The next course I selected as part of my Unschooled Master of Theology program was the KI course, Revelation part 2, which covers the second half of the Book of Revelation. Here are the Discussion Questions for the entire course along with my responses.

As a reminder, you can all of my course assignments for the uThM here.

So, let’s get started….

KWL – What I Knew Before Starting This Study?

This course covers Revelation 6 through 22. I have to admit, I know much less about these chapters than I did about the first five. I also think it’s interesting that the first course was devoted to only five chapters while this course has 17.

Several years ago I did my own exhaustive study of Revelation and came away knowing less than I went in with. I charted out every chapter and wrote a commentary on it, but still it’s just as confusing today as it was then. Over the years I’ve focused on certain elements of Revelation. Chapter 20-21. Occasionally chapter 22, though this does not usually profit me much in answering questions I have about the afterlife. Lately I’ve looked at Revelation 11 closely, due to my mid-trip rapture position. To be honest, though, I’m not really all that interested in what’s happening on earth if I’m in heaven or in the clouds with Christ or dead. From everything I’ve gathered, it appears as if the dead, though conscious, are not aware of the happenings on the earth among the living. If that’s the case and the end times occur after my death, then who really cares.

I’m hesitant to jump on the pre-trib bandwagon, simply because there are passages that lead me to believe it’s not correct. But, hopefully this pass through the book will be detailed enough and will provide enough insight that it will start to make some sense.

Also relative to current events today, I’m convinced we are starting to see the destruction of western civilization and the beginning rise of the socio-political quasi-religious structure of the Anti-Christ’s new world order. With the “release” of the many variants of COVID 19, the forced lock downs and punity shown to those who refuse to comply with the governments’ experiments with the vaccines, I think in the next 10-20 years (if not sooner) we will see the disillusion of the United States, either under the weight of its own debased culture, or by force under the authority of the UN. I think our money will implode, many in the US, especially in the cities will starve, and the country will ultimately become a third world nature among the masses, while the wealthy elites will either relocate to other countries or will live in modern “castles” with high priced armies to protect them.

I don’t think (and hope) that the rapture is pre-trib and that the church is taken out of the world before things get too ridiculous. But, that is the western Christian mindset. Persecution is unnecessary and something to be avoided. But, if the rapture happens mid-trip (as I suspect), this means there are all the years ahead of us leading up to the tribulation, and then three years of intense persecution before we see any escape, just before the wrath of God is unleashed on the earth.

We will see. It’s exciting times to be living in. I’m glad my focus is on building a hermitage hidden in the woods where I can go and await my King’s return.

KWL – What I Want to Find Out in This Study?

I would like to settle, if possible, the rapture timeline. Right now I’m divided, hoping for pre, but from Scripture I see mid. There is also the option that all the events in Revelation and elsewhere recorded concerning the end times could happen with great speed, meaning its possible that the rapture is post-trib. Whatever the scenario, by the end of this study I would like to be convinced of one of them from Scripture.

Though I know it will not happen, I would also like to find some more information on the origin of angels, on their narrative (how they became angels, if they were something before, etc), and what the wider context is for existence, not just in the physical universe but in the supernatural realm(s) also. The problem is, of course, we have limited information on the greater reality that we exist within. We don’t really know who the God of the Bible actually is, not with any detailed specificity. Most, if not all, that we know is from his account. Does he have equals in the supernatural realm? Did he at one time but no longer? What was he doing, what was his existence like before he created the physical universe? Why did he create the angels and what was his existence like before he created them? What kind of surprises will we be getting ourselves into in the afterlife? What is death really like? Why is Lazarus requiring comfort after he dies? After all, he is in Paradise, isn’t he? Is salvation really about belief alone? Is it like the shepherd who said Christianity is just a Roman religion made up so selfish people can try to attain salvation? Is it really all a lie and when I die the lights will simply go out in my consciousness and I will cease to exist?

There are many of these questions, but I don’t think I will actually get satisfying answers until the immediate moment after my death or immediately after I’m raptured form the earth. But, with every course I take at KI, it is my hope that I will find another piece to this puzzle.

Lecture 13 Discussion Questions

Discuss the term “The Day of the Lord.”

This is not the “lord’s day” as is in the modern era equated to Sunday. It is the quintessential day of Judgment, the final wrap up of creation and the end of the history of humanity. It is specifically the day in which Jesus will return a second time, this time to bring wrath to the earth and to judge with fire and death and war and carnage all who live on the earth, or the earth dwellers.

As a phrase it occurs 32 times in the Bible. This is the day in which God has reserved for his vengeance (and, technically, when we will receive our revenge on all those who have wronged us, if we are even concerned with such things when the end does finally arrive).

It is the day of the Lord that will comes as a thief in the night (1 Th 5:2). And, as Peter states, it will be the moment that the earth and the “heavens” are destroyed by intense fire and heat, with all the physical universe being melted down into its base elements (2 Pe 3:10). Everything that was done on earth and the earth itself will be consumed completely by fire and will exist no longer. The only thing remaining of what occurred on earth would be the extensive records (books) God maintains in the supernatural realm.

It’s interesting that the “heavens” are included in this destruction. I’m not certain he is referring to the supernatural realm that Paul refers to in Eph 6:12. If it is, then there is a substrate on which the “heavens” or supernatural realm exists and is supported by, which then subsequently supports or subsumes are physical universe. It almost seems like these planes of existence are simulations within simulations. But, if the physical dimension evaporates by intense fire, and then also the spiritual realm likewise suffers the same fate, then there is no place (that we know of) where God, the angels, or humans can continue to exist. We see this fascinating and terrifying idea in Re 20:11, “I saw a great white throne and him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.” Yet, despite these planes of existence no longer existing, God is still on his throne and all the dead are assembled before him, and all the books are opened, including the Book of Life.

This is the Day of the Lord, the culmination of all things (1 Pe 4:7). Peter advises us “be serious and watchful in your prayers.” This day/event is so traumatic, so severe, so unprecedented, all the leaders and influential of the earth at the time flee in terror, hiding themselves in caves and begging the rocks to fall in on them and hide them from “the wrath of the lamb” (Re 6:16). Paul was correct, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (He 10:31).

Discuss the relevance of the “Four Horsemen” to events of today.

The first four seals in chapter 6 are represented as “a conquerer,” “war,” “famine,” and “death.” Following closely behind death is Hades, which we know to be the prison in which all humanity is held captive once they die due to the curse brought about by Satan’s tempting Eve and both her and Adam eating from the forbidden tree in the garden. These are each represented as a different color respectively: white, red, black, green.

Much has been made over the years, and especially in the modern era, as to where these four different “individuals” or “states of the world” map onto current events to point to where humanity is at the moment in the timeline to the end times.

Unfortunately, there is no way to tell from these four where we are, since we have all four of them and have had them for all of human history. Humanity is a especially brutal created being, at least in our fallen state. We encapsulate all four of these and universally experience death and hades at the end of life.

These four are described in Matthew 24 as “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places.” Of note, because pestilences is used for death, this is assumed often to be global viruses, such as COVID. While it is certainly possible that God will sue COVID to bring about the rise and revealing of the anti-Christ, it does not inherently means COVID is death here in this instance. But, in the notes, Dr. Missler points out that some of the worst “beasts” in which Death is allowed to use to kill with are microscopic. It is certainly likely that going forward the greatest struggle we will have on the earth will be the tendency for the elite to amass and consolidate power, influence, and wealth and these will use biological/germ weaponry agains the masses to accomplish this.

Wars, famine, cosmic upheavals: these are all present in our time now and have been a mainstay for humanity throughout its history. Just ask those who lived in Pompei when the volcano erupted. I’m sure there was at least one Christian to die in that city in 79 A.D. that was convinced the end of days had come.

Personally, I think we will wait and wait and wait and nothing will happen, if for no other reason than to fulfill Peter’s prophetic statement, “scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “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 Pe 3:3-4). Then, when the whole world has given up looking and waiting and praying for Christ’s return, he will come back with a great swiftness and immediacy and suddenness and will catch the world (and many believers) off guard. I think there will come a time when things will be so “out of the norm” that it will be impossible for it to be anything else other than the end of days and the riding of the four horseman.

Compare the riders of the white horse in chapters 6 and 19. Are they the same or are they different? How do you know?

First, the rider in chapter 6 is riding with the other three who are bringing destruction and melee to the inhabitants of the earth. He also carries a bow and is completing an earthly conquest.

The rider in chapter 19 has descriptions that are unmistakably identifying Jesus. He is called “faithful and true” and he “judges and makes war in righteousness.” His name is called “the word of God.” He is accompanied not by sickness and death but by the armies of heaven. This rider also has a sharp sword extending from his mouth that he uses to slay his enemies. He is bringing vengeance of God on the earth (for the first time). He is also called “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

What observations do you have from the book of Ruth?

Ruth is a story of the kinsman redeemer, who (as Boaz) saves Ruth (a gentile bride) from perpetual poverty (the curse) and in turn likewise saves Naomi (Israel) by extension (Acts 15:11; Ro 11:23-24).

We see this same scenario play out in Re 5:1ff, where God has a deed (assumably to the earth, but I’m betting it extensively to the entirety of the physical universe and the supernatural realm as well) and a call is put out, “who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” No one was found and John weeps (the significance that drives him to tears is lost on me). It has to involve the consequences of the curse on creation. Maybe the transfer of owners went from God to Satan at the fall. the Bible again doesn’t elaborate all the details so that we could formulate a complete picture. But, then the Lion of the tribe of Judah the Root of David, “has prevailed” to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals. This is because Jesus is our kinsman redeemer and we are the church. Why this is important since in chapter 21 the entirety of creation (and maybe heaven) will be utterly and completely destroyed is likewise unclear.

What is the purpose of the Tribulation?

The overall purpose of the tribulation during the last 3 1/2 years of the 7 year period of Daniel’s 70 weeks is to put Israel to the wall so they have nowhere else to turn but to their Messiah. When he came for them in 33 A.D. they refused to accept him as their Messiah. Jesus held them accountable corporately as a people to know from Scripture when he would arrive and how they could tell (through prophecy) when he did. Because they didn’t, they were set aside and God then opened a door to the gentiles through the building of the Church and the ingathering of believers saved by grace during the dispensation of the church age. Once everyone who is predestined to believe on Jesus as their Messiah does so, then the doors to the church age will be closed, the church will be corporately raptured and God will again turn to Israel and bring them (mostly likely kicking and screaming) to repentance and salvation (Ro 11:26). Now, I’m not certain if this includes every Israelite who ever lived (regardless if they believed or not), or if it is a remnant of Israel (those who are alive at the time of the end times, or if it is only those Israelites that are saved by grace through the church age and after during the tribulation. It is certain that there are several (at least a handful) of people who will be saved (have been saved) from the OT dispensation. We see Abraham in Paradise. Certainly Ezekiel will be saved. John the Baptist? Rahab? Ruth, Boaz, Naomi? Esther? What about the countless multitudes of Jews who looked for the Messiah, trusted in the Scriptures and in God to save them, yet died in their sin like everyone else? I remain unclear on what Paul means specifically by the word “all” here.

After Jesus saves the Israelites (who are alive during the tribulation) then they will “look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn” (Zech 12:10).

Now, there is one interesting theory that Dr. Missler has advanced that I find quite fascinating. If the dry bones account in Ezekiel 37:4-14 is a prophecy of a resurrection of literally all of Israel as the passage states, “these dry bones are the whole house of Israel” then it is feasible that the entirety of Israel (everyone who has ever been born a Jew – not including the hollyweird fakers) will be saved at the end since they are all live at this point and are part of this “exceedingly great army.” Wouldn’t that be a sight to see at some point in the future?

I would assume this does not include Abraham since he was never part of Israel? Would he then wait for the resurrection of the church? Would he wait until the resurrection in Re 21 at the great white throne?

What comparisons are there between Joshua and Revelation?

Joshua is a variant of Jesus. There is a military commander in Joshua trying to dispossess the usurpers (just as Christ will do for the earth). Joshua was a 7 year campaign against 7 nations that was originally 10 (which is the same in the end times).

Joshua’s battle against Jericho violated the Sabbath, allowing the Levites to participate, ignored the Sabbath, and was not waged by Joshua but by the Angel of Righteousness (or Jesus). Two witnesses are sent in just like in Revelation. There are seven trumpets in Joshu and seven trumpets in Revelation. Joshua is a prelude to what will happen in Revelation. Just as in Revelation, the leaders of that city hid themselves in caves.

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

A comment was made in this lecture that the death and hades represent the death of the body and soul, which is not actually correct (it is possible I miss heard it). But, in the notes it correctly states, that Death “claims” the body and Hades (or hell) “claims” the soul. This is technically correct, though, to further elaborate: death actually destroys the body and breaks it down into its elemental components and then scatters those components into the creation while hades captures the disembodied soul (by way of angel escort) and imprisons it either in torment or in paradise while waiting the resurrection.

Those who would claim that at death one’s soul goes to hell (meaning ultimate condemnation or destruction) is misinformed by the misuse of the placeholder term “hell” for both Hades (the prison of the dead) and Gehenna (the lake of fire). There appears to be an entire doctrine developed around this in American Christianity that assumes when an individual dies they immediately either go to hell or heaven. This is entirely incorrect. Every person who dies (save possibly for the martyrs who’s souls are found under the alter in heaven) is subject to imprisonment in one of the two compartments in Hades.

In the same vein, I find it quite intriguing that no one knows with any certainty the condition of the martyrs who reside under the altar in heaven. Are they disembodied souls (we would assume so)? Are they in resurrected bodies? If every person whose ever lived is subject to the curse and death is inescapable for all until the resurrection (by the power of Christ) then how can this subset be exempt (though we must take into account at least two others were exempt from death that we know of – Enoch and Ezekiel)?

Additionally, in this lecture Dr. Missler made the comment that he’s studied the Bible for over 50 years now and more and more he leans toward taking the entire text literally. I definitely agree with him. It is probably the number one reason that estranges me from the modern organized churches today. I would say 99% of American Christianity does not take the Bible literally. I mean seriously and interpretively in a plain and straightforward manner. They tend to cling to their logics, to their psychologies, to their sciences, to their philosophies, their doctrines of men, their denominationalism, and twist the Bible to align with their presuppositions. This seems to be the entire foundation for their activities, how their organizations are structured and how their leadership operates (based on capitalism rather than the biblical example).

Lastly, the passage in Re 6:15-17 states “they said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne and from the wrath of the lamb; for the great day of his wrath has come, and who shall be able to stand?

How truly terrifying it must be to suddenly meet face to face with a God they never believed in, discredited, belittled, and were outright hostile toward his acolytes. These people put their trust in their wealth, in their status, in their influences, in their control and suppression of others, and yet here they are cowering in the cracks and crevices, begging to be crushed to death by the rocks above their heads because some how they can see God sitting on his throne and the sheer weight of the enormity of their mistake must be soul shattering. Talk about a mental and emotional break with reality. Truly they are depicted here as seeing the wrath of the lamb which is in and of itself astounding a concept. I am thankful every day that God so fit to spare me from my own depravity and wretchedness.

Lecture 14 Discussion Questions

What are the eschatological implications of the sealing of the 144,000? Are they around today?

The 144,000 are those 12,000 from each tribe of Israel at the beginning of Daniel’s 70 weeks (or the 7 year period of end times) that meet specific criteria and are “sealed” and sent to evangelize the post-rapture, post-first resurrection world.

This would be a new dispensation as, according to Dr. Missler, the church has been raptured at the beginning of Re 4:1 and will not be subjected to the tribulation of ch 6-19. Dr. Missler also points out that there will be more saved during this period than at any other time in human history. I would assume this is in reference to Re 7:9 “a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”

The 144,000 are around today only if the end times and the tribulation begins within the generation of those living today. If it is far into the future, then the answer would, of course, be no.

Are there “Ten Lost Tribes”? Explain. What are the dangers inherent in this view?

There are not 10 lost tribes. When Israel divided into two nations, North and South due to civil war, the North became synonymous with idolatry. Over a period of time, those who were tempted by idolatry moved north, and those who were more zealous for God and the Law moved south. At the point which the Northern kingdom was carried off and destroyed, all 12 tribes were represented in the Southern Kingdom.

It appears as if the concept of there being lost tribes of Israel that mixed into the general populous of the world and that somehow it is advantageous to connect your personal lineage to one of these supposed tribes violates 1 Ti 1:4; Titus 3:9 in chasing after “foolish disputes” and “endless genealogies.”

There is also present within the popularity of the 10 Lost Tribes research connections to anti-semitism, to ideas of white superiority, etc.

Are distinctions between “Jew” and “Israelite” relevant to anti-Semitism? Explain.

After the Babylonian Captivity the two terms were synonymous as well as in the first century. Within the 10 Lost Tribes camp, though, there are “British Israelites” who deny the Jewish people authenticity or claim on the promised land. They deny that authentic Israel is being regathered or that the true Israel has a destiny in the Bible that is distinct from the church.

What are the distinctives between: a) The Old Testament believers; b) The New Testament believers; and c) The Tribulation Saints?

This is difficult to answer. I understand that New Testament belivers are those who fall into the dispensation of the Church Age ( 33 A.D. – the Rapture) and Tribulation Saints are those who are saved after the rapture. How the latter are saved differently than the church age I’m not certain, and this is also a question for the Old Testament saints. Is it by grace? Is it by works? Will all of Israel be saved as Paul describes? Or, does he mean a remnant of Israel will be saved because not everyone who was born a Jew is actually a Jew? Or, will all Israel (meaning actually everyone who was ever born a Jew) at some point experience a resurrection from the dead (Dry bones prophecy) and then will be saved as Tribulation Saints?

