Paul's Passing Thoughts

Death by Good News: Living the “Gospel-Driven Life” Isn’t Really About Living “by” the Gospel

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on May 14, 2010

“The cross-centered gospel and cross-likeness are not an exact replica of discipleship activity.”

“At any rate, advocates of this doctrine go undetected because of their mastery in presenting the vertical realities of truth minus horizontal responsibility, and the application to life thereof, i.e., obedience. Can we have an abundant, God honoring life in Christ without our own effort being involved? I doubt it. In fact, such a way will rather lead to death.

I could start this post by complaining about the lack of Scooby-Doo’s  inquisitive “er?” among God’s people  in regard  to some concept of  “living by the gospel” *every day,* but we’re way past that in our day and age. We have rather gone to the other kind of dogs; the one frantically running for the bacon flavored “Kibbles and Bits” while chanting, “I love bacon, I love bacon, I love bacon.” If it sounds good, it’s bacon baby. Never mind some possible chemical reaction taking place inside the cranium area that would insight a small, still voice saying: “Wait a minute here. We are saved by the gospel, which is a fairly narrow concept; how does one also live by that same narrow concept every day? Not only that, believing the gospel gets us into the kingdom, once in, why do the saved still need it?” I don’t know if I will ever get remarried or not, but certainly, if I were ever on a date and the lady asked such a question, it would be a sure sign from God.

But actually, I can answer that question. Yes, there is a sense in which we should live by the gospel every day. When we forgive somebody we are forgiving them in the same way that we were forgiven:

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

There you go, that’s living by the gospel, and we should most certainly practice that every day if necessary. What about patience towards others in the same way God was patient towards you until you surrendered your life to him?:

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Again, this is living by the gospel. Yet another example, perhaps the most viable, is a daily dieing to self:

Matthew 10:38
and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Matthew 16:24
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Luke 9:23
Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Luke 14:27
And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

Mark 8:35
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.

Furthermore, daily service to others is living by the gospel:

Mark 10:45
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Pity though, this is not what proponents of the “gospel-driven life,” or Christocentric  theology,  or Christ centered (you fill in the blank), or gospel centered (fill in the blank), or cross centered (you fill in the blank), and Gospel Sanctification have in mind. But hold that thought. Even if they did have this in mind (which would be a good start), here are three major reasons why Gospel Sanctification would still be a fraud:

1. It’s a part of  being a disciple and not the whole thing. We are not only called to live a cross-like life, we are also called to “follow” him:

Matthew 10:38
and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

For example, we are to follow Christ who also pleased God the Father in many other ways other than obedience to the cross. Before Christ went to the cross, here is what the Father said of Him:

Matthew 3:17
And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Christ said of Himself:

John 5:30
By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

John 8:29
The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”

All of these statements are before the cross. Walking as a disciple is more than cross-likeness, it is also observing “all that I have commanded” (Matthew 28:20).

2. The cross-centered gospel and cross-likeness is not an exact replica of discipleship activity. For example, we obeyed  the gospel unto salvation by faith and repentance. As believers, we still repent daily, but it’s not the same kind of repentance that saved us, there is a difference. Specifically, it is the difference between repentance that justifies  and repentance that takes place during sanctification. Jesus made it clear that there is a difference:

John 13:10
Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”

Christians have clean bodies (salvation); they now only need to wash their feet daily. Gospel Sanctification clearly teaches that we need the same gospel that saved us every day. This is impossible because to satisfy a connection with the gospel daily, we would need the same repentance, which is no longer needed by the believer. Not only that, the faith is not the same either. The gospel requires a faith alone. As  J.C. Ryle rightly notes in his 20 letters on holiness, though the Scriptures say specifically that we are justified by faith alone, they never say we are sanctified by faith *alone.* In fact, James clearly states that the blessings of sanctification come “in” obedience (James 1:25) and not faith alone. Here is what J.C. Ryle said accordingly

“It is Scriptural and right to say faith alone justifies. But it is not equally Scriptural and right to say faith alone sanctifies.”

