (I think this is the latest date) and Christians will be raptured out soon, we should all be out preaching the gospel while hiding in the hills to be safe. Fortunately, most Christians who believe this eschatology ignore it when it comes to everyday life.
  6. TRM writers focus love to write about the Tribulation. They do not write so much about the millennium, because it is a rather ugly compared to the beauty of the Kingdom of God, with rebelious people be intimidated into obedience using police power and military force. Nothing like the Kingdom that Jesus described.
  7. I note that many churches are gradually discarding bits of the TRM eschatology. About time.
More at False Teaching about God's Plan

Friday, December 05, 2014

Truth and Love

The New Testament commands us to “speak the truth in love”. This is not a balance. It is a unique way of speaking. Loving people sometimes find the truth hard to say. Prophetic people love the truth, but they are often not good at love.

A prophetic word that is true, but not spoken in love becomes null. It is not better than an untrue word. I have seen many people bring a true word to another, but the word falls to the ground, because it was not spoken in love.

Love opens the way for the truth to penetrate a person’s heart. The reason that God needs to speak prophetically is that the hearer is not hearing what the Spirit has been saying to them. If they have a blind spot over something, they will often have closed their heart their heart to the truth in that area. When a person is broken, their heart is often scarred, which prevents the word from penetrating. Sometimes it gives evil spirits rights, which makes it even harder. Love opens the heart and allows the Spirit to penetrate, so he can cement the word in. Sometimes the love can be enough to cause the hearer to let down their guard (put up for protection from more pain) long enough for the Holy Spirit to get through.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Sovereignty and Choice

Making a god of sovereignty results in weak theology. God is sovereign, but it is only one aspect of his character. Sovereignty is not a concept representing philosophical perfection. It must mean something in terms of the character and activities of God.

God is constrained by his character. He is constrained by his choices about how he will operate that flow out of his character. If God is sovereign, he can choose to constrain his activity. That does not limit his freedom or omnipotence.

Once God created a finite world and finite people to live within it, and committed himself to working with them, he constrained himself to working within time. He is beyond time, so he can still move across time, but if he intervened on earth outside the order of time, his interventions would not make sense to those living within time. God has a strategy for restoring the earth. This involves a sequence of interventions on earth that makes sense in terms of finite time.

When God created people and spirits and gave them real freedom, he constrained himself. He could have kept them under his control, but he decided against that, because the wanted them to be free to do things that are contrary to his will. Having made that choice, it was almost inevitable that spirits or people would do things that are contrary to his will. This allows them to constrain his ability to accomplish in purpose in various ways. Every time I resist his will, I hold back his plans.

I wonder how many people the Holy Spirit spoke to before Abraham heeded the call to move to the land he was called. I presume he had spoken to many people, but was ignored. I presume some heard, but chose to disobey. Abraham was the first to hear and obey, so he received the promise of blessing.

Some will say that God knew in advance, the people who refused the call would refuse. That is playing games. Does it mean that he was not calling those people seriously, but just speaking to prove that they were rebellious? That would be insincere. If God’s will is limited to what actually happens, it becomes a bit meaningless.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Sovereign Capability

If God directly controlled every living being in creation, like a puppet master manipulates his puppets that would be amazing capability. Keeping track of each person and making them act according to a coordinated plan would be an amazing achievement.

However, God does something even more amazing. He sets the puppets free to their own thing. He limits himself to influencing them by making suggestions. A few are committed to doing his will, but most are openly hostile. Worse still, many angels who have rebelled, have the ability to control some of those who are hostile. This looks like an impossible situation, but God is able to accomplish his purposes on earth, without needing to control people.

God is able to achieve this through his amazing wisdom an power.

  • God’s wisdom is perfect and complete.
  • He knows what is happening everywhere all the time.
  • God totally understands human behaviour, because he created us. He knows how we will respond and behave in various situations.
  • The Holy Spirit is active throughout creation. He can speak simultaneously to every human on earth at the same time.
  • Everything he does moves people and events towards the fulfilment of God’s purposes.
  • The Holy Spirit can influence people who are hostile to God, because he knows what suggestions they will respond to.
  • Humans have limited imagination and often do not know what they want to do. They are open to the Spirit’s suggestions.
  • The powers of evil are pathetic and feeble by comparison. They can only be in one place at a time. They can only influence one person at a time, unless they get hold a poltical leader.
  • The powers of evil are disunited, so the often work against each other.
  • They often do not know what is going on, so they do things that hinder their cause.
This is amazing capability. God is so great, he can accomplish his purposes with one hand tied behind his back. It just takes a little time.

More in Kingdom Authority.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

God and Violence (3)

Understanding the determination of the spiritual powers of evil explains much of the violence in the Old Testament.

  • Whenever God gained authority to act on earth, they reacted with dreadful violence on earth. This often left God with no option, but to use violence against them.
  • Prior to the cross, the only way to deal with evil spirits was to separate from the people and things carrying them
  • Principalities and powers used military empires to control the world. The only way that God could constrain them was to stir up other military power against them.
  • Although God has proved his reliability again and again, the children of Israel seldom had sufficient faith to trust in him for their defence. They constantly rejected his way, and chose to defend themselves with military power. He often had to intervene in wars that they had started to protect his people and position.

Monday, December 01, 2014

God and Violence (2)

God is a god of defence. He works with his people to defend against spiritual and physical attack. However, he is primarily a God of peace, so he always looks for a peaceful outcome. When Moses was leading the people to the promised land, God instructed him to make peace with the people whose land they would pass through (Num 20:17; 21:21-22). If these requests were declined and the Israelites were attacked physically or spiritually, God came to came to their aid in the resulting war.

God sometimes stirs nature to destroy armies, but even then, his first option is peace. This was the case at the Red Sea. God could have destroyed the Egyptian people at any time, if he wanted, but he didn’t. He sent Moses to do prophetic signs that would make Pharaoh release the Israelites. Only when Pharaoh’s army went after the Israelites intent on killing them did God call on his angels to flood in the Red Sea to destroy his charioteers. The rest of Egyptians carried on living.

During the time when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, a host of evil spirits flooded the land of Canaan, because they knew God has promised it to Abraham, and they wanted to get there first. God did not want to start a war with the Canaanites, but he had to drive the evil spirits out of the land. The only way to do this was to drive out the Canaanites possessed and controlled by them.

God’s plan was to send his angels to stir up natural events that would fill the Canaanites with fear and terror, collapsing city walls and massive hailstones from the sky, dangerous hornets (Joshua 6:20; 10:11; Deut 7:20). The people living in the land would be filled with such fear and terror, that they would flee the land, carrying their evil spirits with them.

I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run (Ex 23:27).
This very day I will begin to put the terror and fear of you on all the nations under heaven. They will hear reports of you and will tremble and be in anguish because of you (Deut 2:25).
You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the Lord your God brought you out. The Lord your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear. Do not be terrified by them, for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God (Deut 7:19-21).
No one will be able to stand against you. The Lord your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go (Deut 11:25).
Unfortunately, Joshua did not understand God’s plan and started a war against the Canaanite kings. This tight contact allowed the evil spirits to stay in land by jumping across to the victorious invading armies.

More at Violence in the Old Testament.