It’s a bit confusing.

Do you believe that the Church will go through the Tribulation? Please defend your answer.

First off, I would be perfectly happy to be wrong on my rapture timeframe if it means that the Church will be raptured before the tribulation. But, there are issues with the biblical text that pose problems with the pre-trib position that I have not found adequate answers for yet. Predominately, it is the issue with the last trumpet remarks by Paul. These fit well in Revelation 11:15, since it is marked as the point in which “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” Then the last trumpet (the seventh) is blown.

I know Dr. Missler separates the trumpets Paul refers to from the trumpets in Revelation, stating the rapture trumpets are the “trumpets of God” and there are only two of them. I can understand his reasoning for doing this, but it remains unconvincing. I remain persuaded that we will, as the church (or individuals that make up the church) all the events up until the last trumpet, the 7th, in Re 11:15. I could definitely be wrong (and I personally hope I am) and we could be caught up before the tribulation occurs. I’m fine with this as long as I’m included in the rapture!

In all honestly, I’m more concerned about whether I’ll be included in the rapture than I am about when the rapture will actually take place.

Who were the unmarked tribes and why were they unmarked?

I do not recall anything mentioned about “unmarked tribes” of Israel in the lecture and there is nothing in the notes about it.

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

I found it fascinating that Dr. Missler is convinced that the universe is geocentric. Of course, I can understand why the rest of the non-believing world would claim different, since they want to promote the idea that there is nothing special or providential about humans in the first place. But to have the earth be at the center of the universe I find kind of enchanting. It would make much more sense to the formation of the solar system, the Milky Way, etc for everything to center around this singular place (and planet). I can’t say I’m convinced. I’m not even certain how one could confirm such a theory.

Additionally, one question I thought of when considering the rapture is: if everyone who experiences the rapture is “in Christ” does this mean all those who are raptured will be considered priests and kings and will have thrones (or just the 24 elders)? Likewise, will heaven or the afterlife or the Kingdom be hierarchical? It appears as if the supernatural realm is according to Paul’s description. Would it be possible for someone to be included in the Rapture but then once they were “up there” in the presence of Christ be determined to be less worthy of their position and demoted to janitor (or some other position) losing their spiritual and royalty status but still retaining their occupation of heaven?

Lecture 15 Discussion Questions

What was the Year of Jubilee all about?

It began with Joshua’s conquest of the promised land and its distribution among the tribes. It is a bizarre accommodation, since the land belongs to God it cannot be sold or divided. All the people are able to do is lease the land to others for use. During the Jubilee year, all debts are forgiven, and all lands are returned to their original owners. Slaves were set free and everything is restored. It is summed up in the phrase “the restoration of the Kingdom of God.”

Discuss how the plagues of Egypt correspond to the “trumpet judgments.”

Though there are similarities to some of the plagues in Egypt and the plagues unleashed by the sounding of the trumpets in Revelation, I’m not clear that these correlations are intended.

Read Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. What do these passages teach you concerning Lucifer?

In Isaiah 14:12-15 we learn:
1. Lucifer is fallen from heaven
2. He is the son of the morning
3. He was cut to the ground
4. He weakened the nations
5. He declared himself to be God
6. His intention as to set a throne.
7. He wanted to take over the divine counsel.
8. He was inevitably brought to Sheol
9. We will recognize him as nothing
10. He shook the kingdoms

In Ezekiel 28:14-17
1. He thought himself a god
2. Was prideful
3. He is called “a man.”
4. He was an anointed cherub
5. He walked in front of the fiery stones.
6. He was perfect in his ways
7. Iniquity was found in him
8. He was very beautiful
9. He was cast to the earth.

Read Daniel 12:4. What new discoveries have you recently made in your study of the Word of God?

I’m not certain this would pertain to individuals learning about the Bible, but about the increase in understand of end times prophecies overall. I’m daily learning new things about the text, different aspects or lessons from the Bible that I had never understood previously. But, compared to the times of Luther and the Reformation and all the centuries before, there was no real interest in biblical prophecy about the end times. This changed in the 20th century as the events of our day began inciting interest in what would happen at the end of the world.

Discuss the similarities between the conditions being judged in Revelation with our world today.

God divided up the crimes into four sections: murders, sorcery, fornication, and theft. In today’s “modern” and “enlightened” world, we have the greatest murder rate including the federal subsidization of abortions. We as a society utilize and promote and the prescribers make trillions off of the drugs they peddle to the populous. Fornication in all shapes and sizes is a fascination – the primary fascination – among the masses today. Lastly, the institutional theft of both capitalism and communism is stripping personal property from the masses and transferring it to the elite few who have been taking the world under its influence for generations.

What is the relevance of the “Trumpet Judgments” to us?

I think we will experience these judgments with the rapture occurring at the sounding of the 7th trumpet. This can be seen in the following references:

1 Co 15:52 “at the last trumpet.” I don’t think Paul would have mentioned a trumpet without it referencing something well known. This is also seen, albeit with more generic terms, 1 Th 4:16 “with the trumpet of God” as well as Matt 24:31 “with a great sound of a trumpet.”

We further see evidence for the mid-trip rapture in Re 10:7, “in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.” There are simply too many places that reference the Church as being the mystery of God (Col 1:27; 2:2; Ro 11:25; 16:25; Eph 3:9; 5:32). Lastly, we have the statement in Rev 11:15 “the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his christ,” at the exact time that the seventh trumpet sounds.

Despite these reference, I cannot establish an identity for the 24 elders or why they appear to be in heaven after the end of Chapter 3. To be completely honest, I hope I am wrong and the pre-trib timeline is correct. But, as I’ve stated before, I’m not as concerned about when the rapture takes place as I am being included in the rapture at all.

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

As for the Russian word that is translated “wormwood” google states it’s полынь горькая or “polyn’ gor’kaya.” But the Ukrainian word “chernobyl” does means “wormwood,” which is a plant that is closely related to wormwood.

Additionally, Dr. Missler mentions the misunderstanding that the devil is somehow in charge of hell. It is interesting how ingrained that idea is in our minds. The reality is, though, “hell” – the catch-all term for both Hades and the Lake of Fire (Gehenna) – was created specifically for Satan and for the 1/3 of heaven (angels) that fell with him (presumably after the Re 12 war) as well as the fallen angels from Genesis 6:2.

I was grateful to see Dr. Missler state that no one really knows when exactly Satan fell from heaven as Jesus describes in Luke 10:18. Though, I would have to disagree that the Genesis 3 account indicates that by then the plummet had already occurred. We know from Job 1:7 and 2:2 that Satan spends at least some of his time on earth, “walking back and forth on it.” Likewise, this is also seen in his encounter with Eve in the garden. But, just because he has access to earth (which, apparently, all angels have) this does not automatically mean he has fallen. Certainly Revelation 12 carries the connotation that his expulsion was permeant, that after the war in heaven he and his army was expelled for good, never to return again. It would be difficult to conclude that the Luke comment and the Revelation 12 incident were not the same event.

I did find the reference in Re 9:1 “And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth” to be quite provocative. Never have I equated this “star” with Lucifer. I don’t believe the fall took place in Re 9, though, since only the KJV has “fall” in the present tense. All other translations render this in the past tense: “fallen” (NKJV) or “that had fallen” (NET, NIV, LEB, NLT, NRSV, CSB) or “which had fallen” (EOB, NASB). It is interesting that the “star” is referred to as “him.” See, accurate and dependable pronouns do matter. But, it is most probably that this “star” was already on the earth, having fallen previously as a separate event. Then was given the key to the bottomless pit. Of course, if there was a stretch of time between his fall and now, it’s clear the giving of the key came later (most likely at the 5th trump) since others Satan would have used that key to open Tartarus long before then.

One comment by Dr. Missler concerning Satan I found to be incorrect. He stated that everything Satan has is derivative, that nothing he says or does is original. But this is not true. As Jesus stated, “for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44). If he is the “father” of lies then Satan is the originator of the concept of lies and, thus, he is responsible for some originality. Unfortunately, as with all things pertaining to angels, God, and the supernatural realm, we are left with only pieces of the puzzle, with much of the context wiped clean from the record. We will not know the true extent of their involvement or purpose or relevance until after each of our deaths. This fact makes me a little nervous.

There is also a word exchange Dr. Missler refers to in Revelation 8:13, that instead of angel the word is “ἀετοῦ” or “eagle.” This is a bizarre statement to make since the “αγγελου” is used in the TR while in the Majority text and the Critical text both have “eagle.” Yet, previously in the lecture, Dr. Missler points out the change in the Critical text from “us” to “them” and cites the disputed nature of the Critical text rendering it untrustworthy. So, my question is, which is it? Is the Critical text trustworthy or not trustworthy (personally I find it skeptical)?

It is true that the issue in Re 5:9-10 renders the Critical text as the minority variant. In the “eagle” dispute, it renders the TR as the minority variant. This may be what Dr. Missler was driving at but it remains unclear in the lecture.

Dr. Missler states there are at least three distinct groups of believers: OT saints, NT saints, and Tribulation saints. I would argue that angels should be included in this lineup as a fourth group, at least those angels who remain loyal to God (who are not fallen). They are the example of our future selves. We will become like the angels in heaven. I think there is a good chance that the angels had a pre-adamic redemptive narrative just as human did. I’m not certain if it was on earth (possible) or on another planet, or maybe it occurred entirely in the supernatural realm (before there was a physical universe or dimension).

Lastly, Dr. Missler seemed uncertain of the meaning behind Re 9:6 in the inability for people to die. I conclude this is part of the judgment of God, or part of his wrath against the world, in that despite being ravaged by these demonic locust creatures, the humans are unable to die. This prolongs the suffering and torment of these “earth dwellers” despite our human inability to accept that God’s judgment to come will be one of vengeance and brutality. God will either supernaturally prevent death or technology will be so advanced that death will be all but eradicated, which would seem fitting since the fallen world is determined to worship it’s “scientism” as it’s new god.

Lecture 16 Discussion Questions

How do the allusions in chapter 10 point to Jesus Christ?

If we are referring to “another mighty angel” this is possibly pointing to Christ, though not explicitly. It could be another angel “of the same kind” as the other angels. But, the fact that he is described with clouds, a rainbow, the sun, feet of fire, are all reminiscent of Jesus Christ elsewhere in Scripture.

Make a list of places where the Angel of the Lord shows up in the OT.

This phrase appears 68 times in the Bible. The angel dealt with Hagar in Ge 16. It was the angel of the Lord who told Abraham not to sacrifice Isaac. It was the angel who appeared to Moses from the burning bush. The angel of the Lord stood in the way of Balaam’s donkey. It was also the angel of the Lord that slaughtered the Assyrian army (185,000).

This occurred as well in the New Testament with the angel appearing in Joseph’s dream. The same opened the prison doors for the disciples at night. It was the angel who spoke to Philip, telling him to go into the desert (where he met up with the Ethiopian Eunuch). It also appears, rather strangely, that the angel of the lord was responsible for killing Herod (Acts 12:20).

List seven mysteries in the Bible.

The Kingdom
Israel’s Blindness
God’s Will (Providence)
The Church
The Rapture
Iniquity
The Seven Thunders

Why was the “little book” both bitter and sweet?

If this is the scroll that was from Re 5, the “scroll written on the inside and on the back, which was sealed with seven seals” then once the seals are opened (by Christ) and the scroll is unrolled, we see the three series of 7 segments of God’s wrath. The first is the seals themselves, then the trumpets, then the seven bowls. I would argue that the seals and the trumpets are warnings to prepare and it’s not until we reach the bowls that God’s wrath is actually poured out onto the earth. I would also argue that the rapture takes place at the sounding of the seventh trumpet.

I would argue that it is bitter and sweet because, on the one hand, we long for judgment to come to the earth. But, the way in which it is delivered is so unsettling for the whole of the human race. What is described in Revelation is quite brutal and can appear rather calloused and hateful. But, it is God’s vengeance for everything humanity has done from the individual level to that of the masses. They have committed crimes constantly from Adam to the last. His judgment is righteous in every sense of the word. It may not sit well with humanity. But, it doesn’t matter what we thing or what are opinion is. God has complete power over the clay. He will not only do whatever it is he will do but whatever it is he does, by the very fact that he’s doing it, defines the nature of its rightness.

On the one hand, God’s wrath being poured out onto the earth, for the corrupt and the wicked and the sinful receiving finally just punishment for what they’ve done to the victim, to the heartbroken, to the poor and the sick, to the masses, it will be sweet as honey. But, I think we will at some point have to grapple with what that vengeance means, what its true and heart wrenching ramifications will be. I think this is, at least partly, why God will have to dry the tears of those who are in heaven, because we will witness his wrath first hand from the safety and security of eternal salvation. Even the lowliest of servants in the Kingdom of God certainly must be leagues better off than the most loft, most influential, wealthiest individual who has to experience and endure the wrath of the Lamb.

What is the traditional view of where the Temple once stood? What are some other conjectures? Which one do you hold to and why?

There are basically three “conjectures” concerning the location of the 2nd temple: the northern, traditional, and southern views. The traditional states that the temple was located exactly where the dome of the rock is located today. Of course, the north and south would locate the temple as described by the names respectively. Early written accounts describe the temple as having running water (which the dome does not have). Several accounts state that others could look in on the temple from their location, meaning the temple was not on a hilltop. I, personally, don’t think it matters at all. They should just find some land somewhere within Jerusalem and build the temple. Let’s get this show on the road already! I’m really kind of tired of this God forsaken place.

Who do you believe the identities of who the two witnesses are? Defend your answer.

Personally I think it’s Elijah and Moses. These who were expected by the Israelites as well as the Messiah. John the Baptist denied being Elijah, though Jesus seemed pretty convinced. The ministries of Moses and Elijah were left unfinished. Lastly, they had the encounter at the transfiguration, which Dr. Missler stated he assumes they were discussing the resurrection or rapture or the two’s upcoming mission as the two witnesses.

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

The seven thunders have long fascinated me. I thought Dr. Missler’s use of the incident as reason to discredit the fundamentalist argument that there are no gifts for today. This verse: “we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away” (1 Co 13:9-12) does lend to the issue since the seven thunders were not recorded. But, there are more reasons that this to discredit the Bible as being “perfect” or “complete.” Certainly textual criticism has cast a shadow over the accuracy and completeness of the Bible in the last few hundred years (even though all the changes don’t really change the meaning). The imperfectness of translation also lends to the incompleteness of the biblical message. Bible translation also innately generates a great deal of individual and corporate sin: in peddling the bible for a profit, and in pricing bibles at such a point to exclude the poor from access.

This being said, there is also a great deal of scriptural evidence and support for no exhibitions of gifts (so called) in the congregation. Christians should not be going from local meeting to local meeting “speaking in tongues” or “healing people” or “prophesying.” Much if not all of what occurs on any given Sunday in any given modern charismatic church is a lie and deceitful. It is characteristically harmful and false on its own merits. It needs no argument from Scripture like the hiding of the seven thunders. This is also an dangerous argument since we have no idea what the seven thunders actually said.

Also, Dr. Missler mentions the translation of the word Kingdom in vs 15 to be problematic because the TR has the plural βασιλειαι, but the Majority and Critical texts both have the singular βασιλεία. But, I do not see a problem here at all. When the seventh angel sounded, something profound has taken place.
1. The rapture has occurred.
2. The resurrection of all the saints just proceeded the rapture.
3. The earth is now only inhabited by the lost, the vessels of wrath.

In this chapter we see the actual “taking possession” of the earth by Jesus Christ, which was deeded to him in chapter 5. We see with the seals and the first six trumpets the laying out of the contents of the deed, and now Jesus is exercising that right he has as a kinsman of Adam. This is why “the kingdoms (plural, meaning all the human governments on earth) of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ.” We see these kingdoms (or human governments) all merged together into “the kingdom of our God” in Re 12:10. This is the point (Re 11:15) where Jesus sits down and begins to reign over his kingdom, over the entire earth, and even over the entire physical universe (and presumably over the supernatural realms, over all that Paul describes in Eph 6:12. Additionally, this same problem seems to be appearing again and again in these lectures. If the Critical Text is not trustworthy in one place because it was a document that was tampered with by the gnosticly influenced Christians in Antioch, then why are we lending credences to them at all. We can’t take it sometimes and discredit it at other times. I, personally, hold the critical text as suspect. It is why I chose, after weighing the evidence, to have the TR/Maj text in the main line of whatever Bible I use as my primary Bible (NKJV). But, I also wanted to be aware of when the Critical text deviated from the TR/Maj, which the NKJV puts in the footnotes (the NIV does the opposite putting the critical text in the main line of the translation and puts the TR/Maj in the footnotes). When I read this text I see no issue in the plural use of the “kingdoms” since I would argue it is referring to the earthly governments at the time of the sounding of the seventh trumpet and Jesus Christ takes actual possession of all that the deed prescribes to him.

Lastly, there was a brief mention by Dr. Missler about the “there should be time no longer” phrase in Re 10:5. This is found in the KJV; Geneva Bible; and also in the LITV (which is where I picked it up from). But is the rest of the modern translations it state, “no more delay.” Pulpit seems to sit on the fence between these two interpretations, providing the end of the physical property of time and then their being no more delay. They also argue for the “time of the fulfillment” occurs here at the sounding of the seventh trumpet.

