Saturday, December 18, 2010

Could Someone's Dream Turn Out to be Someone Else's Nightmare Down The Road?

     Could the recent killing by the U.S. Senate of the Dream Act come back to haunt the USA down the road?
     The DREAM Act would have provided certain illegal and deportable alien students who graduate from US high schools, who are of good moral character, arrived in the U.S. illegally as minors, and have been in the country continuously and illegally for at least five years prior to the bill's enactment, the opportunity to earn conditional permanent residency if they complete two years in the military or two years at a four year institution of higher learning. This unfortunate action by America reminds me of a great story in the Bible about Joseph, one of the 12 sons of Israel.
     As scripture in the Book of Genesis relates, Joseph shared a dream with his brothers that he would one day be a great leader and would not only save his 11 other brothers, but in fact would be their ruler. The brothers hated Joseph for sharing that dream with them, and had so much envy, that they threw him down a giant hole, in hopes he would die.
     As it turns out, Joseph was found by some Egyptians next door to the land of Canaan and taken to its King Pharaoh, who was impressed with Him and his knowledge and wisdom and decided to place him in charge of his entire kingdom.
     As it turns out, later on his brothers were suffering in the land of Canaan and went next door to Egypt seeking food. Pharaoh welcomed Joseph's brothers, but little did they know that their brother Joseph was now the head honcho of that country. They didnt recognize he was the brother they had cast out of the family, although Joseph knew.
     As it turns out, Joseph provided the family that had cast him out of their midst with food and sustenance, and they were henceforth not only grateful for him providing them with help, they had to admit not only how wrong they were by casting him off from the family, they also had to acknowledge he was now in charge of their future. It looks like Joseph's dream actually came true.
     More importantly, little did Joseph (nor his brothers) know at the time that he was thrown into the pit that God was actually working on a greater plan for all concerned!
             (Painting by Ignacio Gomez)     
     The moral of this story is that America has thrown in a dark pit its highly educated immigration youth (motivated by its envy and spite); however, these rejected students could very well become a tremendous asset that will enhance whatever country they return or are banished to. These hard-working and highly educated youth should not see this action by the U.S. Senate (and the American public) as a defeat, but simply a momentary setback in their quest for greatness.

     The way America is going right now (down the road of nationalistic hate and dishonor), it could very well be that these immigrant castoffs will turn out to be part of its societal and economic salvation down the road.
     What was a dream for a few resourceful immigrant youth, a dream of attaining a good education to contribute towards an economic prosperity that could have been shared by the entire nation, could very well turn out to be one of America's worst nightmares.
     For more information about the author's two books that refute a Pre-Tribulation Rapture to Heaven, The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation, please click on Joe Ortiz Associates

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Why Do We Demonize our Fellow Servants?

     We are pleased once again to welcome as a guest columnist on our blog, my dear friend, Dave MacPherson, a prolific author and research specialist concerning the origin of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. It seems that brother Dave is becoming a victim of many scurrilous attacks concerning his research and the books he has written, with over 35 years of extensive study of this much debated topic. While this is probably the most contested doctrine in modern-day Christianity, it seems that rather than sharing each other’s research to enhance the church’s mission, many are resorting to the demonization of a person’s life’s work.
by Dave MacPherson

     When I think about pretrib rapture books I often think about demons.
     Take John Darby, for example. No one has ever come close to matching his literary "spectrum." His favorite caustic phrases included "the absence of spiritual intelligence," "real blasphemies," "unmingled darkness," and "unbelief and Satan." (Darby threw these phrases at those who dared to keep clinging to the only "rapture" view found in all Christian theology books prior to Scottish lassie Margaret Macdonald's history-making claim in 1830 of finding a pretrib rapture in the Bible.)
     The biting language went both ways. Soon after the birth of pretrib, British lawyer Robert Baxter joined the Irvingites (followers of Rev. Edward Irving) and adopted that new prophetic view. He abandoned it in 1833 and concluded that it was "a deceit of Satan" which had "first appeared in Scotland."
     Throughout the following decades both Darby (the master "special effects" man) and his editor, William Kelly, continued to fling such corrosive terminology at their critics.

     During 1902 Canadian fundamentalist Robert Cameron, who had been influenced by Baxter, wrote a series of articles that continued to credit the Irvingites (whom Margaret had inspired) as the first public teachers of the new endtimes view. Cameron wrote that "Dr. Tregelles, B. W. Newton and others, say there is not a hint of this [pretrib] doctrine in any writing extant, from the days of Polycarp to the days of Irving." He asked: "Do you think it wise to exalt into 'a test of fellowship' a doctrine...supported by the testimony of demons....?"

     In 1973 R. A. Huebner, uber-defender of Darby, added Darby- and Kelly-like revisionism to "demon" lingo. He quoted several writers who supposedly made the "demonic" charge. This is how my book "The Rapture Plot" portrays Huebner's "straw man" deviousness:
     "In 1864 S. P. Tregelles wrote: 'It came...from that which falsely pretended to be the Spirit of God.' (Huebner: 'In 1864, he said it came from a demon.')
     "In 1956 H. A. Baker said that pretrib came from a 'spirit.' (Huebner: Baker said it came from a 'demon.')
     "In 1957 Oswald J. Smith declared that pretrib came from 'a vision received by a woman' in Irving's church. (Huebner: Smith said it came from a 'demon.')
     "In 1962 J. Barton Payne traced pretrib to 'a woman...speaking in tongues.' (Huebner: Payne traced it to a 'demon.')"
     Huebner, in the same book, asserted that I'm another one who's been claiming that pretrib sprang from a "demonic source." For his so-called proof he reproduced a 1971 paper of mine entitled "Who Was Margaret MacDonald?"
     His conclusion was based on a statement in that paper in which I referred to "the vagaries of a Scottish lassie whose friends, according to A. L. Drummond's 'Edward Irving and His Circle' (pp. 141, 142, 146, 238, 279), included those who practised ecstatic speech, telepathy, and (shades of Satan) automatic writing!"
     Note that the occultic items had to do with Margaret's "friends" and not her! As I see it, pretrib is dangerous no matter how it's transmitted.
     For the record: I have never stated, and have never believed, that Margaret was ever, in any way, influenced by any demonic or Satanic source! Her revelation was merely her view of Scripture.
     Huebner (who is now deceased) was a retired electrical engineer who never attended college, seminary, or even a Bible school. Nevertheless Walvoord, Ryrie and some others have been taken in by Huebner's dishonest revisionism of my research and have repeated it far and wide - the evidence of which is constantly seen on the internet.
     For example, there's what I refer to as Wicked-pedia (a.k.a. Wikipedia) - a site which allows anyone in the public to edit its pages in any fashion! This has given Thomas Ice etc. a green light to constantly replace historical facts with lies including the oft-repeated lie that I have stated that pretrib (including Margaret's 1830 revelation) sprang from a "demonic" source!
     Finally, I'm thankful for my good friend Joe Ortiz whose must-read "End Times Passover" blog has allowed me to publicly expose the viciousness and venality that have long been embedded within the pretrib rapture view!


