I finished the Learn the Bible in 24 Hours – New Testament course which is a requirement for my Unschooled Master of Theology program. I’m really excited to finish the Discussion Question assignment and move on to individual book courses. My ultimate plan this year (2021-2022) is to complete all of Chuck Missler’s individual book commentaries. As a note: the instructions say to answer at least one question for each session, but for these (and most) courses I take, especially since I have no time constraints anymore, I opt to answer all questions provided.

So, lets jump in and see what I learned from this course…

Lecture 13

Why was the crucifixion NOT a tragedy but an accomplishment?

Jesus actually came in the flesh, becoming a human, for the expressed purpose of dying on the cross. It was not something that happened to him, but something he actually orchestrated. At the fall, the human race was cursed by God and this resulted in death entering into the world and taking captive anyone and anything that was living or would ever live. Because of this, God had to resolve the issue and since through one man sin was transferred to all, it had to be a man that removed it. By offering himself up as a willing sacrifice, because he was sinless, death not only had no power over him in the grave, but he will be able to offer his death as payment for our sin in the resurrection and at the judgment. This will allow us to be found innocent and by his blood we are granted not only access to heaven, but also eternal life and adoption as Sons of God, where we will become like the angels (how this actually is all accomplished and what mechanisms were used to bring it about are unknown). Christ dying on the cross solved the enmity issue humans inadvertently had with God.

In what ways is the book of Ruth messianic?

Boaz was the kinsmen redeemer in the story of Ruth. Ruth is the picture of the Church, Naomi the picture of the Jews, and Boaz the picture of Jesus, the messiah. Jesus is our kinsmen redeemer.

Make a list of the prophecies found in Psalm 22.

1. My God, my god, why have you forsaken me
2. He trusted in the Lord, let him rescue him
3. My bones are out of joint
4. They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.

What is your favorite Old Testament prophecy?

I would have to say it is a tie between Psalm 2 and Isaiah 53. Psalm 2 is a snapshot of human revolt against God while Isaiah 53 is the prophetic account of Jesus on the cross.

What are some of the ways that Satan has tried to thwart the plan of God?

Revelation 12 is a summary of his attempts. 1. He drew a 1/3 of the angels into rebellion against God. 2. He attempted to block the messiah with the blood curse of Jeconiah (not included in Re 12). 3. He tried to have Jesus killed by Herod as a child. 4. After he was cast to the earth (unclear when this occurred) he went after the woman (the Jewish People). 5. Now he goes after the Church.

Besides the messianic, what other prophetic themes are in the Bible?

The Bible has many prophetic themes including issues pertaining to Israel, to Jerusalem, concerning the Temple (and the third temple to be built before the second coming), about Babylon, Russia (Magog), and the Rise of China, as well as the European SuperState (though, I’m not certain how super it is anymore), the Ecumenical Religion (which has metastasized into Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, and Woke Ideology – a new and malignant quasi-religious, materialist, socialist, anti-Christian worldview), and a Global Government (which COVID has propelled into the forefront of politics and culture) as well as the rise of the Occult.

K-W-L Self Assessment: L- Describe what you LEARNED from this session.

I was unable to complete the K portion of the KWL self assessment, though I can say that I have previously listened to these lectures, so it was a review more than anything. This is the first time completing the discussion questions, though.

After this lecture, I recognize and reaffirm how important biblical literacy truly is. It is the main reason I have committed to a systematic review of all 66 books of the Bible this year as part of my uThM program, simply because such things are not at all done in typical seminary programs today.

It is crucial to know the Bible because this collection of documents says more about our near and distant future than it has said about any other time in human history. To be equipped and prepared, we must be intimately familiar with the book that tells us in advance how the history of the world will play out. For the Bible, especially the Old Testament, is incomplete until those prophesies are all completed.

Missler reaffirmed the cosmic war that is being waged all around us, though, I struggle to be convinced at what proximity I really am to the battlefield. I know the evangelical diatribe about speaking outwardly, about proclaiming the gospel to others, but I am either shackled by psychological problems of insecurity and avoidant personality disorders or God has made me just the way I am for a specific purpose that he has yet to reveal. There may be a chance that I can reach out to others with the Blog and with my books, but this has yet to materialize in any significant way. I am very at home communicating via the written word, and not at all comfortable speaking in person with literally anyone. Likewise, there is much more communication being done today via the web than there is in person, so I stand on my desire to withdraw to deserted places and remain isolated as a call by God to the contemplative life. If not, may God’s grace be sufficient to cover even these sins.

One fascinating concept is the theory that we are living in a digital simulation and the actual reality is the greater spiritual realm that God and the angels inhabit. It’s hard to fathom a time when the earth and the physical universe will not exist, or will be melted down to its base components and remade without the curse. No oceans, no sun. A four dimensional city where the world will be ruled from. I’m holding out for a remote and solitary position as a research librarian in what must be a vast collection of books that is God’s library. I imagine he (or those tasked to do so) have recorded every last thing about God only knows what in those books. I hope to have a chance at spending eternity pouring through the library, discovering all there is to know about God, about the human creation of the physical world, if we are unique and singular, or if God has done this many times before and if he plans to do it many more times in the future.

Likewise intriguing is the idea that humans have a particular architecture, of both hardware and software. I argue this is exactly how we are constructed – the physical body is our hardware and is a conduit to the physical realm. The software is our soul, which is a collection of component parts: mind, memories, emotions. It is from this region that our will is exercised. The spirit is the third component of the trichotomic being, which is the spark that animates the flesh to life, and holds the tether between the body and soul. Upon death, this tether is decoupled, and the body ceases animation, decays, and returns to the dust of the earth, while the spirit returns to God, and the soul is carried off by angels to either Hades (torment) or Paradise (repose), both awaiting the resurrection and our transition into spiritual bodies (flesh + something else, as we put on immortality). After this, we will all stand before God at the great white throne.

Lecture 14

How do we know that the Old Testament documents are reliable?

There are several reasons to see the Bible as reliable. 1. Archaeology continually proves the accounts correct, from the cities they think were mythical discovered, to the ark, to the anchors from Paul’s shipwreck. 2. Fulfilled prophecy also illustrates how the biblical account is accurate and reliable. From Cyrus’ actions be prewritten, the suffering servant of Isaiah 53, the myriad of prophecies pertaining to the crucifixion; they all point to authentication. 3. Personal transformation in the life of the genuine believer. I can attest (for myself if no one else) that something occurred 30 years ago when I read 2 Peter 2 for the first time. My life before that had been on a different path, and since reading that chapter, I have possessed an undeniable faith in Christ and in God and in the biblical worldview. Why this occurred, I do not know. If I was selected for the mercy and grace of the gospel of Christ, I have no idea why I was selected and the other was not. But, my faith and how I obtained it points directly to the authentic nature of the biblical text.

How do we know that the New Testament documents are reliable?

Answered in the above question.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the King James version?

This was an issue I had to deal with early on in my faith and again after I was more grounded in the first principles. Shortly after I was saved, I found myself trying to read the KJV and I found it extremely confusing and convoluted. I couldn’t make much sense of it (by the way, I absolutely hated Shakespeare in high school). When a missionary in Germany asked me if I was reading the Bible, I told him I would like to read it but I was struggling with the KJV. He told me to go down to the bookstore and get an NIV. So I did and then subsequently spent the next few months reading the Bible from cover to cover.

A few years later, after I had worn out that NIV study Bible (and had purchased a new $70 NIV), I found it difficult to read because the NIV kept cutting out parts of the text and relegating them to the footnotes. I discovered this was the KJV-only controversy (which I had been exposed to a little by the fundamentalists I spoke with in Germany) between the CT and MT of the NT (by this point I wasn’t to the Masoretic vs LXX controversy yet). After reading a lot and looking at both sides, I settled within myself that I wanted a primary translation that kept the majority text in the reading but put the CT variants in the footnotes (the opposite of the NIV). I found this in the NKJV and this has been my primary reader for nearly 30 years.

I personally have nothing good to say about the KJV as a translation. All things being equal, I think it is an out-of-date translation. People simply don’t speak this way anymore. But, several years later, as I adopted digital tools for Bible study, I realized there was no longer an issue between translations since I could have all translation strategies available in digital form and could compare on the fly.

Now I still use the NKJV as my primary or base reader, if for no other reason than it was the text I used for memorization. For serious study I use it plus the NIV, the EOB (orthodox majority) and five or six other English translations that span the translation spectrum, plus the corresponding Greek translations (TR, Maj, CT). The Old Testament I use the same English translations, a translation of the LXX in English and corresponding Greek texts. I also use the Hebrew as needed, though not primary since the NT authors predominately used the Greek Bible in their references. In the future I may also get a copy of the Vulgate for study (may not be needed).

So, to answer the question, I don’t view the KJV as having any benefits or issues, at least not any more or less than any other translation. They are all susceptible to manipulation by humans. Only the originals were inerrant. But all are infallible when coupled with the Holy Spirit. But without the Holy Spirit, the Bible (especially our translations) are just books.

I use the KJV sparingly, mostly to see changes that were made to the NKJV underhandedly.

What version of the Bible is “best”? For whom and under what condition? Which is your version of choice?

I answered these questions above. There is no best translation. NKJV has been my preferred translation for many years.

The concept of “older is better” can be a trap. How is it true in regards to Alexandrian Codices?