Over the years I’ve noticed a peculiar habit within Christianity, especially in evangelicalism. They seem to be terrified of most everything as a base response, but certain things seems to just rub them the wrong way and they flee at the moment’s mention of it. Translating ποιμένας as “pastor” in Eph 4:11 is one example. It is the ONLY time pastor is used in the English Bible. Yet, the Greek work appears 18 times and is always translated as “shepherd” (or “elder”) except for Eph 4:11. This is, of course, to prop up their professional clergy (that has no biblical basis). I see χρόνος here in Re 10:6 the same way. It appears 51 times in the Bible but is only translated as “delay” one time. All the other translations are “while, long, time, since” all referencing time or a length of time. Only in Re 10:6 is the word used to represent the absence of time, or the fact that there is no delay in the response of a particular action. It is possible that it means this. I’m just skeptical. It is right at the principal moment where things on earth are drastically changing, as everything is swiftly restored to their originally designed function. Plus, it does stand to reason, that as the creation steps into eternity, there will be no more time (depending on what time actually is).

Lecture 17 Discussion Questions

What is the central belief of Replacement Theology? What is God’s future plan for Israel?

The widely held belief in Christian groups is that of supersessionism or “replacement theology.” This is the argument that when Israel rejected her messiah she also forfeited the promises made to her. These promises, instead, were transferred to the Church as the church becomes a “spiritual Israel.”

It seems as if Ga 6:16 is the only biblical reference to “Israel of God” in reference to the church and the “spiritual Israel” though not found in the Bible seems to originate in Origien’s commentary on John where he references in Book I #1, “How Christians are the Spiritual Israel” and how “the 144,000 sealed in the Apocalypse are Converts to Christ from the Gentile World.” As Dr. Missler’s notes mention, “Israel appears 75 times in the New Testament; each time it refers to national Israel—including the exception in Gal 6:16.

This allegorical theme would be repeated and elaborated on by Justin Martyr who wrote the “true spiritual Israel have been led to god through christ” and with Irenaeus who opted for a mixture of freedom in christ and moral obligation before the spirit of the law. This continued with the Catholic Church that argued for Christ ruling spiritually through his church on earth.

This theology appears to be initiated by Origen’s allegorical interpretive matrix and was exacerbated by the pressure from the Roman authorities who financially supported “pastors” and “teachers” in the church.

The problem, of course is manifold. The promises given to Abraham were unconditional. Paul specifically states that God is not finished with Israel (Rom 9, 10, 11). The 70 Week Prophecy outlines the prophetic role of Israel after the dispensation of the Church age and this dispensation occurs only between the 69th and 70th week of that period (or occurring in Dan 9:26).

This alternative view (replacement theology) propagated until the Holocaust, which silenced the pulpits and the Christian people allowing the Jews to be exterminated in the millions. It wasn’t until after the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 that Christian theologians began to examine replacement theology, given that the reestablishment of Israel was a wakeup call and reminder of the efficacy of biblical prophecy. This produced several different alternatives to replacement theology including covenant theology as well as dispensationalism.

The reality is, the church and Israel have very different origins and distinct destinies. Replacement theology denies Israel her mission and the final outcome (Ro 9-11), making God a liar with unfulfilled prophecies. Paul describes the world in a trichotomy: Jew, Gentile, and the Church (1 Co 10:32), with these distinctives reappearing after Re 4.

As Paul describes a blindness on Israel (Ro 11:25) we see the same talk from Jesus (Lu 19:42). But, Paul is specific to state, “blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” He further states, “And so all Israel will be saved” (vs 26).

It seems as if there are at least three distinct dispensations where God is at work in humanity.

1. OT (pre-Israel)
2. Israel
3. The Church
4. Post Rapture Saints
5. Post Tribulation Israel

Personally, I would add the angelic narrative somewhere before #1 and before Genesis 1:1 or directly after it and before 1:2. But, the angels do not appear to be created at the founding of earth (or the heavens) but they were only present during its creation. I opt for before Ge 1:1. I would speculate, given the tendency of God to work in patterns, that the angelic beings we know today as angels are actually the culmination of a separate redemptive narrative that occurred before the creation of the physical universe. Either on earth, on another planet (previous creation), or completely in the supernatural realm – I think angels have a distinct origin/creation story of their own (or are the culmination of multiple narratives with successive additions to their ranks) that is for whatever reason hidden from our view. I would also speculate that there might possibly be further redemptive narratives after our own, once we become “like the angels” and are enrolled into the ranks of the heavenly host. At that time we (along with the preceding angels) will be known only as angels to the objects of this new redemptive story and the people within it.

Where Israel (and the rest of the Kingdom of God) fits into the expansiveness of eternity is (to me) unclear. If Dr. Missler’s alternative view of the “dry bone” resurrection is correct and all of Israel will be resurrected to form a massive Israeli army, then Paul’s words will be literally true, “All Israel will be saved.” These may populate the kingdom on earth while only those of the church dispensation will be granted the ability to becomes “sons of God” and take up positions in the Divine Counsel. Or we all will inhabit the new Jerusalem forever. I do not know. Personally, I hope to be assigned a solitary job as a researcher in one of God’s libraries (if such exist) taking care of and reading and exploring the multitude of books seen in Dan 7:10 and Re 20:12. I truly hope heaven or the afterlife or eternity in the supernatural realm will not be disappointing or as underwhelming as so much with existence on earth tends to be.

What is the difference between a conditional promise and an unconditional promise? Give examples.

Conditional promises are based on the conditions comprised of the promise being met. If the conditions are not met, then the promise is not kept or fulfilled. Unconditional promises are those made without condition. I.e. there is nothing the party expressing the unconditional position needs to do in order to receive the promise.

An example of a conditional promise would be an entity (individual, corporation, government, etc) agrees to give an individual a million dollars “as long as” that individual remains morally upright and presentable to the masses. At any time from the time the promise is made, the entity giving the promise can withdraw fulfilling the promise based on the conditions that the individual receiving the promise be “ethical.” If the individual does something that the entity views as “unethical” it can withdraw fulfilling the promise.

An example of an unconditional promise is: an entity (say a father) promises to give his son a piece of land on a particular date in the future and that the son will possess that land forever. There are no conditions on the son receiving the land or keeping the land after the receives it. When the time comes the son is given the land and going forward the son will always have possession of the land. This is unconditional.

What is the possible future of the Mercy Seat? List three scriptures to back up your answer.

It appears as if the Ethiopians believe they are in the possession of the Ark of the Covenant that disappeared from the Temple at its destruction at the beginning of the Babylonian captivity. There is no record of what happened to it. The Ethiopians have a narrative that claims the illegitimate son of Solomon (from a dalliance with Queen of Sheba) carried away the Ark to protect it.

They are convinced that when the Messiah comes and establishes his rule from Mt. Zion, that they will deliver the Ark (more importantly the mercy seat) to the Messiah (Isaiah 18:7; Zeph 3:18).

This is cryptically alluded to in the events in Acts 8 concerning the Ethiopian Eunuch, who went to Jerusalem and left confused and reviewing Isaiah 53 on his return to Ethiopia. Philip explains to him that this passage is referring to Jesus who is the Christ.

Dr. Missler speculates that the Eunuch returned to the Queen who asked “is it time?” And the Eunuch replied, “No the Christ was born, Jesus, but he was murdered on the cross. We must wait until his return (this delay was due to the Israelites rejecting their messiah).”

Dr. Missler argues that the important component of the Ark of the Covenant is the mercy seat (Nu 7:28; 1 Ch 28:11), which will be used as Christ’s throne in the Kingdom.

List the four women mentioned in the Book of Revelation. Give their scriptural background.

Jezebel of Re 2:20 is reminiscent of the woman who instituted the worship of Baal and purged Israel of her prophets (1 Kings 21). It was stated in Re 2:19 that the Church of Thyatira allowed “that woman” or “your wife” (according to the Majority text), Jezebel, who “calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce my servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.” Jesus states that he gave her time to repent but instead she was cast into a sickbed and great tribulation fell on those who participated with her in adultery. He threatened to kill her children with death so that the churches would know that he was the one who “searches the minds and hearts.”

I remain uncertain the identity of this individual in Revelation 2.

The second woman was the Harlot from Re 17-18. This individual is often considered a personification of the world system, false devotion, flatteries, feigned or superficial or artificial (even perverse) love (Jer 3:6, 8, 9; Ezek 16:32; Hos 1:2; Rev 2:22). Jerusalem was called a harlot by the prophet Isaiah (1:21) as was Tyre (Isa 23:16-17) and Nineveh (Nah 3:4).

I do not know the identity of the harlot in Revelation.

The third is “this one” woman referenced in Revelation 12 and Jeremiah 3:20. She is the wife of Yahweh, and is often described as a woman in travail (Isa 54:5; 66:7; Jer 3:6f; Micah 4:10; 5:2-3). She’s found in the Revelation 12 account as with child (so she cannot be the Church who is to supposed to be a virgin).

This woman is clearly the nation of Israel. As to which portion of Israel remains unclear (all Israel, the remnant of Israel, the dry bones resurrected of Israel, etc).

Lastly, the Bride is the fourth woman and she is found in Revelation 19:7; 21:2, 9. This is the establishment of a the new covenant (assuringly a subset covenant since the Israelite covenant remains in effect) as described in 1 Cor 11:25. This bride was purchased by price (1 Cor 6:19-20), set apart (Eph 5:25-27; 1 Cor 1:2; 6:11; Heb 10:10; 13:12), and her bridegroom has departed for his Father’s house and she will be gathered by him on his return (1Thess 4:16-17).

As already discussed, this woman is chaste, a virgin, awaiting patiently for her bridegroom’s coming (2 Cor 11:2; also, Eph 5:22-23). The Church is “engaged” to Him even though we have not seen Him (1 Pet 1:8) and one day he will return and take us as his Bride to heaven (Jn 14:1-6; 1 Thess 4:13-18).

What chapter did Jesus read at the synagogue in Nazareth? What was noteworthy about the passage as well as the spot He chose to end His reading?

In the synagogue, Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah 61:1-2, leaving off in the middle of verse 2 where it states “and the day of vengeance of our God.” At the time he read this he was fulfilling vs 1-2a. It will be at his second coming that he fulfills vs 2b.

List three different strategies of Satan is his attempt to preemptively end God’s redemptive and eschatological plan.

Satan typically tried or tries to sabotage God’s plan either by destroying the lineage of Adam, by attacking the lineage of David, or in the Church age (and the subsequent end times), by outright deception.

In trying to destroy the lineage of Adam, Satan first convinced Cain to murder his brother Abel (whether this is correct is unclear, though there is a single verse that leads me to think it might be the case – 1 John 3:12).

Later, in Genesis 6:2, we find angels at work in sinister schemes, though there is no direct reference to Satan being involved at all.

When attacking the lineage of David, Satan attempts to do so through the Blood Curse of Jeconiah (Jer 22:30). Of course, no assignment to Satan here either. Likewise, such instances as the genocidal attempts of Haman come to mind (Est 3).

In the church age Satan’s efforts seem to become much more individualistic. He is viewed as “a roaring lion walking about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pe 5:8). We are instructed to “not give place to the devil” (Eph 4:27) but to put on “the whole armor of God” (Eph 6:11).

During this time Satan is attacking the church (and God) via deception (Re 12:9). He deceives through πανουργίᾳ his “craftiness” or “trickery.” He most often does this by transforming himself into an “angel of light” (2 Co 11:14) and does the same with his demon servants or the “deceiving spirits” (1 Ti 4:1) which lead people into all forms of compromising entanglements as they inadvertently sacrifice to demons rather than to God (1 Co 10:20). Though, there is no place I’ve found in the Bible linking Satan directly to demons. But there are two references in Mark 3:22 and Luke 11:18 that correlate Satan with the casting out of demons and with Beelzebub. In Matthew 12:24 Beelzebub is referred to as the “ruler of demons.” So, are they referencing here the chief of the demons (as in the chief is likewise a demon) or are they referring to Satan who has somehow garnered an authoritative position over demons (which are demonstrably different than he is)?

In the end, the deception becomes so great that Satan is deceiving the whole world, he is locked away so he can no longer do so (Re 20:3). Especially in the end times, the deception will be so great that Jesus makes the point, “do not be deceived” (Matt 24:4). Things will not be as they appear, and as things appear this will not actually be reality. Those who are lost (who have rejected Christ outright or have fallen away) will received the delusion that they might believe the lie (2 Th 2:7).

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

I was at first quite surprised when Dr. Missler mentioned Re 11:19 translates covenant as “ark of the testament” instead of “ark of the covenant.” I’ve only ever heard of covenant. At first I thought maybe it was a critical text reading (which did not make sense), wondering if maybe Dr. Missler had switched to a modern translation later in life.

But, in actuality, it is the peculiar translation of the KJV. All other texts have “covenant.” The phrase, “κιβωτος της διαθηκης” is used in the TR as well as Majority and Critical texts so it is not a textual issue but a translational one.

I did find it peculiar that Dr. Missler states that not only was the claim made by the Ethiopians that a counterfeit was made when they took the ark to their country, but that the actual Ark of the Covenant is only a copy of the original, authentic ark that has always existed in the temple in heaven.

I also found the development of amillennial view developed quite early on in Church History was at the behest of the already formed professional clergy that was paid by the Roman authorities. It appears as if the deeds of the Nicolaitans was quick to entrench itself in the Church and has stretched throughout much of Church History, even into evangelicalism today. There are few “pastors” who are in the profession who would even discuss the lack of biblical support for their profession.

NOTE:

I wanted to take a moment here as I post these discussion question answers to the Institute’s LMS that, for the first time, I really feel like I’m doing what I really want to do, what I feel called to do, and what I love to do. Everything in my life seems to be coalescing into an almost seamless and effortless flow, that I can pursue God in terms that I understand, that I agree with, and that I can really appreciate.

School has always been something that I was “good at.” I could do the test. I could do the assignments. I could pass the classes. But, it was always the curriculum, the subject matter, that proved a distraction from what it was I truly wanted to study – the Bible. God. Christian Philosophy (because so many of my questions are simply outside of the scope or comfort level of those who are in Christianity). I struggled to escape K-12, and then likewise struggled to get through undergrad. There were so many distractions (off topics) that I just had no interest in. For a long time I thought I wanted to study and teach history, but it was just me grasping at straws, trying to figure out a way to escape the monotony and brutality of paid employment and this artificial system the world has created to enslave the masses. My first attempt at grad school sent me running for the hills. I still can’t believe my Religion class professor told me that using the Bible as a historical book wasn’t history! Talk about a fish out of water! I couldn’t sink or swim. I couldn’t even breathe! I was drowning on air and it’s a terrible, terrible feeling to say the least.

A few more attempts over the years at seminary were ill fated as well. Mostly because I was not in a financial or economic or familial position or vocational or ministerial position where I could devote time to the study.

When I finally found a fit in my current job as a part time worker, making enough money that I was effectively self-funding not only my education but my ministry pursuits, I was for the first time in a place that I could thrive. My Master’s degree program was okay. It was quite a lot like my undergrad. Lots of assignments. Even more tests. Though I did quite well, for the most part. I did have a few run-ins with professors who either concluded I was not fit for earth or heaven or who wrote me off entirely. That’s fine. I’ve learned that either I’m cursed out of the church by God or he is protecting me from the church “so called” that exists today (that really isn’t representative of the church Christ is building out of individual believers).

I just wanted to say that I’m compelled, above everything else I’m doing with the remainder of my life, that I want to pursue God and discover as much as I can about him and his ways before I die (or am hopefully raptured form this godforsaken place called earth).

I’m thoroughly enjoying my time studying his word in the uThM study plan and most specifically in the KI courses.

Lecture 18 Discussion Questions

Give one specific unconditional and one specific conditional promise (or covenant) from the Scriptures.

A conditional promise is found in Ephesians 6:2 where Paul quotes the fish Commandment, “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” Yet, it remains unclear how this actually works since there have been countless people who have complied and yet their days were actually short-lived.

An interesting unconditional promise is found in Genesis 9:11 where God promises to never again kill “all flesh” on the earth through a flood. Of course, he doesn’t mention at this point that the earth and all the people on it are destined for the Day of the Lord which will destroy the earth and all the people living at that time with a horrendous fire that literally melts everything down to its elemental parts (2 Pe 3:10).

Is the Antichrist a Gentile or a Jew? Give a defense for your answer. List the members of the Satanic Trinity and describe their functions.

It clearly states that the antichrist is an intellectual genius, a persuasive orator, a shrewd politician, a financial genius, a forceful military leader, a powerful organizer, and a unifying religious guru. He is the “seed of the serpent” (Ge 3:15). Some argue that he’s a Jew but Dr. Missler points out that in John 5:43 reference the word ἀλλήλους is used to indicate “not of the same kind” yet I could not pin this distinction down from ἑαυτοὺς, though they do appear to be reciprocal words. The fact that the antichirst will be accepted by the Israelites (John 5:43; Psalm 55) would convince some that he’s Jewish.

Personally, I do not think it matters either way. Gentile. Jew. the Bible is clear what the antichirst will do once he is revealed. That is really all we need to know and attempts like this to define his characteristics are attempts to predict who he is or when he will appear.

As I understand it, there is the Dragon, which will possess the human who will be known as the Anti-Christ. There will be a second which is the beast (out of the sea) and then a third beast, which is out of the earth, and is known as the False Prophet.

The antichrist will sweep up the world into denial of and rebellion against God. He will take control of the world government (which I think we are seeing the beginnings of today) and will be an influential political, military, and religious leader. He will control all means of production and commerce.