     Dave MacPherson is the author of The Rapture Plot, The Incredible Cover Up, The Great Rapture Hoax, Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin, and Late Great Pre-Trib Rapture.

[Editorial comment by Joe Ortiz]

     The topic of demons has surfaced as never before in history. Movies like Angels and Demons (the sequel to the big hit movie The Davinci Code by author Dan Brown) have brought greater attention to demons, as have books by authors LA Marzulli, Paddy Herron, Stephen Quayles and Tom Horn (to name a few), whose research into fallen angels and the Nephilim phenomenon has captured a new audience which heretofore paid short shrift to Satan and his demonic forces. Those in the know recognize that Satan’s time is running short and he is now pumping the bellows to the raging furnace of the ominous paranormal evil looming in the horizon that will soon strike unparrelleled fear in the hearts of mankind. In the past, most of us viewed the devil as a cute little character with horns and a tail and a pitchfork that many of us even dressed up like on Halloween. Theologians who are keenly aware of the role demonic forces have played in the past, and who recognize that their fiery dart attacks are on the increase, know full well that any enmity or acrimony amongst fellow Christians lay in the truth of the scripture that states, For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places, (Ephesians 6:12)
     Yet, I’m sad to report that many Christians are irresponsibly labeling the works of other Christians solely to get an upper hand with their audience by tagging their material as being demonic. That is a very dangerous game they play, not recognizing they are actually falling into a satanic trap they will regret further down the road.
     Level-headed discussions about theology should ensue with an open heart and mind to hopefully increase knowledge for all of us who have chosen to participate in this worthwhile arena. A healthy discussion (which includes sharing information and scripture that affirms and confirms their polemic) is a good thing, as Proverbs 27:17 states: As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
     It is a pity that so much contentiousness exists amongst theologians when they find themselves not necessarily agreeing with another’s point of view. Rather than calmly sharing their respective studies, way too many are too quick to condemn and dismiss the other person’s respective information, to at least read it before doing so. Just imagine how much more successful the church would be if members were to share their respective research, rather than dismissing (with self-centered pride) the new knowledge that is fast emerging as we get closer to the return of Jesus Christ. Do we not have the same agenda, which is to bring greater glory to God through our respective efforts and contributions?
     Matthew Henry, in his commentary on Proverb 27:17 offered us great advice about our conversation with fellow Christians, especially in regards to our theological discussions, one that would behoove us to follow, rather than to miss important messages God is revealing to various people from all walks of life, but intended for one body:
     “This intimates both the pleasure and the advantage of conversation. One man is nobody; nor will poring upon a book in a corner accomplish a man as the reading and studying of men will. Wise and profitable discourse sharpens men’s wits; and those that have ever so much knowledge may by conference have something added to them. It sharpens men’s looks, and, by cheering the spirits, puts a briskness and liveliness into the countenance, and gives a man such an air as shows he is pleased himself and makes him pleasing to those about him.
     Good men’s graces are sharpened by converse with those that are good, and bad men’s lusts and passions are sharpened by converse with those that are bad, as iron is sharpened by its like, especially by the file. Men are filed, made smooth, and bright, and fit for business (who were rough, and dull, and inactive), by conversation. This is designed, 1. To recommend to us this expedient for sharpening ourselves, but with a caution to take heed whom we choose to converse with, because the influence upon us is so great either for the better or for the worse. 2. To direct us what we must have in our eye in conversation, namely to improve both others and ourselves, not to pass away time or banter one another, but to provoke one another to love and to good works and so to make one another wiser and better, (Matthew Henry, Commentary on Proverbs 27:17).”


For more information about the author’s two books, The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer "Great Tribulation" please click on Joe Ortiz ~

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Is The Current State of Israel a Fulfillment of Prophecy?