Simply stated, faith and repentance differ between  justification (gospel) and sanctification. Therefore, we can live by the gospel implicitly as believers (note above examples), but not explicitly because the body has already been washed. The gospel can have serious implications to our lives as believers, but it is our goal to rather live out the commands of Christ as explicitly as we can. This is the second reason that Gospel Sanctification is a fraud.

3. To begin with, the gospel is not about the cross in totality. The gospel means “good news.” Though the cross is very, very, good  news, it is not the only good news Jesus spoke of. In fact, the herald of the beginning of His ministry was the following:

Matthew 4:23
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

Matthew 9:35
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.

The good news was not just the cross, it was also the kingdom. As a matter of fact, the kingdom was a dominate theme in the presentation of the gospel throughout the book of acts, and in some cases, mentioned as separate from Christ in the same presentation:

Acts 8:12
But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

Acts 14:22
strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.

Acts 19:8
Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.

Acts 20:25
“Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again.

Acts 28:23
They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.

Acts 28:31
Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Even in the latter days just prior to the return of Christ, He said Himself,

Matthew 24:14
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

The “good news” is not only concerning God’s Son (Romans 1:9). The gospel (good news) of His Son, is also the good news of the kingdom. It begs the question: have Reformed teachers frantically erected a cross-only “good news” in fear that a future kingdom with Jewish implications will be discovered in the Scriptures? Is the constant drumbeat of  a cross-only  gospel building a scriptural Dome on the Rock? But more to the point, wouldn’t a *living by the kingdom*  be much more applicable than living by a narrow (but none the less profound) cross-only *good news*? In fact, a *living by the kingdom* seems to be the dominate theme of the Sermon on the Mount. If we are going to live “by” something, or “according” to something daily, why would it not be a kingdom mandate rather than a once and for all washing of the body? After all, Christ’s mandate for the church was not to make disciples who observe the gospel everyday, but rather those who observe “all that I have commanded” which is much more indicative of kingdom living than the continual revisiting of the death, burial, and resurrection, which is often spoken of as a foundation that we build on, and other times we are even exhorted not to continually lay the same foundation:

Romans 15:20
It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.

1 Corinthians 3:10
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds.

1 Corinthians 3:11
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:12
If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,

Hebrews 6:1
Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,

So, it is a pity that proponents of Gospel Sanctification do not at least propagate an implicit living *by* the gospel because it at least approaches Scriptural semblance. But then what does Michael Horton, Paul Tripp, John Piper, Tim Keller, and others mean when they speak of  “living *by* the gospel”? It is simply the following:

1. The gospel is confined to the cross and finished work of Christ, there is no other  *good news.*

2. We are sanctified by the “same” gospel that saved us.

3. We cannot not think that we are saved by “the gospel,” and then we can “move on to something else” [and I will give you three wild guesses as to what the “something else” is].

4. The Bible is a gospel narrative (only) that gives us the ability to continually  revisit the gospel daily. As Jerry Bridges often says: “We must preach the gospel to ourselves every day.”

Therefore, there will be a strong emphasis on teaching and preaching that focuses on the glory of God in the gospel only. Supposedly, meditating on various forms of the gospel and God’s glory from Scripture will change us “from the inside out.” There is no room here  to discuss all of the various theories in regard to our supposed passive (obviously)  participation in the sanctification process, but I can tell you that the teaching and preaching will be almost entirely vertical; and, all but completely void of practical application of biblical precepts. Think about it; what could you do to be saved? Well, if that same gospel sanctifies you, what can your participation be in the sanctification process? Not much. An excellent example of this is a book written by J.F. Strombeck in the forties entitled “Disciplined by Grace.” I believe that Jerry Bridges wrote a similar book entitled “The Discipline of Grace.” Strombeck’s book was a masterful work concerning the gospel of Christ and the glory of God, but the thesis of the book was that the realization of this is what disciplines us, not our own efforts. I would contend that it is both. At any rate, advocates of this doctrine go undetected because of their mastery in presenting the vertical realities of truth minus horizontal responsibility, and the application to life thereof, i.e., obedience. Can we have an abundant, God honoring life in Christ without our own effort being involved? I doubt it. In fact, such a way will rather lead to death. I will often hear Christians rave about a certain teacher or preacher,  and inform me that I “must run now and get this book.” On several occasions, I have told them to point out practical application of biblical precepts as taught in the book, and if they can, then I will buy it. Per the usual, their initial response is an emphatic “no problem.” But later, they come back surprised that the book is void concerning hands-on instruction.