The Beast from the Sea will be powered by the Dragon and will overcome the saints and will engender worship from the “earth-dwellers.”

The False Prophet will speak like the Dragon, will demand the earth to worship the first beast, and will deceive the world with genuine miracles. He will force the worship of an image of the first beast and will brand all followers with the mark of his name on either the right hand or on the forehead.

Do you believe the Antichrist is alive today? What is the title that is used the most to describe him? What will his strengths be?

In one sense, Dr. Missler’s theory seems logically correct. But, it does appear as if Satan (and the other angels for that matter) do have more information about reality, about the physical dimension, and about God’s plan than we do. Though it does make sense that Satan does not know when the last saved person will enter the church and mark the “fullness of the gentiles.” So every time someone is saved it would be a shock to his system and at the very least keep him preoccupied wondering if it will be the next one in line. No one knows when the hour or day will come, except for the Father. In fact, it specifically states the angels do not know this information (Mark 13:32).

Has there been different individuals who could have potentially been the antichrist in every generation up to today? I don’t know. This would imply a kind of free will that I think Scripture bears out doesn’t actually exist. Why would he need to earmark someone anyway? If it’s Satan behind the wheel, he has everything he needs. All these characteristics used to describe the anti-christ are really just describing Satan, not the actual man Satan is possessing. It is just as logical to assume that Satan has no one picked out, but when that clock strikes the end of the church, he will pick the person most suited for his purposes and that person will be ultimately predestined to be the antichrist.

As for his most used title? I’ve heard the “prince that shall come” and the “prince of Tyre,” but Dr. Missler points out that the use of “Son of Perdition” in 2 Th 2:3 is provocative, pointing to a resurrected Judas.

His strengths are covered in the previous question. As to whether he is alive today or not, I would argue this depends. I’m not personally persuaded that there are potential anti-christ candidates waiting in the wings of every generation simply because this is inefficient based on God’s predestination for every human (literally every creature) on earth (Matt 10:29-31). I think there is only one individual that Satan will ultimately possess (though I’m surprised that angels can possess a human) and this individual is preordained before the foundation of the world to be the anti-christ. It is most likely that Satan does not know who this individual is. It is quite possible, despite the predictive accounts in Revelation and elsewhere revealing his actions beforehand, that he doesn’t even know he will do the things that have been already written about him. He may not be convinced he will do them. He might be enraged at the nerve of God for making the claims over Satan’s autonomy and free will. It is possible that Satan is just as self-deluded as everyone else. But, to answer the question: I think the anti-christ is alive today “if” the time is truly (and finally) short and we are nearing the end of days and the rapture is imminent. If we have another 200 years or even another 1000 years to go in Church History before the final person is saved and gathered into the mystery, then no, the anti-christ is not alive on earth yet.

Micah 5 alludes to the Antichrist as the Assryrian. Who are today’s Assyrians? What countries today represent the territories of the ancient Assyrians? How does this fit into the last day scenario?

The Assyrians, according to the lecture, are made up of Iraqi’s and Syrians. It’s an interesting idea, though I’m not certain I would extend much credit to it. We have no idea how world events will play out. Just because the anti-christ will be Assyrian does not mean any of us will be witness to it. The end times might be another 1000 years away. Before the rapture occurs, the western nations might fall into decay and we might all starve to death long before he ever presents himself. The entire system in which the human population revolves on might be destroy and remade several times over before these events take place. There is simply no way to tell.

I remember back in the early 2000’s when the churches were all excited that the anti-christ was just around the corner and the locusts of Revelation were Apache helicopters. In the end, there is no way for us to predict because the prophesies are too vague and world events are too erratic and unpredictable. I think once it’s all over and we look back on the events and compare them to the biblical accounts, they will match with 100% accuracy. But that will illustrate to the vessels of mercy God’s ultimate providence over creation. These prophecies are not to be used today as a roadmap to predict the end of days events.

How many different types of saints are there in the Bible? List them and their qualifications.

This is an interesting question that I struggle a bit with. So there are Old Testament saints, such as Abraham, Jacob, Sarah, etc. Then there are saints who are part of the Church age (us). Then there are post-rapture saints, or Tribulation saints who will be saved during the tribulation.

These three are distinct from one another and have differing criteria for entrance into the Kingdom of God. Though, it does appear that individuals from all three groups have their names written in the Book of Life (Ex 32:32; Dan 12:1; Phil 4:3; Re 13:8; 20:15). Shockingly (and a bit more than terrifying), individuals can be “blotted out” of this book, their names can be erased and they will no longer be “written with the righteous” (Psalm 69:28).

I would add to these three groups, though. I would first add the Israelites at the end of the Tribulation who will accept their Messiah and be saved. I would also add the angels of heaven who I think, at some point, experienced their own redemptive narrative (this is purely speculation based on the absence of information and God’s tendency to work in patterns). I would also possibly divide the OT saints between pre-Israel saints (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) and Israelite saints (Moses, John the Baptist).

But, concerning the OT saints, I’m unclear. When Paul states that “all Israel will be saved” is he referring to the full number of every individual who has ever been born Jewish (excluding converts from Hollywood)? Or, is he referring only to the remnant that will be saved? Is there going to be a “dry bones” resurrection of the Jewish people in the end times, where a great army is formed and Israel goes to war, widens her borders and is able to dwell in peace and safety (Ezek 37:10; 38:11) and then all these individuals (ever Jew that ever lived) is saved at the end when they call on their Messiah?

Will all of Israel be wiped clean from the book of life because a particular subset of her generations did not accept their Messiah when he came? Is their qualification based individually on their faith or corporately? Is there a different dispensation between the pre-Israel individuals such as Abraham and that of those who are under the Law, such as John the Baptist? Will only a select few who remain at the end of days and call out of their Messiah be saved and all others lost?

What does the Bible teach about “marking your body?” What are your views of tattoos?

Marks on the body are prohibited by the Old Testament (Lev 19:28). But, as a Christian, I am not under the law and have freedom in Christ to do by faith what is beneficial and not a stumbling block to another believer.

I don’t think it is necessarily an error for a Christian (or a non-Christian) to get a tattoo. Of course, the content of the tattoo must be considered. If a Christian wants to cover his entire body with tattoos, there is no inherent prohibition against such activity. But, there is an issue with such an individual who could be operating out of bounds of the law of Christ, since his public display of tattoos and his testimony of Christ could cause another believer who is weak in the faith to be concerned or stumble. The tattooed man brings judgment on his head for such action because he was not concerned for the church of God.

Getting a tattoo that is covered by clothing most of the time that is procured out of faith is not a sin. But, as Paul states, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being” (1 Co 10:23-24). Just because an individual Christian “can” do something doesn’t mean they should actually do it. I do not have tattoos, but it’s not out of any kind of religious conviction or prohibition. I just don’t see the point in it. It’s a waste of money. All the tattoos I’ve seen fade over time and look terrible. They are associated with reckless behavior, criminal activity, and low moral standards in our modern culture, and they are way too expensive. Not to mention painful. I consider them in line with jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. Really, what’s the point?

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

The issue with “I” in verse 1 does not appear to actually be an issue. It appears the critical and majority text puts vs 18 of chapter 12 into vs 1 of chapter 13. Though there is a peculiar note in the NKJV that says the critical text does change the “I” to “he,” there does not appear to be an English translation that actually makes this change – even the more liberal ones. More bizarre is that Dr. Missler appears to be siding once again with the critical text over the TR or Majority text, even though there appears to be no textual difference at all between them.

Lecture 19 Discussion Questions

Discuss the implications of Psalm 2 with respect to this current session.

This is the proverbial beginning of the end for the rebellious on the earth. They have a long lineage starting ultimately from Satan, extending though biologically from Adam, down through the ages to the modern time and then culminating in the end times (whenever that will actually be). Psalm 2 records a conversation between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, outlining this long descent into utter depravity. In the end, in Re 15 and 16, God will “speak to them in his wrath, and distress them in his deep displeasure” (Ps 2:5). You can see throughout this psalm, regardless of the workings or complaints of men, God is doing his purpose, “setting his King on his holy hill of Zion.” Regardless of what humanity might do, of their “raging” or their sinister and futile “plotting” against him. Despite their obstinate and stubborn and stiff-necked and outright rebellion against him, their calluding against him, the psalm actually says to these things God laughs. It says “the Lord will hold them in derision” (Ps 2:4), kind of like a dog does with a pestering flee that is a bother one second and the next is simply gone.

When and how were the 144,000 recruited and sealed?

I’m not certain what is meant by this question. I did not pick up on the answer in the lecture. But, let me try to provide an answer from the Bible if possible.

It appears from Re 7:2 that the four angels who are in vs 1 that are “standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree” have been “granted to harm the earth and the sea.”

First off, the mechanism by which they are manipulating are far beyond any natural force or law or principle of physics. How there are “four corners” of the earth I’m unclear (I read a theory that the “four corners” is a mistranslation and means the four directions, but I will need to do more research on this specific concept). Regardless, these four angels are somehow going to use “the four winds of the earth” (I’ve discovered there are actually four winds that move on the earth: Boreas, Eurus, Notos, Zephyrus. But I’ve also read that these four winds are “allegorically” the evils of the world – I personally find allegorical tendencies to be suspect). It is possible that these angels are actively restraining, containing, directing these four winds through time. If unleashed, there may be potential for chaos that we cannot fathom since we really do not know the power or elemental forces that actually went into creating the earth (or the physical dimensionality) in the first place.

But, how they will “harm the earth” does not matter as much as these four angels were asked not to do whatever it is they have been allowed to do to the earth UNTIL this other angel from the east can “seal the servants of God on their foreheads. Notice, he states “we” which means there are multiple angels assigned to the task of “sealing” the 144,000 on their foreheads.

At this point, in verse 4, we are told by John that he heard the number of those who were sealed (past tense), meaning the job was officially complete by the time he heard how many had been sealed. The mechanism used to seal them is found in Revelation 14:1, “having his Father’s name written on their foreheads.” How this is done or where its efficacy is realized remains unclear. But, they have God the Father’s name on their foreheads as a seal.

These individuals we’re told in vs 4 are from “all” of the tribes of the children of Israel (which also means there are no 10 lost tribes with the exception of Dan (who is represented by Manasseh) and Ephraim (who is represented by Joseph). I am fully convinced these are literally Jewish individuals who are taken from all walks of Jewish life (the modern Jewish people may not be able to trace their lineage back to individual tribes, but I’m certain God can). We know from Revelation 14:4 that these individuals meet a specific criteria: virgins, they follow the Lamb wherever he goes, they are/were redeemed from among the rest of humanity (assumptively some kind of rapture), and considered first fruits to God and to the Lamb. Vs 5 tells us there is no falsehood or deceit in them (or that they don’t speak such things), and they are without fault before the throne of God.

Compare the different “Gospels” that are found among prominent leaders of the churches today.

There are simply too many to list, but, basically, there are two kinds of gospels (I prefer the term ideologies or redemptive schemes). There is the biblical gospel of the “whole counsel of God” which is summed best in Romans 10:9, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

The other gospel comes in many forms and iterations but are all one way or another a loyalty pledge with Satan. All the different religions of the world are satanic, are lies, and propagate a works’ based salvation (if anything at all). Most often they in some way argue against the truth of biblical doctrine, or even against the very existence of God himself. Most of these are considered in the Bible to be “doctrines of demons.”

Within the church “so called” in modern times, there are a multitude of “gospels” that are not biblical. The major ones are considered outside of orthodoxy (but really everything that does not fall within a particular denomination’s doctrinal view is one way or another considered heterodox even though nearly all modern expressions of Christianity would be condemned as heresy throughout much of Church History and vice versa). There are Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Protestants, and various other Christian expressions that are variations of these. Protestants are typically divided up denominationally, though not always. There are evangelicals and then mainline denominations (which steer closer toward Catholicism than do evangelicals). Within evangelicalism there are a myriad of different gospels based on specific differences in details and semantics, usually resulting from one exaggeration of a particular doctrine (churches of Christ, Mennonites, Charismatic, Fundamentalists, etc). In my opinion, none of these groups adhere to an explicitly limited doctrine set based directly on the Bible, but have derived their views from both the Bible and from tradition. Evangelicalism specifically seems to, almost universally, have a fascination, a fanaticism with two heresies: 1. Universal Evangelization and 2. Capitalism. Both are driving mechanisms used to promote a earthly kind of social gathering organization they call the church (but this is not a biblical definition).

But, simply put, there are two primary gospels in the world that either focus on the completed work on the Cross by Jesus, or on the multitude of human efforts that garner little actual resolution to the inherent human problem of sin (as Paul states, “to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt” (Ro 4:4).

Contrast the attitudes and commitment of scientists in earlier centuries to those of today.

In the beginning stages of “science” or the exploration of the natural world, most individuals were committed to the search for truth (wherever it led). Today, we have a new religion forming known commonly as “scientism” that strikingly mimics Christian dogmatics in many ways. This shift occurred after secular scientists began refusing to entertain anything other than explanations that derived from naturalistic means. Catastrophism was denied. Uniformitarianism became entrenched as the primary ideology (without any empirical proof). Today scientism seeks no truth but it’s own, denies the need for empiricism, and pushes a corrupt and debased belief system.

But, as I understand it (and I could be wrong here as I have not conducted my own first hand research on the matter), many of these original scientists were not “Christian” was we would define them today (nor were many if any of our founding fathers to the chagrin of the dominionists). Instead, they were Deists, who believed God existed, created the physical reality we live in (including possibly us) and then abandoned that reality and has gone away, leaving the natural world to its own devices. I think this is the primary reason why “scientism” has been able to be established and entrenched within the otherwise empirical sciences. The compromise was struck long before liberal scientists came on the scene. AKA, we were doomed from the start.

Discuss the three alternatives that God has in dealing with rebellious mankind.

Dr. Missler states that God basically has three options. He can allow humanity to continue on it’s sin-filled course, he can turn us into automatons, or he can leave us to our own devices (which is really what condemnation in the Lake of Fire is).

I struggle with this, though, because it is effectively what God has done with the angels, making them essentially automata. Does grace extend to the angelic host? We assume it does not. Did they once experience grace in a separate redemptive narrative and now that they are sons of God are no longer under grace but instead now live on a kind of razor’s edge where they can commit sin but if they do they are either destroyed (we don’t actually see this in the Bible), punished with imprisonment (Get 6:2; Jude 6, 2 Pe 2:4), and ultimately will end up being tormented for the remainder of eternity in the Lake of Fire? Will we, once we are accepted into the Kingdom, recently having been transformed and revealed to all of creation as sons of God (effectively the same as angels, or just “like” angels), be under the law of grace or under the angelic law of 100% obedience with no room for error?

The biggest challenge we face as a race of beings (human) when we talk about stepping into eternity as immortal beings is not how we get there but what our experience is actually going to be like once we get there. The reason this is a challenge is that there is very little to nothing said in the Bible concerning what we will be doing or what our experience will actually be like.

The same is true of death. We essentially know what death is. We know basically how it operates and what it does (assumingely), resulting in the separation of the soul, spirit, and body from one another. We know the consequence of this separation is captivity for the once “living being” in Hades or Paradise (or whatever configuration this holding place actually is structured) as disembodied souls. Not living souls any longer. But also not non-existent souls (as in no longer having consciousness).

So we know basically where we will be “imprisoned” during the intermediate state, but what we don’t actually know in any real detail is what it will be like for us as an experience. We know, thanks to the Rich Man, that those who are destined essentially for the Lake of Fire (basically anyone who’s name is not written in the Book of Life) will be experiencing some kind of flame-like torment, conscious they will be in all it’s horrific splendor.

For the saved, though, we have much less information. In fact, we are given only two pieces of information concerning Lazarus. 1. He was in the presence of at least one other saint, Abraham, though in what spatial arrangement remains unclear (the account does not actually detail any immediate interactions between them). 2. He is being “comforted.” I’ve asked this question many times in the past. Why is there a need for Lazarus to be comforted? Is it due to the life he lived as a homeless beggar who was plagued by illness and pain all his life? Or is there something about his current imprisonment (make no mistake, death is a prison for the saved and unsaved alike) that requires comfort (i.e. something fundamental traumatic about the soul being forcibly untethered from the body or spirit)?

Or, alternatively (maybe hopefully), is my assumption that the account of the Rich Man and Lazarus applies to us today in error? I’ve heard some interpretations that state when Jesus died and went to Hades that he preached to all the people there and carried out of Hades all the souls who were either already saved or who accepted Jesus at that time and they now reside somewhere with Christ in Heaven. This would aline with the statements Paul made about if we die we are immediately with the Lord. That would be great, except there is no source for this theory. It is assumption, requiring as much speculation as my extrapolation from our redemptive narrative back to an angelic one. There is simply no concrete information provided by God that states he led saved souls out of Hades.

In the end, we basically are, as humans, moving toward a black box that we know nothing about. We do not know what heaven is going to actually be like. We don’t even know who God actually is (or if we will ever know)! We don’t know what the parameters will be once we get to heaven. We don’t know what behaviors will be acceptable, but there appear to be a few lists of what counts as unacceptable within the confines of whatever “heaven” actually is. Does it mean we will not be able to conceivably commit these kinds of sins any longer as “angel-like” immortal beings (hence, robots)? Many people seem to hope this is the case, but, based on the past behavior of at least some angels, this cannot be certain. Satan sinned in many different ways. The angels of Ge 6:2 certainly committed sexual sin. But the ringer is Adam, who, as the original immortal being that humans were designed after (his pre-fall essential essence is really the model for our post-redemption selves), he committed sin and fell from what we assume was grace, but was it really grace as we understand it? Grace is receiving a judgment that is not due. In fact, it’s receiving the opposite of the judgment we deserve. Adam, when he sinned, he actually received not grace but judgment. He fell right into Satan’s hands and the results were, apparently, just what Satan had hoped for – humanity to eventually be completely imprisoned in a disembodied state in Hades. For whatever reason (and this is another piece of information that we have no record of), Satan wanted us (humans) out of the way. The motivations and ramifications of all of this we are still in the dark on to this day.

