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False Beliefs about the End Times (Part 2)

[Be sure to check out my new book on the most important issue facing believers (and all people) today. Check out System of the Beast by clicking this link.]

In part one of this two-part series, I discussed two beliefs (with a bonus view) about the end times that I feel are false: the belief in a secret Rapture, wherein believers are stolen away from the earth prior to the period of Tribulation, and the view that there will be a literal thousand-year reign—called the “Millennial Reign”—upon Christ’s return. When closely examined, the Bible does not support either of these notions.

Instead, Scripture consistently reveals that the Second Coming will completely and emphatically mark the end of our current age. The dead will be judged, the forces of evil will be destroyed, believers will be given their new “spiritual bodies,” and God will establish the new heavens and a new earth. As C.S. Lewis famously said: “When the author walks on to the stage the play is over.”

Here in part two, I want to discuss three views that are closely related but are inconsistent with the teachings of Scripture. Nevertheless, these beliefs are still held by many Christians who are interested in eschatological matters (those things pertaining to the “last things” that will occur in our world). The three views are as follows:

  • The belief that the re-establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 was a critical part of the end time prophecies
  • The belief that a third temple must be built in Jerusalem before Christ can return
  • The belief that there will be a mass conversion of Jews to Christianity in the last days

Since all three views are related to how the current nation of Israel is connected to the end times, they are obviously closely connected to one another.

Before going on, I strongly encourage you to read my earlier article called “Is Israel God’s Chosen Nation?” It specifically addresses how we can view the overall place that the modern-day nation of Israel (again, modern-day) holds in God’s Kingdom. The information presented may be difficult for many to cope with, but it is equally difficult to refute.

With that said, let’s get to evaluating the three beliefs at hand.

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Unlike part one, I am going to first describe the three beliefs of this article and then corporately evaluate them. Again, the reason why I am taking this approach is that the views are so closely related—even though they are technically distinct—that rebuking them individually will inevitably lead to much redundancy. It simply makes better sense to evaluate them simultaneously.

The first belief is extremely prominent among Christian Zionists[1] from all denominations and backgrounds. For many, the establishment of a new State of Israel in 1948 was a tell-tale sign that the last days are at hand.

John Hagee is well-known for putting forth this view. Over the last 20 years or so, one can scarcely count the number of times that Hagee has championed Israel as being the linchpin of God’s final plans for the world. For a clear example, he said this concerning the city of Jerusalem:

“God has made that (Jerusalem) His habitation. And He is going to set up his throne there. And He is going to rule the world from there, with a rod of iron for a thousand years . . . Jerusalem is the place that God calls home.”

Notice that Hagee also incorporated the view that Christ will reign in Jerusalem for a literal thousand years. I covered this in part one and, yes, this belief is also in serious doubt (putting it mildly). It is worth mentioning that Hagee—in the same sermon referenced above—went so far as to say that he had instructed Donald Trump that, if he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, he would “step into political immortality.” Well, we all know how that prophecy turned out . . .

Moving on, perhaps another contributing factor is that Revelation 20 describes the forces of evil encircling the “camp of God.” The biggest problem here is that much of this chapter seems most logically to be a metaphorical description of things. I described in part one that the “thousand years” certainly fits this mold, as does the very language of “beast,” “dragon,” and “false prophet”; all three symbolically stand for something else (a global empire, Satan, and a corrupt religious system). With that said, taking the description about enemies surrounding the “camp of God” to literally pertain to the current State of Israel is several steps too far.

But I will withhold further comments until I later assess the three beliefs.

The second belief is that, after Israel is “restored,” a third temple must be built for Jesus to return. The foundations of this view are almost exclusively derived from the Old Testament, in texts like Amos 9:11, Isaiah 2:2-3 and, as I mention momentarily, the Book of Daniel. The pastoral team at Endtime Ministries have said: “The Bible prophesies, in many places, that a Third Temple will be built in the near future.” They say “the near future” because they feel that the Lord’s return will be soon, a point I agree on (though for different reasons).

Like the “secret Rapture” theology, third temple theology is largely the product of the dispensationalist movement. As an example, consider Simon Downing’s words in his book, World Empire and the Return of Jesus Christ:

“Dispensationalism also accommodates into its teaching the belief that the Jews must rebuild their Temple” . . . “The building of the ‘Third Temple’ is therefore at the heart of Dispensationalism; even though it recognizes that the Beast will desecrate it before the coming of Christ and the Millennium.”

(Those interested in the origins of dispensationalism can see Witherington’s discussion here on the Rapture, and I discuss the Rapture at length in this article.)

Some have even gone so far as to suggest that the third temple will be built for the Antichrist, and that a fourth temple will need to be built before Christ’s return. This is based on certain interpretations of the OT texts, specifically the suggestion that the Antichrist will “put and end to sacrifice” (Dan. 9:27). As those who believe this interpretation posit, that could only happen if there was a (third) temple where sacrifices were being made.

Overall, this belief is part-and-parcel with the notion that the reestablishment of Israel is a predicted (and necessary) end time event. If there is an Israeli nation, there needs to be a temple also. Such is the thinking, anyway.

The third belief is that there will be a mass conversion of Jews to Christ before his return.

A major area of the Bible that is used to support this view comes from Paul’s epistle to the Romans. There, he discusses the identity of Israel as seen through the lens of the new covenant. Concerning the Gentiles being “grafted in” to the tree that is Israel, Paul says:

“I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:25-26).

To some, this suggests that the Jewish people will—at some point in time—come to Christ and no longer experience the “partial hardening” that Paul spoke of.

Without question, the premise of having a restored Israeli nation and a temple to match feeds into this view. If one believes that Israel being a sovereign nation that possesses its own temple is an end time expectation, then it would make sense that it would be inhabited by many Jews who “come around” and profess Jesus as Lord. Again, that’s if the first two beliefs are true.

There are many more examples that could be used to illustrate these three beliefs, but this provides the necessary foundation to assess them. As you can see, all three of these views are connected. I would almost say that they are, for all intents and purposes, interdependent.

But are they true? Does the Bible really teach any of these beliefs?

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Evaluation

In my estimation, the strongest impetus for accepting all these beliefs comes from the fact that Israel was God’s chosen nation throughout the OT. This is an irrefutable and important fact, to be sure. As Jesus said, “Salvation is from the Jews.” However, it is something else altogether to believe that the nation of Israel—that is, a particular group of people who happen to live at a particular location on Earth—continues to hold this status.

In all sincerity, affirming this is a genuine case of living in the past. There are many reasons why we should reject this interpretation of Scripture.

For starters, let’s consider what this means historically. Do the Jewish people of the last two thousand years get to immediately “pass go” and collect eternal life? Have they been ushered into God’s Kingdom simply by virtue of their being born in the right place or to just the right set of parents? Put succinctly, does geography and/or ethnicity determine salvation?

According to the apostle to the Gentiles—and a man who professed that he was a “Hebrew of Hebrews”—the answer is no. In fact, Paul made this very plain:

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

Clearly, this is the New Testament view of things. However, I would go a significant step farther and state that the Old Testament reveals the same message: being born a Jew—in and of itself— has never merited an individual salvation. Scripture is replete with examples where Jewish believers were cut off from God and the community for their lack of faith and their disobedience. As a startling example, God did not spare an entire generation of believers from dying off in the wilderness: “The LORD’s anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone” (Num. 32:13).

We could also look at 14,700 who died on account of the plague God sent (Num. 16:49), those who died in “Korah’s Rebellion,” and the many times the Jews were given over to destruction by groups like the Babylonians, Persians, Philistines, and the like.

For that matter, God did not even spare the rebellious angels from a destructive fate (2 Pet. 2:4).

On a final note concerning this issue, Paul even went so far as to say that he simply hoped to “arouse some of (his) own people to jealousy and save some of them” (Rom. 11:14). If his hope were to save some of them, it logically follows that not all of them were saved simply by virtue of being Jewish. Being Jewish, in and of itself, does not merit salvation. It never has.

Another major problem with these three views—and specifically the view that a third temple must be erected—is that the formation of such a structure is wholly unnecessary in every possible way. Nowhere does the Bible state that there must be a third temple before the Messiah can return. Concerning the previously noted idea that a temple must exist so the Antichrist can “put and end to sacrifice,” nothing could make less sense. Here is a newsflash: Jesus’ death on the cross did eliminate the need for sacrifice! Among other things, the Book of Hebrews spells this out clearly. All of chapter 10 speaks to this, but specifically note verses 11-13:

“And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.”

Christ’s sacrifice rendered the entire sacrificial system obsolete. There is no need for a temple to perform sacrifices ever again, nor does there need to be one so the Antichrist can “put an end to sacrifice.”

Paul did say in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 that the “man of sin” will “set himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” This also indicates to some that a third temple will be necessary. However, given the fact that the temple of Paul’s day was the same one that was later demolished in AD 70 by the Romans, there is a much more rational interpretation of what he meant here. Elliot’s Commentary explains the likely meaning well:

“(The phrase) ‘taking his seat in the temple of God,’ is a poetical or prophetical description of usurping divine prerogatives generally: not the prerogatives of the true God alone, but whatever prerogatives have been offered to anything ‘called God’.”

Paul’s expression was not about the “man of sin” sitting in a literal temple structure within Jerusalem. Rather, it was an expression showing that he will attempt to usurp everything connected to God, in all ways. To those living at the time, this could not be stated more strongly than to say that this dark figure will seek worship in the very structure that housed God’s presence within the OT.

The temple’s central purpose was to house the presence of God. It was perpetual evidence that Yahweh reigned amongst His people. When Jesus died, the temple veil was torn (Mt. 27:51), representing an end to the old system of things. Jesus was the Son of God incarnate in human form. With Jesus “tabernacling” on earth, God was no longer reigning from a house of stone but was walking among us! Further, God’s Spirit now resides with each of us who believe in Christ; WE are the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16).

No matter how you look at it, there is no need for a third temple. Not now and not ever. Even if one were to be constructed, it will not be “God’s temple” but man’s. Further, it will have nothing to do with fulfilling prophecy.

While these points are certainly important, let’s get to the heart of the issue (as I see it). Perhaps the primary reason why all three of these beliefs are wrong is that Jesus and the apostles—particularly Paul, who spoke directly to this issue—were clear that God’s salvation narrative had moved beyond the land of Israel and past one ethnic group of people.

Jesus certainly understood that he was fulfilling the OT prophecies about the Messiah, one of which being that he would be a “light to the Gentiles.” The Gentiles—that is, those who were not ethnically or religiously Jewish—were to be the beneficiaries of Christ’s coming, since the Jews were already in a covenant relationship with God. Since those who are ethnically (or even religiously) Jewish make up a miniscule part of the Earth’s population, Jesus chiefly came to open up salvation to the entire world. This is clearly depicted within many passages of Scripture.

Of course, the very nature of Paul’s apostleship was also built around this mission. Paul was sent specifically to preach to the Gentiles.

Concerning the idea that there will be a mass conversion of Jews to Christ, as supposedly explained in Romans 11:25-26 (and misapplied OT texts), this does not take into account the greater context of Paul’s words. He says that Israel has “experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.” However, he adds that “in this way, all Israel will be saved.” What “way” is that, though? He describes that in the previous section. The Gentiles are being “grafted in” to the “tree” that is Israel. In other words, the Gentiles who follow Christ are being accepted into the fold of salvation, right along with the Jews who had been saved.

All people who are saved are now “Israel.”

Paul says this plainly earlier in Romans. “It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel” (9:6). Paul’s words say nothing about a mass conversion of Jews to Christ in the end times, nor does anything else in Scripture.

All this proves an important point: The contemporary Zionist movement is misguided because its adherents have missed (or dismissed) the central purpose of why God called Israel to begin with. Simply put, Israel’s purpose was to bring about the fulfilment of the “descendants” promise that God made to Abraham (Gen. 17:1-5). With all-due respect—yet with the brutal honesty I am always compelled to operate with—this is also what the Jewish people have failed to (or chosen not to) understand since the time of Christ.

God did not call Israel to alone comprise His Kingdom of saints and those whom were purchased back from Satan.

I would go so far as to say that it was never about that particular group of people, but about God’s plan to reach all people. When God called Abram—who was later renamed “Abraham”—He did so with a universal purpose. That is, Abraham would begin God’s process of restoring all of humanity. Don’t take my word for it, but listen to how Paul put it:

“For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all” (Rom. 4:16).

It’s also worth noting that numerous parts of the OT declared that God was open to accepting non-Jews into the fold. Isaiah 56:6-7 describes God’s invitation to “foreigners” (Gentiles) to serve Him and participate in salvation. Exodus notes that “a mixed multitude” left Egypt with the Israelites (Ex. 12:38). Gentiles who were willing to be circumcised and follow God’s covenant were often permitted to join in Israel’s blessings (Ex. 12:48-49).

If you had only the Old Testament to go on, it would still be obvious that Israel was not God’s only interest. Affirming this does not make one anti-Semitic, or anything of the sort. Rather, it simply means that they understand what the Bible describes as the overall purpose of the nation of Israel. To be sure, God made His covenant with the ancient Hebrews (Ex. 20) .

But to what end? That is the key question.

As the previous passages illustrate, the Bible reveals Israel’s purpose very clearly. God called Israel to be His vessel: the instrument by which He would bring salvation to the world and restore what was lost through the Fall.

Tying the end time expectations to a physical nation of Israel, the construction of a third temple, and the conversion of modern-day Jews to Jesus—as though they are more valuable to God than any other group—not only misses the point of Christ’s coming but destroys the core teachings of the biblical narrative. The same can be said of any view positing that the physical plot of land called “Israel” still possess some type of mystical or divine power: that the soil itself is intrinsically holy.

Both the Old and New Testament teach that God was, is, and always will be interested in the salvation of all people (who will believe). This is true regardless of ethnicity, gender, social status, geographical location, or any of the like; “For there is no partiality with God” (Rom. 2:11). In fact: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

The bottom line is that, in the work of Jesus, God’s plans for humanity extended beyond the land of Israel and the Jewish people. These matters are not the focal points of the end time discussion, as much as some would insist that they are.

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If you are interested in looking at things that the Bible does teach about the end times, start here and then click on the embedded links.

For more about Israel’s place in history, the NT, and the present day, I will once more point you to my article “Is Israel God’s Chosen Nation?

Footnotes:


[1] In essence, Zionism is the worldview that the nation of Israel held—and more importantly, continues to hold—the unique status of being God’s “chosen nation.” As such, the Jewish people have a divine right to the land and must be supported regardless of how they go about occupying and maintaining it. Typically, there can be no deviation from this belief on virtually any point.

False Beliefs about the End Times (Part 1)

[Check out my brand-new book, System of the Beast. It reveals the real agenda behind the coronavirus pandemic and how it is being used to institute Satan’s final plan of global governance.]

In previous articles, I have discussed certain expectations that the Bible describes as accompanying the end of our age. I have written about the identity of the “beasts” of Revelation 13, and how we might understand the “mark of the Beast.” I also described Paul’s discussion in 2 Thessalonians 2, concerning both the Lie and the “strong delusion” that will precede Christ’s return. I divulged the nature of the apostate church and identified some of its key figures and characteristics. Further, I covered a variety of important beliefs in the article “End Time Essentials.” 

As important as it is to grasp the key biblical teachings about the last days, it may be equally critical to understand the false beliefs that are commonly associated with them. In this two-part series, I want to describe five views that, despite being widely taught and accepted, simply cannot be derived from Scripture. If that is indeed the case, then these beliefs have no place in the life of a genuine believer.

Here in part one, I am going to cover the following topics:

  • The view that Christians will be taken away in a secret, pre-Tribulation “Rapture”
  • The belief in a literal, 1,000-year “Millennial Reign”

In addition to these, I am going to throw one more in as sort of a bonus. Though the “bonus” belief is far less consequential than the other two, it is still worth exploring.

