The Millennium and the Return of Christ

And the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.” (Ez 37:28)

I come from an evangelical background, but I belong to a reformed church because I subscribe to Reformed theology and the “Doctrines of Grace.”  But when it comes to eschatology, or the study of the end times, I have always held to the evangelical position. This is called “Premillennialism.” It is one of a few different positions that Christians hold regarding prophecy. Because prophetic passages can be interpreted either literally or figuratively, there is latitude for various understandings among true believers.

Now that I belong to the reformed tradition, I thought I should learn more about their view of prophecy, or “A-millenialism” as it is called. Here is a summary of both positions, beginning with the one that is most familiar to me:

The Premillennial View
1. Jesus Christ will one day return to earth to reign for one thousand years before inaugurating His eternal kingdom on a new heaven and earth.

2. Prior to that event there will be a seven year period of judgment in which God pours out His wrath on an unbelieving world in a series of natural disasters. This is called the “Tribulation.”

3. Just before that time, God will take all believers, both living and dead, to heaven. In the process, He will give them new glorified bodies to fit them for paradise.

4. There they will join in a great marriage feast, The “Marriage Feast of the Lamb,” in which the church is united to Christ as His bride.

5. At the end of the Tribulation, Christ will return with his glorified saints to reign with them over an earth restored to its original splendor.

6. God will save 144,000 Jews from death during the Tribulation. They will recognize Jesus Christ as their Messiah and enter His millennial kingdom with the returning saints, but in their natural bodies.

7. During Christ’s earthly reign these Jews will glorify God among the nations by worshiping Him in righteousness in a new temple. They will also experience all the temporal and spiritual blessings of the Old Testament covenant that they had forfeited by their former disobedience.

8. At the end of this time, Satan and all his followers will be destroyed and the millennial kingdom will give way to a new heaven and earth in which God the Father will reign forever.

The Amillennial View
1.  All Old Testament covenants have been fulfilled in the New Covenant in Jesus Christ.

2. God no longer distinguishes between Jew and Gentile for the purposes of salvation. He has broken down the dividing wall between them, making them one people under one new covenant (Eph 2:14-16).

3. In Jesus Christ all believing Jews have already experienced all the spiritual blessings Israel had forfeited by their unbelief and corrupt worship.

4. Therefore there will be no need for a thousand-year earthly kingdom to afford Israel the opportunity to glorify God through their worship and to experience the temporal and spiritual blessings of obedience.

5. All that remains in God’s plan of redemption is for Christ to return in judgment of unbelievers and to gather all believers to Himself in the new heavens and earth.

6. God will not spare believers from the Tribulation that precedes the millennium.

Why The Differences?
The key to understanding the differences between these two positions is that the amillennial view takes the biblical references to a thousand-year reign as figurative, whereas the premillennial view takes them literally. For the reformed person, the millennium is the period of Christ’s rule through the church from the time of Pentecost to His bodily return to rule the new heaven and earth. However, it cannot be a literal thousand years because over 2000 years have already passed since Pentecost.

During this time, the church will continue to expand until, like the tiny mustard seed that grows into a great tree in Jesus’ parable (Mk 4:30-32), it spreads throughout the whole earth. Reformed people see the kingdom’s fruition in the fact that what began as a church of just 120 believers in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, has now grown to a worldwide phenomenon that has transformed individuals, cultures and even whole nations, bringing the blessings of salvation and enlightenment through the gospel.

The premillennial view, on the other hand, characterizes this present period of worldwide church growth as the “church age” aimed primarily at gathering Gentiles, or non-Jews into the church. It reserves a literal 1000 year reign after the church age for God to bestow all the covenant blessings of the Old Testament to the Jews and to receive glory among the nations through their righteous worship. This basic difference between the two views underlies all of their other differences.

A Partial Hardening Has Happened to Israel
So what does the Bible have to say regarding these things? First, what about the idea that God no longer makes a distinction between Jew and Gentile with respect to His covenants?

Romans 11:25-27 says, “..a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written,

The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.”

This is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.

This passage does seem to indicate that God still makes a distinction between Jew and Gentile with respect to His covenants. He has set  Israel aside for a time in order to save Gentiles. But this is a temporary situation lasting only until He has gathered the full number of Gentiles into His kingdom. Then He will return to the Jews, saving the entire nation. According to the premillennial view, this will happen during the millennium.

The Jews Will Return to Their Homeland

There are numerous passages throughout scripture that point to a re-gathering of the Jews so that God can begin His dealings with them as one nation again:

I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them” (Amos 9:14a)

Thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations and no longer be divided into two kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. And they will be My people, and I will be their God.’” (Ez 37:21-23)

This process has already begun. Israel’s homeland was restored in 1948. No other nation has ever been scattered over the face of the whole earth and then re-gathered to their homeland 2000 years later. As Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the modern state of Israel, said in an address to the United Nations:

Let’s not forget what this is about. We survived Pharaoh, we survived the Greeks, we survived the Romans, we survived the inquisition in Spain, we have the pogroms in Russia, we survived Hitler, we survived the Germans, we survived the Holocaust, we survived the armies of seven Arab countries, we survived Saddam. We will survive the enemies present…”

“Let us remember: all nations or cultures who once tried to destroy us, no longer exist today – while we still live!” (https://bit.ly/2EegnEE)

Ladies and gentlemen, the people of Israel have come home, never to be uprooted again.” (https://bit.ly/2SCjZZQ)

The modern state of Israel could not have happened if God had not miraculously preserved the Jewish nation for over two millennia.

Israel Will Realize Spiritual and Temporal Blessings That Haven’t Yet Been Fulfilled
The premillennial view still awaits a time when all Israel will be redeemed and flourish as a nation:

“They will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, and make gardens and eat their fruit. ‘I will also plant them on their land, and they will not again be rooted out from their land which I have given them,’ says the Lord your God” (Amos 9:14-15)

The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.”
This is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.” (Rom 11:27)

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ez 36:26)

My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe themI will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them
(Ez 37:24, 26)

Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it,” declares the Lord (Ez 37:11-14).

The Jewish Temple Will Be Rebuilt In the New Nation
Another indication that God will turn His attention to Israel once again is the prophecy that the temple will be rebuilt and its service re-established according to God’s righteous ordinances:

As for you, son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the plan. If they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the house, its structure, its exits, its entrances, all its designs, all its statutes, and all its laws. And write it in their sight, so that they may observe its whole design and all its statutes and do them” (Ez 43:10-11).

This temple will be about one mile square, much larger than Solomon’s temple, in order to accommodate the worship of believers from all over the world, not just Jews. It will be larger than the temple mount itself, indicating there will be a change in topography (Ez 48:10). The sacrificial system will be restored but the sacrifices will be sacramental in nature, like the Lord’s Supper, not efficacious (Ez 4:10-11). The Levitical feasts will be reinstated with the exception of the Feasts of Pentecost, Trumpets, and Atonement, since these have all been fulfilled in Christ. The glory of God, which departed from the temple in Ezekiel 10:18-19 will return (Ez 43:1-5), and God will dwell there (Ez 43:7).

Why Do Some Blessings Still Await Fulfillment?
The original intent of the covenant with Israel was that God would be glorified among the nations by their obedience and righteous worship of Him (Ex 19:5-6). Instead, He was disgraced by their idolatry and the desecration of the temple worship. In the millennium, He will finally receive the glory He is due from an obedient people who offer a restored worship in a restored temple:

And the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.” (Ez 37:28)

When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations.  Then they will know that I am the Lord their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land; and I will leave none of them there any longer.  I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel(Ez 39:27-29).

