Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Rome is Defiant Again

Originally posted http://thecatholicmonitor.blogspot.com

Rome in ancient times was the biggest empire of it’s time. The people were scared of Rome and Rome was especially against the Christians. Anyone who went against Rome, didn’t obey the law, sacrifice as they should, became a Christian, or didn’t worship the emperor they were usually persecuted, sanctioned or outright just killed...more

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hell Is Back In The News

This item is available on the Apologetics Press web site at: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3364 - it was originally published in Reason & Revelation, issue 6[6]:24-RAP Content ::

Reason & Revelation“Hell” is Back In the Newsby Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In their book Surveying the Religious Landscape: Trends in U.S. Beliefs, George Gallup, Jr. and D. Michael Lindsay reported that a Gallup poll taken in May 1997 showed that only 56% of Americans held a firm conviction in the existence of hell (1999, p. 30). One reason that a growing number of Americans disbelieve in the reality of hell is likely due to its virtual disappearance from our vocabulary. Non-Christians basically use it only as a profane expression. Christians rarely address the subject in their discussions. Sermons on the subject of hell have been in decline for years. One denominational “pastor” was quoted in U.S. News & World Report a few years back, saying: “My congregation would be stunned to hear a sermon on hell” (“Revisiting...,” 1991, 110[11]:60). I once heard the late evangelist Wendell Winkler tell about preaching in a meeting in Oklahoma. After preaching a lesson on hell, the local preacher, who had been in that city for 22 years, told Winkler that in those 22 years, the church there had held 44 gospel meetings (two per year). During those meetings, a total of 527 sermons had been preached. Wendell Winkler’s lesson was said to be the first one on the subject of hell that they had ever heard in those meetings.

Preaching about eternal hell appears to be so rare that when a notable religious leader addresses the issue, it draws attention even from many major media outlets. Recently, Pope Benedict XVI, in a speech delivered outside of Rome, stressed that the impenitent risk “eternal damnation.” Hell “really exists,” he said, “and is eternal, even if nobody talks about it much any more” (as quoted in Owen, 2007). FOX News, the Boston Herald, Times Online, and the Melbourne Herald Sun are only a few of the media elites who carried this story. “The pope really believes in an eternal hell.”

Warning others about the judgment to come is not popular. Teaching in the streets and churches about an eternal hell is as sparse as rain in the Sahara. Although the papacy itself is unscriptural (see Pinedo, 2005), Christians can appreciate the fact that Benedict XVI would address such a politically incorrect subject. Truly, it is high past time for faithful Christians around the world to get back to teaching a truth that Jesus and the Bible writers repeatedly taught: hell is real and eternal (Matthew 5:22; 25:41,46; Mark 9:43; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).


Gallup, George Jr. and Michael Lindsay (1999), Surveying the Religious Landscape: Trends in U.S. Beliefs (Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing).

Owen, Richard (2007), “The Fires of Hell are Real and Eternal, Pope Warns,” TimesOnline, March 27, [On-line], URL: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article1572646.ece.

Pinedo, Moises (2005), “The Pope, the Papacy, and the Bible,” Apologetics Press, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2724.

“Revisiting the Abyss,” (1991), U.S. News & World Report, 110[11]:60, March 25.

Copyright © 2007 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Will There be an Armageddon?

Many religionists insist that world history will culminate in a cataclysmic global holocaust known as “Armageddon,” followed by the “Millennium”—a 1000-year reign of Christ on Earth. They say that current events in the Middle East are arranging themselves in such a fashion that the Second Coming of Christ is imminent. Of course, this claim has been made repeatedly for many, many years—with no fulfillment forthcoming.

What does the Bible actually say about “Armageddon”? The term “armageddon” occurs only once in the New Testament: Revelation 16:16. In keeping with the literary genre of the book (i.e., apocalyptic), the term is used with figurative connotations. Revelation is literally packed with allusions to the Old Testament. In fact, “no book in the New Testament is so thoroughly steeped in the thought and imagery of the Hebrew Scriptures” (Swete, 1911, p. liii). But the writer does not use direct quotes from the Old Testament. Rather, he adapted, modified, and combined ideas from the Old Testament in order to apply them to the setting to which he addressed himself. He drew freely from Old Testament imagery, but placed a New Testament spin on them with a first century application.

For those who would be familiar with the Old Testament (as Asia Minor Christians would have been), the Holy Spirit capitalized on the meaning that this location possessed. In Hebrew, the term “Harmageddon” means “mountain (or hill) of Megiddo.” Was there a hill of Megiddo? Yes. In fact, Jews and students of Hebrew history were only too familiar with this prominent battlefield and vicinity.