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Let’s take these in turn, starting with the so-called “Rapture.”

Here we see masses of believers being “raptured away” from the earth to live with Christ at his return.

Though I spoke extensively about this matter in another article, I will highlight several important things. The first is that the word “rapture” is never mentioned in the Bible. This, however, does not mean that we can immediately dismiss its existence. Plenty of words are not specifically used in the Bible that nevertheless speak spiritual truths. Among these are words like Trinity, Eucharist, and even Easter (except, oddly, in the KJV!). The Trinity is synonymous in thought with “Godhead,” just as the Eucharist and Easter are synonymous with the Lord’s Supper and Resurrection Day, respectively.

The problem with the Rapture is not its name, but in how it is taught. Chiefly, the problem lay in the teaching that believers will someday be taken away to live in heaven, and that this will take place prior to the great “Tribulation” (the time of suffering and chaos at the end of the world). The belief is that these “raptured” believers will then return again with Christ some period of years later (3-1/2 or 7 years, typically), after the Tribulation period has been raging.

This entire notion is primarily derived from 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Following his description of how Jesus will return from heaven, Paul says this: “After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever” (my emphasis).

The word translated as “caught up” is a form of the Greek harpazō, and this is the term that would later be translated into Latin as rapturo. As you might have imagined, from rapturo came the English term “rapture.”

This generally describes how the term came to be, and it most essentially means to “catch,” “steal,” or “carry off.” However, the form of harpazō used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 literally reads, “we will be carried off.[1] Specifically, Paul intended it to mean that believers—at the Second Coming, or the Parousia—would be lifted into the sky to meet the King of kings as he once again enters our world.

In fact, this meeting will serve as something of a welcome home party. The term Paul used in 4:17 for “to meet” is apantēsin. It is used only three times in the NT, and each time it refers to meeting someone and then returning with them.[2] Again, the purpose was to return with them. This is like going out to meet a newly arrived official so you can travel back together. Believers will be what Ben Witherington III calls “the royal entourage,” or the divine escort party.

If we are properly understanding the context and the language Paul used, it becomes clear that this passage has nothing whatsoever to do with being swept away from the earth to live in heaven. Rather, it is about welcoming the One from heaven back to earth. In fact, the grand goal of the Christian faith and the climax of human history is about God making a new heaven and earth (2 Pet. 3:13, Rev. 21:1).

Being zapped away to heaven—either at death or at Jesus’ coming—is not part of the plan, and the Bible is emphatic about this.

[In order to avoid redundancy, I provide more proof for this in the second false belief (below)]

While 1 Thessalonians 4:17 has clearly been key in propagating this false teaching, a contributing factor is Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:40-41. There, he discusses the events surrounding the end and uses examples from everyday life to make his point:

  • “Two men will be in a field; one will be taken and the other left.”
  • “Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.”

To some, this suggests that people are taken away to heaven before the Tribulation while the rest of the world is left to endure it. Here again, this is a flawed interpretation. In this text, Jesus is referring to both the unexpected nature of his return and the speed with which these events will occur. His return—and the subsequent separation of the righteous and the wicked—will come as a surprise to many and will occur and in a flash. We know this because Jesus’ basis for comparison was the Great Flood:

“ . . . they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”

In an instant, one person is taken and the other is left. Just as Noah and his family were lifted off the earth—later returning to a “new earth,” of sorts—so shall believers be caught up to meet the Lord at his return and then return to a new earth.

As Jesus explained through his Flood analogy and Paul clearly states in 1 Thessalonians 5:4, this day should not take believers by surprise but will certainly do so for nonbelievers.

Like the events described within 1 Thessalonians 4:17, those in Matthew 24:40-41 have nothing to do with the righteous being expedited off to heaven before the time of Tribulation. That will already have occurred; as Jesus said, “the one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved” (Mt. 24:13), and “if those days had not been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short” (24:22).

Elsewhere, Jesus further clarifies exactly what will be occurring when he comes back. In the parables of the Sheep and the Goats and the Wheat and the Tares, he explained that the righteous and the wicked are separated at his return, when the Judgment is at hand.

This means that Jesus is not coming to snatch believers away only to return again (some years later) to judge the world. There is one return, and it marks the very end of our age. At that time, the living and the dead are judged, the forces of evil are destroyed, and the new earth is forged.

There is simply the Second Coming (the “Parousia”), and there will be no need for a third or fourth.

The unfortunate truth is that many within the church have been sold a false bill of goods on all this. They have errantly been told that dying and going to heaven is the end-goal of the faith and that a butchered view of the Rapture is the endgame of our world. Escaping before the earth descends into chaos has become the focal point, even though all the saints of the past—including the apostles themselves—were not spared from suffering, persecution, and even death.

A pre-Tribulation Rapture is a belief that is propagated and embraced because it is emotionally appealing but not because the Bible supports it. When this motivation is exposed, it becomes evident that modern-day Rapture theology is nothing more than theological comfort food.

For those interested in how this false view of the Rapture came to permeate so many churches—despite being devoid of biblical evidence—see my article here.

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The next false belief I will cover in part one involves what is often called the “Millennial Reign,” which is the period spoken of in Revelation 20:1-10. Specifically, I want to explain why I believe a future 1,000-year reign of Christ is both unscriptural and illogical.

Here, Christ reigns (supposedly) for a literal 1,000-year period after his return.

In general, there are three primary views that can be held regarding how the millennium is viewed: 1) premillennialism, 2) postmillennialism, and 3) amillennialism. The premillennial view holds that Christ returns to earth prior to the millennium—“pre” meaning before—where he will gather the faithful for a literal 1,000-year period. At that time, he will proceed to rule over believers while Satan is “bound” in the Abyss and, well, something happens to the unsaved masses (discussed later).

The postmillennial view—“post” meaning after the millennium—typically holds that the thousand years is a symbolic period that marks something of a golden age of Christianity. Whether it is viewed to begin with the resurrection of Jesus or at another point later on, the world gradually improves as time unfolds and the gospel is preached. In this sense, Christ ultimately returns to a world that has gradually become heaven on earth.

Not only is this view rather unpopular, but it’s counter to all the biblical descriptions that the state of the world actually worsens prior to Christ’s return (Mt. 24, Eph. 5:16). Further, Hebrews 2:8 states that “at present we do not see all things subject to him (Christ).” It’s also clearly not how our present world is operating, as we don’t observe things getting better and better. Far from it.

For these reasons, I will not discuss more about the postmillennial view. I believe it to be the most unlikely of the major views, and probably by a landslide.

I will discuss the amillennial view more at the end, but it suggests that the millennium is also a symbolic period. However, amillennialists hold that the world declines prior to Christ’s return and that the millennial reign began with his resurrection and ascension.

This is a general explanation of the three, and there are various points of divergence within them. For example, there are premillennialists who don’t believe in a literal thousand-year reign, even though most tend to. There is grey area, to be sure. In fact, this issue has been debated since the early days of church history among thinkers like Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Papias, and others. For more on this point, I refer you to Dr. Thomas Schreiner’s video here

Of the three, it is the premillennial view—just like the “pre-Trib” Rapture view—that has arguably become the most prominent among mainline Protestants (and a fair number of Catholics). As stated at the beginning of this section, this is the view I am specifically targeting here.

If this is such a debatable matter, how can I view premillennialism and its future 1,000-year reign of Christ to be false? The reason is simple: if you interpret Revelation 20 in this way, then the text will be at odds with everything else in Scripture.

If we were to set Revelation 20 on the shelf for a moment—not dismissing it, but merely pausing our evaluation of it—then I would suggest that one could not find virtually any evidence for the premillennial view elsewhere in the Bible.

Jesus and the apostles were rather clear about what will occur at the end of our age: Jesus will return, the living and the dead will be judged, the powers of evil will be thrown into Gehenna (hell), and the new heavens and new earth will be established. This is all seen as one corporate event and not as a piece-meal that Jesus puts together over the course of several return visits.

I cannot show every piece of evidence here and now, for the sake of time, but just consider these examples:

  • Jesus’ parables of the Weeds and the Tares and the Sheep and the Goats explicitly state that the righteous and the wicked will be separated—in the everlasting sense—at his return.
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 clearly states that the wicked will be punished with everlasting destruction—not with years of earthly tribulation—when Jesus returns. As Paul said, this will happen “on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people” (1:10a).
  • Jude likewise placed these events at the return of Christ (1:14-15).

Even consider other parts of Revelation itself. In 22:12, Jesus said this: “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to reward each one as his work deserves.” This strongly suggests just what the passages above do: that the Judgment and separation of the righteous and the wicked occur at Jesus’ arrival, and not over the course of several visits.

All these examples reveal that there cannot be multiple returns and a series of judgments. Jesus returns just once; ONCE! As the Nicene Creed states: “He (Jesus) will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.” Those who constructed our great creeds picked up what the biblical authors were laying down; there is one return and one Judgment.

With this said, the key question is this: should we evaluate Revelation 20 in light of the entire canon of Scripture, or should we evaluate all of Scripture in light of Revelation 20?

The answer should be obvious. One of the few incontrovertible rules of biblical interpretation and hermeneutics is that we cannot take a verse or passage in isolation but must view it alongside the rest of the biblical teachings. We cannot “cherry-pick,” so to speak. As I try to point out as often as possible, so much disagreement—and even heresy—could be avoided if we all dedicated ourselves to this principle.

Allowing one particular interpretation of Revelation’s “thousand years” to determine our entire eschatological perspective—usurping all other texts in the process—is a complete abuse of Scripture and any sincere attempt at interpreting it. Sadly, I feel this is exactly what many have done. A literal 1,000-year reign, which begins at the Second Coming, just doesn’t mesh with anything else in the Bible. In fact, it turns most of what Jesus and the apostles said on its head.

More than that, there are also serious logical problems to contend with in the premillennial view. To me, the most glaring issue is that there is no way to make sense of what occurs during that time. For the saved, the explanation boils down to something like this: “They will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6b). In the existential words of Porky Pig, “that’s all folks.” Absolutely nothing else is known.

However, the issue of what happens to the unsaved during the thousand years is far more perplexing.

Satan is supposedly bound in the Abyss—that is, the infinite and unfathomable depths—and believers are reigning with Jesus, but what is everyone else doing? What of the aforementioned “unsaved masses,” which will unfortunately exist at the end? Are they going to work, raising kids, grocery shopping, hosting or attending parties, and posting videos on TikTok? If so, being unsaved doesn’t seem to be all that bad. Were they left out of the Kingdom, just to continue living in a world much like the one that has always existed?

Or, are they living (and dying) as hell breaks loose for 1,000 years? If so, what is the purpose of that? How are people continuing to populate the earth for the duration of the millennium, when the world would supposedly be in unparalleled turmoil? Why are those children being born destined for damnation, when those living before that time were not?

And there’s more . . .

If Satan is not out deceiving the nations (20:3), then would the nations be living righteously? If so, why are they not saved and living with Christ? If they are still corrupt, then what is the purpose of binding Satan, and what does that say about his role in our world? In my way of thinking, he wouldn’t seem to have any real influence at all.

Are people able to come to faith during that time? If so, why not allow the world to go on as it was before the thousand-year reign began? Why not continue to allow the “weeds and the wheat to grow together”? If people can indeed be saved, then what was the point of the Second Coming? Clearly, it wouldn’t represent some type of “cutoff” for salvation.

The questions are seemingly endless. “Illogical” is far too tame of a word, in this case.

When you get into the details of a literal millennial reign that commences upon Christ’s return, none of it makes sense. This may be why so few premillennialists offer any type of thorough explanation of what occurs during the thousand years or why it exists. Not only is there virtually no biblical information to go on, but there seems to be endless logical problems to contend with.

As for me, I fall closer to the amillennial view. Despite it being poorly named—as the term literally means “no millennium”—this view is the only one that aligns with the rest of Scripture. It affirms that the thousand years is a symbolic period, and that it occurs prior to Christ’s return rather than after. On this view, the thousand years—which is simply code for “an extended era of time”—began when Christ conquered sin and death through the Crucifixion and Resurrection.

In this event, Christ’s once-and-for-all sacrifice on the cross destroyed the damning power of sin (for those who follow him), thus also hampering—or “binding”—Satan’s power. After being raised from the dead and ascending into heaven, Jesus has since reigned over the church from the heavenly throne (Heb. 8:1; 9:11, 24). In other words, the church age had begun and the power of the Spirit—working in God’s people—functioned as a restraint on Satan and the forces of evil; Satan was “bound to the abyss” for a time (20:3).

To be clear, this simply restrained Satan’s power but did not eliminate it. As Elliot’s Commentary accurately describes (20:7): “The binding of Satan implied restraint put upon his power and freedom of action; the loosing means the removing of these restraints.”

Satan remained the “god of this world” and continued to have a very real (and often devastating) effect on the earth. This means that, had Jesus not conquered sin and death and then sent the Spirit into the world, things would have been much worse.

In my estimation, we are now seeing what “much worse” looks like, and this fits the view. Toward the end of the “Millennial Reign,” Satan is released from his prison to deceive the nations and unite corrupt humanity against God.

Friends, I believe this is exactly what we have seen over the last several years.

Yes, it seems to me that Satan has been released from the Abyss.

If this view of the millennium sounds farfetched, consider just one more thing: there are other parts of Scripture that describe a “thousand” somethings in a symbolic way. Psalms 50:10 says “the cattle on a thousand hills” belong to God. 91:7 says “A thousand may fall at your side,” referring to the protection God provides the righteous. 90:4 says “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.” More familiar to most readers is 2 Peter 3:8’s allusion to the previous verse, which reads almost verbatim.

Along the same lines, Joshua 23:10 seems to use this number as a reference to a mass number of men: “One of your men puts to flight a thousand, for the LORD your God is He who fights for you, just as He promised you.” This is similarly seen in 1 Samuel 18:13, 2 Chronicles 1:6, and is especially obvious in Job 9:3 and 33:23.

Clearly, there is a sufficient precedent to interpret Revelation 20’s “thousand years” as a symbolic period. Given the choice between a view that contradicts most other parts of Scripture (premillennialism) and a view that fits rather naturally with it (amillennialism), the decision should be easy.

Revelation 20’s “Millennial Reign” is best understood as a symbolic period that began with Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension and ends when Satan is unleashed from the Abyss.

As I described, I fear that the latter has recently happened.

­­­­­­­­­­________________

Bonus Time!

As previously mentioned, the final false teaching is not as pervasive or damaging as the previous ones but is certainly worth addressing. Unlike the Rapture, this matter precedes the return of Christ and will signal that it is near.

Scripture reveals plainly that, in the end times, a magnificently devious figure will appear to deceive the world and persecute believers. It calls him the “man of sin,” the “son of perdition,” the “little horn,” and even describes him simply as the “mouth” of the Beast from the Sea (Rev. 13:5). While the Bible does not call him the Antichrist, this has become the most popular term associated with him (and that’s OK, I think). We know that he will be the opponent of God and His people, and will be controlled by Satan (2 The. 2:9). Further, John revealed that the “spirit of antichrist” was already in the world in the first century and that many lesser antichrists existed (and still do).

The major flaw I see with how many understand this figure concerns how he will be perceived. Put succinctly, it is often taught that the Antichrist will be a wildly popular and much adored figure. As the well-known pastor, Skip Heitzig—of Calvary Church (NM)—told his large congregation, the Antichrist will be the “most interesting man in the world.” This, of course, was a play on the Dos Equis commercials that were popular several years back. Skip even had a cardboard cutout of the man from the commercials, which he referenced throughout the sermon.