The Bible Describes Two Different Comings
Now what about the second coming of Christ? Is there one or are there two? The Bible describes the return of Jesus Christ at the end of the age in two very different ways. In one instance, Christ returns during a time of peace and safety when people are completely unsuspecting:

 “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.  For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Mt 24:37-39).

For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, there is peace and security, then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape
(1 Thess 5:2-3).

At this time Christ will take some people away and leave others behind, based on whether or not they are “destined for wrath“:

Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left” (Mt 24:40-41).

But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day...For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess 5:4, 9-10).

Other Bible passages depict Christ’s return as a time when people are living in dread of His coming, well aware that something terrible is about to happen:

There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Lk 21:25-26).

Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains;  and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Rev 6:15-17)

Clearly these passages describe very different events. The first describes Christ’s initiating judgment at the beginning of the Tribulation. The second describes His coming at the end of the Tribulation to complete His work of judgment and  establish His thousand-year rule in a newly-restored creation.

The argument for a pre-tribulation rapture of the saints is that God’s wrath is reserved for sinners, not the righteous. That is why Paul says, “But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief... For God has not destined us for wrath” (1 Thess 5:4, 9-10).  If God spared Noah and his family from the flood, the Israelites from the plagues on Egypt, and Lot and his family from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, why would He not spare the righteous from the greatest judgment ever to befall mankind? For the Bible teaches that the Tribulation will be a near-extinction event, greater than even the flood:

For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will” (Mt 24:21).

Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, cruel, with fury and burning anger, to make the land a desolation; And He will exterminate its sinners from it.” (Is 13:9)

I will make mortal man scarcer than pure gold and mankind than the gold of Ophir
(Is 13:12)

For thus it shall be in the midst of the earth among the nations, as when an olive tree is beaten, as at the gleaning when the grape harvest is done.” (Is 24:13)

Certainly God would not pour out such wrath on His own children.

The Bible Also Describes Two Different Kingdoms
Not only does the Bible describe the return of Christ in two different ways, but it also describes two different kingdoms with two different rulers. Both the Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul speak of a restored kingdom that depicts a creation that has been delivered from the curse. In his address to the crowd that witnessed the healing of the lame beggar, Peter said, “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time” (Acts 3:19-21). The Greek term used for “restoration” here means to return to the perfect state before the fall (Morphology: N-GF-S Strong’s: 605). 

In Romans 8:19-22 the Apostle Paul tells us why the creation will be restored, “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.” This is not a new creation, but the same one that was cursed for Adam’s sake. Having suffered on account of Adam, it will be set free along with the his sons when Christ returns.

This restored kingdom will be glorious, but not perfect. There will still be sin and death and judgment. Psalm 2:7-9 says the King will rule with a rod of iron, I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession. ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’” This implies there will be rebellion. There will be marriage and divorce and death. Speaking of the Levites in the new temple, Ezekiel says, And they shall not marry a widow or a divorced woman but shall take virgins from the offspring of the house of Israel, or a widow who is the widow of a priest” (Ez 44:22).  Animals will be killed as part of the temple sacrifices, “During the seven days of the feast he shall provide as a burnt offering to the Lord seven bulls and seven rams without blemish on every day of the seven days, and a male goat daily for a sin offering.” (Ez 45:23). According to premillennialism, this is a temporal kingdom ruled by the Son of  God, not an eternal kingdom.

But other passages of scripture indicate that this temporal kingdom will one give way to a new heaven and earth, “But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (2 Pet 3:7). The Apostle Peter says, “the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up” (2 Pet 3:10b). Unlike the restored earth, this new earth will be untainted by sin, “But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet 3:13). According to premillennialism, this is the eternal kingdom. Whereas the millennial kingdom will be ruled by Christ, the eternal kingdom will be ruled by God the Father, “Then comes the end, when he [Christ] delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power” (1 Cor 15:24).

In this new kingdom there will be a new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven. There will be no need for a temple because God will make the new Jerusalem His dwelling place. Death and sorrow and pain will all pass away. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Rev 21:1-4). This will be God’s eternal Kingdom.

Conclusion
End times prophecy in the Bible clearly makes a distinction between Jew and Gentile, between a secret return of Christ and a climactic return, and between two separate kingdoms — one temporal and one eternal. One kingdom will be ruled by Jesus Christ and the other by God the Father. The temporal kingdom will restore the righteous worship of God in a new temple so that He might finally receive the honor due Him from all people. It will also bestow upon the Jews all the spiritual and temporal blessings promised in the Old Covenant. The eternal kingdom, on the other hand, will have no need of a temple because God will tabernacle among men in the new Jerusalem. The original creation will finally give way to a new heavens and earth, the eternal home of righteousness, when all of Christ’s enemies will be cast into the lake of fire and God the Father will rule forever (Rev 20:7-15,)(1 Cor 15:24-27). This is the kingdom for which we wait.

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What the Creation And Flood Can Tell Us About the Tribulation

Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Mt 24:30).

Preparing Creation for Christ’s Return
In Matthew 17:11 Jesus tells His disciples that before His return to earth to rule in glory Elijah is coming and will restore all things.” Peter says the same thing in Acts 3:20-21, when he tells the assembled crowd who had come to see the healed beggar that they must repent  so “that The Father may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.

The Greek term used for the word “restore” in both cases means to return to the perfect state before the fall (Morphology: N-GF-S Strong’s: 605). So when Christ comes, the entire creation will be restored to the state in which it existed before the flood and the curse, when there was no sin and death.

We don’t know what the earth looked like before sin and death except that the Bible said God saw that it was very good. (Gen 1:31) “Very good” is something none of us but Adam and Eve has ever seen. Since the day that Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, the creation has been corrupted. Some 1600 years later, it was almost entirely destroyed by a global flood. But one day the creation will be restored to its former glory. The apostle Paul says in Romans 8:20-21, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We can get a general idea what that restored creation might look like by comparing what we do know about the natural world today to the Genesis accounts of the creation and the flood.

What Creation Originally Looked Like
According to the Genesis account, God created an “expanse” that separated the waters above and below it.  Then God said, “’Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. God called the expanse heaven.” (Gen 1:6-8). Heaven refers to the sky. It is where the birds fly, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” (Gen 1:20) So when God created the earth, he placed waters above the sky that are not there today. These waters probably dissipated in the global flood. Creationists speculate that they would have had very salutary effects on all living things, shielding them from much of the harmful radiation that reaches the earth today. They also would have created a canopy effect that increased atmospheric pressure and oxygen content to optimum levels, promoting greater growth and longer life.

Samples of air bubbles trapped in petrified amber from the fossil record show oxygen levels 50% higher than current levels.(1) The fossil record shows plants, animals, and men that were much larger than they are today.(2) The Bible reports that human lifespans were much longer, too. Methuselah, the oldest man in the Bible, lived to the ripe old age of 969 years. The higher oxygen levels would have promoted healthier brain cells, producing greater intelligence. Ancient peoples were able to produce technological marvels that we cannot duplicate today. For example, the book of Job, written before the time of Abraham, describes mining operations that involved sophisticated blasting techniques. (Job 28:1-11).  The TV series “Ancient Impossible” on the History channel describes technological marvels of ancient civilizations that we still cannot duplicate with modern technology (https://bit.ly/2RF7Oef). If ancient peoples had the technology that is available to us today, they would no doubt be able to use it much more effectively.

