Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
One Biblical Reason Why Judgment Day is Not on May 21
05/17/2011 - Alan KurschnerThe apostle Paul in his first Thessalonians' correspondence provides a sign-condition that must exist in the world before the day of the Lord's judgment: the ungodly will be saying, "There is peace and security." But look around...it is not the case. The opposite is true today. The ungodly are saying, "There is unrest and insecurity." Therefore, according to the apostle Paul, Jesus cannot come back on May 21 as Harold Camping is predicting.
(1) Now on the topic of times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you. (2) For you know quite well that the day of the Lord will come in the same way as a thief in the night. (3) Now when they are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction comes on them, like labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will surely not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in the darkness for the day to overtake you like a thief would. (1 Thess 5:1–4).By the time of the New Testament era, the two terms for “times” and “seasons” (chronos and kairos) were synonymous, so one should not read into this any temporal distinctions. It is a literary feature called a hendiadys, which is an expression of two words that express a single idea for emphasis (we have similar expressions in our contemporary English, e.g., “nice and easy”). Paul’s statement, “you have no need for anything to be written to you,” indicates two things:
(1) a question arose about the times and seasons of Christ’s return.
(2) they have previously been instructed on this matter (e.g., 2 Thess 2:5).
On a surface level, it is often assumed by interpreters that Paul is rebuffing their question about the timing of the Lord’s coming. For example: “Paul, what day is Jesus coming back? Dear Thessalonian church, I cannot tell you since he is coming back as a secret thief.” This is a careless reading of the context. The Thessalonians are not asking for some specific calendric year-day-hour timing of the Lord’s return. This is a misguided interpretation, for Paul’s answer reveals that they are asking not about a calendric “when” but a conditional “when.” In other words, Paul will answer that Jesus will come when a particular spiritual condition is met in the world.”
He gives the reason why he does not need to write them about the times and seasons: “For you know quite well that the day of the Lord will come in the same way as a thief in the night.” Apparently, Paul had already used this thief simile at the time he planted the Thessalonian church, but they did not grasp the full implications. The thief simile is common in the New Testament concerning Christ’s return (cf. Matt 24:43; Luke 12:39–40; 2 Peter 3:10; Rev 3:3; 16:15 ). We should not erroneously import into this thief image the theological system of imminence. One will look to no avail to find anything in any thief passages that teaches imminence. In addition, interpreters have wrongly read into the thief image meaning “unpredictability,” but verse 4 contradicts this notion. Instead, the image conveys a warning for spiritual readiness. If you are not spiritually ready for Christ's return it will come upon you suddenly, with negative consequences. Obedience eliminates the possibility that our Lord's return will be as a thief to those who are watchful. We belong to Christ, so we are to live with an attitude of expectancy—spiritual watchfulness—not imminence.
In verse 3, Paul teaches that the result of the Lord’s return as a thief to the ungodly will be sudden destruction. He is summarizing the beliefs of unbelievers when he says they will say, “There is peace and security.” He consistently notes a peace and security (albeit a surface-level quality) that will precede the day of the Lord. But this peace and security is illusory, a false security, for unbelievers because unforeseen sudden calamity will come on them just as unexpected labor pains on a pregnant woman (cf. Matt 24:37–39; Luke 21:34–36).
This condition does not exist in the world right now. And for Paul, to cite this condition it must be real, and not some subjective environment. In my futurist eschatology, I believe that an Antichrist figure one day will come on the scene to provide the ungodly with this "peace and security." But that day has not come. Nevertheless, right now, the world is not saying, "There is peace and security." Therefore, judgment day is not coming upon the ungodly until the condition exists. Persecution upon the entire global church will come first before the day of the Lord's wrath when He will punish our wicked persecutors.
As You Worship Today...
10/03/2010 - James WhiteRemember the persecuted church. Give thanks for your freedoms as you enter comfortable, safe places of worship and instruction this Lord's Day, and remember what a tremendous blessing it is you have been given.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, September 30 (CDN) — Islamic extremists killed a Christian lawyer, his wife and their five children in northwestern Pakistan this week for mounting a legal challenge against a Muslim who was charging a Christian exorbitant interest, local sources said.(source)
Police found the bodies of attorney and evangelist Edwin Paul and his family on Tuesday morning (Sept. 28) at their home in Haripur, a small town near Abbotabad in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (previously known as the North-West Frontier Province, or NWFP), according to Haripur Station House Officer (SHO) Maqbool Khan.
The victim and his wife Ruby Paul, along with their five children ages 6 to 17, had been shot to death.
