Friday, January 24, 2014

Letter to a Dying Man

I am a pastor and I came over to visit our church elder’s father-in-law, who was dying, “What do you think happens to a person after they die? Do you think about what happens to you after you die?” “Where do you think a person goes after they die?”

The latest survey says that 100 out of every 100 people will die and that God has said that He has put eternity in the hearts of mankind (Eccl 3:11).

I have a nursing home Bible study every Wednesday night and one Wednesday night, one of the residents died. It was a frightening experience for the residents and so we cancelled the Bible study that night and I just spoke plainly to some of the residents there about life being so finite. Many of them were quite shaken by this tragedy.

No one knows the day or hour when they will pass from this life. I would ask them, “Have you ever thought about where you will go after you die? If you could know for sure where you would go after death, would you want to know?”

Some told me that they are spiritual or that they are a very good person and know that they will go to heaven. I then asked them, “Where did you learn this from? How do you know that is true? Are you certain where you will go after you die?”

I hear some say that they will be reincarnated, others say they will cease to exist and many other different answers to these questions. That is when I ask them, “Where did you learn this from? How do you know that is true?”

People falsely believe that if they’re a good person, they’ll go to heaven but our best deeds are like filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6). The fact is that there is "No one is righteous--not even one” (Rom 3:10) and only “The fool says in his heart, "There is no God” (Psalm 14:1).

Would you consider yourself a good person? Do you think you’ve kept the Ten Commandments? Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen anything? Have you ever lusted in your heart when you looked at a man? Jesus said that “anyone who looks at a woman (or man too) and lusts in their heart after them has already committed adultery with her.” Jesus equates hating someone with murdering someone in their heart.

Most people, by their own admission, lie, steal, and are adulterer’s at heart. If God were to judge you according to the Ten Commandments, would you be guilty or innocent? Do you think your destiny will be heaven or hell? Most will say “Heaven” because they believe God is a good God and would never send me to hell…since I have done a lot of good things in my life”.

Let’s try this scenario in front of a judge. You just stolen something or got busted with cocaine. Do you think the judge will let you go just because he’s a good person? No, it is because he is a good man that he will convict you. If you tell him that you’ve done a lot of nice things in your life, do you think that will help you? The Bible says in Revelation that all liars, adulterers, thieves, and murderers will be thrown into the lake of fire. Ask, “Does that concern you?”

Just 3 days before our elder’s father-in-law’s death, he finally believed in Jesus Christ and trusted his eternity with God. He didn’t know that he only had 3 days to live. Neither did I. In God’s sovereign timing, I had gone by there just before he died and today he is alive forever more, no pain, no suffering, no tears, no sorrow and he escaped an eternal judgment (Rev 20:11-15).

I am so glad I shared this good news with him and that is why I am sharing it with you today. If you die without repenting and trusting in Christ then you will have no second chance and this is why I am risking my friendship with you to tell you before you die. Then it is too late.

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Are WE The Laodicean Church?

Are we currently living in and part of the Laodicean church… especially in the western world?  You know… the church Jesus said was wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked?

Let’s first take a look at what Jesus says to this church in Revelation, chapter three:

Revelation 3: 14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,

‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’”

Let’s examine a few points about this vitally important passage.

First point:  Jesus says the Laodiceans are lukewarm… neither cold nor hot, and because of this lukewarm state, He will vomit them out of His mouth.  He also warns them about their state of believing they are not genuinely needy. They think they have “arrived”.

Now, in spite of all the glowing, exciting proclamations of power, healing, worldwide revival and other awesome claims going around in the Charismatic, Pentecostal, Word-of-Faith and New Apostolic Reformation circles… I have to say that they are simply not true.;

I believe in the gifts of the Spirit and have walked in some of them, but these claims are not true.
I will not argue or debate this issue with anyone at any time.  If you believe these claims of power, healing and revival are genuine and true, then God bless you.  I pray good things for you and wish you well.

The levels of confidence, self-exaltation and self-sufficiency displayed in these circles is mind boggling, as well as the level of scripture twisting and misinterpretation. They are not needy, regardless of the claims of neediness they may make.

I will say there are surely mighty things going on in certain parts of the world… being experienced by simple, humble, obscure believers… but it’s not going on in the Charismatic, Word-of-Faith and New Apostolic Reformation circles.  Call me arrogant and judgmental.  That’s OK.