How the Flood Changed Creation
The book of Genesis says, “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened.” (Gen 7:11) The Bible says that before those days there was no rain because waters came up from underground to water the earth. (Gen 2:5) When the flood occurred, these underground aquifers erupted. These super-heated fountains split the earth’s crust, forming today’s tectonic plates and separating the single land mass of that time into what has become today’s continents. Creationists speculate that these waters were under such tremendous pressure from the weight of the land mass above them that they would have sent geysers high into the upper atmosphere.

Great earthquakes would have pushed up mountain ranges. Psalm 104:8 describes what happened this way, “The mountains rose; the valleys sank down 
to the place which You established for them.” Volcanoes would have spewed ash into the air, blocking the sun and cooling the land. The hot water from underground would have filled the basins between the continents, forming new oceans.  Warm air masses above these super heated oceans would have collided with the cooler air above the land, producing terrific storms. Over time, the new oceans would have cooled, reducing the temperature of the molten core, and weakening the Magnetic Field, which deflects solar flares and meteorites. This would have exposed the earth to deadly radiation and collisions with debris from outer space, radically shortening lifespans.(3)

The shifting weight distribution of the planet caused by the rising mountains and sinking oceans would have caused the globe to roll on its axis from an upright position to its current tilt of 23.5 degrees, producing an instant deep freeze at the poles. What were tropical regions before the flood would very suddenly have become arctic climates. Snowfall would have continued year-round for many years, creating ice caps at the poles and the massive glaciers of the ice age.  Proof of this rapid climate change is evidenced by woolly mammoths frozen in the arctic tundra with undigested tropical buttercups still in their stomachs. (4)

The Tribulation Will Reverse the Effects of the Flood
In many ways, the events of the Tribulation will mirror the events of the flood while reversing its effects. This is how the Bible describes those times:

There Will Be a Worldwide Earthquake
Rev 6:12-17 describes the Tribulation this way: “I looked and He broke the sixth seal; there was a great earthquake. The sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, the whole moon became like blood; the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it’s rolled up, and every mountain and island were removed out of their places.

There is a fault line that runs around the edges of the Pacific Ocean called the “Ring of Fire.” It was created by seismic activity during the flood. According to Wikipedia, more than 75% of the worlds active volcanoes, 90% of the world’s earthquakes, and 81% of the world’s largest earthquakes occur here. (5) Scientists say it is possible that, given the right conditions, this whole fault line could suddenly create a series of cascading eruptions. This would produce a worldwide earthquake accompanied by volcanic activity that would be far more powerful than anything that has ever occurred before.

It Will be A Day of Darkness
The smoke and ash from the volcanoes will obliterate the sun, blackening the sky as the Mount St. Helens eruption did, only to a much greater degree. Numerous Bible passages refer to the darkness of those days: I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.” (Joel 2:30-31)

For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light.” (Is 13:10).

That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of devastation and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness.” (Zeph 1:15).

The sun will be turned into darkness, the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.” (Acts 2:20)

The Heavens Will Tremble and the and Earth Will Shake
This quake will cause mountains to sink and islands to vanish (Rev 6:17). The books of Isaiah and Joel describe this scenario:

Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.” (Is 24:1)

Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken from its place at the fury of the Lord of hosts in the day of His burning anger” (Is 13:13)

Before them the earth quakes, the heavens tremble” (Joel 2:10).

The effect of a worldwide earthquake would be to open up huge fissures in the crust of the earth, allowing the oceans to flow back into subterranean caverns,  leveling mountains and sinking islands by subduction of the earth’s plates, and throwing the earth out of balance, causing it to wobble on its axis as it did after the flood. From the perspective of someone experiencing this on earth, the sky would appear to ‘tremble’ as the horizon shifts back and forth from the shaking of the earth.  The magnetic field will be weakened by the cooling of the core as the waters penetrate the earth, allowing meteorites to pierce the atmosphere in a terrifying display of noise and fury. “And the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” (Mt 24:30)

Two meteorites struck Chelyabinsk, Siberia in 2013, producing a blast equivalent to 430 kilotons of TNT, 26 to 33 times as much energy as that released from the Hiroshima atomic bomb.  According to one report, “The blast created by the meteor’s air burst produced extensive ground damage over an irregular elliptical area around a hundred kilometres wide, and a few tens of kilometres long, with the secondary effects of the blast being the main cause of the considerable number of injuries. Russian authorities stated that 1,491 people sought medical attention in Chelyabinsk within the first few days.”(6) This effect will be multiplied many times over during the tribulation as meteorites rain down upon the earth.

Other passages of scripture describe these same events this way, ““There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves,  men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” (Lk 21:25-26)

We don’t know what might cause the roaring of the waves, but it could be the rapid draining of the oceans, or the sloshing of waters back and forth as the earth shakes on its axis.

The Sun Will Scorch the Earth
Is 24:6-7 says, “Therefore…the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left.” Giant solar flares periodically erupt from the sun’s surface. Under normal conditions, the earth’s magnetic field deflects these flares. As we noted earlier, the magnetic field will probably be greatly weakened during the Tribulation by the cooling of the earth’s core. So the surface of the earth will be exposed to searing heat from these flares. The Bible tells us that the heat will be so intense that it will kill many people left on earth, along with plant and animal life. “A third of the earth is burned up, a third of the trees are burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.” (Rev 8:7 ).

Revelation 7:1 says, “After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree.” So in addition to the intense heat, a dead calm will cause massive evaporation of bodies of water, restoring the water vapor canopy to its place above the sky.

The Tribulation Will be an Extinction Event
Mt 24:21 tells us that “There will be great tribulation, such as has never occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.” That is quite a statement when you consider the fact that the flood destroyed everything on the planet except for the handful of people on the Ark and the animals with them. There were probably millions of people on earth at that time, given their long lifespans and over 1600 years to propagate. But the Bible says that after the Tribulation mankind will be as scarce as gold, “I will make mortal man scarcer than pure gold and mankind than the gold of Ophir” (Is 13:12).

For thus it will be in the midst of the earth among the peoples, As the shaking of an olive tree, as the gleanings when the grape harvest is over.” (Is 24:13)

Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, cruel, with fury and burning anger, to make the land a desolation; and He will exterminate its sinners from it.” (Is 13:9).

The Tribulation Will Prepare the Creation for Christ’s Return
Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Mt 24:30).

All of the natural disasters of the Tribulation will establish the conditions for the restoration of creation to its original state.  A giant earthquake will level the earth.  The redistribution of the land masses will re-balance the earth on its axis, restoring a sub-tropical climate over the entire planet. Underground aquifers will be refilled and the continents rejoined by the draining of the oceans. The water vapor canopy will be put back in place by evaporation from searing heat and a dead calm. Blazing meteorites, volcanoes and earthquakes will kill wicked mankind along with much plant and animal life.