An Image That Touches My Heart
09/03/2010 - James WhiteI subscribe to the Voice of the Martyrs newsletter, and the cover picture of this month's issue really touched my heart. I have become more and more convinced over the years that one of the primary signs of regeneration is found in a person's obedience to, love for, and respect of, the Word of God. Christians long for Scripture. They long to read Scripture, possess Scripture, meditate upon Scripture. And there seems to be an inverse relationship between how much we love it and how much access we have to it. We in the West take it for granted, and as such, our passion is often pathetically tepid. But here you have a sister in Laos reading a burned, tattered Bible. God's enemies have tried to destroy it, but it is still the Word of Life to her. Oh, may God grant to His people a renewed love for His Word in the face of the hatred of the world!
“If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget your precepts,
For by them you have given me life.”
Pray for Our Brothers and Sisters in Pakistan
12/24/2009 - James WhiteThis article from the AP reminds us that as we enjoy God's blessings, we have brothers and sisters living under the threat of violence from Muslims in many lands. Let us all take time to pray for them, that God would protect them from the hatred of the world.
18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. (John 15:18-23)
Remember the Persecuted
07/03/2008 - James WhiteNever forget, always pray, remember that God is not mocked, and justice, someday, will be done.
ISTANBUL, July 3 (Compass Direct News) - After four weeks in police custody, Iranian Christian Mohsen Namvar was released "temporarily" last week to return to his home in Tehran. A doctor summoned to Namvar's home after his release last Thursday (June 26) administered medicines and serum to treat the badly beaten prisoner. Arrested on May 31 from his home in Tehran, the convert from Islam was kept incommunicado until his release. "They put a great deal of pressure on his body and his mind," an Iranian Christian told Compass. "No one knows exactly what they did to him during those four weeks." Noting that government authorities know a great deal about Namvar's Christian activities and want to punish him, the source said, "We praise the Lord that they have not killed him." Last week local secret police authorities demanded that Namvar's family put up just over US$43,000 in bail to secure his release. When relatives requested a receipt for the cash they handed over, police refused. "Don't say anything," a police official reportedly ordered them. "Give thanks to God that we are not keeping him under arrest."
"But I chose you out of the world, and because of this, the world hates you" Our Lord, John 15:19
10/22/2007 - James WhiteGod's judgment upon decadent God-hating secularism seems to be speeding up. The collapse of Western culture into open, unapologetic persecution of Christians based upon Darwinistic dogmatic fundamentalism is evidenced every day in the media. Unreasoning secularists refuse to even consider engaging in an intellectual defense of their worldview. Instead, with force of human law, they seek to silence all opposition. While we normally see these things happening in Europe first, we can look to the East and Left Coasts in the US for examples as well. Repeated stories about the exaltation of homosexuality to a position of protected, preferred status, with the attendant insistence that the state has the right to force all children into its mind-numbed mold of political correctness is already forcing many Christians to consider fleeing from those nations and states that enforce such evil ideologies. The open denunciation of the simple factual evidence that life is complex and the result of design, and the prohibition of even mentioning this obvious fact within the context of "public education" (far better to identify it accurately: public, government sponsored indoctrination), is another clear example of God lifting His hand of restraint and allowing the evil of men's hearts to run wild.
I have noted that the secularists will probably not last long in Europe anyway. I am hearing stories of how sharia law is being put into practice in Norway, so it is just a matter of time before the secularists are swept away anyhow. Humanistic religion is a brittle thing, and quite incapable of moving men's souls (how could it, since, in its Darwinistic dogma, there is no soul to move?), and hence incapable of putting up an extended fight against Islam. Just as the apostate armies of Israel long ago were no match for the Assyrians, so the apostate secularists will have little chance withstanding the jihadis.
I'm sure most have already read about the bills Schwarzenegger signed in California that seek to give uber-rights to homosexuals and sundry others who define themselves by how they have sex or how they dress, etc. I suppose that makes sense: in a secular worldview, there is nothing spiritual about man to raise him above being defined by such things as what kind of under clothes you like to wear. I mean, we define dogs by "long hair" or "short hair," so man, the evil animal, might as well be defined by such mundane things as well, right? No wonder we no longer see Bachs and Beethovens. Anyway, I noted a while back the move in the UK to make preaching the gospel or just reading the Bible itself in public a hate crime. Here's an article that should likewise make you realize that in a very short time we will all be faced with the choice of suffering persecution and loss of worldly goods at the hands of those who irrationally hate God and refuse to defend their views in argument, and being silent. Note how the secularists hate the idea of truth. Well, except for "their" truth, which is unquestionable. The only truth they will allow is that "there is no truth in religion, only in science." They have no idea they are just as much a caricature as the most wild-eyed Inquisitor in Spain in the 15th century.