It is kind of terrifying to be jumping off of this cliff head first without knowing much of anything about what life is like under the surface of the water below.

How do you define “Idolatry”? List some of the idols or gods of our culture today.

I would agree with Dr. Missler that idolatry is spiritual adultery or fornication, which I think is a kind of bizarre way to frame the concept, but I did not choose it. It is, essentially, the turning toward “other gods,” but, in reality, there are no other gods except for Satan, who is the counterfeit to God the Father and Jesus. It is a turning away from God and his purposes.

This is ultimately what Satan did, which really started the whole domino effect. There was an initial catalyst that sparked Satan’s response. It is possible that Satan devised his sin simply on a whim (i.e. that everything was going swimmingly and he just didn’t want to play his part anymore), but I would bet there was an event or a change that took place in which he objected to. This event /change has something to do with humans or the result of Satan’s actions on humans was a means to an end to bring out the alternate purpose Satan had envisioned. For whatever reasons, he seems to want or need humans out of the way or unable to do something or be something. By his actions he indirectly brought on the curse and the consequence of the curse, death. Death has resulted in a race of beings being imprisoned in Hades. If God had chosen not to save us through the redemption of Jesus, then the ultimate fate of humans would be eternity in Hades, or, worse, temporary imprisonment in Hades until every human died and was trapped, and then the resurrection and we all would be judged based solely on our works and every human would be subject to the penalty of their works – which is the second death in the Lake of Fire.

Today, idolatry is of course everywhere. It is essentially every act of worship or adoration or allegiance in every other religion in the world. It is also found in areligious pursuits, such as the pursuit of pleasure or money or influence. Everything aside from God and his purpose is idolatry and a lie. Our institutions, our traditions, our cultural imperatives – these things are all futile patches on an otherwise hopeless cause.

There is a new religion that has now begun its formation and institutionalization, that of scientism and what is coined social justice. These are all forms of authoritarianism and though they claim to be tolerant, loving, and open, they are actually intolerant, hateful, and closed to everything that is true and righteous in the eyes of God. They are the antithesis of Christ and biblical Christianity. This new quasi-religion has infected much of the evangelical church and will most likely be the downfall of western society and culture. But this new religion is no different than any other religion on the planet. It is disguised deceit used by Satan to lead the world away from God’s purpose (his motives we do not know).

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

There were several things in the lecture about the 144,000 that I found quite intriguing:

1. That by the time you get to Re 14 you discover that none of the 144,000 were lost during their ministry. This I think will be a very peculiar time to be living on the planet. I think society will be utterly transformed into a way of life that is not really comprehendible to us who are living today. Consider how dramatically different our lives our today compared to just 200 years ago? Just 500 years ago?
2. I found it fascinating the typology being used between the 144,000 and Nebuchadnezzar. With the king as the type of the antichrist, the 3 Jewish men being a type for the 144,000, and Daniel in his absence being a type for the church, it is a perfect fit.
3. Lastly, I found it interesting that the 144,000 are essentially celibates. Along with the prohibition against Jeremiah from marrying (Je 16:1-4) and the Matthew 24:19 reference as an informal prohibition against marriage (or from being weighted down by the responsibility that 1 Co 7 paints as a distraction from undivided service to God), and certainly the explanation provided by Jesus in Matthew 19:12 concerning the call of the eunuch, I find no difficulty in cutting against the grain of the evangelical church and stating that the celibate vocation is the preferred model from the Bible (1 Co 7:7; Matt 19:12). This is, of course, not to degrade marriage as a gift from God, but it is not for everyone just as celibacy is not for everyone. But marriage is seen, at least by Paul if not also by Jesus, as at least a distraction from the work of God. It will be interesting to see in heaven if marriages survive as some claim they do. I personally do not think so, otherwise the woman would still be bound to her husband even after death (1 Co 7:39). If marriage survived in heaven, what would become of the individual who married his first wife who later died, and then he went on to marry a second wife? Which wife would be his in the resurrection? The first? The second? Both? I think the phrase “in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven” (Matt 22:30) is the elimination of the institution altogether as one of those elements that pass away with use (Co 2:21-22).

I found the information on Re 14:6 quite provocative. The thought that angels will one day take up the task of proclaiming the new gospel to the earth (a gospel of the wrath of God rather than one of redemption and mercy and faith) is hard to imagine. As the wrath of God is about to be poured out onto the earthdwellers, it defines the bowls specifically in Re 15:1 as, “the Wrath of God” for “in them the wrath of God is complete.” Additionally, in Re 16:1 it states, “pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth.”

Dr. Missler states that those who believe the church will go through the tribulation do not clearly see what the church is or what the purpose is for the tribulation. I would disagree. I personally think the pre-trib rapture conflates the Tribulation (7 year period) and the Wrath of God (the second 3.5 year period that specifically are identified as the 7 bowls). The church must be present up until the last trumpet, which is the seventh trumpet (for it is the series of trumpets in the Bible, unless, of course, there is another series of trumpets not recorded), where the resurrection will occur, then the rapture of all believers. I think the biggest challenge for the non pre-trib position is not ecclesiology or the tribulation as Dr. Missler posits but the identity of the 24 elders who appear to be enthroned in heaven before Revelation 11. The same can be questioned, though, of the martyred saints who are found waiting under the altar in heaven before Re 11.

Should not the elders and especially the martyrs still be held captive in Hades just like the rest of the dead, Christian or Lost? Unless there is some other mechanism at work that serves as an exception (which could apply to both they martyrs and the elders just as an exception applied to Ezekiel and Enoch, neither having experienced physical death), it would seem logical and even necessary that the resurrection and rapture of the saints had already taken place at some point before or at Re 4. If that be the case, then there is a real problem with the statements concerning the resurrection and rapture occurring at the last or 7th trumpet (of which I have not read or heard a convincing explanation to date).

Lastly, I found the discussion of God focusing on the creation as a central theme here quite interesting. Why would he place so much importance on his creative work in the physical world if it were only in reality a simulation? If the supernatural realm is the actual “real” that is “real” why is accepting the creative work of the Creator so crucial? Why would a denial of his creative work be grounds for turning the individual (and the masses) over to a futile mind, to the lusts of their flesh, so that they would believe the lie and not the truth (Co 2:8 vs Ps 19; Ro 1)?

I think this can be seen today in current events as the left slides more and more toward insanity and into beliefs of stranger and more bizarre things. I remember when the liberal mindset was touted as the logical, rational group and the Christian was the blunt, ignorant, backwards monkey believing in myths and boogiemen. Apparently, the world has truly gone completely mad and in their madness they’ve made Christianity seem rather sane.

Lecture 20 Discussion Questions

Discuss the decline of the “Fear of God” which is prevalent today? How do we repair this in our own lives?

It stands to reason that the lack of fear of God is characteristic of the evil that dwell on the earth since the “fear of Gods is the beginning of knowledge” (Pr 1:7). Likewise, we are cautioned by Paul, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (He 10:31).

Yet, as Dr. Missler points out, it is an increasing tendency to abnegate any responsibility or accountability toward our maker. It is such an arrogance that seems to pervade the minds of those who argue against any kind of intelligence behind their creation with a haughty disposition, full of pride and arrogance and defensiveness (Pr 16:18). It is seem in our scientism, in our popular or liberal religion or the selfishness and self-centeredness that is marketed as spiritualism, and in our politics and in our education and in our familial ties. There is neither room for God in our collective conscious, nor is there any seemingly apprehension as to where the whole of society might lead.

I think, as far as repairing this, there is no solution. We cannot (and actually should not) attempt to alter the current move toward fanaticism or try to stop the breakdown of societal collapse. In fact, we should pray all the more for it. As John states of the end time (and I’m not certain the end is yet) “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still” (Re 22:11).

But, we, as individual believers, who are sojourners only rather than partakers of the things of this world, we are to “watch and be sober…” (1 Th 5:6; Mat. 24:42; 25:13; Luke 21:36; 1 Pe 4:7).

We should hide the word in our heart (Ps 119:11). We should pray earnestly and fervently and with great humility. Lastly, we need to escape the American idea that God desires for us material success and prosperity. We serve at our God’s leisure. At his mercy and will, whatever that might bring.

We can learn, we can grow in knowledge, but only through personal, intimate, expansive time in communion with our king, with active dwelling on the nature and character and mysteries of God do we deepen our fear and love of him.

Describe your personal devotional life? Distinguish the difference between your study time and your worship time.

I will describe what my aim is and then what is reality, for they are most certainly two different things.

I aim to live a daily life centered around God, within a context deeply immersed in the natural world. I desire to live an alternate lifestyle (not the norm) that is solitary, contemplative, minimalistic, and simplistic. As modeled in the Bible, I desire to praise God “Ps 119:165” seven times each day. Combined with Daniel’s habit of praying three times each day (Dan 6:13) which is seem best in a monastic expression of daily prayer (but not necessarily the formalized liturgical hours of prayer). Rather, I focus on a mixture of Scripture recitation (melete) or meditation (4 x daily) and petitionary and eucharistic or prayers of thanksgiving (3 x daily). These are spread out with 6 occurring throughout the day and the seventh occurring in the middle of the night as a night watch that focuses on recitation and contemplation on the End of Days, on the Resurrection and Rapture, and being sober and watchful for Christ’s return.

The reality is, of course, much less organized or structured. I do attempt to engage in recitation at least 3 times a day. I have not begun the night watch as of yet. Likewise, my times of prayer are not established with any kind of order. I do pray, but it is at odd times and for varying lengths. I often find myself wanting to pray but not having the words to pray. I also find distractions such as television and the computer, the inability to remain awake or focused when praying or the lack of desire to really engage with the text during recitation or the stubbornness against memorization of Scripture to be incessant problems to keeping a consistent schedule.

My hope is that when I make the move to the hermitage full time (or even just remaining through the winters) that my daily life will conform more easily to my aims. But I do know the demons I have today may very well be the demons I carry to a new place. It is not the external environment but the internal condition of my own soul.

In Revelation 15:8, no man was able to enter the Temple in heaven. Why? What does this signify?

The consensus from the commentaries seem to assume this is in reference to God’s glory as he initiates his judgments. It is reminiscent of the smoke that filled the temple (Isa 6:1-4; Lev 16:12, 13) and everyone was denied access. Whether it represents the same kind of raw appearance as Moses saw on the Mountain (so much so that his face shined), or it is akin to the prohibition by God himself, “no man shall see Me, and live” (Ex33:20) or is something else entirely, there is a point at which created beings should not / do not step into his presence.

Interestingly, it is at least alluded to in John that Jesus will reveal himself to us as he is, “it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). We have been told that we will be “revealed as sons of God” (Ro 8:19) and that we will be “like the angels of heaven” (Mark 12:25), but these are merely placeholders, shadows that hint at the greater reality, the full ramifications of which we probably as of yet cannot fathom.

Give contemporary examples of “darkness” and its remedies.

Paul spells this out quite well that we are “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). But, this is only one side of the coin, the spiritual realm. The other side is the mortal one. The fallen human condition which is, as God surmised, “thinking of evil continually” (Ge 6:5). We see their true forms in the run-up to the flood, in Sodom and Gomorrah, in the Jewish mobs who insisted on crucifying their own messiah and in the modern progressivism that has spawned all kinds of debased and corruptible thinking, so much so that they are guilty of “calling evil good and good evil” (Isa 5:20).

It’s remedy is spelled out for us in Ephesians 6:10-18. We are to put on the whole armor of God and to ensure that we make ample use of prayer both against and for our enemies (that some might be saved).

Give examples of public repentance today.

I see none. There are people who get “canceled” for violating some ignoramic and arbitrary social rule. These “attritions” are shallow and insincere either driven out of vanity or in hopes of signaling some kind of false virtue or out of fear that ones financial endeavors would be threatened.

I see no repentance in humanity in general and little to non in the modern organized church.

Discuss the Doctrine of Endless Punishment. How can a loving God condemn a good person to eternal damnation? Or even a bad person?

This question assumes a mistake concerning the definition of love, punishment, and God. First off, morality is defined by the action of God. Whatever God does, decides, or chooses is, by the very nature of him aligning with that action, defines it as “good” or “moral.” As described by Paul in Romans 9:21, “Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory.”

God has determined beforehand those who are destined for wrath and those who are destined for mercy. There is no free will, no human autonomy, no mortal volition. It has all been foreordained, “written beforehand” (Ro 15:4) in a multitude of books it has been written everything we will ever do (Re 20:12).

God’s judgment is beyond the evaluation of human comprehension. As he states, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa 55:8-9).

Eternal punishment, whether right or wrong in our eyes, is morally, ethically, theologically, philosophically, and practically correct and complete and perfect and holy because it derives, originates and is manifested by from and from within the creator of the whole of the physical universe.

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

Again, I’m caught off guard by the statement that the ark and the temple on earth were just replicas of the originals in heaven. If this is the case, then what happens to the heavenly temple when the church arrives after the rapture and becomes the living temple? Is the first temple in heaven destroyed along with both the heavens and the earth in 2 Peter 3:10? Likewise, I’m convinced that there is more to the afterlife than just the city of Jerusalem and more than just inhabiting the earth. Well, let me say, I hope there’s more. But will the entire universe (known and unknown by humans) be destroyed, broken down when all things are made new? If there is no sun and no moon does that mean there are no other stars because the physical universe itself is part of what John describes as “I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (Re 21:1)? Will the afterlife be a restoration of what once was or will it be something entirely new and never before seen by human or angel alike?

I also thought it was a good point that Dr. Missler makes in this lecture that all of these things, the terrible plagues, the hailstorms, the earthquakes, the supernatural demon-like locusts – all these things are judgments of God. They are not something Satan caused or was created because of over population on the earth or because of poor stewardship of the planet. It is the personal, intimate, characteristic wrath of the God of creation. He is a loving God, yes. Every pulpit likes to expound at length on this singular trait. But rarely do they want to even discuss the fact that God is a God of wrath and anger and is a jealous God and, in the end, he will bring onto the earth fire and fierce judgment and condemnation the likes that no human has ever experienced. It is the wrath of the Lamb, and I’m thankful that he will bring vengeance upon the inhabitants of the earth. We all certainly deserve it.

Lecture 21 Discussion Questions

Is the Babylon of Revelation symbolic or literal? What does it represent?

I always default to liberal over symbolic or allegorical. The only instances in which I am comfortable with allegory is when the Bible itself emphatically states “this is allegorical” and then provides the symbolism such as in Revelation 1:20 with the seven golden lamp stands and seven stars.

Personally I have no reason to symbolize Babylon in Revelation. Of course, I’m not certain it is literal either. I’m not certain that we who are living today could even comprehend the kind of society or infrastructure that will exist when these events actually take place. It could be hundreds or even thousands of years from now. I, of course, hope that the resurrection and rapture would occur tomorrow (today would be better), but most believers throughout church history thought their generation would be the one living in the end times and would be caught up and meet Christ in the air. Unfortunately, every last one of those countless individuals lived the extent of their lives and died, having to suffer through the intermediate state even now, imprisoned in Hades or Paradise, waiting in great patience for the day of the Lord.

I can only conclude, without additional information from the Bible or world events (the latter should not really lead the former), that this is the actual city Babylon, on the site of where Babylon stood centuries ago. This would mean that it will need to be rebuilt and global commerce will have to shift from being US driven to Middle East driven. How and why this will occur we have no idea. Consider only 300 years ago the central global empire was England. How things change in so little time. When the pace in which social and technological change occurs now, the entire global community could be knocked down to her studs, and rebuilt to look nothing like the society we’ve always known, just in a few decades.

What is the significance of Babylon today?

Babylon is considered the source of all pagan religion in the world. This would be a fascinating study to trace back all of the world religions and the major ideologies or worldview and see if they all actually do historically trace back to Babylon.

Interestingly, Dr. Missler points out that Babylon was the location of the first world leader (Nimrod) and will be the location of the last world leader (AntiChrist).

Is there a relationship between the Babylon of Revelation and the Vatican?

Dr. Missler connects the Vatican to the woman who is drunk on the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs. He provides the selected color here of the beast is scarlet, which is the official color of the Vatican. Also, it is said that the Catholic Church has killed more Christians than any other pagan religion or state government in human history.

The woman in the Ephah (Zechariah 5) could be an allusion to what future event?

This would possibly be a time when global commerce shifts back toward the Middle East, toward Babylon specifically. The wings of the stork are significant, possibly indicating “unclean birds” or gentile things in nature (the meaning to me remains unclear). Dr. Missler states this shift will be away from Rome and toward Babylon. This would be significant to have a global power shift away from Europe and toward the Middle East (Babylon). It makes me wonder what events would or could take place in the near or distant future that would leave Europe incapable of holding its influence as well as the West. Certainly, we can see seeds of the decay of American influence today in our culture, in our society, in our politics, in our religious institutions (especially in the modern Churches) and in power base. When I was a kid, the consensus was that America was a great and prosperous country and bolstered a way of life that everyone around the world wanted to take part in. Today, it is so different. The American government and her politicians are considered completely and utterly corrupt, the social upheaval can only be likened to an virus of the mind, and the things that people loved about the United States is being destroyed. I would wager in 20 years or less, the United States will break up as a union just as the Soviet Union did. There will emerge either 3 separate larger region states or a multitude of small and fragmented countries. Many people in the US will die from starvation, from civil war, from state sponsored persecution, and random violence. This will be an opportunity for other world powers to fill the vacuum left by the fall of the West.