This idea is, in my mind, an excuse for the liberally minded or those who want to erode the biblical text so they can justify their immoral behavior. It is pretty obvious there was intention to the editing of the text. Either they altered the text by cutting away in places (gnostics) or they added text to try and bring the bible together (monks) in later centuries. Just because it is older doesn’t mean it is better. We could have two copies of Moby Dick, one an exact copy of the original and another copied by a half blind person who got 50% of it wrong. If the one done by the half blind person completed his copy 100 years before the other one (exact copy) in no way makes the half blind copy better. It’s actually morse.

At this point, though, we do not have the originals. We only have the copies of the Bible. So, we should take all the variants into account and present/publish translations according to preference: i.e. NKJV or NIV. I personally don’t care about the controversy anymore since I use all translations and multiple Greek and Hebrew versions, not to mention the robust apparatuses of the variants. It is better to be informed of the differences pertaining to all existent texts rather to be ignorant and partial to one translation.

What is the “fingerprint” authentication of the Bible?

I struggle with this concept. If the macro and micro codes were as perfectly designed as described in the lectures, that would go a long way to supporting a particular underlining Hebrew or Greek text. But, they do not. The Torah code for example is not perfect at all. The Torah does not point to the name of God in EDLS. My own experiments with EDLS software hows the fourth book has the Torah spelled the wrong direction.

Dr. Heiser is very critical of the Genesis 5 genealogy code. He states that Hebrew does not work this way. I don’t know. I personally find it a pretty credible code. I really like the names of the trees hidden in Genesis and the different gematria interesting. But, if I took the time to chase down the evidence, I would bet I would be disappointed. I know I was pretty disappointed in the Torah code.

I personally find the fulfilled prophecies and the Isaiah 53 and Psalm 2 and Cyrus prophecies to be much more authenticating for the Bible.

K-W-L Self Assessment: L- Describe what you LEARNED from this session.

As stated previously, this is at least the second time I’ve gone through the Learn the Bible in 24 Hours lectures, so its quite a bit of review. But, it’s interesting to see that I can still find new information that I didn’t pick up on before.

I did not realize that Mark quoted so much from the other NT books. That would be an interesting project to run down. More important, though, at least for myself, is confirmation on the theory of gnostic contamination of the biblical text. So often this is treated rather flippantly by proponents of the CT, claiming that Westcott and Hort were not spiritualists at heart, but were true to the text, or that gnostics in the early first century were not purposefully altering the text.

I never realized that the Church Fathers could be quoted specifically about gnostic acolytes “shortening” the texts of the NT, yet, this is an important point in this lecture. I would be interested in tracking down the gematria presented here (divisible by 7s) and see if it can be supported in the CT (and also if it is supported in the TR or MT). This would go a long way for me in authenticating the NT.

Lecture 15

Which of the Gospels is the most “Jewish”? The most “Gentile”? The most “mystical”?

Matthew is the most Jewish while Luke is the most Gentile. John is by far the most mystical of the four gospels.

Do the four Gospels demonstrate any symbolic or metaphorical relationships with the four ensigns of Israel around the Tabernacle?

Matthew is the Lion, Mark is the Ox, Luke is the Man, John is the Eagle. These represent Judah, suffering, humanity, and divinity respectively.

List seven passages from the Old Testament that you would use in witnessing to a Jewish friend.

Psalm 2 – Rebellion of Man and God’s Solution
Isaiah 53 – the Suffering Servant
Psalm 22 – Chist’s Crucifixion
Psalm 16:10 – God’s promise of Jesus’ Resurrection
Psalm 110 – Jesus is Victorious
Zech 12:9-10 – Israel Realizes What They’ve Done
Jude 14 (Enoch 1:9) – then the Judgment

What is the main issue behind the blood curse that God gave to Jehoachin? Why is this a great witnessing tool when speaking to a Jewish friend?

This was to fulfill prophecy found in Genesis 3:15 and the “seed of the woman” as well as utilized the obscure exemption Jehoachin’s blood curse (Numbers 26:33; 27:1-11; 36:2-12; Joshua 17:3-6; 1 Chronicles 7:15) allowing Jesus the proper lineage. It would potentially be a good witnessing tool for a Jewish person since it is using their own book the Jewish Bible to illustrate how Jesus fulfills the requirements of the Jewish Messiah.

What is your definition of truth? Why did Jesus speak in parables?

Jesus spoke in parables specifically to fulfill prophecy, specifically Isaiah 6:9-10 as he stated in Matthew 13:10-13.

What is the Sabbath? Why did Jesus seem to choose the Sabbath as the day to do so many miracles? Should a Christian honor the Sabbath?

The Sabbath is part of the Mosaic or even possibly Abrahamic Law (maybe even Adamic) and was memorialized in the Fourth Commandment for the Israelites to observe the day God rested after creating the physical universe and the earth and all living creatures upon it. Jesus chose to perform miracles on the Sabbath to get a rise out of the Scribes and Pharisees, to illustrate their hypocracy (Matt 23:25) in attending to the outer things but not the inner things.

Paul is clear about observing the Sabbath and the Christian. It is up to the individual (Col 2:16). He suggests the Sabbath is a “shadow of things to come.” His point was, Christ is the substance of our worship, our faith, our being. Not the copy and shadow of heavenly things (He 8:5; 9:9; 10:1). It is not about eating and drinking or any outward thing, but about the internal condition of the individual’s soul.

K-W-L Self Assessment: L- Describe what you LEARNED from this session.

There were some very important points raised in this lecture. Most specifically was that the Bible, especially the Old Testament on its own, is not complete. There are many unexplained ceremonies, and many more unfulfilled prophecies still unfulfilled today if Jesus is not the Messiah. It is an oddity to me that the very one the Jews were expecting they rejected, and Jesus held them accountable to know when he would come. But, it is through their rejection that the door was opened for us gentiles, who had no hope of salvation and no means of mercy or grace before that. God knew from before the foundation of the world that he would provide a way, through providence and predestination, he either knew the Jews would reject him or he predestined that they would, and by way of this he made a means by which I can be saved.

It is important not to forget or forsake the Old Testament, even for Christians. Not only was it written as a means of evangelism by prophecy, fulfilling the predictions of Jesus’ first coming in great detail, but it also was written for us as a means of edification, that we might learn from the mistakes of those who went before us (Rom 15:4; 1 Co 10:11). As an evangelism tool, the OT has fallen out of favor over the centuries. I credit this to the antisemetic tendencies prevelant in the Christian Church throughout history. But, examples of this are all throughout the Bible, and nearly all reasoning from the Scriptures in the NT meant from the OT. Perfect examples of this is the Road to Emmaus account, the account of Stephen, as well as the interaction between the Eunuch and Philip.

I likewise find it fascinating how Jesus not only fulfilled the spirit of the law, but he also fulfilled the very letter of the law through his genealogy and the various prophecies from the Jewish Scriptures confirming he was the Messiah (Matt 5:18). Such is found throughout the text, which indicates that it truly was written by a third party (the Holy Spirit) and it is an integrated message, every page pointing to Jesus Christ through type and metaphor and allegories.

Lecture 16

Why was Christ crucified?

Jesus came to earth and became a man (the Man-God) to bridge the gap between God and humanity. He is a propitiation (payment) for our individual and collective sin, a willing sacrifice of innocent blood. By his work on the cross, not only was death powerless to hold him in the grave but with his resurrection we have the promise of a future resurrection and possible eternal life in the spiritual realms.

Was the crucifixion a tragedy or an achievement? Why?

The death of Jesus was not a tragedy. It was the purpose for him to come to earth and become human, so that, by his death, we might live, being adopted as Sons of God, joint heirs with him. He successfully defeated all his enemies at the cross, and will one day put all under his feet and everyone will kneel and declare Jesus Christ Lord and Savior of the world.

Was the crucifixion on a Friday or a Wednesday? Defend your answer.

I would argue that the crucifixion was on a Wednesday. The text states clearly, there were three days and three nights when Jesus was dead (Matt 12:40). This is not possible between Friday and Sunday, especially since night and day are both indicated (no partial day theories). Likewise, Paul mentions the length of time in 1 Co 15:4, referring most likely to Jonah 1:17. Jesus also makes reference to the length of time he would be “occupied” in John 2:19; Matthew 26:59–61, stating, “Destroy this temple and in 3 days I will raise it up.”

Of course, the typical response is Mark 15:42 states the crucifixion was the “day before the Sabbath.” This is often connected to the weekly Saturday Sabbath, but the Jews had other Sabbaths throughout the year. Not to mention in John 12:1 we have Jesus traveling to Bethany six days before the Passover. If he was killed on Friday, then the travel 6 days earlier would have been on the weekly Sabbath and, subsequently, illegal.

Personally, though, I take Paul’s opinion on the matter. “let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ” (Col 2:16–17). It doesn’t really matter what day Jesus was crucified. All that matters is that he was actually God in the flesh, that he truly was sacrificed on my behalf, and that at the judgment seat (Great White Throne), when we are each judged according to everything we’ve ever said or done, that the only thing God will see is Jesus’s work on the cross and not our own sin. If so, then my name will be written in the Book of Life (for I was predestined to be saved) and I will not be thrown into the Lake of Fire, but can freely enter through the gates into the everlasting.

How do we know that Jesus was resurrected from the dead?

There are many witness accounts, from the apostles to over 500 disciples. The testimony of prophetic Scripture fulfilled in Christ also stands as verification that what he said and did was true and accurate. But, in the end, we don’t know with certainty that he was brought back to life. As Paul put it, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Co 15:19). It is by faith, “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1) that we know Jesus was raised from the dead.

What do we know about Jesus’ resurrection body? How is 1 John 3:2 a scientific statement?