Now, in the non-charismatic realm of the church, the blandness, lukewarmness and powerlessness is even more obvious.  At least there is a level of excitement in the charismatic realm, however misplaced it may be.

The church in our day and age… to a great degree… especially in the west… including the charismatic segment… is extremely man-centered; bland; lifeless; powerless; apathetic and practically irrelevant to our world.  I could go on with descriptive adjectives, but I’ll stop there.

Second point: Jesus counsels the Laodiceans to buy from Him… Jesus… gold refined in the fire.  What does that mean?  For a simple illustration of the meaning, we will look at 1 Peter 1: 3-6:

1 Peter 1: 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

So, gold refined in the fire is simply a genuine faith, in God and His Word… not His Word as we make it out to be… that is tested, tried and purified in the fires of affliction, tribulation and difficulty, which all true believes are told repeatedly in the scriptures they’d have to endure.

Final point: Jesus tells us he rebukes and chastens those He loves, and that He stands at the door of our hearts and knocks, wanting to come in and dine with us… wanting us to be zealous and repentant. We always use this passage about Jesus knocking at the door, wanting to come in, as an evangelistic passage, telling unbelievers, “Jesus stands at the door and knocks.  Won’t you let Him in?”  This is a false application of God’s word.  He knocks at the door of our hearts… believers… and wants us to see our condition, and open the door to Him, and have a true change of heart and direction.

Let’s look, finally, at a passage I believe closely parallels the Revelation passage.  It’s found in 2 Timothy 3: 1-7:

2 Timothy 3: But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

This passage is speaking about the condition of Christians… believers… in the end times… today’s times.  I know, we’ve all been told how this passage describes the state of the unrepentant… the unbelievers… the lost.  We’ve been told wrong.

Now, Charismatics will say that denying the power of godliness means denying the reality of tongues and Pentecostal manifestations.  To that I say, “Baloney!”

To have a form of godliness while denying the power of godliness means we do “Christian” things, activities, programs and projects… Charismatic and non-charismatic… but we avoid, at all costs, truly denying ourselves, taking up our cross and following Jesus… down into the death of self, the burial, the resurrection and the ascension.

The power of godliness is the death… the loss… of self, and the taking up of the very life and nature of Jesus, the Messiah, and please don’t try and tell me that we in the modern church are doing and living that… even in the Charismatic realm. To an extremely high degree, we are not, especially in the western church.

As always, I ask you to leave comments, and “like” and share this post if you find substance and value in it.

Grace In Him. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Geno Aptaker is from Knoxville, Tennessee and writes for his own website What IS Church? This article republished with the author's permission.

For more articles from this author visit WhatIsChurch?.org

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Should Creationism Be Taught in Public Schools? Is it Legal?

Should public schools teach creationism along side of the theory of evolution? Is it even legal? The facts might surprise you. Read more about this issue from the article called Should Creationism Be Taught in Public Schools? Is it Legal?

Monday, October 15, 2012

What if the Mayans are Right? What if it’s Worse?

The Mayans, among many other cultures, predict the end of the present age for planet Earth.  Many speculate climactic changes ranging from polar shifts to utter destruction.  Could they be right? Are you prepared, or is there something even more alarming headed our way? 

On March 11, 2011 an 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck Japan and a resulting tsunami swept thousands out to sea.  A few months later 358 tornadoes swept across the US leaving thousands without power for weeks. In 2010 Haiti was hit hard with an earthquake that destroyed homes and businesses; killing thousands of people.  Going back further are hurricanes Ivan, Dennis, Katrina, and Rita, the 2004 tsunami that swept across the countries bordering the Indian Ocean killing over 230,000 people, flash flooding in Australia, droughts in China, Argentina, Africa and else where.

These are a few of the catastrophes that have come upon our planet in just the past decade.  Calamities like these remind us just how fragile, and utterly powerless we are against such natural forces.  Life can go from happy, safe, and secure to utter fear and chaos in just a matter of seconds, and there is nothing we can do to prevent it. 

Though large and devastating, the events above were all still local to their region.  Thank God for the people, organizations, and nations who were able to help with first aide, perishables, and reconstruction; but, can you imagine what it would be like if such events were to occur on a global scale?  Well, according to some speculations regarding the Mayan calendar’s prediction, many believe we may just find out.

