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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : optimism, working for peace, negativism, end of times prophesies

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 optimism, working for peace, negativism, end of times prophesies



The Bible has plenty of passages that describe a warring, Armegedon, end of times scenario. It also has passages, such as in Isaiah, that describe a peaceful conclusion. And different people have different ways of interpreting these.

My problem is that if you believe the violent end of times scenario, such as in Matt. or Revelations, you will be disinclined to work for peace because, in the end, all hell is going to break out anyway. It may be better to even foment violence if you believe this and hasten the second coming.

Jesus asks us to love one another and as far as I am concerned, this is enough. I don't care about, and I dismiss, end of times prophesies because they could be a trap to entice people to wage war.

They are a disincentive to people to follow after Jesus because they tell us that the world will alway be a violent place and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Loving your neighbor can do little good. What if Martin Luther King had believed this? What if the many peacemakers who have preserved our world for us today had believed this, and given up? Wouldn't our world have been bombed into nuclear oblivion by now?

Christians should take great care in how they view all end of times prophesies, so as they do not contradict the real reason for the Bible: conveying salvation through love and forgiveness.

Jake

 2004/3/9 14:53
rookie
Member



Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re: optimism, working for peace, negativism, end of times prophesies

A short story of a long story. I was raised in a strict Catholic home. My dad was a coal miner, and steel worker. He was a WW2 veteran and a prisoner of war in the Korean conflict. He raised us with these influences. His hope was in the American dream. Well after working for 24 years at Bethelehm Steel he was layed of in 1975 at the age of 52. This impacted our family severely. For 20 years I carried the bitterness of seeing the hopes of my family destroyed. My dad had no answers. He did not understand the socioeconomic laws that were and are coming to bear on this country where he placed his hope in.

Three years into my walking with the Lord, He took away the bitterness by showing me the depravity of man and how deeply it runs in the world. Jake, war will come. Desolations will occur. We do not war against flesh and blood but principalities and the power of Satan's realm. The worlds economy is of Satan. The worlds philosophies are of Satan. The worlds values are of Satan.

We as Christians are called to love our enemies so that they might witness the power of God. Those who get caught up in the world trying to save it by it's ways will not succeed. The Holy Scriptures tells us so. Patriotism can not coexist within those who look to the heavenly city. The definition of Patriotism is pride for one's country. Pride does not exist in a disciple of Christ. Pride is of Satan. It blinds us from seeing the depravity that exists in the ways of the world.

So Jake, one must accept the Holy Scriptures and what they say will come to pass. The Holy Scriptures tells us that war will continue. We are called not to war but to preach Jesus Christ.

In Christ
Jeff


_________________
Jeff Marshalek

 2004/3/9 15:31Profile









 Re:

Rookie wrote: "We are called not to war but to preach Jesus Christ."

Good answer.

Unfortunately, many people calling themselves "christians" and who are members of evangelical and charismatic churches believe that "Spriritual warfare" also includes actual wars for control of the Holy Land, or other wars, such as the current one in Iraq, to enable the U.S. to have greater power in the Mideast. (President Bush himself said that God told him to wage this war).

And much of the leadership of the Church in America (Falwel, Robertson, many others) agrees with President Bush in setting a goal for the U.S. to dominate the world militarily. I fear for those who follow these misguided leaders.

Jake

 2004/3/12 9:51
rookie
Member



Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re:

"So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; [b]for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God."[/b] James 1:19-20

War is the curse of God not the blessings. War is the fruit of Satan. God brings everything into submission to His will. He allows war to bring people to their knees in the hope that some might cry out, "Father save us." War has also been used to destroy Jerusalem twice so far. Even when Israel was commanded by God to destroy the filth around them, God said to them, "Do not think in your heart, after the Lord your God has cast them out before you, saying, "Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess the land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is driving them out from before you. It is not because of your righteousness or uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land,..." Deuteronomy 9:4-5

So those who sit up in high office and say I am righteous and our cause is righteous has not studied what Scriptures say about the nation that has a special place in God's heart.

In Christ
Jeff


_________________
Jeff Marshalek

 2004/3/12 11:17Profile









 Re: Christian Zionism

Christian Zionism is characterized by four basic assumptions:

1. The Jews have divine right to the land because of God's promise to Abraham;
2. the return of the Jews to the land is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies;
3. The creation of the state of Israel will lead to the conversion of the Jews and ultimately to the second coming of Christ; and
4. Christians should not only support the idea of a Jewish state, but support what it stands for and defend it against attack.

See:

http://www.sabeel.org/old/news/cstone31/Stephen_Sizer_I.htm


Long Term Objectives

1. Liberating the Temple Mount from Arab (Islamic) occupation. The Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa mosque were placed on this Jewish or Biblical holy site as a specific sign of Islamic conquest and domination. The Temple Mount can never be consecrated to the Name of G-d without removing these pagan shrines. It has been suggested that they be removed, transferred to and rebuilt at Mecca.

2. Consecrating the Temple Mount to the Name of G-d so that it can become the moral and spiritual center of Israel, of the Jewish people and of the entire world according to the words of all the Hebrew prophets. It is envisioned that the consecration of the Temple Mount and the Temple itself will focus Israel on (a) fulfilling the vision and mission given at Mt. Sinai for Israel to be a chosen people separate unto G-d, a holy nation, and a nation of priests, and (b) becoming a light unto all the nations [Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 42:6] so that the Name of G-d may be revered by all nations and the Biblical way of life may be propagated throughout the world.