This is a fascinating topic, since it is focused specifically on what we have awaiting us after the resurrection. Jesus, after he was raised from the dead had some kind of physical form. It may not have been flesh, as in mortal flesh, but it was tangible and could be touched. He said it himself, “Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (Luke 24:39). Then again, there was something distinctly different about him. His sightings illustrated that he either could walk through walls or was able to materialize and dematerialize on command (John 20:19).

Likewise, after the events on the Road to Emmaus, he appeared to them again in Luke 24:33–43. Interestingly enough, at his appearing they were terrified of him, thinking he was some kind of spirit (ghost, apparition). He describes himself as “having flesh and bones” which spirits do not have. He then asked for food and ate it in front of them.

Whatever the new form is, it is very similar to our current one. We can eat, move around (but with much greater ability). It is something Paul says we put on like a garment (1 Co 15:53-54; 2 Co 5:2-4; Eph 4:24), which gives us a great deal of insight into John’s statement, that what we shall be has not yet been revealed. But, we can use these characteristics of Jesus’ resurrected body as a template for our future resurrected bodies because John tells us, “we shall be like hi and see him as he is.”

Discuss 7 Old Testament prophesies about events surrounding Jesus’ death.

There are a multitude of prophetic references about Jesus’ death, but seven are Zech 11:1-13, where Jesus is betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. Likewise, in Zech 13:7, he is represented as the smitten shepherd. In Psalm 69:21 he is given vinegar and gall, and in Psalm 22:18, they cast lots for his garments. In Zech 12:10 his side is pierced, and in Psalm 34:20 not a bone would be broken. Lastly, his dying words are captured in Psalm 22:1.

Few of these could have been manipulated by him directly. He had no control over the price of his betrayal or that he would represent the slain lamb. He did not control what they gave him to drink or what they would do when time was running out (intending to break his legs). The only one of these 7 that he controlled was the last one, the words he spoke just before he died.

K-W-L Self Assessment: L- Describe what you LEARNED from this session.

Whenever I am reading or studying the events of the crucifixion I’m always perplexed by Barabbas. What must have been going through his mind? He appears to be a general thug, either a bandit or a revolutionary. Either way, he was certainly guilty of murder. I wonder what he thought when he was released in Jesus’ stead? Did he know that Jesus was innocent and the Son of God like the criminal on the cross did? Did he return back to a life of crime or trouble? Was he changed by the interaction and the second change he received?

Troubling to me is Pilate’s entire encounter with Jesus, the whole situation. Not only did he try to persuade the crowd to let Jesus go (he somehow knew the Scribes and Pharisees had him arrested because they were envious of him), but he was warned by his wife not to have anything to do with Jesus, who was a “Just Man.” She told him that she had suffered from a dream because of Jesus. A dream? What purpose would that serve? Was it just for the record?

He asks Jesus if he is a king. Jesus says Pilate has spoken correctly. He is admitted to being a king. He was born to be a king. It was the reason he’d come into the world. His mission was to bear witness of the truth. Pilate’s response is fascinating. “What is truth?”

How similar is Pilate’s world to our world today? This is the mantra now: there is no truth. There is no objectivity. Thre is no absolute reality.

I wonder how long we must wait for the fullness of the gentiles to come in, so that Israel might turn from their blindness, accept their Messiah and finally bring about the end of all things (Ro 11:25).

Lecture 17

List seven examples of how Israel blew it the first time but got it right the second time. Share a personal example.

I really don’t understand this question but will try my best to provide an answer. 1. Failed to accept their Messiah (Jesus) but according to prophecy will accept him at his second coming. 2. Attempting to take the Promised Land, sent in the two spies but chose fear over faith and were left to wander the desert until that entire generation had died out. 3. Moses failed to go over with them to the Promised Land, but Joshua was able. 4. The brothers of Joseph sold him into slavery in Egypt, but on their reconciliation, they joined him and rebuilt their relationship. 5. David had Bathsheba’s husband killed and he took her as his wife, but later became known as the man after God’s own heart. 6. Cain first brought an inadequate offering to God and out of jealousy killed his brother, but later Cain became a worshiper of God. 7. Solomon is the inverse as he began doing right before God but then failed when he was drawn away by his idolatrous wives.

A personal example of where I failed the first time but succeeded the second time would be my seminary experience in my Master’s program. I started out and completed about 80% of the requirements but dropped out for various reasons. About ten years later, the Seminary invited me back and I was able to complete the degree for a few hundred dollars and now have an accredited graduate degree in Theology.

Who was Barnabas? Search the scriptures and write a paragraph highlighting his strengths.

Barnabas was most likely a nickname of sorts, as his real name was Joses or Joseph (Acts 4:36). He was originally from Cyprus, a wealthy Levite who had strong ties in the Jerusalem Church, having sold land to support the ministry and having a good reputation among the members and especially among the “pillars” of the community (Ga 2:9). He was considered a “good man, full of the holy spirit” (Acts 11:24), and was even referred to by believers as an apostle (Acts 14:14).

He introduced Paul to the Apostles (Acts 9:27) when those in Jerusalem would have nothing to do with the former Persecutor of the Church. He was considered by many to be a prophet and/or a teacher, and was called particularly by God for a particular work (Acts 13:2). He was persuasive in his ability to encourage people to continue in their faith (Acts 13:43), and was bold in proclaiming the gospel (Acts 13:46). He seemingly had the gift of miracles when among the gentiles (Acts 15:12) and was well loved by the church (Acts 15:25). He was single, of which Paul made an example (1 Co 9:6).

Unfortunately, toward the end, Barnabas was first led into Peter’s misguided efforts to separate from the gentiles when judaizers were around (Ga 2:13). This, along with the contention about Mark led to him and Paul parting company.

What is the argument behind the belief that the Ark of the Covenant resides today in Ethiopia? What might its future destiny be?

The Ethiopians claim the Ark is hidden at Axum in Ethiopia in the Chapel of the Tablet at the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion. The story of how how it got there is spelled out in the Kebra Nagast text, which states the Ark was inadvertantly brought to Ethiopia by Menelik I (the son of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba) with divine assistance. Because the Ark was taken, it is claimed this is the reason why Solomon began worshiping other gods with his pagan wives.

Graham Hancock wrote a book about the subject, stating the Ark was hidden in Egypt for several years before being transported to Ethiopia by way of the Nile River. It was then kept at Lake Tana for 400 years before being sent to Axum.

Though I could not find any supporting information on it, my understanding is the Ethiopians are keeping the Ark in save hands to protect it from its human enemies until the return of the Messiah. At that time, the Ethiopian Church will present the Ark to Jesus (Isa 18; Zeph 3:10).

What is the redemptive story behind John Mark and his relationship to Paul?

Mark was the son of Mary, a wealthy woman in Jerusalem where the Church met. This is the same group that Peter found praying when he was supernaturally released from prison. It is most probable that Mark was converted to the faith by Peter at that time.

He accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey but for some reason left when they got to Perga (Acts 12:25; 13:13). Because of this there was a dispute over Mark going on the second trip and this ultimately caused the split between Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:36–40).

Read Act 15. What is the major issue behind this chapter?

The major issue being debated in this chapter is whether or not gentile believers need to convert to Judaism and keep the law. There were some individuals from the Pharisees that were coming to the faith, but they argued that gentiles still needed to keep the Mosaic law. Paul disagreed, stating the work of Christ on the Cross put an end to the law (or better, fulfilled the law).

To what was the early church “devoted” in Acts 2? How have you integrated these disciplines to your life?

Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, the breaking of Bread (eating together), Prayer, Shared their lives together, they had all things in common, and sold their possessions and divided the proceeds among those in need, they met daily at the temple, and from house to house. They continually praised God, and had a good reputation with the public.

How have I integrated the above into my life? I have devoted the bulk of my expendable time to the “doctrine of the apostles” (i.e. studying the Bible).

I do not live in a context where eating meals together with other people is something I pursue. In this I claim the same exception that the hermit monks did with the Eucharist in the Egyptian desert. Though, if I thought there was an actual group of genuine believers in my area that truly wanted to follow the biblical model, I might consider being a part of that fellowship. Unfortunately, all I have seen the last few decades is the modern, American, evangelical cult that claims to be Christian but really is something else entirely.

My current interaction with the Body of Christ is through the written word and through audio and video. It is asynchronously. I hope to add a discipleship component to this in the near future by mentoring graduate students at a particular seminary (if I get the job). If not (and even if I do) I also plan to continue writing fiction books (they have a biblical/philosophical/theological theme) as well as develop asynchronous courses through workbooks. In these courses students will interact with me directly 1-on-1 via email while also engaging with course content (written word, external audio/video lectures).

I have a great deal of experience in the past with local fellowships and with formal, modern churches. I have organized house churches and participated in some truly unique prayer groups. I have prayed continually that, if it be God’s will, he would introduce me to a local community of believers. He has not. The only thing I can assume at this point is 1. There is no groups here in this area. 2. He is keeping me away from the groups in this area (for my benefit or for theirs).

I have considered the idea of starting a group in my local area, but there are so many roadblocks against it – none the less than a real lack of any desire to associate or fellowship with people anymore. I did that in my 20’s and 30’s and it was a real struggle and disappointment. I’ve considered online meetings, but I keep struggling to understand the need. If it is two way interaction I receive and give already asynchronously. I am willing, though. I have a house that could be fixed up to host a house church. But my town is only 4000 people and where I want to move to is only 400. But, may his will be done. I stand ready to heed his call, “Here I am Lord.” Until then, I study and prepare and find a great deal of satisfaction and fulfillment in my solitude.

