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Biblical Prophecy Thread

catfishpunter

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I posted a handful of posts on biblical prophecy in the Fraggle/LAC thread a few weeks ago. There seemed to be some general interest in the subject, and not wanting to take that thread in a different direction than its author (our very own @tgsio) intended, I'm making a home for it here.

I'd like to do the following - share a few specific topical posts that may be of interest, particularly when they relate to things that are or have been in the news over the past few years. I also would like to intersperse a walk through the book of Revelation. I'll go front to back, chapter by chapter through it and do my best to explain every bit that I can.

Questions are always VERY welcome. There will be some times where a question might be asked that is going to come up in a future post, and if so, I'll address that if I can.

I'd like to avoid debate that devolves into name-calling or anything ugly. If you have a very different viewpoint of Scripture (maybe you're a preterist, for instance), I may not be able to engage point for point on every single question or area of disagreement. It's not because I don't want to engage, but if we're coming at things from two completely different perspectives, it may not make sense to argue the minute details of our disagreement every step along the way. We'll just never see eye to eye, and that's OK.

What do I think you'll get out of this?
If you're a Christian and haven't been much of a student of biblical prophecy, I hope you'll learn something and maybe get an interest in the subject that helps you understand the Bible and your faith in Jesus more deeply. If you are a student of prophecy, I appreciate any insights you might bring.

If you're not a Christian, well, I'd be lying if I said otherwise, but I do hope that this discussion gives you pause to maybe reconsider what you've thought about God, the Bible, and Jesus to date. I understand one of the greatest challenges people have with Jesus is that they have met so many of His followers who don't act like Him at all. For that, for all of us, I'm truly sorry. I've been that way myself in my own life, just a rotten person at times, and sometimes, for very long periods of time. Jesus saves us and changes us, but perfection isn't in the cards for this lifetime. Look past us, if you can, and look at Him. He's worth it, I can promise you.

That said, I do know that there is a subset of readers who are not Christians and will not reconsider Jesus, at least at this time. You are also completely welcome to join. We have so much in common as fellow advocates for free speech and liberty, and I hope that you find this interesting and intellectually stimulating, at a minimum. One takeaway for you might be gaining a better understanding of a belief system that underlies and motivates untold millions who live and work around you.


What is my background?
If you're wondering the approach I'll take to Scripture, I hold to a belief that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, and that it was given to us as the authority for life. It shows us aspects of God and His plan for people, and as it came from God, is inerrant in its original languages. I will do my very best to provide links and references to Scripture throughout the thread, and when I do so, I will tend to reference the New American Standard translation. It was translated in a "word for word" style of translation, meaning that, while it may be a little more difficult to read than more colloquial translations, the meaning of the verses hold tightly to the original languages. I'll note versions used as often as I remember to do so.

I believe that the Bible uses prophecy to prove its power as the Word of God, to prepare people for what is to come, and to show people God's faithfulness as things promised become things realized.

I hold exactly zero degrees from a Bible school or seminary, but have been a follower of Jesus for over 30 years. My educational background includes degrees in biology, tech, and business, and I have work experience in research biology, tech, and food & ag.

Regarding the end of the world, I subscribe to a Pre-Tribulation rapture of the Church, and the doctrine of imminence (meaning that this could happen at any time, without warning). I believe that event is to be followed by seven incredibly horrible years on Earth, as God finally lets all of mankind who prefers to live without Him live life and run the planet according to man's best plans and thinking. The world in that period will be led by the most talented yet most nefarious man to ever live, the Antichrist, who will be a literal servant of Satan. As man wallows in his own crapulence (thank you, Mr. Burns of The Simpsons for that beautiful word), he will also face the wrath of God in successive judgments exercised on the planet and its inhabitants.

While that period will be unspeakably horrible, it will also be a time of incredible turning to God, as hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, realize that life without God is no life at all, and that Jesus truly is the Savior of mankind. These people will find salvation, while most of the people on the earth still refuse to turn to God. The Antichrist and his worldwide government will hunt both new Christians and Jews alike, seeking to slaughter all of them.

After seven years, Jesus will return to the Earth, defeat the Antichrist, bind Satan from acting, and establish His long-prophesied earthly kingdom for 1,000 years. At the end of that time, Satan will be released, and he will attempt one final rebellion against Jesus. He will be destroyed and thrown into Hell.

Following that, people who chose not to follow Jesus will face judgment according to their deeds. Any whose name is not found in Jesus's Book of Life will receive what they asked for, separation from God and punishment for eternity.

At that point, the story of this Earth is finished. God will wipe away the Heavens and the Earth, and create a new Heaven and a new Earth that bears no sign nor scar of sin and turmoil. People who chose to follow Jesus will spend eternity with Him, and it will be awesome.

Let's get started...
 
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tgsio

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I posted a handful of posts on biblical prophecy in the Fraggle/LAC thread a few weeks ago. There seemed to be some general interest in the subject, and not wanting to take that thread in a different direction than its author (our very own @tgsio) intended, I'm making a home for it here.

I'd like to do the following - share a few specific topical posts that may be of interest, particularly when they relate to things that are or have been in the news over the past few years. I also would like to intersperse a walk through the book of Revelation. I'll go front to back, chapter by chapter through it and do my best to explain every bit that I can.

Questions are always VERY welcome. There will be some times where a question might be asked that is going to come up in a future post, and if so, I'll address that if I can.

I'd like to avoid debate that devolves into name-calling or anything ugly. If you have a very different viewpoint of Scripture (maybe you're a preterist, for instance), I may not be able to engage point for point on every single question or area of disagreement. It's not because I don't want to engage, but if we're coming at things from two completely different perspectives, it may not make sense to argue the minute details of our disagreement every step along the way. We'll just never see eye to eye, and that's OK.

What do I think you'll get out of this?
If you're a Christian and haven't been much of a student of biblical prophecy, I hope you'll learn something and maybe get an interest in the subject that helps you understand the Bible and your faith in Jesus more deeply. If you are a student of prophecy, I appreciate any insights you might bring.

If you're not a Christian, well, I'd be lying if I said otherwise, but I do hope that this discussion gives you pause to maybe reconsider what you've thought about God, the Bible, and Jesus to date. I understand one of the greatest challenges people have with Jesus is that they have met so many of His followers who don't act like Him at all. For that, for all of us, I'm truly sorry. I've been that way myself in my own life, just a rotten person at times, and sometimes, for very long periods of time. Jesus saves us and changes us, but perfection isn't in the cards for this lifetime. Look past us, if you can, and look at Him. He's worth it, I can promise you.