So what? Well, the following from Luke 6:46-49 is the “so what?”:

46  “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

47  I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them  into practice.

48  He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.

49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

First, we see that Christ expects to be Lord (master) in any legitimate relationship with Him. His question is obviously rhetorical. Because GS teachers despise any notion that we can colabor with God in sanctification, you can bet that they will not tolerate any inkling of what they perceive as self effort in justification. Therefore, repentance will often be conspicuously missing from their gospel presentations. As a result, you could well argue that they teach a false gospel based on this point alone:

Romans 10:12
For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, [you must call on Him as “Lord”].

Acts 5:31
” He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

Acts 17:30
In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.

Acts 20:21
I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus [note they “must” have faith and repentance both].

Acts 26:20
First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.

Secondly,  under “so what?“;  Christ was also clear as to the ill effect on believers in regard to neglecting the art of applying God’s word to life in obedience:

“But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete” (Luke 6:49).

Therefore,  those who sit under GS teachers receive a steady diet of the sweet stuff. It’s like the name of my favorite desert  at Chilies: “Death by Chocolate.”  Round-up a bunch of toddlers and feed them nothing but chocolate for two weeks and see what you get. It’s what the Neo-Reformed movement is looking like more and more as they are fed the unbalanced diet of the vertical only. Michael Horton’s favorite reference regarding biblical imperatives is,  “it‘s just more bad news.” Really? To the contrary, an unbalanced diet of  monergism in the sanctification process is really death by good news; what Jesus called a “complete destruction.”


The Missing Kingdom In Our Gospel

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 25, 2009

There is something new afoot in my brain regarding biblical truth lately. Apparently, God has a physical Kingdom  with a capital city; and not only that, he likes to talk about it a lot. Furthermore,  he thinks enough of it that he made his Son king over his kingdom and bankrupted Heaven [temporarily] to make a way for us to dwell with him in his kingdom forever. If this is in-fact true, and it sure looks that way to me, where is all of the teaching in regard to a literal kingdom of God? Really, it makes me want to cry “foul!” At this time, I don’t know what all this means and what all the significance is, but I have a few hunches.

First of all, let’s talk about the gospel. That’s pretty significant. The gospel is the “good news.” Teachers like Michael Horton have much to say about the “good news” and how it is often distorted in contemporary church culture. He’s written, what, about 200 books on the “good news” by now? So, what is the good news? Throughout Scripture, like, almost everywhere, it’s the good news about the kingdom AND Jesus Christ. I’m not going to wear-out my keyboard citing Scriptures that state this specifically and in context, but I will cite a few. And while I’m at it, why not eliminate a bunch of nonsense by preemptively citing quotations from the *Apostle to the gentiles* at the pinnacle of his ministry:

Acts 20:25
And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again.

Acts 28:31
proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.
Acts 28:23
When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.

By the way, just as an aside, for those who teach that the New Testament interprets the Old in regard to Jesus Christ and the gospel, Paul sure didn’t have any problem convincing  people about Jesus Christ from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets [Acts 28:23 cited above]. Something to think about, but my main point is the fact that the good news is not only about Christ, but also the kingdom. “And,” is a coordinating conjunction. Throughout Scripture, the “good news” is described  with both of these phrases put together and sometimes with only the kingdom stated, as in Acts 20:25. Yes, yes, I know: “Christ is the gospel and the gospel is the kingdom, it’s all the same thing.” No it isn’t. That’s a stupid idea. Here is only one of the many reasons why: The resurrected Christ appeared to his disciples  and here is what the Holy Spirit says about it;

Acts 1:3
He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

After it was all said and done, here is the question the disciples presented to Jesus:

Acts 1:6
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

Christ  acknowledged the validity of their question with the following answer:
“He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth [Acts 1:7,8].’”