     Many evangelical Christians believe the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 was a fulfillment of numerous Old Testament prophecies about the restoration of Israel to its homeland and that this in turn reveals the nearness of the rapture, the Tribulation, and the return of Christ. Hal Lindsey asserts that the political restoration of Israel in 1948 is “the most important prophetic sign to herald the era of Christ’s return.”
     Israel’s establishment as a nation is indeed a most remarkable event, and it is not surprising that many Christians and Jews see in it a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. Let’s examine some of these prophecies to see what they say. Two in particular stand out.
     First is God’s promise to Abraham that his descendants would inherit Palestine forever. “ ‘All the land that you see,’ ” God said, “ ‘I will give to you and your offspring forever,’ ” and “ ‘the whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God’ ” (Genesis 13:15, emphasis added; 17:8, emphasis added).
     Second is God’s promise to David: “ ‘ “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever” ’ ” (2 Samuel 7:16). God repeated this promise to David’s son Solomon, who succeeded him as king, adding, “ ‘ “You shall never fail to have a man to rule over Israel” ’ ” (2 Chronicles 7:18; see also Jeremiah 33:17, 20–26).
     Promises are conditional
     There is no question that God wanted Israel to live in Palestine forever and that His plan was for David’s dynasty to continue unbroken forever. However, His promise was conditional on Israel’s obedience to His covenant requirements. The promise to Abraham and his descendants was not only that they would inherit the land forever but also that He would be their God. And later God said to Abraham, “ ‘As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come’ ” (Genesis 17:9).
     The conditional nature of God’s promises is perhaps best stated in Jeremiah 18:9, 10, where the Lord declares, “ ‘If . . . I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.’ ”
     God’s promise to David and Solomon that their dynasty would be established forever and that they would never lack one of their descendants to sit on the throne of Israel was clearly conditional on obedience. Israel was not a kingdom for most of the past two millennia, nor has it had a descendent of David as its king since the captivity by the Babylonians 600 years before Christ!
     The claim that modern Israel’s restoration as a nation is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy completely ignores the principle that God’s promises are conditioned upon obedience. From a Christian perspective, Israel’s primary disobedience has been its refusal to believe in Jesus as the Messiah for nearly two thousand years.
     Restoration in unbelief?
     Those who view modern Israel as a fulfillment of God’s restoration promises appeal to certain Old Testament passages, which they say teach that the Jews are to be gathered back to their land in a state of unbelief, and only after their restoration will they accept Christ as the Messiah. One of these texts is Ezekiel 22:17–22, in which God says that “ ‘ “I [will] gather you in my anger and my wrath.” ’ ”
     However, God’s “gathering” of the Jews in His anger and wrath refers not to a return to Palestine but to God’s judgment upon their disobedience, which took place at the time of the Babylonian invasion. The purpose of this gathering was for judgment, not restoration. Ezekiel 22:21 makes that clear. In that verse, God says, “ ‘ “I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of My wrath, and you shall be melted in its midst” ’ ” (NKJV).* There is nothing here about restoration to Palestine.
     Another text that is often cited to support the return-in-unbelief view is Ezekiel 36:24, 25, “ ‘ “For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.” ’ ” The fact that the promise of territorial restoration precedes the spiritual cleansing of the people in this passage is taken to mean that the Jews will return to Palestine in unbelief first and then they will be cleansed and redeemed.
     A major problem with this interpretation is that it flies in the face of numerous other biblical statements in which God told the Israelites that He would restore them from their captivity by foreign nations when and if they repented (see, for example, Deuteronomy 30:1–5; Isaiah 1:27, 28; Ezekiel 20:39–42). Ezekiel’s words cannot contradict this basic premise.
     Ezekiel did not say that God would re-gather the Israelites first and then cleanse them. He simply said that God would do two things for His people: He would both re-gather and cleanse them. Ezekiel did not specify the sequence of these events, nor did he hint that an undetermined length of time would separate them.
     Historically, it was unbelief that prevented the Israelites from entering the land of Canaan shortly after their deliverance from Egypt (Numbers 14:23). If unbelief prevented the initial entrance into the land of Canaan, it can hardly be the condition for a return!
     A future fulfillment
     This is not to say that there can never be a future fulfillment of God’s Old Testament promises to Abraham and His descendants. For one thing, it can hardly be disputed that the restoration prophecies were not completely fulfilled following the restoration of the Jews from Babylonian captivity. Consequently, it is appropriate to look for a more complete fulfillment at a later time. However, in looking for a greater fulfillment, it is important to recognize that prophecies regarding Israel’s restoration can be fulfilled in two ways: literally and figuratively.
     God’s territorial promise to Abraham’s descendants was fulfilled literally when the Israelites took over the land of Canaan following their exodus from Egypt. Joshua declared, “The Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. . . . Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled” (Joshua 21:43, 45).
     Also, the Old Testament prophecies predicting the restoration of the Jews to Palestine following their Babylonian captivity were literally fulfilled by the remnant of Jews who returned to Palestine under the leadership of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah.
     However, both God’s promise to give Canaan to Abraham’s descendants and His promise to restore Israel following the captivity in Babylon have also been fulfilled figuratively. Paul explained that the promises God “made to Abraham and to his seed” have been fulfilled through Christ, because He is the epitome of the true Seed of Abraham (see Galatians 3:16, 29).
     This figurative fulfillment can be understood in two ways. First, it has been fulfilled for the past 2,000 years by the ingathering of Gentiles into the Christian church. This point is especially clear from a statement the apostle James made. James presided at a church council that met for the explicit purpose of deciding how to relate to the many Gentiles that Paul was bringing into the church on his missionary tours through Asia Minor (now Turkey) and Europe.
     When the council seemed to have reached an impasse, James said, “ ‘Brothers, listen to me. Simon [Peter] has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: “ ‘After this I will return / and rebuild David’s fallen tent. / Its ruins I will rebuild, / and I will restore it, / that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, / and all the Gentiles who bear my name, / says the Lord, who does these things’ / that have been known for ages” ’ ” (Acts 15:13–18).
     James here quoted a prophecy by the Old Testament prophet Amos regarding the restoration of David’s kingdom (see Amos 9:11, 12), which would bring about the ingathering of the Gentiles. He declared that this prophecy was being fulfilled through the ingathering of the Gentiles—not into literal Israel but into the Christian church. This is a clear example of a figurative New Testament fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy regarding the restoration of Israel.
     The new earth
     We see another figurative fulfillment of God’s promise to restore Israel to the Promised Land in the New Testament’s promise of the ultimate possession of the new earth by all of God’s people. Hebrews, for instance, explains that Abraham and his believing descendants saw the final fulfillment of the promise of the land of Canaan, not in a return to that land, but rather in reaching “a better country—a heavenly one” (11:15, 16).  
     Consequently, Abraham, who had been promised the land of Canaan, “was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (verse 10).
     This future city will be the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham that he would possess the land of Canaan forever. For embedded within Revelation’s description of the New Jerusalem and the new earth are words that are reminiscent of God’s promise to Abraham and his descendants: “ ‘I will be their God’ ” (Genesis 17:8). Revelation says, “ ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God’ ” (21:3, emphasis added). This promise will be fulfilled on the new earth for all the spiritual descendants of Abraham, both Jews and Gentiles.
     Every believer in Jesus is an heir to the promise God made to Abraham regarding the land of Canaan. Even those who are not blood descendants of Abraham, if they are in Christ, are “Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Church’s Heavenly Minded Views Can Stifle Its Duties to Earthly Matters

