According to a study that was just released by Boston Consulting Group, the wealthiest one percent now own 39 percent of all the wealth in the world. Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent only own 1 percent of all the wealth in the world combined. The global financial system has been designed to funnel wealth to the very top, and the gap between the wealthy and the poor continues to expand at a frightening pace. The global elite continue to hoard wealth and heap together enormous mountains of treasure in these troubled days even though the economic suffering around the planet continues to grow. So exactly how have the global elite accumulated so much wealth? Well, one of the primary ways is through the use of debt. As I have written about previously, there is about 190 trillion dollars of debt in the world but global GDP is only about 70 trillion dollars. Our debt-based global financial system systematically transfers wealth from us and our governments into the hands of the global elite. And of course the gigantic banks and corporations that the elite control are constantly gobbling up everything of value that they can find: natural resources, profitable small businesses, real estate, politicians, etc. Money, power, ownership and control are becoming very, very tightly concentrated at the top of the food chain, and that is a very dangerous thing for humanity. When too much money and power gets into too few hands, it almost always results in tyranny. (Read More….)
This is the new wave of scannable technology that does not have to be implanted under skin, motorola’s biostamp electronic terroo is composed of silicon and contains an electrical circuit, antenna, and sensors that bend and move with the wearers body. The technology is being advertised for mobile devices, when the mobile device is close to the wearers hand it will confirm the owners identity to log them into an account automatically so the wearer does not have to punch in a password.
For the first time in fifteen years the secretive Bilderberg Group will be meeting on British soil at the Watford Hotel, starting June 6th. Amongst the attendees will be some of the most diabolic, powerful, wealthy, royalty, politicians, head’s of state, and white collar criminals from all corners of the globe. However, the pressure has intensified for the secretive Bilderburg Group in recent times, as thousands of protestors attended last years meeting which took place in Chantilly Virginia.
Google is currently engaged in a battle over unpaid taxes in the UK, and which has led political commentators to now call for a new system of global taxation. Not surprisingly, this has become the chief topic of discussion at a series of global summits taking place during May and June.
A new study from LifeWay Research reveals that more than half (57 percent) of Americans become more interested in God when a natural disaster occurs. About one-third (31 percent) said their interest in God doesn’t increase after such catastrophes, the Nashville-based research organization found, and 12 percent were unsure.
The gospel of Mary was discovered in the Akhmim Codex in Cairo, Egypt, in 1896. It was not made public until 1955, when it was published due to the popularity of the Nag Hammadi library. Written in Greek and Coptic, the gospel of Mary codex is dated to the 3rd (Greek) and 5th (Coptic) centuries A.D. The gospel of Mary is mentioned in the writings of some of the early church fathers as early as the 3rd century A.D. In the only known copy of the text, ten entire pages are missing, including the first six pages. As a result, it is difficult to arrive at a coherent and consistent overall message.
The gospel of Mary Magdalene would better be titled “the gospel of Mary,” due to the fact that the Mary the gospel mentions is nowhere specified as Mary Magdalene. In the New Testament, there are six women named Mary, with three of them being prominent in the life of Jesus: Mary, Jesus’ mother; Mary Magdalene; and Mary of Bethany. It is only tradition that the Mary the gospel of Mary refers to is Mary Magdalene. For the sake of clarity, we will assume that Mary Magdalene is the Mary of the gospel of Mary.
Conspiracy theorists have contrived a conflict between patriarchal Christianity (exemplified by Peter) and “true” Christianity (exemplified by Mary). The Da Vinci Code takes this conspiracy theory to new heights by portraying the Christian church as covering up Jesus’ relationship with Mary Magdalene and denying His appointment of Mary as the leader of the church. The problem with this conspiracy theory is that there is absolutely no evidence for it, not even in the gospel of Mary. The gospel of Mary nowhere states that Jesus appointed Mary as the leader of the Christian church. The gospel of Mary nowhere states that Jesus and Mary were romantically involved.
The gospel of Mary was not written by Mary Magdalene or any other Mary of the Bible. The Gnostic teachings found in the gospel of Mary date it to the late 2nd century A.D. at the earliest. As a result, there is no validity to its teachings. Similar to the gospel of Thomas, the gospel of Philip, and the gospel of Judas, the gospel of Mary is a Gnostic forgery, using the name of a biblical character in an attempt to give validity to heretical teachings. The only value in studying the gospel of Mary is in learning what heresies existed in the early centuries of the Christian church.