Heitzig is far from alone in this belief about the Antichrist. The prolific Christian author, John Phillips, made these comments about this evil figure:

“The Antichrist will be an attractive and charismatic figure, a genius, a  demon-controlled, devil-taught charmer of men. He will have answers to the horrendous problems of mankind. He will be all things to all men: a political statesman, a social lion, a financial wizard, an intellectual giant, a religious deceiver, a masterful orator, a gifted organizer.”

Certainly, some of this will necessarily be true of such a figure. But I wonder: can all these descriptions really be gleaned from the Bible? Will he be attractive, a “charmer of men,” a “social lion,” and so forth? Such statements lend themselves to the view that the Antichrist will be adored by the world.

Unfortunately, no verse or passage of Scripture tells us that the Antichrist will be adored by most people, much less by all people. In the instances where he is discussed, we can only glean the following things:

There is nothing to suggest he will be remarkably good looking, charming, an unparalleled problem-solver, or anything of the sort.

Now, it is true the Revelation 13 says that many will follow (and even worship) both the dragon (Satan) and the Beast from the sea (13:4). That is, if they are not believers. However, it does not say that the world will adore (or worship) the “mouth” that comes from it. This parallel is as close as one can get to finding a biblical basis for the belief that the Antichrist will be loved by all the unsaved world, and even it doesn’t get us there.

It’s also true that a great many people will buy into the Antichrist’s schemes and deceptive appearance, just as they do now with demons like Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates (who very well might be the Antichrist). But both logic and history tell us that no person—regardless of their social, political, or religious stature—can be adored by almost the entire world. It simply doesn’t work that way, particularly in our time. Name one president that was loved by both sides of the aisle. Name a prominent figure of any type that was, for that matter.

If you think you have come up with one, research the person and you will find that public perception was/is pretty well split.

To that point, I would argue that Nero Caesar served as the initial manifestation of this figure in Revelation 13, and he most definitely was not loved by everyone in the Roman Empire. He may have been feared and forcibly revered by most, but he was certainly not loved and adored.

The world is comprised of good and evil people—the righteous and the wicked—and the two groups always see the world and its “great figures” differently. No person can, in principle, be celebrated by all ­or even by most. After all, the world’s most powerful and influential figure (Jesus) is easily its most polarizing. If this is true of Christ, then it’s probably safe to say that the Antichrist will be rather polarizing, too.

Sorry Skip.

Don’t forget to check out System of the Beast! I sincerely believe that it may be the most important and pressing thing I have ever worked on.


[1] Harpagēsometha is the future, passive, 1st person plural form of harpazō. It is used only once in the NT. See this link for more information. ἁρπάζω | billmounce.com

[2] The other two uses are in Acts 28:15 and Matthew 25:6. In both instances, people were travelling out to meet others so they could escort them back with them.

New Book Release: “System of the Beast”

I am releasing a new book that succinctly details the incredible events of the last two years, as well as how they relate to several vital prophecies of Scripture. This is not only a time capsule of the insane procedures that have characterized the world’s response to the “pandemic,” but the book explains the much broader (and darker) agenda that spawned it.

System of the Beast should be eye-opening for any reader who is open to receiving the truth. Below is the book description, for those who would like some additional explanation. Grab this book now by clicking here or on the title above; you’ll be glad you did.

The System is here. Are you ready for it?

What if a globally coordinated effort to control humanity has been in the works for years, if not decades? What if the “system” produced by this joint effort was taking shape before our very eyes, right here and now?

The hard truth is that it is taking shape right now, and in the plain view of the public.

In System of the Beast, Brian M. Rossiter navigates through the sea of lies and deceptions involved within the virus agenda of 2020 and reveals the startling truth behind it all. Far from being a seemingly endless series of errors and coincidences, there is clear intentionality in nearly every detail of the world’s first (and only) truly global crisis.

More than a mere transitory phenomenon, the events of the last two years are proving to have everlasting significance. God revealed long ago that there would someday be an end to our current age. The Bible explains that the last days will involve a great apostasy, a grand Lie, and the arrival of a Delusion that will seal the fates of many. Likewise, it warns about an emerging system that will “mark” the people of the world as members of Satan’s counter-church. As Rossiter carefully details from both Scripture and the unique events of our time, all these prophecies are becoming realities.

The World Beneath (Part 3)

Though I had intended the last installment to be the final one, I have been compelled to write just one more article on this theme. As I will show, I recently came across something that must be presented to others.

In part one, I described the background of the world’s hidden religion, which is indeed only hiding in plain sight. Freemasonry—Satanism’s “magic cloak”—has infiltrated the church, the entertainment industry, politics, and was even a vital influence in the founding of the United States. The novus ordo seclorum—the “new order of the ages”—is clearly displayed on the one-dollar bill, along with the all-seeing eye. If you have been following my blogs, you would know that the “great eye” unquestionably symbolizes Satan’s gaze upon the world.

In part two, I showed the connections between Freemasonry and Satanism in great detail, doing my best to make my case while pointing readers to Altiyan Childs’ mind-blowing video. As much as I do believe that the blog proves the link between the two religions, his documentary leaves no doubt. No remotely honest person can watch it and ignore the innumerable examples that are shown.

Believe it or not, it was a trip to my hometown’s rather large and renowned festival a couple weeks back that convinced me that The World Beneath (Part 3) is a necessary conclusion to the first two acts. While viewing the yearly arts competition gallery, I was taken aback by what I saw. In fact, several friends and family members approached me about it, having noticed the same macabre themes.

Here, I want to show you something powerful and tragic. This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Not only has Satanism—largely through Freemasonry—infiltrated our governments, the many corrupt people of Hollywood, and those who decide much about what our culture will be, but it has trickled down through the many tiers of corruption and landed in our backyards.

Our children—the most precious and innocent part of our world—have finally been infected with this dark virus. Satanism is the real virus of our time, and it’s far deadlier than anything else humanity has ever faced. Contracting it means that one will die the second death.

What follows are pictures that I personally took from the art gallery. I will make an explanation below each one, clarifying the problems with it. So, be sure to read the captions below each set of pictures. Afterwards—just to drive it all home—I will show their connection to some of the hideous signs and symbols put forth by those in Hollywood, which were covered extensively in part two. If you aren’t alarmed by the artwork of our youth, then maybe you will be when you see what they are imitating.

With that said, let’s get to it. And bare this one thing in mind: all these pictures were created by people between the ages of 14 and 18. All of them.

Clearly, these two images are getting at the same point. Covering the eye—with a mask in this case—is a prominent way of darkening it. This emphasizes the one-eye symbolism in Freemasonry and Luciferianism. It hearkens to the “all-seeing eye” of Satan (sometimes called the “eye of Horus”).
In their own unique ways, all three pictures emphasize or darken one eye. Whether it’s a hand, a mask, hair, paint, or anything else, the meaning is the same. Note the picture on the top right. The other half of the person’s face is a yellow serpent. I wonder . . . why a serpent?
These pictures don’t simply emphasize the “eye” but explicitly portray it. Note the picture on the left, specifically. You have a great eye shedding a bloody tear onto a blood-soaked world, above what appears to be the U.S. Capitol building. For good measure, notice the serpent to the right of the building. Yes, another serpent. Who do you suppose this is alluding to?
More homage to the great “eye,” with other interpretive images.
A black figure gazes out from within the eye. Is this some type of spirit being, like a demon?
Here, we see some very creative ways of emphasizing the “all-seeing eye.” Is there any doubt that it’s the focal point of these paintings?

Clearly, each of the teens responsible for creating this “artwork” had a common goal. There can be no refuting that they were attempting to emphasize the “all-seeing eye.” This is the same eye depicted on the U.S. one-dollar bill and a host of other things. This is the eye of Satan.

The question must be asked: where are our young people getting this obsession? Why are they creating such macabre artwork?

Well, they say that “art imitates life” (and vice-versa). I have no idea if this is universally true, but it is certainly true at times. This is one of those times. Take a look at some comparisons between their artwork and the people our teens are trying to emulate. Recall that I covered these examples (and more) in part two.

Asia Argento, Neil Young, Grimes, Marilyn Manson, and Kesha all clearly emphasizing or darkening one eye. Also note the satanic symbolism at work. Crystal clear, right?

See any similarities now?

.

How about in these images?

Jefree Star and Mr. 007 himself (Daniel Craig) show us exactly what covering the eye is all about. Do you doubt that it’s the same thing being portrayed in the children’s artwork above it?

If it’s still not clicking, consider this connection:

Katy Perry demonically boasting the one-eye symbolism in just about every way possible.

Do you see it now? The “eyes” in Perry’s pictures are the same as the “eyes” above. It doesn’t get any clearer than this. Trust your own eyes and accept what you are seeing.

In case you are wondering, I can assure you that this type of artwork is not exclusive to any one festival or exhibit. It’s also not simply attributable to one local school or a set of students. Since taking these photos, I have already seen others like them in various locations. I would wager that the same themes would be discernible at nearly any art show across the country, if not the world.

It is my opinion that our youth—for the most part—do not understand what these signs and symbols mean. In general, they are not knowingly paying homage to Satan through their artwork. Rather, they spot their beloved idols doing these things incessantly. I mean incessantly. The young and impressionable see these signs on album covers and billboards, at concerts, in their favorite films and TV series’, and most definitely on social media pages. Their worlds are literally inundated with it.

Just take a look at some of the more popular album covers they would come across online or in a department store.

Kesha’s album cover features the eye and nude body. Bieber covers his eye. Perry’s familiar image covers both eyes and emphasizes the one in her mouth. Eilish’s white eyes cast her as being possessed. The Weekend drips blood from his mouth like a cannibal. Halsey emphasizes the one eye, which was mimicked in the earlier photos by an adoring student.

Satanism has so devoured our culture that one cannot help but see it everywhere, even if they don’t comprehend its dark meaning.

The people whom our kids now celebrate are devils: soulless creatures made so by their wicked and perverse master. The “god of this world” owns them. He is not the lord of the cosmos, but he is the lord of our culture and most of its people. There just can’t be any denying this point. The Bible told us and the world is proving this brutal reality. I have tried, in my own small way, to illustrate the dire situation that we now find ourselves in. Others have as well, Altiyan and Jeremiah Cohen being the two best examples I know of.

Pardon my French, but this should scare the literal hell out of you.

In 2021, the kids across the street—or even down the hall—are making Satan’s dark kingdom known to us. If you don’t find this to be both horrifying and extremely alarming, then you must accept that you are part of the problem. No man or woman of God can gaze upon these monstrosities without feeling physically ill. These demonic signs and symbols are being ingrained into our children’s minds!

I will say this just one more time: the world is not what you think it is, and it’s not run by who you think runs it.

Where else do you need to see this, and who else needs to show it to you? If you don’t awaken to the state of things now, then will you ever?

_________________

Looking for a new book to read? Check out my titles below:

God Made the Aliens: Making Sense of Extraterrestrial Contact

Spiritual Things: Exploring our Connection to God, the Angels, and the Heavenly Realm

The Death Myth: Uncovering What the Bible Really Says about the Afterlife

Missing Verses: 15 Beliefs the Bible Doesn’t Teach

The Blind Guides of the Apostate Church

The Bible told us this day would come.

“Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, regarding the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,  that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit, or a message, or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.  No one is to deceive you in any way! For it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction . . .” (2 The. 2:1-3)

“At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,  but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Mt. 24:10-13)

“For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and will turn aside to myths (2 Tim. 4:3-4).

As these verses clearly illustrate, the last days will involve a great apostasy. Many will defect from the faith and teach others to do so. Many will turn away from the truth and embrace lies. Many will be deceived.

In case it wasn’t apparent throughout the last several decades, the events of the last two years have clearly exposed the brutal reality that the church is falling away. More appropriately stated: it’s in freefall. Over the course of time, the spirit of antichrist has infiltrated our religious establishments to the point that little remains of orthodoxy; much less of wisdom and discernment. In evaluating the way that the world’s most respected church leaders have responded to the great Lie of our time—being themselves taken captive by the Delusion that has come upon the earth—this fact becomes unavoidable. Allow me to show you a few examples of what I mean. Let’s start small and work our way to some more egregious exhibitions.

Max Lucado, the highly respected Christian author and pastor, contracted Covid-19 in July of 2021. Despite being full vaccinated with the now “approved” Pfizer shots in the spring of the same year, he proceeded to become very ill. In his words, “I don’t think I’ve ever been this sick.”[1] Did this experience cause Lucado to doubt the power and efficacy of the vaccines? Not hardly. Instead, he concluded that his experience was “a case study on the power of the vaccine.”[2] Even though the shots did not prevent him from getting the virus, or even from becoming dangerously ill, he was still singing their praises. Since the vaccines “saved his life,” Lucado has been diagnosed with an ascending aortic aneurism, a potentially life-threatening problem. But don’t worry, this cannot be vaccine related; nothing ever is. It’s also worth noting that Lucado supported Jen Hatmaker—a woman known to promote all manner of sexual debauchery—and even gave “woke” sermons over the last two years concerning the false narrative of systemic racism.[3] Other than all this, he should be regarded as an icon of the Christian faith.

T.D. Jakes, the megachurch pastor and prominent author, was busy spreading the vaccine gospel everywhere he went in 2021. In January, Jakes sat down with Anthony Fauci and other scientists in a virtual panel discussion to address vaccine hesitancy among Americans in general and communities of color specifically.[4] Nothing gives you credibility like partnering with the biggest liar of the entire Covid-19 narrative: a man who admitted as far back as 2012 that he was involved in gain-of-function research and that it was “worth the risk” of a pandemic. Jakes further bolstered his credibility in late February (2021) with an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, titled, “Prayer and Science Led Me to the Vaccine.”[5] There, he said the following: “The vaccine has been proven to diminish the chances of people like me getting the virus. To date, the vaccine’s side effects have been minimal or nonexistent.”

He was absolutely right: the vaccine will help to keep you from getting the virus (just ask Max Lucado) and has almost “nonexistent” side effects. That’s why the deaths likely number in the hundreds of thousands in the US alone and “breakthrough cases” pretty much became the norm across the globe by the late summer of 2021.

As the highly esteemed cardiologist and epidemiologist, Dr. Peter McCullough, explained concerning the injections: “It’s going to go down in history as the most dangerous biological, medicinal product rollout in human history.”

Unfortunately, Jakes is but one important part of the greater movement of ministers who set out to “save their communities” by preaching the “vaccine gospel.”[6]

Let’s move on to someone who is even better known around the world: Franklin Graham. Besides being the son of the legendary Christian evangelist, Billy Graham, Franklin is the president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and of Samaritan’s Purse. Graham not only supports the vaccines but has plainly said that Jesus would participate in this mass genetic experiment: “I think if there were vaccines available in the time of Christ, Jesus would have made reference to them and used them.”[7] Graham’s statement is akin to suggesting that the Son of God would subject himself to an experimental gene therapy to stay alive. Because, you know, Jesus can die from a virus. Clearly, Graham knows nothing about these so-called “vaccines,” how they differ from genuine vaccines of the past, or how much damage they are inflicting upon the world in myriad ways. Forget the fact that he apparently doesn’t understand that Jesus’s divinity makes such a suggestion absurd.

Elsewhere, he did tone this view down a bit, only saying that Jesus would “advocate” that others be vaccinated: “Based on the parable of the Good Samaritan in the Bible, I would have to say — yes, I think Jesus Christ would advocate for people using vaccines and medicines to treat suffering and save lives.”[8] Clearly, the Great Physician would need his disciples to rely upon modern “science” for their survival. Because, you know, Jesus cannot heal others from a virus.

Besides, who needs the Great Physician when you have the great physician (Fauci).