A Review of The End Times Passover
by Dave MacPherson

     I find myself going back, time and time again to Joe Ortiz’s book, The End Times Passover, which in essence is becoming more of a biblical text for me than just another commentary on Bible prophecy.
     As one who has spent over four decades rebutting the many myths and revisionism surrounding the birth of rapturism, I am not only convinced that it is a historically contrived plot to divert God's children from His true Gospel, the more I read Joe Ortiz' book (The End Times Passover) the more I am convinced that we now have easy to understand hermeneutical evidence that out right debunks this mythology, proof that will endure any form of academic and or biblical scrutiny.
     For example, in one of his chapters (#10, with the title, Heavenly Minded) Joe has provided me with remarkable insight that deals with one of the biggest misconceptions we have concerning what happens when we die, and what we have been led to believe is the Christian’s final destination. Joe Ortiz has received much criticism about his Bible findings concerning this topic, and for the most part, critics feel his views fly across the face of one of the most endearing aspects of what Christians have been taught since they first heard about Heaven in Sunday school, and or from our parents. Not a day goes by where we don’t hear about a person passing away and the most often heard phrase we hear is he (or she) is now in a better place, up in Heaven with Jesus.
     The quality of Joe Ortiz’ in depth study on this and many other Bible topics that he conducted over a 20 year period of time, before publishing this book, is demonstrated by his mastery of ascertaining definitive meanings of key words in scripture. For example, the major point he makes as he literally tears down Tim LaHaye’s entire “Left Behind” premise (which is based on scripture found in Luke 17:34-37), is that many prophecy students and teachers present inconsistent claims in their polemics based on their failure to correctly interpret certain words in the Bible. Joe proves his point as he shows us that the word “left” used twice in Luke 17:34-37 actually means “to forgive.” The Greek word to define “left” in these verses is “aphiemi” which is used in various other forms but yet means the same thing, such as its usage in the Lord’s Prayer, And [forgive] us our sins; for we also [forgive] every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil, (Luke 11:4)
     He also shows us how this same word aphiemi is rendered suffer in the verse in Luke 18:16, where Jesus warns people to be cautious how they treat the little children, But Jesus called them unto him, and said, [suffer]the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
     Joe pounds his point home that a person can understand the specific intent of key words to ascertain their respective meanings in certain verses by making a reasonable word comparison study that can leave no doubt as to what each word really means. It is obvious by these examples that the word “left” can mean nothing else but to “forgive, allow, leave alone,” which thoroughly and accurately tosses Tim LaHaye’s “Left Behind” thesis out the window. But yet, LaHaye has sold over 65 million copies of his books, which demonstrates that most Christians do not adequately study their Bible, and they end up sharing with millions of other Christians a doctrine that goes against the will of God.
     Just as Joe shows us this glaring example of how he used an etymological approach to key words in the Bible to present a profound case against the Rapture to Heaven mythology, he brings that reality closer to home as he explains two other heavenly minded concepts that have been misinterpreted for centuries. For example, most folks interpret John 14:2, where it states, In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. The majority of Christendom has accepted this to mean that Jesus is now in Heaven preparing their future residences, mansions in the sky, if you will.
     Joe points out that the Greek word to define the word mansion is mone, which is used only twice in the Bible, which means an abode, an abiding, according to the Greek dictionary. Jesus says there are many abodes in His Father’s house. Although Jesus never describes what these abodes are, the only other clue we have is seen in verse John 14:23 where that same word mone is found and used in an almost diametrically opposed definition that doesn’t even resemble any mansion whatsoever: Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our [abode] with him. This is remarkable in that in verse 2 the Greek word mone is rendered as mansions, which appear to be stable and planted in Heaven, if we are to accept the most popular interpretation of this verse. But, further down in verse 23, we now see that same identical word is rendered as a mobile abode, one that Jesus tells His disciples that if they love Him and keep His commands, He and the Father will love him, and that they will come unto him, and make their abode with them. Many scholars believe that the latter verse is speaking about the Holy Spirit abiding in the believers, being that this is the main topic of the entire chapter of John 14. If this be the case, then the rendering of the word mone as being mansions (as many have interpreted, including the translators of the Bible) seems out of place, here, unless we can recognize that the abodes (or abidings) Jesus speaks of are actually dealing with the part of the rewards (our new habitations) that believers receive when Jesus returns, (Revelation 22:12). The reward here is identified by the Greek word oiketerion (which is used only twice in the entire Bible), that speaks of the incorruptible body believers will inherit and clothe themselves with, the same immortal casing (if you will) that angels currently exist with.
     Nevertheless as Joe proves, that place that Jesus is preparing is not a mansion but it obviously deals with a bigger issue, as Joe clearly defines the Greek word topos (place) in great detail, which actually encompasses and describes the positional status the saints will have in God’s kingdom.
     The word place in the Greek is the word topos which, according to all Greek dictionaries, actually means (metaphorically) the condition or station held by one in any company or assembly; license, occasion and or an opportunity. If Jesus meant He was going back to Heaven to prepare some type of a compartment, apartment, a chamber (or even a mansion) it would be more appropriate to use the Greek word tameion. Jesus did not say He was going to heaven to prepare a mansion for believers, he said He was going to prepare a place for them. Some Bible versions say he was going to prepare a room. Obviously there is a major difference between a room and a mansion; therefore Jesus cannot be speaking about preparing either. He clearly states He is going to prepare a place for them. Well, both room and place use the same Greek word topos to identify what it speaks of. A good example of how that word is to be used is when we say, “I have room in my heart for Johnny or there is a special place in my heart for him,” but we are obviously not speaking about having a compartment in my heart where I would try to squeeze Johnny into it. Ergo, the definition of topos used in John 14:2 discusses the positional status we will play in God’s kingdom.
