Sunday Walk 59 – End Times

And notice the promises are given to only one kind of person. Do you know who that is? To him to overcomes. There are no promises in the New Testament to those who do not overcome.

Derek Prince, How To Face the Last Days Without Fear! (about 25:00)

A few years ago if someone told me the world was coming to an end, I would likely have been disappointed if I didn’t outright dismiss it. When I prayed the words, “Thy Kingdom come”, in the Lord’s Prayer I did not expect it to come right now.

Call it an awakening or a revival, but something happened over those last few years which changed all that. That change didn’t have to happen, but I am grateful that it did.

Based on my own experience, those who look forward to the end times do not feel at home in “Satan’s territory”. Willing to stay, if that is God’s will, we are nevertheless ready to go with oil for our lamps. As Derek Prince remarked, “The only recommendation that Jesus has is ‘Be ready.’

I have been reading Derek Prince’s Spiritual Warfare for the End Times. YouTube has many of his lectures on the last days. One I particularly like is How to Face the Last Days Without Fear which I quoted from above.

The one I’ve linked to below is a fifteen part radio broadcast. It seems close to the book I am reading. He identified the situation we face and mentioned the defensive resources we have as well as the offensive resources to do this battle.

The six defensive weapons are listed in Ephesians 6:13-17. They are being girt with the truth, wearing the breastplate of righteousness, having feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, taking the shield of faith, wearing the helmet of salvation and carrying the sword of the Spirit. The four offensive weapons are prayer, praise, preaching and personal testimony.

He gives us an example of a personal testimony in Part 15 at 9:45 right at the end of this series. He says, “Through the blood of Jesus I am redeemed out of the hand of Satan. Through the blood of Jesus all my sins are forgiven. The blood of Jesus cleanses me from all sin. Through the blood of Jesus I am justified, made righteous, just-as-if-I’d never sinned. And through the blood of Jesus I am sanctified, made holy, set apart to God. I am no longer in Satan’s territory.

It’s all through the blood of Jesus. And so I testify as well.

Derek Prince, Spiritual Warfare

Weekly Bible Reading:  Proverbs (Audio), Ecclesiastes (Audio)
Commentaries: 
David Pawson, Proverbs, Part 34, Ecclesiastes, Part 35, Unlocking the Bible
Bible Project, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes

Cone Flowers in a Prairie

Sunday Walk 58 – Creation Order

The Fall, contra to what you may have seen…in Sunday School, is not simply the eating of the forbidden fruit…. What happens in Genesis 3…is actually an attack on creation order.

Owen Strachan, Issues in Biblical Anthropology, Lecture 3 (about 57:45)

Creation order is the order of Genesis 1 and 2. As Strachan put it: “There’s God and under God there is the man who’s called to this position of headship as the New Testament will call it. There’s the woman underneath him. There are the animals underneath them.” (about 59:00)

Biblical anthropology does not take the creation order from the world but from the Bible. The world blurs distinctions the Bible makes and creates distinctions the Bible doesn’t.

  • The world blurs the distinction between fathers and mothers by calling them “parents”. Strachan recommended that we avoid words like “parent” that undermine the distinction between fathers and mothers.
  • The world blurs the distinction between men and women and the rest of creation in particular the animals. Strachan told us to maintain the distinction. Both men and women, and only they, are made in the image of God. The animals are not.
  • The world creates more distinctions between the sexes than there are and then blurs those distinctions through gender fluidity. Strachan recommended the use of the word “sex” for its specificity of only two biological sexes over the word “gender”. We capitulate theologically to the world by using its preferred language.

Owen Strachan wanted the future pastors in this seminary lecture to see clearly the creation order so they could effectively lead their churches and not be themselves led by the world. He said, “Are you feeling how alien Christianity increasingly is from what our secular culture teaches? Are you feeling that? I hope you are. If you are, good. That’s what you should feel. You should feel that Christianity is distinct from the world.” (about 42:45)

Owen Strachan, Issues in Biblical Anthropology

Weekly Bible Reading:  Psalms (Audio), Proverbs (Audio)
Commentaries: 
David Pawson, Psalms, Part 32, Proverbs, Part 33, Unlocking the Bible
Bible Project, Psalms and Proverbs

Sunday Walk 57 – Greg Bahnsen on Miracles

Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

Proverbs 26:4-5, King James Bible 1769, and expounded in Greg Bahnsen’s Always Ready.