I pray God will cause me to love His truth, His church, His people, His gospel, more and more, so that my attachments to this world will grow ever weaker and weaker. The only Christians who will remain strong in the coming years will be those who realize the strong antithesis of these simple words: "Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15). The only "leverage" the world has against us is that which we willingly give: our ungodly attachments to this world system. The more we are crucified to the world, the more we live in light of our death in Christ and our life in Him, the less power they will have. This is the secret of the persecuted church, and it is a lesson our brothers and sisters in other lands know well. It is one we must learn, and quickly.
More Hatred of Christianity
10/10/2007 - James WhiteI have added a new category here on the blog: persecution. We all know that our brothers and sisters are persecuted around the world by repressive regimes, whether they be atheistic/communistic (North Korea, for example), or religious (Islamic, Hindu). But it is no longer any secret at all that secularists want to silence Christians, whether they be of the dogmatic Darwinist sort (Dawkins) or others, such as the homosexual lobby.
We saw just recently that the Council of Europe (part of the EU) put forward document 11375 (17/9/2007 -- in European date order, which makes more sense, in this case, than the standard US format) titled "The dangers of creationism in education." The document can be found here. There is no room for debate, no room for discussion or dispute, as the document begins with its summary, "Creationism in any of its forms, such as 'intelligent design', is not based on facts, does not use any scientific reasoning and its contents are definitely inappropriate for science classes." Well there you go! That settles it! Just as Rome attempted to silence criticism of its own misunderstandings centuries ago in Europe, no one seems to have learned a thing during the intervening centuries. While once it was religious bigotry that stifled the very ability of man to speak and debate and argue and disagree, now the secularist bigots have taken control, and they are just as intent upon stifling free speech and the expression of opposing viewpoints as ever their religious ancestors did. Dogmatically committed to Darwinism with a fervor of faith beyond almost anything known today in European "Christianity," the Secular Kingdom of Europe has firmly established its credentials as hating God's law, hating God's Word, and hating God's truth. You will love homosexuality, abortion, and everything else that eats at the soul of man, or you will be an outcast, and feel the brunt of the heel of the kingdom's boot. Of course, secularist Europe cannot withstand the onslaught of Islam, for the secularist is concerned only about himself or herself, and hence simply does not reproduce. So this monument to man's hatred of God will be washed away in short order by the natural reproduction rates of the immigrant Islamic populations, and the work of persecuting Christians, begun by the secularist regimes, will fall to those with far more experience in that field.
There are so many contradictions and absurdities in the Council of Europe document that it takes one's breath away. It is a monument to dogmatic secularistic fundamentalism. It does not even show a passing familiarity with the key issues in the debate, but, how could it? Darwinists do not want their theory debated. They want it obeyed. Period.
So today I was pointed to another indication of the incessant bent of the Western Rebel toward hatred of God. Here is another move to shut the mouths of those who would speak God's Word in the UK. I have documented numerous times on this blog the push to establish "gay super rights." Homosexuals, constantly suppressing the voice of conscience, want no one adding to that monumental effort by speaking the truth they are working so hard to suppress. So they seek to silence those who would say homosexuality is a life-destroying, culture damaging addiction by force of law. "Hate crimes" legislation is nothing more than a means of giving the government the right to peer into the hearts and minds on the basis of its own prejudice. It is a mechanism to suppress expression of "politically incorrect" views. We watched the old Soviet Union use these kinds of laws for decades as a basis for its brutal suppression of free thought, and now the West is mimicking its vanquished foe. While it will take longer for these laws to come to full effect in the US, the process has already begun. Free speech is now only for those who wish to promote godlessness thereby.
In a wonderful display of irony, I paged down to find one Dan from Sheffield making a comment on the news story. He concluded his comments with, "laws against incitement to hatred allready exist for other things, this just extends that legal standard, and shoudl extend equally , to everyone, whatever sky pixie they happen to belive in." Why shouldn't Dan's description of my God as a "sky pixie" fall under the very same prohibitions of "hate speech"? No one can answer that question, since logic and reason are not relevant to those who promote this kind of mindless "political correctness."
The days of our freedom to speak are numbered in the West, my friends. We must take advantage of them while we can! It will not be long before "counting the cost" will finally have meaning for those of us who have been blessed with unlimited freedom for a very long time.