That said, I do know that there is a subset of readers who are not Christians and will not reconsider Jesus, at least at this time. You are also completely welcome to join. We have so much in common as fellow advocates for free speech and liberty, and I hope that you find this interesting and intellectually stimulating, at a minimum. One takeaway for you might be gaining a better understanding of a belief system that underlies and motivates untold millions who live and work around you.


What is my background?
If you're wondering the approach I'll take to Scripture, I hold to a belief that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, and that it was given to us as the authority for life. It shows us aspects of God and His plan for people, and as it came from God, is inerrant in its original languages. I will do my very best to provide links and references to Scripture throughout the thread, and when I do so, I will tend to reference the New American Standard translation. It was translated in a "word for word" style of translation, meaning that, while it may be a little more difficult to read than more colloquial translations, the meaning of the verses hold tightly to the original languages. I'll note versions used as often as I remember to do so.

I believe that the Bible uses prophecy to prove its power as the Word of God, to prepare people for what is to come, and to show people God's faithfulness as things promised become things realized.

I hold exactly zero degrees from a Bible school or seminary, but have been a follower of Jesus for over 30 years. My educational background includes degrees in biology, tech, and business, and I have work experience in research biology, tech, and food & ag.

Regarding the end of the world, I subscribe to a Pre-Tribulation rapture of the Church, and the doctrine of imminence (meaning that this could happen at any time, without warning). I believe that event is to be followed by seven incredibly horrible years on Earth, as God finally lets all of mankind who prefers to live without Him live life and run the planet according to man's best plans and thinking. The world in that period will be led by the most talented yet most nefarious man to ever live, the Antichrist, who will be a literal servant of Satan. As man wallows in his own crapulence (thank you, Mr. Burns of The Simpsons for that beautiful word), he will also face the wrath of God in successive judgments exercised on the planet and its inhabitants.

While that period will be unspeakably horrible, it will also be a time of incredible turning to God, as hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, realize that life without God is no life at all, and that Jesus truly is the Savior of mankind. These people will find salvation, while most of the people on the earth still refuse to turn to God. The Antichrist and his worldwide government will hunt both new Christians and Jews alike, seeking to slaughter all of them.

After seven years, Jesus will return to the Earth, defeat the Antichrist, bind Satan from acting, and establish His long-prophesied earthly kingdom for 1,000 years. At the end of that time, Satan will be released, and he will attempt one final rebellion against Jesus. He will be destroyed and thrown into Hell.

Following that, people who chose not to follow Jesus will face judgment according to their deeds. Any whose name is not found in Jesus's Book of Life will receive what they asked for, separation from God and punishment for eternity.

At that point, the story of this Earth is finished. God will wipe away the Heavens and the Earth, and create a new Heaven and a new Earth that bares no sign nor scar of sin and turmoil. People who chose to follow Jesus will spend eternity with Him, and it will be awesome.

Let's get started...
You can take that thread in whatever direction you want (have you seen my posts???), but I am happy you started this thread so what you post doesn't get lost and buried.

This topic is worth its own thread. Looking forward to your posts and discussions it generates.

First question.... do you s believe God's year is the same as man's year? In other words, do you believe that 7 years of horror is 7 years as we understand it?
 

catfishpunter

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Let's start by getting all Ohio State up in here. It's THE Revelation. We often hear it referred to as Revelations, but there is no "s" in the title.

It was originally written in Greek, and the Greek name for the book is Apocalypsis, which is a singular noun (Apocalypses would be plural... I am no Greek scholar, so you'll have to bear with the little bit that I use it).

As you might have guessed, Apocalypsis sounds a lot like our English word Apocalypse. This is an interesting point. While we view an apocalypse (or The Apocalypse) as a catastrophic event, the Greek word actually means something to the effect of "to unveil" or "to take away a cover." That is why the book is called Revelation. Something that was hidden is being revealed.

So, the book is a single revelation. Even though it contains a LOT of information, it's peeling the cover back on one big topic. What is it?

The book starts out and lets us know right away what we're dealing with in the first verse of the first chapter (FYI, if you're new to this, you will see a lot of chapter and verse shorthand notation. Rev 1:4 means Revelation chapter 1, verse 4, for instance).

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, everything that he saw." (Rev 1:1-2)

OK, according to this, everything that comes from here on after is an unveiling of information by Jesus Christ Himself. God the Father gave it to Him to share with His followers. Jesus communicated this revelation to His follower John by way of an angel sent to John.

What is being revealed by Jesus? It's "the things which must soon take place." In other words, we're going to learn about the future.

Who, by the way, is John? John is not the guy you may have heard of named John the Baptist; rather, this is John the Apostle, one of Jesus's 12 disciples. John wrote the Gospel of John, three short letters in the New Testament (1, 2 and 3 John), and this book of The Revelation.

John's situation when he received this vision and wrote the book were pretty bad. It was around the year 95 AD, and John was an old man. He had been a follower of Jesus back in the early 30's AD. Over 60 years had passed, and all his fellow Apostles had died by this time. Things didn't look to great for him. He had been banished to the small Greek island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea. He was sent there due to his Christian faith.

patmos.jpg


Frankly, Patmos looks pretty awesome today, but it was not so in John's time.

180913173939-view-of-skala-the-port-of-patmos-from-chora-the-capital-full-169.jpg


He tells us plainly in verse 9 that his banishment was due to his faith. Details beyond that are found in extra-biblical sources, which may or may not be true. They aren't Scripture and shouldn't be treated as such. We can learn from them, but should not base our theology on them. In this case, Tertullian, writing in 200 AD, claimed that the Romans had tried to boil John to death in hot oil, but he was not hurt. Since they couldn't kill him, they banished him.

While on Patmos, John received a vision that he recorded and that would come down to us intact nearly 2,000 years later.
 

Zgdaf

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From op…
maybe reconsider what you've thought about God, the Bible, and Jesus to date. I understand one of the greatest challenges people have with Jesus is that they have met so many of His followers who don't act like Him at all. For that, for all of us, I'm truly sorry.


I’ll post later on prophecy when I get thru the whole post…. My first questions are:
Do you think you need to be Christian to get to talk to God? Why can’t a Muslim, Hindu Buddhist, Jew who pray to the same God need to reconsider what they think of God..
Follow up is I do hope people reconsider their god if it’s fire and brimstone who will strike you dead if you fall out…

thanks for being sorry for people that are assholes and you didn’t have any control over their actions.. most churches have egos, especially when they think their path to salvation is the only way..