The Mayans, among other cultures, predict the end of Earth’s present age.  Many theorize climactic changes ranging from polar shifts to utter destruction.  Could they be right? Are you prepared, or could something even more alarming be headed our way? 

So, what’s the story with the Mayan calendar and why has it gained such interest?  The Mayans actually used three different calendars; however, one of them, the Long Count calendar, was a cyclical calendar used to count days.  There are many minor cycles in the Long Count calendar, but one complete major cycle consists of 1,872,000 solar days (approximately 5125.36 years).  That is the number of days it takes for their calendar to go from a count of to, and is termed a Baktun.  One more day added to the count will cause the entire cycle to repeat again.  The Mayans considered this full cycle to represent one Earth age, and according to their calendar our present Earth age will end on December 21, 2012 AD.

General consensus marks August 11, 3114 BC as the beginning of the current cycle (present world age).  It’s interesting to note that the Mayan calendar, though developed around 500 BC, was adjusted for some reason or another, so that this latest cycle would end on December 21, 2012.  Why?  What’s so significant about that date? 

Interestingly enough, that is the date that the Earth will be in Galactic alignment with the December solstice sun and the equator of our galaxy, the Milky Way:  an event that occurs approximately every 26,000 years as a result of the precession of the equinoxes.  Precession is caused by the fact that our earth wobbles ever so slowly about its axis; therefore, axial North never points to the same place in space, but revolves in a circular pattern taking about 26,000 years to return to its original point.  What many haven’t mentioned is that due to the large diameter of the sun, it takes approximately 36 years for the sun to pass through the galactic equator.  The year that the Sun was in the most precise center of the galactic equator actually happened in 1998, so in reality, we have been in the midst of galactic alignment for a number of years now. 

According to Mayan researcher John Major Jenkins, the Mayans don’t associate the end of their calendar with calamities, catastrophes, or the end of the world; rather, it is associated with spiritual progression and change (ref.  It is speculated that the majority of hype regarding the Mayan calendar and the 2012 dooms day propaganda began as publicity to promote the Hollywood 2012 movie.  Whether this is true or not, I don’t know, but even a cursory glance across the Internet, as well as other printed media, reveals a great public confidence that trouble is headed our way in 2012.

Certainly, the possibility of the world coming to an end is an event that will cause you to stop and take notice.  Could the Mayan’s be on to something?  Could their calendar have some end time significance after all?  Is there any evidence showing that our planet is heading toward cataclysmic changes, or a global devastation that threatens our very existence (at least as we know it)?  Well, before you lock yourself in on the Mayans, you should consider the fact that their calendar isn’t the only Dooms Day predictor out there.  Quite a number of theories regarding the end of the world await your perusal.  Here are a few.

Our Sun is very active with solar flares. Geomagnetic Reversal is the theory that the sun’s solar flare activity can become so intense, it could cause the magnetic poles of the earth to shift.  It could also cause damage to electronic systems such as cell phones, power grids and satellites orbiting our planet.  If severe enough, the damage caused could send us back to the days before electricity, taking months, or even years for recovery.

Another theory is that as the Earth and Sun pass through the galactic equator, enormous gravitational stresses will be placed upon our planet.  The stress may be so great that the Earth might become unstable, manifesting its weakness with events such as earthquakes, tidal waves, volcanic eruptions, etc.

There is also the theory that the earth will collide, or at least pass within close proximity to Planet X (or Nibiru).  Planet X is an unknown planet speculated to be in orbit somewhere out past Neptune.  It is a hypothetical planet believed to be on a 3600-year orbit and is now back in our area.  We were supposed to collide with it back in 2003 but obviously that didn’t happen.  One article I read stated that Aliens had given us this information and others claim that the Mayans also had foreknowledge of this upcoming event.

Star Betelgeuse is a star in its final stages and will go supernova at some point in the future (maybe within the next 100,000 years).  It is feared that when it does Earth will be taken out, too.  Betelgeuse is approximately 600 light years away from us.  Some speculate that is too close, but according to another article I just read, we should be safe, as long as we’re not within 25 light years of it when it lights up the sky.