I would like to develop a more comprehensive, purposeful prayer practice. I am reading the Bible daily devotionally, with the hopes of reading through the text several times a year. Currently I am reading somewhat consistently in the AM, but the Noon and PM readings are really suffering. But I do not pray as I know I should. I would actually like to devote my prayer life to my local region, to spark revival, to pray assertively for a way to find or start a local fellowship (but the above hinders me in committing).

I do not share my life with anyone. I find people suspect, untrustworthy. I simply have no context for communal living. The closest picture I see in modern times of a biblical Church is a monastery. A group of men living together, sharing all things in common, with their lives centered around prayer and fasting and study and work. I am tempted. There are at least two monasteries of protestant ideology (loosely) that I could seek vocational testing at. One is in Santa Barbara and the other is in Oxford, MI. I’ve considered converting to catholicism so my options are better. There is a hermitage I would love to test at in New York. But, there has always been major roadblocks to testing at a monastery. Initially it was debt (student loans). Then it was real estate payments. Now that all those are paid off and I’m out of debt, my health is failing to the point that I need medications for life. I do not want to be a burden on the community, so I would have to lose a significant amount of weight (which would fix about 90% of my health issues). But, why do this when I have the infrastructure to test as a hermit at the Eden property?

There is no longer a temple in which I can go to daily. Churches are the new temples and they are only open on Sundays. I do praise God as the spirit moves me. I think (I have been told) I have a good reputation with those around me, at work at least. I have no personal life with other people. I know in the past personal relationships have suffered because of my own idiosyncrasies and overall lack of interest in maintaining personal relationships. I am happiest and most fulfilled when I can spend a week alone, at home, studying the Bible and writing.

This is one of the few areas left in my life that I struggle with. Finding my place in the world. Fitting in. I have a drive to do so, or, at least, I have been programmed to think I need to for whatever reason since my youth. AS a child when I had little interest in socializing they thought I was being abused. As a teenager, I was told it was unhealthy and should be on medication. As a young adult in my 20’s and even into my married life in my 30’s I tried and tried to make a place for myself in society where I was accepted and could benefit from and could offer benefit to others in relationships and groups. I felt like a fake. I was doing it because I was told it was the thing to do. Since that time, the last 11 years of self-isolation has been the best years of my life. I finally feel at home in my own skin. I feel comfortable in my place. I don’t care what others think about me or about how I spend my time. I do not burden others with my own drama. I remain undivided in my devotion to God.

What I don’t know how to do is fulfill my responsibilities to Christ and his Church. I personally think the path I’m currently on (teaching/discipleship) is the best one for my particular gifts and traits and overall disposition. Technological advancement has truly made a place that is perfect for me today. Even students are rebelling from their online synchronous learning, desiring instead an asynchronous approach. There is no reason why my attempts shouldn’t be successful (helping build the church, I could care less about making money – I do not want to be a part of the capitalistic version of Christianity seen in the modern church).

Until convicted otherwise by the holy spirit (may Christ come instead and this all be over with), I will continue with the trajectory I have begun. Once my ThD is approved (if it is approved), I can apply for the mentorship job at the seminary in question. There is also the potential to mentor at my current seminary, but I’m not so certain they would want me, now that they’ve been exposed to some of my more heretical ideas. In the end, if I’m hanging my own shingle like the ancient philosophers did, I would be perfectly find with this.

My God be true and every man a liar. May his will be done (Ro 3:4; Ja 4:13–17).

K-W-L Self Assessment: L- Describe what you LEARNED from this session.

Overall, the Holy Spirit, I find to be very much an oddity in the work of God in the lives of human beings. Why devise a plan to build the Church in the first place? Why not just keep the Jews as God’s chosen people? Because they proved again and again that they could not do it. Their history is full of examples of what not to do. In fact, we are told the whole of Scripture is written for our edification, that we might learn from their mistakes. But, it does appear (John 14:26) that the Church is a major part of God’s redemptive plan. Not only does it save the gentiles (who are called) but it is the mechanism (faith) by which even the Jews will be saved in the end (Isa 59:21; Zech 12:10; Acts 15:11).

But, I have to ask, when will the third phase begin (John 16:7)? As Peter quoted the non-believers, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:4). When will the “fullness of the gentiles” come in (Ro 11:25)? Acts 1:8 quoted Jesus stating, “you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” As far as I can tell, this has been completed. The message of the gospel is out. It is common knowledge. It is available either by word or audio or video and is broadcast around the world and across the internet. It is downloaded and transferred and re-uploaded, and liked and followed. There are several countries in the “tenth parallel” where persecution of Christians is ferocious. But this in no way limits the spread of the gospel, as the churches in China and North Korea can both attest.

Yet, it astonishes me to recognize that the last 2000 years of Church History might, in the full realized history of the Church, be counted only as the earliest parts of Church History. There could be another four thousand years of gathering of the gentiles before God sends the Son to collect what is his. If that be the case, none of this will survive. The entire history of America, the Reformation, what we term the “early church,” will all so quickly disappear in the scope of history itself. If that be the case, what am I waiting for here? Why do I remain? Is it simply to tread water until my allotted time? As Paul points out, “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27) and Jesus expounds, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?” (Luke 12:20).

Am I here simply to learn and study the Bible? Am I slowly, painfully inching my way through my own sanctification? What lessons are there for me to learn in the Old Testament? What will the Ethiopians do with the Ark once the King returns? Of all the things I’ve learned in this lecture concerning Barnabas and how at Mars Hill, where Paul presented the gospel to the Aeropagus, the very place 400 years before Socrates was sentence to death.

What does it all mean in perspective with the prospect of the sheer vastness of God’s plan and his timetable of redemption? I feel the weight of the Psalmist’ words, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen— Even the beasts of the field, The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:3–9).

Lecture 18

List five characteristics of Paul. In what ways are you like him? What are some of his characteristics that you would like to emulate?

Paul was devoutly religious. A Pharisee by training in his early life. Yet, at the same time, he was burdened by his own sin and the sin of the world. He was often perceived to be more influential by letter than in person and was ultimately a man of contradiction. Once married but then single, the man was keenly intellectual and profoundly mystical.

In many ways I am like Paul. I am quite religious, in that I have little use for the world, for the common interests that the masses seem so infatuated with. At the same time I am burdened by my own demons: crippling self-doubt, pessimism, an unsated misanthropy that seems to permeate throughout my whole life. I am much more comfortable at the keyboard than behind a podium. Once married but now divorced, I find great comfort in and embrace my singleness, and the profound wisdom of 1 Co 7:1 and Matt 19:10. I live for intellectual study and, though I have no experience with visions or prophecy or tangible gifts of the spirit, I am a modern mystic by nature and affinity.

As for what traits of his I would like to emulate? His boldness in doing the work of God. I would like nothing better than to take on a pastor or minister position at a church in some new place or foreign country. Yet, I think this is overly romanticized on my part. The true nature of that work I think is quite grueling and thankless, only better than raising children by slight degree.

I would like his ability to impact others, though I don’t know how much of a real effect he had on others before his death. There was no real way for Paul to know the power his writings would have on the entire world. The same could be true of my own writings, though I personally think much if not all of my work – my corpus and my entire life – might very well end up on the dung heap of history, if not eradicated from existence altogether when the flames of judgment finally come, if not before.

What is the “Gospel?”

The gospel is the “good news” of Jesus, that he, being God, came to earth fully as man to die and sacrifice himself so that by his propitiatory sacrifice all who believe on him will be saved and will receive everlasting life.

Read Luke 15. What lessons have you learned from the story of the Prodigal Son?

That, to the father, his son had died to him. Upon the son’s return, the father received his son resurrected to life. The father is God and the son is a type for all who are saved and return to the Father.

Which role(s) have you played (the prodigal, the older son, or the Father)?

I have been all three at different times. I’ve experienced the loss of children (thankfully not my own). I’ve experienced the loss of disciples who left the faith after a great deal of investment into their lives. I’ve also been the prodigal son, wanting nothing more than to eat, drink and be merry, knowing that tomorrow we all die. Likewise, I’ve been the brother who compares my own efforts against those who have received mercy and grace from God and experienced envy.

What is God’s judgment on those who deny His creatorship? What should the believer’s response be to the homosexual?

I think this is a terrible burden God has placed on certain people. Just the very idea that, because they rejected God in their heart, he turned them over to their ungodly desires, maybe even before they were born, chills me. It is possible gay people are truly born that way because they have been cursed by God. Or, at some point, they, maybe even subconsciously, made the decision that they would never accept or surrender to God, he simply let them go. Maybe they are rudderless and their actions and behaviors are simply what is common to the lost individual who has no hope of being saved. Or, another possibility is they are this way because they have no draw on their life from God, calling them to a saving grace in Christ.

All of these options are pure tragedies. For it is clear, God “desires all to be saved” (1 Ti 2:3). So they had the choice, even if it was before they were ever born. God knows the beginning from the end. He knew us before we were ever formed in the womb. Only those who are drawn by the father will come to Christ and only those who come will be found written in the Book of Life.

Unfortunately, given my predisposition, I respond to gay people the same way I respond to every person – with derision. They are no different in my mind. They are lost. They are burdened. They do not seek after God. I have no interest in spending time with them any more than I have interest spending time with those who have Christ. Sin should, of course, not be condoned. There is no scenario where a gay person’s behavior should be accepted. But, I would call all people to a celibate life (though not everyone can accept this). For the homosexual, I would argue their only hope is to cast everything they have onto Christ, to forsake their natural desires, to remain celibate and devote their lives to the things of God. There should be no accommodation any more than there should be to the adulterer or the criminal or the judaizer, or any other kind of carnal Christian.