Last question is do you believe in the mystical book of the Bible that was removed because it’s the only book written by a woman? I don’t feel like posting references.

oh.. and lastly what’s your thoughts on Gnostics and.. really last question do you believe in reincarnation which used to be in the Bible?

really I’ll come up with some prophecy questions when I fully read your post and form my thoughts and questions.
 

catfishpunter

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You can take that thread in whatever direction you want (have you seen my posts???), but I am happy you started this thread so what you post doesn't get lost and buried.

This topic is worth its own thread. Looking forward to your posts and discussions it generates.

First question.... do you s believe God's year is the same as man's year? In other words, do you believe that 7 years of horror is 7 years as we understand it?

Yes, I've seen your posts. Keep us updated on those kiddos. We're all living epic graduation parties vicariously through y'all.

As to your question - that is SUCH a good question. Peter actually brings that up in his second epistle. In chapter 3 verse 8, he says, "But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day."

He's wanting to remind his readers that, for an eternal God, time works a little bit differently. In fact, we'll see in Revelation 1:1 above, that the use of the word "soon" doesn't necessarily mean "tomorrow."

That said, we can look at some real context clues to determine when we're talking about literal days or when the term "days" might be used figuratively to reflect periods of time, years, etc.

There are some very solid context clues that lay out that the 7 year period known as The Tribulation is 7 literal years. One of those being that the judgments brought upon the Earth and the people on it are so brutal that they could not be endured for more than a few years. There's the total destruction of the ecological systems, widespread death of animals, REAL climate catastrophe, earthquakes, plague, famine...
Jesus discusses this period of time as well in Matthew 24. In verse 22, He makes the point that the time is going to be SO extremely horrible that "...if those days had not been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short."

The calamitous nature of the time speaks to it needing to be years, rather than decades or millennia. Also, the time is framed around the rise to power and catastrophic fall of a single man, the Antichrist. The seven years coincides with a seven year peace treaty he orchestrates between Israel and many other countries.

Overall, I think we're in pretty good shape to go with a 7 literal year interpretation (man, I hope it's not longer than that.... yikes).
 

catfishpunter

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From op…
maybe reconsider what you've thought about God, the Bible, and Jesus to date. I understand one of the greatest challenges people have with Jesus is that they have met so many of His followers who don't act like Him at all. For that, for all of us, I'm truly sorry.


I’ll post later on prophecy when I get thru the whole post…. My first questions are:
Do you think you need to be Christian to get to talk to God? Why can’t a Muslim, Hindu Buddhist, Jew who pray to the same God need to reconsider what they think of God..
Follow up is I do hope people reconsider their god if it’s fire and brimstone who will strike you dead if you fall out…

thanks for being sorry for people that are assholes and you didn’t have any control over their actions.. most churches have egos, especially when they think their path to salvation is the only way..

Last question is do you believe in the mystical book of the Bible that was removed because it’s the only book written by a woman? I don’t feel like posting references.

oh.. and lastly what’s your thoughts on Gnostics and.. really last question do you believe in reincarnation which used to be in the Bible?

really I’ll come up with some prophecy questions when I fully read your post and form my thoughts and questions.

Man, lots of good stuff in there. If it's alright, I might just pick up on the first two for now and pull a Psaki circle back on the latter two later.

You asked, "Do you think you need to be Christian to get to talk to God? Why can't a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jew who pray to the same God need to reconsider what they think of God..."

The God of the Bible wants everyone to come to know Him (that's in Paul's second letter to Timothy, chapter 2, verse 4). He's made it incredibly easy for people to do so. He says:

1. I am perfect and you are not.
2. When you do things that are wrong, you stand in opposition to me, and you need to pay the penalty.
3. Doing wrong against a being of infinite worth has a steep penalty, which is eternal separation and punishment.
4. There's a way out, though. Jesus, coming to earth as both God and man, lived a perfect life and agreed to pay the penalty in our place.
5. Since Jesus was a man living a perfect life, He was a fitting substitution for us. Since He is God, His sacrifice is valuable enough to pay the penalty for anyone who wants it.
6. He gives it freely. All you have to do is ask Him.

That's it. All the good works and obedience part? That comes as a result of following Jesus. It's not the ticket to entry.

That's the main difference between following Jesus and trying to find another way to God. We can't afford to cover the cost of admission on our own, no matter what we do, because the debt we've incurred by doing evil against an infinite God is an unpayable debt.

Jesus gives it for free.

I'm by no means a Christian apologist (meaning someone who tries to lay out the reason for faith), so I'm sorry if that's unclear.... oh wow, I just apologized for not being an apologist. That's rich.

As for the ego bit, man, it's true. Churches are full of imperfect people, and I'm one of them. The thing that helps me remember my place is that good news I shared above. I can know God for free and it has nothing at all to do with how good I try to be. That helps with the humility aspect A LOT. I mean, God Himself died for me, and wants to give me the best gift possible for free. Incredible.
 

catfishpunter

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Revelation makes a BOLD promise right up front. It is the only book of the Bible to tell you that you will be blessed for reading it, hearing it, and doing the things it tells you to do.

That's powerful stuff.

"Blessed is the one who reads, and those who hear the words of the prophecy and keep the things which are written in it; for the time is near." (Rev 1:3)

Well, if that's the case, let's read it.

John starts off the vision by sharing a message from Jesus to seven churches in the western part of Asia Minor, which is modern day Turkey. You can see those seven churches on a map below. Note their proximity to Patmos, where John was banished.

1200px-Seven_churches_of_asia.svg.png


What did John have to say them? Well, a lot, and believe it or not, what he said is incredibly prophetic and has particular application for the decades we're in right now. We'll get to that shortly. But first, John shares this greeting with the churches:

"John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is, who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood - and He made us into a kingdom, priests to His God and Father - to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen." (Rev 1:4-6)


There are a couple points to bring out here: the "seven spirits" there likely refer back to a vision the Old Testament prophet Isaiah had where he discussed the coming Messiah (Jesus). He said that:

"The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord." (Isa 11:2)

Count it, there are seven spirits listed there, which reflect the seven aspects of the ministry of the Holy Spirit that Jesus displayed.

So John's likely showing us a picture of God the Father on the throne, the Holy Spirit before the throne, and Jesus Christ.

