My place of employment always hires extra help in the Spring; this year was no different, but for once we got some help in my department. I have a tendency to not want the new people to go through the same exclusionary practices that I experienced, so I say hi to them or at least treat them like they are part of the team (Yes, that means I torment them just as I would do anyone else.)
One day as I was passing through the lunch room I see one of the new guys reading his bible. I stopped momentarily to ask what he was reading. I understand the sarcastic response is “a bible” but without explaining my question, which I suppose I should have, the question was more specifically meant to be, “what are you studying and what are you getting out of it?” I remember that he was reading out of the gospel of Luke. I did not know at that time that he was coming to my department.
Why is any of this important?
For one, I have learned that there about six people who work there that claim to be “Christians”. That word has come to mean little or nothing because of its vagueness, and the oddity that many in this nation of mine seem to believe that merely living here makes you a Christian. That kind of belief tells me that you know nothing about having a relationship with Jesus Christ and that you are a follower of him. Look up the word follower and you will find it also means to pursue; one who pursues goes after or walks behind Christ with him as the leader. Now how many of those, so-called Christians, are followers? Of those six only one cares anything about talking about Jesus or their relationship with the Father. I find that to be very discouraging and do not waste my time talking with Pharisees.
This is why I was elated to have this new guy join us. On the first day he joined us we found reason to talk about our savior Jesus Christ. I even told him that I had prayed that God would send me someone who I could communicate with. I think we both agreed that God hand his hand in him being there.
He invited me to his church to join in their Wednesday evening bible study. When I finally was able to get there he was not, but that is okay.
Pastor Marcus, who my friend tells me is very skillful with the Greek and Hebrew, was starting brand new in the book of Daniel. While I am not an expert in Daniel, I am skillful and consider myself well versed in the end times. Daniel, along with several other old testament prophets, plays an integral role in defining the events of these last days.
I must tell you that while I enjoyed it, we flew through the book. Pastor tends to expect his audience to have done their preliminary reading; I had. When he got to the part where Daniel explains to Nebuchadnezzar about the iron legs pastor ran right along tradition and declared that this was the Roman empire.
Let me ask you a question. Have you ever read the book of Daniel? If so, and you were paying attention, then you know that the Roman empire was not mentioned or defined as being the iron legs, in any way. If you are going to emphasize how important it is to read and understand the context then the person leading the group should either be honest and say they do not know, or not give false information merely because it is tradition.
Later, I wrote this pastor a short letter. I introduced myself and how I came to the bible study. Then I told him how much I enjoyed it and that I would be back, and I have been. I also told him how I ran across Glen Beck, then on national television, explaining by comparison on a white board how Jesus of Nazareth and Mahdi of Islam paralleled each other. This information was new, poignant and alive to me, and the author of the book from which Glen Beck had obtained this information was sitting right there and spoke about it all with clarity. I obtained two of his books, and from that point on my understanding began to grow. I told the pastor that it was like the lifting of a fog bank from my mind and suddenly the Revelation and end times events all began to make sense. Joel Richardson, the author of the Mideast Beast, defined the iron legs as the Islamic Caliphate, and gave solid reasons to defend that position.
Pastor Marcus wrote me back, and this I was not excoriated for my “opinion or lack of understanding” but was thanked for informing him about this author, as he had never heard of him before. Pastor Marcus, in person, informed me that he did some research on Joel Richardson and became convinced that he needed to read these books of his.
I cannot begin to tell you how that made me feel. No one, for several years now, has given me much credence. Oh I notice how with every post I get a new follower, and yes that does say that the Father is giving me credence with some, but sadly I do not know any of you. And honestly, how many, who enthusiastically started following me still do?
The second week of my attending Pastor Marcus' bible study.
I already had a heads up that this week we were covering Hosea, Joel and Amos in one night. That is like watching a bullet train go by and then having someone ask you to verbally paint a picture of the happenings that you saw in the twelfth window of the third car. Really, I did not notice any windows and it seemed as though it was one long car.
The short recap:
Hosea and his relationship with his wife (Gomer) is representative of Israel, not just in turning it's back on God, but in running after everything that is not God, just to satisfy the flesh. Isn't that what adultery, or cheating is? Hosea is ordered to take a wife from the prostitutes, those who help to satisfy the burning desires of the flesh to do what it wants. Hosea has children with her but has to go and buy her back on several occasions. His children have names that are hugely significant. The first is named Jezreel; the name of the valley where God will judge the nations in the last days. The last two have the prefix Lo added to their names and it means NOT! Not loved and No longer having compassion on Israel. The book speaks of the judgment against Israel for turning their backs on God, and yet ends by changing their names back and telling of how he will show mercy on them again.