What does Chuck mean when he says “It ain’t going to rain (reign) no more”? How can we accomplish this?

Surprisingly, I do not recall ever hearing Chuck Missler make this statement! But I was able to track it down in the Romans booklet. It refers to Romans 6:12-14, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

I, personally, have no idea of how to accomplish this. Just as Paul admitted, “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” (Romans 7:15–17).

Missler has stated that there is a process by which the saved individual no longer has to be bound by sin in this life. He states the unsaved have no capacity to not sin, whereas the believer has the holy spirit indwelling them, and can choose, moment by moment, to “walk in the spirit” rather than in the flesh. I have not discovered how this is done. There are, indeed, sins that I used to commit as a non-believer – as a pagan. But much of this was literally taken from me when I read 2 Peter 2 rather than a choice on my part to turn away from. If it were up to me at that time I would have remained a Buddhist. I was a happy one. I had acolytes. I had purpose (nirvana). I most likely would have ended up 1. Not going into the military but university and becoming a radical 2. Going into the military but pursuing meditation and martial arts, ending up teaching both in the New Age cults. 3. After the military or without going in, I might have ended up in a Buddhist community as a monk.

Sometimes I feel as if my life was derailed from what it was intended to be. That I was originally purposed to be a Buddhist monk or new age teacher or a college professor, but God circumvented my own efforts, taking both the ability to meditate and practice the martial arts from me when I was 17. Unfortunately, either it was not a finished work on his part (I am not a fully formed Christian) or God derailed my efforts, sidelining me completely, or I am riddled by self-confidence issues and can’t take possession of the greater call of God on my life, or I am exactly where God wants me and doing exactly as he has called me to.

There have been many, many missteps in my life. But I have learned from all of them. So I have to conclude that they were all for this purpose and were not missteps at all. But, I have no way of knowing if God is actually calling me to a solitary, contemplative life or if this is just my own personality disorder, or if it is sin that is keeping me from a more conforming protestant evangelical faith.

Being a part of a church while in the military was a great experience on my part. Going to “church” every Sunday was something I looked forward to. Then again, there was no internet then, and there was no easy way to get teaching that I needed in the faith. In addition, I was not just attending Church on Sundays. The barracks life while overseas in the military (for me) was much like a monastic seminary. This made a much greater impact on my spiritual formation than did just Sunday services. Meeting with elders from various different Churches, with the military Chaplain, the study group that met house to house and at the public library on base, my own personal study of the Bible – these had a much greater impact.

In fact, the last six months of my stay in country witnessed the implosion of that Church fellowship due to an infection of charismania. So I saw first hand the damage that is often done by “believers.”

Yet, as I look back on the majority of my post-confessional life, I have to admit, I have little to show for it. It seems almost as if I have simply been trying to survive my conversion rather than manifest treasure in heaven. Then again, how much of that analysis is predicated on a malformed protestant, evangelical version of Christianity that was Americanized over the last 250 years and really has little to do with the biblical message at all? Maybe the draw I experience to the solitary places, to intellectual inquiry, to monastic-like practices is truly of God.

While I was writing this answer I stopped and looked up one of the two monasteries I have considered testing my vocation at over the years. The first one, of course, is St. Augustine’s House in Michigan. But, it is at a great distance from me and would be difficult to arrange long-term stay without disrupting my current arrangement. The other, was Mount Calvary in California (a much quicker jump). It is an episcopal Church monastery, so protestant (but probably in name only).

I went to look again because, as of late, I’ve wondered if the struggles I’m experiencing at Eden to get firmly established are because I’m supposed to be in community rather than as a hermit in the wilderness. But, as typically occurs, doors keep closing around me.

On just going to Mount Calvary’s website, I discovered, not only have they closed their guest house, but they are disbanding the monastery altogether! What a tremendous blessing it was that I did not move there and become an initiate when I was first considering it several years ago. I would have only gotten settled in to have it closed out from under me.

But, I digress.

Living in habitual sin is the basic thrust of this statement by Missler. It is his assertion that we do not have to live this way any longer as believers, though I have never found a mechanism or process by which sin that plagues me, that I wrestle with, can be put away permanently. It is a constant struggle and the realization that there could possibly be at least the potentiality of temptation in heaven only makes the situation that much worse.

What are the good things about the Law (read Psalm 19)? What is the dark side?

While the Law is pure and enlightens the one who reads them, and is perfect and converts the soul to faith, it also stands as a testimony against all humanity, condemning the lost and the wicked to an eternal fate worse than death or annihilation.

K-W-L Self Assessment: L- Describe what you LEARNED from this session.

Romans is a hefty book. It is a comprehensive diagnosis of the human condition as well as the only prescriptive to address it: grace. As Missler stated, “Christ did not come to make bad men good; but to give dead men life! Men are either in salvation or in its opposite, perdition (Phil 1:28). This settles my persistent fear of somehow missing the mark and not actually taking hold of a saving faith (Phil 3:12).

I always find it an interesting disconnect between the similar traits of man to God and the bodily question. It was pointed out (and often is) in this lecture that God created man in “his own image.” Because of this the correlation is made that since humans are persons, so is God, since we have feelings, so does God. The problem is we need to go one step further. If humans have bodies, so does God. Even the Bible many times describes God as having a body, body parts, etc. But, we are stuck on the idea that God is some immaterial being, an ethereal spirit. I personally think we were/are made in God’s image (though we do not necessarily express it in our current fallen form fully), that angels have bodies, that God has a body, and that we will have bodies very similar to Christ’s resurrected body. They may not be fleshly, mortal bodies (whatever that actually means), but they will be spiritual bodies (not intangible).

Another point I found very relevant to today was the fact that Man can no longer rationalize his sin away (example Romans). But, this is exactly what the modern man does with his materialism, his evolutionary theories, and his new relativistic radicalism. Maybe the book of Romans needs to be taught purposefully to address the new world view that has infected western society.

Romans 6:12 is particularly difficult for me. I’ve heard Missler mention this in the past, on other lectures, but I still have no idea how to bring it about. There always feels as if something is holding me back, as if I’m not at all worthy or appropriate to cease from sin and live and walk in the spirit, moment by moment. It is a particular interest I have in my vocational testing at Eden, my personal sanctification. I’m thinking the faith Paul and others in the Bible talk about (as in the Way or the religion) has much more to do with something that has been lost or abandoned by the Western Church than it does with evangelism. Then again, how do I know that this is not just my personal idiosyncrasies talking? Further, either way, there is nothing I can do about it. Either the truth has been lost and there’s no way to regain it, or I am deluded and given over to a futile mind, and there is no hope of overcoming my own thinking.

I do find the three conditions of the second coming quite interesting. 1. Until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in (Ro 11:25). 2. Until they acknowledge their offense (Hos 5:15). 3. Until the times of the gentiles is fulfilled (Lu 21:24). When, Lord, will the fullness of the Gentiles be reached? Are there not enough souls saved yet? I am impatient and selfish. But we might stil have thousands of years worth of gentile souls waiting to be born and to be saved. And why do I think existence after death will be better than life among the living? I have no idea what existence is like as a disembodied spirit. But, according to the account of the Rich Man and Lazarus, I will get a sneak peak at what eternity will look like for me. There is at least that.

Lastly, there are the four Key Questions of Life to be addressed. Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? To whom am I accountable? This basically sums up my independent research. I want to know who and what I am. I want to know where I’m going. I want to know what the truth is about creation, about the origin of existence, and what is beyond it. I want to know the mysteries of God.

Lecture 19

What were 3 of the main problems in Corinth?

Schisms, Spiritual Gift abuses, and issues surrounding the Resurrection.

What are some of the “foolish” things that God has used to confound the “wise”? Which one stands out the most to you?

The very nature of religion and belief in Christ, the free gift, being the solution to the world’s problems. Of the others noted: Noah’s Ark, the Passover in Egypt and death of the firstborn, the serpents in the wilderness, the sacking of Jericho, Jesus’ first coming. Lastly, the preaching of Christ crucified.

Why is prophecy the greatest of the spiritual gifts?

It edifies the church while speaking in tongues edifies the individual, unless it is the authentic speaking in tongues (the miraculous ability to speak in a foreign language you have not learned so as to proclaim the gospel to the lost). The modern versions of speaking in tongues I find to be quite inauthentic and unnecessary. It is people trying to harness power of the supernatural, like Simon the Sorcerer did when trying to purchase the ability to cast out demons.

Prophecy, when authentic, declares that which will occur before it has occurred as a witness to having insight into the supernatural realm and dominion over earthly things. If a prophet is ever wrong they should be stoned as prescribed by the OT law.

What were Paul’s credentials? When reading over these, what stands out to you?

Paul claimed that his credentials in Christ were not learned or taught by humans, but came by revelation (Ga 1:11-12). That which he learned in the flesh was his boast when lost: circumcised (Jewish), a Benjamite, a Pharisee, zealous in persecuting the Church, blameless before the law (Phil 3:4-8). But, despite this pedigree, Paul considered all this to be a “a loss for Christ” for he considered these things exchanged for the knowledge of Christ Jesus, who was his Lord, for whom he suffered all things, counting that which he previously had as rubbish, in hopes that he would gain Christ.

List the fruits of the Spirit. Which one is your strongest and which one is God currently developing in your life today?