All Creation is Waiting For Christ’s Return
The apostle Paul says. “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.” (Rom 8:22)

The prophet Isaiah describes how the creation will receive Christ when He comes to reign:

They lift up their voices, they sing for joy; over the majesty of the Lord they shout from the west. Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord; in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One.” (Is 24:14-15)

The Psalmist says, Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; Let the sea roar, and all it contains; Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy Before the Lord, for He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in His faithfulness.’ (Ps 96: 11-13)

Creation Will Flourish Again
In the coming age Christ will restore the perfect conditions of the Garden of Eden. The only difference will be that all things will be subject to His authority as King. Listen to how similar the description of the coming days sounds to what we know about the condition of the earth before the flood:

The Curse Will Be Removed:
Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up,and instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, and it will be a memorial to the Lord, for an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.” (Is 55:13)

The Land will be Leveled
The mountains will be removed and valleys lifted up.” (Is 40:45)

Long Life Will be Restored
No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his days; for the youth will die at the age of one hundred and the one who does not reach the age of one hundred will be thought accursed.” (Is 65:20)

Nature Will Flourish
And in that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine, and the hills will flow with milk,
and all the brooks of Judah will flow with water; and a spring will go out from the house of the Lord to water the valley of Shittim. (Joel 3:18)

Do not fear, O land, rejoice and be glad, for the Lord has done great things. Do not fear, beasts of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness have turned green, for the tree has borne its fruit, the fig tree and the vine have yielded in full. So rejoice, O sons of Zion, and be glad in the Lord your God; for He has given you the early rain for your vindication. and He has poured down for you the rain, the early and latter rain as before. The threshing floors will be full of grain, and the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil. (Joel 2:21-24)

Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field is considered as a forest.” (Is 32:15)

Water Will Abound
The beasts of the field will glorify Me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I have given waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My chosen people. (Is 43:20)

I will open rivers on the bare heights and springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water and the dry land fountains of water.” (Is 41:18)

“Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah. The scorched land will become a pool and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, its resting place, grass becomes reeds and rushes.” (Is 35:6-7)

On every lofty mountain and on every high hill there will be streams running with water on the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.” (Is 30:25)

The wilderness and the desert will be glad, and the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it will blossom profusely and rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.” (Is 35:1-2)

“I will open rivers on the bare heights and springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water and the dry land fountains of water. I will put the cedar in the wilderness, the acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert together with the box tree and the cypress, that they may see and recognize, and consider and gain insight as well, that the hand of the Lord has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Is 41:18-20)

“Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert. The beasts of the field will glorify Me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I have given waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My chosen people. The people whom I formed for Myself will declare My praise.” (Is 43:19-21)

Crops Will Abound
 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “When the plowman will overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; when the mountains will drip sweet wine and all the hills will be dissolved. (Amos 9:13)

Then He will give you rain for the seed which you will sow in the ground, and bread from the yield of the ground, and it will be rich and plenteous; on that day your livestock will graze in a roomy pasture. Also the oxen and the donkeys which work the ground will eat salted fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. On every lofty mountain and on every high hill there will be streams running with water on the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, on the day the Lord binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted.” (Is 30:23-26)

It will blossom profusely and rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the Lord, The majesty of our God.” (Is 35:2)

Fish Will Abound
Then he said to me, “These waters go out toward the eastern region and go down into the Arabah; then they go toward the sea, being made to flow into the sea, and the waters of the sea become fresh. It will come about that every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes, will live. And there will be very many fish, for these waters go there and the others become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.” (Ez 47:6-12)

Fruit Will Abound
By the river on its bank, on one side and on the other, will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither and their fruit will not fail. They will bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary, and their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing. (Ez 47:12)

Infirmities Will Be Healed
Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,  in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Rev 22:1-2)

Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.” (Is 35:5)

The World Will Be Free From Harm
And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea.” (Is 11:6-9)

But This Time Everyone Will Know the Lord
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab 2:14)

They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea.” (Is 11:9)

Cold Will Be Banished
The prophet Zechariah describes the first day of Christ’s rule as a unique day like no other:

In that day there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle. For it will be a unique day which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but it will come about that at evening time there will be light. And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter.(Zech 14:6-8)

As Christ takes up His throne in Jerusalem, living waters will begin to pour out from the city to the east and west and He will signal the beginning of a new age by reversing the order of night and day. Year-round warmth will be restored. It will be a glorious day like no other in history.

Footnotes
1. Movement of the earth’s crust will produce enormous friction that will melt rock in the core, strengthening the magnetic field, thereby filtering out additional harmful radiation from the sun. (https://bit.ly/2FCrzwO) Livescience.com

2. Science: Putting on Ancient Airs, Time Magazine, Monday, Nov 9, 1987, https://bit.ly/2T49CKi

3. “The remains of gigantic animals have been found, including sheep the size of present-day cart horses, hogs with tusks like elephants have been dug out of an ancient gorge at Olduvai in East Africa. Two giant human teeth have also been found….. 

Dr. Leakey has found the complete skeleton of a Pleistocene sheep with a horn-span of fourteen feet. He also unearthed wild hogs the size of a rhinoceros with elephant sized tusks. He has found a giant sized giraffe, baboons as big as modern gorillas, and massive zebras and antelopes.” (“There Were Giants  in the Earth in Those Days,”  Out of Place Artifacts and Ancient High Technology, http://s8int.com/phile/giants23.html)

4.  The Ice Age – Part 1, Michael Oard, https://bit.ly/2TZV3Yr

5. “Ring of Fire,” Wikipedia, https://bit.ly/1W7EG76

6. David, Leonard (7 October 2013). Russian Fireball Explosion Shows Meteor Risk Greater Than Thought. http://www.space.com. New York, NY USA: Wired Magazine/Conde Nast.best estimate of the equivalent nuclear blast yield of the Chelyabinsk explosion

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Discovering the Doctrines of Grace

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.(Eph 2:8-9)

This site is primarily about three things – Reformed Theology, Creationism, and the return of Jesus Christ. First, let’s consider what makes the Reformed Church different from today’s typical Evangelical Church. Here are some ways in which the Reformed Church differs from the today’s typical Evangelical Church:

First, the Reformed Church is different in its preaching.
Reformed preachers don’t preach topical sermons. They preach through the Bible, passage by passage, line upon line, precept upon precept, one verse at a time. They use what is called the “grammatical-historical” approach to interpret the text. That is, they delve deep into the grammar of the original language and the historical context of the writer to try to understand what he is saying to his readers. Moving from passage to passage in this way keeps the preacher from straying from the original intent of the author. This also keeps him from reading his own biases into the text. The result is that the word that is preached is the Word of God in the truest sense, i.e. a genuine word from God and not the preacher.

Second, the Reformed Church is Different in its Application of the Word of God.
Evangelical churches often work backwards from application to exposition. They start with their conclusion and then back it up with texts from the Bible. This is called “proof texting.” As with any argument, starting with the conclusion means you exclude whatever texts don’t support your thesis. That leaves scripture wide open to misinterpretation. But if you start with the text and draw out the application through the exposition, you are far more likely to come up with the meaning God intended to convey. Often, the application has become so obvious by the time the exposition is done that it requires no additional explanation.

Third, Reformed Preachers Avoid Personal Anecdotes.
Very rarely will you hear a Reformed preacher tell some interesting or amusing tale. While doing so might perk up the interest of the audience, it limits the significance of the lesson to only those who can relate to the preacher’s experience. Leaving out personal anecdotes makes the message more relevant to people of different cultures, times and places. For instance, a Charles Swindoll message may strike a chord with a modern, affluent, suburban American, but it would seem alien to an Indonesian Christian who lives in a primitive Muslim culture. However, the message, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” preached by Jonathan Edwards in the eighteenth century still grips the heart today.