In one of Jim Lee’s posts he linked to Reconstructionist Radio, a site offering Grey Toombs’ narration of Always Ready, a collection of essays by Greg Bahnsen. Bahnsen was a proponent of Van Til’s presuppositional apologetics. Keeping Proverbs 26:4-5 in mind, this apologetics answers the fool without capitulating to the fool’s presuppositions.

After reading C.S. Lewis’s Miracles, Bahnsen’s essay, The Problem of Miracles, reprinted as Chapter 34, caught my attention.

At the beginning of the essay, Bahnsen explained why miracles are a problem for the modern mind: “Miracles would disrupt our simplistic and impersonalistic views of the predictability and uniformity of the world around us.”

We should be careful not to accept Naturalism’s presuppositions by becoming aware of what they are. For example, there needs to be a reason for the uniformity of nature. Can the Naturalist presupposition of the existence of impersonal laws of nature provide that reason? Given that “impersonal” implies those laws arose by chance, it is not likely. Furthermore as Bahnsen claimed at about 21:30 in the narration of the chapter, “God’s self-revelation in the scriptures offers no support for the idea that there are impersonal laws of nature which make the world operate mechanically and with an inevitability which is free ordinarily from the choices of God’s will.” So, there is no need for a Christian to capitulate to the Naturalist’s presupposition of impersonal laws of nature.

The Christian presupposition is that the Bible is the Word of God. The creation account in Genesis 1-2 provides a reason for the uniformity of nature since the creation was good and Genesis 3 provides a reason for the disorderliness of evil (rebellion) that we also see.

Is the source of the orderliness we experience personal or impersonal? If we accept that it is personal (rather than arising from impersonal chance), does the Bible reveal the true personal source or might there some other source such as panpsychism, Brahma or some Baal? The Christian presupposes that the Bible reveals the true source and, given that source, miracles are possible.

At the end of the chapter, Bahnsen warned us to be careful with miracles. They are possible, but the presence of a miracle, or perhaps better put, a sign or wonder, does not mean that God was responsible for it. Signs or wonders, given the serpent in Genesis 3, may also come from demonic sources seeking to deceive.

Greg Bahnsen, The Uniformity of Nature: Atheism’s Philosophical Problem

All knowledge is deposited in Christ. Man’s knowledge of the truth depends upon God’s prior knowledge, begins with the fear of the Lord, and it requires submission to God’s Word.

Greg Bahnsen, Always Ready, Chapter 6

Weekly Bible Reading:  Psalms (Audio)
Commentary: David Pawson, Hebrew Poetry, Part 30, and Psalms, Part 31, Unlocking the Bible

Sunday Walk 55 – The Cross: Blessings and Curses

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

Deuteronomy 30:19, King James Bible 1769

Given the Deuteronomy quote above there are both blessings and curses (life and death). Furthermore, experience suggests that many of us find it easier to curse than to bless. Too often we speak harshly of others and even ourselves. Too often we slip into immorality while seeking either pleasure or power.

Given curses, how do we undo them? How can we go from curses to blessings?

Near the beginning of the video below Derek Prince said, “If you have any need or problem whatsoever in your life there is one place and only one place to which you must go to find God’s provision or God’s solution and that one place is the cross of Jesus.”

Satan wouldn’t want to remove a curse. Those nature deities like Gaia couldn’t. Honoring them with attention might go beyond being a waste of time and lead one through idolatry to even more curses.

Derek Prince, From Curse To Blessing

Weekly Bible Reading:  Ezra (Audio), Nehemiah (Audio), Esther (Audio)
Commentary: David Pawson, Ezra and Nehemiah, Part 26, Esther, Part 27, Unlocking the Bible

Sunday Walk 54 – Christian Birth and Repentance

Hell is God’s incinerator for perished people.

David Pawson, Repent of Your Sins Towards God, (about 26:00)

Focusing on repentance, these are my thoughts after listening to David Pawson’s lectures on the normal Christian birth. I have added to some of what I’ve heard. In the process I may have got some of it wrong. So check out the videos for yourself if you want to hear Pawson’s views directly.