Many bloody encounters stained the soil of this region—scenes of military disaster. It was here that Deborah and Barak defeated the Canaanites (Judges 5:19). Gideon was victorious over the Midianites in this region (Judges 7). These positive accomplishments were etched into the Israelite consciousness. But there were other images evoked by Megiddo, for it also served as a place where national tragedy had occurred. Ahaziah died there after being pierced by Jehu’s arrow (2 Kings 9:27). And good King Josiah perished tragically at the hands of Pharaoh Necho (2 Kings 23:29). This last incident was especially poignant to the minds of the Jewish people, who mourned the loss of this great king, enshrining the event in the collective consciousness as an instance of national grief (Zechariah 12:11).

With this long historical background, Megiddo came to occupy a place in the minds of believers similar to places which immediately bring to the American mind definite and strong impressions: the Alamo, Pearl Harbor, etc. This significance was then utilized by the Holy Spirit to convey to struggling, persecuted Christians of Asia Minor near the end of the first century the sure outcome of the conflict then being waged between the forces of evil (Satan and imperial Rome) and the forces of righteousness (God, Christ, and faithful saints who were enduring persecution). These Christians were certainly in no need of assurance that some future global holocaust would occur which Christ would bring to an end 2,000 years removed from their suffering! These Christians were in dire need of assurance that Christ would come to their aid soon (see “shortly”—Revelation 1:1; 22:6). They needed encouragement to hang on, and to remain steadfast in the face of inhuman mistreatment. T

The symbol of Megiddo fitly symbolized the impending overthrow of an enemy empire, and engendered much needed assurance. Christians were given the solace that soon the outcome of the battle would be realized. The enemies of God and His People would be punished, while suffering saints would be comforted. Thus “armageddon” is purely symbolic, and in no way relates to dispensational dreams of a future world war. There will be no “Armageddon.”


Swete, Henry (1911), Commentary on Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1977 reprint).
Copyright © 2003 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved

By Dave Miller Ph.D

For more info go to http://endtimesfact.blogspot.com or read the book at http://endtimesfact.com

Saturday, February 18, 2006

In Defense of Faith

To be questioned about ones religion is the heart and soul of their very being. To be a Christian is to know why and what you believe. Obtaining knowledge is the center core of Gods word and the opposite of that is ignorance which God despises. This is more of a problem then people of faith realize. How will Christians be able to help others if you don’t know what you believe yourself? When you ask someone a question regarding their belief you will find that some don’t even know and will just say, “Oh I don’t know that’s just the way we’ve always done it.” Also some folks will say, “That’s just the way we were raised,” without ever questioning it.

There are some churches that believe it is not the commission of the modern day church to spread or even know the gospel.

In the Bible the early Christians were told to spread the word. They were told to share their faith. In order to do this they would have to hear the gospel. How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard?

And how shall they hear without a preacher? So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Romans 10:14;17. Another good example of hearing is found in the book of Acts. An angel of the Lord told Philip to arise and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza. Acts 8:26. When he arrived he was met with an Ethiopian who was reading the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked him if he understood what he was reading and it was obvious by his remark that he didn’t. The Ethiopian said, “Well how could I unless someone guides me?”

Society runs in circles one preaching this doctrine and someone else another. No one knows what to believe or even if they need a “position” at all. Some just believe what they believe because that’s the way they were brought up or it’s just the popular viewpoint. When questioned or challenged some will even shut down and not have any type of discussion about it at all. Is it because they don’t know or is it possible they just don’t care. Is it important to know what to believe?

The Christians in Berea thought it was important because they examined the scriptures daily to make sure what they were being told was correct. Acts 17:11. In fact they were considered more noble minded then the others. The apostle John told the Christians to test the spirits to see if they were from God. If the Christians didn’t have the knowledge or know what to look for I guess it would be kind of hard to test them. Paul told the young evangelist Timothy that if anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words then that person is conceited and understands nothing. If Timothy didn’t know what the doctrine was to begin with then he wouldn’t know which one was the right one. I Timothy 6:3-4. I believe some get caught in the trap of habit; they just go through the routine and motions of life.

Paul says that we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming. Ephesians 4:14. By now as adults we should know better and understand why we believe what we believe. How else will we be able to fulfill the great commission of the church? Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you. Matthew 28:19-20. God commands that we have the knowledge that only comes through knowing Him and what is written in the Word. The whole Bible alludes to some type of action against those who are not “in the know.” God’s people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6. It’s more then just the knowledge you possess but the hope, the reason for you. The comfort and love that you can give to another individual because of what you know.