What John says about Jesus is very important. He says three things:

1. Jesus is the "faithful witness" - In other words, what is in this book is from Jesus and it's true.
2. Jesus in the "firstborn of the dead" - Even though we die, if we choose to follow Him, God will raise us back to life just like He raised Jesus back to life.
3. Jesus is the "ruler of the kings of the earth" - Pretty self-explanatory

Given what you know about what's to come in this book, this introduction should be reassuring. It's like, "look, things are going to be bad. Jesus is telling it to you, so you know it's true. But look, even though you may die, you'll be safe after death if you're in Jesus. Also, there's a lot of political intrigue and talk about the rulers of the earth, but just remember who you serve - Jesus is the ruler of all of them as well. This all ends VERY well, so stand firm."

We'll skip ahead a few verses and get into some pretty interesting stuff tomorrow. It's a slow start these first few posts, but it's important to set it up right.
 

Nope

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My Leading The Way Devotional From Michael Youssef today 7/15/2021

July 15, 2021

The Gift of Prophecy
By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

It seems like every time we turn on the news, we hear about global disasters, terrorism, and political unrest. The frequency of these events seems to be increasing at an unprecedented rate, which has led to a greater interest in the gift of prophecy.

Unfortunately, even some religious leaders are creating confusion by predicting the date of the end of the world. Never before have we needed to understand what the true gift of prophecy is and what it is not.

In Matthew 24, Jesus clearly states that no one can predict the hour or the day of His return and the end of the age. Only the Father knows the time. Therefore, anyone who says he knows the exact date of the end of the age is speaking contrary to God's Word.

Although speaking about events in the future is related to the gift of prophecy, Christians must make sure that what they believe about prophecy lines up with God's Word. The word prophecy is composed of two words that mean "forth" and "telling." "Forth-telling" is very different from foretelling or predicting the future.

Any Christian can speak forth what he knows to be true about the past, present, or future when his foundation for Truth is the Word of God—God's revelation of Himself. God gave authority and inspiration through the Holy Spirit to a group of prophets and apostles to record His Truth in the Bible, God's Holy Word. Then He closed the book. No one can add to or take away from what God has included in His Word. The source of prophecy today is the Bible. Anyone who speaks anything that is inconsistent with the Truth expressed in His Word is not speaking for God.
Prayer: God, thank You for giving us Your Word as our guide. Help me know Your Word intimately so that I will know when someone is speaking inconsistently with what You've revealed in Scripture. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort" (1 Corinthians 14:3).


 

AmericanViking

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Muslims aren’t praying to the same God as Christians and Jews. Sorry, they just aren’t. Muhammad was deceived by Lucifer parading as Gabriel. They worship Osiris. It’s a reason the symbol of their faith is the crescent moon.

I won’t hijack any further. Sorry Catfish.
 

Hoosier in Mad Town

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From op…
maybe reconsider what you've thought about God, the Bible, and Jesus to date. I understand one of the greatest challenges people have with Jesus is that they have met so many of His followers who don't act like Him at all. For that, for all of us, I'm truly sorry.


I’ll post later on prophecy when I get thru the whole post…. My first questions are:
Do you think you need to be Christian to get to talk to God? Why can’t a Muslim, Hindu Buddhist, Jew who pray to the same God need to reconsider what they think of God..
Follow up is I do hope people reconsider their god if it’s fire and brimstone who will strike you dead if you fall out…

thanks for being sorry for people that are assholes and you didn’t have any control over their actions.. most churches have egos, especially when they think their path to salvation is the only way..

Last question is do you believe in the mystical book of the Bible that was removed because it’s the only book written by a woman? I don’t feel like posting references.

oh.. and lastly what’s your thoughts on Gnostics and.. really last question do you believe in reincarnation which used to be in the Bible?

really I’ll come up with some prophecy questions when I fully read your post and form my thoughts and questions.
A couple of additions here.

1. Do you need ot be a Christian to talk to God? I would say that God talks to non-Christians often. Most Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) come to faith by first having a vision or dream in which God confronts them. Now i do believe that you need to be a Christian to go to heaven, as not believing in Jesus is not believing in God with all of your heart, mind and soul.

2. Which mystical book are you referencing? The standards for what have been included as scripture have been consistent for years, primarily on the standard of the book having to be written in Hebrew (Old Testament), which excludes the 7 additional books that the Catholic Church has in their version of the Bible as the translations were only found in Greek. And the New Testament requiring multiple copies (about 10X compared to most other historical texts, including works by Homer of ten held as benchmark).

3. I'm not familiar with reincarnation being in the Bible. can you point me to where you see that in the scripture?
 
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catfishpunter

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Muslims aren’t praying to the same God as Christians and Jews. Sorry, they just aren’t. Muhammad was deceived by Lucifer parading as Gabriel. They worship Osiris. It’s a reason the symbol of their faith is the crescent moon.

I won’t hijack any further. Sorry Catfish.

Not a hijack at all. People have questions and there are a lot of people here who can help answer them.
 

catfishpunter

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My Leading The Way Devotional From Michael Youssef today 7/15/2021

July 15, 2021

The Gift of Prophecy​
By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

It seems like every time we turn on the news, we hear about global disasters, terrorism, and political unrest. The frequency of these events seems to be increasing at an unprecedented rate, which has led to a greater interest in the gift of prophecy.

Unfortunately, even some religious leaders are creating confusion by predicting the date of the end of the world. Never before have we needed to understand what the true gift of prophecy is and what it is not.

In Matthew 24, Jesus clearly states that no one can predict the hour or the day of His return and the end of the age. Only the Father knows the time. Therefore, anyone who says he knows the exact date of the end of the age is speaking contrary to God's Word.

Although speaking about events in the future is related to the gift of prophecy, Christians must make sure that what they believe about prophecy lines up with God's Word. The word prophecy is composed of two words that mean "forth" and "telling." "Forth-telling" is very different from foretelling or predicting the future.

Any Christian can speak forth what he knows to be true about the past, present, or future when his foundation for Truth is the Word of God—God's revelation of Himself. God gave authority and inspiration through the Holy Spirit to a group of prophets and apostles to record His Truth in the Bible, God's Holy Word. Then He closed the book. No one can add to or take away from what God has included in His Word. The source of prophecy today is the Bible. Anyone who speaks anything that is inconsistent with the Truth expressed in His Word is not speaking for God.​
Prayer: God, thank You for giving us Your Word as our guide. Help me know Your Word intimately so that I will know when someone is speaking inconsistently with what You've revealed in Scripture. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort" (1 Corinthians 14:3).


There are some pretty important points in here, and it's equally important to talk about what we're going to do in this thread, and just as importantly, what we're not going to do. Since we've done the former already, now let's do the latter.

There's this underlying tension that has run throughout church history. People of faith read biblical prophecies and understand that the events described therein could begin at any moment. They look at the signs of the times and believe strongly (as many of us do today) that those events are going to begin soon.