Then there are those that fear an all out Alien invasion.  We have romanticized about this for decades (maybe more).  Some say they are coming, others say they are already living among us.  One site I came across claimed that SETI (the organization in Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) has detected three large space ships set to arrive in 2012.  Hmmm!??

These are just a portion of a vast array of Dooms Day theories.  The books, websites, TV specials, etc. that have sprung up because of these (and others like them), is staggering.  If you’re looking for a doomsday scenario just take your pick:  there are many to choose from, but which one is right, and how do we know? 

Well, before you make your final selection, there is yet another authority that warrants a closer look.  With numerous predictions, it touts a staggering 100% accuracy to date.  For a quick sampling: it foretold the slavery of the Israelites into Egypt and their deliverance from Pharaoh over four hundred years before it happened.  It foretold the supernatural catching away of the prophet Elijah, the coming of the conqueror Cyrus, the defeat of the Babylonian empire and the rise of the Medo-Persians.  It foretold the conquering of the then known world by Alexander the Great, his untimely death, and the division of his empire to his generals.  It foretold the rise of the Roman Empire and accurately described the scraping of the city Tyre. 

It prophesied the journey of Mary and Joseph and the place (and manner) of Jesus’ birth.  It pinpointed the date of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem four hundred and eighty years before it happened.  It described His betrayal, the details of His crucifixion, His resurrection, and the destruction of Jerusalem that followed.  The list goes on and on.  Does it too, predict an end of the age?  You bet it does, and it’s not a pretty ending.  The authority I am referring to is the Bible. 

The Bible contains over 1800 prophecies, 80% of which have already been accurately fulfilled.  Though much of its prophecies are now recorded as history, it still has much to say about the future of man and planet Earth.  Its “End of the Age” scenario foretells of a series of judgments that will be pass upon the Earth, and all mankind, designed to end corruption and usher in a new world order.  It describes the ending of this age as a time of trouble so great that nothing to date can compare to it, or anything after:  a seven-year period that begins with the rise of a world leader (the Antichrist) and culminates with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.  To compound things, the events occurring at that time will be global in scope, and include earthquakes, war, famine, scorching heat, volcanic eruptions, poisoned waters, plagues, economical collapse, and accompanied with much, much death.

What makes the Bible’s predictions any more credible than the other theories already presented (or others we haven’t discussed)?  First, as already mentioned, the Bible has a proven track record of being right on every prophecy so far.  That kind of statistical record regarding past events, gives strong support for being accurate on future events as well.  But beyond that, its prophetic utterances are from a reliable source:  a source which is not limited to a specific lifetime, culture, or organization in history: such as the Mayan’s (who left us a calendar of mysterious meaning), or an Edgar Cayce (whose dreams and visions were given only during his lifetime), or a ancient culture whose thoughts, ideologies, and relics were left to be pondered by others. 

No, the Bible’s prophesies span sixty-six different books, penned by forty different authors, written over a time period of sixteen hundred years.  They are relevant to a time frame of at least six thousand years to date, with a future time frame still unknown.  Yet, through all of those vast architectural variables, its theme, though recorded by so many authors, over so many years, is pieced together as if from one author, with one main story line.  How could it stay so focused and on track?  How could its scriptures, disconnected for the most part by time, geography, and cultural influence, culminate together and emerge as the most accurate road map to our existence?  Because it’s true author is the creator of man, God Himself.

God was there at our beginning and He has been with us every step since.  He created us with an intentful purpose that has never changed.  Purposefully gifting man with a privilege above all created beings; the capacity to know and commune with our creator, God created us to fellowship with Him: to love Him supremely and to be the object of His love.  At life’s deepest core that is the essence of our existence.  Anything else we glean from life, or focus our attention on is subordinate to that main premise.  His love for us is immeasurable, and He is deeply involved in the affairs of man.

So, what does the Bible have to say about the future of man and the end times?  Quite a lot.  God has not left us in the dark concerning this issue, but has been speaking to us for centuries about it through His prophets and the scriptures.  The book of Daniel (in the Old Testament) and the Book of Revelation (in the New Testament) probably give the best overall picture of events and world powers leading up to the end.