Demonology is the study of demons. Christian Demonology is the study of what the Bible teaches about demons. Closely related to Angelology, Christian Demonology teaches us about the demons, what they are and how they attack us. Satan and his demons are fallen angels, true and real personal beings who wage war against God, the holy angels, and humanity. Christian Demonology helps us to be aware of Satan, his minions, and their evil schemes. Some important issues in Christian demonology are:
What does the Bible say about demons? The Bible indicates that the demons are fallen angels—angels who along with Satan rebelled against God. Satan and his demons now look to destroy and deceive all those who follow and worship God.
How, why, and when did Satan fall from heaven? Satan fell from heaven because of the sin of pride, which led to his rebellion against God. The actually time of the fall is not recorded in Scripture and may have occurred outside time as we know it, i.e. before the creation of the world and the creation of time and space.
Why did God allow some of the angels to sin? The angels who fell and became demons had a free will choice to make—God did not force or encourage any of the angels to sin. They sinned of their own free will and therefore are worthy of God’s eternal wrath.
Can Christians be demon possessed? We strongly hold to the belief that a Christian cannot be possessed by a demon. We believe there is a sharp difference between being possessed by a demon, and being oppressed / influenced by a demon.
Is there activity of demonic spirits in the world today? Considering the fact that Satan “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8) and knowing that he is not omnipresent, it is logical that he would send forth his demons to do his work in this world.
Who / what were the Nephilim? The Nephilim (fallen ones, giants) were the offspring of sexual relationships between the sons of God and daughters of men in Genesis 6:1–4. There is much debate as to the identity of the “sons of God”.
Many people believe Satan and his demons are only personifications of evil. Christian Demonology helps us to understand that the nature of our spiritual enemy. It teaches us how to resist and overcome the devil and his temptations. Praise God for the victory over darkness through our Lord Jesus Christ! While the Christian should not be in any way obsessed or fascinated with demonology, a clear understanding of demonology will calm our fears relating to demons, keep us watchful, and remind us to stay close to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, because He has sent the Holy Spirit to live in our hearts and “greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
A key Scripture related to Christian Demonology is 2 Corinthians 11:14–15, “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.”
Annihilationism is the belief that unbelievers will not experience an eternity of suffering in hell, but will instead be “extinguished” after death. For many, annihilationism is an attractive belief because of the awfulness of the idea of people spending eternity in hell. While there are some passages that seem to argue for annihilationism, a comprehensive look at what the Bible says about the destiny of the wicked reveals the fact that punishment in hell is eternal. A belief in annihilationism results from a misunderstanding of one or more of the following doctrines: 1) the consequences of sin, 2) the justice of God, 3) the nature of hell.
In relation to the nature of hell, annihilationists misunderstand the meaning of the lake of fire. Obviously, if a human being were cast into a lake of burning lava, he/she would be almost instantly consumed. However, the lake of fire is both a physical and spiritual realm. It is not simply a human body being cast into the lake of fire; it is a human’s body, soul, and spirit. A spiritual nature cannot be consumed by physical fire. It seems that the unsaved are resurrected with a body prepared for eternity just as the saved are (Revelation 20:13; Acts 24:15). These bodies are prepared for an eternal fate.
Eternity is another aspect which annihilationists fail to fully comprehend. Annihilationists are correct that the Greek word aionion, which is usually translated “eternal,” does not by definition mean “eternal.” It specifically refers to an “age” or “eon,” a specific period of time. However, it is clear that in New Testament, aionion is sometimes used to refer to an eternal length of time. Revelation 20:10 speaks of Satan, the beast, and the false prophet being cast into the lake of fire and being tormented “day and night forever and ever.” It is clear that these three are not “extinguished” by being cast into the lake of fire. Why would the fate of the unsaved be any different (Revelation 20:14–15)? The most convincing evidence for the eternality of hell is Matthew 25:46, “Then they [the unsaved] will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” In this verse, the same Greek word is used to refer to the destiny of the wicked and the righteous. If the wicked are only tormented for an “age,” then the righteous will only experience life in heaven for an “age.” If believers will be in heaven forever, unbelievers will be in hell forever.
Another frequent objection to the eternality of hell by annihilationists is that it would be unjust for God to punish unbelievers in hell for eternity for a finite amount of sin. How could it be fair for God to take a person who lived a sinful, 70-year life, and punish him/her for all of eternity? The answer is that our sin bears an eternal consequence because it is committed against an eternal God. When King David committed the sins of adultery and murder he stated, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight’ ” (Psalm 51:4). David had sinned against Bathsheba and Uriah; how could David claim to have only sinned against God? David understood that all sin is ultimately against God. God is an eternal and infinite Being. As a result, all sin against Him is worthy of an eternal punishment. It is not a matter of the length of time we sin, but the character of the God against whom we sin.
