Paul's Passing Thoughts

The Problem With Protestant Election

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 22, 2015

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Welcome truth lovers to Blog Talk radio .com/False Reformation, this is your host Paul Dohse. Tonight, another Paul Dohse parenthesis in our Heidelberg Disputation series, “The Problem With Protestant Election.”

Greetings from the Potters House and TANC ministries where we are always eager to serve all of your heterodox needs. Our teaching catalog can be found at tancpublishing.com.

If you would like to add to our lesson or ask a question, call (347) 855-8317. Remember to turn your PC volume down to prevent feedback over your cellphone. If you choose to use Skype to listen to the show, my advice is to just dial direct from your Skype account without using any of the Blogtalk links. It’s the same number, 347-855-8317.

Per the usual, we will check in with Susan towards the end of the show and listen to her perspective.

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If you would like to comment on our subject tonight, you can also email me at paul@ttanc.com. That’s Paul @ Tom, Tony, Alice, Nancy, cat .com. I have my email monitor right here and can add your thoughts to the lesson without need for you to call in. You can post a question as well.

Before we get started tonight, I must implement our new policy here at False Reformation. I think as recovering Protestants, we must embrace our fears and failures. One example is the sin minefield. Whenever disciples endeavor to embark on some new project, deep introspection ensues. Could the project cause us to sin? Pray tell, what are our true motives? And overall, we deem it our duty to recognize the major weaknesses of the other disciples, and for me, that is, “going off on rabbit trails all the time.”

Therefore, as a recovering Protestant, I have decided to embrace this failure as one no longer under condemnation. Yes, whenever I go down a rabbit trail, I want to make it a memorial of remembrance that I am not condemned for going down that rabbit trail. Hence, from now on, just prior to going down a rabbit trail in this show, the rabbit trail will be introduced with the following song:

So basically, when you hear an excerpt of that song on the program, you know that it is a rabbit trail coming. The upbeat introduction is also a remembrance that I need not seek forgiveness for the rabbit trail least I be condemned. Ahmen.

What is the major problem with the Protestant view of election? It is tenfold. First, as thoroughly documented by TANC ministries, the Protestant Reformation is dead wrong on salvation. The second point exacerbates the problem: all positions on election come from Protestantism, and all positions are framed by Protestant scholars. In other words, Protestant academia controls the context in which the issue is debated. Think about the insanity of this: all arguments about election start with a Protestant context; the so-called 5 points of Calvinism. In the same way that a “Band-Aid” viz, a brand defines what something is, Protestants of the authentic Reformed tradition have completely co-opted the context and framework of the argument which virtually guarantees the outcome that they want; either capitulation, or confusion which only bolsters their worldview that mankind cannot comprehend reality.

Thirdly, while there are many verses in the Bible that seem to indicate an individual preselection for salvation and damnation, there are also many that indicate that mankind is able to choose or reject salvation. There is obviously a contradiction which is written off as paradox, BUT, with one side of the paradox being the engine of existence. What am I saying here? They claim paradox, but only one side of the paradox is applicable—the sovereign side.

Fourthly, Protestantism deliberately uses a process of assimilation based on allowing the saints to assume things about orthodoxy at its progressive points. As the saints are gradually assimilated into full blown Platonism dressed in biblical garb, they are allowed to assume that “faith alone” does not include sanctification, and that “total depravity” does not include the saints, and that God does not preselect people for eternal damnation. This is a 500 year-old system of assimilation that is evil genius. And they know exactly what they are doing. How do they condone it? Well, we must not teach things that the great unwashed masses are not yet “ready for.” Nevertheless, in the same way that pot leads to harder drugs, hardcore Protestant Platonists invariably move from a grudging soft determinism to soft determinism, ie., so-called 3 or 4 point Calvinism, but eventually become advocates of hard determinism.

Fifthly, we are allowing a religion that continually produces bad fruit to dictate the confines of the debate and define the interpretive terms and words. Protestant orthodoxy has effectively defined all of the biblical terms in which our reality is interpreted, and be sure of it, those who effectively define the definition of words control reality. We have allowed a religion that continually produces rotten fruit to co-opt the grammar. That’s a really, really bad idea.

Sixth, a casual reading of Scripture is tortured because of the overall biblical dialogue found by independent reading. If God preselects some for salvation and others for damnation for his glory and self-love, why do we have Christ weeping over Jerusalem, why do we have God saying, “come let us reason together saith the Lord,” why do we have the apostle Paul expending all kinds of energy to “persuade” people in regard to the gospel? If individual determinism is true, the Bible makes NO sense whatsoever. Let’s look at a specific example of this:

Luke 16:19 –  “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried,23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No,father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

Ok, so, the guy asks Abraham to send Lazarus over to give him relief from his suffering, and Abraham’s answer includes nothing about preselection; why not? If the guy is over there suffering for God’s glory, what’s all of this other discussion about? And why do they discuss the best means of persuasion? If the point is preselection, how people might be best persuaded is certainly a mute point, no? What is problematic is the Bible’s constant passing on making the preselection angle the main point when such opportunities appear over and over again throughout the Bible. Let’s look at another example. Matthew 26:24.

The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

Well, doesn’t God always want what’s best? Consider this verse in context of what love is via 1Corinthians chapter 13. Love ALWAYS seeks what’s best for others. Bottom line: if preselection is true, the Bible is nothing more than a convoluted quagmire of confusion. But God is NOT a God of confusion.

Here is another thought. The Reformed love to talk about the potter and the clay deal in Romans 9. The potter has a right to make some vessels for wrath and others for salvation and He is glorified by both. But then there is this also…

2Timothy 2:20 – Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. 22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.

Here, what kind of vessel you are is determined by “cleansing” yourself. We will not be discussing Romans 9 tonight, but it will be covered in a series of articles I am presently writing.

Seventh, Biblicism rejects plenary paradox as an interpretive method because of interpretive presuppositions demanded by Scripture itself: God is NOT a God of confusion. Though paradox is a biblical reality, it is rare, and always suspect. It is guilty until proven innocent.

Eighth, individual HOPE is an acid test for truth. If something lacks individual assurance or hope, it is extremely suspect. And regardless of Protestant squealing of denial in epic volume, the engine of its progressive salvation is predicated on the so-called Christian being under a greater awareness of condemnation and fear—not a soteriology that escapes the terrible-two.

Ninth, because of the way the Bible is written, Protestant paradox demands an inconsistent method of interpretation. In some verses paradox is employed while in others grammar is employed without any determinate principle whatsoever except orthodox presuppositions. In other words, interpretive methodology demanded by the context is ignored and exchanged for orthodoxy. I suppose the classic example of this is Romans 8:2 where the same word for “law” used twice in that verse is interpreted both as a written standard and a realm. Once you break an interpretive rule of that sort, anything goes; you can interpret the Bible any way you want to.

Lastly, the injection of chapters and verses into the Bible by the Protestant Reformers has made it possible to proof-text orthodoxy without considering the corpus of Scripture. Furthermore, it suits preaching and not the necessity of reading the corpus without elements being emphasized through a numbering system. It is incredible to consider that chapters and verses were deemed unnecessary until the 16th century. It should not only seem suspect, it should be deemed such. Chapters and verses make it possible to sell a doctrine with a collection of biblical one-liners.

Therefore, an alternative to the traditional view of election must be sought, and the traditional definition of the words used to discuss this issue must be traded for their biblical assessment.

Indeed, there are many verses in the Bible that seem to indicate that people are preselected for salvation; after all, the word “elect” is in the Bible, but there are just as many or more verses that seem to indicate people are able to believe or reject the gospel. You can understand why we are still at a stalemate 500 years later. But again, is this because we are constrained by Protestant rules of engagement? Unfortunately, for the most part, logic enters in based on subjective criteria rather than conclusions drawn from the objective definition of words. And again, if one buys into the paradox argument, they are merely on their way to being full-blown predeterminists.

Before we get into the meat of our study, let’s serve up a few appetizers. First, the word “elect” or often translated “chosen” does not always apply to people who need salvation or people at all for that matter. The word “election” sometimes applies to deity, ie., Christ, or the holy angels, or a thing such as the nation of Israel. The nation Israel spoken of as being elect is a major Old Testament theme.* Not only that, in Romans 11:2, Israel is spoken of in the exact same way that elected individuals are spoken of in Romans 8:29. This should alert us that something is up with all of this.

Secondly, the definition of “called” creates critical problems for the 5 points of Calvinism (TULIP) with the other points attempting to cover for the one fundamental flaw. Again, this has to do with the definition of “called.” God calls all people because Christ died for everybody. In the minds of the Reformers, if God preselected some for salvation and others for damnation, He could not have possibly died for the sins of the damned. If He died for their sins, they are forgiven, and only need to accept the pardon. If Christ died for all sin, this suggests a choosing by men rather than God. Hence, the Reformed called for a limited atonement (the “L” in TULIP) effected by an “effectual calling” (Irresistible grace [the “I” in TULIP]).

Herein is the problem: Christ died to end the law, and how many people are under the law? Right, everyone. So, Romans 10:4 alone completely blows up the leading authority on predeterminism; the 5 points of Calvinism. Or…

Colossians 2:11 – In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God,who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Instead of Christ dying for everyone, which throws a large monkey wrench into the 5 points of Calvinism, the Reformed merely keep the so-called “saints” under the law and its “legal demands.” This takes care of the problem of the law being ended because everyone remains under it while those who are preselected receive a perpetual forgiveness from Christ for their ongoing sin. This makes limited atonement possible. According to the Synod of Dort  and the Canons of Dort in 1618 and 1619 which codified the 5 points of Calvinism:

For it was the entirely free plan and very gracious will and intention of God the Father that the enlivening and saving effectiveness of his Son’s costly death should work itself out in all his chosen ones, in order that he might grant justifying faith to them only and thereby lead them without fail to salvation. In other words, it was God’s will that Christ through the blood of the cross (by which he confirmed the new covenant) should effectively redeem from every people, tribe, nation, and language all those and only those who were chosen from eternity to salvation and given to him by the Father; that he should grant them faith (which, like the Holy Spirit’s other saving gifts, he acquired for them by his death); that he should cleanse them by his blood from all their sins, both original and actual, whether committed before or after their coming to faith; that he should faithfully preserve them to the very end; and that he should finally present them to himself, a glorious people, without spot or wrinkle. (Christ’s Death and Human Redemption Through It, Article 8)

Here is the point: the leading authority on Protestant election is the 5 points of Calvinism which is plainly wrong and defines the saints as unbelievers according to the biblical definition of under law versus under grace.