The book of Daniel was written during the time when God’s chosen people, the Jew, were in Babylonian captivity under King Nebuchadnezzar.  During this captivity God gave Nebuchadnezzar a dream that troubled him deeply.  The King called upon his magicians and soothsayers for an interpretation with the penalty of death riding on their ability to recount the dream in full, and interpret its meaning.  Daniel, a child of the captivity, was made servant to the King, however, because of his appointed occupation, he was lumped in with the above-mentioned group of people.  Fearing the King’s command, Daniel and his friends earnestly prayed to God for the interpretation – lest they should die with the rest.  God granted their petition.

The interpretation given to Daniel, coupled with other prophetic passages throughout the Bible, foretells the future of all mankind.  This specific dream reveals the succession of kingdoms that will rise to rule over the Jewish nation starting from the time of Nebuchadnezzar until the end.  The dream is recorded in Daniel chapter 2, but briefly it goes like this:

Nebuchadnezzar had a dream in which he saw a great image.  This image had a head of gold, arms and chest of silver, a torso of brass, legs of iron, and feet made of a mixture of iron and baked clay.  Then he saw a rock, made without the aid of human hands, smite the image on its feet, and grind it to powder; after which, he saw that same rock grow into a great mountain that covered the entire earth. 

Daniel explained that God had given the King this dream in order to show to him what will happen in the latter days.  He then began the interpretation by explaining that the head of gold represented King Nebuchadnezzar himself, after who would arise a nation inferior to his, represented by the arms and the chest of silver.  It is latter revealed in another vision, that that kingdom would be the Medo-Persian kingdom, who would in turn be conquered by a third kingdom; the Grecian kingdom, represented by the torso of bronze.

The Grecian kingdom would be headed by a king who would be broken off in his prime, after which, it would be divided up and headed by four others who are not of his bloodline.  History shows this king to be Alexander the Great, who died at around thirty-three years of age, and his kingdom was divided up among his four generals.

The Grecian kingdom would in turn be conquered by a forth kingdom, the Roman Empire, represented by the legs of iron.  It is during that kingdom that Messiah would come and suffer death, but not for himself, and the people, of a prince that would come in the far distant future, would destroy the city (Jerusalem), and the Jew would be scattered among the nations. 

This happened in 70 AD, and from that time until the present began a period known as “the times of the gentiles.”  Beginning with the dispersion of the Jew, there has been a long gap in the prophecy, during which the Israelites have not had a place to call their own until 1948, when Israel was recognized again as a nation, but the prophecy still has much to say.  There is to arise a fifth and final kingdom, represented by the feet and toes of the image. 

This final kingdom will be a divided kingdom; much in the way that iron does not mix with clay.  It will be a loosely held confederate; a people not united.  We see this forming today in Europe and the Middle East as the revised Roman Empire.  The ten toes of the image represent ten kings that will have power during that time.  The Book of Revelation sheds more light on this subject, revealing that these ten Kings will give their power to one ruler. 
According to Daniel 8 he will arise out of the area once held by one of the four generals of the Grecian Kingdom, and Daniel 11 narrows it down further to the northern area once held by Seleucid, one of Alexander’s generals who retained power in the region that is present day Syria, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, and Southern Turkey.  Representing these ten kings as ten horns of power, Daniel 7 also reveals that this ruler (Antichrist) will uproot (subdue) three of the ten when he comes on the scene. 

When this future leader takes power, he will come in peaceably and establish a covenant with Israel; most likely a peace plan: something they have been struggling with since they became a nation.  This covenant marks the beginning of a seven-year period the Book of Revelation calls the “Great Tribulation”:  a time of trouble so terrible that nothing can compare to it – either before or after. 

However, in the midst of this seven year period, this leader will become possessed by the same evil spirit that enabled the Grecian Kingdom to conquer the then known world during the time of Alexander the Great.  According to prophecy, once this spirit regains the power he will go against the covenant and the peace plan will be broken.  Israel will be in his scope and his eyes will be set upon Jerusalem.  Armies from all parts of the earth will be gathered together in the plains of Megedo, and the Battle of Armageddon will take place. 