Define blasphemy and idolatry. List whatever current illustrations of these sins can be seen in today’s world.

Blasphemy is defined as any doctrine that attempts to add to what God has completed. Examples of this would be the addition of requirements to salvation other than “saved by grace” (Eph 2:8). Under this definition, the modern church is rife with blasphemous, man made doctrines, many of which are modern in origin and are based on capitalism and have really nothing to do with the way of Christ.

Idolatry is defined as spiritual fornication, and is the worship of any other thing or god other than the God of Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. Today this is seen most in Ecclesiasticism (the excessive attention to details of church practice, which gets in the way of the gospel) and then also in Ecumenicalism or the watering down of the gospel and biblical message in order to allow everyone into the “church.” This is seen in liberal theologies, but really a modern church just has to be “popular” and then there will be evidence of compromise in its doctrines and teachings (so that it can continue to be popular). Many modern churches are quite desperate to be “relevant” in the world, to have a good “reputation” among non-believers (which really boils down to serving Mammon rather than God), and this often leads into all kind of heresy. Liberality of every shape and kind can now be seen in the modern church context.

List three technology statements in the Bible. Use Jeremiah 50:9 as one of those statements.

Technology statements like what is referenced in Je 50:9 I find nebulous and not very helpful. I know back in the 90’s it was all the rage in conservative church circles to consider the locusts of Re 9 as Apache helicopters. While convincing at the time, they often lead only to disappointment when time and culture pass away and new circumstances take their place. These references in the Bible may absolutely be pointing to technology of our time (especially if we are generationally living in the end times and the rapture will occur at any second – finger’s crossed), but they may just as well be referencing technology that hasn’t even been invented yet and may not exist for another thousand years. The church has a very long history of every generation being convinced that Revelation was speaking directly to them and that the end was near. It may be. Then again, history has proven that it most likely is not. It certainly will not be the end until it is the end and then things will move so swiftly that we most likely won’t have time to even interpret the signs of the times let alone accurately connect them to the Bible.

The other reference (since we’re supposed to give three) is Ezekiel 39:9-16, in the description of the aftermath of the use of nuclear weapons in the “valley of Hamongog.” I find this very convincing as a description of the fallout and long-term cleanup of a nuclear strike. But I really don’t know. It will be interesting to see if this happens. If it ever does, I will be like Mary who “kept these things in her heart” (Lu 2:19, 51).

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

Fascinating. Concerning Ge 10:9 and Dr. Missler’s claim that there was part of this lost. I found no other mention of it except for (of course) in the Pulpit Commentary. This commentary, hands down, has been the best purchase I’ve made ever and especially in Logos. It is a true wealth of information. For this verse Pulpit lists the text in bold and has “Before the Lord” and then also “in a spirit of defiance” and references (Augustine, Keil, Murphy, Bush). There is a note indicating the LXX but that appears to be for the Ἐναντὶον κυρὶου wording for “before the Lord.” Plus, I checked with the LXX and there is no addition included. I’ve also tried to google the phrase and reference, plus tried to track down the citation but to no available. I don’t see a bibliography for the Pulpit commentary.

I did find (I’m assuming) the Keil reference, “Nimrod was mighty in hunting, and that in opposition to YHWH; not ‘before YHWH’ in the sense of according to the will and purpose of YHWH, still less,… in a simply superlative sense… The name itself, ‘Nimrod’ from marad, ‘We will revolt,’ points to some violent resistance to God…” They also argue that “before” actually means “in the face of” and indicates opposition to. They’re claiming that Nimrod was actually Gilgamesh (this is where they lose me). They claim, “Our English translation of the Hebrew of Genesis 10:8-10 is weak.””

I do find it quite fascinating that religion here (by Dr. Missler) is defined as “man’s attempt to cover themselves in God.” I can’t imagine laboring in a religion to only find out in the end that you were entirely in error and all the effort and work and limitations and prohibitions meant absolutely nothing. It is because of religion that I think I have such doubt about my own salvation. Can it really be, as I understand it, as simply and as profound as believing on Jesus Christ and I will be saved (Acts 16:31)? Am I correct in interpreting John 6:29 ““This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent” as referring to the work (the only work) I am to labor in in this life? The JWs have it in their system that you have to go out and witness in order to be saved. Many Baptists say all but the same thing. But it certainly does appear as if the modern church has coopted the great commission in order to perpetuate it’s Amway like pyramid scheme to bolster the church logs (and consequently, the church coffers). Then again, if those who thought they were doing God’s work with their prophecies and casting out of demons and their miracles will be cast into the lake of fire (Ma 7:22; 25:41), what hope could I possibly have?

Concerning Revelation 17:5 and the text being written in all caps. Missler points to the text originally being written this way which is actually not correct. The Greek NT was originally written entirely in all caps and with no spaces or punctuation (I don’t see English translations doing this). There is also an additional issue with placing “Mystery” as part of the name rather than “a mysterious name.” There may be a difference in the minuscules, but I did not have time to look.

Lecture 22 Discussion Questions

What are the details that make up a Jewish wedding and what are the parallels as they relate to Christ and the Church?

This is peculiar since in Genesis the very first “union” of man and woman is seen in 2:24, no wedding feast or party, just what where God declared, “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Of course, we don’t actually see a description of this occurring until after the fall, so there is no way to know what sex was like pre-fall or if there was any sex at all before they fell (it’s quite possible vs 24 is predicting what will occur post-fall and not what was originally supposed to occur. Yet, we do see in the previous account of Creation, “male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth” (Ge 1:27). So, unless procreation was handled differently pre-fall (if Genesis 6:2 has angels having sex functionally then it’s probably the same throughout both states), the intention was there that pre-fall Adam and Eve would be procreating in a similar fashion as to post-fall.

It’s not until Ge 4:1 that we see a record of the marriage act, “Adam knew Eve as his wife.” At this point they were already married.

The next union is Cain’s, who, after being marked by God, went east to Nod and they gave birth to Enoch (Ge 4:16). Then there is a genealogy string including Lamech (who had two wives). During this period up to Genesis 6:2 there’s a whole lot of “procreating” going on but no record of “marriage ceremonies.”

I think it’s important to note that even the fallen angels “took wives for themselves” from the daughters of men.” Either this phrase had a different connotation back then than it does today (i.e. it just meant sex) or there were no ceremonies or Moses simply didn’t include it in the text.

Noah and his sons all had wives, but there was no account of how exactly their unions took place. After the flood, God reiterated the original statement from Ge 1:27, stating in Ge 9:1 “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.”

By Genesis 10 there is another genealogy (but no actual marriages mentioned). Then there was the incident at the Tower of Babel (incidentally occurred in the land of Shinar – aka the future site of Babylon), then a few more genealogies.

It’s not until Ge 11:29 that we see Abraham taking a “wife” in Sarai. He has some peculiar dealings in Egypt over his wife, as if his life were in danger because of her beauty (akin to the Wild West)? This would be repeated in Ge 20 with Abimelech (why I do not know). Abraham, of course we know, ended up with three wives before all was said and done (Sarah, Hagar, and Keturah), though, Hagar was more likely a “handsmaid’s tale” rather than an actual marriage of any sort.

We don’t find marriage spoken again until Genesis 19:30ff with Lot escaping Sodom by taking refuge in the mountains outside of Zoar. Basically, his two daughters conspire to get Lot drunk and each of them have sex with him and both bear children. There assumes to be a desire to “preserve the lineage” of Lot on the girls’ minds (Ge 19:32), but this only produced the Moabites and the Ammonites in the future (again, no marriage ceremony spoken of except for the consummation).

In Genesis 24 we see a bizarre event of the elderly Abraham sending his servant to his relatives in order to procure for Abraham’s son, Isaac, a bride (he did not want Isaac marrying a Canaanite). The servant found Rebekah, and they simply said, “take her and go.” Upon their return, we see the first instance of tradition having at some point formed, for she “took a veil and covered herself” (Ge 24:65). Other than this, though, we are simply told, “Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her” (vs.67).

There is also mention in Ge 25:5-6 that Abraham also had “concubines,” which he gathered together along with all their children and “sent them eastward, away from Isaac” (vs. 6).

Isaac seemed to follow in his father’s footsteps in Ge 26:6-7, claiming when asked that his wife was actually his sister. The text specifically states “he was afraid.” This was done to the same Abimelech that Abraham had lied to.

Esau, Isaac’s eldest son, the text states “took as wives Judith…and Basemath,” both Hittite women. This grieved his parents (yet, again, no elaboration on ceremony or custom is provided). Interestingly, Rebekah pleads with Isaac to send Jacob away for fear he will marry one of the “daughters of Heth” or the Hittites like his older brother did (this was not the actual reason she wanted him sent away but it was a reason she apparently knew Isaac would agree with). To compound the issue, when Esau realized what had happened and that Jacob was warned not to marry a Hittite women, he went and took a third wife from Ishmael.

By Genesis 29 we find the love story of Jacob and Rachel, which turns into the first real account of a traditional marriage with specific customs and requirements and festivities. In vs.22 we see an actual celebration taking place because of the wedding (which turns out to be between Jacob and Leah). Instead of a purchase price paid up front we see Jacob using a “layaway” plan for Rachel, requiring him to work for Laban 7 years before he would receive her as wife. In vs.26 we see Laban citing tradition for swindling him of Rachel’s hand. “It must not be done so in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.” He then states, “fulfill her week, and we will give you this one also for the service…of another seven years” (vs.27). Jacob agreed and after a week with Leah he was also given Rachel as his wife.

Certainly, the development of customs and traditions surround marriage occurred over time, centuries even. It does not appear as if these things were done in the beginning or even during the first few thousand years of human existence, though by Jacob and Rachel it does appear as if at least some of these formal requirements were in development.

By the time the Jewish nation was firmly established, the marriage custom was likewise codified, but not necessarily in the Mosaic law itself (though the Mosaic law does in various places reference certain aspects of these varied traditions).

It was the Mishnah or Oral Traditions, that went along with the code Moses penned to explain the process of marriage. Later, Maimonides would record the marriage institution as consisting of two stages: the betrothal (kiddushin) and the nuptials (chuppah).

At the time of Christ, the Jewish marriage tradition consisted of several steps (the majority of which have become obsolete in the modern era).

Step 1: The Ketubah or Betrothal. This was the initial agreement between the two families or between the individuals. The bridegroom negotiates the price (mohair) that he is to pay for the bride, and once paid, the couple is considered “legally” married (though not yet practically). At this point the woman is consecrated (set apart) for her husband alone, symbolized by the drinking of the cup of wine by both individuals.

Step 2: The Groom Leaves. This stage occurs after the agreement is reached. The woman remains with her family while the groom returns to his family house and prepares a place for his bride. This part of the process takes approximately one year. During this time, the woman is busy preparing herself to be a good wife, collecting implements she will need, etc.

Step 3: The Return of the Bridegroom. This occurs after the 12 months and usually at night and unexpectedly. The bridegroom arrives, often preceded by a shout which signifies the imminent departure of the bride. After the 12 months, the bride to be must wait expectantly for her future husband to return.

Step 4: The Party. This occurs when the bridegroom has collected his bride and the procession returns to the bridegroom’s house. There a great celebration takes place, lasting 7 days. During this time, the couple retreats to the bridal chamber (huppah) where they remain until the 7th day is completed. Up to this point the bride always has her face covered with a veil. After the 7th day, the couple emerges from the bridal chamber, the bride’s face is unveiled, her “week having been fulfilled” (Ge 29:21-23).

More modern expressions of this process have evolved over time to include multiple ways in which a woman can be “taken” by her husband. Money can be transacted. A contract is another way. Lastly, by cohabitation (or, effectively, intercourse). This last approach was considered less than ideal and was in some instances subject to corporal punishment by the authorities.

Of course, in the modern era, marriage by intercourse and contract is said to be obsolete, but I would argue that co-habitation is all the rage in our pluralistic and atheistic societies.

The Middle Ages brought many hardships to the Jewish people, which demanded the extended festivities and requirements to be compressed. No longer was there a year interlude required, since the costs became too heavy. If a family could not afford the celebrations, it was a point of shame. It was sometimes required for medieval Jews to flee one area and move to another. This could leave the betrothed woman “chained” to the marriage agreement, still not married, but also unable to marry someone else.

Also, as if most fitting for the fallen human race, the merging together of the long betrothal into a short ceremony removed temptation for the couple, since during that year they were not allowed to cohabitate or engage in intimate activities. Of course, the natural response would be to speed up the wedding rather than reconsider it or deal effectively with what was driving the expediency. The spread of the idea of romantic love throughout Europe only exacerbated the willingness to forgo lackadaisical and haphazard, shallow, emotions based arrangements (hence, the dramatically increased instance of divorce in the modern era).

There are certainly elements of the marriage process of the first century that compare to the end times and the illustrative and typological language used in Revelation and elsewhere. But, again, I don’t put too much stock into it. Certainly there is a “marriage” between Christ and the Church. But the church is also his body and he is the head. The church is also a mystery of God. Plus, how far are will determined to take the analogy? Will we, the church, enter the bridal chamber with Christ to consummate the marriage? What a perverse and bohemian idea. I doubt such things take place in heaven since Jesus was clear that even the angels do not take part in any kind of marriage activities. When some of them did so with human women they were severely punished for it.

The idea that the bridegroom goes away to his Father’s house to prepare a place for his bride is reminiscent of Jesus going away to prepare mansions for us to one day live in. The fact that the bride has to wait expectantly for her husband to return is reminiscent of the church having to wait patiently for Jesus’ second coming and our resurrection and rapture and transformation into sons of God.

There are similarities, but I’m not certain how far we should take them.

What are the “types” or lessons that can be seen in the relationship between Adam and Eve as it relates to the Fall?

Dr. Missler makes a connection between how Adam willingly gave up his immortality on behalf of Eve (who was deceived to do so) and how Jesus willingly gives himself up for his Church. I’m not personally convinced of the exact circumstances surrounding the fall of Adam and Eve. The details are obscured from our view to the point that there is no way to make any kind of accurate determination without a great deal of speculation.

There is a connection in the Bible made that Adam was the first Adam and Christ was the last Adam and that just as through Adam sin entered into the whole world and spread to all men so too salvation will enter into the world through one man (Christ) and will spread throughout the whole world (in the form of the gospel).

In Luke 4 we read about Jesus quoting a portion of Scripture taken from Isaiah 61. What part of the Isaiah passage did Jesus omit? Why?

It is a bizarre account. Jesus certainly cannot be mistaken for anything other than the son of God or a madman. Or the Bible (the only actual record we have of him or his teaching) is an utter forgery or has be so tampered with that it is now historically inaccurate. Getting up and reading this passage out loud to the congregation in the synagogue is one thing. But then to stop at “to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” and then say, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” but leave out the last phrase of Isaiah to end the sentence, “And the day of vengeance of our God” means he was operating on a whole other plane of understanding.

This was omitted, of course, Christians would argue, because Jesus fulfilled everything there that he quoted, but this last part would not be fulfilled until his second coming when he would come to bring the Wrath of the Lamb onto the inhabitants of the earth. As Dr. Missler put it, that comma that he stopped on has lasted 2000+ years (of course, there are no commas in the original Greek or the Hebrew).

It is these kinds of witnesses that we find throughout the Scriptures that really bolster my faith in the message of the Bible overall. I’m not as concerned or excited about prophecy that has not yet been fulfilled. It really does not help me (other than to keep an eye open for them to be fulfilled). It’s the portions of the Bible that are prophetic that have not only already been fulfilled, but have been done so with great precision and accuracy. As Jesus says, “In the volume of the book it is written of Me” (He 10:7).

Should Christians today support Israel? Why? If you believe so, then what are you doing?

“I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse.” This is the verse most oft quoted in support of supporting Israel today. The fact that we saw in 1948 the return of Jewish people to their homeland is provocative. If the dry-bones prophecy is literally fulfilled and all of Israel is resurrected then that would be something ridiculous. Though, I’m not certain how there can be only two resurrections and yet also three. There would be 1. A resurrection of the saints (if pre-trib). 2. A dry-bones resurrection of Israel. 3. A 2nd resurrection of the lost (all who ever lived) at the great white throne. Or, it could be possible that when the church is resurrected, then the dry-bones resurrection will take place simultaneously, resulting in the church being resurrected (then subsequently raptured), all the while every Jewish person who ever lived would be resurrected and returned to the homeland and their borders subsequently broadened with a standing army no one has ever seen.

Paul goes to great lengths in his letter to the Romans to spell out that God is not finished with Israel, the actual nation. I’m unclear on whether he is referencing all people who have ever been born Jewish in these chapters or if he is referring only to a remnant of Jewish people who are truly Jewish in God’s eyes.

But, Paul makes it clear: “Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”

Ecumenical association with the Jewish people is incongruous with our own common faith. It is a juxtaposition. While they remain enemies of the gospel, they are beloved concerning election for the sake of the fathers.

Personally, I do not “do” anything for Israel itself. There really isn’t anything I can do. I can pray for them, which I often do, that the prophecies we have concerning them will come true quickly so that the rapture will take place and the wrath of God can be poured out onto the earth. I pray that their temple can be rebuilt. I pray that, if it is a correct interpretation, they will experience that dry-bones resurrection of all their people who have died, and that Israel will become a great standing army and their people will be able to dwell in their land safely.