That's all great. Jesus was abundantly clear that we must live every single day as if He is returning tomorrow. He gives parables and teaching making it clear that He will come for His church on an otherwise pretty typical day. He says, "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." (Matt 24:37-39)

Where we can fall into error is when we say with certainty, "Ah, Jesus is coming back on such and such day!" The Bible gives some very big clues about some aspects of that time, pointing us to what the world and society will look like in the days of the end times, but specific details of days and times are hidden from us. We're not going to set any dates in this thread.

The other thing we're going to avoid is making any new prophecy or claiming to speak for God. Peter warns in his second epistle (Chapter 2) that false prophets will come. The Old Testament was very clear about the penalty for false prophecy. In Deuteronomy 18, God warns that somebody claiming to prophecy better be spot on. If it's a false prophecy, "that prophet shall die." (Deut 18:20)

I don't know about you, but I'm good with not dying. To be clear, I am not a prophet, and do not claim to be. We will make no prophetic claims at all.
 

Cards1968

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If I'm understanding correctly since Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Natives etc. haven't accepted or even know of Jesus they will be excluded from Heaven. Doesn't sound very Christianlike to me. What about all the souls that existed before Jesus that didn't know of God? Are they doomed to eternal damnation as well? Just trying to get y'alls interpretation of the rules for entry into this exclusive club that purports itself as a bundle of love, forgiveness and song.
 

AmericanViking

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There are some pretty important points in here, and it's equally important to talk about what we're going to do in this thread, and just as importantly, what we're not going to do. Since we've done the former already, now let's do the latter.

There's this underlying tension that has run throughout church history. People of faith read biblical prophecies and understand that the events described therein could begin at any moment. They look at the signs of the times and believe strongly (as many of us do today) that those events are going to begin soon.

That's all great. Jesus was abundantly clear that we must live every single day as if He is returning tomorrow. He gives parables and teaching making it clear that He will come for His church on an otherwise pretty typical day. He says, "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." (Matt 24:37-39)

Where we can fall into error is when we say with certainty, "Ah, Jesus is coming back on such and such day!" The Bible gives some very big clues about some aspects of that time, pointing us to what the world and society will look like in the days of the end times, but specific details of days and times are hidden from us. We're not going to set any dates in this thread.

The other thing we're going to avoid is making any new prophecy or claiming to speak for God. Peter warns in his second epistle (Chapter 2) that false prophets will come. The Old Testament was very clear about the penalty for false prophecy. In Deuteronomy 18, God warns that somebody claiming to prophecy better be spot on. If it's a false prophecy, "that prophet shall die." (Deut 18:20)

I don't know about you, but I'm good with not dying. To be clear, I am not a prophet, and do not claim to be. We will make no prophetic claims at all.

Matt 24:37-39 Should frighten everyone. The amount of wickedness during this time, not to mention other things that existed at that time, was horrendous. This verse is exactly what I think about when I see so much pandering and power being given to trans, gays, etc.
 

AmericanViking

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If I'm understanding correctly since Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Natives etc. haven't accepted or even know of Jesus they will be excluded from Heaven. Doesn't sound very Christianlike to me. What about all the souls that existed before Jesus that didn't know of God? Are they doomed to eternal damnation as well? Just trying to get y'alls interpretation of the rules for entry into this exclusive club that purports itself as a bundle of love, forgiveness and song.

If you disown your father, act wicked toward him and your siblings, and disobey almost everything he tells you are you deserving of an inheritance from him?

Do you think Christianity means you don’t have to meet any requirements.
 

catfishpunter

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What does Jesus look like?

file-20200708-3995-5ulgxa.jpg


Not like this. Remember, he was an impoverished middle easterner living 2000 years ago. He wasn't some Germanic figure with flowing hair. He was a pretty ordinary, typical guy for His time. Isaiah 53 says that there was nothing about His appearance that should make anybody find Him desirable.

Well, Jesus left and returned to Heaven.

What does He look like now? John, the apostle who was so close to Jesus that he referred to himself as "the disciple who Jesus loved" is about to find out as we skip down to verse 12. John has heard a loud voice like a trumpet telling him to write down on a scroll everything that he sees and to send it to the seven churches. He turns around to see who is speaking, and this is what he sees:

"...I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and wrapped around the chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze when it has been heated to a glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength." (Rev 1:12-16)

Remember, Jesus and John were tight. John knew Jesus very well. How did he respond at getting to see his old friend and teacher?

"When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man." (Rev 1:17)

John saw Jesus as He is now in Heaven - the glorified Son of God. His glory as God is not hidden behind His humble humanity. While on Earth He was the "lamb," now after defeating death itself, He is most certainly the "lion," and the sight of that was too much for John to bear.

Oh boy... so we're dealing with rage Jesus now? Not quite. See how Jesus responds to His dear friend.

"And He placed His right hand on me, saying, 'Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades." (Rev 1:17-18)

Even in his full glory in Heaven, Jesus is still kind and gentle towards those who love Him and follow Him. That's great news, because as we go through the book, we're going to see how Jesus deals with his enemies, and it's quite different.
 

Cards1968

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If you disown your father, act wicked toward him and your siblings, and disobey almost everything he tells you are you deserving of an inheritance from him?

Do you think Christianity means you don’t have to meet any requirements.
If you don't know your 'father' or that he exists, how can one be held accountable?
 

TJHall1

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If I'm understanding correctly since Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Natives etc. haven't accepted or even know of Jesus they will be excluded from Heaven. Doesn't sound very Christianlike to me. What about all the souls that existed before Jesus that didn't know of God? Are they doomed to eternal damnation as well? Just trying to get y'alls interpretation of the rules for entry into this exclusive club that purports itself as a bundle of love, forgiveness and song.
Its not an exclusive club. Thats where you're wrong.
 

catfishpunter

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If I'm understanding correctly since Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Natives etc. haven't accepted or even know of Jesus they will be excluded from Heaven. Doesn't sound very Christianlike to me. What about all the souls that existed before Jesus that didn't know of God? Are they doomed to eternal damnation as well? Just trying to get y'alls interpretation of the rules for entry into this exclusive club that purports itself as a bundle of love, forgiveness and song.

You are asking very good and very fair questions.

Think about a guy like Noah. He was famous in the Bible. I mean, the guy's faith in God resulted in obedience that allowed humanity to continue on. He lived before Jesus, though. Is that guy eternally damned?

No. He's good, as are countless others who lived by faith in God.