A more personal aspect of annihilationism is the idea that we could not possibly be happy in heaven if we knew that some of our loved ones were suffering an eternity of torment in hell. However, when we arrive in heaven, we will not have anything to complain about or be saddened by. Revelation 21:4 tells us, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” If some of our loved ones are not in heaven, we will be in 100 percent complete agreement that they do not belong there and that they are condemned by their own refusal to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior (John 3:16; 14:6). It is hard to understand this, but we will not be saddened by the lack of their presence. Our focus should not be on how we can enjoy heaven without all of our loved ones there, but on how we can point our loved ones to faith in Christ so that they will be there.
Hell is perhaps a primary reason why God sent Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for our sins. Being “extinguished” after death is no fate to dread, but an eternity in hell most definitely is. Jesus’ death was an infinite death, paying our infinite sin debt so that we would not have to pay it in hell for eternity (2 Corinthians 5:21). When we place our faith in Him, we are saved, forgiven, cleansed, and promised an eternal home in heaven. But if we reject God’s gift of eternal life, we will face the eternal consequences of that decision.
Is Hell Really Endless?
One view of hell that seems to be making a strong resurgence today among evangelicals is Annihilationism. There are slight variations, but it essentially teaches God will eventually snuff every unbeliever out of existence. Some Annihilationists make room for divine wrath, but they don’t allow it to extend beyond the lake of fire. In other words, they won’t allow God the full force of His judgment, which is eternal, conscious torment. For them, the lake of fire is what completely consumes and finally destroys sinners. Whether they see death as the end, or whether they see hell’s torments as limited in duration, the result is the same—a denial of the endlessness of hell.
“Wait a minute,” you protest, “what about all the biblical references to eternal flames and everlasting punishment? Doesn’t Matthew 25:46 say the wicked will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life?” Good question. For no good exegetical reason, some Annihilationists have understood the word “eternal” to refer, not to a duration of time, but to the quality of God’s judgment. It’s eternal in quality, even though it has an end. Other Annihilationists say “eternal” refers to the effect of divine judgment. That is to say, God’s judgment results in death—as in extinction, annihilation—which is a state of non-being that lasts eternally.
If you’re having a hard time bending your mind around that, you’re not alone. It’s hard to conceive of a sinner experiencing an eternal quality of judgment without it lasting forever. Matthew 25:46 clearly teaches that the duration of punishment and life are alike, both eternal. John MacArthur has said,
Punishment in hell is defined by the word aionios, which is the word eternal or everlasting. There are people who would like to redefine that word aionios and say, “Well, it doesn’t really mean forever.” But if you do that with hell, you’ve just done it with heaven, because the same word is used to describe both. If there is not an everlasting hell, then there is not an everlasting heaven. And I’ll go one beyond that. The same word is used to describe God. And so if there is not an everlasting hell, then there is not an everlasting heaven, nor is there an everlasting God. It is clear that God is eternal; and, therefore, that heaven is eternal, and so is hell. (John MacArthur, “A Testimony of One Surprised to Be in Hell, Part 2”)
Augustine put it simply more than 1,500 years ago: “To say that life eternal shall be endless, [but that] punishment eternal shall come to an end is the height of absurdity.”
To say passages like Matthew 25:46 refer to eternality as a quality of judgment but say nothing about the duration, especially without exegetical support, is simply to beg the question. The meaning of “eternal” in that passage is clear—it’s everlasting.
Annihilationists sometimes explain “eternal” in the sense of an eternal effect. They say words like destruction and death refer to some kind of disintegration or consumption. God doesn’t torment the wicked for all eternity, He simply ends their existence, and the effect of that singular act of judgment lasts forever. As we noted above, they will allow God to be wrathful, but only for a time. To say divine punishment is everlasting is going way too far; it’s a form of cruel and unusual punishment. Eventually, they believe God will snuff the wicked out of existence, and that condition of non-existence lasts forever.
Apart from the metaphysical problem (How can something that no longer exists be said to last forever?), there’s a very serious problem with the “cessation of existence” view—it fails to account for a Lawgiver who is infinite and eternal by nature. The severity of an offense is measured, not merely by the nature of the act itself, but also in relation to the one offended. For example, if one man punches another man on a street corner, he may suffer some consequences—charges of disturbing the peace, assault, or battery. But to punch the President of the United States ups the ante; when the Secret Service finishes with him, he’ll be doing some serious prison time.