According to the Bible, it is during this tribulation period that God will pour out His wrath upon the earth.  The environment will be in His control, and all of mankind will witness to it.  The Great day of His wrath shall be upon the peoples of the earth and none shall be able to prevent it.  Revelation states it this way:

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Rev 6:12-17)

So what will be the outcome?  In his dream, Nebuchadnezzar saw a stone cut out without hands (not by any human power) strike the feet of the image.  This part of the dream symbolizes the second coming of Jesus Christ; God’s son; the King of Kings and Lord of Lords; the Messiah, who was rejected by the Jew at His first coming: He will come and the armies of heaven with Him.  And wherein in his dream he saw that the stone crushed the image and grew and became a great mountain that covered the earth, God is showing us that His Son, the stone, will destroy the earthly kingdoms at that time, and set up an everlasting Kingdom which shall never be destroyed.

During that time God’s attention will turn again to the Jew (his chosen people), and He will remember His promised covenant with them through Abraham.  They will finally recognize their Messiah and be delivered.  Many on the earth shall repent, but the majority will not.  According to the Book of Revelation, at least one half of the population will perish.  God’s wrath will be poured out upon those who have rejected Him, and their lives will be taken from them.  He will destroy Antichrist with the brightness of His coming, and the Times of the Gentiles will come to an end.

The Book of Revelation says that at that time God will bind Satan, the one who deceived the nations, and prevent him from interfering with the affairs of man, and mankind will live in peace under Christ’s rule, without the influence of Satan, for a thousand years.  At the end of that thousand-year period Satan will be loosed again and manage to muster up one final rebellion.  They will come from the four corners of the earth to encompass Jerusalem, but this time God sends fire down from heaven and devours them.  Satan will be cast into the Lake of Fire (which was created for the Devil and his angels) where he will be tormented day and night forever.

End of story??  No!  What follows is more terrifying than you can imagine.  John in the Book of Revelation describes it this way,

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.  (Rev 20:11-15)

What could be more terrible than facing the Judgment of Almighty God?  As terrible as they may be, the calamities that have been, or yet still may come, are nothing compared to the calamity that shall come upon the soul.  This is the true doomsday for man; for though a natural calamity occur, and wipe out life as we know it, there is still a spiritual reckoning that every soul, both small and great, will face after this life is over.  Jesus said, “. . . fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Mat 10:28) “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mar 9:44 KJVA)

That, according to the Bible, is the roadmap of mans future.  The earthly life that we live is not the sum totality of it all; there is more to our existence than the days we breathe on this earth.  Man was created to live forever.  We are not just flesh and blood, but we are also spirit, and in that spirit we will stand before God on judgment day: the day in which the books will be open, and every man will give account of everything that he has done which are recorded in them.  Will the words written in those books justify you, or condemn you?  Have you kept all His statutes and laws?  Quoting from several scriptures, the Apostle Paul sums it up saying:

As it is written: "There is none righteous, no not one; there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God." "They are all gone out of the way, they have together become unprofitable, there is none that does good, no, not one." (Rom 3:10-12 MKJV)  James also writes, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is become guilty of all.” (Jas 2:10 RV)

I have heard it said, and I used to think it myself, “I hope I make it to heaven . . . I hope that my good will outweigh my bad . . . I hope that I have lived a good enough life.” Well . . . you haven’t, and you never will.  Sin is our condition; a part of our nature: it’s a fact that stands without debate, and no amount of good works will ever change that.  God says we are all guilty before Him.  There is none righteous – no, not one. 

In order to enlighten us to our sinfulness, God gave us His law.  Our unwillingness and inability to keep the law is proof positive that we are sinners, bringing to light the stark contrast of our nature against His.  Even aside from the written law, God say’s that the work of His law is written on our hearts, and that our consciences will either accuse us, or excuse us on that day.  What that means is that we know when we sin - we are all without excuse before Him. And according to God, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die . . . the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” (Eze 18:20 RV)

We will stand in judgment because we are sinners.  This is hard for many to understand because our view of sin is so tainted.  We sin against others and others sin against us.  Some sin more, and some less: some in this manner, and others in that.  We view sin as a part of life, and have grown comfortably numb to the severity of its recompense.  But that’s not God’s view.  God is Holy and will not coexist with it; yet, because of His love for us, and for the sake of His eternal redemptive plan, He has tolerated sin . . . for a time.  But make no mistake, God will not be mocked; He hates sin . . . with a perfect hatred, and it will not go unpunished.  What so ever a man sows, that shall he also reap – if sin is what is sown, then wrath is the recompense of reward.  The wages of sin is death – eternal separation from God – the very source of life.

