Daily Archives: June 9, 2014

Questions about Angels and Demons: Do Angels Have Free Will?

 

Although the Bible mentions angels over 250 times, the references are usually incidental to some other topic. Learning what the Bible has to say about angels can certainly aid in an understanding of God and His ways, but what is learned about the angels themselves must be drawn from implicit, rather than explicit, descriptions.

Angels are spiritual beings who have personalities that include emotions (Luke 2:13), intelligence (2 Corinthians 11:3), and wills (2 Timothy 2:26). Satan was an angel who was cast out of heaven along with many other angels who decided to follow him and chose to sin (2 Peter 2:4). In terms of free will, the Bible reveals this was an exercise of their ability to choose (Jude 1:6).

Some scholars believe there was a sort of “probation period” for the angels, similar to the time when Adam and Eve were in the garden. Those angels who did not choose to sin and follow Satan have become the “elect” angels (1 Timothy 5:21), confirmed in holiness. These angels are also referred to as “holy angels” (Mark 8:38) and “holy ones” (Psalm 89:5).

Even if the elect angels are confirmed in their holiness, it doesn’t mean they have lost their free will. Certainly, every living creature has choices to make at any given moment. The holy angels might have the ability to sin, but that does not in any way mean that they will sin.

To help understand this issue, we can consider the life of Christ. Christ was “tempted in every way” (Hebrews 4:15), yet He did not sin. Jesus had the ability to choose whatever He pleased (John 10:17–18). However, Jesus’ first priority was always to please His Father, and that is always what He chose (John 4:34). If Christ, who was 100 percent human (as well as 100 percent divine), could live in a sinful environment and face daily temptation, surely holy angels who live in a purely holy environment can freely choose good over evil. The elect angels praise God because they choose to; they obey God because that is what they desire most to do (see Jonathan Edwards’s Freedom of the Will).

Humans have free will, but they struggle with sin because the human nature is corrupt and bent toward sin. This is why all humans sin (Romans 5:12) and find it much more difficult to “be good” than to “be bad.” The holy angels are without a sinful nature. They are not inclined toward sin but rather toward righteousness, doing everything that pleases God.

In conclusion, it doesn’t actually matter whether or not holy angels have the freedom to sin. They have a free will, but the Bible makes it clear they will not sin. The apostle John, in describing heaven, wrote there will be no mourning, crying, or pain there (Revelation 21:4), and anyone who does evil will never be permitted to enter (Revelation 21:27). The angels who are part of heaven are sinless.[1]

 

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about the Bible: What Are the Different Forms of Biblical Literature?

 

One of the most intriguing facts about the Bible is that, while it is God’s communication (Matthew 5:17; Mark 13:31; Luke 1:37; Revelation 22:18–19), human beings were part of the writing process. As Hebrews 1:1 says, “God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways.” The “various ways” include different literary genres. The Bible’s human writers used different forms of literature to communicate different messages at different times.

The Bible contains historical literature (1 and 2 Kings), dramatic literature (Job), legal documents (much of Exodus and Deuteronomy), song lyrics (The Song of Solomon and Psalms), poetry (most of Isaiah), wisdom literature (Proverbs and Ecclesiastes), apocalyptic literature (Revelation and parts of Daniel), short story (Ruth), sermons (as recorded in Acts), speeches and proclamations (like those of King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel), prayers (many Psalms), parables (such as those Jesus told), fables (such as Jotham told), and epistles (Ephesians and Romans).

The different genres can overlap. Many of the psalms, for example, are also prayers. Some of the epistles contain poetry. Each type of literature has unique characteristics should be approached with due consideration. For example, Jotham’s fable (Judges 9:7–15) cannot be interpreted the same way as the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1–17). Interpreting poetry, with its reliance on metaphor and other poetic devices, is different from interpreting historical narrative. Please see our article on interpreting genres.

Second Peter 1:19–20 says that “men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Using today’s terminology, the Bible’s managing editor was the Holy Spirit of God. God put the mark of His authorship on each of the 66 books of the Bible, no matter what the literary genre. God “breathed” the written words (2 Timothy 3:16–17). Because mankind has the ability to understand and appreciate various forms of literature, God used many genres to communicate His Word. The reader of the Bible will discover a common purpose that unifies the parts of the collection. He will discover motifs, foreshadowing, repeated themes, and recurring characters. Through it all, he will find that the Bible is the world’s greatest literary masterpiece—and the very Word of very God.[1]

 

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Parables: What Is the Meaning of the Parables of Fasting at the Wedding Feast, the Old Cloth, and the Wineskins?