There are four stages to a Christian birth: (1) repentance, (2) belief, (3) baptism and (4) the laying on of hands. Many skip the first and the fourth looking only for eternal security (safety) rather than being saved (salvaged) from sins for holy service in the Kingdom.

It takes time to identify specific sins. However, like a Catholic penitent kneeling in a confessional we need to specifically identify what sins we want to be saved from. This growing awareness convinces us that we really are sinners and, after we’ve changed, we know what specific sins we have stopped doing.

Repentance is more than regret for what we’ve done to ourselves and more than remorse for what we’ve done to others. It is sorrow for what we’ve done to God. Having that kind of sorrow is proof we believe there is a Lord God we can offend. We prove our faithfulness (allegiance to the Lord) by following orders to sin no more.

Without repentance we aren’t of much use. We are broken pots, perished to such an extent that we really ought to be thrown out. Without repentance we can only fool ourselves with our good deeds.

If we ever do get around to repenting we find we will have to repent not only for all of the bad things we know we’ve done, but also for all of those good deeds we’ve done to our own glory. By then we will have realized that nothing short of being made holy for renewed service will do.

David Pawson, Repent of Your Sins Towards God

Weekly Bible Reading:  1 Chronicles (Audio), 2 Chronicles (Audio), Ezra (Audio), Nehemiah (Audio)
Commentary: David Pawson, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Part 24, Ezra and Nehemiah, Part 25, Unlocking the Bible

Morning
Morning

Sunday Walk 52 – Biblical Archeology

I recently went on a tour of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago led by Ted Wright, Executive Director of Epic Archeology. After exploring his site here are a few of the many topics I found of interest.

  • Among the top 10 things to know about Biblical archeology are that “every major New Testament village and town has been discovered”, the Book of Acts records accurate geographic references, and there is an “historical synchronism” between the Assyrian record and the Old Testament regarding Sennacherib’s sacking of Lachish and the siege of Jerusalem. The prism containing the annals of Sennacherib is on display in the Oriental Institute.
  • The uraeus representing the Egyptian goddess Wadjet was a cobra often seen on the heads of statues of the pharaohs. When the Israelites yearned to return to Egypt, God sent them poisonous snakes to remind them what would be waiting if they went back (Numbers 21). As a cure for the bites Moses hung a copper snake on a pole which was how John 3 represented Jesus on the cross.
  • The references to Pharaoh hardening his heart is evidence that Exodus was written by an eye-witness who knew the Egyptian Book of the Dead where a weighty, hardened heart meant a miserable afterlife.

In the video below Ted Wright reviews one of the documentary films in Timothy Mahoney’s Patterns of Evidence series. Some of the questions asked in these documentaries are whether the Exodus and Conquest happened in the 15th century BC, where was the Red Sea crossing and whether Moses would have been able to write the Torah.

Ted Wright, Patterns of Evidence

There is also the question of whether Hebrew is the language of “the world’s oldest alphabet”, a position held by Douglas Petrovich. The discovery of the origin of the alphabet involved the discovery of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim at the beginning of the Sojourn in Egypt at Avaris. As Petrovich presented the data, they would have been the most likely inventors. This alphabet made it possible for Moses to write the Bible and for the Israelites to read it.


Weekly Bible Reading:  1 Samuel (Audio), 2 Samuel (Audio), 1 Kings (Audio), 2 Kings (Audio)
Commentary: David Pawson, 1 and 2 Samuel, Part 2 of 2, 1 and 2 Kings, Part 1 of 2, Unlocking the Bible

Sunday Walk 51 – From Witchcraft To Pornography

Derek Prince called witchcraft the “religion of fallen humanity” and associated it with rebellion, idolatry and the occult. Occult practices include the use of horoscopes, pendulums, or tarot cards. To give the devil his due, these practices work to some extent, but that’s just the bait, the demonic deception, the worm that makes the hook look attractive. When we take the bait we push the Holy Spirit aside.

When we yearn for the supernatural we should yearn for the real thing, not a demonic substitute. No fancy yoga position could ever replace repentance. No fortune teller could ever replace a real church.

Witchcraft can also be associated with activities that appear to have nothing to do with the occult such as watching pornography. People who think they are too smart to be fooled by fortune tellers are readily hooked by lust. If you are involved in this addiction, stop submitting to its demonic influence. If not, there’s a basket full of other addictions including gluttony, greed, fear and anger to avoid as well.