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control. Faithfulness is by far my strongest listed here. I definitely have issues with love, with joy, and with peace. I struggle to exercise patience, and though I am cordial with people, I do have issues being kind. I have a gentleness and I am not easily provoked to anger, especially in my current circumstance. Self-control is a difficult issue in many areas, but in other areas it is not an issue at all.

What is the whole armor of God? Do you have all the gear on? What are the offensive weapons? What is your heavy artillery?

It is: Girding the waist with truth, putting on breastplate of righteousness, shod our feet with preparation of the gospel, taking up the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (the Bible). Praying always with prayer and supplication in the spirit, and being watchful to this end in all perseverance, supplication for the saints (Ephesians 6:11–20).

The offensive weapons are sword (the Bible). The heavy artillery is prayer, which needs to be exercised before, during, and after the actual battle.

Where do I stand concerning these armaments? I believe I know and understand the truth of Christ, if the breastplate of righteousness includes moral and right living, I of course suffer in my daily life. It is my hope that my vocational testing at Eden will improve my progress in my personal sanctification over time. Have I shod my feet with the preparation of the gospel? I would bet most evangelicals would argue this is about evangelism, but I would argue that not everyone is given the gift of evangelism and that we should each step into the gifting we have been given. Then again, my best means of communicating with others is through the written word, so may God use that to his glory. The shield of faith I believe I have picked up and used frequently. Most of the struggles and challenges in life I’ve found immediately bring me back to a focus on Christ and my faith in his promise of a resurrection and everlasting life (whatever that might entail) and I trust that he works all things for the good of those who love him. The helmet of salvation is a little tricky, as I am continually bombarded with What if questions pertaining to salvation and the message of the gospel. Is it the right message? Have I somehow missed the mark? Do I understand the truth? Should I be Catholic instead? Mormon? Did I miss my chance when the JWs visited? Is there no God at all and only annihilation when I die? Must I be good and do good works? Are works irrelevant to my salvation? What are good works? The absence of bad works?

Lastly, the sword of the spirit, the word of God. What does it mean to pick it up, and how is this different from the preparation of the gospel of peace? Does it mean being able to give an answer about why I believe? Does it mean being a part of organized religion or organized ministry in some way? If so, then I have difficulty. If it means making the Bible and the study of its message a priority in my life, then I should be doing okay.

Praying always is often difficult. I do wish I had more of a burden for prayer. But, then again, I really should be careful what I wish for. I do try to consistently make my requests known to God, though being watchful to this end for the saints, I’m not certain I understand. Am I to pray for the modern congregations that really have little to no interest in biblical things? Should I instead focus my prayers on finding or being led to a local community of believers that I can share my life with? This would most likely end up being a monastery, such as St Augustine’s House. There are few others in the world that are protestant or accept such. There are more Episcopal monasteries, but I would really need to do some soul searching and get my weight down and get off most of my meds. Even then, I’m over 45 at this point and that is the typical cutting off point. I would be much better served to continue down my current path at Eden.

There are some definite issues to be worked out in my own spiritual life. I hope to do more of this at Eden in the coming years.

K-W-L Self Assessment: L- Describe what you LEARNED from this session.

I find focusing on fruit rather than gifts is much easier for me to accept. Gifts of the spirit have always confused me. In theory they make sense, as there is one body, and all the different parts work for the better of the whole body. The problem I find is the actual world around me does not work so easily. It is not cut and dried. There are either most who are deluded and led astray concerning beliefs and gifts or I am utterly and completely lost in my own understanding of how God works among his people. I’ve seen glimpses of God’s hand in the lives of others, but mostly I see loss and pain and manipulation and suffering in people and by people.

But, as Missler states, if gifts are valueless without love, this may be why I manifest no gifts, since I have no love for people or for the saints. My idea of heaven is isolation and solitude, not communion with others. Does this mean my faith is in vain? Was it my choice to love and I chose not to? If I chose to go about “loving” people and the saints would this not be faking it? Would it be insincere love and thus not love at all?

There were many places discussed in this lecture about losing one’s salvation or “keeping the faith.” I know Missler and others are sold on the idea that one cannot lose their salvation, but I’m skeptical. I also wonder if I actually have salvation at all. How am I to know with any certainty? Either I am in error and still lost or there are a multitude of others who are lost (JWs for starters). If it is actually possible to lose one’s faith I should have lost it in the very beginning. I tried very hard to return back to my former faith, to be able to meditate, to practice the martial arts, to seek enlightenment. Even in my apostate times, I still believed. That understanding, that unlearned knowledge has remained since it was embedded into my psyche at the reading of 2 Peter 2. I have no control over it.

As to Jesus’ resurrection body being a template for our resurrection bodies, I’ve always assumed we would have tangible bodies. That is an effective word to use, “tangible,” rather than physical since we know flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom of God. It is an increasingly fascinating part of my research, trying to deduce the very nature of and substance of the supernatural realm. What is it exactly that is the abode of the heavenly host? What is the mountain of God? Are these spatially located? Do they have weight? Mass? Is there some other kind of physic at work here that is beyond anything those in the physical dimension could possibly even comprehend? Will we comprehend it after our death? Not until the resurrection, when we will see him as he actually is? Why the distinction between the physical dimension and the spiritual dimension in the first place? What/who created (how did they create) the spiritual realm? Has it always been like it is or has it undergone transformations like the earth has? What are the secrets of our physical dimension? Of the universe?

There are so many questions.

As for a local fellowship, I think my best approach would be to simply devote daily prayer to this problem, presenting all the issues I have, all the confusion, all the misunderstandings at the feet of Christ in prayer, and simply trust in his faithfulness to provide an answer.

What will local fellowships look like if technological advancement keeps pace as it has the last 50 years? I’m very close to never needing to leave my home now as it is. I can have food delivered. I pay all my bills online. I can “attend” a Sunday service online. The interconnectivity and isolation will only increase in the future. What if the history of the Church really does have four thousand years remaining before the “fullness of the Gentiles have come in?” What will human society look like in justs another 50 years? What about 1000 years? It is truly beyond comprehension what faith will look like then. Imagine Erasmus and his mosquito demons plaguing him as he labored on the Textus Receptus. I can’t imagine anyone today would seriously think an insect is some kind of demon. Only God knows what is in store for those who come after us. My life is but a breath. There is a good chance that America will be entirely forgotten in a thousand years and a new, different kind of society will emerge. What of the ancient native civilization at Cahokia in Mississippi experienced as quintessential life we really have no means to fathom. This will be the same for the next millennial generation if man is allowed to continue on as he currently does.

Daniel’s “worship” experience seems to be centered, at least to some extent, on praying in an upper room toward Jerusalem. He did this 3 times a day. These are habits I’m hoping to form once I’m at Eden full time, but maybe I should not wait.

Lecture 20

What was the Jewish dilemma?

The reality the first century Jew lived in was counter unequivocally to the message of the Cross. They were taught from childhood that the Temple in Jerusalem was a holy site, that the Torah and the Prophets and the Writings were the Word of God and that they were a chosen people. But, Paul and the other apostles and disciples preached a new covenant, one that by faith provided a means for anyone, for everyone to be saved, simply by accepting the work on the Cross.

Are we saved by faith or by works? Do Paul and James disagree on this?

I think the gist of this discussion is we are saved by faith, but if we have a genuine faith we will also have works that naturally accompany that faith. A saving faith is one that actually transforms the individual, away from sin and toward sanctification. Then again, Jesus said the work of God is to believe the one who sent him (Jo 6:29).

If this is the work of God, that aligns perfectly with “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:4). Works as we understand it became of no importance since they are a natural outpouring of the internal condition of the individual. As we know there are many different responses to the reception of the gospel (Mark 4:13–20).

In what ways is the New Covenant better than the Old Covenant?

The new covenant actually accomplishes the task God has set out to do: the redemption of the world. The old covenant simply shined a light on the problem to be solved. The Jews, through the Law, could in no way reconcile themselves to God. They illustrated throughout many generations how it was impossible for man to accomplish this task. Only by the death of God himself could the human being be redeemed.

Who is your favorite hero in the “Hall of Faith”? Why?

At first response I would want to say Adam, for he is the very enigmatic figure that I would like to know more about. He was once a Son of God, though rightly not an angelic being (for whatever reason), maybe being a part of a new creation (rather than part of an obviously older creation that includes the angels). He quite possibly is another glimpse (other than Jesus’s after his resurrection) of a human immortal.

Unfortunately, the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 begins with Adam’s sons, Cain and Abel. I would like to know more about Cain, but little is available. I would have to say I would want, from the list available, to know more about Enoch. He is not only the oldest prophet, but he never tasted death. I wonder if he is in the Intermediate State and his soul was decoupled from his body at his rapture, or if he kept his body and it was transformed in the same manner as the last generation at the second coming? If not a disembodied spirit under the power of death, where is Enoch? Is he with God? We know Elijah and Moses were together at the Transfiguration. But Moses should still be under the sway of death, should he not? The same would be for Samuel, though the Witch of Endor was able to roust him. It is all quite perplexing.

How does prophecy suffer from its enthusiasts?

Prophecy is often abused and misused. The same is true of all the modern definitions of gifts today: speaking in tongues, healing, preaching, being a pastor. These all suffer from misaligned definitions that have been changed throughout the centuries. Prophecy is no different. Both those who claim to be prophets and those who draw “prophetic” connections from the Bible that have no actuality and do not come true. Perfect example is the late Irvin Baxter who interprets end time prophecies in the Bible to include America, the Berlin Wall, etc. He also believed that the sign of salvation was speaking in tongues.