     In essence, what Joe presents is evidence of exactly what Christ is doing when He says he is preparing a place for you: He is recording our works which will determine the positional status we will attain in His soon to come Kingdom on earth. This recordation process is spoken of in Malachi 3:16: Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard [it], and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
     Joe again proves his etymological astuteness as he digs for the deeper meaning of words as he presents us another example of how Christians for many years have adopted certain doctrinal positions based on hearsay (dare we say heresy?) rather than scrutinizing God’s word at a much deeper level. Concerning what Paul was really saying in Philippians 1:23, when he stated, For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better. Joe shows us that Paul was not speaking about dying and departing to Heaven. Paul was actually stating that he desired the return of Christ!
     Joe points out that the word for depart is the Greek word analuo, which is used only twice in the entire Bible. The other verse where analuo is used is found in Luke 12:36, where it speaks about the Lord returning from a wedding: And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will [return] from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. The word in the Greek that defines depart and the word return in these two verses is identical, analuo. There can be no confusion that the word analuo has various and different meanings, since it is only used twice in the entire Bible. The word, in both instances means the same thing. Joe aptly points out that two of the most prolific Greek scholars in the last two hundred years (W.E. Vine and E.W. Bullinger), who have written their own Greek dictionaries, jointly agree to the true rendering of the Greek word analuo, which they interpret it to means the return. Now mind you, both of those scholars believed in the Premillennial, Pre-Tribulation Rapture to Heaven theory. It is ironic (as Joe points out in his book) how the academic acumen of these two astute Bible scholars actually ends up refuting their premillennial polemic.
     Joe also does the same thing with the verse found in 2 Corinthians 5:8, a verse that millions of Christians use to back up what they believe happens once they die, that they immediately go to be with Jesus in Heaven: We are confident, [I say], and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Now, while Paul would prefer to be at home with the Lord, this verse does not say this is exactly what happens after death. The entire chapter of 2 Corinthians 5 breaks down exactly what Paul is discussing about his dilemma. Paul is saying he wished he were no longer in this fleshly body he has but is looking forward to the new body (2 Corinthians 5:1-5) he will receive when Jesus returns (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 at The Resurrection).
     The scriptural verse that Joe uses to nail shut the Rapture coffin with greater confirmation is found in Philippians 3:10-11, which clearly states that Paul knew he would not go to Heaven upon his death, otherwise, why would he yearn to experience the same resurrection Jesus Christ experienced:That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
     These points that Joe provides his readers are not new. The verses he quotes to prove them have always been in the Bible. But yet, theorists (especially Rapture theorists) pound away certain contrived notions until the faithful will say, “OK, OK, I got it,” but seldom do they go home and check the information out for themselves. Joe Ortiz spent over 25 years of his life doing the checking for us after reading probably every Rapture book ever written, cross-checking the information presented by Rapture theorists with not just one Bible version, but over 20 different ones and their corresponding lexicons, concordances, Greek and Hebrew dictionaries, figures of speech manuals, historical records, etc., solely to ascertain beyond a shadow of a doubt as to what certain key words really meant, what were their intended application by each writer, which were always corroborated by other scripture, which Joe provides his readers in almost every instance.
     And now, I understand that Nathaniel Thomas Wright, the man Newsweek calls “the world’s leading New Testament scholar,” wrote a book in 2008, called Surprised by Hope, which literally supports Joe Ortiz’ findings that Heaven is not the destination of believers after death (most certainly not in any Rapture to Heaven scenario) nor upon the return of Christ to rule and reign on earth, forever. I plan to read Wright’s book, but I trust those who have shared with me this information, as well as the works by many others who are emerging with similar data to confirm what Joe Ortiz wrote over 25 years ago.
     Most people who are aware of my books and articles recognize that I make no claim of being a Bible scholar. If anything, I am a humble journalist who has dedicated over 45 years of research into the origins of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture to Heaven theory. I am convinced this theory has no biblical merit, nor academic standing, whatsoever. After reading and re-reading Joe Ortiz’ book, The End Times Passover, I have become more convinced that this “Left Behind” doctrine is not only a myth, it is having a detrimental effect on the much needed growth and maturation of the church.
     The “Left Behind” doctrine puts pressure on Christians to support a political movement that there is a geopolitical kingdom in store for the state of Israel, a myth that many fine scholars (such as O. Palmer Robertson, Stephen Sizer, Steve Wohlberg, Hans LaRondelle, Barbara Rossing and so many others) have proven time and again this will not be the case.
     More importantly, the Bible (as Joe Ortiz exhaustively cites throughout his book) proves that what we call the “church” is really a body of believers of thousands of varying nationalities and racial groups, including Jews, Hispanics, Asians, Africans, et al, who believe in Christ; an assembly and or congregation of millions of people from throughout the entire world. They include people of faith going back as far as Abel up to and through the patriarchs, prophets and apostles, who were not seeking a temporary resting place (such as the country we know as Israel in the Middle East); but they were looking forward to the true Promised Land, a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God, (Hebrews 11:13-16).
     As Joe Ortiz presents us with more than sufficient scripture in his book to prove this point, this city is New Jerusalem, the Holy City of God, which (Revelation 21:2-3 clearly states) comes down from Heaven, where God and the Lamb of God will dwell within the Holy City, right here on earth, with mankind, forever!
     No! We never go to Heaven after death, or during any so-called catching away to Heaven, nor even after the Second Advent. But most certainly, as Joe Ortiz’ book, The End Times Passover, ever so adroitly proves, after everything has been said and done, Heaven comes down to earth (see Hebrews13:14), in answer to the most important prayer we were instructed to recite on a daily basis, the Lord’s Prayer: After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:9-10).