Verses that assume choice more or less speak for themselves—let’s examine verses that seem to indicate preselection, and we will start with the book of Ephesians:

1:3 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Let’s begin by defining who the “we” and the “us” are. In context, it is the Jews. When Paul wrote that “he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,” he is talking about the predestination of the Jews as a group, not individuals. Hence…

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

The first to hope in Christ and obtain an inheritance are the Jews. The “you also” are the Gentiles to whom Paul is writing. Keeping in mind that Christ is elect, note the following:

In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

It’s Christ and the plan of salvation that is in Christ, or the “mystery of the gospel”** that is preordained—not individuals. But, how do individuals obtain this “inheritance”?

13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

“You also” is the Gentiles in general, “when you heard the word of truth, and believed in him” is how the inheritance is obtained: by individual faith. At the time one believes they receive a “guarantee.” This is why Christ is elect, and why Israel is also elect: national Israel is also part of the salvation plan and the mystery of the gospel.

Ephesians 2:11 – Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Other than the fact that this passage makes being part of the commonwealth of Israel synonymous with salvation, we see that “we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” This speaks of two groups, not individuals who have access to the father through the Spirit. God’s clear purpose in election was to unite both Jew and Gentile into one body, not the preselection of some individuals over others.

There are many, many other verses we could discuss, but we will close with a couple of tough ones in this whole discussion. First, the dreaded Acts 13:48.

And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.

First of all, as Andy Young aptly pointed out in his Acts series, the context of Acts 13 is a historical account of Romans 11 in full action. Second, many who contend against preselection of individuals quibble about the actual meaning of the word “appointed” or “ordained” in said verse. For example, here is what the late Dave Hunt said about it:

Some claim that the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as comments from early church writers, indicate
that the first 15 chapters of Acts were probably written first in Hebrew. The Greek would be a
translation… going back to a “redacted Hebrew” version, based upon word-for-word Greek-Hebrew equivalents, would render Acts 13:48 more like “as many as submitted to, needed, or wanted salvation, were saved (Dave Hunt, What Love is This? 3rd Edition, 2006, page 264).

Perhaps, but I think there is a better explanation. Go with me to Romans 13:1ff.

 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good.

See the word, “appointed” in this verse? It is the same word for “appointed” in Acts 13:48. In fact, I believe, if I am not mistaken, these are the only two places in the NT where the word is used in the exact same form (tense, voice, etc., etc.). It is the governmental authorities that are ordained for a specific purpose plainly stated in the context. Now, let me ask you a question: does that mean everyone who works in government didn’t have a choice to do so? Does this mean that everyone who works in government was preselected to do so and had no choice? Or, did their own decision to work in government make them the appointed authority? You see that God appoints the means to an end and not necessarily those who choose to be part of the means. Likewise, as many Gentiles who believed became God’s appointed heirs to the commonwealth of Israel in Christ. That doesn’t mean they had no choice in the matter.

Let’s look at this from yet another angle. If an appointed means necessarily means that all of the individuals that are a part of the means were also preselected, does that mean all government officials were chosen to be such by God? Did God choose Adolf Hitler for your good? That’s the stated purpose for governmental authorities, no?

But thirdly, why are the Reformed so keen on using this verse anyway? By their very doctrine, those who presently believe do not necessarily possess ETERNAL life. If you presently have eternal life, it’s eternal, right? Because of the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints (the “P” in TULIP), the jury is out on whether you get eternal life or not at “the tribunal” as Calvin called it.

In closing, what am I saying here? Am I saying that this proposition is the definitive answer to Protestant determinism? No, so what am I saying? I am saying that the purveyors of a false gospel have dictated the definitions and confines of the debate for 500 years, and the time for an honest discussion is now, and that discussion must be divorced from Protestant orthodoxy found egregiously wanting. I do believe that this proposition, ie., God preselects the means and not individuals, is a good starting point.

With that, let’s go to the phones.

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* Deuteronomy 7:6

“For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

Exodus 19:4-6

‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. ‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”

Psalms 135:4

For the LORD has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His own possession.

Isaiah 41:8-9

“But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, Descendant of Abraham My friend, You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its remotest parts And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you.

Isaiah 43:10

“You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.

Isaiah 44:1-2

“But now listen, O Jacob, My servant, And Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus says the LORD who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help you, ‘Do not fear, O Jacob My servant; And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen.

Isaiah 45:4

“For the sake of Jacob My servant, And Israel My chosen one, I have also called you by your name; I have given you a title of honor Though you have not known Me.

Amos 3:2

“You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”

** Ephesians 3:1 – For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

12 Reasons Why…

Posted in Uncategorized by Andy Young, PPT contributing editor on August 17, 2015

With football season upon us there is a new meme that has been circulating Facebook recently.  You might have seen it.

 

12 reasons

Obviously, this is meant to be a passive/aggressive criticism of those who use these same excuses for not going to church.  And as usual, it gets its share of “likes” and positive comments and “amens” all around.

So, with one of our topics being all the issues wrong with the institutional church, and with our focus being that of home fellowships, and because I have a tendency to be a trouble-maker, I decided to take the above idea and run in a different direction with it.  For your consideration, I am pleased to present to you:

12 reasons why attending a sporting event is better than attending church.


  1. The coach isn’t going to kick you out of the stadium for being critical of his play-calling.
  2. The only people asking you for money are the workers at the concession stand, and at least you get a snack and a cold beverage in return.
  3. You are surrounded by total strangers, but most people will interact with you like you’ve been lifelong friends.
  4. Those same people won’t judge you for what you’re wearing.
  5. There’s no “fan covenant” to sign where you agree to support the team no matter what.
  6. Nobody is going to question your team loyalty if you show up to the stadium late or not at all.
  7. Group participation is not only allowed but encouraged!
  8. You don’t have to worry about the coach showing up at your house the next day asking you why you weren’t at the game.
  9. You don’t have to worry about the coach getting on the P.A. system to bad mouth the season ticket holders who missed last week’s game.
  10. If you get to the stadium early, that’s ok. There’s most likely several parties already going on in the parking lot, and they won’t mind if you crash in, even if you didn’t bring a dish to pass.
  11. If there is ever a team scandal, the coach doesn’t blame the fans for it.
  12. You can be fairly certain that no one will ever tell you that the outcome is pre-determined!

 

Of course, if you have any others that you care to add, you are welcome to do so!

Andy

The Magnum Opus of the Reformation: Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, Part 7: Martin Luther’s Unveiling of the Bondage of the Will

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 14, 2015

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Welcome truth lovers to Blog Talk radio.com/False Reformation, this is your host Paul M. Dohse Sr. Tonight, part 7 of “The Magnum Opus of the Reformation: Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, Martin Luther’s Unveiling of the Bondage of the Will.”

Greetings from the Potters House and TANC ministries where we are always eager to serve all of your heterodox needs. Our teaching catalog can be found at tancpublishing.com.

If you would like to add to our lesson or ask a question, call (347) 855-8317. Remember to turn your PC volume down to prevent feedback. If you choose to use Skype to listen to the show, my advice is to just dial direct from your Skype account without using any of the Blogtalk links. 347-855-8317.

Per the usual, we will check in with Susan towards the end of the show and listen to her perspective.

Remember, you may remain anonymous. When I say, “This is your host; you are on the air, what’s your comment or question”—just start talking.

If you would like to comment on our subject tonight, you can also email me at paul@ttanc.com. That’s Tom, Tony, Alice, Nancy, cat, paul@ttanc.com. I have my email monitor right here and can add your thoughts to the lesson without need for you to call in. You can post a question as well.

Tonight, we continue in our sentence by sentence evaluation of the HD [Heidelberg Disputation] after addressing some asides in parts five and six. We hear a lot about Martin Luther’s bondage of the will. Tonight, we are looking at the very conception of Luther’s beliefs on the human will. What we are going to find is that Luther’s explanation of human will derived from his position of mortal and venial sin.

Simply stated, if one believes that every act they perform is mortal sin, even their good works, their life is forgivable. Man must not believe he can do a good work. Let’s use theses 11 and 12 to segue into thesis 13 which is the first unveiling of Luther’s bondage of the will.

Thesis 11: Arrogance cannot be avoided or true hope be present unless the judgment of condemnation is feared in every work.

This is clear from Thesis 4. For it is impossible to trust in God unless one has despaired in all creatures and knows that nothing can profit one without God. Since there is no person who has this pure hope, as we said above, and since we still place some confidence in the creature, it is clear that we must, because of impurity in all things, fear the judgment of God. Thus arrogance must be avoided, not only in the work, but in the inclination also, that is, it must displease us still to have confidence in the creature.

Here is something that I haven’t talked about enough in this series: the Reformers were masters of doublespeak. So far, it is obvious that Luther disavowed any value in regard to human life. Yet, in some sentences, he sort of makes it sound like that the issue is life without God. This isn’t the case at all; this is a strict dichotomy between 100% evil and 100% good with nothing in-between.

In contrast, God makes new creatures of mortal men. This flies in the face of Reformed ideology and all of the theology that flows from it. Note that, like all good Gnostics, Luther saw impurity in “all things.” And of course, that includes mankind.

Hence, as stated in this thesis by Luther, man must not have any confidence in self. In other words, God’s creation of man has no inherent ability. The natural ability to do anything is the glory story. Anything that brings glory to man diminishes God. Listen, as one example, the Puritans didn’t dress like they did for no good reason. To wear something with a little color or style would have been the glory story. By the way, do you want to help people? Know this: EVERYTHING people do they do for a reason. Logic drives action. If you want to help people, find the logic behind the action.