But, Paul also states, “blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” because, in reality, we are not waiting on Israel to get with it and fulfill prophecy, but Israel is kind of waiting on the gentiles to come in. Then again, I think Christians are waiting on their bridegroom to return and there really isn’t anything that can be done individually to hasten that day. I can use my gifts that have been given to me. But this is all I can do. The idea that every Christian is to be an evangelical dynamo has more to do with capitalism (and pyramid schemes) than it does with the gospel of Christ and the methods by which Christ uses in building his church.

Personally, I try not to be anxious for Christ’s return, though it is the one thing I desire more than anything else in this world. It is the only thing I desire anymore, aside from my own death. But, God will work in his time, for he is the only one who knows the exact number of gentiles that will be included in the mystery of the gospel. That could be sometime tonight. It could be tomorrow when the last person enters in. It could still be another 1000 years from now. Every single generation of Christians since Christ died on the cross have been convinced they were living in the end times and misapplied the prophecies of the Bible to their era in history. I try not to do that. I simply wait. I try to be watchful. I try to pray. I try to be sober. Not knowing the day nor the hour of his return.

What is Isaiah 63 about? Where is Bozrah? What does this passage say concerning the Jews?

So, Re 14:20 states that Jesus will tread the “winepress of the wrath of God.” Isaiah 63 uses the same kind of language and seems to speak about the same event. I’m not certain this passage says anything in particular about the Jewish people. It is a general statement concerning, I would assume, the armies that amass against Christ. He will devastate them alone, with no help from anyone else. His garments will be covered in their blood, and he will unleash on them the wrath of God.

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

There is in verse 8 this phrase, “for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” What righteous acts? Nothing humans do is righteous. We cannot do good. It is only Christ who does good. It is only Christ who was able to forge a way of reconciliation between us and God that is actually effectual and accomplishes its purpose. Everything humans do is self-centered and self-satisfying. No one in the church will enter into the kingdom by way of their own “righteous” deeds. I know Dr. Missler would probably argue that these deeds have nothing to do with salvation but are the deeds above and beyond the work on the cross that Christians do.

I don’t know. Every time I’ve entered a modern church or be involved in what their life, it is either infighting or doctrinal heresy (meaning non-biblical) or some sort of deviant sin (infidelity, abuse, etc).

The only thing I can surmise here is the “righteous acts of the saints” can only be the work of Christ. This is, like a mirror, the reflection given whenever someone looks at a believer. Their own fallen natures are not seen. It is only Christ in them that is seen. But, on this I could be terribly wrong.

According to this chapter, the marriage supper of the Lamb occurs long after the rapture (whether pre-trip Re 4:1 or mid-trip Re 11:15). I always thought it would happen immediately after. I also wonder if this will be a literal feast or if it will occur in some fashion that is inextricable to us today. Is this just the best way John could word it and it is so very much more? According to Midrash, three mythical beasts mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, the bird Ziz, the animal Behemoth, and the sea-creature Leviathan will be served at the feast.

In verse 10, John attempts to fall down and worship the angel who is speaking to him. The angel replies, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God!”

If angels are our “fellow servants” then what is it exactly that we will be doing that make us alike? Most angels refuse to be worshiped. Only Satan (that we know of) is demanding worship from anyone else (Matt 4:9). I reiterate my research questions: who are these creatures we call angels? Are they an amalgamation of different kinds of beings, collected over time outside of our own redemptive narrative? Did they have their own redemption or were they always as they are today? What bigger puzzle are we pieces being fitted into? What is the greater context of our salvation?

So, the passage state that Jesus will tread the winepress of the wrath of God alone, but there is an army (either saints or angels or both or they are now one in the same with saints becoming like the angels being revealed as sons of God) from heaven that rides with him to earth (vs 14). Why is it that God appears to be so war-like? There are even books titled, “The Crucifixion of the Warrior God” and “Militant Christianity” because of all these references to war-like behavior or apparatuses. The seeing of chariots of fire in all the mountains in 2 Kings 6:17 and the war-like days of the conquest for the Land. And now we see in Revelation the final war against what remains of humanity on the earth, and Jesus does battle on his own in fury and wrath and obliterates his enemies and comes away splattered with their blood, up to the bridle for hundreds of miles. Who is this God?

I stumbled onto a video of a non-believer who proceeded to claim that the Yahweh of the Bible is not the original “gods” that Genesis talks about, but was a usurper war god (one among many) who the Israelites worshipped so they could conquer the land they desired. Afterward, this war-god convinced them to accept him as the only God, hence moving Israel from polytheism to monotheism. Of course, the person in the video quickly went off the rails, claiming that Yahweh was a god of hate and was against homosexuality (oh, so I can now see the motivation for discrediting God), etc.

I do want to say, though, despite the clearly warped view of the maker of the video, I do hold reservations about the lack of information we have been given concerning the identity (in greater context) of the God of the Bible. It’s not that I lack belief. In fact, I am fully convinced God is the creator of everything. Is the one who created me. Is the one who drew me out of Buddhism (when that was the last thing I would have ever wanted to do) and gave me an insatiable thirst to spend the rest of my life studying the Bible. But, there are significant pieces missing nonetheless from the official record. His origin (or how he has none), the origin of the angels, their purpose, the activities of God before creation, the same for the angels, what was the purpose of creating such an expansive universe? What will become of the universe once everything is said and done? What is the point to everything that has occurred? What will be the point once everything has been completed? What will come after that? I was very surprised to see the account of Jephthah ended in the sacrifice of his daughter on the altar (Judges 11). As much as our modern sensitivities might balk at such behavior, it is simply an unavoidable truth that cannot be white-washed if we’re being completely honest with the text.

I know, at least from my own personal experience, literally everything on this earth, every institution, every cultural norm, every system of government, every educational system, every program, every means of production – everything – is slanted, or at least slightly perverted, at least slightly disingenuous. Marriage, raising children, careers, the church, other religions, wealth, poverty, everything seems to be tainted in some way. There’s an ingenue angle to whatever it is. My concern is, truly, that we discover once all is said and done that heaven and God are the same way. That what has been left undisclosed about his past or his character or his nature or his origin, or the undisclosed origin of the angels is really a whitewash to cover up the seedy side of heaven. That which is on the take. That which is corrupt but is still trying to present itself as honorable (like our politicians today).

It is my hope and prayer that heaven is not underwhelming. It is my hope and prayer that the atheists are incorrect and that I will not wake up from my recent death and discover I no longer exist.

Diagram Psalm 2.

Lecture 23 Discussion Questions

Read Acts 15. Describe what took place at the Jerusalem Council. What was its purpose and what was the outcome?

There were people who were coming down from Judea and teaching that Christians had to be circumcised based on the law of Moses to be saved.

Paul and Barnabas had altercations with these individuals (apparently concerning this topic) the whole group of believers or the leaders determined a segment should go to Jerusalem and inquire the opinion of the apostles and elders.

Interestingly, there was a segment of Pharisees who became believers (much like Paul), but they claimed believers had to not only be circumcised but they also had to keep the whole law of Moses.

There was a meeting among the leaders of the Church in Jerusalem and there was a great deal of contention concerning the topic. Peter finally addressed the committee stating that 1. He was the mouthpiece that God used to open the gospel to the Gentiles. 2. They were saved no differently than the Jews were. 3. We should not put the same yoke on the gentile believers that the Jewish fathers themselves could not bear. 4. It is through grace in Christ that individuals are saved and since they believe Peter hoped that the jewish people would be saved the same way (without the law).

After Paul and Barnabas gave testimony of how the Gentiles were being saved, James quoted Amos 9:11-12 (interestingly, it does appear as if James is quoting from the LXX) which states that the tabernacle will be rebuilt and the gentiles will seek out the Lord. He argued that the Gentiles should only have to avoid a few things and not the whole law (or circumcision).

Others were sent back with Paul and Barnabas with a letter outlining their opinion and the church in Antioch was overjoyed at the news.

Why is Eschatology such an important topic? Why are so many Christians so ignorant about this subject?

Much of the Bible is written for our education, for us to learn lessons from the past. Eschatology and still unfulfilled prophecy, though, is the only portions of the Bible that remain anticipatory for us today. It’s not a lesson so much as anticipation, the active part of participation in the will of God. These are signs that can potentially solidify our faith (such as when the nation actually returned to the land) or less convincingly, when seemingly the whole world started chasing after a great delusion in recent events and many multitudes in the modern churches because susceptible to this delusion.

Additionally, Jesus makes a point concerning eschatological topics, “take heed that no one deceives you” (Matt 24:4-5). The end of days will bring with it a great delusion, a lie, and those who have turned from Christ will fall to the deception of the devil, and away from the truth (2 Th 2:11-12). No one knows the day nor the hour of when Christ will return or when the church will be caught up out of this world. Eschatology in the Bible will hopefully provide the signposts along the way.

What are the “political correctness” issues of our day?

Tolerance (which is code for intolerance and really means compromise). Ecumenicalism. Watered down Theology and doctrine. Professionalization of clergy. Calling evil good and good evil. Abortion. Declaring allegiance to the new religion “scientism” over everything else (even logic and rational thinking).

What does 2 Samuel 7 teach us about Israel: past, present and future?

This chapter is about David wanting to build a temple or house for God, but God’s response is that he’s never asked for a house to dwell in.

But, in fact, God is planning to establish the Israelites a place where they will be able to dwell and move no more forever. He will turn David into a dynasty where his lineage will have an everlasting kingdom. He states David’s seed (Solomon) will instead build him a house where the throne of David will be established forever. At the end of the chapter it states, “God has made Israel his very own people forever” (vs.24).

Personally, I don’t really understand the intricacies of this promise. If he promised a place where they would never be moved from, why was Israel moved from the land in 70 AD.? Why back during the Babylonian Captivity? Does it mean that the land will be rightfully theirs even despite God’s punishment and removal of the land temporarily? The first time took 70 years. The second time took 1878 years! If they will be scattered again, who knows how long it will take for Israel to return. 10,000 years?

Personally I don’t even understand the mystery of the church, let alone the different dispensations of the OT saints, the tribulation saints, etc. “All Israel will be saved.” Does Paul refer to every single Jew who ever lived or only a subset of Jewish people who would accept him as their Messiah? What of the dry-bones resurrection (Ezekiel 37)? It specifically says the, “breath (of life) came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army. Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel” (Ezekiel 37:10-11). Unless he is referring to only a subset as Paul seems to contend, “For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham” (Ro 9:6). It is my hope that the Ezekiel “great army” is, indeed, every last individual Jew ever to be born throughout all of history. That every last one of them is resurrected and is restored to the land and they widen their borders and repel all their enemies and dwell there in safety until the end. Then Christ will return again and they will this time accept him as their Messiah and all of Israel will be saved (Zech 12:10).

List the seven elements within the Tabernacle. How is Jesus a fulfillment of each one of these?

Interestingly, Dr. Missler mentions there are 7 but there are only 6 listed: The door, the Table of showbread, the lamp stand, the Golden altar, , the Ark, and the Mercy Seat.

Jesus fulfills each of these: the door with “I am the door,” the Table of showbread with “bread of life,” the lamp stand with “light of the world,” the Golden altar with “intersession for us,” the Ark with “sin bearer,” and the Mercy Seat with “propitiation for us.”

Why would one argue that the most evil “Dispensation” would be that of the Millennium?

This is a period in which Satan (and presumably all demons and any other fallen supernatural beings under his command) is bound in the bottomless pit (Tartarus?), there are no food shortages and there is no need for faith since everyone clearly knows fully that Christ is on earth reigning over the entire global community. There is perfect justice and perfect peace throughout the whole world. Yet, despite all this, after the 1000 years the people of the earth still manage to rebel against Christ’s rule and follow after the lies fo the devil once again.

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

Dr. Missler makes the point that if you are to be biblically fundamental in your interpretation, you will be in the minority among the Christian Churches today.

Personally, I find this so bizarre. It is as if God gives the ability to correctly interpret the Bible (if, indeed, literal interpretation is actually correct) to a select few (a remnant) and the rest of those who claim to be Christian – the liberals, the allegorists, the revisionists – are left to their own devices and are carried away by every wind of doctrine (Eph 4:14).

I know from very early on in my faith God used circumstances to sequester me in my barracks room for a good part of 2 years, where I did nothing much (and had few distractions) read the Bible through systematically. It was before the affluence of devices such as computers and laptops and digital phones, and I didn’t even have my own commentaries or teaching materials to lead me into any kind of denominationalism. It was just me and my Bible, a set of highlighters, and cheap notebooks that I got from the PX. I would spend my free time reading one book after the other in nor particular order, highlighting what made sense to me, what did not make sense, and what I did not actually agree with. I would then manually compile the questions I had into my notebook and would periodically invite pastors from various churches in the community to my barracks room or would take them to lunch or visit them after services and ask them all my questions. I did this with fundamentalist baptists, with southern baptists, with charismatics (who were pretty hell bent on getting me “baptized by the Holy Spirit” which never actually happened, at least not in the way they wanted). I kept a strong distinction between what I read in the Bible and what were the opinions of these pastors and teachers and over those two years I formed a very solid foundation, built squarely on the apostles and prophets which Jesus as the chief cornerstone. That informal education has served me well all these years, keeping me far from various denominations that are heavy laden with doctrines of men (and also demons), from cults, and from social organizations disguised as churches (but have nothing Christ-like in them).

But, if I’m correct (surely I’m not correct on every point or even most), there are so many who are misguided and lost. Can that be? The thought that I could be wrong is terrifying, not because I would be at fault, but because I don’t see a way of rectifying the condition in which I currently find myself. My beliefs were not given to me by a pastor or my family or from tradition or any other influence. It was from reading the Bible and utilizing a predominately literal interpretive hermeneutic. My beliefs are based on personal conviction. Yet, I do not come to the same conclusions as most Christians do.

All I can do is pray for the Holy Spirit to help me understand what I’ve gotten wrong, and put all my faith and trust in Christ, as Paul assures, “To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand” (Ro 14:4).

Lecture 24 Discussion Questions

Why would there be tears in heaven? What opportunities in your daily life will you use to fulfill Christ’s purposes?

Dr. Missler states this would be due to lost opportunities. This may be so, but I can quickly think of many different reasons for there being tears in heaven. Of course, it’s not “in heaven” but most likely during the transition from being human (and also those who were subjected to death and the intermediate state) to immortality. The severity of all our life choices, our lost opportunities (not necessarily just evangelical ones), the ramifications of what the afterlife and eternity truly mean, all the answers to the nature of reality and the narrative of redemption and answers to any of a myriad of other theological and philosophical questions would bring me to uncontrollable sobbing, just due to the gravity of everything all at once if no other reason. Not to mention, the reality will finally set in for many concerning the eternal loss of family members, husbands, wives, children, etc. who refused the call of Christ (or who were never drawn in the first place). For many people family is the most important aspect of their earthly lives. They live for their spouse. They live for their children. Can you fathom what it will be like for those individuals who hold so dearly and deeply to other individuals and then to watch them be thrown into the Lake of Fire, knowing full well the grievous consequences awaiting them in the flames, yet unable to do anything to assuage their pain or torment?

Personally, I do not think I’m an an evangelical. I am a Christian. A protestant. But I am not convinced evangelism is a gift given to every single believer throughout the duration of the church dispensation. The “great commission” in Matthew 28:19-20 has essentially been fulfilled (if it were given strictly to the apostles present at that time). The apostles (the eleven) were given the commission to spread the gospel to “all the nations.” They did. Paul, in addition, likewise solidified the gospel so it would take over the whole of the world. I disagree with this obsession on witnessing as the main purpose of the Christian’s life. Are we to deny Jesus? Of course not (Matt 10:33). Are we to always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks a reason for the hope within us? Yes (1 Pe 3:15). But not everyone is an apostle. Not everyone is a prophet. And not everyone is an evangelist (Eph 4:11). Paul is pretty emphatic on this point. We’re all given gifts, but we’re not all given the same gifts (1 Co 12:12-16). As he states, “if the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing?”

I think “heaven” or the afterlife will carry with it some growing pains for many people. First off, if Dr. Missler is correct and the members of the Church will undergo the Bema Seat of Christ at some point after the rapture, and we each will have to give an account for all that we ever did or even thought, we’re all in for a really uncomfortable situation.

I don’t know the metric used by Christ when writing the names in the Book of Life. If it is simply belief in the gospel then there will be a whole lot of people who 1. Never had a chance to even hear the gospel (to no fault of anyone else) 2. Stubbornly refused to believe (which is enough to bring one to tears in and of itself) 3. Were trapped in or deceived by some cult or cult-like teaching that somehow disqualifies them from redemption (again, a tragedy).

Christianity is not Amway or some other pyramid scheme that “talks” about service to God but really is only in service to Mammon. Christianity is not about “what we do.” It is the ONLY religion that is not about “doing something” to appease a unknowable and provokable diety. It is, as Paul puts it, “by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:8-10). There are a myriad of “good works,” not just street preaching or door to door witnessing or talking about Jesus with your neighbor. These are all inherently divisive and not only give Christians a bad name among the non-believers, but it hurts the lost by giving them the wrong impression of what faith in Christ truly is. They are also inherent to the distinctively American version of Evangelicalism that seem to have more in common with capitalism than it does with biblical principles.

What does it mean to you to “fear” God? Give an example of how you do this.