Then there is Robert Jeffress. Jeffress, who is another extremely prominent evangelical pastor, made many claims about the vaccines throughout 2021. For one, he repeatedly stated that the vaccines are a “gift from God.”[9] That’s odd, because the radical left-wing Governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, also said that the vaccines are “from God to us and we must say, thank you, God.”[10] It sounds like the same mentality is at work in both people, to me. My personal favorite, however, is when Jeffress compared Jesus’ death on the cross to the abortion of children whose fetal cell lines were used in either the research or testing phases of our latest injections (and many others). I’m not kidding. Read his words for yourself:

“If we are talking about something from babies that were already aborted, I would just remind people that the whole Christian message is that Christ—who was innocent—died for us and brought something good out of that unjust death.”[11]

If we already have aborted fetal cells, why not make good use of them? Since Jesus willingly gave his life for the sins of the world, it only follows that those children who were unwillingly murdered should give their lives for the health of the world. In the apostate church, this message makes perfect sense.

It’s also worth noting that Jakes, Graham, Jeffress, and Lucado are collectively worth at least $60 million. Just humble servants of the Lord. I cannot help but ask a rhetorical question: are there any financial incentives involved in preaching the vaccine gospel?

To this point, I have only discussed the response by Protestant leaders. So, what about the Pope? I’m glad I asked.

Perhaps no religious figure has been more on board with the injection campaign than Pope Francis, as he has ferociously pushed the vaccine agenda to all four corners of the earth. He has led like-minded cardinals and archbishops in a resounding call to get vaccinated as an “act of love.”[12] This, of course, means that it’s not about saving yourself  but about saving others. Does that message sound familiar? Pope Francis also said that, “ethically everyone should get the vaccine” and even went to far as to say that those who refused to take vaccines—knowing they are safe and effective—possess a “suicidal denialism.”[13] But what if they aren’t safe and effective? That would be a nonsensical question; of course they are!

Here, we can see Francis echoing the very same talking points that have been handed down to all within the Covid Cult. This mentality—which is evident in all the figures previously discussed—is what spurred those in Brazil to light up the Christ the Redeemer statue with the words “Vaccine Saves” rather than “Jesus Saves.”[14]

I guess a picture really is worth a thousand words.

When you come down to it, that is the message coming from those who have either preached or supported the vaccine gospel. Many professed Christians have replaced the gospel of our Lord with the gospel of the world or, worse yet, have grafted the vaccine gospel into the gospel of Christ.

The message has become that Jesus would have you get injected and that vaccines are our salvation. All who refuse to fall in line with the narrative are hateful, nasty, and murderous, and have pitted themselves against Christ. This reveals a startling reality. As in most other aspects of life, the church has succumbed to corruption and is defecting from the true faith.

The apostate church is here, and it has plenty of blind guides to light its path.

______________________

References:


[1] Martin, “Max Lucado Says Breakthrough COVID Infection Is ‘A Case Study on the Power of the Vaccine.”

[2] Ibid.

[3] Fava, “Max Lucado comes out of the apostate closet.”

[4] OCG News, “Creators of COVID-19 vaccine sit down with Bishop T.D. Jakes Jan. 25.”

[5] Jakes, “Prayer and Science Led Me to the Vaccine.”

[6] Williams, “To Save Their Communities, Black Ministers Preach the Gospel About the COVID-19 Vaccine.”

[7] Vann, “Blessing by way of medicine: ‘These pastors preach COVID-19 vaccination as God’s healing power.”

[8] See the Relevant article, “Franklin Graham Says That, Yes, Jesus Would Endorse Vaccines.”

[9] See the video, “Vaccines are an early Christmas present ‘from God’: Pastor Jeffress.”

[10] Geraghty, “New York Governor to Vaccinated: You’re the Smart Ones Who Are Listening to God.”

[11] Jeffress made this sacrilegious comment on an interview with Fox News in early March, 2021. See, “Pastor Robert Jeffress urges church members to get vaccinated.”

[12] Watkins, “Pope Francis urges people to get vaccinated against Covid-19.”

[13] Sly, “Pope Francis calls opposition to Covid vaccine ‘suicidal denial’ and says he will get jab.”

[14] See the Reuters article, “Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer statue lights up for vaccine equality.”

The World Beneath (Part 2)

“A troublemaker and a villain, who goes about with a corrupt mouth, who winks maliciously with his eye, signals with his feet, and motions with his fingers, who plots evil with deceit in his heart—he always stirs up conflict” (Prov. 6:12-14).

Freemasons love their signs and symbols. They love to “wink,” “signal” and “motion.”

While I cannot begin to cover this vast ocean of signs and symbols now—much less the many variations that have come to exist—there are several that should be known. When you understand these, you will literally see them almost everywhere you look. And I do mean everywhere.

Chiefly, it is important to know the following: the hidden hand, the devil’s horns, the all-seeing eye, the vow of silence, and their obsession with the number six.

  • The “hidden hand” is also called the “Master of the Second Veil” in Freemasonry, and it involves placing one’s hand in their coat or jacket to show they are “in the club.”
  • The “all-seeing eye” is the same one I discussed in part one and symbolizes the eye of Satan. This is mimicked by covering (darkening) one eye to emphasize the other.
  • The “vow of silence” displays their loyalty to keeping the oaths they take and their pledge not reveal any information to others. This is shown by covering the mouth with a finger (or similar gesture).
  • Neither the “devil’s horns” nor the number 6 needs any explanation (I should hope).

As you look through these examples, note the obvious connection that exists between the Satanic symbols and the Masonic signs that often accompany them.

Don Cheadle puts his signs together rather uniquely in these pictures. Can we be sure that the vow of silence (pictured right)—which is unquestionably a Masonic symbol describing the oaths they take—is somehow connected to Satanism? He answers that for us in the first two images:

666 hand sign, darkening the eye with the 6 die, and vow of silence.

Fellow Freemason, Drake, also shows his support for Cheadle’s master.

The “eye” tattoo and 6’s galore

The eye inside the six on Drake’s album cover is the same one modelled below by Madonna.

Notice that Madonna’s pyramid is the exact one we see on the U.S. dollar bill. On the right, she teaches her poor children to follow in her footsteps.

Let’s look at some other musicians. Having decided that his own musical abilities could not elevate him into stardom (no surprise here, have you listened to him?) Bob Dylan decided to call upon a little supernatural help. He admitted here to “making a bargain with the Chief Commander” of “this earth and the one we can’t see.” Let’s put this another way: Dylan sold his soul to the devil.

How about another man of very limited musical ability that became massively successful via a similar deal? Observe Mr. Neil Young.

Obvious one-eye symbolism

I agree with Lynyrd Skynyrd: “A southern man don’t need him around anyhow.”

The legendary “Christian” artist, Katie Perry, didn’t just “kiss a girl and like it” but went a bit further into depravity. Well, maybe a lot further.

She’s not emphasizing the “eye” or anything . . .

Still think there’s nothing wrong with Perry? Take a peek at the morbid world that her poor child will grow up in. This video is truly frightening.

Fellow Mason, Pink, has no problem revealing her ties to Freemasonry publicly at her concerts.

Note the all-seeing eye, her replaying her initiation (w/checkered pant leg), and the vow of silence.

Kesha also has no problem showing us her allegiance to Freemasonry, while at the same time proving its link to Satanism. See her adorably boasting the one-eye symbolism and modeling her hatred for Jesus with an upside-down cross?

Elon Musk’s girlfriend, Grimes, not so covertly reveals the “god” that both she and Elon revere through their involvement in Freemasonry.

“Grimes”. . . appropriate name, know?

All-time famous actor, Brad Pitt, can also clearly show you the connection between Freemasonry and Satanism.

Likewise, Daniel Craig pulls no punches in telling you that he is both a Mason and a Satanist. First, he perfectly displays a key sign in Freemasonry: the “hidden hand” or the “Master of the Second Veil.”

Now, Craig shows us what else he is involved in. It doesn’t get more obvious than this.

All-seeing eye and self-explanatory message on shirt.

Aussie actor, Chris Hemsworth, shares Craig’s affinity for Freemasonry and Satanism.

One-eye symbolism (left) and vow of silence (right), complete with triple 6 shirt (middle)

Now, we really take it up a notch. Enter one Marilyn Manson. No explanation needed here, but the simple fact that he is a Freemason speaks volumes.

Masonic ring and a whole lot of darkness.

But can we be sure that Manson is indeed a Freemason, as well as a renowned Satanist? In addition to his Masonic ring, he illustrates the hidden hand for us below (while doing his best Nick Cage impression, I might add)

Do you wonder if most of these Freemasons hate Christianity? Manson—while showing the one-eye symbolism—removes all doubt.

(As an aside, I am completely certain that the “man” is not human.)

Amazingly, Manson has some very stiff competition these days for the contest of who can be the most demonic. Who’d have thought that to be possible years ago? Jefree Star is one of the many demoniacs who is giving Manson a run for his money.

So is Billie Eilish . . .

Freemason, Billie Eilish, sporting the triple 6 and dressed as a fallen angel in her music video, “All Good Girls Go to Hell.”

For good measure, let’s really show the Masonic-Satanic connection once more. The Order of the Eastern Star (OES) is the female branch of Freemasonry. Notice any similarity between the Baphomet and the OES emblem?  

Pentagrams all around.

Pretty clear, right?

Freemason, Asia Argento—former girlfriend of Freemason, Anthony Bourdain—imitates this same ghastly figure for us, once more proving the link between Freemasonry and Satanism.

Apart from its pervasiveness in our macabre and deeply disturbed culture, Freemasonry was critical in the very inception of the United States. In part one, I discussed the dollar bill. Of course, many presidents throughout history have been more than happy to announce their part in Freemasonry. Some even view it as a greater honor than being president. Take Harry S. Truman, for example.

The Harry S. Truman Library reveals an impressive list of other presidents who were Freemasons. These include names like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and many others.

This is simply a relic of the past though, right? There’s no way that more contemporary presidents are Freemasons . . .

Nah, no way at all.

Gaze upon little Georgie W, complete with “the cat that ate the canary” grin.

As Whistler remarked on the movie Blade, “You have to understand, they’re everywhere.” I am not referring to vampires here, as he was. But I am talking about something in that vein: Freemasons.

If you have read this article (and hopefully part one, too) then you may be wondering if everyone who is involved in Freemasonry worships Satan.

It was recently revealed to me (by a very reliable source) that even the 33rd Degree Masons are not all knowingly Satanists. There are two “streams” that exist at the 33rd Degree: “active” and “honorary.” It is only the “active” members in this category that descend into the religion of Luciferianism. This break exists to further conceal what Freemasonry really is: Satanism in disguise. This source clarified the purpose of the two “streams” for me: “In this way, even a portion of 33rd’s do not know the actual reality that lives at the very core of their beloved Fraternity.”

The “active” 33rd Degree Mason joins an elite club for those who are willing to forsake everything to gain success and power. They’ll even joyfully hand over their souls for it.

With that said, many of our most esteemed musicians, actors, politicians, and other people of great influence are either “active” 33rd Degree Masons or are involved enough to utilize the same demonic signs and symbols. As Altiyan often notes, they wouldn’t be in these positions if they weren’t Freemasons.

Yes, this means that most of our world leaders and celebrities belong to this secret fraternity and probably came to possess their high ranks in society because of it.

Further, I described in part one that even the very initiation process into the “club” requires sick and morbid acts of obedience. Some may not be actively worshipping Satan, but they are indirectly involved in fueling an order that promotes the practice throughout the world. The vast majority are lower ranking “foot soldiers” for the society who have no real idea what it is concealing (or what they are supporting). But again, they should.

If you ask me, there is no excuse for a Mason—of any rank—to not see at least some parts of this.

As I said in the beginning, the world is not what you think it is. It is not run by who you think runs it, either. There is a world beneath the one that most of us see as “reality.” Since there seems to be a theme here, I will again quote the movie Blade: “The world you live in is just a sugar-coated topping. There is another world, beneath it.”

I would argue that organized Satanism (i.e. Freemasonry) is exploding before our eyes, like a swarm of cockroaches crawling out from the dark recesses of the earth.

Now that you know their signs and symbols, you might start to see them all over the place. You may see them in commercials, in department store pictures and clothing, in your favorite artists’ music videos and album covers, and even in the books and movies your children enjoy. You may literally see the entire world differently.

I certainly do.

I now want to conclude this two-part series with a sincere plea. I ask that you watch Altiyan Childs’ extensive video revealing the nature of Freemasonry. I do not say this lightly: The Holy Bible is the most important thing you will ever read, and Altiyan’s video may be the most important thing you ever watch. The original was removed from YouTube long ago, and it exists now on the platform only through re-uploads (but for how long?). Thankfully, it has already reached millions around the world and is available on other platforms (like BitChute).

Furthermore, I strongly urge you to look into the works of Jeremiah Cohen. Start here and then follow the very long (and dark) “rabbit trail.”

And one more thing: keep both eyes open.

The World Beneath (Part 1)

~ What follows is part one of a two-part discussion about a critical issue. My hope here is merely to introduce readers to this matter, and then point them forward to Altiyan Childs’ amazing video and other resources that will fill out the broader picture ~

From January 2020 to the present day, events have transpired that have awakened many to the reality that our world may not be what they thought it was. From a spiritual perspective, we are living in an enemy kingdom. Though many remain either asleep or in complete denial of the agenda playing out in front of us, those with eyes and ears are seeing and hearing more effectively than ever. As I have personally traveled further and further down the “rabbit hole,” so to speak, the sheer volume of wickedness at work in our society has left me completely stunned.

I believe that virtually all people of faith have failed to grasp the true condition of our world, as well as who runs it. However, it may well be that we couldn’t fully understand until now. Much was hidden under the surface that is now coming to light. In a very real sense, there is a world beneath the one that most people recognize.

There is so much darkness around us: so many plots and schemes. The most shocking thing of all is how obvious this has become. Those perpetrating the nefarious activity make almost no effort to conceal what they are doing anymore. It’s evident in commercials, in elections, on billboards and store posters, in everything that Hollywood touches, and even in Disney movies and children’s books. Once you see it, you can hardly avoid seeing it . . . in everything.

Remember these pyramids and “eyes” as you read.

To me, this poses a sincere and critical question: what binds it all together?

When you peel back the many extravagant and artfully hidden layers of corruption, what is that evil “thing” behind it all? What is the foundation that supports the pillars, the quilt that contains the patches, and the driving force of the entire enterprise? When you trace the evil back to its origin, who (or what) do we find operating the controls?

The simplest and most succinct answer to this question is Satan. Satan is the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4) and the “prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2). He is the dragon that gives power to the two beasts of Revelation and all the wicked people of the earth.

But Satan is not a mortal being. He is, as Bob Dylan declared, the “Chief Commander.” Satan is the ruler of “this earth and the one we can’t see.” I will discuss that interesting statement more in part two. The fallen angels (demons) are not mortal, either. Still, they (and Satan) are our true adversaries. Paul told us about this two thousand years ago: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12).

Though the evil forces of the spirit realm are the architects behind the madness, earthly emissaries are necessary to construct the dark monuments; there are human forces that fulfil this mission. The devil and his angels work through the people of this world to bring about chaos and condemnation, just as God works in His people to bring about order and redemption.

Odds are, you are probably on board with what I am saying to this point. But what if I told you that there is a “synagogue of Satan” in our midst today?

What if I said that there is an institution that was founded as a satanic “church” and that it is—as Altiyan Childs repeated in his mind-blowing video—“hidden in plain sight?” Would it surprise you to know that there is one of these assemblies near you, and that they exist all over the globe?

Whether you would accept it or not, there is a church driven by the “spirit of antichrist” just down the road from almost all of us. Unlike the apostate church that has so powerfully emerged today—and, in some respects, overlaps with the one I am now speaking of—you certainly won’t find a cross on these “churches.” You won’t see a cute little sign out in front saying something like, “God accepts knee-mail.”

Instead, you will see a symbol like this:

You see, I had long suspected that Freemasonry was concealing something evil. But I knew very little about the organization. Truth be told, I was approached by a gentleman (whom I knew) in the summer of 2020 who asked me about joining my local lodge. My small town does have a local lodge (just about every city or town does). In retrospect, I now realize that the timing was not coincidental.