Fourth, Personal Spiritual Growth is Not the Main Focus of Reformed Preaching.
It would perhaps be more accurate to say that Reformed Theology draws no distinction between salvation and sanctification. Reformed theology focuses like a laser on the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is forever fascinated with the grace of God in providing salvation for a fallen humanity. It doesn’t ever “move on” from salvation, because salvation is a continuing process that is not dependent on a one-time decision but a constant renewal by the Holy Spirit. It never stops exploring the depths of God’s grace and mercy in redeeming creatures who were  fit only for destruction.

As an evangelical, I had lost my sense of wonder at God’s saving grace as I pushed forward with my “spiritual growth.” As a Reformed Christian, I was re-captivated by the unfathomable riches of God’s grace in saving me.  Salvation and sanctification are part of a continuum on the spectrum from salvation to glorification as described by “the golden chain” in Romans 8:30, “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Fifth, Reformed Theology Teaches That Salvation Necessarily Produces Obedience.
Absent spiritual fruit, there is no reason to believe there ever was salvation in the first place. The evangelical church, on the other hand, often distinguishes between “salvation” and “Lordship“. If you “accepted Christ as your Savior,” disobedience might result in loss of rewards, but never make you forfeit your salvation. That is why so much disgraceful behavior is tolerated in the evangelical church. It is also why there is little or no church discipline and why the outside world often views the church as a bunch of hypocrites.

Sixth, Reformed Worship Tends to be More Reverent.
Church is a place that is set apart for the express purpose of worshiping God. It looks different from the typical places people go for work or school or play. It sounds different. Sometimes it even smells different. Like the Jewish temple of old, it is a place designed especially for worshiping God. Seeker-Friendly evangelical services, on the other hand, tend to be casual and friendly to appeal to the tastes of a culture accustomed to comfort, convenience and entertainment. Even their sanctuaries with their auditorium-style seating, big stages, contemporary music, sophisticated sound systems, professional musicians and polished speakers resemble the playhouses, movie theaters, and auditoriums where seekers go for entertainment. So people who live their lives to fulfill their own desires feel very comfortable in a seeker-friendly service.

Seventh, Evangelism is Not a Matter of Human Persuasion, But the Natural Outcome of Teaching and Preaching.
Reformed believers do not share their personal testimony or use an abbreviated gospel presentation to win people to Christ. They just take every opportunity to bear witness to the truth and leave the results to the Holy Spirit. Pastors don’t do altar calls and believers don’t seal the deal with a prayer of salvation so they can take credit for the eternal destiny of some soul. Since the natural man cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit, human persuasion is of no value in producing conversions. Only if the listener is moved by the Holy Spirit, will he respond in faith. If he doesn’t, there is nothing anyone can do but pray for him. This relegates the one who shares the gospel to the role of an ambassador who is delivering a message on behalf of his Lord, not a salesman who is trying to make a quota.

Eighth, Reformed Theology Produces Continual Joy.
I am sure you have witnessed the joy of a newborn Christian when he first comes to faith and then seen how it wanes as the years go by. He loses the sense of wonder at God’s grace and the thrill of the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. The Reformed believer never loses that initial sense of wonder and awe. It just keeps on growing. Like the Apostle Paul he can comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and thus know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” (Eph 3:14-19). Why? Because he understands how utterly lost he really was without Christ and how hopeless he was to do anything about it. If one believes that salvation is a matter of exercising his own free will to choose Christ, then once that choice is made, it’s on to the next thing. But when you realize that you would be on your way to hell if God had not chosen you before the foundation of the world and that you could do absolutely nothing to influence that choice, then you are forever grateful that God chose you. 

Ninth, Reformed Theology Produces Confidence in Our Position in Christ.
If, as the apostle Paul says in Ephesian 2:1, God chose us when we were dead in our trespasses and sins, then, now that we belong to Him, what could we possibly do to drive Him away? As he so eloquently says in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” On the other hand, if you believe it was your choice to follow Christ in the first place, then there is no guarantee that you will not abandon him at some point.

Tenth, Reformed Theology Produces Strength for Trials.
Nothing can tear us out of God’s grip. He began a good work in us and he will finish it (Phil 1:6). If Jesus is advocating for us at the right hand of God, who will bring a charge against us (Rom 8:33)? So no matter what trouble comes our way, we know that we will be able to come out with our faith in tact at the other end. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Rom 8:37). Why is Paul so sure? Because “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:7-8). If he died for us while we were sinners, why would he abandon us now that we have been reconciled to him? “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” (Eph 1:3) Our position is secure. We have already received every spiritual blessing that will be ours in heaven. It’s just waiting there for us.

Eleventh, Reformed Theology Produces Holiness.
Once you understand that Christ allowed himself to be separated  from the Father He so deeply loved to suffer the awful rejection that we so richly deserve, you will think long and hard before doing anything that would hurt Him. “For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt” (Heb 6:4-6).

Twelfth, Reformed Theology Crushes Pride and Exalts God.
Romans 1:28-32 says, “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” You can lead what you think is a perfectly moral and upright life, but if you do not acknowledge God, then as far as He is concerned you are no better than those who are “…gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless” (Rom 1:29-31). Why? Because the fact that God sent his Son to die for you when you were in such a debased state should produce a deep sense of gratitude and humility. If it does not, then you have real reason to doubt your salvation.

Thirteenth, Reformed Theology Emphasizes Discipleship Rather Than Works.
Evangelicals say they believe in salvation by grace and not by works but the very act of “making a decision for Christ” is a good work. Jesus made it clear to Nicodemas that new life comes from above like a blowing wind. It is imperceptible. No one knows where it came from or where it will go (Jn 3:8). He told Peter that it was the Father Who revealed the Son of God to him. (Mt 16:17) And He Himself said, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father” (Jn 6:65).

Those who believe they can make some contribution to their own salvation by choosing Christ inevitably rely on their own efforts to assure their salvation. They constantly strive to validate that faith by doing good deeds. That is why the Evangelical church is filled with programs called “ministries.”

Reformed believers, on the other hand,  emphasize long-term spiritual growth through ongoing discipleship based on the ministry of the word of God and prayer. Problems, whatever they may be, are dealt with in the context of these relationships, not some shared issue.  The objective is growth in Christian character, i.e. sanctification, not overcoming some common problem.

God was faithful to me by showing me the riches of his grace through Reformed Theology.
I might have turned my back on God when the church turned its back on me, but instead God brought me to the Reformed Faith through men like John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, Allistair Begg, Steve Lawson and Sinclair Ferguson. You see, I never blamed God for turning His back on me. Through all my hard times, my name was always written in His book of life. For as the apostle Paul says, “He chose us in Him [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.” (Eph 1:4).

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Christ Was His Own Executioner

For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father” (Jn 10:17-18)

Jesus had a “Reasonable Soul”
I have always believed that Jesus Christ was both God and Man. But until I was introduced to the Reformed Faith, I did not think He had a fully human soul. I always thought the Holy Spirit took the place of the human soul in His body. Why? Because for me it was beyond comprehension that one finite human soul could bear the wrath of God against the sins of so many. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, should be able to endure such wrath because He is an infinite Spirit. Or so I thought.