I’ve taken two truths of the Bible to heart. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Pr 1:7) and “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (He 10:31).

We really have no idea who God truly is. We know some things, some characteristics. And even those things we do know should be terrifying to an individual. We know God is wrathful (Revelation), we know he is a jealous God (Ex 20:5), we know he is a God of War (Ex 15:3), he can be angered (ask the Israelites). There is a depth to his severity and his rage that we really can’t comprehend.

Likewise, what we do know about God probably represents about 20% of what and who God is and what he’s really doing with creation and the supernatural realms (and whatever else there is that is that we don’t know anything about). We don’t really know where he’s from (Habakkuk 3:3), we don’t really know how he became the “God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bride” (Deut 10:17). We have ZERO information about when or how or why he formed the peculiar group of “spiritual beings” we call angels or the “living creatures” or the seraphim or cherubim. Yes, they were there when the creation was – well, created (Job 38:4-7). But there is no mention of how they got their, what their background was, what the purpose was for their creation, or what their reaction is to humans. We do have acknowledgement that God did, indeed, create them (Nehemiah 9:6; Col 1:16-17), but that’s really it. No other information.

There are other terrifying statements that God has made, such as, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live” (Ex 33:20) and some wildly terrifying events that have taken place (2 Ki 6:17).

It’s odd, though, as Dr. Missler mentions, in Re 21:8 the fearful are first mentioned as those who will be cast into the Lake of Fire. But, looking up first the Greek word in Pr 1:7 (LXX) the word used is φόβος or “fear/reverence.” Unfortunately, there is no place in the NT where this verse is quoted, but fear is used in Acts 9:31 for the “fear of God” and the same word is used. In Re 21:8, though, the word used is δειλοῖς and in the NKJV it is translated as “cowardly.” I’m not sure what to make of it but I think it’s somewhat significant that two words are used in each case. They are not really the same kind of Fear.

I, personally, am terrified of God. I was minding my own business as a Buddhist at the age of 17, most likely heading toward a Buddhist monastery, when out of nowhere he orchestrates a supernatural encounter with the Word of God (specifically 2 Peter 2). After reading that chapter my whole world changed and have no idea why. He took away Buddhism and my belief in reincarnation and the ability to meditate or practice the martial arts (against my will, mind you) and replaced it all with an insatiable thirst for his Word that has continued to this day (30 years later). My life has turned out rather dismal if measured by the world’s standards, but as a sojourner now awaiting for the Kingdom of my God and my Christ to be established my life is quite rich and full. I have no money, no prospects, no wife (lost her to the world), no children, no career. Yet despite all that, I have every material thing I could possibly need (or really want), I have more than enough money (not compared to the world’s standards of course), and better than all I have a full-time job’s worth of time each week to devote to studying God’s word and trying to understand what it is he wants from me and what the Bible is really trying to say.

I fear God in my reverence to him, in my prayers, in my submission to him as my God and King, and in my active pursuit of him in this life, as I struggle and try to make him the most important object of adoration in my existence.

What is the argument that Jesus was the angel in Joshua 5? In our day, what are some ways to steal God’s glory?

There are actually 3 specific indications that this is Jesus or, at least, not actually an angel. 1. The Man had a sword (much like Christ when he goes to war in Revelation 2:16; 19:15, 21) 2. Joshua tried to worship him and the “man” allowed it. Angels do not allow humans to worship them (Re 19:10; 22:9; Col 2:18; Ex 20:4; Acts 7:42) 3. The “Commander” told Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.

I think modern American evangelicalism tends to deny the power of God almost entirely. I think it’s why we do not see authentic miracles such as genuine healings or bona fide prophecy and only see the many forgeries that litter the landscape. They have chosen instead of being led by the spirit to be led by marketing tactics, and business acumen to build numbers and wealth with a thin veneer of religiosity to hide their true motives.

What was the first act of religion in the Bible? What are some religious acts today?

Dr. Missler lists the first act of Religion occurring in Genesis 3:7 when Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. While I agree with this as an act of “religion” or man attempting to bridge the enmity between us and God on his own efforts (which does not work), I think the very first encounter we see of religion in the Bible is in Ge 3:1 with the devil casting doubt on the Word of God, then lying about what the Word actually says (which modern religion does now in droves), and then in vs 2 Eve “adds to” the Word of God with “nor shall you touch it.”

Adding to or twisting Scripture is the first attempt of religion universally to somehow discredit the message of the Bible. Every other religion tries this in one way or another and now so do most modern expressions of Christianity in the world today.

Another instance of religion in the Bible is Cain’s sacrifice.

How best can one communicate the reality of Heaven (and Gehenna) with a non-believer?

Personally, I don’t think it can be effectively communicated. I don’t even think it can be accurately communicated to a believer, not fully. Likewise, trying to persuade lost people through fear is haphazard at best. Though, I do admit, Jude (Judas) makes the point, “on some have compassion, making a distinction, but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh” (v.22-23).

I think a plain, straightforward explanation is best. But, if an individual has not been drawn by the father ahead of time, they will not be able to make sense of anything you say, no matter which way you present it (1 Co 2:14; John 6:44).

Personally, I best describe Gehenna (the Lake of Fire) as the putting out of an individual from the presence of God eternally. We have no capacity to recognize that it is by God’s (most specifically Christ’s) active will that we exist and remain “together” (Col 1:17). At the time the lost will be cast into the Lake of Fire, they will essentially be eternal beings (both in body and already in soul), which means they cannot be annihilated (no longer exist), yet, being shut out of God’s presence means they will likewise be unable to continue to exist either. Imagine simultaneously being pulled apart (annihilated) at the atomic level while also being conscious of that fact and still exist forever.

List the blessings that this book brought to you. (Remember, it promises a blessing to the reader.)

I’m not convinced this verse (1:3) means a “giving of a particular blessing(s)” but generally means the one who reads the book will be fortunate or benefited. I remember doing a detailed analysis of Revelation several years ago (back when I was married), where I charted each chapter and read through each chapter several times, but I never came away from the text with more understanding, like I did this time around. Maybe my life back then was truly chaotic and full of strife (Pr 21:9). I know I was struggling to find a “church home” and finding nothing that remotely resembled the biblical accounts (all those that I visited seemed to be mired in chaos as well or they rejected me in violation of Col 2:16-23). This time around, I was able to work at my own pace, having full days without distractions to devote to the text and reading and rereading as needed. Having Logos also helps greatly, as it works rather smoothly to look up passages on the fly, moving between my notes and the software itself.

But, what did I take away from this course specifically? I know I have so much more to learn about this collection of books (the Bible). I’m fascinated all the more, though, even after spending weeks with my nose buried in this last prophecy. I’ve gone through many iterations in my thinking, how maybe I should start a cult that focuses just on the book of Revelation. Maybe I should start an online Bible Study over Zoom. Most of these thoughts come and go, since I know how much my mind romanticizes them. For nearly 30 years I’ve tried to recreate what I had when I first became a believer, to no avail. Of course, what I look back on and think I had probably never existed. I know the context it was mired in was a horrible time in my life as an indentured servant. Unable to free myself from the tangles of familial responsibility and expectation and the confines of governmental service. God used that time, though, limiting my distraction, and placing in my immediate surroundings individuals much like myself (new to the faith) who were open to read and study for its own sake. Since then involvement in groups always bring with it the “wackadoodles” that so often plague religious events/meetings. I think, “maybe if I were strict with admittance” but then it would just be me in an echo chamber. The reality is I cannot recreate what has now passed. It served its purpose for the time in which it existed and now there is no benefit in going back.

I do think I understand the 70’s week of Daniel more. I also have solidified my view on the rapture (mid) over the pre-trib view, though I not so secretly hope and pray that I’m wrong and we’ll be raptured any time. Maybe the texts were intentionally designed so it could not be determined with any certainty so we don’t know the day nor the hour.

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

Concerning Pre-Millennial and Pre-Tribulation theologies: I’ve heard from most theologians claim there are no references to these views in the early church or throughout church history since it was a recent fabrication by Darby and others at the turn of the last century (as Dr. Missler pointed out). These will be fodder in the future for me in tracing down the references he provided:

Epistle of Barnabas
Against Heresies (Irenaeus)
Hippolytus (ANF 1 p 182)
Dialogue w/ Trypho (Justin Martyr)
Ephraim of Nisibis

Peter Jurieu – Approaching Deliverance of the Church
Philip Doddgridge – Commentary on the NT
John Gill – Commentary on the NT
James Macknight – Commentary on the Apostolical Epistles
Thomas Scott – Commentary on the Holy Bible

About the Holy City: The New Jerusalem descending out of heaven, Dr. Missler states, is not built on earth but in heaven, and doesn’t even necessarily come all the way down to earth. I’ve always heard preachers and theologians say that the new Jerusalem will be “heaven on earth,” that we won’t live in heaven like the folk theology says (on clouds with harps and white robes and halos), but we will inhabit the earth and fill the earth and the city Jerusalem will be the center of the Kingdom.

I’ve also heard (though I’m not certain from where) that Christians (those who are members of the church) will inhabit heaven with Christ and the Jewish nation will inhabit the earth. I think this might be a conglomeration of JW teaching, but I’m not certain. I think they believe that we will live on the earth and only the 144,000 live in heaven.

I personally disagree with both assertions. I think there is going to be a new earth, but there will be a new heavens also (though I’m not sure if this refers to just the sky surrounding earth or also the solar system or even the entirety of the physical universe or even the renewing of the supernatural realm). Is it possible even the place(s) where the angels naturally and rightly dwell will be destroyed and recreated? Or is it just those portions of creation that were touched by the curse of Adam (certainly the angels were not touched by it like all of the physical earth and assumably the entire physical universe)? If the entire universe, does that mean there is alien life on other planets that were subjected to the curse without even realizing why or how (if there are, indeed, other life forms on other planets)? Would these separate lifeforms (now subjected to the consequences of the curse just like on earth) require a redemptive narrative or would they be (at least in God’s eyes) the equivalent of animals on earth and will assumptively vanish in death (when the earth and the “heavens” are melted down and reformed?

Concerning the afterlife, as Dr. Missler points out, we are rather myopic (lacking insight, imagination). The new creation will be a hyperspace. I personally think the physical dimension (or universe) will be that which “has passed away” or that which “no place was found for any longer.” Part of our “transformation” will include being changed from 3 dimensional beings into “x” dimensional beings (however many dimensions Jesus exists in we will exist in also). I think it will be utterly and confoundingly different, the extent of which is impossible for us today to even comprehend.

Of the four dimensions mentioned in Eph 3:17-19 one is the Greek term for time? The commentaries don’t really seem eager to discuss this verse. The NET Notes states that it’s most likely describing the immensity of the “love of Christ” without providing any further detail. It refers the reader to the Word Biblical Commentary (which I will not pay $1000 for). Eerdmans commentary simply states, “the four “dimensions” are a rhetorical device to express its immensity.” JFB assigns this to the spiritual temple, with the following: breadth = love; length = extension through all ages; depth = profound wisdom; height = beyond reach. Pulpit rejects “love of Christ” on grammatical grounds. They seem to ascribe the dimensions as the fullness of the gospel’s effectuality (I suppose). They and JFB seem to agree that “length” connotes time in the form of duration (or the whole corpus of Church History). UBS Handbook rejects these referring to “Christ’s love” since it is impossible to speak of love having spatial dimensions. Their solution, unfortunately, is to drop the spatial mentions altogether (which is preposterous)! Personally, I think this is describing the reality to come and is beyond accurately understanding or describing effectively today.

About “believed in vain?” (1 Co 15:2)? I think the Apostle here shoots a hole squarely center mass in the heart of the eternal security debate. If one can believe in vain it denotes that one initially, genuinely did actually “believe” and thus subsequently fell away, which Paul does reference several times (1 Co 9:27; 2 Co 6:1; 13:5-6; Titus 1:16; He 6:6; 2 Th 2:3; 1 Ti 1:19; 4:1-2; Ga 5:4). This, of course, remains at odds with the idea that “neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ro 8:38-39). Plus, there is also the response that if someone departs from the faith then they were never actually part of the faith to begin with (1 John 2:19). This argument could even extend to the original reference, since to not really ever believe or to not truly believe with an efficacious faith is essentially to believe in vain (since you really don’t believe at all in the first place). I can see this of a particular family member who, despite claiming she had faith, claiming she did those kinds of things believing people did (i.e. pray), she later admitted to never actually “doing” those things in the first place. It was just “something you say.” Her faith (the outward manifestation) was indeed in vain, since it did her no good, it did nothing for the person she was supposedly praying for, and it in no way improved her relationship with God or changed her status concerning heaven. In vain, indeed.

Conclusion

I think this was a very productive course. Maybe mores than some others I’ve taken. I certainly have a better grasp of the 70th Week of Daniel and how it connects to Revelation. I also solidified my mid-trib view of the Rapture, though I would prefer the pre-trib to be correct. I want out of here and off this planet and out of this existence in the worst kind of way. But I have come to understand that death is not the escape so often described. I think it is a traumatic experience that even saved individuals suffer through. I’m also unclear as to the current location/status of the saved individuals in “Paradise” the “good” part of Hades. They are either still there or Christ has freed them and taken them to heaven after he went to Hades during those three days he was dead. This is assumption, of course, based on a few off-handed and indirect references from Paul. If these were so dependable then why do we not baptize people for the dead (1 Co 15:29)?

There is, indeed, much more to research and explore. My next course at KI will be 1 and 2 Peter which I’m really excited about since 2 Peter is responsible for my salvation (or, at least the tearing down of my previous karmic worldview and belief in and fight to escape reincarnation. But, all in good time.

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 Our Daughter:



“Okay, mom,” Randy said.

“You behave yourself and be nice. You’re lucky to have company while you wait for the doctors.”

The woman turned and started back the way she came.

“The nurse said it would be twenty or thirty more minutes, so we’ll eat quick and be back up here before they take you in, okay?”

“Okay, mom.”

“Sorry for him,” the woman said to Katie as she walked by.

“He’s funny.”

Katie grinned.

As the woman left, Katie noticed the boy moving around again on the bed. Before she realized what was happening, the tiny lump disappeared and she could hear the faint sound of bare hands and feet on the tile floor.

He was low crawling under the beds toward her.

A moment later, Randy popped his head out from under the nearest hospital bed, craning his neck around to look up at her.

“Hello, there,” Katie said.

Randy disappeared back under the bed, the bed sheet draping down almost to the floor. Katie could still see three little fingers pressed to the tile.

“What are you here for?” Katie asked, readjusting her seat in the chair, trying to get the ache in her chest to lessen.

For whatever reason, the wheelchair was really uncomfortable.

“Why are – ”

Randy’s voice trailed off for a moment as he looked around.

“Why are you here?”

“I’m getting my leg fixed,” Katie said. “See?”

Randy poked his head back out from under the bed and looked at the leg she was pointing to.

“What’s wrong with it?”

“The doctor said it’s broken,” Katie said. “Shattered.”

“Ouch.”

“Yeah. Ouch.”

“Can you feel it?” Randy asked, able to stay out from his hiding place.

“I can feel it, but it’s not too bad,” Katie said, then tapped the IV in her arm. “This thing is giving me medicine of some kind for the pain. At least that’s what the nurses said.”

“Why are you – ”

Randy stopped mid-sentence.

He scooted out from under the bed entirely and slowly crept over to er on all fours.

“What are you, some kind of spider?” Katie asked, giggling a little.

“What are you?” Randy echoed.

He was now only about a foot away from her chair and sat there, his legs folded up under him, gawking up at her.

“What are you staring at me for?”

“I’ve never – ”

Randy put out a hesitant hand and ever so gently touched her arm.

“Are you some kind of ghost?”

He looked around again.

“Are you – ”

He leaned in, talking in a whisper.

“Are you dead?”

A nurse came around the corner and stopped abruptly, spotting the empty bed in the far corner where Randy should have been.

“Randy Andrews,” the nurse said, her hands now on her hips. “You get right back into the bed and you stop playing around, please. They are ready for you in surgery.”

Katie watched as Randy scrambled on all fours under the beds and back up onto his, pulling the sheet back over top of himself again.

She started to ask him about his question, but couldn’t get the words out before his parents appeared at the door.

Katie sat there quietly, watching Randy stare back at her from under his sheet. She glanced over at his parents and the nurse, noticed Randy’s dad had no hair on the top of his head.

Are you dead?

What kind of question was that?

The snap of the wheel locks being disengaged on Randy’s hospital bed jarred Katie out of the confusion she was in.

The doctor she’d first seen was now at the door, waiting for Randy.

He was his surgeon.

They wheeled Randy out of the room, his parents following right behind, disappearing to the left, heading for his operating room.

The pre-op room was empty again.

Dead.

Are you dead?

What kind of crazy question was that?

The nurse came back through the double doors.

“It won’t be long now,” she said.

“Okay.”

Katie tried not to think about the dull ache growing just behind her sternum.

The nurse disappeared around the corner as Katie watched the double doors to the operating rooms slowly shut.


Buy my book Our Daughter and begin the adventure of a lifetime, as you uncover the mysteries behind Katie Cadora’s new life after the horrible accident that stole her mother away from her. Will she find sure footing again? Will the pain ever stop? Will she discover the secrets her new foster family are keeping from her? Is the boy’s question right? Is Katie Cadora actually dead?

Click here and grab your copy today and jump into this Witch Gnostic Heresy trilogy with both feet!

But, trust me when I tell you, there are deceivers in our midsts!  Get started in this bone chilling suspense novel right away and find out why….sometimes….you’re just better off DEAD!


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