Dave MacPherson is the author of numerous books on the Rapture, including "The Rapture Plot", "The Incredible Cover Up", "The Great Rapture Hoax", "Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin" and "Late Great Pre-Trib Rapture."

For more information about the author of this blog and his books, The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation please click on Joe Ortiz

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Real Heroes Want God To Receive The Glory!

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.... Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God, (Matthew 5:5-8)

     Do you recognize the person in the painting above? It is a young King David, who gained fame by slaying the giant Goliath, and history has recorded him as one of the greatest heroes ever known to mankind. Many other great people have been highlighted in the annals of time for their bravery and courage against insurmountable odds. Others who stand out include World War 11 hero Audie Murphy, the most highly decorated soldier in U.S. Military history, who also gained much fame as an actor during the 50’s.
     The word hero has lost much of its luster in the last four to five decades, where nowadays, we bestow the title of hero to movie stars, politicians and sports figures, those who hit grand slam home runs to win a World Series game, or that quarterback who threw an 85 yard touchdown pass in the last three seconds of the latest Super Bowl game.
     However, just yesterday there was a great news item about a 29 year old California grape picker by the name of Victor Perez who rescued an 8-year old girl who had been abducted outside of her Fresno, California home by a suspected kidnapper. Perez, a father of two who had decided not to go to work because of inclement weather, had heard the Amber Alert and spotted a suspect vehicle around 7 a.m. last Tuesday morning. According to CNN, Perez recounts his story:
     "I thought, that could be the truck," Perez told CNN.
     Perez did not initially see the girl inside the vehicle, but decided to pursue it and eventually saw the child stick her head up.
     "I kept telling him, 'That's not your little girl,'" Perez said. "We argued. We exchanged words."
     Perez said it took him several attempts to cut off the suspect vehicle, but when he finally managed to block it, the suspect, Gregorio Gonzalez, 24, pushed the child out of the vehicle.
     "I just felt like I was doing my part. ... .I just felt like everybody should step up in their own communities and when something like this happens, come together and try to do your part to help out," Perez said. "And, you know, I just thank God that I was put in the right situation to do what I did. Thank the man above for that."
     This great news item may appear to be an isolated incident, few realize that hundreds of stories like this one happen throughout the day in regions unbeknownst to the masses, especially here in the United States, by simple people whose hearts and souls just happen to be committed to Jesus Christ. Acts of charity, benevolence and bravery are committed daily that will never receive the attention the public pays to its version of heroes. Instead, we honor sports figures, Hollywood celebrities, politicians and people of great wealth simply for who they are, and not for what they do. While hitting game-winning home runs and throwing touchdown passes, posing half naked in movie magazines, starring in the latest hip movie or recording a chart-topping song, is not necessarily sinful, it does not represent much courage and commitment to the human family; but yet we too easily shower these folks with unwarranted praise.
     Sadly, we see so much of this adoration amid the church community as well. Star-studded radio and television evangelists, authors and preachers and the theological persona de jour, use their fame to fatten their coffers and gain the right to hob nob with the rich, powerful and famous. Some even gain access to top government officials and have influenced foreign policy.
     This is not what Jesus had in mind when He told us to preach the gospel to all mankind! Jesus did not envisage His disciples as mega- rich evangelists nor pastors with 20,000 member “churches”, driving the latest Mercedes and flying from one arena to the other in privately owned Lear jets, as do the renowned rock stars of today.
     No, Jesus’ true disciples are in the trenches in far off lands, tending to the poor, the infirm, the homeless and the hungry in their respective neighborhoods, villages and refugee camps, while daily facing persecution (and even death) for the glory of God! They feed and give water to those who are infested with one disease or another, who suffer from the latest tropical storm or devastating earthquake, and lo the many who are one second away from death.     
     You will never hear about these valiant soldiers of the cross, as we have heard about the courageous Victor Perez (thank God for that inspirational news item); however, you will see thousands of these nameless souls sitting next to Jesus when His kingdom is revealed on earth upon His final return.
     A.W. Tozer, one of my heroes (not for any specific act of physical courage other than his preaching boldness) addressed humanity’s failure to put our heroes in proper perspective, thusly:
     “We have but to become acquainted with, or even listen to, the big names of our times to discover how wretchedly inferior most of them are. Many appear to have arrived at their present eminence by pull, brass, nerve, gall and lucky accident. We turn away from them sick to our stomach and wonder for a discouraged moment if this is the best the human race can produce. But we gain our self-possession again by the simple expedient of recalling some of the plain men we know, who live unheralded and unsung, and who are made of stuff infinitely finer than the hoarse-voiced braggarts who occupy too many of the highest offices in the land. . . .
     . . . the church also suffers from this evil notion. Christians have fallen into the habit of accepting the noisiest and most notorious among them as the best and the greatest. They too have learned to equate popularity with excellence, and in open defiance of the Sermon on the Mount, they have given their approval not to the meek but to the self-assertive; not to the mourner but to the self-assured; not to the pure in heart who see God, but to the publicity hunter who seeks headlines, Man: The Dwelling Place of God, pp 96-97, by A.W. Tozer.”
     As we begin to pray for our usual self-interests, let us include (at least for 30 seconds or more) our special blessings on the thousands upon thousands of the meek and pure hearted people throughout the world, who place themselves and their lives on the line so that others may live; for they will inherit the earth and they will also see God!

For more information about this blog and the author’s two books The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation please click on Joe Ortiz.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Official Apex Reviews Interview: Joe Ortiz, author (The End Times Passover, Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation)