But then I was introduced to the Westminster Shorter Catechism and Question 22 caught my eye:

Q: How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A: Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin.

The proof text for “reasonable soul” is Matthew 26:28. “Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

It is indeed a mystery that infinite Divinity took on finite human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. But it is an even greater mystery to me that it was the finite part, his human body and soul, that somehow bore the punishment of my sin along with the sins of all who ever have or ever will come to faith in Christ. One human body with one human soul bearing all of God’s wrath to redeem sinful humanity!! It was not Christ’s divine nature that bore our sins, for God is eternal and cannot die. Human sins require a human sacrifice. This is especially remarkable when you consider the fact that Christ suffered weaknesses of the flesh like hunger and thirst and fatigue. How then could He possibly bear the enormous burden of God’s wrath against our sin?

Christ Was in Control
Then I was exposed to another mind-blowing concept. Christ orchestrated His own execution! He didn’t just willingly submit to the Father’s will, but he Himself drove a process that had been put in place by agreement of the Trinity before the world began!! When the time for His death drew near, He marched straight into the arms of his executioners, according to Luke 9:51, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.”  His determination to march to his own death was so great that it frightened the disciples. They knew that following Him would probably mean dying with Him (Jn 11:16). After He had taken his last Passover meal with the disciples, John 13:3-4a says, “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, …rose from supper.” From this point on He was in control of all the circumstances surrounding His death. Remember He is the one who told Judas to put his treacherous plan into play in John 13:27, “Jesus said to him, What you are going to do, do quickly.” When Judas and the temple guard later came to the garden to arrest Him, they all fell backwards in terror (John 18:6), probably because Christ appeared to them in His glory. Yet He refused to exercise that glory by escaping. Later when He refused to tell Pilate where He came from, Pilate threatened him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?”  Jesus responded by saying, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.(John 19) The calm and control with which Jesus faced the prospect of such a gruesome death must have been unnerving for the governor, because from that point on Pilate did everything he could to try to free Jesus.

Prophecy Fulfilled
The circumstances of Christ’s crucifixion also coincided perfectly with the symbolism of the Passover, highlighting the significance of His death as the sacrifice for the sins of mankind. Only God could have accomplished such a feat. All of the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning Christ’s death and resurrection were fulfilled at the cross. Compare the description of the crucifixion in Psalm 22 with the actual events of Christ’s death:

All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!

“Many bulls encompass me;
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.”

“I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.”

For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet
I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”

This Psalm repeats the exact words uttered by the bystanders at Christ’s crucifixion and the very actions taken by the soldiers at the foot of the cross (Lk 23:35, John 19:24) as well as the manner in which Christ died.

Isaiah 53:5-6 says:

And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death…

Matthew 27:57–60 describes the fulfillment of this prophecy:

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock.”

God Planned it All
God not only knew every detail of Christ’s crucifixion, He planned it exactly the way it took place. Acts 3:18 says, “But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled.

God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit agreed before the world began that the Father would send the Son to earth as a man to pay the price for the sins of mankind in order to spare all who would believe in Christ from eternal punishment. Then Jesus carried out the plan according to the divine counsel. (Heb 10:5-7)

But the fact that Christ suffered the wrath of God in a body made of frail human flesh with a limited capacity for suffering and that He did so willingly when He could have stopped the process at any time is way beyond my comprehension. We know from scripture that Christ got tired and needed sleep, that He got hungry and needed food, that He got thirsty and needed drink. Yet this man, made of the same stuff we are, somehow endured a level of pain and suffering that seems beyond all proportion to the physical, mental and emotional limits of human nature. And beyond that, for the short while He hung on that cross, He was separated from God the Father with Whom He had unbroken fellowship throughout all eternity.  Despite the gruesome nature of His physical suffering, that was by far the most agonizing part of the cross. How do we comprehend the fact that the bond between God the Father and God the Son could have been severed?  How is that possible? They are both part of the same Triune God!

We Will One Day Know
Though impossible for us to comprehend these mysteries now, we will one day understand them better. And when we do, we will join with the hosts of heaven in praising Jesus:

Worthy is the lamb who was killed
to receive power and wealth
and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and praise!”

Then I heard every creature – in heaven, on earth, under the earth, in the sea, and all that is in them – singing:

“To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be praise, honor, glory, and ruling power forever and ever!”

And the four living creatures were saying “Amen,” and the elders threw themselves to the ground and worshiped.“(Rev 5:12-14)

How I long for that day. Don’t you?

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No One Really Believes in Evolution

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.”(2Pet 3:10)

Knowledge of Creation is Universal
The book of Psalms says,

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.” (Ps1:1-4)

In other words, the witness of creation to the handiwork of God is universally understood, no matter what people say to the contrary. Everyone knows there is a God and that He created the universe. They may not admit it. In fact, they may adamantly deny it. But deep down they know there will come a time when they will have to stand before that Creator and give a reason why they refused to believe in Him. And for them that will be a day of great terror as they realize it is too late to change their mind. Here are some reasons why the existence of a Creator God is undeniable:

Irreducible Complexity
Charles Darwin said, “…Natural selection acts only by taking advantage of slight successive variations; she can never take a great and sudden leap, but must advance by short and sure, though slow steps.”1 Thus, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”2 Any organisms whose individual parts are all essential for functioning could not have evolved piece by piece. Such organisms are called ‘irreducibly complex.’ Remove any part and the organism would fail. According to Darwin himself, the human eye is a good example of an irreducible organism. He said, “To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.3

The Unchanging World
The Bible says creation stopped on the sixth day and that God rested on the seventh day. Scientists call this “The First Law of Thermodynamics.” It states that the amount of energy in the  universe is constant. It does not change. That means that there have been no new plants or animals or planets or stars since day six. But according to secular scientists, evolution is a process that has continued unabated from the very beginning.  If this is true, it contradicts the First Law of Thermodynamics. History should record new species of plants and animals and new stars forming in the night sky as time goes on. Although we may see additional stars as technology improves and we can look deeper into space, and every so often someone does discover a plant or animal that no one else has ever seen before, there is no evidence that those things did not exist long before they were ever observed.

Many Living Things Depend on Each Other for Survival
Living things that depend upon one another for survival could not have evolved separately over long ages. If they were not created in close succession, how could they have developed such intricate interdependence? For instance, it takes bees to pollinate flowers so they can reproduce, green plants to provide oxygen for animals so they can breathe, animals to provide carbon dioxide for plants so they can breathe, etc. Had these plants and animals and insects evolved separately over eons of time, such interdependence could never have occurred. None would have ever had a chance to survive.

Reproduction
It is hard enough to believe that a human being capable of rationale thought and feelings of right and wrong could evolve from a single celled organism. But how unthinkable is the idea that another cell could evolve independently along the exact same lines at the exact same time but with a reproductive system that was complementary so that the two  could produce offspring with the same genetic characteristics! How would the two know how to recombine their DNA? This dilemma would have to apply not just to human beings, but to all living things that reproduce sexually!! Where would the spark of life have come from in the first place? How does something that is inorganic suddenly become a living thing? How does that living thing then acquire intelligence? Where does a sense of spirituality come from? The Bible says that life comes from life and spirit comes from spirit. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. ” (Jn 3:6) It takes a living Being to create life and a living Spirit to create another spirit.