This man was willing to give me the necessary recommendation for entering the lodge; he could “get me in the club.” All initiates need a sponsor, after all.

I don’t believe the man who was trying to recruit me is a monster or a devil worshiper. At least, not knowingly. In fact, I don’t think he has any real idea what his precious lodge is concealing within its many signs and symbols. The overwhelming majority of people who belong to this secret society don’t really know what they’re involved in, as very few ever achieve its highest “honor” (the Honorary 33rd degree). I would argue, however, that these individuals should know what its about from the very beginning.

Remove your wedding ring. Take off your crucifix. Strip down, initiate! Blindly bow before your “Most Worshipful Master”!

Even during the initiation process (the “entrance” into Freemasonry), the candidate must vow never to reveal anything about the secret arts they would become privy to. Doing so renders one “void of all moral worth.” And so, they agree under the penalty of “having my throat cut across, my tongue torn out by the root and buried in the sand of the sea at low water mark . . .”

“So help me God,” of course. Hmm . . . God?

Needless to say, I rejected the man’s offer and did not become a Mason (not that all this was revealed to me). Now, the prospect is utterly unthinkable.

Yes, I had a vague idea that something was off with Freemasonry. But never, never, did I know how nefarious this organization really is. As I mentioned at the onset, others awakened me to this reality quite recently. Sure, Freemasons serve pancake breakfasts and sponsor all manner of awards. They run major charities like the Shriner’s Hospitals for Kids, and who can refuse an adorable child offering you a “love to the rescue” blanket for your donation?

On the surface, there doesn’t appear to be many negatives about this secret fraternity. As someone recently wrote to me—having watched Altiyan’s video“Freemasonry is just an old fear of the Catholic Church.”

Nothing to see here; move it along.

I understand the sentiment, as the group is far from new and some throughout history have warned about it. But I am afraid Freemasonry is rather more than that: a lot more than that. As I said, it is the pillar holding the building up; the foundation of the entire evil enterprise.

But recall the charities and sponsorships. Think about the gentle Shriners tooling around in their little cars at your local parade. In order to be a Shriner, of course, one must first be a highly successful Mason. As Shriner’s International puts it: “All Shriners are Masons, but not all Masons are Shriners.”

The Few. The Proud. The Shriners . . .

But understand this: “God” is at the center of everything they do. A Freemason absolutely must believe in “God,” in order to be accepted into the society. As an indication of how pervasive the group is, allow 33rd degree Freemason, Danny Thomas, to tell you about God’s place in their royal art:

“Our Order teaches . . . ‘the brotherhood of man under the Fatherhood of God’ and this is great!”

You may be wondering, who is Danny Thomas? It might surprise you to know that he is the founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Shriners and St. Jude: make that two for two. Surely, he’s just another God-fearing Mason though. He did start a charitable organization for kids, right?

The organization bows to the “Almighty Father and Supreme Governor of the Universe,” often making special divine requests for their initiates:

“Endue him with a competency of Thy divine wisdom, that, assisted by the secrets of our Masonic art, he may the better be enabled to unfold the beauties of true godliness, to the honour and glory of Thy Holy Name” (my emphasis).

Freemasons possess such reverence for “God” that they deem the atheist to be an unparalleled fool. The Encyclopedia of Freemasonry is clear about this. It describes the atheist as: “One who does not believe in the existence of God. Such a state of mind can only arise from the ignorance of stupidity or a corruption of principle, since the whole universe is filled with the moral and physical proofs of a Creator.”

Further, the Mason is charged that “he will never be a stupid Atheist.”

Make no mistake about it, Freemasonry does not hold atheism in high esteem. They may be instrumental in peddling atheism to the dumb and ignorant masses—that is, you and me—but they understand that the outright rejection of “God” is the height of lunacy. Even Charles Darwin—the man that Richard Dawkins declared “made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist”—believed in this “deity.”

He had to; like his grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, Charles was a Freemason. (Not that he was willing to reveal anything about it)

But “Darwin’s God”—as charlatan, Kenneth Miller wrote—is the very issue at hand. Who is this “God” that the Freemasons shower with praise and adoration? Is it Allah? Is it Vishnu, Zeus, Artemis, Hades, or the like? Is it Jesus Christ or God the Father?

Not hardly.

The “God” of the Freemasons reveals himself in obvious ways that somehow evade our attention. You know, in things that are “hidden in plain sight,” like the pyramid on the U.S. dollar bill. This one:

And what do the words Novus Ordo Seclorum mean? They translate to “A New Order of the Ages.” A New World Order . . .

The same “eye” can be seen in Masonic Lodges around the world, and even on the sacred objects they adorn themselves with.

Call it the eye of Horus, the “all-seeing eye,” or whatever you’d like. As Tolkien so cleverly revealed in the Lord of the Rings series, the “eye of Sauron” is the eye of evil. More accurately, it is the eye of the evil one. Brilliant as he was, Tolkien did not dream up this imagery. He did, however, accurately utilize it.

Millions around the world pay homage to this one-eyed god. Now more than ever, they do it openly. Some cover their eye with their hand or an object, and some simply wink. It’s all the same.

Wait a minute; the deity in Freemasonry can’t really be, “you know who” . . . can it?

Well, look again.

Are those . . . horns, Jen? I don’t know, maybe Anton LaVey—Freemason and founder of the Church of Satan—can tell us.

They’re horns alright; devil horns.

Yes, “you know who” is the “god” of Freemasonry: Satan. Freemasonry is Luciferianism wrapped in a candy-coated shell. Enter now “From darkness to Light.” As their own “scriptures” reveal, that “light” is darkness absolute. Lucifer is the light that illuminates the Freemason’s world. Darkness is light, wrong is right, and evil is good. The signature black and white, checkered floor of their lodges symbolizes this very thing. Good and evil are blurred concepts in Freemasonry.

If you doubt what I am saying, please allow one of the most respected and acclaimed Freemasons in history to plainly affirm this. Albert Pike gave an address in 1889 in France to the highest levels of Freemasonry. This was later reprinted on January 19, 1935, by the English journal The Freemason. In this address, Pike declared:

That which we must say to the crowd is, we worship a god, but it is the god one adores without superstition […]. The Masonic religion ought to be maintained in the purity of Luciferian doctrine by all of us who are initiates of the highest degrees. If Lucifer were not God, would Adonay [sic] [the God of the Christians] whose deeds prove his cruelty, perfidy and hatred of man, barbarism and repulsion of science, would Adonay and his priest calumniate him? 

“Yes, Lucifer is God, and unfortunately Adonay is also God. For the eternal law is that there is no light without shade, no beauty without ugliness, no white without black, for the absolute can only exist as two gods: darkness being necessary to light to serve as its foil as the pedestal is necessary to the statue, and the brake to the locomotive… the doctrine of Satanism is a heresy; and the true and pure philosophical religion is the belief in Lucifer, the equal of Adonay; but Lucifer, God of Light and God of Good, is struggling for humanity against Adonay, the God of Darkness and Evil.

Do you see now? Can there be any doubt?

Altiyan described it best: “Freemasonry is Satanism in disguise.” It is Satanism’s “magic cloak.” And it really is.

Yet, somehow, it’s even worse than that. As he said elsewhere: “What do you get when you cloak Satanism with Christianity? You get Freemasonry.” That’s right: Freemasonry masquerades as Christianity, just as Satan “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14).

So, when you see your favorite celebrities or musicians sporting a jacket with the all-seeing eye or sitting upon checkered flooring, you can be sure what you are seeing. Don’t doubt your eyes; the colors are used deliberately, and they’re Masonic. As such, they are also Satanic.

As I said in the beginning, this is only the tip of the iceberg. The flooring is appropriately just the foundation that all the other signs and symbols rest upon. The world beneath is a vast labyrinth of underground passages, each branching off into an almost infinite number of rooms and tombs. As a friend recently told me: who can fathom the depths of Satan?

In my next article, I will show some of the literally innumerable examples that exist, proving that Freemasonry (Satanism’s “magic cloak”) is everywhere you look. Everywhere.

If you want to get a glimpse at how far this goes, proceed now to part 2.

Recent articles that might be of interest:

2 Thessalonians 2 and the “Deluding Influence.”

Revelation 13: Two “Beasts” and a “Mark

A Tale of Two Churches

Hell in the Bible

In a time when the apostate church is in full swing, it is now more pressing than ever to defend obvious biblical teachings. At least, what ought to be obvious. You know, the sorts of things that even those with a basic commitment to Scripture should accept. However, the unbelief that now characterizes many churchgoers and “Christian” leaders is utterly astonishing. While paying homage to the Bible, they fiercely reject much of what it has to say.

Anyone familiar with my writings knows that I have a massive axe to grind with those who directly dismiss clear biblical teachings, choosing instead to fill their “itching ears” with the doctrines of men.

The topic at hand is definitively one of those instances.

With that said, let me cut to the chase and state that hell is real. It’s vividly described in the Bible, and not simply as a metaphor or a cute teaching tale. Furthermore, it’s certainly not something that “we create here on earth,” nor is it some kind of synonym for “evil” or “sin,” as scholar Tim Mackie—with the Bible Project—has recently (and heretically) taught.

I repeat: hell is a real existence. Or, I should say, it will be a real existence. But I’ll get to that.

The doctrine of hell is without question one that is founded upon the words of Jesus. Biblically speaking, Jesus introduced the full-blown view that the wicked and unrepentant will suffer in the afterlife. Certainly, the OT contains some references to this reality (like Dan 12:2) but they are scarce; God simply had not revealed much about the issue to that point. The same could be said about demonic activity, the nature of the resurrection, many of the end time events, and others.

It was Jesus’ entrance into the world that really shed light on what hell is and what it’s going to be about. The unavoidable truth is that Jesus spoke about hell far more often than most biblical “authorities” of the 21st century would ever care to admit.

When he discussed hell, Jesus’ term of choice was “Gehenna.” This term comes from the Hebrew Ge Hinnom, meaning “valley of Hinnom.” It was originally located southwest of Jerusalem, and was utilized by the Ammonites as a place to sacrifice their own children to the god Moloch. It is likely that even the Israelites participated in this heinous practice over the centuries! It later became a garbage heap where refuse was seemingly always burning. Jesus referenced this location as an indicator of the kind of place that will await the ungodly after judgment. It is a place of evil, terror, suffering and fiery destruction.

In all, Gehenna (geenna) appears twelve times in the NT and Jesus is responsible for eleven of them (James 3:6 is the other). While many translations and believers of our time tend to equate Hades with hell, it is not accurate to do so. (I speak about Hades in this blog, when dealing with the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.) Theologian Robert P. Lightner correctly points this out for us, saying: “Whereas Hades is the intermediate state, Gehenna is eternal hell. Wherever it is used in the NT, it always means the place of eternal damnation.”[1] Hades is the realm of the dead, and Gehenna is hell.

Of course, I disagree that there is any such thing as an “intermediate state,” where deceased people roam as disembodied spirits before the return of Christ. That belief forms the basis of The Death Myth.

But let’s press on . . .

For easy reference, this link will show you all the places where Jesus used the term Gehenna and how he did so.

Jesus—and other biblical characters—spoke about Gehenna in other ways as well. Gehenna is the “lake of fire,” the place of ultimate destruction, or the place where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” The Book of Revelation calls a sentence to Gehenna the “second death.” It’s the only avoidable type of death, and we should do so at all costs:

“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death” (21:8)

Jesus spoke about the same reality in Matthew 10:28: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Yes, “hell” here is—you guessed it—Gehenna (not Hades).

What is hell like?

As I already touched upon, the Bible describes hell as a place of fiery torment. It is seen as a “lake of fire and brimstone”:

“And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev. 20:10).

Jesus adds in Mark 9:47-48 that the fires of hell are never “quenched” or “extinguished” (sbennumi). Regardless of what happens to each individual, hell will stay lit endlessly. If nothing else, for Satan and his minions. (I discuss more about the duration of hell later on.)

On top of involving fiery destruction, the Bible also reveals that hell is a place of absolute darkness, where one remains permanently estranged from God.

Jude 1:13 and 2 Peter 2:1 describe this aspect of damnation by adding a different wrinkle to the concept. Take the Jude passage, which discusses the fate of the ungodly (some of whom were masquerading as believers):

“They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.”

Notice also that the “blackest darkness” is said to have been reserved for the wicked. The term for “reserve” is téreó, and it suggests that this darkness is being “guarded” or preserved for a later time. Sounds like when Jesus said “the place prepared” for Satan and the demons, right?

When discussing the issue of believers who continue in sin, the author of Hebrews makes a powerful contribution to this discussion:

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (10:26-31, my emphasis).

This illustrates that some who claim to follow God, only in word but not in deed, will experience the same punishment as the unrepentant. In fact, perhaps a worse punishment (2 Pet. 2:20)! This of course means that nonbelievers will also be condemned.

In 2 Thessalonians, Paul echoed the teachings of Hebrews and adds an interesting detail about the nature of hell:

“He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (1:8-9).

Besides affirming that the unrepentant will be punished and “shut out from the presence of the Lord,” Paul specifically notes the duration of this existence: it is “everlasting.” Some translations render this term as “eternal” instead, being that the Greek word used here (aiónios) can be viewed that way, too.

This leads naturally to the question, how long does hell last? In all honesty, this opens up into a rather large and intricate discussion; one that I cannot cover in full detail here.

What I can say is that, in general, the term carries with it the idea of something happening in an “age-long” way. That is, a perpetual occurrence that may never cease OR will only cease when it has accomplished its task. “Everlasting” anything is largely a contextual idea. In the case of the many places where Scripture talks about inheriting eternal life or salvation (like Mk. 10:30 and Jn. 3:16), the context suggests a never-ending duration. We are saved for all time.

Likewise, the addition of the phrase day and night “forever and ever”—literally, “to the ages of the ages”—in Revelation 20:10 certainly suggests that hell will never cease to burn for the unholy trinity of Revelation. That is, for the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet.

Personally, my view is that the “everlasting” nature of hell involves a punishment that 1) Always fits the crime/s (and so varies from being to being) and 2) Lasts as long as necessary (to complete its course). This view eliminates the possibility of strict annihilationism, whereby “hell” is reduced to the person simply ceasing to exist or being “burned up in a flash.” At the same time, it allows for a more moderate form of annihilationism, which would be the idea that punishment varies between entities and that it may not always last—as salvation does—“forever and ever” or endlessly.

Both the duration and the severity of the punishment each (unsaved) person will endure in hell is dependent upon their individual deeds and rebelliousness.

I think this is also consistent with the clear biblical teaching that all human beings will be judged according to their deeds (Rom. 2:6, Mt. 16:27, Rev. 22:12). We can be sure of this much: At the Day of Judgment, God will render to all people a totally just verdict of either punishment or reward.

When will hell be experienced?

The Bible unequivocally describes hell as a future existence. That’s right: no one—not Hitler, Pol Pot, Jeffrey Epstein (if he’s dead?), or any demon—is currently living in hell. Here are a few reasons why we can be sure of that.

First, Jesus encountered demons who flatly confessed that their destruction lay ahead of them, at an “appointed time” in the future: “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. ‘Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” (Mt. 8:28).

Second, Jesus specifically told us that hell is a place “prepared”—that is, not currently in use—for Satan and the demons: “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Mt. 25:41). Earlier in the passage, Jesus makes it clear when this will occur: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory” (Mt. 25:31a).

Unless the “secret Rapture” already occurred and took far fewer people than its advocates advertise (note the sarcasm), Jesus has not returned. Hence, Satan and the demons are not presently living in hell.

Third, Jesus’ Parable of the Weeds (or Tares) explicitly tells us that no one is going to be sentenced to hell (or anywhere) prior to the Great Judgment:

“Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt. 13:40-42).