     Apex Reviews: Joe, thanks for joining us for this interview. We’re looking forward to learning more about your books.
     You spent over 20 years researching and compiling both books. Why are you so passionate about the topics you address, and where does that passion come from? 
     Joe Ortiz: My passion comes from my early life, one where I have always been inquisitive about all things. My schoolmates used to tease me about my always asking the teachers questions, inferring I was kissing up to them. I wasn’t, I genuinely wanted answers. Secondly, it also came from my experiences as a journalist, and my disappointment to find that not all we read in newspapers (and books), see on television or hear on the radio is true.
     Therefore, when I first became a Christian (in 1975) I got really excited because my pastors and Bible teachers told me that God is truth and the Bible is His true word. However, when I started reading various Christian books and commentaries, I saw great differences between their books and the Bible. So who was I to trust, the commentators or the Bible?
     Well, the Bible itself states (in 2 Timothy 3:16-17) that all 'scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.' Therefore I had to trust what the Bible says. However, believing and trusting what the Bible says and being able to interpret it correctly, meant that I had to dig deep and study key words correctly to understand their exact meaning. So, how did I find out what certain words truly meant? For one thing, I used an etymological approach.
     What is Etymology? Etymology is the history of a linguistic form as a word shown by tracing its development since its earliest recorded occurrence in the language where it is found, by tracing its transmission from one language to another, by analyzing it into its component parts, by identifying its cognates in other languages, or by tracing it and its cognates to a common ancestral form in an ancestral language.
     Without belaboring my answer to your initial question, I’ll use the etymological example of the word "left" as is used in Luke 17:34, which is the basis for Tim LaHaye’s Left Behind thesis, that sinners will be "left behind" at the Rapture and believers will be "taken" to heaven for seven years while all hell breaks loose here on earth. If examined carefully (through an etymological approach) we find that the word "left" actually means "to forgive;" therefore, LaHaye’s premise that bad folks are left behind and believers are taken to heaven has no biblical nor academic foundation whatsoever. That one example alone should debunk LaHaye’s Left Behind doctrine; however, I have about 150 other examples in my two books to nail shut LaHaye’s Left Behind doctrinal coffin once and for all.
     AR: After all the years of research and analysis, at what point did you decide it was finally time to bring the book to the light of day?
     JO: I actually finished the manuscript around 1986,87; however from then to 2004, I perused these two books over and over and over again, cross-checking, cross-referencing the data to the point of exhaustion. Finally, around May of 2004, I felt a peace about the information I present in these two books, and decided to place them on the Internet, developed a web site and began giving it away for free. After about three years, I decided to send it out to publishers to get more exposure and Author House Publishers became my official publisher.
     AR: You offer very sound scriptural and historical evidence to back up your various claims. How were you able to come to such definitive conclusions?
     JO: Once again, by using the etymological approach, figures of speech, Hebrew and Greek dictionaries, concordances, as well as reading hundreds of books on the same subject, mostly written by premillenial dispensationalists (like Tim LaHaye, John Hagee, John Walvoord, Hal Lindsey) and others who believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture and Left Behind doctrine. I began to examine what those writers claimed and matched their data to the Bible’s and it didn’t jibe. Actually, I was hoping their thesis could be confirmed because I kind of like the idea of a being whisked to heaven while all hell breaks loose here on earth. But that will not the case.
     AR: Please share with our readers precisely why you think followers of the Christian faith will have to endure the "Great Tribulation"?
     JO: The apostle Paul told us (in the book of Acts 14:22) that we must go through much tribulation in order to enter into the kingdom of God; but unfortunately, way too many Christians today would rather believe we are immune to persecution mainly because we are Christians. I provide a great amount of scripture, especially in "Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation," to show that today’s believer is not immune to persecution. For that matter, hundreds of thousands of Christians throughout the world are suffering great tribulation as we speak; however, American Christians, especially, believe that we will be protected from persecution because (up to recently, when we experienced 911) we have become accustomed to a predominately secure life in the USA. Many American Christians rightly believe what is stated in 1 Thessalonians 4:9, which is that Christians are not appointed to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, which is true. However, there is a big difference between God’s wrath on the unbeliever and the antichristian world’s persecution of Christians. We are and have been destined for persecution. Why should modern day American Christians receive greater treatment from the world than the millions who have been martyred for Christ throughout history?
     AR: Our reviewer noted that, while informative, many of your claims are quite disturbing. Have you gotten any reactions from readers who think that your approach is too depressing or amounts to "doomsday prophecy"? If so, what has been your response?
     JO: Yes, I have gotten a lot of heat from many who say that we (Christians) are not destined for wrath. Listen, truly walking with Christ is not going to be a picnic in the park. Christ told us to pick up our cross and follow Him. The cross is an instrument of death. We (American Christians) are coming to a point in history where we will be asked by world oppressors to renounce our faith, or to choose between Christ and the world. You can read about these accounts where Christians are being killed today because they are standing up for Jesus in countries like China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, etc. In other words, are we American Christians prepared to die for standing up for Christ rather than serve another god, such as the gods of money, military and political power, or other heathen religions?
     I share a great example of this with my readers in my second book (Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation), where I speak about three guys (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) who would not serve King Nebuchadnezzar’s gods or worship the image of gold he had set up. They were given a choice: Honor the king’s giant gold statue or be thrown in the fiery furnace. The three guys responded and said they didn’t need to defend themselves before the King in this matter. They told the King that if they are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God they serve is able to save them from it, and he will rescue them. The amazing thing is what they said next.
     "Even if God does not save, we want you to know, king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
     King Nebuchadnezzar got so furious with these three fanatics he ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up the three servants and throw them into the blazing furnace. The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took these three men, firmly tied, and pushed them into the blazing furnace. The end result is the three guys didn’t burn.
     This particular story is an example of a theme that is repeated throughout the Bible, where we see patriarchs like Noah, Daniel, Joshua, David, et al who are divinely protected by God when they place their complete trust in Him. These examples are what my books are based upon, that God is able to rescue His children without having to Rapture them to heaven. God takes us through trials, not out of them. Will some Christians die from persecution? Yes, thousands have throughout history and thousands today and that many more tomorrow. But, like the Apostle Stephen, the first Christian martyr in history, those who give their lives so others can live, as Christ did, will be rewarded in greater fashion than those who cower as tribulation increases.
     AR: We can only imagine the kinds of criticisms you’ve had to endure as a result of the points you make. Have you encountered much resistance from religious traditionalists?
     JO: Dear Lord,Yes! Daily!Those who believe in the Left Behind and Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrines are pretty adamant about their belief system. I have challenged them to read the books and then respond. They say they haven’t the time, or they are convinced their belief system is sound enough. Yet, I have been blessed by those who have read the books, and we have received from them glowing testimonies, including other well-known authors such as Dave MacPherson, Ralph Woodrow, talk show host Rick Wiles, and many others. And now from Dominique Sessons.
     At the beginning (as I was conducting my initial research back in 1984) I could not find anyone who had written about the same evidence I present in my two books. Only recently (in the last 4 to 5 years) have I found other authors that have come to basically the same conclusions as I do, including authors such as Steve Wohlberg, Ted Noel, Stephen Sizer, Barbara Rossing, Arnie Suntag and other emerging writers.
     AR: In light of all the resounding evidence that you present, what advice can you offer to those who still refuse to abandon the traditionalist dogma that was inculcated into them at an early age?
     JO: Goodness! It’s very difficult to change people’s minds about their current belief system, which makes my work seem even slower and harder. Yet, those folks who have taken the time to read all the sound biblical evidence I provide have come back and said they now have a greater understanding of God’s end times program. I would encourage them to at least read the book, and then come back and share with me their concerns. If they can present evidence that refutes what I have presented, and it can be proven vis a vis the etymological approach I took, then I would consider making corrections. I tell folks that my books are not the end of the eschatological debate that still roars in evangelical circles. 
     However, those who are secure about their relationship with God have no need to fear or listen to another point of view. If anything, I believe they will grow in greater faith!
     AR: What has your experience been like with Author House?
     JO: Good! I have a strong background in journalism and working as a publicist; therefore, after they sent out their initial press release about my books, I chose to handle those duties myself. A book, as you well know, is like your child; you know it best and also know the character and image of the books you want to project to the public.
     AR: You’ve actually been involved in quite a number of different activities over the course of your life. Please share more with our readers about Joe Ortiz, the man of many talents.
     JO: Goodness! I believe (more so now) that God had His hand on me from an early age. Not that I was a religious person throughout my life. Other than a few years of Catholic training up to my early teens, I burned the candle at both ends until I accepted Christ in 1975, which was a major turning point in my life. Another turning point in my life came earlier when I landed on KABC Talk Radio in 1971. I wasn’t looking for a broadcasting career; I was just at the right place at the right time. Someone threw me the broadcasting football and I’ve been running towards the goal line ever since. I parlayed that opportunity into a very successful broadcasting, civil service, teaching and public relations career.        However, throughout that entire journey, I was consumed with researching and writing this book. There were years where I spent 80 percent of my time to the project, and other times 30 to 40 percent due to supporting a family. However, from June 2000 until May of 2004, while I managed a homeless shelter in Palm Springs for 16 hours a day, seven days a week for about three and a half years without a day off, after work, totally exhausted, that’s when I studied and wrote the best portions of the book. God had my attention like never before and that’s when the books illuminated.
     After I finished the final editing (in May 2004) I shared the manuscripts with renown authors like Ralph Woodrow and Dave MacPherson (experts in the eschatological genre), who read the books and encouraged me to get them out there.
     Now, I’m semi-retired but still do some writing for various magazines and newspapers throughout the country; a little PR for charities that deal with drug abuse, homelessness and unwed mothers, and I also manage a few blogs and my two web sites, promoting the books every chance I get.
     AR: How can our readers learn more about you, your writings, and your various other efforts?
     JO: I would refer them to either one of my two web sites and all they need to know is accessible at The End Times Passover web site and my Joe Ortiz Associates site