Judgment is Coming
Paul explains why man refuses to believe in God despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary in the book of Romans:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.  For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools,  and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” (Rom 1:18-23)

People choose evolution not because the scientific evidence leads them there but because they refuse to acknowledge and worship the Creator. They will not yield to the Lord of the Universe, but insist on having their own way. The consequences of such willful disobedience is to finally be separated from God for all eternity.

Hell is for the Unbeliever
The Bible describes the place that God has prepared for those who refuse to acknowledge Him as a fiery furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, a place of outer darkness (Mt 8:12; 25:30; 13:42; 13:50; 24:51; 22:13). There will be no relief forever (Lk13:28). That is not the place you want go. So if you insist on clinging to a belief in evolution despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, today would be a great day to reconsider before it is too late.

Footnotes
1. Darwin, Charles. “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.” 1859, p. 162. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Origin_of_Species.
2. Ibid. p. 158
3. Ibid, p. 155

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Evidence of a Young Solar System

And God said, Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and yearsAnd there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.” (Gen 1:14, 19)

According to evolution, the stars came into existence billions of years before the earth. But according to the Bible, the earth was created before the stars. Modern science has recently uncovered much evidence that the sun is, in fact, not billions of years old, but only thousands of years old.

Too Cold For Life to Form
Scientists estimate that the supply of hydrogen available to the sun should last for about ten billion years. Since they put the age of the sun at 4.6 billion years, it should have used about half its supply of hydrogen. If this were the case, the sun should have become twenty-five percent brighter as it converted to a nuclear reaction of hydrogen at its core, raising the temperature of the earth about 18ºC. The average temperature of the earth today is 15ºC, so back when life was beginning, it would have been below freezing and completely inhospitable for the formation of life. Water on the earth would have been frozen into great glacial masses that would have cooled the earth even further as sunlight was reflected from its surface. However, at the same time the earth was cooling, there is evidence Mars was warming. Obviously, both scenarios cannot be true.

Neutrino Levels and Oscillation
There are three ways to measure the age of the sun. One is to sample the neutrino flux — the emission of neutrinos from the sun. Neutrinos are extremely small particles that are cast off in the conversion of hydrogen to helium. The level of neutrino production should indicate how much helium the sun has created. For the past twenty-five years, Raymond Davis of the University of Pennsylvania has been recording neutrino levels deep in the Homesteak Mine of South Dakota where other particles are filtered out. The levels he has found are consistent with the short time frame for creation posited by the Creationists.1

Science holds that as stars age they gradually collapse and develop extremely dense cores, converting from helium production on the surface to a hydrogen-fueled nuclear reaction at the core.  The formation of these dense cores causes stars to oscillate, or ‘twinkle.’ A team of Russian astronomers measured the oscillation of the sun in 1976. They found that the degree of oscillation along with the level of neutrino flux was consistent with a young, homogeneous star no more than 7500 years old.2

Lithium Levels
All but about one percent of the sun’s supply of lithium has been consumed. It would take a mere 7500 years for this much lithium to be used up at a temperature of three million degrees, the temperature at which it is destroyed. Beryllium, on the other hand, is destroyed at a temperature of four million degrees. It exists in abundance on the sun. So the sun’s temperature has to be between three and four million degrees, not the fifteen million degrees expected of a star that is 4.6 billion years old – more evidence that the age of the sun can be no more than 7500 years.3

Moon Dust
When astronauts first landed on the moon, they expected to sink deep in cosmic dust that had accumulated over billions of years. What they found was the thin layer bearing their boot prints that you have seen in pictures. When NASA scientists analyzed the moon rocks that the astronauts brought back with them, they found that only one-and-a-half percent were coated with material from vaporized meteorites, material high in nickel content. The amount of “cosmic dust” from vaporized meteorites should have been far greater if the moon is in fact billions of years old.4

More Astronomical Data Confirming the Bible
In Joshua 10:13 God displayed His power over the sun and moon by bringing them to a complete stop for a whole day while Joshua finished defeating the Amorites. The historical accuracy of this event can be demonstrated with astronomical data. Reckoning forward from the first recorded solstice in the ancient Egyptian calendar to the date of this battle, it occurred on a Tuesday, but if one works backwards from the most recent solstice, it occurred on a Wednesday. These two days share the same date.5

Conclusion
The word “creation” implies that the universe was fully formed from the beginning, just like the fish that Jesus created to feed thousands of  people.  They were not evolved while the crowd sat on the ground waiting to be fed. They just appeared instantly. Creation by definition does not start from point zero, but at maturity. The Bible says, “God said, …let there be… and it was so.” All it took was a word to set the earth spinning, the stars shining, the plants and animals growing, and man and woman breathing. Stars already appeared to be light years away just like Adam appeared to be a fully grown young man and Eve a fully developed young woman. The book of Genesis clearly states that the sun, moon and stars were created on the fourth day of creation, after the earth, sky, seas and plants, not billions of years before. (Gen 1:3-19)

Footnotes

1. Bahcall, John N. Institute for Advanced Study, Olden Lane, Princeton, New Jersey; and Davis, Raymond Jr., Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. “The Evolution of Neutrino Astronomy.” http://www.sns.ias.edu/~jnb/Papers/Popular/Millennium/paper.pdf.
2. “Creationism vs. Evolution, Evidence From Our Solar System.” http://www.biblestudymanuals.net/k02.htm.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. Riss, Richard M. “The Long Day of Joshua,” Christian Evidences,
http://www.grmi.org/Richard_Riss/evidences/7longday.html,  November 30, 1

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More Reasons to Believe in Creation

It is time to lay to rest the misguided, but popularly believed un–truth that in our world, gradual, step by step random mutations could have climbed the mountain of improbability and produced the magnificent abundance of the Earth’s biosphere.” (Dr. Gerald Schroeder, MIT)

Linguistic Evidence For Creation
The oldest written language in the world is Chinese. It dates back 4500 years, just shortly after the biblical account of the Tower of Babel, and consists of thousands of characters. Each of these characters is composed of individual symbols that represent the natural order.

Chinese Create Character.png

Create
The Chinese character for ‘create’ combines the symbols for ‘speak,’ ‘dust,’ ‘life,’ and ‘walk’ to tell the Genesis story of how God fashioned man from the dust of the earth and then gave him speech by blowing the breath of life into his mouth (Gen 2:7)

Chinese Charracter for  Happiness.png

Happiness
The Chinese character for happiness contains the symbol for God on the left side. On the right side are the symbols for one, mouth, and garden. The Chinese symbol for ‘mouth’ often represents a person. One mouth or person alone in the garden with God is the way the Chinese depicted happiness (Gen 2:8).

Chineses Character for Garden.png

Garden
The Chinese character for garden contains the symbols for enclosure, dust, breath, and a person with another person coming out of his side. This is a pictorial representation of the biblical account of the Garden of Eden where God created man from the dust
of the earth, blew the breath of life into his mouth, placed him in the garden, and then created woman from one of his ribs (Gen 2:21-23).

Chinese Character for Forbidden.png

Forbidden
The Chinese character for forbidden is comprised of the symbol for command along with the symbol for two trees, referring to God’s command to Adam and Eve not to take from the fruit of either the Tree of Life or the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the middle of the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:16-17).

Covet.png

Covet
The character for covet tells the story of Eve, Adam’s  wife, succumbing to the temptation to take and eat fruit from one of the two forbidden trees (Gen 3:6-7).