 

These parables, found in Mark 2:18–22, begin with a statement that the Pharisees and the disciples of John the Baptist were fasting. The twice-weekly fast was a tradition adopted by the legalistic Pharisees at the time, even though the Mosaic Law prescribed only one fast on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29, 31). Some people came to Jesus and asked Him why His disciples did not fast like the Pharisees and those of John’s disciples who had remained loyal to the Pharisaic traditions. Jesus’ response is given in three short parables.

The first one is a parable of a bridegroom with his groomsmen at a wedding feast. Jesus’ point is that fasting during the wedding feast is pointless. In this story Jesus is the Bridegroom, and while He is present in this world, it is a time of celebration because He is the fulfillment of their Messianic prophecies. Jesus Himself said that He came to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17). To continue fasting with Jesus present is akin to fasting and being mournful during a wedding celebration in which the groom is present.

The other two parables, which are similar, make the same point. The first one says you don’t put a new patch on an old garment, and the second says you don’t put new wine into an old wineskin. In the first parable, if you put a new patch on an old garment, when the new patch shrinks due to washing, it will tear away from the older garment, making the tear worse. Similarly, new wine needs a new wineskin because as the new wine expands during the fermentation process, it stretches the wineskin. An old wineskin will burst under the pressure of new wine.

These two parables illustrate the fact that you can’t mix old religious rituals with new faith in Jesus. Jesus’ disciples were not fasting along with the Pharisees and John’s disciples because they were now under the new covenant of grace and faith in Christ. As mentioned earlier, Jesus fulfilled the law; therefore, there is no longer any need to continue with the old rituals. Jesus cannot be added to a works-based religion. In the case of the Pharisees, they were consumed with their own self-righteousness, and faith in Jesus cannot be combined with self-righteous rituals.[1]

 

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Spiritual Fallout – John MacArthur

 

1 John 3:4-10

Code: B140609

 

The disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor power plant released four hundred times the amount of radioactive material released in the bombing of Hiroshima. Experts estimate that as much as 60 percent of the fallout from the Chernobyl disaster landed in the neighboring nation of Belarus.

I’ve had the privilege to minister alongside faithful pastors and church leaders from Belarus, and they can attest to the dramatic, tragic effects of the disaster. The plume of smoke and debris deposited radioactive material across much of the country. The toxic pollution permeated the soil and the water supply, effectively poisoning the entire country, and extending the impact of the disaster to future generations.

Just as environmental pollution can wreak long-lasting devastation across a wide region, the same is true of spiritual poison. False teaching can create years—even generations—of spiritual confusion, corruption, and collapse. But unlike a rogue cloud of radioactive material, false teaching can and must be defended against.

There is a particular stripe of false teaching that has caused a great deal of destruction in the church for several decades—a spiritual scourge that has sown confusion and corruption into congregations around the world. See if you can spot it in the statements below.

  • Repentance is just a synonym for faith. Turning from sin is not required for salvation.
  • Saving faith is simply being convinced or giving credence to the truth of the gospel. It is not a personal commitment to Christ.
  • Faith might not last. It is a gift of God, but it can collapse, be overthrown or subverted, and can even turn into unbelief.
  • Christians can lapse into a state of permanent spiritual barrenness and lifelong carnality. Born again people can continuously live like the unsaved.
  • Disobedience and prolonged sin are no reason to doubt one’s salvation. Spiritual fruit is not a given in the Christian life.
  • Nothing guarantees that a Christian will love God.
  • All who claim Christ by faith as Savior, regardless of their lifestyle, should be assured they belong to God. It is dangerous and destructive to question the salvation of professing Christians.
  • The New Testament writers never questioned the reality of their readers’ faith.

Those shocking statements do not resemble the gospel of Jesus Christ and His apostles. They are in fact satanic lies meant to give men and women false assurance of their salvation and cripple the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.

And yet those lies have a pervasive impact in the church today. Like poisonous fallout, that false teaching permeates the very soil of evangelicalism, and the tainted fruit of this spiritual catastrophe is deadly.

But there is an antidote to this spiritual toxin. It’s found in 1 John, a book which presents the people of God with several tests to determine the true nature of their faith. In particular, 1 John 3:4-10 gets to the heart of how believers are to think and act as new creatures in Christ:

Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

Over the next several days, we’re going to consider the unmistakable truth spelled out in those verses: that the believer’s life is completely incompatible with a lifestyle of sin.