It’s like that with offenses committed against a holy God. Since an offense against a finite lawgiver is finite, the punishment to satisfy the offense is also finite. That’s the principle behind Exodus 21, an eye for an eye (vv. 23-25). But an offense against an infinite, eternal Lawgiver is not finite; it’s infinite and eternal. It is up to the Judge to determine the severity of the infraction itself—i.e., telling a “white” lie versus committing homicide—but the nature of the infraction is measured against the nature of God who is holy and eternal. Likewise, God, who is perfect in righteousness, determines the justice an infraction demands. According to His Word, the punishment for an offense against a holy God is everlasting torment in hell.
On a human level, it’s understandable when people recoil from the Bible’s teaching about eternal torment. It’s an absolutely horrible, terrifying doctrine. It’s impossible for us to conceive of a crime so severe—even the crimes of notorious people like Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, and Osama bin Laden—as to merit the everlasting, excruciating agony described in the Bible. But that shows just how little we understand the sinfulness of sin on the one hand, and the holiness of God on the other.
God’s ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts—we cannot fully comprehend Him (Isa. 55:8-9). In an uncomfortably poignant and penetrating way, the doctrine of eternal hell confronts our loyalty, reveals our true authority, and demands that we set aside what seems reasonable to us and trust in the righteous judgment of a holy God. When we embrace the hard doctrines of the Bible, it becomes one of the most significant evidences of true, God-given faith.
The biblical doctrine of an eternal hell gives us yet another reason to praise God for the gospel. It took an eternal person to satisfy an eternal penalty against sin, which disqualified the entire human race, except one Person—Jesus Christ. He is the Son of man and the eternal Son of God. When Jesus laid down His life, His sacrifice satisfied every requirement of divine justice. For those who trust in Jesus Christ as their Substitute, His death has satisfied the eternal wrath of an eternal, righteous God. He bore our punishment in His body, absorbing God’s eternal wrath. But for those who do not embrace Christ, they are left to themselves—they bear the guilt of their offenses against an eternal God, and they will suffer for it eternally, never able to satisfy His eternal wrath.
I hope the doctrine of eternal torment sobers you. May it fill you with praise to God for saving you from eternal punishment, for giving you eternal life instead. May it humble you when you realize you’re not getting what you deserve. And may it ignite in you a passion to proclaim the gospel to those poor souls who are unaware of the terror that awaits them outside the mercy of God.
Director of Internet Ministry
Children are not punished for the sins committed by their parents; neither are parents punished for the sins of their children. Each of us is responsible for our own sins. Ezekiel 18:20 tells us, “The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son.” This verse clearly shows that punishment for one’s sins is borne by that person.
There is a verse that has led some to believe the Bible teaches intergenerational punishment for sin, but this interpretation is incorrect. The verse in question is Exodus 20:5, which says in reference to idols, “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.” This verse is speaking not so much of punishment, but of consequences. It is saying that the consequences of a man’s sins can be felt generations later. God was telling the Israelites that their children would feel the impact of their parents’ generation as a natural consequence of their disobedience and hatred of God. Children raised in such an environment would practice similar idolatry, thus falling into the established pattern of disobedience. The effect of a disobedient generation was to plant wickedness so deeply that it took several generations to reverse. God does not hold us accountable for the sins of our parents, but we sometimes suffer as a result of the sins our parents committed, as Exodus 20:5 illustrates.
As Ezekiel 18:20 shows, each of us is responsible for his own sins and we must bear the punishment for them. We cannot share our guilt with another, nor can another be held responsible for it. There is, however, one exception to this rule, and it applies to all mankind. One man bore the sins of others and paid the penalty for them so sinners could become completely righteous and pure in the sight of God. That man is Jesus Christ. God sent Jesus into the world to exchange His perfection for our sin. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus Christ takes away the punishment for sin for those who come to Him in faith.
“But King Solomon loved many foreign women” (1 Kin. 11:1). Many of Solomon’s marriages were for the purpose of ratifying treaties with other nations, a common practice in the ancient Near East. The practice of multiplying royal wives, prohibited in Deuteronomy 17:17 because the practice would turn the king’s heart away from the Lord, proved to be accurate in the experience of Solomon. His love for his wives (vv. 1,2) led him to abandon his loyalty to the Lord and worship other gods (vv. 3–6). No sadder picture can be imagined than the ugly apostasy of his later years (over 50), which can be traced back to his sins with foreign wives. Polygamy was tolerated among the ancient Hebrews, though most in the East had only one wife. A number of wives was seen as a sign of wealth and importance. The king desired to have a larger harem than any of his subjects, and Solomon resorted to this form of state magnificence. But it was a sin directly violating God’s law, and the very result which that law was designed to prevent happened.
“Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD” (v. 6). The particular evil of Solomon was his tolerance of and personal practice of idolatry. These same words were used throughout the Book of Kings to describe the rulers who promoted and practiced idolatry (15:26, 34; 16:19, 25, 30; 22:52; 2 Kin. 3:2; 8:18 ,27; 13:2, 11; 14:24; 15:9, 18, 24, 28; 17:2; 21:2, 20; 23:32; 24:9, 19). Solomon became an open idolater, worshiping images of wood and stone in the sight of the temple which, in his early years, he had erected to the one true God.
The Lord appeared to him twice (vv. 9, 10).Once was at Gibeon (3:5), the next at Jerusalem (9:2). On both occasions, God had warned Solomon, so he had no excuses. “Because you have done this…I will surely tear the kingdom away from you” (v. 11). Solomon failed to obey the commandments to honor God (Ex. 20:3–6), which were part of the Mosaic Covenant. Obedience to that Covenant was necessary for receiving the blessings of the Davidic Covenant (2:3, 4).The Lord’s tearing of the kingdom from Solomon was announced in Ahijah’s symbolic action of tearing his garment in vv. 29–39.
From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, http://www.thomasnelson.com.
Where you stand your grounds on is important. Let’s hope it’s a good foundation. In the areas of worldviews, philosophy and religion, Presuppositional apologetics stresses that there is one true and possible foundation for the Transcendental necessity of making all of human experience intelligible and meaningful: the Triune God and His self-evidencing revelation.
Here’s some links related to Presuppositional apologetics between May 22nd-31st 2013. What other links can you suggests?
1.) Islam is Self-Impaling–Mike Robinson offers a brief Presuppositional introduction.
2.) Questions about Apologetics and Worldview: What does the Bible mean when it says “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’ ”?–A verse often cited, put in it’s context.
3.) Presuppositional Apologetics Interview (objections to the method) with Resequitur–Our friend Pat interviews Resequitur of Choosing Hats Blog.
4.) Tornadoes and the sovereign plan of God–An Apologia Radio show in light of the recent disaster in…
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As Syria continues to implode amidst a bloody civil war, Moscow is increasingly siding with its ally Iran to side with and prop up Bashar al-Assad, the dictator of Damascus. As I’ve reported before, the Russians are reportedly selling advanced weaponry to Syria, including MiG fighter jets, millions of rounds of ammunition, and a state-of-the-art missile system known as the S-300. The Israeli government is so concerned about the S-300 system that Prime Minister Netanyahu has reportedly told the Kremlin that Israel will go to war, if necessary, to prevent that missile system from being delivered, assembled and operationalized in Syria.
Why is Netanyahu so worried about the S-300 system? The Times of Israel reports that “aside from the unique strategic capacities that the S-300 air-defense missiles would afford Syria, putting planes taking off from central Israel and its main international airport within the missiles’ range, Jerusalem also fears that…
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On Thursday, May 23rd, I had the joy of addressing several hundred pastors who were gathered in Washington, D.C. The venue was the 10th anniversary of the “Watchmen on the Wall” conference, organized by the Family Research Council, and its president, Tony Perkins.
Tony asked me to specifically address the subject of, “The Church’s Call To Stand With Israel.” It was an honor to do so, because in the challenging times in which we live, we urgently need leaders who truly understand God’s love and plan for Israel — and for her neighbors. In I Chronicles 12:32, we read about “the sons of Issachar.” The text says these were “men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” At this critical hour — with Israel facing threats from Russia, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, Egypt and others — the State of Israel and the Church need more men and women who truly understand the…
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Thanks to BiblicalTraining.org, Berkhof’s classic theology text is now freely (and legally) available here.
Berkhof (1873-1957) was born in the Netherlands, and his family moved to Grand Rapids when he was 9.
After graduating from Calvin Theological Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary, he returned to Calvin and joined the faculty. For the first two decades he taught biblical studies, and then for almost two decades after that he taught systematic theology. He also became president of the seminary in 1931 and continued so until his retirement in 1944.
His Systematic Theology was published in 1932 and revised in 1938.
Wayne Grudem has said Berkhof’s Systematic Theology is “a great treasure-house of information and analysis . . . probably the most useful . . . systematic theology available from any theological perspective.” Richard Muller calls it “the best modern English-language introduction to doctrinal theology of the Reformed tradition.”
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