This is also explained in Revelation 20, where the unrepentant are thrown into the “lake of fire” after  Satan, the beast, and the false prophet are sent there. (For more on the beasts of Revelation 13, see this blog.)

Other examples could even be examined, like the aforementioned Jude 1:13 and 2 Peter 2:17. Again, the “blackest darkness” is reserved for the ungodly.

What do we need to know about hell?

As I have mentioned several times already, one thing we need to know about hell is that it’s going to be a real location for the wicked and unrepentant. Hell is not a metaphor, a symbol, or a parallel expression for some other term (like evil or sin). It’s also not simply mortal death. Rather, it is the inexpressible fate of the evil spiritual forces and the ungodly people who followed them in life.

With this said, it is also important to note that neither Jesus nor the biblical authors were “hell obsessed,” or anything of the sort. They took absolutely no pleasure in talking about the issue, because Jesus came—at least in part—to ensure that hell does not need to be our end.  

That leads to the second critical thing to know: hell is completely avoidable.

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross enabled those who believe to be pardoned and spared—yes, I said spared—of the wrath that would otherwise be set upon us. Romans 3:25 reveals that Jesus was “displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith” (NASB). By “propitiation,” it means “a sin offering, by which the wrath of the deity shall be appeased.” Jesus’ atonement enables the faithful to avoid the wrath that is coming upon the rest of the world. This is not about escaping the world before the great Day of Tribulation, as “secret Rapture” proponents assert. Instead, it is about ensuring that we do not “perish” through the “second death.” That is the end-result of rejecting Christ.

Natural death must come to all who die before Christ’s return, but spiritual death will come only to those who reject God and refuse to follow Him.

Unfortunately, the plain truth is that many people have, are, and will always choose not to follow Jesus. In doing so, they will be unable to avoid this most grievous penalty for their sins.

In closing, there is another point I would like to note, and it’s something I fear a lot of people have almost no grasp of. Because of that, they do not understand why the Bible speaks about hell or why it will be necessary. There are evil people in this world, and some almost incomprehensively so. Our world is filled with pedophiles, murderers, rapists, sex traffickers, those who sacrifice children (yes, do some digging and you’ll see), and every other vile thing imaginable (and unimaginable).

Many are unable to see the horrific nature of such things because they are not directly affected by them.

But I ask you: should there be no recourse for these heinous acts? Does mortal death sufficiently account for the “repayment” that God has promised for those who have killed and persecuted His people? I have heard many say that they “can’t believe in a God who would send someone to hell.” My reply is always the same: I can’t believe in a God who wouldn’t.

Hell is a biblical certainty that, while terribly unfortunate, is utterly necessary. To believe otherwise is to reject what is abundantly clear in Scripture.

Looking for a new book to read? Check out my books below:

God Made the Aliens: Making Sense of Extraterrestrial Contact

Spiritual Things: Exploring our Connection to God, the Angels, and the Heavenly Realm

Missing Verses: 15 Beliefs the Bible Doesn’t Teach

The Death Myth: Uncovering what the Bible Really Says about the Afterlife

References and notes:


[1] Lightner, R.P. Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theolog y. Ed. Walter A. Elwell.2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1996. See pg. 548.

Does God Have a Body?

*Caution* What you are about to read represents an extremely unpopular view that likely goes against whatever your pastors, professors, and most cherished spiritual voices have told you.

My earlier article asking, “Do Angels Have Bodies?”, has probably received more views than anything else I have written thus far. For whatever reason, the topic just seems to appeal to a broad spectrum of people. Obviously, I share this enthusiasm on the issue.

But the matter pointed me towards its logical connections. If the angels are heavenly beings that live in God’s presence, and they have bodies, what about God? Does God have a body, too?

On its face, this is an absurd question to ask. The reason is that God—as the Bible and Christianity proper both explain things—is not one person but three. God is “triune.” Hence, the term “Trinity.” This means that the question needs to be rephrased. Here is what we really need to ask: Do each the three members of the Godhead (or Trinity) have bodies?

Do the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit all three possess bodies or are they unembodied and immaterial? As odd (and unfortunate) as it is to say, a lot of professed Christians aren’t even aware the Jesus was raised with a transformed body and that he still possesses one. That’s right: Jesus rose from the dead with a different type of body and he returned to heaven in this resurrected state. I talk about this matter in this article, for those who are interested.

Here, I want to go beyond the biblical certainty that the Son of God has a body and ask about the other two members of the Trinity: the Father and the Spirit. I am abundantly aware that the consensus answer to this question—from scholars and lay people alike—is that neither the Father nor the Spirit are embodied. In fact, it goes completely without saying in many people’s minds. But I want to suggest that this may not be the case: that the standard narrative may not be the correct one.  

In truth, a deep study of Scripture has led me to believe that all three members of the Trinity possess bodies.

Just hear me out . . .

I have many reasons I wish you to consider, so I am going to do something unusual (for me). I am going to make a numerical list of reasons, in order to prevent confusion. Further, I am doing this because I believe that each point can stand on its own. So, let’s get started.

Reason #1: Jesus at the right hand of the Father. The prophet Daniel spoke of the “son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven” and being led into the presence of the Ancient of Days (7:13). Jesus spoke of himself in this way (Mk 14:62), and Acts depicts Jesus returning to the right hand of the Father after the Ascension (2:33). Before his death, Stephen saw Jesus standing “at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55). Here’s the point: this requires the Father to occupy a spatial location. Put another way, the Father exists in a specific place and is spatially extended. The Father lives in heaven, and the Son alongside Him at the “right hand.” This requires that both the Father and the Son have tangible form.

Reason #2: The Father “in heaven”: Jesus began the Lord’s Prayer with the words: “Our Father, who is in heaven . . .” Notice that Jesus did not say, “Our Father, who is on earth” or “who is everywhere.” Rather, he said that the Father is in heaven. The repeated references in the Bible to “God’s throne” (Heb. 12:2) also indicate that the Father is connected to a particular place: the throne! Like the previous point, this reveals that the Father has spatial location and would necessarily have some type of form. This means that God’s omnipresence is typically not explained properly. It is not about the Father literally existing in all things and in all places. That would be Thomistic . . . err I mean, pantheistic. Instead, it means that God has knowledge of all things and all places, and can affect them. Big difference. Again, the Father is in heaven and will one day live with us on the new earth.

[As an aside, this could well be soon. See my blogs here, here, and here for more about the end times]

Reason #3: Coming and going. I have one final point in this vein, and then I will move on. The Bible explains the existence of the Godhead in several ways, and one of them involves how the three divine persons come and go. The Son was sent by the Father to earth (Jn. 8:18), and then Jesus returned to the Father after accomplishing his mission (Jn. 16:28). Jesus and the Father send the Holy Spirit to believers (Jn. 14:15-16), and He can depart from the morally disobedient (1 Cor. 6:18-19). In order to come, go, return, or be sent, one must already exist elsewhere. The Son of God couldn’t “come” from heaven if He already existed on earth, and He can’t “return” at the Second Coming if He is already here. The very concept of being sent or returning implies, once again, spatial location and, hence, some type of form or tangibility.

Reason #4: Nothing to see here? The Gospel of John makes a particularly stunning statement in 6:46: “No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father” (my emphasis). Let me get this straight: the Father can be seen? Like, He has form and substance? Yes, apparently so. If you disagree, take it up with the apostle John after the resurrection.

Reason #5: Moses saw God, too. Have you ever noticed the second half of Exodus 33? In no uncertain terms, it states that Moses saw God (presumably, the Father). However, it was in an incomplete way, which I think justifies John’s previous statement that “No one has seen the Father” except the Son. Step by step, Exodus reveals how this happened:

“The LORD continued, ‘There is a place near Me where you are to stand upon a rock, and when My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away, and you will see My back; but My face must not be seen’ (33:21-23).”

Here, we find God talking about “passing by” Moses, covering him with His “hand,” showing His “back,” and plainly stating that Moses cannot (nor can any mortal) see His “face.” This, and the entire chapter, reads as literally as possible. Even if you think this was the Son of God that Moses was seeing, it does you no good. This would simply verify that, prior to the Incarnation, the Son of God had—you guessed it—a body.

Reason #6: God in the Garden. Among the many things that Genesis reveals about our existence is that God once walked with human beings: “Now they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (3:8).

Sure, many people now take Genesis to be almost entirely figurative. That is, in the places where they want to (like the “days“).

The truth is that almost all theologians—from left to right, and everywhere in between—exercise subjectivity when it comes to Genesis. Ultimately, some may reject that God literally “walked” through the Garden of Eden, but they have no problem viewing other aspects of Genesis 1-3 as historical. God creating the “heavens and the earth” was a real event. Adam and Eve’s sin and the judgment it produced were real events. The effects of the Fall were real (and remain all around us today). But God physically strolling through the Garden? Hah, that’s a child’s tale! Clearly metaphorical!

Reason #7: The Image of God. Contrary to what is often taught, being made in the “image of God” unquestionably has a physical component. The very language and comparisons the Bible uses to describe this issue leaves absolutely no doubt, for those who are willing to allow Scripture to speak for itself. I have included a lengthy explanation in the appendix (below) proving this case. Please see the appendix, and I will now move on to the next points.

Reason #8: We’ve got “spirit!” By far the most common argument from Scripture suggesting that God (the Father) is incorporeal is John 4:24: “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” That settles it: God is immaterial, unembodied, spaceless, and all the like!

But allow me to make things uncomfortable. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul spends most of the chapter talking about the resurrection of Jesus and what it will mean for us. Specifically, he details that Jesus rose with a transformed body: a tangible, honest to goodness, body. The rest of the NT is consistent in this fact as well. Curiously, do you know what Paul calls this fully embodied Jesus? He calls him a “life-giving spirit” (15:45).

Yes, Paul called the risen and embodied Jesus a “spirit” (pneuma), which is the same term used for both the Holy Spirit and the “ministering spirits” (angels). 

Furthermore, calling the third person of the Trinity the “Spirit” of God only makes sense if the Father and Son are embodied. Think about it. If “Spirit” equates to “unembodied being”—as most of us have been taught to believe—then it cannot also be that the Father and the Son are unembodied beings. We cannot have it both ways, as the distinction would make no sense.

In fact—and this is a very important point—all three persons of the Godhead are described as a “spirit” within the Bible! The Father here; the Son here; and obviously the Holy Spirit is throughout.

Furthermore, there is even reason to think that the Holy Spirit may have some kind of form. Remember, we just saw that the word “spirit” was used to talk about the risen Jesus. We also know that angels have bodies—as I prove here—and they are called “spirits” (Hebrews 1:14). Shockingly, the Holy Spirit even appears at Jesus’ baptism in bodily form. For sake of time, I refer you to my explanation of that event in this footnote.[1] Admittedly, there is not as much to go on concerning the Holy Spirit (compared to the claim that the Father and the Son are embodied). However, these are valid reasons why we should be open to it.

Reason #9: What is “spirit”? The previous section reveals something astonishing: something that should cause us to rethink John 4:24. Scripture typically describes spirits not as beings without bodies but as beings of higher power, intelligence, and ability. That is exactly what John 4:24 was saying, I believe. God is the supreme being of power, intelligence, and ability, and we must worship Him as such. We must worship God with the utmost sincerity and intentionality. Or, as Jesus put it: “in spirit and in truth.”

Reason #10: The plain reading of Scripture. In his review of Paul Helm’s book, Eternal God, William Lane Craig—one of the most popular Christian thinkers of our time—explains how the Bible describes God:

“The biblical writers consistently speak of God as in time, but, Helm quite correctly points out, they with equal consistency speak of God as in space, too, and yet the vast majority of theologians and philosophers do not construe divine omnipresence as God’s being spatially extended, but consider Him as transcending space.”[2]

Here, both Helm and Craig affirm something important: while they admit that the biblical authors describe God in certain ways, modern theologians often reject their thinking. That is, they reject the Bible in favor of their own philosophical understandings about God.

A being that occupies space (i.e. is “spatially extended”) necessarily has tangible form.When you boil it down, this means that the Bible describes God as being embodied while “the majority of theologians and philosophers” (including Craig and Helm) do not. I shouldn’t have to explain why this is a problem.

Bonus Reason: Just being anthropomorphic. Like God’s “walk” through the Garden of Eden, all the places where Scripture describes God as having human-like traits or characteristics are labeled as “anthropomorphic.” When God is described as having hands, feet, or a body in general, we are told that we can never—ever, ever, ever—take these descriptions literally. Abraham imagined that God appeared with a body. So did Jacob. So did Moses. The same applies to those places where God appears to change His mind or when He is surprised by events that take place. I explain more about these aspects in this footnote.[3]

Make no mistake about it: labeling such events as “anthropomorphic” is really done to persuade us that we aren’t seeing what we are plainly seeing. Even though the Bible clearly says X, we should listen to our trusted interpreters—who “know better”—and believe Y or Z.

Conclusion

I must confess that the tone of this article is a bit on the edgier side. The reason why is that I have repeatedly heard the “educated” people within the church declare—with absolute certainty and plenty of gusto—that “God is immaterial!” Unfortunately, I have discovered over time that far too many of the (almost) universally accepted “truths” of the Christian faith are not derived from Scripture; they are man’s “truths,” not God’s.

I just provided proof that some of our most esteemed theologians admit that they ignore the plain truth of Scripture, opting to force their own philosophical or theological worldviews into the Bible. I have documented many places where this occurs, and I take no pleasure whatsoever in pointing it out. Instead, I view this reality as a devastating development: as one of the many ways that Satan has infiltrated the church since its inception. What a wonderful deception, too; “Base your faith on the words of the biblical authors, but feel free to disregard their descriptions whenever you’d like.”

After all, why should people who profess that the Bible is the “word of God” trust its authors to accurately describe reality? A bit archaic, don’t you think?

But let’s bring this to a close before it requires a book cover! I have listed ten reasons (with a bonus reason) why we should really question the standard view that God is immaterial and unembodied. More than question it, I think the evidence against this view is rather overwhelming.

This essentially comes down to the same old issue that I always seem to run into, whether I am talking about the state of the dead, the nature of the heavenly bodies, the gift of tongues, and so many others. The question is, do you trust the Bible?

Do you actually believe in what the biblical authors revealed to us through divine inspiration?

The simple truth is that most professed Christians do not, and this is perhaps especially true of the church’s highest thinkers. They claim to trust in Scripture, only to proceed in thrusting their own thoughts and desires into its pages.

If you are allowing the biblical authors to explain reality to us, you would naturally conclude that the Father and the Son—before and after the Incarnation and Resurrection—have bodies of some type. They have heavenly bodies. I even suggested that it’s fair to inquire about the Spirit, also.

Trust your eyes. Trust what God has revealed to us through Scripture. If we are doing this, we may find that our beliefs look very little like those being thrust upon us.

For those interested in these types of discussions, I invite you to check out my book Spiritual Things: Exploring Our Relationship to God, the Angels, and the Heavenly Realm. It is chock-full of information about the angelic form, what happens when we die, the spiritual forces of evil, and so much more. The appendix (below) includes a section of this book.

Appendix: What does it mean to be made in the Image of God?

Here is a full-length description of how the Bible answers this question. This is taken from my book, Spiritual Things, pages 42-44.

Welcome to Sunday school 101; human beings were made in the image of God. Obviously, this does not come as a surprise to anyone. The problem is that the vast majority of people who claim to believe this do not fully. Sure, we are somehow “like” God, but that statement comes with more than a few caveats. Every time this enigmatic statement has come up in my presence—whether that be at a church, a classroom, or elsewhere—I have heard the same general commentary on the issue. While most people do not tend to go into detail, there is almost always a local leader or theologian who is eager to clear it up for everyone. Typically, their explanations go something like this: “We are image-bearers, which means that we are in many respects like God. We are rational beings who think. We are personal agents. We love, and we have relationships. We experience a plethora of emotions and feelings. Yes, we are like God . . . but this has nothing to do with physical appearances.” Indeed—this has nothing to do with appearances. That is the standard narrative.