The book of Romans lays out the problem of mankind pretty clearly. The first chapter of that letter, starting in verse 18, describes our situation. It says:

"...that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their reasonings, and their senseless hearts were darkened." (Rom 1:18-21)

What this means is that God has made it abundantly clear to every person that He exists, that He is eternal, and that He is divine. The proper response of all people to such a God would be to honor Him as God.

Instead, people refuse to do that and reject the overwhelmingly apparent Creator in favor of their own "wisdom."

I can tell you that, during my time in research biology, it was so sad to watch these brilliant minds set aside all of their rational thinking and knowledge of the inner workings of the cell, its insane and irreproducible intricacies, and try and mush out bizarre hypotheses about the origin of life, none of which are remotely scientific.

Or watch Stephen Hawking, who came so close to articulating the beginning of the world account in Genesis. He believed the Universe started from the size of a single atom. The null hypothesis for any reasonable scientist ought to be that an immeasurable, extra-Universal force acted to cast the Universe racing into existence. All of the evidence of the Universe points to an explosive beginning from a single origin point. What power could possibly do such a thing? Atheists would ascribe all of that to anything other than the most reasonable hypothesis - God.

In other words, people are without excuse. God has made provision for people who have sought Him in faith.

What about other religions? We can walk through all of those at some time, but those generally fall into a few categories:

1. People choose to worship the creation instead of the creator
2. People choose to participate in a religion that is nothing more than a sensuality cult that allows them to pursue their own passions
3. People choose to follow a clear fabrication that looks to distort the work of Jesus on the earth
4. People choose to follow a "religion" that is nothing more than a philosophy
5. People choose to believe that they are "good enough" and that they can earn their way to God through good deeds

We'll talk quite a bit about Judaism in this thread, as there is a very special redemptive future for them. God has made amazing promises to the Jewish people for millennia, and He is faithful to see each of them through.

Ultimately, what's the big difference between following Jesus and every other path to God? Jesus is incredibly inclusive, offering eternal life to EVERYONE who simply chooses to ask for it. That's it. Every religion recognizes the gap between God and man. Jesus is the only one to offer to fill that gap on His own.

I don't know if that helps or not. One question I have is that you mention that this view of salvation doesn't seem very "Christianlike." How would you define "Christianlike?" Thanks!
 

Cards1968

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Its not an exclusive club. Thats where you're wrong.

That’s on you, not Him. He told us faith is required. And if you open your eyes there’s proof all around.
My eyes were opened years ago that faith in God and religion are two very different things. I have and will never understand Christian thinking that there's one path to Heaven - acceptance of Jesus as your Lord and savior and all other religions are wrong and eternal damnation is the endgame for them. The Native American (feel free to insert any other group here) that has lived their life by 'Golden Rule' standards of society will be denied eternal life simply because they were never exposed to Christianity? That doesn't pass muster to me.
 

AC2021

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My eyes were opened years ago that faith in God and religion are two very different things. I have and will never understand Christian thinking that there's one path to Heaven - acceptance of Jesus as your Lord and savior and all other religions are wrong and eternal damnation is the endgame for them. The Native American (feel free to insert any other group here) that has lived their life by 'Golden Rule' standards of society will be denied eternal life simply because they were never exposed to Christianity? That doesn't pass muster to me.
The reason Christians believe this is because it's exactly what Jesus taught.

John 14:6

Look it up.
 

TJHall1

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My eyes were opened years ago that faith in God and religion are two very different things. I have and will never understand Christian thinking that there's one path to Heaven - acceptance of Jesus as your Lord and savior and all other religions are wrong and eternal damnation is the endgame for them. The Native American (feel free to insert any other group here) that has lived their life by 'Golden Rule' standards of society will be denied eternal life simply because they were never exposed to Christianity? That doesn't pass muster to me.
You clearly didn't read catfish post about your question.
 

TJHall1

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Your making my point. What about all the others that came before Jesus that just so happened to be geographically isolated from Christianity? They're screwed?
Again, you must be purposely ignoring catfish post about this very thing.
 

Hoosier in Mad Town

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If I'm understanding correctly since Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Natives etc. haven't accepted or even know of Jesus they will be excluded from Heaven. Doesn't sound very Christianlike to me. What about all the souls that existed before Jesus that didn't know of God? Are they doomed to eternal damnation as well? Just trying to get y'alls interpretation of the rules for entry into this exclusive club that purports itself as a bundle of love, forgiveness and song.
The standard here isn't mine, or any Christian's, it's God's standard according to his word and revelation.

There is also a pretty good explanation for those that came from before Jesus. Those that had faith, are saved by that faith. The best way to think of this as Jesus as a mirror. Those were were before Jesus were looking forward to the coming Messiah with faith. Those that came after Jesus look back (and forward) with faith.

Revelation 20 (@catfishpunter ) will get there eventually lays this out.

Revelation 20:4-6 ESV / 4 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful​

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

As does Ezekiel

37 The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley;[a] it was full of bones. 2 And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. 3 And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath[b] to enter you, and you shall live. 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling,[c] and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

11 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 is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. 14 And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.”
 

Hoosier in Mad Town

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Your making my point. What about all the others that came before Jesus that just so happened to be geographically isolated from Christianity? They're screwed?
God isn't dependent on us to make himself or Jesus known. He just invites us into the process.

There is also a doctrine of Election that is pretty clear here, but it starts from the position that everyone is a sinner and therefore unworthy of being in the presence of a truly holy God. As a people, we've come up with this idea that morality is relative. That isn't how God sees it.
 

Cards1968

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It depends on "why" you claim to not know him.
How so?

Say a child that lives in a radical Muslim state that oppresses Christianity to the point of genocide, he 'knows' Christianity exists and has some sense of the religion but can't study it and make his own conclusions due to said oppression, is he doomed?

What about Pacific islanders isolated from other cultures? Their doomed too?

North Koreans?

I can't perform the mental gymnastics to doom them from knowing eternal life with the all-knowing, all-loving creator Christianity proposes him to be.
 

TJHall1

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How so?

Say a child that lives in a radical Muslim state that oppresses Christianity to the point of genocide, he 'knows' Christianity exists and has some sense of the religion but can't study it and make his own conclusions due to said oppression, is he doomed?

What about Pacific islanders isolated from other cultures? Their doomed too?

North Koreans?

I can't perform the mental gymnastics to doom them from knowing eternal life with the all-knowing, all-loving creator Christianity proposes him to be.
Still ignoring catfish post because it actually answers your question I see.
 