How can we hasten His Coming? How are you doing these things?

I never thought I had a justification for praying for the end. I am beside myself! What a blessed gift to know that I could actually hasten the second coming of Christ and finally bring about the much needed judgment on this godforsaken place.

After surveying my commentaries, I discover it is actually God’s longsuffering that is keeping Christ from returning, as God desires all to be saved. But it is our part to speed up this inevitability by praying the prayer of Revelation 22:20, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” It is our duty to pray for the coming of our King.

As one commentator stated, “Never expect to be found at that day of God in peace, if you are lazy and idle in this your day, in which we must finish the work given us to do. Only the diligent Christian will be the happy Christian in the day of the Lord. Our Lord will suddenly come to us, or shortly call us to him; and shall he find us idle? Learn to make a right use of the patience of our Lord, who as yet delays his coming. Proud, carnal, and corrupt men, seek to wrest some things into a seeming agreement with their wicked doctrines…..But there must be self-denial and suspicion of ourselves, and submission to the authority of Christ Jesus….that we may avoid being led away, we must seek to grow in all grace, in faith, and virtue, and knowledge. Labor to know Christ more clearly, and more fully; to know him so as to be more like him, and to love him better.”

We are to be waiting with great expectation, to be looking for and earnestly desiring, even eager for, the end.

Can we at all speed up the time God has set? Peter is calling us to work out our own salvation, helping to spread the gospel throughout the world, rendering the long-suffering of God no longer necessary.

K-W-L Self Assessment: L- Describe what you LEARNED from this session.

I am amazed at the revelation in this text 2 Peter 3:12. The realization that I can not only participate in the coming of the Lord but expedite it is mind-altering. But, as an introvert by nature, how do I do so? Through prayer alone? I can continue on my current path. 1. By finishing my ThD and securing a teaching/mentoring position at the seminary I will be helping others go into ministry and they in turn will help bring about Christ’s return as the fullness of the Gentiles are graphed in. By developing my own online workbook courses I am doing the same, helping non-believers and believers alike explore topics and bring them to a saving grace in Christ. Working on my blog will also aid in this effort.

Prayer, though, this is the real work in which I think I’ve been called. As Paul writes, “Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.” (1 Thessalonians 5:6) and Peter “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” (1 Peter 1:13) and “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.” (1 Peter 4:7). Christ as well “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” (Matthew 24:42) and “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”” (Luke 21:36) and “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.” (Revelation 3:2).

This provides me with a much greater sense of purpose for the Eden property and for my proposed vocational testing. To wait and hasten the coming of the Lord God my King. It is my hope that through my commitment to renewed prayers that he place me in among a local gathering of believers, that we might together bring about the end of days.

Lecture 21

Will Jesus Christ literally rule the Planet Earth from the Throne of David in Israel?

There are at least two passages in the Bible that refer to Jesus reigning over the earth from David’s throne: Luke 1:32–33 and Isaiah 9:7. Though I find it very odd to create everything that has been created in the universe and either 1. Destroy it all at the judgment 2. Leave it empty and void of life. There are a few issues that I need to look into about Jesus ruling from the throne of David in Jerusalem. 1. Who is he ruling over? 2. What will be happening on earth?

Will the church go through the “Great Tribulation”? Justify your view.

I know I’m not amillennial. I am certainly premillenial and I would have to argue for the rapture to occur at the last trumpet (1 Co 15:52; Re 11:15). But I do not know enough yet about the sequence of events to be certain.

What are the practical hazards inherent in the pre and post tribulational views?

Post-tribulation has a few problems. 1. Denies imminency. 2. Requires the church be included in the 70th week. 3. Israel and the church are mutually exclusive. 4. The Church experiences God’s wrath. 5. It violates the claims that the church was promised not to experience wrath (1 Thess 5:9; Rev 3:10). 6. The bride could not come with her if she is not with him.

Pre-tribulation has just as many issues. 1. There is a boomerang effect. 2. Post-tribbers claims pre-trib is nowhere directly in the Bible, only inferred. 3. Paul states the great falling away and revealing of the man of sin must come first. 4. It occurs at the last trumpet. 5. It’s not taught in Church History. 6. It was spread by the Schofield Bible and the Left Behind Series. 7. It sets up the Church for escape rather than endurance. 8. The idea of escape is no where taught by Jesus.

What details can you recall about the Man of Sin? Is He alive today? Defend your answer.

As I recall, he is an important political leader, one who is influential and can move people. He will unite the world against God and may declare himself God or claim to be extra-terrestrial. He will do perform great signs and wonders and will lead the world astray.

Hey may or may not be alive today, since we know neither the day nor the house of Christ’s return. If Premillenial, Pretribulational is correct, then we still need a temple to be built and Paul states that the falling away will need to happen first. Of course, due to recent events in American politics and culture, who would argue that we’re seeing that falling away starting to occur. But we really don’t know. The man of sin has been identified in the past as Nero. As the Pope. And on and on. I put the antichrist IDs in the same camp as the date setters. There is no way to know when he is coming. It could be a second from now or it could be another four thousand years.

Who is the “Restrainer”? What are his characteristics and job description?

He is the one that restrains evil on the earth. He contains wickedness and most specifically the man of sin. I truly can’t imagine human beings being worse than they already are or have been. But I think it will get much, much worse.

K-W-L Self Assessment: L- Describe what you LEARNED from this session.

I think it is an interesting idea that eschatology is the final test of our hermeneutic. This lecture has revealed how little I truly know or understand about the end times and I’m excited to get started working through individual books. My next one will be Daniel and then Revelation. Then Romans.

Interestingly, the video I watched to get the arguments against pre-trib view stated there were no Church Fathers who agreed with the position, yet the booklet for this lecture provided a direct quote from Ephraem of Nisibis ( A.D. 306-373) that is clearly pre-trib. It makes me wonder if opponents of pre-trib are being deceptive or are ignorant of the facts. I find very few people actual study the Church Fathers other than cherry picking a few references. This is why I started reading through the entire corpus of the Church Fathers and hope to read the Eastern Fathers as well.

Lecture 22

Read over Isaiah 11 and list the sevenfold description of the Holy Spirit. Which one of these attributes is most important to you?

In the booklet it says the first one is “the spirit of YHWH shall rest upon him.” I’m not certain that is a descriptor. The others are Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Might, Knowledge, Fear of the Lord.

Fear of the Lord is the most important of these attributes to me since, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7). It is by this submission to the King that we gain all the others.

Make a list of the all those who hold the combined offices of both King and Priest.

As I understand it, only Melchizedek, Jesus, and the Church are both Kings and Priests.

Regarding the letters to the seven churches, why were these seven chosen?

They fit a pattern not only locally but allegorically for the entire Church, every Church, and all of Church history. They fit a prophetic profile of the Seven Kingdom Parables and also align with the seven Churches Paul wrote to.

What is your definition of success? What is Christ’s definition? What is the definition of our culture? How does this relate to the messages to the seven churches?

Christ’s definition of success is doing the will of the Father. Success by the world’s standard is money, fame, notoriety, and sin. The Churches mentioned plot onto a spectrum between God’s view of success and the world’s. Those that thought they were doing well were using the culture’s gauge while those who were concerned were using God’s.

Personally, I’m not certain what success looks like. I do not feel as if I have been successful in my life, though I have everything I could possibly need. I have never been hungry. I’ve always had a roof over my head. I live in an age where the acquisition of knowledge, especially biblical knowledge is there for the taking. I’ve been spared many of the insecurities that plague typical people and have a blessed call to the contemplative life (I presume it is God’s call and not my own inclinations).

At this point in my life, I think I see success as 1. Fulfilling God’s purpose in my life. 2. Exploring God’s word and his creation. 3. Preparing for the judgment and eternity.

Who were the Nicolaitians? Why did Jesus HATE them? Is there anyone in our world today that may resemble them?

This is, by Missler’s estimation to be a professionalization of the clergy. I would image Jesus hate them because they turn the mystical Church into a spectator sport, where the body ceases to grow and no longer interacts. These clergy, instead of serving the body, they rule it over them. It has produced the American Church, especially evangelicalism.

Describe the doctrine of Balaam. What advice was given to Balak? What is the danger of this advice and doctrine to the Church today?

The doctrine of Balaam was: Marriage to the world, turning the work of God into a profession, sacrificing eternity for temporal gain. Balak was advised to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

This is, by and large, the modern Church today. It is married to the world, desperate to establish its own revelance. Worse, it does not do this out of an affinity to help the body grow, but in hopes of establishing the ruling elites’ economic prosperity. The clergy/laity split in American Christianity has suppressed the spirit of God from truly moving (not in Charismania but in truth). The Church today commits fornication with the rest of the world, with false doctrine, with other religions, and prostitutes itself for the sake of its true god, Mammon.

K-W-L Self Assessment: L- Describe what you LEARNED from this session.

The lecture makes me realize that I don’t know really what church age I’m living in. I think it is the Philadelphian Church, or the missional church. But, as current events have illustrated, it is possible we are now slipping into the Laodicean Church age, or the Apostate Church and the foundations of the great falling away.

I”m not certain I know what that means for my future or the future of America or western culture. I’m soon to turn 46 and already have one foot in the grave and my entire mental state in the hereafter. But, what if it is God’s plan that I spend the second half of my life in persecution and fear and terror? What if the next fifty years sees bloodshed and famine and disease unlike anything anyone has ever seen before?

I shutter to think what my response would be.

Lecture 23

Comment on the description of a lamb “as if it had been slain”.