Though I probably do not need to provide many examples of this type of thinking, because most of us have heard something of the sort before, I want to provide a few to show my point. The first comes from the extremely prominent medieval Sephardic philosopher, Maimonides. In his third of the Thirteen Principles of Faith, he left no doubt about what Jewish followers should believe about God:

“I believe by complete faith that the Creator, blessed be His name, is not a body, is not affected by physical matter, and nothing whatsoever can compare to Him [or be compared with Him].”[4]

While this view was out of step with many of his contemporaries, Maimonides would have found himself in good company among most Christian thinkers of the time. Speaking of Christian thinkers, the respected Scottish theologian, James Orr, once summarized the way in which we bear God’s image as follows:

“It lies in the nature of the case that the ‘image’ does not consist in bodily form; it can only reside in spiritual qualities, in man’s mental and moral attributes as a self-conscious, rational, personal agent, capable of self-determination and obedience to moral law.”[5]

Certainly, this assessment is quite true in many respects. It is well articulated and meaningful. Existing in God’s image does have much to do with “spiritual qualities,” mental and moral attributes, rationality, agency, self-determination, and obedience. I have no qualms with those descriptions, and I would doubt that most Christians do. Of course, there is still the matter of the first line of his statement.

I recently came across another, more contemporary, example while reading Dr. Glenn Sunshine’s book, The Image of God. At the onset of the book—before making the positive case—he discusses what being made in the image of God does not mean. As you can imagine, the issue of God’s corporeality is among the first on the list:

“The image of God is not found in human beings having a body like God’s . . . Scripture is clear that God is Spirit (Jn. 4:24) and the only body He has is Jesus’. This is why the second commandment bans the use of images in worship: by their very nature no image can convey the essence of an invisible, non-corporeal being. Images thus conceal more than they reveal and they encourage us to think of God as less than and other than what He has revealed Himself to be.”[6]

Though I will discuss John 4:24 in due time, it is worth mentioning now that this text is nearly always used as the key piece of evidence that God is incorporeal. Sunshine’s appropriation of the second commandment is highly questionable, particularly because man was made in God’s image to begin with. If images “conceal more than they reveal”—and are, thus, a negative thing—why would God create other beings in His image? Setting that aside, this is a clear example where all tangible associations between God and man are dismissed at the onset of the conversation. There just isn’t a connection there; case closed.

We should find it curious that this issue is thought to be “settled” within the church. In reality, it never has been. David Clossen—writing on behalf of the ERLC of the Southern Baptist Convention—summarized this ambiguity clearly:

“Although ‘image of God’ has become ubiquitous in Christian literature and conversation in recent years, it has not been robustly defined. Perhaps this is due to the lack of agreement throughout church history on what exactly constitutes the image of God, which no doubt stems from the fact that Scripture declares but does not elaborate on the axiom in detail.”[7]

As I will show, it is false that Scripture provides little detail on the matter. However, he is correct in saying that the “image of God” is not robustly defined and has not actually been agreed upon throughout church history. Biblical scholar, D.JA. Clines, put the issue this way:

“It appears that scholarship has reached something of an impasse over the problem of the image, in that different starting-points, all of which seem to be legitimate, lead to different conclusions. If one begins from the philological evidence, the image is defined in physical terms. If we begin from the incorporeality of God, the image cannot include the body of man. If we begin with the Hebrew conception of man’s nature as a unity, we cannot separate, in such a fundamental sentence about man, the spiritual part of man from the physical. If we begin with ‘male and female’ as a definitive explanation of the image, the image can only be understood in terms of personal relationships, and the image of God must be located in mankind (or married couples!) rather than the individual man.”[8]

With this in mind, I have to wonder why people have tended to believe that “God’s image” should refer only to non-physical qualities. Who ever said that is the way we should view this whole issue? On whose authority does this belief rest? Is there a particular biblical text that demands this: some mandate that dictates our interpretation? I once simply assumed that there must be. I was taught that God has to be understood as an immaterial, unembodied being at both college and seminary, after all. I have read a lot of truly distinguished scholars who have said the same thing. This is why some have noted that Christian theologians have historically relied more on extra-biblical philosophical and theological sources than the biblical texts themselves.[9] As I will suggest throughout the book, this has led to the denigration of the physical body and a more dualistic understanding of the image of God within mainstream Christian theology. As is often the case, my view shifted on this matter when I finally took the time to research it for myself. There are really a number of reasons why I feel that we should question the idea that bearing God’s image is an entirely immaterial issue. But first things first: what does the Bible actually say about this?

There are quite a number of terms that are associated—in some way, shape, or form—with the image discussion throughout the Bible. It only seems fitting that we should begin with the central term itself: the word “image.” The Hebrew term tselem is what we primarily translate as the word image, and it (or one of its variants) is used seventeen times throughout the Old Testament.[10] Honest scholars have long pointed out that, as the biblical authors would have understood things, this term carried both a spiritual and a physical aspect to it.[11] Most notably, tselem is used very early on in the book of Genesis, when it describes the creation of our world. It is here that we are first told about our true identity: where we are told that a being greater than ourselves made us. Perhaps more amazingly, we are also told that we somehow resemble this being; “God said, let us make man in our image . . .” (1:26a). Naturally, there is more to the statement, but we will get to that. Certainly, this is a major declaration. What should we make of this: being made in God’s image? To thoroughly answer that question, we need to investigate both where and how it is used elsewhere.

It may come as a surprise to some, as it first did to me, that the word tselem (image) is most often used to describe something that physically resembles something else. It is used to compare idols that have been fashioned in the image of some false deity (2 Ki. 11:18), like the well-known god Baal (2 Chr. 23:17). These were made to look exactly like how they perceived the gods to look. When the Philistines were considering returning the Ark of the Covenant to Israel, they wondered what kind of guilt offering they should return along with it. They found it fitting to send five gold tumors and five gold rats, since those plagues had struck them after taking the Ark (1 Sam. 6:4). Subsequently, they were told to make models (“images”) of the tumors and rats, in an effort to avoid being punished by Yahweh (6:5). The tumors should look like tumors, and the rats like rats. In a much more obvious way, the book of Ezekiel describes how God’s people saw pictures of the Chaldeans on a wall and began to lust after these images (23:14-16). The word “images” used in that reference pertained to exact replicas of living people; the pictures looked just like the Chaldean people. They were essentially portraits.

Clearly, tselem is used to describe several different relationships, but it is not the only term that is used to compare such things. The Hebrew demuth is what we typically translate as “likeness” within the Old Testament, where it is used twenty-five times. Generally, demuth translates as “likeness” or “similitude.” In my way of thinking, this term means “to very strongly resemble” someone or something. As with tselem, demuth is used primarily to make tangible comparisons. King Ahaz once had an altar built that bared the same likeness as one that was built by the Assyrian king, Tiglath-Pilesar (2 Ki. 16:10-16). Ahaz, or his men, looked at the Assyrian altar and copied the blueprint. The Jewish people constructed items in the same likeness of cattle that served as temple furnishings (2 Chr. 4:3). The people looked at cattle and created precise models of them. These types of comparisons may have had something to do with the function of the objects being described, but there can be no doubt that the “likeness” described in these instances had something to do with literal appearances. They weren’t comparing statues to cattle because they grunted or chewed their cud; they compared the two because they looked the same.

The most significant way that demuth is used, however, is when it compares us with God. Genesis tells us on more than one occasion that we were made in the “likeness” of God. The first reference is in 1:26, which was previously quoted. The second reference is often overlooked, but it may be more significant than most of us realize. The early portion of Genesis 5 recounts God’s creative act of making Adam. First, it is restated that God created Adam in His own “likeness.” We all knew that much. However, the statement made just two verses later is literally mind-blowing. Genesis 5:3 records the following: “When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth (emphasis, mine).” Did you notice what just happened there? Seth is being compared to Adam with exactly the same descriptive language that is used to compare Adam with God. In other words, Adam was like God just as Seth was like Adam. The actual language of the Old Testament tells us that we are similar to God in the same ways that our children are similar to us. Our sons and daughters are born in our likeness, and we were made in God’s likeness.

The words “image” (tselem) and “likeness” (demuth) appear to be words that comprehensively compare one thing with another. Though some thinkers have considered the two to be quite different in function, the most natural understanding of these terms is in a complementary way; both stress the similarities that certain beings or items share with others. Now, please don’t misunderstand me—I am not saying that either of these words discuss items or agents that are identical in all ways. We are not exactly like God in any way, shape, or form. We have not His power, His intelligence, His compassion, His creative ability, His wisdom, or anything else, in even close to equal measure. That being said, we should not underestimate the importance of these terms, either. Though neither one tells us that we are exactly like our Creator, both terms reveal that we are very, very muchlike Him. We have some measure of His power, His intelligence, His compassion, His creative ability, His wisdom, and a variety of other features. Perhaps we also possess some measure of God’s physical appearance.

This may well be true when we look at the Old Testament descriptions, but surely the New Testament defines our similarities with God differently. Those texts will urge us to view the “image” and the “likeness” exclusively in terms of immaterial attributes and characteristics, right? To provide an answer to that question, we will need to thoughtfully evaluate the Greek terms that parallel the Hebrew words we previously examined. As we saw with tselem and demuth, there are basically two Greek terms that are of primary interest to us here: eikn and homoióma.

Let’s take these terms in order, beginning with eikn. The word eikn is what we primarily translate as “image,” so it is essentially the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew tstelem. In all, either it or its variants are used twenty-three times throughout the New Testament. To me, it is not really the number of usages that is noteworthy; the ways in which the term is used is much more telling. For example, Jesus used the word eikn when he was asked whether he and his fellow Jews should pay taxes to Caesar. The question was a reasonably loaded one, being that it had become the practice of Roman emperors in those days to demand worship as a deity. In some sense, it could be thought that paying money to Caesar was the same as paying him homage as a god. Famously, Jesus took the coin and, looking at the “image” of Caesar imprinted on it, told his questioners to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”[12] Right away, we see the power of the term. The image on the coin was a replica of the emperor. The picture physically looked like Tiberius Caesar. In the same vein, the word eidolón—which is from the same root word as eikn—is used to discuss idols throughout the New Testament. It, too, is used to describe the items crafted to physically resemble the false gods of the Greco-Roman world.

The word eikn is also used in some of the most powerful statements about Jesus’ divinity in all the Bible. In Colossians 1:15, Paul told his fellow believers that Jesus is the “image of the invisible God.” Paul made a strikingly similar statement in 2 Corinthians 4:4, where he revealed that Jesus is the “image of God.” The idea that God is “invisible” will come up again later but consider what these statements mean about Jesus. When people saw Jesus, they saw the Father, who is otherwise unseen. Seeing Jesus—who was embodied in human flesh, and later embodied with the first of the resurrection bodies (1 Cor. 15:49)—was like seeing the Father. The Gospel of John records Jesus’ statement: “He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say ‘show us the Father’?” (Jn. 14:9). Just before that, Jesus told the apostles that seeing him and seeing the Father were one and the same (Jn. 14:7).

I wonder: what should that tell us about the Father? An “image” is only an image if it references something else that could potentially be seen. You cannot have an image of something that has no appearance. This is precisely what caused the well-known Anglican archbishop, Richard Chenevix Trench, to say that the term eikn “assumes a prototype, of which it not merely resembles, but from which it is drawn.”[13] As if that statement is not telling enough, the renowned biblical scholar, F.F. Bruce, recorded the following: “(eikn) then is more than a ‘shadow’; rather it is a replication.”[14] You see, the term that was used to describe the ways in which we resemble our Creator was not supposed to subtly compare the “spiritual,” interior qualities we possess. Rather, it was meant to describe the fact that we are copies of the great, uncreated Prototype. It describes the fact that we are not merely shadows of God but are something closer to being replications of Him. The early Church Father, Irenaeus, displayed his agreement with this notion in his highly-influential work, Against Heresies:

“Now God shall be glorified in His handiwork, fitting it so as to be conformable to, and modelled after, His own Son. For by the hands of the Father, that is, by the Son and the Holy Spirit, man, and not [merely] a part of man, was made in the likeness of God. Now the soul and the spirit are certainly a part of the man, but certainly not the man; for the perfect man consists in the commingling and the union of the soul receiving the spirit of the Father, and the admixture of that fleshly nature which was moulded after the image of God.”[15]

We are not God, nor are we exactly like Him. But—and this is an emphatic but—there is no denying that we strongly resemble our Creator. As Irenaeus alluded to, this resemblance even includes our physical existence.

What about the Hebrew term demuth—is there a Greek parallel for that as well? Yes, there is. This is where the previously mentioned word homoióma reenters the conversation. Like demuth, translators typically interpret homoióma as “likeness,” but it can also be viewed as “image” or “similitude.” The term is only used six times throughout the New Testament, which is less than one-fourth of the times its Hebrew equivalent is used in the Old Testament. Of those six occurrences, four are found in Paul’s letter to the Romans; clearly, it had special significance there. It is first used in 1:23, when the Gentiles are shamed for having traded the worship of Yahweh for the worship of images of other human beings (emperor worship comes to mind at that time) and even animals. 5:14 displays a more figurative usage of the term, as it describes those believers who had not sinned in the “likeness” (or, in the way) that Adam had. 6:5 seems to keep with a more symbolic interpretation in that it compares the way we will take on the “likeness” of both Jesus’ death and resurrection.

The final use of the term in Romans is found in 8:3. Here, we are told that Jesus was sent “in the likeness of human flesh.” This sounds identical to its usage in Philippians 2:7, where it is said that Jesus was made in the “likeness” of man. Finally, the book of Revelation uses the term homoióma just once, where it describes the physical appearance of the locusts in John’s vision (9:7). These six examples provide us with some very important information. The first thing it tells us is that the term homoióma—like the other terms we have looked at—can certainly work in a more figurative way. It can be used to compare the actions or characteristics of two things in ways that don’t necessarily have anything to do with appearances. However, it typically does not function in such a way. Instead, homoióma, and the other biblical words comparable to it, are most often used to describe the outer appearance of things.

The point of evaluating the previous terms that we translate as “image,” “likeness,” or in other ways, should be rather obvious by now. When the biblical authors made these associations, they typically intended us to take the terms at face-value; an image is really a tangible replica or a copy of something else, and a likeness includes a physical comparison between two things. I have just shown a plethora of places where these words are used throughout the Bible and, for the most part, they describe the physical form or appearance of the items they pertain to. With this demonstrated, there can be little doubt that many interpreters have attempted to “over-spiritualize” the idea of what it means to be made in both the image and the likeness of something else. In doing so, they have stripped away the most basic (and intended) meaning of these words. To many Christians, we only vaguely resemble—both in form and in function—the God that we are said to strongly resemble. As a result, we have lost a very important part of what it means to be made in God’s image, and according to His likeness.”


[1] Luke recorded that the Holy Spirit “descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove” (3:22, my emphasis). Nearly all interpreters acknowledge the peculiarity of this statement. The word used there for “bodily” (sómatikos) is used only twice in the entire NT, and never again by Luke. The only other usage is in 1 Timothy 4:8, which says that “. . . bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” This is probably referencing an earlier verse (4:3), which reveals that false teachers were instructing believers not to marry and to abstain from certain foods. When you connect the dots, there is no denying that both uses of sómatikos are describing tangible bodies. This means that the Spirit’s appearance at Jesus’ baptism was corporeal. The text, then, is not telling us that the Spirit literally became a dove and descended upon Jesus. Rather, it is telling us that the Spirit descended in the manner that a dove would: hovering, then resting.