So, Reformed ideology splits reality into a strict either/or dichotomy; it’s either the glory story or the cross story. The glory story, or the story of man, can only bring about arrogance.

Let’s pause here to look at the foundational ideology of the Reformation which deals primarily with metaphysics. Like I said, everything people believe and do flows from their logic, so what is the logic that all of this stuff flows from? This is a very simplified version, but it really boils down to this: God does everything that He does because of His self-love. And because God loves Himself, He created evil as a contrast to His holiness. In other words, evil helps to define His holiness by contrast.

This leads to the essence of state of being, or metaphysics, or why things are, or their state of being, according to the metaphysical narrative. What’s a metaphysical narrative? Simply stated: state of being is a story written by God. Everything that is happening in the world today, right down to what people decide to wear, is predetermined by God in His historical prewritten narrative.

All of this benefits God’s self-love. Everything is for His glory. And according to this story, man thinking that he has freedom of choice on any level is evil, and what is he doing? Right, he is writing his own story. If you think that it was your decision to wear what you wore today, you are writing your own glory story. Either you are writing your own life story, or God is writing your life story. You are either god writing your own reality, or God is writing your realty.

Of course you don’t have freedom of the will—that would be writing your own reality—that would be making yourself God. We can also stop here and talk about how the Bible fits into this. The Bible becomes a prototype or model for interpreting reality according to God’s story which is primarily about redemption. The Bible is therefore a tool for interpreting reality according to the cross story, or God’s prewritten metaphysical narrative. And folks, this is everywhere. This way of using the Bible saturates the institutional church.

An example, one of myriads, is the Bible Mesh study material. Listen carefully to what these guys are saying in this promo for the study:

Notice the constant theme of Bible as story, and everything in the Bible being about Christ; ie., redemption. Notice that the Bible is also “your story” and this study enables you to put yourself in the story. You have heard me talk often about the redemptive historical method of interpreting the Bible and this is what it is. They make the Bible a tool for interpreting all of reality according to Martin Luther’s cross story metaphysics. And frankly, 90% of the evangelicals occupying the pulpit in the institutional church take this approach to the Bible.

Thesis 12: In the sight of God sins are then truly venial when they are feared by men to be mortal.

This becomes sufficiently clear from what has been said. For as much as we accuse ourselves, so much God pardons us, according to the verse, »Confess your misdeed so that you will be justified« (cf. Isa. 43:26), and according to another (Ps. 141:4), »Incline not my heart to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds«.

So, if you look at two slides on the program slide show, you see two contemporary illustrations published by the Reformed camp that explain where we have come to this point. The two man chart explains the metaphysics,

the-fetus-of-cog2Cross Chart WB

and the cross chart explains the application as stated in this thesis by Luther: “For as much as we accuse ourselves, so much God pardons us…” His use of Isaiah 43:26 pretty much puts it in a nutshell: confession of sin leads to ongoing justification which can only be found in the institutional church. If we believe man has no will to choose good, and that everything we do is sin, we qualify to be forgiven for purposes of ongoing justification. It’s not complicated.

Thesis 13: Free will, after the fall, exists in name only, and as long as it does what it is able to do, it commits a mortal sin.

The first part is clear, for the will is captive and subject to sin. Not that it is nothing, but that it is not free except to do evil. According to John 8:34,36, »Every one who commits sin is a slave to sin.« »So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.« Hence St. Augustine says in his book ›The Spirit and the Letter‹: »Free will without grace has the power to do nothing but sin«; and in the second book of ›Against Julian‹, »You call the will free, but in fact it is an enslaved will,« and in many other places.

The second part is clear from what has been said above and from the verse in Hos. 13:9, »Israel, you are bringing misfortune upon yourself, for your salvation is alone with me,« and from similar passages.

Again, we will take note of something Luther was accustomed to in his doublespeak. Though he quotes Augustine saying that the will can do nothing but sin without grace, we know that Luther also believed that the will can do nothing but sin WITH grace. This is just another example of his doublespeak. This seems to be very indicative of Reformed teachers; they sow seeds of doubt that they are stating outrageous ideas, but after a space of time the outrageous, tempered by a contradictory statement, will be accepted through repetition. The doublespeak is a red herring until you are fully indoctrinated.

Luther is stating here that the will is “not free except to do evil.”

Thesis 14: Free will, after the fall, has power to do good only in a passive capacity, but it can always do evil in an active capacity.

An illustration will make the meaning of this thesis clear. Just as a dead man can do something toward life only in his original capacity (in vitam solum subiective), so can he do something toward death in an active manner while he lives. Free will, however, is dead, as demonstrated by the dead whom the Lord has raised up, as the holy teachers of the church say. St. Augustine, moreover, proves this same thesis in his various writings against the Pelagians.

Here is where we will employ some help from one of the leading Reformed scholars on Luther’s theology of the cross. This is from Gerhard O. Forde’s “On Being a Theologian of the Cross” which is a commentary on the HD.

Theses 14 and 15 are an attempt to define a little more closely what sort of ability may be ascribed to the will. If, as we have seen in thesis 13, the will is not nothing and is not forced or determined, and if, as we might say, we are not puppets, how then may the power of the will be described?

Pause.

Stop right there. This is the Reformed, “But of course we are not puppets, so how do we explain this?” But the only logical conclusion to Reformed ideology is that we are in fact puppets. In classic Reformed teaching protocol, the brainwashing technique is to deny the logical conclusion while hoping that you will function according to the very logical conclusion and goal that they are seeking.

Listen, according to their very own redemptive-historical hermeneutic, we are nothing but characters in a narrative. No, no, no, we are not puppets, rather, we are mere characters in a metaphysical narrative who are penciled in. And we have a choice, and this is a paraphrase, “…join the plot of the divine drama that includes your story, or attempt to be your own god and write your own glory story.” That’s it. That’s it in a nutshell.

I have been learning a lot from Susan about Jonathan Edwards, and she has so much data already accumulated that I don’t know whether she is going to be able to find this or not, but she was sharing with me about Edwards’ view of the will. Basically, he believed that before a person performs an action, God puts the thought, idea, will, and decision to act in one’s mind beforehand. This kind of goes hand and hand with Edwards’ belief that God is recreating reality at every moment. So, in essence, everything you do is a recreation of reality when it gets right down to it.

So this is how this works: the Reformed will continue to deny that we are puppets while teaching all of the elements of puppeteering. If you teach all of the elements constantly while never speaking of the logical conclusions, people will eventually function according to the logical conclusions which is what they are after. Functionality is the goal—not understanding. Reformation ideology is vehemently opposed to reason and understanding.

Here is another example: the official Reformed doctrine of already not yet. So classic. Sure, sure, you are already saved, of course you are! But not yet. So you think: “Well, sure, our salvation will be fully realized when we are resurrected. That makes total sense.” Well guess what? You just bought into progressive justification. See how this works? Salvation doesn’t have a beginning and an end. It’s a conception. Conception is a onetime final event that completes its work in an instant. You didn’t exist, now you do—end of story.

Let’s continue with Forde’s quotation.

If the claim is that we are to “do what is in us,” then the question quite naturally follows: What then is in us? What sort of capacity do we have?

Pause. Stop right there. Let me shortly answer that question according to 1John chapter 3 before we move on: God’s seed. God’s DNA. We are literally born of God and have His seed IN us. We are new creatures born of God.

To get at the question Luther here uses a distinction current in his day between what our translation has called a “passive capacity” and an “active capacity.” What does that mean? In its passive capacity the will can do good when it is acted upon from without but not on its own, not in an active capacity. A commonly used physical analogy is water. Water has a passive capacity to be heated, but it can’t heat itself. It has no active capacity to do that.

The example Luther uses in his proof is even more to the point because it deals with death and life. On the one hand, corpses could be said to have a passive capacity for life because they can be raised from the dead. But not, of course, on their own power, not in an active capacity, not even in the slightest. Not even by doing their best! The capacity they have is strictly passive. They can be raised, but only by divine power. On the other hand, it is of course true that while a people live they have the active capacity to do something about life and death. They can take life, either their own or some other, but they can’t create or give life. Yet, that only demonstrates that, after the fall, will in its active capacity can only do evil. Since will after the fall is dead and bound to do deadly sin, it can be rescued only from without, as indicated by the fact that it could not bring life out of death but could only be commanded from without by our Lord.

Thus, the fact that even after the fall the will is not nothing means that there is something there. What is it? It is a strictly passive capacity, not an active one. That means that it can be changed but it will not change itself. To be changed, it will have to be accessed “from without.” But it will take radical action. It will take death and resurrection. So we are again pointed toward the cross.

Here, we have plunged the depths of Martin Luther’s bondage of the will. Man is dead, and death is defined as the waters of mortal sin. The waters of mortal sin are not only what man dwells in, he is those waters. He is passively dead. The only active works he can do is dead works. The material realm is man’s glory story of death. He ebb and flows between dwelling in death and experiencing resurrection resulting from him being acted upon from the outside. Being acted upon is completely determined by God’s decision and good pleasure. The long and short of being saved is merely giving testimony to this fact and seeing it for what it is. Saving faith is giving testimony to what you see only, and not anything that you do.

To think you are not dead is mortal sin that cannot be qualified for forgiveness. And again, do see what these guys do? No, no, we are not puppets, right? A question: what do we know about puppets? Well, we know that they are dead. We know that they cannot do anything until they are acted upon, right? This Gerald Forde guy is just like all of the Reformed; he will deny that he is saying that we are mere puppets, and then will describe our Christian existence as puppetry.

This is what annoys me so deeply about people who listen to these yahoos because, “they say some good things.” Why would anybody spend any time investing in this intellectual dishonesty?

So, what is the biblical view of the will? Romans chapter 6. Before one is saved, they are enslaved to sinful desires and free to do good works. Slavery indicates the type of wages that the slave gets—only wages for death. Unsaved people are also indifferent to the law that they will be ultimately judged by. They do not love God’s law. But, they definitely have a free will to follow their God-given conscience and receive rewards for doing so. A person who lives a good common sense life will of course suffer fewer calamities than the foolish. But in the end, this only means less condemnation.