Lion of Judah, This Happens in the Unseen World When You Watch Pornography

Most of these ideas are relatively new for me and you are welcome to set me straight in the comments below.


Weekly Bible Reading:  Judges (Audio), Ruth (Audio), 1 Samuel (Audio), 2 Samuel (Audio)
Commentary: David Pawson, Judges and Ruth, Part 2 of 2, 1 and 2 Samuel, Part 1 of 2, Unlocking the Bible

Sunday Walk 50 – Good At Heart?

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10, King James Bible 1769

When I was a teenager my family and I watched the 1959 film The Diary of Anne Frank in our living room. Anne died in a Nazi concentration camp, but she left behind a diary of the events that occurred while her family was in hiding. A memorable part of the movie was when she expressed her belief that people were good at heart.

George Barna of the Cultural Research Center wrote recently that one of the top 10 most seductive unbiblical ideas embraced by Americans is ‘the idea that people are “basically good”’. That suggests that the memorable part of the movie about Anne Frank was seductively unbiblical.

The reason the idea that we are good at heart is wrong is because it is sentimental. It is a false form of consolation, because it looks for goodness in the wrong place. Rather than acknowledging that God is good, it claims that somewhere deep down inside of us we are.

To a society that rejects Jesus, we mythologize the Kingdom of God rather than preach it. To a society that blatantly intimidates with sexual addiction, we downplay the need for repentance. Alisa Childers wrote that one of the five signs that one’s church was becoming progressive is “[t]he heart of the gospel message shifts from sin and redemption to social justice”.

I’m still trying to figure this out. You are welcome to tell me what you think about people being good at heart.


I am grateful to Michael Wilson for presenting George Barna’s research and to Bruce Cooper for pointing out Alisa Childers’ criticism of progressive Christianity.

Final thought: After David impregnated Bathsheba, had her husband Uriah killed to avoid scandal, and was called out for it by Nathan (2 Samuel 11-12), he didn’t think much of his heart. He wanted God to create in him a clean one (Psalm 51).


Weekly Bible Reading:  Joshua (Audio), Judges (Audio), Ruth (Audio)
Commentary: David Pawson, Joshua, Part 2 of 2, Judges and Ruth, Part 1 of 2, Unlocking the Bible

View From the Top
View From the Top

Sunday Walk 48 – Independence Day

Happy Fourth of July! I am in the process of moving away from big tech. Here’s what I’ve done so far.

For browser and search engine, I switched from Google Chrome to Brave with DuckDuckGo.

For email, I purchased a subscription to ProtonMail. My Gmail account is nearly inactive.

For cloud services, I canceled my subscription to Google One’s storage plan using instead my own solid state drives.

For office tools, I switched from Google Docs and Sheets to Apache Open Office.

For those interested in doing something similar, Sven Taylor provides a list of alternatives for Google products at the Restore Privacy site. There are more alternatives than I initially realized.

For social media, although I am currently inactive on Facebook and Twitter, my accounts remain open. I think it is worthwhile to interact with others in such environments. The same goes for places like Stack Exchange and Quora where I also have open, but inactive accounts. At the moment my social media focus is on MeWe and this WordPress blog.

Part of alt tech is to learn how to wear the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6). It is not just using open source software to protect one’s privacy or new platforms to avoid censorship. The user needs to get his act together. Without that armor I could still become corrupted and unwittingly corrupt others in turn.

By the next Fourth of July, God willing, I hope to be on Linux and know better how to wear that armor.


Weekly Bible Reading:  Numbers (Audio) Deuteronomy (Audio)
Commentary: David Pawson, Numbers, Part 2 of 2, Deuteronomy, Part 1 of 2, Unlocking the Bible

Blue and Yellow Flowers
Blue and Yellow Flowers

Happiness

Holy? Happy? Take your pick.
“Give me both!” That was quick.


Eugenia offers the word “happiness” for this week’s Thursday Prompt.

I was listening to David Pawson’s second lecture on Leviticus this morning where he made the comment at about 8:20 in the video, “The only way to be really happy is to be really holy.” So that’s what I was thinking of when writing this poem.

Eugenia’s Prompt Image
Underneath a Willow Tree
Underneath a Willow Tree