Here, in fact, is the good news: God will replace this present world order with his Kingdom of righteousness. He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and we will serve him and worship him in joy forever. His Son, and our Lord, will rule the nations in righteousness forever. We will rule with him as kings and priest in various roles, and this service to him will fulfill the desires of our heart because we will serve him and please him with all perfection. We were born into this present kingdom of darkness. The Son left his kingdom in Heaven and came to earth as a man to purchase us from the bondage of sin through his death, burial, and resurrection. He translated us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. We were bought with a price [like bond slaves were purchased in that day] and do not belong to ourselves. We now belong to our master and Lord, Jesus Christ. We are presently aliens and ambassadors in this dark kingdom and are to live with that reality in mind. One day, our glorious king will appear with the army of our kingdom. He will destroy this kingdom of darkness and put all of his enemies under his feet. He will eradicate the earth and Heaven from all memory of evil and his kingdom will dwell on earth in all righteousness forever. All evil and it’s abode will be destroyed forever in a lake of fire. Therefore, we exhort men everywhere, BE RECONCILED TO GOD!!!!!!

That’s the good news. The sacrifice of  Jesus Christ to purchase us for the kingdom of God is not the whole gospel, and who are we to make the whole gospel whatever we want it to be for whatever reason? Especially if the reason happens to be anti-Semitism. Pray tell, why did John the Apostle  weep bitterly in Heaven when there appeared to be no one worthy to open the title deed to the earth? He knew he was going to get his and he was already getting a grand tour of Heaven, so what was the big deal? Perhaps the new song that was sung when Christ was found worthy to open the scroll will lend some understanding:

“And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood  you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.’”

That’s the good news. Christ ransomed us to make us a righteous, literal kingdom on earth for God, and we will rein with him forever.  It’s the good news of the kingdom and Jesus Christ,  and there’s a bunch of folks that need to get over it.

So, what’s the significance? Well, it’s funny. As I write this post in a coffee shop [I confess, it’s Starbucks], a gentleman that has observed my Bible asked the following question: “What does the Bible say is going to happen?” Let me answer that with half of the good news: “Well sir, you don’t need to be concerned with what’s going to happen, you only need to be concerned with the fact that you are a sinner and Christ died for your sin.” Here is how I approached the opportunity instead: “Here is exactly what the Bible says is going to happen: ‘The Son of God is going to come down and destroy  all of the kingdoms of this world and establish his own righteous kingdom that will be forever. Why do you think he would want to do that?’” Need I say more? I think you know where the conversation might have gone from there, and it did. A concept of the good news that doesn’t mirror scripture; does not offer the natural doors that God uses to approach people with the truth of his gospel,  the women at the well and many other examples should come to mind. Furthermore, where is the significance of the kingdom in the Church ordinances? Christ said he would not drink of the cup again till he did it anew with us in the kingdom. When was the last time you heard that emphasized? What about baptism? We find this about Phillip in the book of Acts:

Acts 8:12
But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

Baptism not only had the death, burial, and resurrection in mind, it was also significant in regard to belief in the kingdom of God. Something to think about.

I also strongly suspect the missing kingdom in our gospel has led to a vacuum filled with many over-emphasized endeavors. For some time, I have been disenchanted with the reformed counseling culture that is ever more prevalent in today’s Church, but unable to put my finger on the why. I now wonder if reformed theology has created, to some degree, the problem it now attempts to fix through it‘s counseling culture; due to allegorizing large portions of God’s counsel. I wonder how much counsel is needed in a marriage where both spouses are focused on all of the future and present ramifications of  God’s kingdom. How much counsel is needed for those focused on the imminent return of Jesus Christ? I don’t know for sure, but I can tell you this: both concepts are all but vacant from Christian mentality these days. However, on the other hand, there is no shortage of  campaigns such as making sure Christians know that God is a happy God, with hordes of Christians following behind fawning over the profundity of it all. Other spiritual endeavors that look like floating twigs on the ocean, next to the Queen Mary when compared to the kingdom, are in no wise in short supply as we speak.