The saved person also has a free will. They are enslaved to righteousness, but unfortunately free to commit sin. However, they do not receive wages of death because they are no longer under the condemnation of the law. They can only receive wages for life. They are no longer indifferent to the law, but love God’s law and its truth. The chart below may help:

romans-6

The new birth is a reversal of sin and slavery resulting in a change of direction. No one sins perfectly, and no one loves perfectly. It’s a direction, not perfection. But if you look at the Reformed cross chart again, neither is it a downward direction of sinful perfection resulting in making the cross bigger.

That’s the end of our lesson tonight—let’s go to the phones.

Absolutely Critical to Effective Ministry: Knowing the Two Realities of Protestantism

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on May 7, 2015

If we are to accomplish anything in contemporary Christianity, we must begin to live by a basic hard-fast rule: our actions must be guided by the knowledge that there are two realities in contemporary Christianity; grammatical-historical and redemptive-historical.

These are usually discussed as methods of Bible interpretation, but they are really much more than that according to Protestant tradition. These are two different ways of interpreting reality itself.

We will begin by defining the redemptive-historical interpretation of reality along with this caution: one of the most powerful influences that this view of reality has is the dismissal of its basic premise as mere mysticism held by fringe elements of Protestantism. Those who dismiss it out-of-hand then proceed to function by its tenets unawares. The who’s who of Protestantism care little that the masses understand this ideology, just so they function by it.

In fact, Protestant leaders assume most parishioners are unable to grasp its tenets. Therefore, redemptive-historical reality must be explained in a way that will enable congregants to apply it to their lives and function a certain way within church culture. Redemptive-historical reality is primarily the crux of Protestant orthodoxy and its spiritual caste system.

In mythology, we often link the bizarre narratives to the philosophy itself, but that’s a mistake. Roman, Greek, and Babylonian culture was not developed by superstitious idiots. What we fail to understand is the narratives are stories that convey principles to the spiritual underlings so they can apply principles of higher knowledge to their lives. They cannot understand the higher knowledge, but those who can need to tell the underlings how to live in order to obtain the best possible society.

“Orthodoxy” can be likened to mythological narratives that teach those of lesser spiritual understanding how they should live, but they are based on well thought out metaphysical (state of being) systems of knowledge. We shouldn’t be surprised that what seems to be superstition has ruled the greatest empires on earth. This is because the core ideology is always a succinct system of thought that is greatly underestimated. The ancient philosophers were not idiots. Democritus (circa 400 BC) was the originator of atomic theory. The sophist class of philosophers were the first to apply philosophy to sociology in an in-depth way (circa 500 BC). ALL present-day psychologies are founded on the basic theories of that day. For example, the basic ideology that drives the theory of rehabilitation in our modern-day prison systems came from Socrates.

Let’s now define redemptive-historical reality. I will be using a quote from Graeme Goldsworthy who is considered to be the contemporary father of redemptive-historical hermeneutics:

If the story is true, Jesus Christ is the interpretative key to every fact in the universe and, of course, the Bible is one such fact. He is thus the hermeneutic principle that applies first to the Bible as the ground for understanding, and also to the whole of reality (Graeme Goldsworthy: Gospel-centered Hermeneutics; p.48).

This is a pretty straight forward statement and accurately depicts what Protestantism is really founded on; not a theology per se, but a way to interpret reality itself. How in the world does one interpret all of reality through the one person Jesus Christ? You MUST understand: Martin Luther articulated the answer in the foundational treatise of Protestantism, the Heidelberg Disputation.

The Heidelberg Disputation is a concise systematic ideology that explains how all of reality is to be interpreted through redemption, or if you will, the man of redemption, Jesus Christ. Again, the power of this ideology is a dismissal of it out-of-hand by those who proceed to sit under its “theology.” The theology of the metaphysics redefines biblical terms, and uses them to lead the masses into a functioning Christocentric view of reality.

We will not plunge the depths of the Heidelberg Disputation in this writing, but the principles will be outlined and their inevitable functionality among Christians. Before we move forward, let’s examine additional statements that confirm this approach among Christians. This testimony was given in a recent email to me:

An old acquaintance of ours (Presbyterian as they get) has said more times than I can remember something like this: “Every verse in the Bible, from Genesis 1 through Revelation, is talking about Jesus.” Years ago that sounded so intellectual, holy; today it sounds like hogwash. I mean, are we really expected to believe that the passages talking about incestuous rape are talking about Jesus? Come on, really?

Well, as ridiculous as it sounds, the answer is, “yes.” Many function according to the theology that is predicated on this foundational interpretive method for not only the Bible, but reality itself.

Pause: keep in mind that those who function according to this interpretation of reality without understanding its premise will reflect back the resulting interpretation of Scripture. They repeat pulpit talking points without ever investigating the source of them, or the logical conclusions of the talking points. Sometimes, such people are referred to as “useful idiots.” But again we need to be cautious: people who blindly follow others do not do so for the sake of following blindly—they are functioning according to some sort of ideology that leads to the blind following.

Higher Knowledge cropped

Let’s look at some more examples from proponents of New Covenant Theology:

New Covenant Theology insists on the priority of Jesus Christ over all things, including history, revelation, and redemption.  New Covenant Theology presumes a Christocentricity to the understanding and meaning of all reality (1st tenet of NCT according to the Earth Stove Society, a NCT think tank).

Not much ambiguity in that statement. Pretty clear on its face except for how one would apply it to real life. Again, many might scratch their head in regard to that statement, but proceed to let the theological orthodoxy that flows from it shape their life and thinking. At the point of debate with such people, their orthodoxed talking points will reflect the metaphysical premise. They will absolutely not be swayed in their thinking because they concede that they cannot understand the higher knowledge, and the authority of the higher knowledge is part of the orthodoxy.

Pause: I used to be involved in a ministry that evangelized Jehovah Witnesses. Debating the Bible with them led nowhere because their orthodoxy reinterprets all biblical terms and phraseology. When Christ is referred to, it is assumed that their presuppositions regarding Christ are the same, and they are not. Instead, we challenged their orthodoxy, i.e., the Watchtower publication. Likewise, let me reveal a concluding theme of this study: never debate the Bible with a Protestant; instead, bring their authority into question. Refuse to discuss anything else for it will be futile for reasons yet to be examined.

Let’s look at another statement from the New Covenant Theology camp:

At this time, resist the temptation to utilize subsequent passages to validate the meaning or to move out from the immediate context. Remembering that all exegesis must finally be a Christocentric exegesis.

Look for Christ even if He isn’t there directly. It is better to see Christ in a text even if He isn’t, than to miss Him where He is (The Biblical Theological Study Center: A Christo-Presuppositional Approach to the Entire Scriptures; Max Strange. Online source: http://goo.gl/5sGjP).

The question quickly becomes, “How can you see Jesus in every verse in the Bible?” This is where the Bible becomes a “meta-narrative.” That can mean, “grand narrative,” but in this case it means “metaphysical narrative.” The Bible is a narrative, or story that depicts redemptive reality. You will get confused unless you understand that the theory also posits the inclusion of multi-purpose perspectives into the metaphysical story (a story that depicts true reality). The text grammar doesn’t determine the perspective resulting in a particular objective outcome, but the assumed outcome determines the perspective. So, can “passages talking about incestuous rape” say something about redemption? Of course. In this example, the passage is not talking about Jesus specifically, but denotes why His redemptive works are needed. In some way, according to the prism, the verse always speaks of Jesus and His redemptive works.

This approach to interpreting reality (state of being, or metaphysics), what we call epistemology, plugs into the basic ancient philosophy of total inability. This proffers the idea that man cannot know or comprehend reality. The metaphysic follows: man dwells in a realm apart from true reality that he cannot comprehend. Secondly, somehow, usually via a theory of predeterminism, there are a select few that can ascertain truths from the other realm. Usually, the delineation of the realms is the material versus invisible with mankind residing in the material realm.

The Reformers recognized a reality that man functions in, but deemed it “subjective,” or shadowy. Focusing on this shadowy realm leads to despair. In the aforementioned foundational document of Protestantism, Luther contended that man’s material realm only feeds “the glory story,” or the story of man.

In Luther’s construct, ALL reality is interpreted through two stories: the glory story (the story of man), and the cross story (the story of redemption). Giving any credence to the material world or the belief that man can know the material world empirically only contributes to the story of man and his glory. Yes, man functions in this world, but it does not possess any objective wisdom that can bring true wellbeing. Only an ever-clearer understanding of the cross story can bring wellbeing.

What then is the cross story specifically? It is twofold: it is the holiness of God as set against the sinfulness of man. This is the only objective truth and reality that can bring wellbeing. The goal is a deeper and deeper understanding of how inept we are in every category of life as set against the glory and holiness of God.

Pause for main point: according to this philosophy, the sole purpose of the Bible is to lead us in seeing the cross story with more and more clarity. To the extent that we do that, we will have wellbeing. AND, to the extent that each individual lives according to the cross story, the wellbeing of society as a whole will increase. When Reformed folks talk about “transforming society with the gospel,” this is exactly what they are talking about. To the extent that the populous embraces the doctrine of inability, society will be transformed.

One reason for lauding this epistemology is unified agreement on interpretation. If every verse is about Jesus, there is no division in opinions. Secondly on this point, it gives Christianity a pass on defending inerrancy; e.g., narratives are not meant to be technical systems of theology that require consistency in logic. Thirdly on this point, if some sort of Christocentric conclusion is drawn from the text—it can’t be wrong. If the interpretation of the text somehow demeans man and exalts God, error is impossible.

Before we address the grammatical-historical approach to interpreting reality, let me add some thoughts to the redemptive-historical perspective. This perspective now dominates the institutional church. Just yesterday, I participated in a conversation on a social media site in which the following statement was made about Proverbs chapter 8:

The Old Testament reveals shadows of what Jesus Christ will be in the New Covenant. I can easily say that wisdom personified in Proverbs 8 is Jesus Christ.