 


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NTEB: Pope Francis On Frantic Quest To Unite All Religions Under Rome

 

The Pope is working to combine all religions into one

And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.” Revelation 17:6

Pope Francis is a man on a mission to fulfill bible prophecy, and he is getting more done than any other Pope in the last 100 years. Pope Francis is here to make some serious and drastic changes not only in the Catholic Vatican system, in the professing Christianity as well.  He is creating the One World Religion.

The bible, in Revelation 17 and 18, talks about a harlot church that rules the spiritual world. She is wealthy beyond description, and all the kings and mighty men of the earth want to be in a spiritual bed with her. The bible says that she is a city that “sitteth on seven hills”, and is “drunk with the blood of the saints”. This can only be one system, one place, one church – the Roman Catholic Church whose Vatican headquarters sits on the famed Seven Hills in Rome.

joel-osteen-and-mormons-meet-with-pope-francis-one-world-religion-chrislam

This week, not only did Pope Francis hold ecumenical services in the Vatican where he prayed to the moon god of Islam, Allah, he also held high level meetings with megachurch pastor Joel Osteen and US Senator Mike Lee who was there to represent the Mormon church. The actors have taken the stage, with more still arriving, in the unfolding of what will one day soon be the wildest bible prophecy ever told – the Great Tribulation.

Joel Osteen was enthralled with the fact that Pope Francis is so inclusive:

“I like the fact that this pope is trying to make the church larger, not smaller. He’s not pushing people out but making the church more inclusive. That resonated with me,” Osteen told the Houston Chronicle. 

The Christian Post reports that according to Westmont College, Francis had invited more than a dozen “North American Protestant leaders” to discuss the question: “Can we find common ground in order to advance the life and ministry of Jesus so more people can experience the joy of Christian faith?”

 The ecumenical meeting was a part of Pope Francis’ on-going efforts to bring unity among Christians, previously stating in public remarks, “Divisions among us, but also divisions among the communities: evangelical Christians, orthodox Christians, Catholic Christians, but why divided? We must try to bring about unity.”

However, Pope Francis’s call for unity goes beyond the Christian community. During his recent visit to the Middle East, Francis invited Israeli Jewish and Muslim leaders to join him in prayer for peace for their region at the Vatican this Sunday. Israel’s Chief of State Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Abu Mazen will be joined by a delegation of rabbis, Islamic imams, and Israeli Druze community leaders, according to news reports.

 

 

The post Pope Francis On Frantic Quest To Unite All Religions Under Rome appeared first on Now The End Begins.

End Times Prophecy Headlines: June 9, 2014

End Times Prophecy Report

End Times Prophecy Report Headlines: Bible prophecy in Today's headlines. Bible prophecy in Today’s headlines.

End Times Prophecy Report
HEADLINES
June 9, 2014

CommentaryAnd OPINION

===INTERNATIONAL

CHINA: China building artificial island military base in disputed waters

BRAZIL: Brazil’s military turns out for pre-World Cup show of strength – Soccer and guns!

PAKISTAN:Gunmen Attack Karachi’s Airport

ISRAEL: Israeli Soldiers Break Silence With Tales Of West Bank Occupation – Any stories about Israel and the larger Middle East which come from the Corporate Media have one goal in mind–and it isn’t informing the viewers.

CANADA: Three Inmates Escape Canadian Prison Using Helicopter

===NATIONAL

Capitol evacuated after plane in restricted air space

DARPA turns soldiers into human geckos

Oh, by the way, the constitution offers Congress a way to rein in the federal courts and judges.  But no one wants to talk about it because it would 1- destroy all of the nice media narratives already written; and, 2- it would force…

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The Bible is what God uses to communicate to His people

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

Since Possessing the Treasure has existed I would say that a very large percentage of the “debate” we have dealt with here has been whether the Bible is God’s Word or simply another book. Of course, related to that, would be the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. The genuine Christian does accept the Bible as Sacred Scripture and a huge part of God’s revelation of Himself to them. Those professing Christians who decry this, however, insist that knowledge of God must be derived from non-communicative ‘encounters’ with Him, that is, through experiences of one kind or another. The problem with this should be obvious. If we hold to the truth that God’s revelation of Himself to us is primarily through the Bible as His verbal self-testimony then we are dependent upon it as unchanging and complete truth. However, if we hold that God communicates to us primarily via…

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