Monthly Archives: June 2006
Here is a little something to chew on. What do Marxism and Christianity have in common? Think about it for a moment. Give up? The answer is that both have a linear view of time. What do I mean by this? As Westerners, we take it for granted that there is a such thing as a past, present, and future. Furthermore, all of us believe that the past affects the present and that choices made in the present affect the future. Furthermore, most of us believe that history is heading somewhere, although we may not all be able to agree on where it is heading. Such elementary concepts to us are relatively recent in human history and, in some places of the world, are still not the normal way of thinking for those who follow religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, or traditional folk religions. For example, in many places in Africa still today, if a tragedy or calamity happens, it is proof that an ancestral spirit was offended. The effect is proof of the cause rather than the cause being proof of the effect.
Such was the ancient world that Abraham lived in. For much of human history, time has been viewed as cyclical. Life is a cycle of births and rebirths. What is has always been and what has always been always will be. Such thinking does very little for human progress. To make the long story short, it was the Bible that established time as linear and established the foundation for human progress. As Christians, we believe in the creation, fall, redemption, and consumation of all things. In other words, history is heading somewhere. Marxism also believes that history is heading somewhere and that the choices of society affect the future of the human race. Tragically, their exclusion of God in their system resulted in millions of death in the 20th century.
So even though Marxism is a godless system of government, it’s linear view of time was shaped by a Biblical Christian worldview. Now that’s irony.
I saw the strangest thing on an A&E documentary about the Ku Klux Klan. Here was a group of white men, women, and children singing Amazing Grace in front of a burning cross somewhere at some ungodly hour in the middle of nowhere. Here is the ironic thing about that. Besides the obvious irony of using a cross as a symbol of hate (they say that the burning cross represents the light of Jesus Christ coming into the world), the song, Amazing Grace, was written by an ex-slave owner who became a fervent abolitionist during his life time. I guess being uneducated should be added to the list of their many flaws.
Question- It is my understanding that you believe in a pre-trib rapture. How do you reconcile Matthew 24:29-31 with the pre-trib rapture view?
Answer- This is an excellent question. First of all,let me say that I hold my pre-trib rapture views with a grain of salt. I’ll be the first to tell you that if I see a man standing in a rebuilt Jewish temple proclaiming himself to be God,I’d reconsider my position very quickly! (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4) And then, after I build my nuclear fall-out shelter, I would then be able to calculate the exact day of the return of Jesus Christ to the earth. How is this possible? It is possible because, according to Daniel 12:11, “from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away and the abomination of desolation is set up (which is the same event described in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 and is an event that Jesus Himself said was a future event according to Matthew 24:15-16), there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.” So from the time that the Antichrist desecrates the temple, one could calculate to the exact day the return of Jesus Christ. You may be thinking, “But wait! I thought that no one knows the day or the hour of the Lord’s return and that Christians are supposed to be expecting Jesus to come back at any moment.” That’s exactly right. Check out these references and you will see that the early followers of Jesus believed that Jesus could come back at any moment- (John 14:1-3,I Corinthians 15:51-53, I Thessalonians 1:9-10,4:16-17,Philippians 3:20,Titus 2:13, Hebrews 9:28, I Peter 1:4-5).
So how do we resolve this dilemma? How is it that the early Apostles expected that Jesus could come back at any moment and, yet, according to the prophecies, the return of Jesus to the earth can be calculated to the exact day after the middle of Daniel’s 70th week? (See Daniel 9:24-27) The short answer to this question is that there are two separate stages to the second coming of Christ. The first stage is where Jesus comes for His Church to take them to heaven (John 14:1-3) and to deliver them from the coming wrath (I Thessalonians 1:9-10). This is an event that could happen at any moment and is something that Christians should eagerly anticipate (Hebrews 9:28). At some time after this point, Daniel’s 70th week begins, which is a 7 year period in which God turns his attention back toward the Jewish people to restore them as His covenant people (see Daniel 9:24) and to purge the world from wickedness (hence the judgments in the Book of Revelation). At the end of this period, Jesus will come back and establish His kingdom on earth for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-6). It is the second phase of His coming that Jesus is referring to in Matthew 24:29-31.
There is much more that could be said about this, but I hope this helps.
As promised, I am writing about my observations of Tibet and the Tibetan people. Actually, what is even more significant to me is what did not happen to us while we were in Tibet. According to the people that we talked to, just 40 years ago, Tibet was one of the most dangerous places on earth. Often, in our Western media culture, Tibetan Buddhists , and Buddhists in general are portrayed as a peace loving people. Certainly there are peace loving Buddhists just like there are peace loving Christians and Muslims around the world. But the assumption is that Buddhism naturally lends itself to a peaceful co-existence among people. From what I’ve heard about Tibet from the Tibetans themselves, nothing can be further from the truth. Up until the time that China took over Tibet, one could hardly travel anywhere without fearing the fierce bandits that often robbed and killed the travelers. Not only that, Tibet was very much a feudal society where warring clans would periodically raid each other’s villages and destroy and kill everything in sight. All of this lasted until just a few decades ago. The fact that we could freely move about without fear of being killed by bandits is a tribute to the moral standards of the modern world-a world shaped by Christianity. Even in communist China, when people that were once isolated from the rest of the world are exposed to the broader world shaped largely by Christianity, things change and life is easier for everybody. Thank God for the values that Jesus introduced into the world.
The first full day that our team was in Llasa, we met up with a man who actually made a lot of the idols in the temples. The six of us were given an exclusive tour of the temples and the monasteries. This, in and of itself, was probably the most memorable aspect of the trip. We happened to be in Tibet during a month -long religious festival and there were people everywhere chanting, holding prayer wheels, and prostrating themselves. In some of the temples we even had to climb ladders to get into the rooms. The strangest thing that I saw however was the holy Coca Cola. I am not joking about this. In front of the Buddha statues was holy water, which I expected. I also saw holy beer. But when I saw the Coca Cola I half-jokingly asked the man “What’s that? Holy Coca-Cola?” Although he laughed with me, he affirmed that it was indeed holy Coca-Cola. I guess even Buddha “can’t beat the real thing” .
For those of you who receive my mothly prayer e-mails, as promised, I will be writing about my observations of Tibet over the next week. Here is my first observation. I noticed in all of the temples that I went to (we received an exclusive tour from a man who actually makes idols) there were ghoulish looking monster creatures that were designed to protect the Buddhas. I can only imagine how creepy these temples and monastaries are for small children. I was told that some times they stick children in the mouths of the monster images to scare them into behaving. But that’s a different matter. Here is my question, if Buddha is so powerful, why does he need to be protected? I’m thankful that I serve a God (aka Jesus Christ) that doesn’t need protection. In fact, the Bible says that “all things are created by Him, whether visible are invisible.” All other gods are just silly imitations.