[2] Craig, William L. “A Review of Paul Helm’s Eternal God”. Reasonablefaith.org. https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/scholarly-writings/divine-eternity/a-review-of-paul-helms-eternal-god/

[3] Dr. Bruce Ware, of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, provides a perfect example of what I am talking about in this video. He admits that the Bible describes numerous occasions when God appears to “change His mind,” or do something other than He would have. But here is his specific reason why he doesn’t believe this should be taken literally: “He (God) doesn’t literally change His mind because of what that would mean, at that is He doesn’t know in advance something that’s going to take place, and so [sic] learn something and then changes His mind.” In other words, those instances in the Bible cannot be taken literally because Ware has an a priori understanding that God cannot change His mind or learn something. It’s a completely circular argument. Does the Bible describe places where God changes His mind? No, because God can’t change His mind.

[4] See “Maimonides’ 13 Principles of Jewish Faith.”

[5] James Orr, “God, Image Of.”

[6] Glenn Sunshine, The Image of God, Loc. 104-116 (Kindle Version).

[7] ERLC stands for the “Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.” See the article, “What does it mean to be made in God’s image.”

[8] D.J.A Clines, “Tyndale Bulletin 19” (53-103).

[9] A very useful source on this matter is Richard Middleton’s, The Liberating Image.

[10] Strong’s Concordance, “tselem.”

[11] For a good example, see John Day’s From Creation to Babel, page 14 in particular.

[12] Matthew 22:20, Mark 12:16, Luke 20:24.

[13] See Strong’s, 1504.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Irenaeus, Against Heresies, book 5.6.1.

Is Israel God’s “Chosen” Nation?

The Old Testament reveals that God took a specific people as a covenant partner: a chosen nation that would fulfill the promises made to Abraham. This nation took the name divinely given to the great patriarch, Jacob. We call this nation Israel.

No person of Christian or Jewish faith can doubt this fact. Nearly the entire OT tells the story of Israel and how they both overtook the land of Canaan and established themselves as a country. At no point is there any mystery or debate: Israel was God’s chosen nation, His covenant partner, and the recipient of Abraham’s blessings. This is an unassailable fact of Scripture.

The question is, are they still God’s chosen people? Does the current nation of Israel continue to enjoy this unique status?

My aim in this article is to explore these incredibly important questions. The way we view the nation of Israel has much to do with how we interpret God’s plans in our world and the very meaning of salvation. I will examine these matters in three distinct ways, and as briefly (but meaningfully) as possible.

First, I will look at how Israel is described within the OT. Second, I will examine how the people of Israel are depicted in the NT, when Jesus entered the scene. Third (and last), I will discuss the country of Israel that exists today, inquiring as to whether or not it remains God’s chosen nation.

Part One: Israel in the OT

Every time I work my way through the OT, I am taken aback by how insufferably corrupt God’s people were much of the time. Over and over again, the people rebelled against God and proved themselves to be lousy covenant partners. Where to even begin with the examples?

Almost immediately after being rescued from Egypt, the Israelites began a campaign of disobedience. They complained about a lack of food (Num. 11:4). They grumbled about not having enough to drink (Num. 20:5). They doubted the leader God had chosen for them, even plotting to usurp Moses’ position (Num. 16). They even lamented being saved from Egyptian captivity in the first place (Ex. 16:3).

This was obviously a very grateful community.

When God took the Hebrew people to Mt. Sinai to establish a covenant with them, it took them no time flat to dismiss the miracles they had seen and to fashion a bovine statue for themselves (Ex. 32). Here, again, God had to be persuaded not to destroy the entire lot of them (save for Moses). The people had finally proven to be so unfaithful that God left them wandering in the wilderness for forty years, so that the whole generation could perish (Num. 32:13).

After not wanting to obey God’s commands to overtake the land of Canaan, the new generation entered and possessed the land under Joshua’s leadership. From there, things finally went swimmingly. Or, not . . .

The period recorded in the Book of Judges may have been the most corrupt time in Israel’s history, though the competition is stiff. Judges reveals an endless cycle of sin, judgment, repentance and (temporary) restoration. The phrase, “the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord,” can hardly be missed. They did evil, and then did some more. Every time a Gideon or Deborah helped to put Israel back on track, they turned around and blew it. This exercise in futility culminated exactly how we would expect: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit” (21:25).

They did as they saw fit, not as God commanded.

After sufficiently rejecting God as King and getting human kings of their own, the same narrative continued to play out. Saul was an abject failure who ended up dying in the least regal way imaginable: suicide (1 Sam. 31:1-6). David and Solomon fared much better, in general, and took the nation of Israel to its highest point. However, David and Solomon both failed God in horrible ways. David had Uriah killed in order to take his already-impregnated wife (2 Sam. 11), and Solomon’s almost unparalleled sexual appetite also led him into spiritual adultery (1 Ki. 11). As for the nation overall, they couldn’t even get along with one another, much less stay faithful to God. Israel and Judah split into two kingdoms in 930 BC and remained so for centuries to come.

Probably nowhere in Scripture is Israel’s wickedness depicted more clearly than through the prophets. Nearly every prophet—whether Major or Minor—preached against Israel and/or Judah’s debauchery. One of the central themes was that the people had become spiritual prostitutes: God’s chosen bride was nothing more than an adulterous whore. These are their words, not mine. Take just these two examples, among countless that could be used.

“You adulterous wife! You prefer strangers to your own husband! All prostitutes receive gifts, but you give gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come to you from everywhere for your illicit favors. So in your prostitution you are the opposite of others; no one runs after you for your favors. You are the very opposite, for you give payment and none is given to you” (Ez. 16:32-34).

And . . .

“Look at the shrines on every hilltop. Is there any place you have not been defiled by your adultery with other gods? You sit like a prostitute beside the road waiting for a customer. You sit alone like a nomad in the desert. You have polluted the land with your prostitution and your wickedness” (Jer. 3:2).

This is truly a miniscule sampling of the immoral carnage at play in the OT. Israel’s moments of faithfulness would take much less time to chronicle.

The simple truth is that Israel is depicted as both a rebellious child and an unfaithful prostitute throughout most of the OT. I am not exaggerating; I mean most of the OT. If you doubt this, you didn’t read the previous section and probably haven’t read either the Historical Books or the Prophets.

The image of God dragging Israel by the hair of her head is the only thing that does it all justice. God took His people, kicking and screaming, to the Promised Land. After that, things continued in much the same way.

Part Two: Israel in Jesus’ Day

Judges proved to be a disaster. Kings were ineffective, on the whole. Prophets were largely unable to stir the people to holy living (at least not for long). Would the long-awaited Messiah be able to spark a different feeling among the Jewish people?

Anyone at all familiar with the NT knows that the answer is no. It is important to note that multitudes of Jewish believers did accept Jesus and chose to follow him. Thousands of people appeared to hear him, sometimes too many to keep in order (Lk. 12:1). Like today, a remnant of people chose to follow the Lord (while others just showed up to be fed).

However, Jesus butted heads with the Jewish authorities—the “church leaders” of the day—constantly. Having watched this for centuries, the Son of God could not suffer their corruption. Everything was for show and their faith was hollow. The only “leading” they did was to lead people astray. The Gospels also reveal repeated plans to murder Jesus, all coming from the religious elite. Ultimately, they succeeded, as the chief priests cried out to Pontius Pilate with the words “Crucify him!” and “we have no king but Caesar.”

When Jesus conquered the grave, they made up stories about how it never happened. The disciples “stole the body,” don’t you know? He didn’t really appear to scores of people on a multitude of occasions.

They followed up by persecuting the apostles and many of the converts they had made, both among their fellow Jews and the Gentiles. Being consistent with their shouts to Pilate, the religious elite supported Rome in persecuting Christians. I would argue that the corrupt Jewish authorities may even have been the initial fulfilment of the “beast from the earth” in Revelation 13, and that Jerusalem was the Great Harlot of chapter 17.

Maybe all this is why Jesus called the Pharisees a “brood of vipers” (Mt. 12:34), “whitewashed tombs” (Mt. 23:27-28), and children of the devil (Jn. 8:44). Maybe this is what spurred him to deliver these fateful words to the Jewish nation:

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing” (Mt. 23:37).

Yes, the Son of God had watched this go on for centuries. He watched them hurl insults at God’s chosen leaders, disobey divine commands, persecute the prophets, treat one another contemptuously, live decadently, and commit spiritual prostitution like it was a religious duty. This culminated in the murder of Jesus—their Messiah—when he came to them.

As I said in the last section, if you think this is an uncharitable take, then I strongly urge you to revisit the Gospels. Jesus was actually harsher than I have been. That, I can assure you.

Part Three: Israel Today

Admittedly, this part is by far the most difficult to explain. We do not have a set of Gospels or an inerrant account with which to evaluate the matter. Instead, the identity of the nation of Israel in our present time is passed through the funnel of 21st century politics and (mostly) unreliable reporting outlets.

Let me just offer a few things for your consideration, most of which do not involve a great deal of speculation.

The first is that God has provided approximately zero prophets or leaders—much less a Messiah, if not Jesus—to the Jewish people in roughly 2,400 years. The Minor Prophets ended their ministries somewhere toward the end of the 5th century BC (with Malachi) and no universally recognized figures have come since then. This raises some serious questions for those of the Jewish faith. What is there now to go on? What is the expected future for those who rejected the ministry of Jesus?

If you look around, you’ll see that modern Jews have no real answers to such questions. I do not say this pejoratively but as a matter of objective fact. As a quick example, I have listened to Dennis Prager on and off for many years now. He is a conservative radio host who has done many good things (like PragerU), and he is also a devout Jew. He has authored biblical commentaries and is a very capable OT scholar in his own right. While firmly believing in the afterlife, Prager is unable to provide virtually any biblical reasons why there would be one. Instead, he ends up relying on logical arguments based on assumptions about God’s character, the lack of justice in the world, or the way he sees reality functioning.

In the end, it boils down to affirming the existence of an afterlife out of sheer desire. Prager wants it to be so but cannot validate the view within his scriptures. I am by no stretch targeting Prager, either. A vast number of Jewish Rabbis hold to some vague—and I mean very vague—idea of the afterlife, and others reject it altogether.

This is a microcosm of the greater issue, which is that the OT does not contain the complete set of truths that God has revealed to the world. It is half of the story, at best.

  • It does not end (in Malachi) with a way of providing atonement for the sins of the world.
  • It does not provide insight on what to do when the temple no longer exists in Jerusalem (which it hasn’t since AD 70), particularly as sacrifice is concerned.
  • It does not provide much information about the afterlife, or what anyone should have expected after the time of the prophets.
  • It does not reveal or chronicle the coming of the Messiah, who is spoken of in its very pages.

The OT, in and of itself, provides an incomplete picture of reality. It leaves us on a gigantic cliffhanger: a cliffhanger that was resolved entirely within the NT writings and the work of Jesus Christ. The NT provides explanations for how sin was once and for all destroyed, for who the Messiah is, for how we can explain the evil forces of our world and the heavenly realm, and perhaps most importantly, for where everything is heading and how it will conclude.

For the last 2,000+ years, the Jewish people have been living partially in the dark because they rejected the light that entered the world.

One final point should be mentioned in this section. There is much debate about the current state of the Middle East, especially the relationship between the Jews and Palestinians. This is a highly complex and layered issue, to say the least. What I can definitively tell you is that a huge number of the Jews living in the region are not religious Jews. These are not people sitting by the Jordan River singing praises to Yahweh and studying the Torah.

Don’t believe me? Contemplate these numbers, concerning Israeli Jews over the age of twenty (in 2020):[1]

  • 43% self-identify as secular
  • 22% as traditional but not very religious
  • 13% as traditional-religious
  • 11% as religious and 10% as ultra-Orthodox

This means that about 65%—that is, almost 2/3—of adults living in Israel are either atheists/agnostics or would only affirm a very basic belief in god.

This should absolutely stun you. But it gets worse.

The practice of Israeli Jews attempting to displace Palestinians—often claiming a “divine right” to the land—is extremely prevalent. They burn down houses, verbally and physically attack families, and make life a living hell for them. A lot of these Palestinians have had family ties to the land for centuries and some are even practicing Christians. There are countless videos on the web of these mobs breaking into houses and attacking Palestinian families. Many people have reported that these events are often done out of resentment toward Jesus and because the intruders believed it was “God’s will” that Jews possess those buildings and lands.

The acts of violence in this capacity are not few and far between, either. Instead, they’re incredibly common. As I showed, many—though certainly not all—of the Jews living in Israel are non-religious and often despise Christians. This does not mean the Jewish people living in Israel have not been targeted by Palestinians and other groups. They certainly have at times. I am saying that, in this particular case, it “takes two to tango.” Israeli Jews have played a major part in the violence of recent times.

People of faith from the US (and elsewhere) need to know this, and it should make us re-evaluate a lot our beliefs.

You won’t hear many pastors say this (though here is one), but it remains true: The nation of Israel that has existed since 1948 is not the same Israel that was guided by God throughout the OT. The connection exists only in two primary ways: 1) The name “Israel” and 2) The common rejection of Jesus as Messiah.

Conclusion

Given the complexity of this topic and the firm allegiance that many have to the belief that Israel remains God’s chosen people, I have assuredly ruffled many feathers in this blog. Some will no doubt believe that I am being rather uncharitable. I would like to emphasize that I have almost exclusively allowed the Bible and the statistics to speak about the nation of Israel. If anyone thinks I am being “anti-Semitic” or sacrilegious—and I am neither—then just know that the Jewish people who wrote the OT must have been too.

Israel’s own prophets condemned her as a spiritual prostitute.

God condemned her as an unfaithful and unworthy bride.

Jesus announced her murderous nature, and then proved it through the Crucifixion.

Candidly (and regrettably), I spent most of my early Christian life believing that the Israel of today—the one founded in 1948—continued to have a special status with God. Like so many others, I believed that to be against Israel (for any reason) meant to be against God. I believed that, despite their prominent atheism and (mostly) strong detestation of Jesus, they were still the “chosen” people of Yahweh.

Certain things never smelled right to me—like why those who flat out hate Jesus can still be divinely cherished—but I sat those concerns aside. I errantly drank the Kool-Aid of Christian Zionism, disregarding what the Spirit was telling me and accepting what too many mainline evangelical leaders were preaching.

Here, I wish to call others away from operating with this worldview. Don’t spend even one more day with it. Why? Because there are many who need to be saved. The nation of Israel needs Jesus. All the nations of the world need the risen Savior. We are doing the Jewish people a disservice—and ignoring the Great Commission—in affirming that salvation is possible apart from Jesus.

Paul made this clear, when speaking about his fellow Jews:

“I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them(Rom. 11:13-14, my emphasis).

Paul hoped to “save some of them,” meaning by persuading them about the truth of the gospel. He knew that, as things stood, their rejection of Jesus would result in condemnation. The view that people—whether Jew or Gentile—can outright reject the Son of God and be saved is heresy, plain and simple. Such a view is really the anti-Great Commission; a doctrine aligned with the spirit of antichrist, not the Christ.

I want to implore those of you who have read this blog to re-evaluate things. Do your research. Look into this for yourselves. It seems not only possible but highly probable that many Christians have accepted a false bill of goods about Israel and their current place in God’s economy.

It might well be that the people of Israel are the same as every other group of human beings on earth: the same as you and me. Maybe they are fallen and in need of salvation. Maybe they are only “chosen” if they follow the Chosen One, who is Jesus Christ.

Perhaps they, too, need to repent of their evil deeds, accept Jesus as their Savior, and walk in the light.

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Footnotes

[1] “Vital Statistic: Latest Population Statistics for Israel (2020).” Jewish Virtual Library. Accessed Jun 9, 2021. https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/latest-population-statistics-for-israel