An Apostolic Call To Discernment In The “Last Days”

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on June 24, 2009

Manuscript on Sunday 06/14/2009: Germantown Baptist Chapel


 Isn’t the view of the Christian landscape a pretty confusing sight? As your driving around, you can’t help but to notice all the different churches everywhere with all kinds of different names. You ever been to a Christian book store? Good grief!


 Some recent comments by friends of mine on Facebook reflect the kind of confusion and questions bouncing around in our heads. One friend of mine recently posted a note on Facebook that said, “Doesn’t anybody have any discernment anymore?”


Another dear friend of mine wrote me an email recently in the same tone of exasperation, “I just do not understand why theologians today are always looking for a new twist rather than a true interpretation of each passage – allowing scripture to interpret scripture.”


Yet another friend showed frustration at God himself and ask, “why can’t God make things simple?” Why is everybody so confused”?


What is the deal? How can their be so many takes on “one faith delivered to the saints” as Jude put it.


Well, I’m here to tell you that our God is not a God of confusion. Perish the thought! Neither does God want us to be confused about the above questions, he wants us to understand the landscape and why things are the way they are.


 This morning and tonight we will look at what the scriptures say in regard to these vital questions. But first, In order to understand the landscape of our day, we need to understand where we are at in the scheme of redemptive history.


 Why? Because that is the prism that the scriptures use to describe WHAT WE SHOULD EXPECT AND LOOK FOR IN THIS TIME AND THERFORE NOT BE SURPRISED OR CONFUSED ABOUT IT.


Not only that, the scriptures also outline a course of action as well.


Therefore, let’s start in Hebrews 9:26;


 “for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” ESV.


 Let me ask you a question. Are we in the last days? How do we know? Because of a book someone wrote? No, we know that we are in the last day’s because Hebrew 9:26 says the last days are marked by the coming of Christ to die for our sins.


What we are going to see is that the coming of Christ in the flesh to die for the world takes place in a specific time period that has a beginning and an end. Then we are going to look at the characteristics that come with this age. Before we go on, we see that this age is marked by the first appearing of Christ as a man, it is the last age among ages since ages is in the plural. All of the major and most used versions along with the Greek Interlinear reflect this.


This is also reflected at the beginning of Hebrews as well in Hebrews 1:1,2;


Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”


The beginning of this specific time period is open for debate. Really, you could make an argument for the beginning of the Lord’s ministry being, the resurrection, the ascension or Pentecost. However, it is clear that the beginning is sometime during the coming of Christ and his ministry through the Disciples who later become the Apostles. It doesn’t much matter when exactly it started, we can be sure that we are now in it.


 Next, this specific time period has a specific end:


 First, the end is determined by the total gathering of all of those he foreknew and the beginning of what is known as the “Day of the Lord.”


2Peter 3:3-10

knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.


 Notice we have 2 separate events here, the “Last Days” and the “Day of the Lord.” The present age will continue until all that God foreknew are saved. The way Peter puts it is, the Lord is patiently waiting for all of his children to be saved, not willing that any perish. Others mistake this for the Lord being slack, or he is not coming back at all because it has been such a long time.


Another text that speaks of the difference between the “Last Days” and “The Day of the Lord” is 2Thessalonians 2:1-7


Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time.


So the end of the last days will be proceeded by the full gathering of God’s children and precede the appearance of the Antichrist and the day of the Lord according to the Apostle Paul.


 Also, the end of the last days time period will end with an unexpected resurrection of many believers who are still alive.


 1Corinthians 15:51,52

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.



John 21:18-23

“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who had been reclining at table close to him and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who had been reclining at table close to him and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”



1Thessalonians 4:15-17

For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.


Also keep in mind that this resurrection otherwise known as the “Rapture” is what we call “imminent.”