That went by quickly
I anxiously awaited Pastor's comments on Joel. If you have read it then you know it is another one of the prophets speaking about judgment upon Israel. Joel chapter two opens with:
Joel 2:1-3 NASB Blow a trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, For the day of the LORD is coming; Surely it is near, (2) A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness. As the dawn is spread over the mountains, So there is a great and mighty people; There has never been anything like it, Nor will there be again after it To the years of many generations. (3) A fire consumes before them And behind them a flame burns. The land is like the garden of Eden before them But a desolate wilderness behind them, And nothing at all escapes them.
To be honest, Joel took on a whole new meaning to me when I finally really saw what Peter did on the day of Pentecost. Filled with the Holy Spirit, the promised comforter that would empower them, they (possibly 120 “disciples”) were doing something they had never done before, speaking in heavenly languages (tongues) and the people on the street heard this, and heard it in their own tongue. Does what I just said mean that the disciples were speaking in French and Swahili? Perhaps, or not. Does it matter? They were obedient and receptive, and the Holy Spirit fell open them as Jesus said it would.
Peter declared, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel,” and he went to quote a part the verse, out of context, to the religious crowd.
Joel 2:28-29 NASB "It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. (29) "Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
Of all the things pastor could have talked about he focused on this. He told the guys sitting in the room that they were not to pull scripture out of context and use it prophesy as Peter did. I suspect that the men there needed to hear some strong wisdom about jumping ahead of the cart. Pastor also talked about the judgment that is predominant in this book also.
We barely made it Amos and he reiterated that we were to have done our reading and should have an understanding of what Amos speaks of; again, judgment.
When the meeting was over the pastor came over to talk with me. He thanked me for the recommendation on the author Joel Richardson and noted how I had tried to speak to him the previous week. I took the opportunity to say how much I love the prophesy of Joel 2:28-29, and told him that I put a little different spin on it when I talk about it. I told him that though it is a prophecy embedded in the end times, that Peter, led by the Holy Spirit, kicked the door open by saying, “this is that!” The Holy Spirit moved that prophesy into the present. Now the question is really, What are you doing with it and if not, why not?
As usual I am compelled to say, that what I am talking about will be relatively meaningless unless you have a faith and hope in Jesus Christ. That would mean that you are a follower of Jesus Christ and in active pursuit of him. Should you need to do that, ask Jesus Christ to come into your life and give you a life with the Father. Turn from your sins, as a believer you have a new clean heart, and the garbage of the world is no longer you, and it no longer owns you. To say repent of your old ways has a couple of connotations.
- You need to be honest, today is great day to start. Tell God that you have made a mess of your life and need him to come into your life and run it. Give it over to him, you were screwing it up anyway.
- 2. He will begin to heal the wounds that have brought you to where you are now, but again, being honest and turning those things over to him will move that along quicker. My own personal experience was one of trying to fix things myself (it is the nature of man to do things on his own, regardless of how inexperienced and ineffectual we are at fixing ourselves.) God had to use someone else to reopen an old wound from my youth in order for me to see it and allow God to heal it. I honestly had no idea how to gain relief from the pain that wound caused me, and I had no idea that I had made agreement with it.
- Break your agreements you have made with the enemy. As followers of Christ, one that studies the scripture, I know that I have an enemy and that he is trying to steal (everything from me) destroy me, and kill me in any way possible. I am hoping that this gives you some insight to understand that death and damage come in many ways and forms. I am not asking you to stay in relationships that are not safe, but to understand that the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune are designed by Satan himself; he merely uses people as tools to meet his end (and that is to take you out or out-of-the-way.)
- If you have given Jesus Christ control of your life then you have a good heart. Jesus even describes you as a good tree and it is not the pattern of a good tree to produce bad fruit. I can give you a number of reasons to explain the biblical concept of a good heart, such as the Apostle Paul's statement that you are now flesh of his flesh and he is perfect.
- As a follower of Christ you have a hope! A hope in what? That he will come and retrieve those that are his. He rose from the dead just to prove his point. He got collected back to the Father and he used that as an example of how adamant the Father is about upholding his word. He has spent the last two thousand plus years establishing that he is believable. He will come and gather us up; we call that the rapture.