Sin is a complete antipole to God and His nature.  It was born in the heart of Satan, long before the creation of man, and it filtered through the Angelic host to the extent that war broke out in Heaven: a war in which a third of the Angels were caught up in the rebellion.  It was so repulsive to God that He created the Lake of Fire: the place to which those who were party to the rebellion will one day be imprisoned:  banished from God’s presence and punished throughout all eternity.

To the fallen of the angelic order, there is no hope of salvation, but for us, this is not the case.  Though sinners, and deserving of every bit as much punishment as the Angels who fell, God has chosen to reach down, with the intent to help, fallen man. He offers us the hope of salvation: a way to separate us from our sin, making us as righteous as His Son: just as though we have never sinned.

How is this possible?  Because God has provided a substitute for your punishment.  Someone to die in your place that you may live.  But you may ask, “How does that solve the problem?  How can the death of one sinner bring life to another?  Well, it can’t, because he too has his own sins for which he must pay.  Therefore, there is not one among the whole human race who is able to pay for the sins of another, and God knows that.  

So how then is a substitution possible?  A substitution is possible because God Himself provided the acceptable sacrifice.  God sent someone of His own essence, to live among us: His own Son.  Jesus was born into the human race, but unlike us, He lived a totally sinless life before God, thus qualifying Him to be the only worthy sacrifice able to pay for the sins of another.  Therefore, the one who came to take our place is not a sinner at all.  However, at the crucifixion, God transferred the sin of the entire world upon Him; valuing the death of His Son as the only thing worth enough, in the currency of heaven, to pay the price for us all.  Christ died our death in relation to sin. 

So how does that make me righteous?  Because when you, through a willful act of faith, put your trust in what Jesus has done for you, and accept Him as your sacrifice for sin, a substitution takes place.  God places you in Christ, therefore, when He died, you died with Him.  The Bible says that it is appointed unto man once to die, and then after that comes judgment.  Sin was judged to the grave through the body of Jesus, but Christ was judged sinless – righteous.  And because Christ is sinless, and impossible for death to hold Him, God raised Him from the dead by the power of His Spirit; and when He was raised, you were raised with Him, to live in newness of life unto God.  The Bible says that we are to reckon ourselves dead to sin, but alive unto God through Christ. 

You see, this substitution is not merely figurative, but an actuality.  It is the true born again experience: a miracle; born again; not by flesh and blood subject to sin and death, but by the Spirit of God, subject to life and peace. In Christ you become a new creation; a child of God, enhanced with an added dimension of life by virtue of His Spirit, which He imparts to every believer.  And though the war with sin continues as long as you are in this body, you have the promise and assurance from God that you have power over it now, and will be completely set free from it over there.  Eternal death no longer has dominion over you.  The Bible says that, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20 KJV)

I have heard it said, “I’ve got too much sin in my life to turn to God . . . I’ll have to stop doing . . . you don’t know the things I’ve done . . . I don’t want to appear as a hypocrite.”  If you’re waiting until you can clean up your act before you come to Christ, lest you be seen as a hypocrite, you’re wasting precious time.  You can’t do it.  Christ came for the hypocrite, the lost, and the sinner.  Man’s redemption is the very reason He sent His Son; to do for you what you cannot do yourself – that you may lay down your nature and take up His.  No one will stand condemned before God because of the individual sins they’ve committed, but rather, because God sent His Son to redeem them from the power of sin, and the certain death that it brings, yet, they refused the only means of salvation available to save their soul.

There is no other way.  Living a good life is not enough because you can never be good enough.  Following the teachings of other religious leaders is not enough because they are in the same boat as everyone else born into the human race.  Your death through the shed blood of God’s own Son, and your rebirth through His Spirit, making it possible for His Spirit to enjoin Himself to you, is the only means by which a soul can be separated from sin, and stand blameless before Him.  Any other method, idea, or belief that seeks to elevate itself, or put itself on even-par with the redemption God provided through Christ, by claiming an alternate path to God, presumes that God’s sacrificial death of His Son was not enough; in essence saying that Christ died in vain.  Jesus said:

“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life. And they are the ones witnessing of Me, and you will not come to Me that you might have life. (Joh 5:39-40 MKJV) . . . Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins (Joh 8:23-24 KJV) . . . I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me. (Joh 14:6 MKJV).