ETNVol

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From op…
maybe reconsider what you've thought about God, the Bible, and Jesus to date. I understand one of the greatest challenges people have with Jesus is that they have met so many of His followers who don't act like Him at all. For that, for all of us, I'm truly sorry.

I’ll post later on prophecy when I get thru the whole post…. My first questions are:
Do you think you need to be Christian to get to talk to God? Why can’t a Muslim, Hindu Buddhist, Jew who pray to the same God need to reconsider what they think of God..
Follow up is I do hope people reconsider their god if it’s fire and brimstone who will strike you dead if you fall out…

thanks for being sorry for people that are assholes and you didn’t have any control over their actions.. most churches have egos, especially when they think their path to salvation is the only way..

Last question is do you believe in the mystical book of the Bible that was removed because it’s the only book written by a woman? I don’t feel like posting references.

oh.. and lastly what’s your thoughts on Gnostics and.. really last question do you believe in reincarnation which used to be in the Bible?

really I’ll come up with some prophecy questions when I fully read your post and form my thoughts and questions.

Does God honor the prayers of a person who is not a believer? Only if that prayer is reaching out to him in faith.

If an unbeliever asks God for the truth, God will get it to him. I believe that no one will stand before God on at the Great White Throne and be able to tell God that "You never gave me a chance". However, no, they cannot within their believe system reach God. Any other belief system, no matter how well-meaning, is from the Devil. There's only 2 places a faith or religion can originate, from God, or from the devil and his angels. So any religion that is not Christianity is by default a false religion. Jesus said "No man cometh unto the father, but by me." Christianity is exclusive (as are islam and Judaism). Jesus made it plain there aren't multiple ways to God, only one.

A missionary I once heard said he was in India in a remote village of only a few hundred people, and as soon as he spoke to them the first time, a man came running up to him afterwards to embrace him and thank him. He said he'd been talking to God his whole life, waiting for an answer, waiting for someone to come and tell him the truth of God. God eventually honored and answered that prayer, because it came from a heart seeking him.

As someone pointed out above, there have been many stories and reports of muslims (especially in Iran) having visions or dreams of Jesus and then becoming a Christian. I suspect this phenomena is explained by the Apostle Paul, who said God doesn't leave himself without witness. If there is no witness in places where the gospel has all but disappeared, God will have a witness, even if the witness is God himself. In America, we don't see this phenomena because, even with our society falling apart, the gospel is everywhere. If there's anyone who hasn't heard it, it's only because they've purposely avoided it.

Most scholars I've read agree that Hebrews 9:27 was specifically a refutation of reincarnation. I've heard that verse - "...it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement" - used by people in all sorts of contexts, when it's purpose is to say we only get one life on this side of the veil, not many. So the idea of reincarnation is contrary to Christianity. I'm no expert, but I think the supposed purpose of reincarnation is that a person lives life after life until they finally get it right, whatever that means. OTOH, what Christianity is based on is that you're not perfect, you can never be perfect, yet God demands perfection, so we can be given that perfection by putting our faith in one who was. If we do that, then his perfection is imputed to us.
 
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AmericanViking

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How so?

Say a child that lives in a radical Muslim state that oppresses Christianity to the point of genocide, he 'knows' Christianity exists and has some sense of the religion but can't study it and make his own conclusions due to said oppression, is he doomed?

What about Pacific islanders isolated from other cultures? Their doomed too?

North Koreans?

I can't perform the mental gymnastics to doom them from knowing eternal life with the all-knowing, all-loving creator Christianity proposes him to be.

You are judged on what you know and have the opportunity to know. Those that never had a chance to know Christ will be judged at the final judgement. There, they will be able to accept/reject Christ in that moment. No idea if the wicked in that situation would get the same opportunity or not. Not my call.
 

ETNVol

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How so?

Say a child that lives in a radical Muslim state that oppresses Christianity to the point of genocide, he 'knows' Christianity exists and has some sense of the religion but can't study it and make his own conclusions due to said oppression, is he doomed?

What about Pacific islanders isolated from other cultures? Their doomed too?

North Koreans?

I can't perform the mental gymnastics to doom them from knowing eternal life with the all-knowing, all-loving creator Christianity proposes him to be.
Not believing because believing is difficult is not an excuse. It would've been easy for the Christians in Rome to reject Christ so they wouldn't burn on Nero's torch or get destroyed and eaten by lions, but they took a stand anyway.

I can't explain to you how God deals with someone who has never heard the gospel. I don't believe anyone can. God is such a superior being to us we can do little more than dip one of our toes in the vast ocean of what he truly is.

But what we do know for certain is God is just. God is not a movie caricature of Zeus, eager to toss men into Hades. He loves men enough to become one of them, die the worst death imaginable to show them that love and accept their punishment by proxy, all to make a way for us to reconcile with him. Deep in the hearts of those isolated islanders, they know - as everyone of us here does - that there is a creator, and one day we will be accountable to him. How God judges them in light of their ignorance, is something none of us is qualified to answer.

Thomas Jefferson once said something that is both comforting and terrifying at the same time: “Indeed I tremble for my country when reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever."
 

ETNVol

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After seven years, Jesus will return to the Earth, defeat the Antichrist, bind Satan from acting, and establish His long-prophesied earthly kingdom for 1,000 years. At the end of that time, Satan will be released, and he will attempt one final rebellion against Jesus. He will be destroyed and thrown into Hell.

Following that, people who chose not to follow Jesus will face judgment according to their deeds. Any whose name is not found in Jesus's Book of Life will receive what they asked for, separation from God and punishment for eternity.

I know you were just giving a quick overview, but there's something you mention just briefly that I wanted to point out.

There's a pastor on youtube, Andrew Woods, who does excellent teachings on eschatology (well, everything really, but especially eschatology). He had a series on Revelation, and when he got to Rev. 20:7-9, he said "If I titled this sermon, I'd call it 'what's wrong with us, anyway?'".

Those people will have lived under Christ's rule for 1,000 years. There's no debating he's Lord and King. All other belief systems have vanished. Anyone who challenges Jesus or openly sins is immediately punished. People who don't go to Jerusalem to honor him at the appointed time each year are immediately punished. People are blessed with such long lives, the prophets tell us that if a child dies at the age of 100, it will be considered a tragedy. Planet earth is so peaceful and wonderful to live in that we're told children can play with what are now dangerous animals. I think that the Millenium will be a period similar to the situation in the Garden of Eden, where Christ will "subdue the earth", as Adam was originally instructed to, make all of earth like the Garden.