If one reads Proverbs 8, the assertion that it is about Christ is beyond presumptuous at best. It is a complete rejection of the plain sense of the grammar; even in lieu of the personification being in the female gender.

Also, these two perspectives on reality are a salvific issue with the Reformed. A denial of total inability equates with the grammatical-historical view of reality which is supposedly an attempt by man to glorify himself by writing his own story. By believing that you can understand reality, you are in essence making yourself God.

The most common question is the issue of biblical imperatives that are clearly directed at mankind. This assumes that man is able to obey because grammatically, the commands are directed at him with a demand for obedience. But again, addressing these commands with the presupposition of total inability that equates with the redemptive-historical prism, the commands are supposedly meant to deliberately frustrate man and “drive him to despair of self-righteousness.”

The Reformed continually concede that the Bible states things in grammatical form, but that is always followed with the proper “gospel context” according to the redemptive-historical interpretation of reality. The classic example is this quotation from Neo-Calvinist Paul David Tripp:

….and the Bible does call us to change the way we think about things. But this approach again omits the person and work of Christ as Savior. Instead, it reduces our relationship to Christ to “think his thoughts” and “act the way Jesus would act.” (How People Change 2006, p.27).

Notice that Tripp concedes that the Bible calls us to do things according to the grammatical context, but goes on to say that is a denial of the gospel (omits the work of Christ as savior). On page 26 of the same book, Tripp calls obedience to the word of God a “behavioral approach” that “separates the commands of Scripture from their Christ-centered gospel context.”

Lastly before we move on, when one is able to wrap their minds around the redemptive-historical approach to interpreting reality, it will be recognized that this approach now saturates the Protestant institutional church.

What is the grammatical-historical approach to interpreting reality? As with the other prism, I am not going to elaborate on the “historical” part except to say that the redemptive-historical hermeneutic makes history part of the prewritten gospel narrative. History is simply the redemptive story playing out as scripted by God.

The political commentator Rush Limbaugh often notes that “words mean things.” This is a good working definition of grammatical-historical interpretation; it draws conclusions from a technical evaluation of the words in a sentence whether spoken or written. The many categories of language that give meaning are considered also, which speaks to the “historical” part of the term. Does the sentence mean the same thing today that it meant then? For instance a sentence written in 1940 might say, “Bob is gay.” History informs us of the meaning in that day: Bob is happy. Today that means Bob is a homosexual. The etymology of words and many other factors weigh-in, but all have this in common: they are empirical tools.

This interpretive method also assumes mankind is able to comprehend the realty he dwells in according to empirical observation and can draw conclusions on his own. Man has ability.

Pause: how did Luther get away with denying that mankind had any kind of ability at all? He chalked-it-up to man’s self-perceived ability that can accomplish things in the material world. These accomplishments are of no worth and only accomplish one thing and one thing only: they serve man’s lust to glorify himself. Luther believed that satisfaction from accomplishment was nothing more than sinful pride. To Luther, the only redeeming thing about the world was that heaven manifested its works on earth according to God’s sovereign will. If man lives life subjectively and professes that his evil “good” works cannot be distinguished from heavenly manifestations “experienced subjectively,” that is venial sin that can be forgiven. In accordance with authentic Reformed tradition, Luther believed the following: the belief that any man, including Christians, can perform a good work is mortal sin.

Therefore, the Reformed often define wisdom/knowledge according to two categories: “worldly knowledge” and “wisdom from above.” Sure, man can obtain worldly knowledge that improves his circumstances, but it is all prideful according to Luther. Wouldn’t this approach propagate a lot of death and misery due to a lack of science? Yes, but that was exactly Luther’s point. Many are perplexed by the embracing of ideologies that result in third world cultures, but those who are perplexed make the point for those in the other camp: what is the perplexity of the detractors? Answer: they are perplexed that other people do not lust after materialism as they do. Hence, third world cultures are often seen as being virtuous by the Reformed.

This is why Luther introduced suffering as a hermeneutic that interprets reality. There is true wisdom in the cross story because according to Luther, “all wisdom is hidden in suffering.” According to Luther, many reject this interpretation of reality and dub it the “foolishness of the cross.” Luther also stated that men call the good evil (suffering), and evil good (anything that prevents suffering). This is why Luther called reason an “ugly whore who should have dung rubbed in her face.”

The grammatical-historical perspective of reality assumes man can interpret his own reality, and the material world is not inherently evil. Believers and unbelievers share common realities that are simply practical and not evil.

Here is the challenge: to bring biblical knowledge to bear on grammatical-historical reality when the prevailing view of Protestantism has been the redemptive prism for hundreds of years.

But there is good news as well: the grammatical prism is what man utilizes intuitively. People assume they can interpret their own reality. Of course, the Reformed see this as the very problem.

Does this mean that grammatical-historical Christians should evangelize the lost world and forgo debate with Protestants? Yes it does, because it is a futile endeavor. You are trying to reach people who define reality itself differently. Protestants are redemptive-historical religionists.

Knowledge cropped

Futility cropped

How Close Are We? An Apostolic Call to Discernment in the Last Days

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 9, 2015

Blog Radio LogoListen to audio or download file: How Close Are We? An Apostolic Call to Discernment in the Last Days 

Good evening and welcome to False Reformation Blog Talk Radio. I’m your host, Paul Dohse. If you would like to join the discussion tonight and add to what we’re learning, as you can see on your screen there, the number is area code (347) 855-8317. And remember to mute the speakers on your laptop or PC so that we don’t get annoying feedback. And, by the way, if you want to ask a question or comment on a previous show, that’s all right. It doesn’t necessarily have to be on point. When I answer, I’ll say, “Hello. You’re on Blog Talk Radio. What is your comment and question?” Just start talking. Identifying yourself is optional. And also, if you want to shoot me an e-mail during the show, I have my e-mail right here in front of me if you want to send me a little message. Maybe a question, maybe you don’t want to call in, but you have a comment or question. That would be mail@ttanc.com. And per the usual, we’ll be checking in with Susan towards the end of the show and see what her input is as well.

Well, tonight we’re going to ask the question, “Are we in the last days?” And also an apostolic call to discernment. So that’s what we’re going to look at tonight, a little bit of Bible prophesy, actually a lot. And starting out, let’s talk about the fact that the Christian landscape is indeed pretty interesting, if not confusing. As you’re driving around, you can’t help but to notice all of the different churches everywhere with all kinds of different names. If you’ve ever been in a Christian bookstore, good grief, just a lot of different stuff in there. Summaries and comments of 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 friend of mine wrote an e-mail 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, just allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture. Yet another friend showed frustration at God himself and asked, “Why can’t God make things simple? Why is everything so confused?” So what’s the deal? How can there be so many takes on, as Jude puts it in his letter, the one faith delivered to the saints?

Well, I’m here to tell you that God is not a God of confusion. Perish the thought. Neither does God want us to be confused about the above questions. God doesn’t want us confused. The Reformed crowd, some guy in the Reformed crowd actually wrote a book recently entitled Perplexity, and one of the theses of the book is that we’re just pathetic, totally depraved, confused people, and perplexity is to be expected. In a way in the book he says that us being perplexed gives glory to God because it makes us needy and dependent and always going to him for the answers and not anything we could figure out, God forbid, so our perplexity in essence gives glory to God. Nothing could be further from the truth. God is not a God of confusion. He does not want us confused. And of all books, tonight we’re going to see in the Book of Revelation where that’s verified, in fact, that God is very plain in the Book of Revelation and, in fact, does not want us to be confused about anything.

True, there are things that are just God’s mysteries and I’m not sure if we ever will know them. But the fact is that one of the verses – one of my favorite verses in the Bible is Deuteronomy 29:29. Let me paraphrase it for you. Let me give you the gist of it: Yeah, there are mysteries, and those belong to God, but as far as stuff we can know, which is really the vast majority of Scripture, we’re responsible to learn those things to be good disciples, to be good learners and apply those things to our lives. God doesn’t want us to be confused about not only the questions we just looked at in our introduction. He wants us to understand – oh, and this is a big focus tonight. He wants to understand the landscape that we are dwelling in and why things are the way they are. Tonight we will look at what the Scripture says 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 history. Why? That is the prism that the Scriptures use to describe what we should expect and look for in this time and therefore not be surprised or confused about it.

Things happen for a reason. This is helpful in figuring out life, and John Immel brought this up in the first conference. Again, let me give you like a thumbnail. In one of John’s talks, he talked about the fact that people don’t just do things. Their actions are driven from their logic. You can push the easy button and say, “Oh, well. They’re just nuts. They’re just crazy.” That’s very rare. When people do things, it flows from something, primarily logic. And, by the way, our Paul’s Passing Thoughts moderator has made a page there on the widget on paulspassingthoughts.com where we have posted John’s first session of the 2012 TANC Conference, and I recommend you go there. It’s real good basic things that Christians need to know in really building a decent foundation for their worldview.

So God doesn’t want us confused about what’s going on in our world and especially the Christian realm. So not only that, the Scriptures also outline a course of action as well. So we’re not only to know what’s going on in our realm, we, you know, he not only wants us to know, understand what’s going on. He also wants us to know what to do about it, and we’re going to talk about that tonight as well.

So let’s start out in Hebrews 9:26, and I’m going to read Hebrews 9:26, and here it goes: “For then he would have had to suffer,” that is Christ, “repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all,” listen, “at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” So let me ask you a question. Are we in the last days, and how do we know? Because of some book someone wrote? No, we know that we are in the last days because Hebrews 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 plays 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 appearance of Christ of as a man. It is the last age among ages since ages is in the plural. All of the major and the most used versions along with the Greek Interlinear reflects this. This is also reflected at the beginning of Hebrews as well in the first chapter, first couple of verses. Here’s how it reads: “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, and 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 his baptism by John, 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 became the apostles. It doesn’t much matter where it begins. We know for certain that we are in that time period.