Chinese Character for Boat.png

Boat
Ancient Chinese history contains an account of a universal flood that closely parallels the one in the book of Genesis. The Chinese character for boat depicts eight mouths in a vessel. In the biblical account of the flood, Noah and his family, eight people in all, rode out the deluge in a big boat they built according to God’s instructions (Gen 7:11-13).

Chinese Character for Righteousness.png
Righteousness
The character for righteousness sums up the whole Bible message in just thirteen strokes. The top half of this character is the symbol for sheep. The bottom portion represents me. In the Old Testament, righteousness could only be imparted by covering the sinner with the blood of a sacrificial lamb. As a mere symbol of Christ’s sacrifice, the sheep’s blood was nothing more than an empty ritual and had to be repeated over and over again. In the New Testament, the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, fulfilled that same function. But Jesus’ sacrifice was a perfect sacrifice that took away sins forever (Heb 10:8-12).(1)

Why Is There A Universe?
Evolutionists maintain that all living beings originated from single cell organisms that grew in complexity through a process of natural selection over millions of years. According to them, there was no creator; the world somehow appeared in a big bang. Of course, there are myriads of problems with this theory. It violates some of the most basic laws of science like the law of cause and effect, which says that for every effect there must be a cause. Well, the Big Bang Theory says the universe has no cause and leaves unanswered the question of ‘Why?’ Richard Dawkins, noted proponent of evolution,says, “The essence of life is statistical improbability on a colossal scale.”(2) He nonetheless maintains that the laws of nature simply favor life. Francis Crick, who discovered the structure of DNA, believed that the only explanation for the rapid appearance of life on earth was the deliberate seeding of the planet. But who did the seeding?

The biggest problem for the evolutionist is how to explain the emergence of living organisms from inert matter and the human spirit from a living organism without the involvement of a pre-existent Spirit. John 3:6 says, “What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.

What are the Odds of Evolution?
Steven Hawkings, author of A Brief History of Time,  compared the probability of life evolving to a horde of monkeys producing one of Shakespeare’s sonnets by randomly pecking on typewriter keys. The likelihood of that happening would be minuscule. Even
the odds of simply spelling out the poet’s name would be scant. If the monkeys had one random peck for each of the ten letters in the poet’s name, the chance that the first typed letter would be ‘s’ would be one in twenty-six. The chance that the second letter would be ‘h’ would also be one in twenty-six. The likelihood that the first two letters taken together would be ‘sh’ would be one in 26×26 and so on for the rest of the name. So the probability that a monkey could type just the word ‘Shakespeare’ by randomly pecking on the keys of a typewriter is less than one in a trillion. Would you bet on those odds? (3)

Suppose that, against all odds, a living cell did emerge over time. Without a fully evolved and functioning reproductive system, it would never be able to pass on its attributes. Furthermore, since cellular processes are essentially the same in all organisms, evolution would have to produce the same results over and over again by chance against enormous odds.

Dr. Gerald Schroeder, double Ph.D. in nuclear physics and earth and planetary sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and former consultant at the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission says, “It is time to lay to rest the misguided, but popularly believed un–truth that in our world, gradual, step by step random mutations could have climbed the mountain of improbability and produced the magnificent abundance of the Earth’s biosphere.” (4)

Simon Conway Morris, professor of evolutionary paleo-biology at Cambridge University and Fellow of the Royal Society of England, is one of the world’s leading paleontologists. In his book, Life’s Solutions, Dr. Morris says, “Life is simply too complex to be assembled on any believable time scale,” but then goes on to say, “Evolution has the uncanny ability to find the short cuts across the multidimensional hyperspace of biological reality …” So rather than ascribe the order and intricate balance of life to an all–powerful, all–wise God operating with a plan, he chooses to attribute it to an impersonal, unconscious force acting aimlessly. (5) That would be like stumbling upon a perfectly functioning Rolex watch lying on the beach and assuming the action of wind and waves had assembled it over eons of time.

The following diagram represents the likelihood of life occurring by chance as compared to design:
Creationism vs Evolution Diagram.png
Occam’s Razor
Sir Isaac Newton said, “We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances. Therefore, to the same natural effects we must, so far as possible, assign the same causes.” This principle is known as ‘Occam’s Razor,’ otherwise known as the ‘Law of Parsimony’ or ‘Law of Economy.’ It means that natural phenomena are best explained in terms of the hypothesis that makes the fewest new assumptions.(6)

Ruling out some causes because of a bias against the simplest and most logical explanation is not consistent with this principle. Explaining origins in terms of the acts of a creative and almighty God requires far fewer new assumptions than supposing the universe and all living things emerged spontaneously of their own volition. Where would the volition come from, anyway? Neither is the notion that mutations can cause improvements in a consistent progression borne out by science. Quite the opposite, mutations ordinarily cause a loss of information or sometimes a transfer of information, but they never cause an increase in information. There is no evidence that organisms become more complex over time. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Organisms become weaker, life spans become shorter and species die out, as you would expect in a world that has been cursed by sin because, “By sin death entered into the world” (Rom 5:12).

Evolution or Devolution?
According to the book of Genesis, people lived for almost a thousand years before the flood. The only survivors of the flood were Noah and his sons,  Shem, Ham and Japheth. These three were the progenitors of all the races of modern day mankind. Genesis chapter 11 traces the descendants of Shem because he was the father of the Semite nations from which Abraham and the Jewish nation came. Shem was 100 years old when the flood came. He lived another five hundred years after the flood. Abraham was born 290 years after the flood. At that time, Shem was 390 years old. Abraham lived to the ripe old age of 175, but Shem did not die til the age of 600! He outlived Abraham by 35 years!! They both lived under the same environmental conditions after the flood. They probably ate the same foods. The only difference was their genetic makeup. Shem was born just 1500 years after creation. Abraham was born 390 years later, 290 years after the flood. Over that period of time, the curse of sin had so weakened the human genome that lifespans had decreased by a whopping 70%! (7)

Timeline Noah to Abraham.png

So how could the ancients produce such engineering marvels as the great Pyramids,
moving huge stones great distances from the place where they were cut and achieving tighter tolerances than than any modern stone cutting implements could produce? Was it the work of aliens from another planet? No. More likely it was the work of human beings of far superior intelligence. The fossil record contains human footprints that are much larger than those of modern man, indicating superior size and strength, and likely superior intelligence. Modern artists have never replicated the music of men like Mozart,  Beethoven or Handel, who all lived hundreds of years ago. In the fossil record there are imprints of dragon flies with three foot wing spans, indicating that even insects were larger and more vigorous. All these are evidences that creation is devolving and not evolving, as modern scientists would have us believe.

Footnotes
1. Kong, C.H. and Nelson, Ethel. “The Discovery of Genesis“. P. xiii.
2. Richard Dawkins. Brainy Quote. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/richarddaw391955.html.
3. Hawking, S.W. “A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes.” p:123. Bantam Books. NewYork, 1988.
4. Schroeder, Dr. Gerald. “God According to God.” Harper Collins. 2009.
http://www.creationdefense.org/06.htm.
5. Morris, Simon Conway. “Life’s Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe.” Cambridge University Press. 2003.
6. “Occam’s Razor.” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Parsimony.
7.  https://www.understandchristianity.com/timelines/genesis-genealogical-charts/

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