3. Rebuilding the Third Temple in accordance with the words of all the Hebrew prophets. This temple will be a house of prayer for the people of Israel and all nations.

4. Providing a Biblical point of assembly in order that all Israel may fulfill the commandment to assemble three times annually at the times of G-d's festivals and at the place where G-d established His Name forever.

5. Making Biblical Jerusalem the real, undivided capital of the state of Israel.

6. Rejecting false "peace talks" which will result in the dividing of Israel and the breaking of G-d's covenant. G-d promised to Abraham and to his seed that the land and the borders of Israel are eternal and cannot be divided and given to other people and nations.

7. Supporting the settlements in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights as they are holy. No one is allowed to break the Word and the Will of G-d by commanding the settlers to leave. In the Biblical era, G-d commanded the people of Israel to settle the land completely. This command is applicable today. The holy connection and covenant between G-d, the People of Israel and the Land of Israel is eternal.



Of course, with these objectives, a Christian war with Islam is inevitable.

Questions: How can you interpret the Bible as literal truth and not support Christian Zionism? However, a contradicting question is, How can you interpret Jesus' sermon on the Mount and still support Christian Zionism?

I think here Christians are faced with a very difficult challenge: Believe in the prophesies of Bible or believe in the teachings of Jesus.

Jake

 2004/3/15 12:36
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Hi Jake
you wrote I think here Christians are faced with a very difficult challenge: Believe in the prophesies of Bible or believe in the teachings of Jesus.

This is a false dichotomy. Mark 13, Luke 21, Matt 24 are the teachings of Jesus. Not all evangelical Christians hold the same interpretations of scripture; we agree its infallibility but that is infallibility in its inspiration not its interpretation. You constantly accuse me of interpreting the Bible as 'literal truth' and yet I just scored 0% on your Christian Zionist score card.


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2004/3/15 13:41Profile









 Re:


Philologos: Good to hear you are not in the Christian Zionist camp. Yet, I'm left wondering just what your interpretation is. Jesus clearly speaks of future tribulations in the chapters you mention and warns us to be watchful and alert to the signs. But the prophesies cited by the Zionist Christians are also Biblical and many interpret them as a call to war against Islam and the Palestinians, which goes against Jesus' teachings. (Jesus just asks that we watch and keep vigilant in the faith, and says nothing about taking sides.)

More than 50% of Americans consider themselves "conservative" Christians and the vast majority of these believe in the active support of Israel in order that God's OT prophesies regarding the holy land be fulfilled. Furthermore, they do this because of their beliefs about the Second Coming of Christ.

Personally, I think Christ can manage His second coming without help from mere mortals. (Best laid plans of mice and men, etc.) But in the "Christian Church" of American, my opinion on this is very much in the minority and many are preparing for and fomenting warfare.

Jake

 2004/3/15 14:53
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Hi Jake
We are in the realm of interpretation again. I do not agree that the scriptures encourage the taking of sides. I know that many Christians believe so, but I do not. The New Testament is not at all interested in nation-states.

The Christian Brethren of a hundred and fifty years ago sometimes would say "it is not the church's role to tame the wild beasts of Daniel 7". By this they were objecting to the self-given role of the church to reform the nations. If it's not our role to 'tame' them it certainly isn't our role to 'encourage them'.

I actually share some of your misgivings about the danger of evangelicals following some kind of prophetic mandate. Jesus' words surely are simply enough "if my kingdom were of this world then would my servants strive".[John 18:36] (the word is 'strive' rather than fight)


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2004/3/15 15:11Profile









 Re:

Philologos wrote:

"I actually share some of your misgivings about the danger of evangelicals following some kind of prophetic mandate."

More common ground??! I can't endure it! Arguing is so much easier. :)

(That thingy at the end is because I still can't figure out how to operate the smiley faced dohickies.)

Jake

 2004/3/15 16:08









 Re:

Philologos Wrote:

"This is a false dichotomy. Mark 13, Luke 21, Matt 24 are the teachings of Jesus."

Ron, I should have brought this up earlier. The passages you mention are the prophesies of Jesus and are not about how we are to live in the world. My concern is that teachings such as "love your neighbor as your self" and "love your enemies" will be run over and neglected because of the Christian Church's insistence on the inevitablility of a war that ends the world as we know it and ushers in the millinium of Christ's reign. If we fail to hope for, pray for and work for peace in the here and now, of course war will come. Christ's second coming may not be for another 1,000 years. Should we view each and every violent encounter that ensnarls the mideast as proof that the second coming is near? Thus, we have reason to promote such engagement, as we look forward to the promised land and an end to the pain, alienation and loathing of the world as it is today. Or would it be best to set aside such prophesy and hold onto and nurture Jesus' love in everyday living, that it would take hold on our world. (I cannot see how this could be wrong.)

To say that no matter what a person does, including following the teachings of Jesus, they cannot change or affect anything such that the destruction of the world is not inevitable, instills a kind of hopelessness in our daily lives. Why work for progress if it will always fail? Mankind is doomed and any and all good works are unnecessary and cannot save you or anyone else.

This is what I get from your "gift" only approach to salvation. Works and a positive approach to life are essential, as well as Jesus' sacrifice.

Jake

 2004/3/18 14:08





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