Now, next, this specific time period has its specific end. Let’s look at that. So first, we’ve looked at the fact that the second coming of Christ marks the last days. So, yes, we know that we’re in the last days. You say, “Well, that’s a long last days. That was like 2,000 years ago.” Well, true. We are in the last days. We just don’t know how long the last days are going to last. And as we’re going to see, what is huge in understanding Bible prophecy and also really a big chunk of justification is the fact that the age that we are in now which is actually the time of the Gentiles and the tribulation period is very distinct.

Okay. Let’s look at the fact that the time period that we’re in now will have a specific end. The end is determined by the total gathering of all those God has foreknown. Actually, long story short, the complete bringing in of gentile believers and Jewish believers during a very specific time period in the Bible called the Times of the Gentiles. So let’s read Second Peter 3:3-10. Here we go. “Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.” Stop right there. I wrote a post on this last week. A lot of people distort the Scriptures because – well, see where it says following? That’s probably better “obey.” The Bible has a lot to say about the definition of the flesh and what causes us to sin. It’s sin within the flesh, and as Christians, we have a choice. We can obey what the Bible describes as sinful desires or we can just obey, period, what pleases the Lord. Sometimes desire goes along with that and sometimes it doesn’t, but what’s interesting is – and, by the way, sanctification is just like a wide open frontier for Christianity. It really is. But what’s interesting is the Bible gives us the wisdom for building godly desires into our life. Christians are to learn to love and to learn to hate. We’re to learn to cling to what is good and despise or ignore that which is evil. So basically, it’s like relationships in general. If you want to be indifferent to somebody and don’t really want to care for them that much, what do you do? You ignore them. Christ said where your heart is, your treasure will be there also or your treasure will be where your heart is or vice versa. What we make our treasure, what we make a priority in our life is the beginning or the focal point. Desires will follow. You can phrase it like this if you want to: Right doing leads to right feeling, if we’ll read Philippians chapter 4.

So people twist Scripture. People won’t respond to the truth because they’re obeying their own sinful desires, and if they obey Scripture, that’s going to be an about face from following the sinful desires that they want to follow. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? Forever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation. For they…” Look at this. “For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of the 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 towards you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,” all right? Note that. “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 two separate events here: the last days and the day of the Lord. And the day of the Lord isn’t literally one day. The day of the Lord is really the tribulation period. It’s what it is. We’re in the last days now. The tribulation period is the day of the Lord. The present age will continue until all that God foreknew are saved. The way Peter puts it, 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’s been so long or it’s been such a long time since Christ came.

Another text that speaks the difference between the last days and the day of the Lord is Second Thessalonians 2:1-7, so let’s read that. “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,” actually that’s the man of anomia or antinomianism in English.” is revealed, the son of destruction.” And what I want to make you note here, when you’re reading your Bible, take notes of phrases like “the rebellion.” Notice the definitive, the rebellion. What’s that? Don’t overlook those phrases, the rebellion, the son of destruction. Those phrases are keys to understanding your Bible.

“So 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? Watch and you know what is restraining him now.” So the Thessalonians had been taught that something is specifically restraining events or else the Antichrist would already be revealed and doing his thing, and the rest of it says, “So that he may be revealed in his time.”

So this is another key that I just want to throw in here as an aside. Predestination in the Bible is really more along the lines of God’s intervention. I’ve come to believe that what a lot of people refer to as predeterminism is really God intervening in free will. God guarantees, God made a plan for the salvation of man and a happy eternal ending. God isn’t the cause of what evil men do, but he does intervene to guarantee a certain ending. So the more I look at these issues and study these issues, really, the more I don’t see very much predeterminism on the part of God. And besides that, predeterminism is just old shoe. We are taught that predeterminism and determinism is a rarity with the Reformers. Not at all. From the cradle of civilization until now, all there has been is determinism. What is actually unique – and this is where we need to change our thinking, what is actually unique is the idea of free will. And that primarily came about not until after the Enlightenment. Before then, determinism either by God or the forces that are was a given.

So what we want to do here is we want to back up a little bit. We want to look at something in this Second Thessalonians 2:1-7. We want to look at this word “temple.” When we see that word – and I did an interesting word study on this today. When we look at that word “temple,” we primarily think the whole big Temple Mount, the second temple and that huge thing, Temple Mount, The Court of the Gentiles, the actual temple itself in the middle of all that. Well, this is a word that’s used widely through the – I think 39 times in the New Testament. But for the most part, the word means the Holy of Holies. For the most part – like, for instance, I remember Zachariah who got struck with blindness and they were wondering what’s taken him so long to come out of the temple. Well, where was Zachariah? He was in the Holy of Holies doing the Day of Atonement thing where I guess they tied a rope around their ankles so if they did something at least a little bit wrong, they would have to them out of there, and they would have to do this certain kind of washing of the whole body and everything before they went in there. But primarily this word refers to the Holy of Holies. Notice you can see that right here in Second Thessalonians 2:1-7, this son of destruction god, the Antichrist who will oppose all and exalt himself against every so-called god or object of worship so that he – listen, he takes his seat in the temple of God proclaiming himself to be God. Well, we know from other Scriptures where specifically does he take his seat. It’s in the Holy of Holies. So you see that? So that refers primarily to the Holy of Holies.

Now, what’s my point in bringing this up? Well, we don’t know how long – we know that we’re in the last days. Fair enough. And what we’re going to look at next is the fact that the return of Christ for us in this time period is marked by an imminent return of which we don’t know the day, and it’s a meeting of Christ in the air, which is totally different from his visible Second Coming. So what’s my part in bringing up the temple? Well, there’s this big question. We know that one of the things that, you know. Okay, there’s really very few signs that we’re near to the end of this age and the day of the Lord. One of the primary signs, of course, needed to be Israel becoming a state again. But then the question becomes how long is Israel a state? So there are very few signs because how long is Israel a state before God actually comes back? I mean, Christ’s return is, you know, the Bible says in a day that we think not. So if you want a valid sign, one of the very few valid signs that there are is look around if there’s a general attitude that the Lord is not coming back, and if he is, it’s going to be a long time. That’s as good a sign as any that we’re near. But at any rate there’s this whole conversation about the building of the third temple because obviously in the Book of Revelation, which is the day of the Lord, obviously, there needs to be this third temple that’s built so everybody is looking for this third temple. And as you know, the Muslims have built this big, gaudy, ugly thing called the Dome of the Rock right on top of where the actual temple was and the Holy of Holies on the Temple Mount in the overall Court of the Gentiles.

So how is this all going to take place? We know that Jews are preparing for it, and there’s all of this conversation about, you know, is there going to be an earthquake that’s going to destroy the Dome of the Rock? And, you know, what’s going to happen? Well, this is key. When it gets right down to the nitty-gritty, and we’re going to be reading – let me see here. We’re going to be reading in Revelation 11 very shortly. Let me start by saying this. When it gets right down to the nitty-gritty, all this temple needs to be is a fancy tent because you remember the tabernacle in the wilderness and how that was all set up to be mobile and everything? This is actually what’s referred to – and as we’re going to see in Revelation 11, we’re going to see the Ark of the Covenant come out of the temple which is more than likely than not the temple in general but the actual Holy of Holies. Well, hold, you know, stop the tape. In the second temple, the Ark of the Covenant wasn’t even in the Holy of Holies to begin with. So look, there doesn’t need to be some big highcaflutin temple built, and the Dome of the Rock doesn’t have to be moved. All it needs to be technically is the Old Testament tabernacle. And guess what? The old covenant tabernacle was what? Mobile. Okay? It wasn’t in any specific place. The Holy of Holies to be the Holy of Holies doesn’t have to be exactly where the Holy of Holies was on the Temple Mount.

And you say, “Well, what about the Court of the Gentiles and all that?” Well, let’s read in the Book of Revelation. “Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, ‘Rise up and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there.'” Remember the altar of incense and all of that? The table of shewbread and all of that was outside the Holy of Holies. So measure that. So we’ve got the altar here and those who worship there. Verse 2: “But do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.” This whole business with “and they” you’re saying, “Oh, so there won’t be a Court of the Gentiles associated with the temple because the gentiles are going to trample the holy city for 42 months.” No. Remember this encompasses what Jesus called the time of the Gentiles. That’s what that’s referring to.

So what’s my point? There’s not going to be a Court of the Gentiles in the tribulation third temple. Don’t measure it. Leave it out. It’s given to the gentiles. So there isn’t going to be a Court of the Gentiles. I present to you that this temple can be an elaborate tabernacle like was in the wilderness, and they can park that puppy anywhere they want to and do their thing. It may not even be on the Temple Mount. And if you look at all of that, if you look at diagrams and everything, the Court of the Gentiles was huge. Depending on what scholar you talk to, you’ve got Solomon’s porch, and all of that stuff is all around the Court of the Gentiles. So that’s my point there.

Now, I want to make another point in Revelations 11. Okay, to kind of drive a stake in that point, do we need to look for some kind of earth-shaking event where it paves the way for the Jews build this temple? No. I mean, the Jews could be up and running with the tabernacle set up next year. There’s just not much standing in the way. I’m sure if they go that route, it’s going to be a very nice tabernacle, this, that and the other, but with the building capabilities that we have today, they could build a pretty nice tabernacle in a couple of months, that is, if they haven’t already built the parts and they’re laying around somewhere in Israel as we speak. So that’s the point there.

But let’s keep on reading in the Book of Revelations. You note that, but he says, “Do not measure the court outside the temple. Leave it out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city,” watch this, “forty-two months.” That’s three and a half years. “And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days clothed in sackcloth.” Note, watch what the Holy Spirit does in writing the Scriptures. This is so deliberate. He specifies a three-and-a-half-month period two different ways: 42 months and 1,260 days. Is that clear enough? Any questions?