Statements like this and “wrath of the lamb” are quite intriguing. It is reminiscent of Isaiah 53, though not directly. It is possible to conclude from Rev 13:8 and other places that this is a descriptive name for Jesus, even before his incarnation.

What is unique about the tribe of Dan?

The Tribe of Dan did not accept its allotment of land and instead dispossessed another region from a peaceful group near Lebanon. When the Kingdom divided into two, Dan became part of Israel in the North and soon became a center of idolatry. They eventually assimilated with the Phoenicians and lost their ethnic and religious identity.

They are not listed in the 12 tribes in Revelation 7.

Who do you think the two witnesses will be?

Personally I think they would be Elijah and Enoch since neither tasted death. But, most likely it is Elijah and Moses. They both have a history of the same kinds of gifts, and were also seen at the transfiguration. But it is odd that Moses would be brought back from the dead while Elijah never died. What about Enoch? Where has he been all this time? What has he been doing? Plus, didn’t Elijah already come in John the Baptist?

List 7 of the sevens in Revelation.

There are seven churches, seven letters, seven spirits, seven angels, seven thunders, seven plagues, seven bowls, etc. I am particularly interested in the seven thunders and hope to one day discover what they said.

If you have been to Megiddo, what stood out to you? Historically what has already transpired there?

I’ve never been but from pictures the view looks very hazy, almost polluted. It’s either (pollution), fog, or smoke. There have been many important battles fought there already, including the 1918 battle between the British and the Ottoman Empire.

Are you eagerly awaiting His coming? (Maranatha!) What proofs can you give to a yes answer?

I would assume this is in reference to Hebrews “so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” (Hebrews 9:28) yet I don’t see this in the workbook and don’t recall it in the lecture. But, despite this, I would argue that I do eagerly await his coming. As for “proofs,” as asked on another website, “Is your heart oriented in anxious expectation of seeing your savior, Jesus Christ, face to face? Do you awaken each day with the hope that this day might be THE day of his return?”

My answer would be that I go to sleep each night praying that God would take me from the awful place, this horrendous existence. I long to see the judgment of fire on these people, on the whole earth. I pray (and will now pray all the more to hasten it) that he might come quickly and redeem his saints from the earth. I do not have things in this world that I desire to do or see any longer. I’m not hung up on marriages or raising children or advancing in a career or hobbies in the flesh. I’m ready, whether I go and slip off into nothingness and nonexistence or I’m cast into Hades and torment to await the final judgment and the Lake of Fire or I’m carried off by his Angels to be in the presence of Abraham until the end, when I am welcomed through the gates of the new city, or on to even greater adventures in the new creation. May God be ture and every man a liar. Come Jesus. Come Quickly.

K-W-L Self Assessment: L- Describe what you LEARNED from this session.

I have a difficult time with the orthodox view of Revelation 21 and 22, and the new heaven and new earth. Is he really going to destroy with fire the entire created universe? All that we can see now? Is it not innocent of sin and human interference, or was the entirety of creation (the whole of the galaxy and universe) corrupted beyond repair? When it says “heaven” is he referring to the spiritual realms? If so, at the great white throne, where does this exist geospatially? Does it exist outside of the physicality of our physical dimension as well as independently of those other dimensionalities that Jesus and the Angels and God enjoy? Where is the Lake of Fire located spatially or dimensionally? The new earth will have no oceans and no sun or moon. Does that mean it will no longer be located in a physical realm? No galaxy in which it is moored? Will there be other planets, stars, suns and moons elsewhere? Does this “renewal” infer that there are no other living beings in the material realm? No aliens? Or will they be destroyed with fire as well and utterly lost? Surely after all is said and done, these questions will all be answered.

Lecture 24

Show examples that prove that there is design within the Biblical text.

There are many examples that could be cited, but I mention: the Genesis 5 geneology macrocode of name definitions, the prophetic natures of Isaiah 53 and Psalm 2 as well as the prophecy of Cyrus. I also cite the design of the gospels and how the letters of Paul align perfectly with the seven letters in Revelation. Additionally, the connection between Genesis and Revelation are important evidence of design in the text.

Who do you feel was the greatest King in the history of Israel and why?

If it is the entire history of Israel then I would choose the coming reign of Christ (Jeremiah 31:33), but I assume the question refers to kings of the past only, so then it would have to be David. It is really divided between David and Solomon. David faltered in the beginning of his reign, but Solomon at the end of his. David made possible the provisions to build the temple but Solomon brought it about.

Discuss the past, present and future of the Edomites.

Edomites were descendants of Esua and thus hated Israel. When they relocated and mixed with locals, becoming Idumeans, they still caused trouble for Israel during the time of the Maccabees, finally resulting in Israel conquering them by force. The Idumeans were finally destroyed by the Romans in 68 AD. Today they are so intermixed with other ethnic groups that there is no distinct Edomites today. At some point prophecy interpretations state that Jesus will first return to Edom and destroy them before going to the Mount of Olives. The verses I’ve seen do not provide much in way of a timetable.

What are some of the arguments that would lead a person to believe that the Mercy Seat is located in Ethiopia today?

This is an interesting argument. It is something, apparently, the entire country and their Christian religious institution has embraced. Every Church in Ethiopia has a copy of the Ark of the Covenant and they insist that the original is in the city of Axum. They cite the Kebra Nagast, a text from the 1200’s that states the Ark was taken by the love child of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. It is claimed this resulted in Solomon seeking solace with his many pagan wives and their influencing him to worship pagan gods.

Discuss the relationship between Paul, Barnabas, and Mark.

Paul was first a persecutor of the Church, but subsequently was converted on the road to Damascus. After three years in the desert, Paul returned and was introduced to the apostles and church leaders by Barnabas. Before then no one would have anything to do with Paul because of his past efforts. Mark was the cousin of Barnabas and the three of them went on at least one missionary trip together. But, during the trip Mark returned home and Paul took this as an abandonment. So on the next trip, it caused a division between Paul and Barnabas, so they split company, Paul took Silas and Barnabas took Mark.

Which of the churches in Revelation 2 & 3 are you “living in”?

Personally I would say we are currently in the Philadelphian Church age and moving into the Laodicean age. But there really is no way to know with any certainty. There may be another 4000 years remaining in Church History before the second coming of Christ. Then again, it could come tomorrow, though there is no temple built, so I think it is still a ways off.

K-W-L Self Assessment: L- Describe what you LEARNED from this session.

I think, most of all, from this series I’ve come to confirm how little I know about the text and how much more I need to devote myself to study and to the things of God. Yet, I wonder what is in store for myself and for my society and for the world in the second half of my life and what it will mean, what the costs will be, to claim Christ in America. Will it take another 100 years before there is any real persecution in this country, or will it happen much quicker than I could possibly realize? I am thankful I’m not distracted by earthly and trivial things like hobbies and the flesh and carousing or making money.

I simply want to get Eden set up and finish my education (ThD) so I can see what God has planned for me 1. If I’m going to be mentoring at the online seminaries 2. If I’m going to be creating workbook courses 3. Or if I’m going to simply retreat to my paradise and study for my own edification and blog and write books, etc. Right now he has created a space for me regardless of 1-3 above, where I am comfortable, at peace, and have something to occupy my time while I wait for the end.

Until my next assignment…

Please consider supporting my writing, my unschooled studies, and my hermitic lifestyle by purchasing one or more of my books. I’m not supported by academia or have a lucrative corporate job – I’m just a mystical modern-day hermit trying to live out the life I believe God has called me to. So, any support you choose to provide is GREATLY appreciated.

Excerpt from The Light Aurora:

The door’s lock released and Dr. Lewis looked around at each of them.

“Stay close, and be ready for anything. I’m not sure if they’re all in the Command Center or if they are trying to secure Level 4. Hell, they could all be evacuating.”

He stared at Scott as he came up onto the landing.

“Let’s go,” Scott said.

Dr. Lewis pushed the door open and walked out into the hall, followed by the others – in ones and twos.

Level 2 was similar to the other level, with a long corridor, doors on either side, all with security displays recessed into the wall next to them.

But, as they entered the corridor, Scott’s breath caught in his throat.

As he stood there with the others, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

In front of them, probably no more than a few yards away, were three bodies lying on the floor. One was sitting up against the wall, the side of his face melted, exposing his right eyeball and a good portion of his right skull.

Another one was laying face down, his entire back opened up at the spine, as if his spinal cord had been ripped out of him from behind.

The last one was a few more feet away from the others, on his back, his eyes seared from his head, black, burnt flesh where his eyes used to be.

The intercom came back to crackling life.


Derrick said over the intercom.

“Don’t worry. You can answer,” he said. “I can hear you.”

Scott looked up, then fixed his gaze on the security camera at the end of the corridor.

“Yes?” Scott finally asked.

There was a pause, static.

“What are you doing, Derrick?” he asked. “Did you do this?”

“Indeed,” Derrick said, coming back on.


“They refused to help me.”

“What are you trying to do, Derrick?” Scott asked.

There was another pause.

“I want to go home, Professor,” the boy said.


“Yes,” Derrick said, his tone soaked with some other-worldly confidence that did not belong in an innocent, ten year old boy.

“I want to go home, Professor,” he said again. “Would you be interested in coming home with me?”

Buy the entire story The Light Aurora today and get ready for the thrill ride of a lifetime! What is this foreign and hostile place these strangers find themselves in? What does it all mean? Will all of them survive?

Click here and grab your copy today! All three books in one!

But, trust me when I say, reading this book will change your life forever.

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