Peter says that Christians are always to be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you. I Peter 3:15.

Christians must be able to defend the faith and they need to possess the knowledge to be able to do that. James commented saying that if anyone lacks wisdom; let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously. He goes on to say to ask in faith, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:5-6. Are Christians being tossed by the waves and wind? Are we able to answer the hope that is within us? Why do you believe what you believe? What is your “position” and what are you going to say in defense of your faith?

C. F. Bettridge is a freelance writer and author. Her latest website is http://givetolive.org/

Read her blog at http://endtimesfact.blogspot.com/ or get her latest book at http://endtimesfact.com/

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

God, the Author of Confusion

God, the Author of Confusion?

After the Twin Towers fell in New York mankind lifted their hands in despair. Some were terrified beyond human comprehension and asking the question why did this happen? Can you even imagine the thoughts as they stood in their offices going about their daily business? They must have wondered if this was the beginning of Armageddon and the world was coming to an end. Book stores everywhere were reporting an all time sales high of end time prophecy books.

The world is fascinated by the end of the world topics such as the battle of Armageddon, the Antichrist, the Beast and his number, 666. Lies concerning these end times have been passed down for years. Some of these end time subjects don’t have anything to do with our end times in the 21st century. Did you know that there isn’t just one Antichrist there are many? Do you also know that the battle of Armageddon isn’t a physical type of battle that will take place at the end of time? Do you realize that Christians fight the battle of Armageddon everyday? These are not the most popular views however you can see that they differ.

The statement has been made that the Bible is so full of conflicting assertions and contradictions that it is impossible to comprehend. Society is confused because there are so many different doctrines you don’t know which one to believe. So if we are saying there are no contradictions in the bible then how do you figure out who is right and who is wrong? One of the best ways that I found is outlined in my book End Time Secrets. To begin with you have to know when it was written, the audience, who it was written for and to as well as knowing under what conditions it was written. Just like any story if you can use the what, when, where, why and how that you learned in school it makes it easier to understand. The Bible being a puzzling book to some degree each chapter is in complete harmony with one another. To know who is right or wrong the doctrine cannot disagree with the purpose of the Bible as a whole. If a person, doctrine or theory disagrees with any point then one or all could be wrong.

It’s no wonder that the world is in a constant upheaval about Christianity. There are so many denominations no one knows who or what to believe. I don’t think that God intended it to be this way. In New Testament times there weren’t all the denominations that we have in our present day. There was only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. Ephesians 4:5. Today we have many faiths, churches all teaching something different, creeds and baptisms. God is not a God of confusion but of peace. I Corinthians 14:33. The 1st century Christians were instructed by the apostle Paul to agree and that there were to be no divisions among them but yet there are so many divisions today. I Corinthians 1:10. The problem is if the early Christians were told to agree is it possible today in the 21st century? The point I would like to make is if it isn’t God and the Bible, then who is the author of confusion.

The confusion is going to continue until Christians get back to the basics. Some believe a certain way because that’s the way they have been brought up or it’s the popular viewpoint. Christians need to start examining the church they attend as well as their own beliefs. They shouldn’t just accept something because that’s the way everyone believes about a subject especially concerning end times. End time type of preachers has some scared into a tizzy. When something is said you should be like the Christians of Berea as described in the book of Acts. They took the time to search the scriptures to see if what they were being told was true. Acts 17:11. The apostle John also said to test the spirits to see if they were from God. He says to not believe everything you hear. I John 4:1. In other words examine what you are being told and if you cannot find it in the scriptures then it has to be rejected. In first century times they foretold the fact that Christians would fall away from the faith and find teachers who would preach what they wanted to hear rather than what the truth is. I Timothy 4:1-5; 6:3-4; II Timothy 4:1-5.

I challenge you today to start examining your beliefs as I do everyday. Having an open mind to the possibility of being wrong will be the hardest challenge. If you can overcome that then I am sorry to say it’s still uphill from there but at least the hardest test will be over. When examining scripture don’t twist it to make it agree with what you believe but rather read it to understand what to believe. Using a lot of common sense goes a long way. Lastly don’t take my word for it get your paper, pens, highlighters and examine the scriptures also everything I have said as well. Come now and let us reason together. Isaiah 1:18.

CF. Bettridge is a writer for http://endtimesfact.com