Then he goes on to say, “These are two olive leaves and the two lamp stands that stand before the Lord of the earth, and if anyone will harm them, fire pours out of their mouth and consumes their foes.” So you’ve got these two witnesses witnessing in Jerusalem in the first three and a half years of this seven-year period. So this desolation of the Holy of Holies takes place right after the end of their ministry. And so basically, at the beginning of the tribulation period; it lasts seven years. But at the very beginning of the tribulation period, first you’ve got the rider on the horse that’s got a bow, no arrows. But what you’ll notice about the opening of the seven seals, what you’re going to notice there is right away it’s a big “Uh-oh.” The world pretty much knows the gig’s up, and then – so right after that it’s a long, terrifying seven years. So these guys are prophesying and preaching in this first three and a half years. And if anybody hassles them, fires comes out of their mouth and consumes their adversaries. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed, pretty plain. They have the power to shut the sky that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they desire. Does all this sound familiar? Very much like the plagues when Moses extracted the people out of Egypt.

And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottom of the pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt. So we have symbolically – see – look, you know, when the Bible wants something to be symbolic, notice how the Bible tells you it’s symbolic. See that? The street of the great city. What’s the great city? Well, it’s symbolically called Sodom and Egypt. Okay. It’s symbolically called that, but where is it? Watch the following words. “Where their Lord was crucified.” Any questions?

Look, the Book of Revelation isn’t hard to understand. Don’t let anybody fool you. Read the Book of Revelation and just let the words say what they say. It’s not hard. You don’t need these so-called scholars to tell you what your own Bible says. All of this stuff with Christian academia and the seminaries and all these guys with six [SOUNDS LIKE 0:43:56], several titles after their name, you know what it reminds me of? It reminds me of – you watch the State of the Union address, and then you’ve got these talking heads telling you what the President said as if you’re too stinking stupid to know what the guy who just gave the speech was saying. And during the elections when you’re watching the conventions, same thing. Somebody will give a speech, and then the stinking talking heads would tell you what the guy just said. It’s the same thing. Somebody pick up a Bible, read it and just interpret the words. Andy is going to be talking a lot about this in this year’s conference coming up, but I’m really looking forward to all of that.

Now, Verse 9: “For three and a half days, some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze upon their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth.” So these guys are laying down these plagues all over the earth. The whole earth sees them lying in the streets of the Jerusalem, and the [UNINTELLIGIBLE 0:45:41] also aware that the water being turned to blood in Georgia is because of these two yayhoos that are wreaking havoc in Jerusalem. There’s only one way all of this can be possible, and that’s satellite technology, satellite TV. So here you have the Bible speaking to future technology.

All right, Verse 11: “But after the three and a half days, a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.” I imagine. And that will be on satellite TV. It will be very interesting to hear what the talking heads and the spin doctors, how they spin all that deal. Yeah, whether it be Tom Brokaw or whoever, right? Yeah, tell us what we just saw there. “Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here!’ And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them.” So basically, you have this resurrection of these two guy take place, and the whole world is watching. And if they thought they were in deep doo-doo at the beginning of the day of the Lord, now they know things are really getting intense. “And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell.” So there’s an earthquake. And  check this out, 7,000 people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to God in heaven. So there’s this earthquake right after these guys are resurrected, and everybody sees it. There’s this giant earthquake; 7,000 people are killed, and guess what? A whole bunch of people give their life to the Lord.

Okay. So verse 14: “The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come.” Verse 15: “Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.'” Stop right there. Susan and I talked about this, Potter’s House, last Sunday, God’s kingdom is not on the earth. Gospel contemplationism is not manifesting a gradual dominion of God’s present kingdom on earth by the Holy Spirit because of collective gospel contemplationism. No, teachings like that are what makes John Piper, et al, the flaming heretics that they are. Notice that the kingdom of God is not presently on earth, and that’s key.

Verse 16: “And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, ‘We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for the rewarding your servants…'” Those two deals right there are critical to understanding justification. You have the dead that are going to be judged, and you have the rewarding of your servants. You got that? For all practical purposes that’s the difference between justification and sanctification. Those who are justified will not be judged. Depending on what they’ve done in their sanctified lives, they will be rewarded.

“The prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the world.” 19: “Then God’s temple,” listen. Check this out, verse 19: “Then God’s temple in heaven was opened.” Basically, the front doors of the temple weren’t open or the drapes or whatever. It’s the Holy of Holies that’s open. Then God’s temple right there, the rendering of the temple there refers to God’s Holy of Holies. God’s Holy of Holies in heaven was open and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple or the Holy of Holies. That’s where the Ark of the Covenant was. It wasn’t in the temple proper. It was in the Holy of Holies. So basically, there were flashes of lighting, rumbles, peals of thunder and earthquake and heavy hail.

So why do you see so much symbolism of angels in the tabernacle in the Old Testament? Because again, read the Book of Revelation. So we have God wanting to make Israel back in that day a holy nation of priests, and the Israelites don’t do so well in holding up their end of the bargain, so God makes the new covenant. But what we have here in the Book of Revelation – and this is why there is so much angelology in the Old Testament and the giving of the book of the covenant on Mount Sinai and all that apocalyptic scene there where you have the angels accompanying God when he came down on Mount Sinai because in the Book of Revelation God comes in and he enforces that original covenant that he wanted to with Israel. He enforces it, and in the process a lot of Jews get saved and probably gentiles too. But as mentioned in a few places in the Bible, the angels are the enforcers of the covenant, and that’s what they’re going to do. They come in. The angels come in, and they say, “We’re here to do business, and whether the world likes it or not we’re ushering in God’s kingdom. His covenant with Israel will stand,” and so on and so forth. So that’s Revelation 11. I hope we learned a few things breezing through that chapter, and I hope that I made the points that I wanted to make there.

So let’s move on. So the end of the last days will be preceded by the full gathering of God’s children and precedes 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 that are still alive. So let’s look at this, First Corinthians 15:52: “Paul said, ‘Behold, I tell you a mystery…'”

Oh, and we’re going to get into – okay, one of the points that I didn’t make in Revelation 11, before we move on, is here’s the thing that you want to know in the Book of Revelation. You notice three and a half years this, three and a half years that the antichrist will do what he does right smack dab in the middle of the tribulation period. The first three and a half years are the tribulation. The last three and a half years are the great tribulation. Here’s my point. The time that we’re in now, the return of the Lord is imminent. In the Book of Revelation nothing is imminent. If you aren’t part of the rapture and you’re in the tribulation period, when you see Israel sign their covenant of death, as Isaiah put it, a covenant of death that will not stand, when you see the Antichrist make the covenant with Israel, you will be able to go to your calendar and via your understanding of the Book of Revelation, which will read just like the headlines during that time, you will be able to go to your calendar and mark the very day that Christ splits the sky open and comes down with myriads of warrior angels. You’ll be able to mark the day. We’re not in those days. Christ said that no one knows the day that he will return for his gathering, what the first century saints knew as the gathering. It’s imminent, a time when we think not. Over and over and over again in the New Testament it said that Christ will come like a what? Thief in the night. The difference between the last days that we’re in and a separate tribulation period is as plain as the nose on your face. The Book of Revelation is just time-stamped. Everything is time-stamped. All through the Book of Revelation, it tells you exactly when what is going to happen, specifically how many people die in the events and so on and so forth. So Paul said in First Corinthians 15:51 and 52, “Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all die, 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.” And then we’ve got – so this happens in the twinkling of an eye. We’re not all going to die and we’re, you know, this is the rapture, okay? And this is very different from in the Christ and the second coming splitting the skies open and coming down to earth to subdue the earth with myriads of warrior angels and like one of them slew 20,000 Assyrians. So as far as the earth goes and the army, good luck with that.

Anyway, let’s go on to John 21:18-23. “Christ said to his disciples, ‘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, talking to Peter. 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 the 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 going to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not going to die, but, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?'” This is a reference to the rapture. Peter didn’t like the news that he got from Christ and basically what he’s asking Christ, “Well, what about John? Is he going to die like me, or is he going up in the rapture?” Christ pretty much said, “You worry about your own business that you’re called to do for me and follow me.”

So let’s look at 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. “For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,” so this is a Revelation that they got directly 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 then the sound, the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” So do I think that when the rapture happens that it will be accompanied by this huge trumpet blast that the world will hear? Probably.

Continuing on: “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.” You see where this is a sudden catching up of up in the clouds are those who are alive. They’re resurrected up with the Lord. Now, when the Lord returns in the Second Coming, he doesn’t take anybody up with him. He comes down and sets up his kingdom on earth, so nobody goes up. There’s only a coming down. The rapture in the last days, at the end of the last days that we’re in, that’s a going up. When Christ comes and returns to the earth, nothing is going up. It’s all coming down.

Also keep in mind that this resurrection, otherwise known as the rapture, is what we call imminent. I’ve mentioned that several times. In other words, it is likely to occur at any time without warning. Watch this, Acts 16:1, 6 and 7: “So when they had come together, they ask him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?” Now, this right before he ascended and, he had been teaching them for something like 40 days, privately, I believe, something like that. And notice that when they say, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” Notice that Jesus doesn’t say, “Dude, what did we just get done talking about all these days? What are you talking about?” So he said to them, “It is not for you to know the times of the seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” So the day is not known. In the Book of Revelation, again, the day is known. All through the Book of Revelation, the days are spelled out in no uncertain terms. In case you missed it, the Holy Spirit says three and a half years two different ways–42 months and 1,260 days. He does everything but write it on a chalkboard for you and bring it down.