And yet when the Devil is released from the abyss, in spite of a wondrous life and condition on earth, those who follow after satan are "as the sand of the sea", probably billions of people. No matter what witness, no matter what sign, no matter what blessing, a good portion of humanity is determined to rebel against their creator.
 

catfishpunter

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I know you were just giving a quick overview, but there's something you mention just briefly that I wanted to point out.

There's a pastor on youtube, Andrew Woods, who does excellent teachings on eschatology (well, everything really, but especially eschatology). He had a series on Revelation, and when he got to Rev. 20:7-9, he said "If I titled this sermon, I'd call it 'what's wrong with us, anyway?'".

Those people will have lived under Christ's rule for 1,000 years. There's no debating he's Lord and King. All other belief systems have vanished. Anyone who challenges Jesus or openly sins is immediately punished. People who don't go to Jerusalem to honor him at the appointed time each year are immediately punished. People are blessed with such long lives, the prophets tell us that if a child dies at the age of 100, it will be considered a tragedy. Planet earth is so peaceful and wonderful to live in that we're told children can play with what are now dangerous animals. I think that the Millenium will be a period similar to the situation in the Garden of Eden, where Christ will "subdue the earth", as Adam was originally instructed to, make all of earth like the Garden.

And yet when the Devil is released from the abyss, in spite of a wondrous life and condition on earth, those who follow after satan are "as the sand of the sea", probably billions of people. No matter what witness, no matter what sign, no matter what blessing, a good portion of humanity is determined to rebel against their creator.

This is such a good point, and one that we'll cover in depth as we go. There are a set of classic reasons given by people about why they choose not to follow Jesus. God is going to address those as the world wraps up, showing that the excuse of "Well, if I would have only had it this way," was a false protest.

Take the Mark of the Beast, for instance. People will know exactly what they are signing up for, that it is a full on, permanent rejection of God and a swearing of allegiance to the Antichrist... and they'll do it anyway.

Another excuse that is often given is, "Well, if I could just see a miracle, or something supernatural, that would convince me." Revelation teaches that there will literally be an angel who flies in the sky around the entire world, preaching the Gospel and warning people to turn to Jesus... and many people will still refuse to do so.

They'll see plagues and judgments from God that are undeniably supernatural. Rather than turning to God... they'll curse Him.

Jesus will return to the Earth in a fashion that proves He is emphatically the Son of God and King of the Earth... and the armies of the world will turn their weapons on Him and try to kill Him.

And then, as you said, the few people who survive the 7 year Tribulation will live in Jesus's kingdom on Earth, and have all the evidence in the world that He is Lord... and countless of them will turn on Him.

The point is, we're all like that. The Bible makes it clear that we were all God's enemies before coming to Him. It is so tempting to read the stories of failure throughout the Bible, all the way back to the Garden of Eden, and think, "Oh, you idiot. Why did you do that __________?" (insert Eve, Abraham, David, the people of Israel, Peter, etc.).

Thank you to God that by His grace we can turn to Him and no longer be His enemies.
 

Hoosier in Mad Town

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How so?

Say a child that lives in a radical Muslim state that oppresses Christianity to the point of genocide, he 'knows' Christianity exists and has some sense of the religion but can't study it and make his own conclusions due to said oppression, is he doomed?

What about Pacific islanders isolated from other cultures? Their doomed too?

North Koreans?

I can't perform the mental gymnastics to doom them from knowing eternal life with the all-knowing, all-loving creator Christianity p
In the example of the Muslim. If he knows about Jesus, and he should as the Injil (Gospels) is one of the 5 holy books of Islam, then yes, he has rejected God.

Again, those people who are in remote areas are not outside of the reach of God. There are many testimonies of people who were not around anyone who even knew of Jesus, and yet God somehow reached out to them.


There is a significant movement and growth of Christianity in NoKo.

In China it's very similar. During Mao's reign, there were fewer than 10MM Christians in China. Many were slaughtered/martyred during the Great Leap Forward. Today, there are somewhere between 200MM and 500MM Christians. They are persecuted, and celebrate that. It's what Jesus went through and that is what we aspire to be, more like Jesus. In fact, they gauge your maturity as a Christian in China by how many times you've gone to jail. Why you might ask? Well, it's because there are no seminaries in China, an the prisons are full of Christians. You go once, it's like getting your bachelors degree, twice you get your masters, and 3 times you are a PhD in Bible.

The church will, and really always has, thrived under persecution. It's something we should expect.

John 15:18
If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.
 

Hoosier in Mad Town

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Does God honor the prayers of a person who is not a believer? Only if that prayer is reaching out to him in faith.

If an unbeliever asks God for the truth, God will get it to him. I believe that no one will stand before God on at the Great White Throne and be able to tell God that "You never gave me a chance". However, no, they cannot within their believe system reach God. Any other belief system, no matter how well-meaning, is from the Devil. There's only 2 places a faith or religion can originate, from God, or from the devil and his angels. So any religion that is not Christianity is by default a false religion. Jesus said "No man cometh unto the father, but by me." Christianity is exclusive (as are islam and Judaism). Jesus made it plain there aren't multiple ways to God, only one.

A missionary I once heard said he was in India in a remote village of only a few hundred people, and as soon as he spoke to them the first time, a man came running up to him afterwards to embrace him and thank him. He said he'd been talking to God his whole life, waiting for an answer, waiting for someone to come and tell him the truth of God. God eventually honored and answered that prayer, because it came from a heart seeking him.

As someone pointed out above, there have been many stories and reports of muslims (especially in Iran) having visions or dreams of Jesus and then becoming a Christian. I suspect this phenomena is explained by the Apostle Paul, who said God doesn't leave himself without witness. If there is no witness in places where the gospel has all but disappeared, God will have a witness, even if the witness is God himself. In America, we don't see this phenomena because, even with our society falling apart, the gospel is everywhere. If there's anyone who hasn't heard it, it's only because they've purposely avoided it.

Most scholars I've read agree that Hebrews 9:27 was specifically a refutation of reincarnation. I've heard that verse - "...it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement" - used by people in all sorts of contexts, when it's purpose is to say we only get one life on this side of the veil, not many. So the idea of reincarnation is contrary to Christianity. I'm no expert, but I think the supposed purpose of reincarnation is that a person lives life after life until they finally get it right, whatever that means. OTOH, what Christianity is based on is that you're not perfect, you can never be perfect, yet God demands perfection, so we can be given that perfection by putting our faith in one who was. If we do that, then his perfection is imputed to us.
In my experience, most people are confusing resurrection with reincarnation.

2 completely different topics.
 

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