In other words, it is likely to occur at any time without warning:


Acts 1:6,7

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.


The Lord restores the kingdom to Israel at the end of the Day of the Lord . The beginning of the Day of the Lord marks the end of the Last Days. Christ also states the following in Matthew 24:36-44;


“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. “As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark,”and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. “Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. “Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. “Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.


The whole issue of imminence separates the Last Days and the Day of the Lord because if I’m a believer in the Day of the Lord, otherwise known as the “Tribulation Period”, I know exactly when the Lords coming back to the day. Let me demonstrate. Go to Daniel 9:27


“And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”


The Tribulation period has designated times and not much on the imminent side is going on during this time. If I am a believer during that time, I know that the Lord’s return is 7 years from the date of a treaty made with Israel by the antichrist [other scripture] and 3.5 years from the “Abomination of Desolation” spoken of in 2Thesssalonians 2:4.




So there you have it, this is the age we are living in, “The Last Days.” So what does the Bible say these day’s will be like? What should we expect?



Go to 2Timothy 4:2,3 and I will be reading from the NIV:

 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.


Men will not only be seekers of “A” truth rather than “The” truth, they will not TOLERATE “ sound doctrine!” When you go into a teaching situation, in many cases, they just aren’t going to reject your teaching, THEY AREN’T GOING TO TOLERATE YOU!, and really, some of us here have our share of horror stories.


Really, in the age we live in, there are 3 kinds of churches. Churches that are driven to follow “The” truth at all cost, churches that will follow the truth as long as it doesn’t cost them anything and churches that the apostle Paul said would be indicative of the age, seekers of “A” truth that feeds the evil desires of their heart with a rabid intolerance of truth tellers.


Go with me now to 1John 2:18


 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.


You see the reference here to a future day that will be the time when the antichrist appears, but the apostle John says MANY of his forerunners will be active in this age. In a matter of fact, it’s how we know it is the last age!!!! Incredibly, the Apostle is saying “many antichrist” mark this age.


Go now to 1John 4:1


Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.


This is a different group than what John spoke of earlier. There are also MANY “false prophets” in our age. Many antichrist’ and many false prophets mark the age we live in.


Additionally, there where also FALSE APOSTLES among them. Turn with me to 2Corinthians 11:13


For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.


Revelation 2:2 also speaks of false apostles and there was even a problem with fictional letters being sent out as if from the Apostles telling the saints that they missed the resurrection. [ 2Thessalonians 2:1-3].


 In the New Testament, of the 27 books that make up the cannon, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, Hebrews, 1st and 2nd Peter, 1st, 2nd, and John 3, and Jude deal primarily with error and false teaching as a theme. All other New Testament books contain portions that deal with false or erroneous teaching.


 In Revelation chapters 2 and 3, of the 7 churches, 5 contain and tolerate false teachers and are warned by Christ accordingly. In a matter of fact, his specific charge is that they “TOLERATE” false teaching.


The first century church, always looked at as the ideal model, was entrenched in constant and vicious warfare to protect the truth. When the Disciples ask Jesus what the sign of the end of the age and his coming was going to be, the first thing he said was “BE NOT DECEAVED”


Well, maybe things have gotten better since then, right? Not according to the Apostle Paul and what he promised Timothy in 2Timothy 3:1-5


But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.


Again, Paul says in 2Timothy 3:13


while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.


Once you view the present Christian landscape through scripture, it’s not very confusing at all. The Church was engulfed in warfare for the truth from it’s conception and the powers of darkness have had 2000 years to perfect their schemes, neither have they retreated.


However, I am not challenging you to pass judgment on anybody, I am challenging you to be a Berean like those talked about in Acts 17, the ones the Holy Spirit called “honorable.” The Bereans would not even give the Apostle Paul a pass without searching the scriptures to confirm what he was teaching.


Therefore, you need not and should not give any teacher of this age a pass on what they teach. Christ made it clear that the way of destruction in this age would be a wide road while the way of life would be narrow.