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

So what we have, we have perfect imagery here. We have the rapture. People are working in the field. One is taken. The other is left. Then we’ve got just like it was in the day of Noah. Life was going on per the normal marrying, giving [UNINTELLIGIBLE 1:07:19], business as usual, life as usual. Then it starts raining, and everybody goes, “Uh-oh.” So it’s the same kind of deal. Everybody knows it’s the beginning of the end. So the whole issue of imminence separates the last days in the day of the Lord and because if I’m a believer in the day of the Lord otherwise known as the tribulation period, I know exactly when the Lord is coming back to the day. And let me demonstrate that. Let’s go to Daniel 9:27, and I’ll read that as well. And it says: “And he shall make a strong covenant with many for a week, a week, seven days, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering.” So in Daniel 9:27 what we have here is weeks of years. So one week is actually seven years, and for half of the week, he shall put an end to the sacrifice and offering. So for the second half of the week, he puts an end to the offering. That’s when he goes into the Holy of Holies and proclaims himself as God. “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’m a believer during that time, I know that the Lord’s return is seven years from the date of a treaty made with Israel by the Antichrist and from several other Scriptures and three and a half years from the abomination of desolation spoken of in Second Thessalonians 2:4. So basically, if you’re living during the tribulation period, when you see the abomination of desolation, you can go to your calendar and recalculate and say, “Yup, three and a half years from now is that date right there.” Basically, you’ll be able to mark the very day that the Lord is going to split that sky open and come down with his angels to subdue the earth and do what the disciples asked about before he ascended and once again establish the kingdom of Israel.

Now, we’re not even going to get in tonight how the Lord decided to do a seven-year tribulation that goes back to the Lord warning Israel in the original covenant that they would be punished, I believe, times seven for violations of the Sabbaths. And I believe what they violated was every seven years they were supposed to give the land a rest. They didn’t, so he warned them that if they did that that they would be punished seven times over. Anyway, all of that calculates out to 490 years before the transgression is finished. And if you follow that in the timeline, it’s 490 years from the time that God makes the decree to the time that the Messiah is cut off. Well, if you do the calculation, it’s 483 years. It’s 490 years to “finish the transgression.” You calculate everything out until the beginning of that 490 years to when Messiah is cut off. It’s 483 years. So there are seven years missing. So you can study all of that on your own, or if you want to, I can send you the information mail@ttanc.com. Actually, I think we did a Potter’s House on that that I can send you, but listen, here’s the point I want to make. It all fits together. Forty-two different authors, a Scripture that’s written over a collective time period of 1,600 years, and it all fits together perfectly.

So let’s move on, shall we? I’ll try to hurry up and finish up here so we have time to take some calls if there are any and see if Susan has any input on all of this. So there you have it. This is the age that we’re living in, the last days. So what does the Bible say these days will be like? What should we expect?, well let’s go to 2 Timothy 4:2 and 3. Now we’ve talked about the days that we’re in. They’ve been identified. Now we’re going to look at what they’re like and what we should do about it, so Second Timothy 4:2 and 3. This is from the NIV. Paul said to Timothy, “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 – what? There it is again, 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 had our share of the horror stories. Really, in the age we live in, there are three kinds of churches–churches that are driven to follow the truth at all costs, 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. They seek a truth that feeds the evil desires of their heart with a rabid intolerance of truth tellers.

Now, let’s go to 1 John 2:16. Here’s what John said. “Dear children, this is,” what? “This the last hour.” Was he saying it was the last hour they were going to be there way back when he wrote this? Of course not. Again, we see we’re in the last days. 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. So these last days that we’re in are going to be marked by the Antichrist. Well, you know, what is an Antichrist? Well, 1 John tells us specifically what an Antichrist is. There will be many who deny that Jesus Christ came in the flesh or that he was truly man.

Hey, I got an e-mail from a lady who goes to a conservative evangelical church, like all of them are New Calvinist, but she said, “Hey, Paul. The guy was teaching that the flesh that Christ was in was a different kind of flesh that we’re in.” And if you know what New Calvinists believe about justification and what Old Calvinists believes about justification but don’t know that’s what they believe, they don’t know that that’s what their daddy, John Calvin, actually believed, it makes sense that that would be the case. And I’m not going to get down the rabbit track with all of that, but just put it this way. I was not surprised that that was taught in her church.

So primarily, an Antichrist – and remember, the Antichrist is also called the man of Anomia. But apparently, whoever this guy is, he will be antinomian and he’ll also specifically deny that Christ came in the flesh. So those are antichrists. There’s going to be a bunch of those guys around. You see the reference here to the future day that will be the time when the antichrist appears, but the apostle says many of his forerunners will be active in this age. As a matter of fact, it’s how we know that we’re in the last stage. Incredibly, the apostle was saying many antichrists will mark this age.

Now let’s go to 1 John 4:1. I’ll read that for you. “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.” So now we have many false prophets even way back then when 1 John. So John is running down the list here. First, he says many antichrists. Now he’s saying many false prophets. This is a different group than what John spoke of earlier. There are also many false prophets in our age. Many antichrists and many false prophets will mark the age we live in.

Additionally–we’re not done–there are also many false apostles among them. Turn with me to Second Corinthians 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 also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” Okay. So should we assume that this masquerade is like a really bad acting job? I think we do assume that. I contend that no, these are not bad acting jobs. Christ said that in this age, the deception will be so deep that even God’s elect will be deceived, if that were possible. Revelation 2:2 also speaks of false apostles, and there was even a problem with fictional letters being sent out as if the apostles telling the saints that they missed the rapture. That’s 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3. So in the 1st century, there were these guys writing letters. They were even writing letters and saying Paul wrote them. They’re not much different from bogus translations of the Bible like the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation and so on and so forth. It’s kind of the same thing.

So in the New Testament of the 27 books that make up the canon, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, 1 and 1 Thessalonians, Hebrews, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2 and 3 John, Jude deal primarily with error and false teaching as a theme. All other New Testament book contain portions that deal with false or erroneous teachings. In Revelation chapters 2 and 3 of the – about the seven churches, five of the letters contain and tolerate false teachers and are warned by Christ accordingly. So five of the seven letters, there’s a huge problem with heresy being tolerated and heresy being in the churches. As a matter of fact, the specific charge is that they tolerated false teaching. Really, when it gets right down to the nitty-gritty, only one of the seven churches were commended by Christ. The 1st century church, always looked at as the ideal model, was entrenched in constant, vicious warfare to protect the truth. When the disciples asked Jesus what the sign of the end of the age and his coming was going to be, the first thing that he said was what? “Be not deceived.”

Well, maybe things have gotten better since then, right? Not according to the apostle Paul and what he promised Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Paul said, “Mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.” What are the last days? This time period that we’re in. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful – oh man, Susan and I were talking about this the other day, the ugly spirit of unthankfulness. Unthankfulness is going to mark this age. What else? Unholy. Friends, remember to be thankful. Don’t take God’s graces for granted. Count your blessings one by one. One of the few good sanctification songs that – no matter what’s going on in your life, and I know life can be very hard, but always look for the good in the land. So they’re going to be 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 – look at this, having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

So there’s going to be many antichrists, many false prophets, many false apostles. They won’t tolerate sound doctrine. They’re going to be self-loving, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. And it’s all going to be wrapped up in this wrapper: having a form of godliness but denying its power.

Listen to these so-called pastors running 99% of the churches out there in our day. We can’t change. We don’t change. “Pastor” James MacDonald wrote a post that went viral on the Internet. He is resigned from fixing people. We hear of this all the time. I get sent articles by my readers all the time where you have these, especially in women’s ministry, people aren’t fixable. Don’t waste your time fixing stuff. Good news for tired mommies: Stop trying to fix yourself. Stop trying to be better. Stop trying to fix your children. Just show them Jesus, and God is going to do whatever he’s going to do. Paul said have nothing to do with them.

Now, again Paul says in Second Timothy 3:13: “While evil men and impostors will grow from bad to worse, deceiving itself.” This was all going on big time in the 1st century. And guess what. That was 2,000 years ago. And the apostle Paul said it’s not going to get better; it’s going to get worse. You got that? So think of this whole package. Do I need to go through this whole big list in this whole show being run by many antichrists, many false prophets, many false apostles? And this has been progressively getting worse for 2,000 years. Now listen to me. Let me throw a shout-out to the few guys I know of out there that have pulled their family out of the institutional church and are teaching their family at home. I know it’s tough, but you’re doing the right thing. What you saw in the institutional church that caused you to do what you did was not your imagination. If we believe Scripture, it was not your imagination.

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 its conception, and the powers of darkness have had 2,000 years to perfect their schemes. Neither have they retreated. Hardly. 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 that the Holy Spirit called honorable. The Bereans would not even give the apostle Paul a pass without searching the Scripture to confirm what he’s teaching.

And let me tell you something. Thinking about tonight, you look at all of this, the Gospel Coalition and Together for the Gospel and all of these New Calvinist networks and all this stuff, these huge conferences that are going on, all of these books that are being written, this whole idea that there are awesome teachers hanging on trees everywhere, not reality. Just not reality, not even close. These are the days of Noah. And what’s glorious, we have the opportunity to find people like-minded who believe and understand what the Bible is saying about the days that we’re in, and we have an opportunity to gather each other together in our homes and fellowship together and have beautiful rich fellowships amongst people who really love the Lord and look forward to his coming as the days grow near and so on and so forth. But somehow, we want to spend all of our time scraping around in the junkyard of the institutional church finding something worth praising. Why do we want to do that? Why do people want to save Augustine’s institutional church? Why do they want to do that? It was hard enough in the 1st century keeping error out of the home fellowships. So we should not give any teacher in 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.” And we got way too much of running down to the bookstore to buy this book and the other book and people running down the aisles and doing their Baptist absolution and all this, that and the other, way too much of that going on. Listen, I don’t run to any teaching. I move in slowly with binoculars while hiding behind rocks and trees as I go, and you should too. Why are there so many denominations, as I am closing here, okay? Why are there so many denominations, –isms and teachings represented in these pithy book covers? Because we live in an age that will not tolerate sound doctrine. There is no middle ground in this world. You either stand with darkness or you stand with light. The choice is yours.

Now, with that said, I’m not seeing our Susan calling in, and we have about 25 minutes left in the show. No callers and I don’t see Susan calling in. We do have a pretty hefty listening audience, and I’m thankful for that. I would be probably very nervous to teach a Sunday school that large. And a lot of people are coming to the archives at Blog Talk False Reformation, and I appreciate that as well. If there’s any way that I can do better here or if you have any recommendations at all, again, mail us at mail@ttanc.com. And blessings to everybody listening tonight, and go with God and have a wonderful, thankful, God-pleasing week. And we’ll see you next Friday at 7:00. God bless.