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life . . . He who believes on Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the Light, because their deeds were evil.” (Joh 3:16-19 MKJV)

“Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (Joh 3:3 KJVA) . . . He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (Joh 3:36 KJV)

According to Jesus, if you don’t turn to Him, and believe that He is your only path to life, then the wrath of God abides on you - even now.  Regardless of how good you think you are, or how wise the person is that you are following – without Christ your dooms day is always at hand, and eternal death is just a breath away. 

So, I ask you – have the 2012 doomsday rumors put you in preparation mode?  Many are going to great lengths preparing for the disasters mentioned earlier.  They’ve stocked up on food and water, built fortified shelters, bought all the “How-to” books, batteries, first-aid kits, etc.; hoping to escape the disasters that might come.  Don’t get me wrong; being prepared is a good thing . . . many a life has been ruined, and many a grave filled with those who weren’t prepared; but rather than asking myself if the Mayans are right, perhaps a better question is, what if the Bible is right?

What if all that it teaches is true, and there really is a God?  What if He did send His Son to atone for our sins, and provide a way of restoration back to Himself?  And what if there is a judgment to come for all those that reject Him?  If this is a possibility, then the issue of who Jesus is will have to be settled.  He can no longer take the place of the one among many “good and wise teachers”.  No, if you think about it, Jesus can only fit into one of three categories.  He was either a liar; purposefully deceiving the people, and therefore not a good person: or He was completely insane; thinking He was the Son of God, and therefore not wise at all, and certainly not worth following; or . . . He is exactly who He claimed to be – the Son of God.  And if He is, then He is the center of the religious universe; all that He said is true, therefore, leaving God’s version of the coming judgment as one you cannot escape.

Are you prepared for a reality like that?  Ask yourself this; if you were to die tonight, can you say where you would spend eternity?  Is it possible to know?  The Bible says you can.  If your salvation is based upon works, that is, how good or bad you’ve been (your power), then all you can do is hope you were good enough, and according to God’s definition of good enough, none of us have a prayer. 

However, if your salvation is based upon the sacrifice of Jesus, which atones for your sins (His Power), then all you need to do is accept it, and trust in God to bring you through.  According to God, your eternal destiny boils down to your willful choice of the object of your faith.  Your faith is either in your own works of righteousness, or in Christ, and the finished work of redemption that He accomplished through His death and resurrection. 

Could it be that simple?  The Bible says, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” and that, “the preaching of the cross (of Christ) is to them that perish foolishness.”  The same words bring life to some and death to others.  You are either perishing, or being saved.  There is no middle ground.  Unto us who are being saved, the good news of forgiveness through Christ is the power of God.  But to the unbelieving heart, those same words are regarded as foolishness, and yet “it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe . . . Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” (1Co 1:18-24) Man without God is left to his own wisdom and doomed to perish in his own blind reasoning.

Are you covered by His atoning work?  Will you, by faith, accept His sinless substitution for you and receive His righteousness, or are you going to stand before God in your own righteousness?

We’ve all been warned of the impending judgment to come: not just by TV documentaries, or the Mayans, but by the Bible.  God has laid our future out before us, and though judgment may seem like some distant vision, eternity can begin as soon as your next breath.  Jesus said that no man can come to Him unless God draws him.  So, if you feel that tug in your heart, or that desire to get right with God, you are one of the luckiest people alive, because that means God has turned His attention to you.  Yield to Him now, because you’re not guaranteed to die at a ripe old age; you’re not guaranteed to make it to December 21, 2012, in reference to the Mayans; you’re only guaranteed this moment; this breath; this time of preparation as He turns your attention to Himself. 

"The Word is near you, even in your mouth and in your heart"; that is, the Word of Faith which we proclaim; Because if you confess the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses unto salvation. For the Scripture says, "Everyone believing on Him shall not be put to shame . . . whoever shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Rom 10:8-13 MKJV)

For “there is salvation in no other One; for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Act 4:12 MKJV)

For more on the Mayan Calendar's prediction of the end of the world, read What Do Christians Say About 2012 and the Mayan Calendar End of the World Prophecy.

For more Christian articles from John Currie, please click on his name to find biblically sound Christian articles.