I was once sitting in a Sunday school class where the teacher made this statement: “You need to run to the bookstore and get this book.” Listen, I don’t run to any teaching, I move in slowly with binoculars while hiding behind rocks and trees as I go, and so should you.


Why are there so many denominations, isms and teachings covered in spiffy book covers? Because we live in an age that will not tolerate sound doctrine. There is no middle ground in this war, you either stand with darkness or you stand with light, the choice is yours.



How To Poke God In The Eye

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 22, 2009
“For thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye'” (Zech 2:8).
In the Bible, the apple of ones eye is the pupil, which can’t be reached with a blunt mass. Conclusion: those who plunder Israel (notice the present tense in the passage), poke God in the eye. I’m think’n  that’s not a good idea. But God also qualifies offenses against Israel by saying, “for he who touches you.” Besides that, those who “touch” Israel are not in good company. In Revelation 12, Satan first seeks to destroy the Savior (child) who came from the “woman” (symbolic of Israel). When that failed, he persecutes the woman (Israel). Who wants to be on that team? Is this an exception in the Bible where the saints can cheer for the big red dragon? It is also well documented historically, how bad theology concerning Israel led to the Holocaust, another venue one would think best avoided like the plague.

So whats up with “Supercessionism?” That’s the belief that God has no future for Israel, that Israel has been replaced by the Church and all the promises made to Israel transferred to the Church accordingly. The promises made to Israel for the future are massive in the Bible. The only possible way to make “Israel” the “Church” in all the hundreds of Old Testament promises to Israel is to approach the Scriptures with a particular method of interpretation that yields the result you prefer. Obviously, not a literal interpretation. The following is only one example:

“In the latter days you will understand this. At that time,” declares the LORD, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people” (Jere 30:24-31:1).

Or how about this:

“Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: If this fixed order departs From before Me,” declares the LORD, “Then the offspring of Israel also will cease From being a nation before Me forever.”Thus says the LORD, “If the heavens above can be measured And the foundations of the earth searched out below, Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel For all that they have done,” declares the LORD” (Jere 31:35-37).

Bottom line, if we can’t take that at face value, how do we even know that John 3:16 means what it says?

Furthermore, Supercessionism for the most part, comes out of Reformed Theology and to a large degree, New Covenant Theology. Both have a strong element of “election.” In the Bible, Isreal is called God’s “elect” ( Dt 7:6, Isa 45:4). They agree with everyone else being called elect in the Bible and use a literal interpretation accordingly, but when it comes to Israel, they implement the Redemptive Historical hermeneutic. This is plainly unacceptable. Also, a “new covenant” is only mentioned once in the Bible and is even set against the older covenant in the same context, but the “new covenant” is specifically promised to Israel!! GOOD GRIEF. By the way, God’s chosen people have always been Israel and will always be Israel. God told the woman at the well, “salvation is of the Jew’s.” The Church was initially a Jewish church and God had to do dramatic things to convince the Jews that he wanted the Gentiles in there (Acts Chapters 10 and 11). As a matter of fact, the baptism of the Spirit at Pentecost was a set-up to convince the Jews when the time was right (Acts 11:15-18).  God only saved the Gentiles to make Israel jealous (Rom 11:13). The Gentiles are the ugly step children of salvation and it is high time reformed theologians get over it. For sobering warnings from God concerning wrong attitudes toward Israel, read Romans 11 for yourself.

I don’t know much about John Hagee, but I know he said this:  “I believe all true Christians have a soft place in their hearts for Israel.”  Why not? If we have God’s heart, certainly this should be true, especially if slighting the Jews is poking God in the eye. He (Hagee) also said this: “God told Abraham that he would bless those who blessed him and curse those who cursed him. If you go to a church where the leaders believe in Supercessionism, you do not go to a church that God is going to bless.” Yep, I agree. Denying what God has promised to the Jews is taking away from the word of God. In the book of Revelation, God says all of the curses in that book await those who do so. Would Supercessionism be in this category? I don’t know, but it’s kinda like what Ronald Reagan said about work: ” hard work never killed anybody, but why take the chance?”