     AR: Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
     JO: Yes! We are living in precarious times. The world is rapidly changing as never before. Many Christians especially believe that the answers to our problems can be solved with new leadership and new changes in our government and then things will turn out alright. What I have been fortunate to have learned (having spent over 30 years in the political arena, as well as media) is that mankind’s problems will never be solved by governments or any secular philosophy. And it won’t be changed either by those professing Christians who promote strong political and military might to solve the world’s problems, or attempting to rid ourselves from the implied threat from radical fundamentalists and religious zealots, whether they hoist and carry a purported Christian, Judaic or Muslim banner.
     My two books provide the evidence as to what believers should be doing today, and what their attitude should be concerning their family, community and members of their congregation. It describes the reality the God does not want His children to play church or religion, but rather to serve those closest to them. To do whatever they can to help them carry their crosses as well as our own. It’s not going to be easy. But, as the famous Apostle Paul stated in Romans 8:36-39, while portions of my books may appear like gloom and doom, people have to keep it all in perspective, because everything turns out OK in the end: "As it is written, for your sake we face death all day long. We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
     AR: Thanks again, Joe, and best of continued success to you in all your endeavors!
     JO: My pleasure!

[Apex Reviews which has emerged as the fastest-growing author publicity firm in America, was launched on July 1, 2007, with the sole purpose of providing self-published authors and small, independent presses with greater exposure for their works. They are a team of experienced authors and editors with a combined total of over 75 years experience in the publishing industry. Under their guidance and direction, numerous authors have gone on to receive widespread acclaim, win countless awards, and enjoy multiple printings.]

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Derek Gilbert Interviews Joe Ortiz: The Flag Or The Cross?

Popular Blog Talk Show Host Derek Gilbert interviews Joe Ortiz today. The subject: Who Should Christians honor first, the nation or Jesus Christ.

Feel free to forward this to your friends and neighbors. Click below to listen to the interview!

Derek Gilbert Interviews Joe Ortiz: The Flag Or The Cross?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bruce Collins Interviews Joe Ortiz About Pre-Tribulation Rapture

     I wish to apologize to those of you who have become regular followers of our blog. Due to increasing physical complications, and the relentless heat we have had in the southwest (average of 105 degrees in Redlands for three weeks in a row), sitting down and writing messages we feel are important has become (for me at least) an exhaustive experience.
     Sometimes we get the opportunity to share God's message on radio interviews like we did this morning. We almost cancelled the interview (which was recorded last week) because it was during the peak of pain and heat that made even talking on the radio and unbearable task.
     Bruce offered me the opportunity to re-schedule the interview until I felt better; however, I told him kidding to let us go on as scheduled because I may not be around much longer. Although we both laughed about this, the weakness and pain I was experiencing the evening we recorded the interview was excruciating.
     One thing both us discussed before the interview was what Paul spoke of in 2 Corinthians12:9 where he confessed to Jesus that he was plagued by many afflictions. In that verse, we see where Jesus told Paul that My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in your weakness. Paul responded that he, most gladly, will rather boast about his weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in him.
    As I listened to the interview this morning, which I thought went real bad during the taping of the show, because I didn't feel I sounded as coherent and glib as I have been in the past, I was more concerned about a group of scripture that I quoted during the show, concerning a writer who had misused (or rather abused) those verses to enhance his Pre-Tribulation Rapture to Heaven polemic. I knew the verses he used could be found in the book of Ephesians but, as I age, my memory is not as sharp as it used to be.
     Nevertheless, I pulled a group of scripture out of the thin air during the interview and used them as an example of what I was sharing with Bruce (hoping no one would notice nor remember) about how the writer had omitted several preceding verses while trying to make his point that the church was a mystery hidden from mankind throughout history. I remember mentioning Ephesians 3:6 through 11. I told Bruce that the writer had only quoted Ephesians 3:9-11 and had omitted three preceding verses, (6, 7 and 8) out of that group and I could not understand why He did this. I told Bruce that as I examined the verses he used, I found out that the ones he omitted not only destroyed his polemic, they completely changed the message the word of God was conveying. I told Bruce I could not understand how any Christian could do such a dastardly deed, knowing full well that to change one jot or one tittle in God's word carries a rather large price. Here's the group of scripture I shared with Bruce and his audience:
     6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. 7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all God's people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, (Ephesians 3:6-11).
     The writer used only verses 9 through 11 and he stated they prove that the church was a mystery throughout history. However one of the verses (number 6) the writer omitted actually disputed the claim he was making and trying to prove. That one verse 6 actually states that the church is not the mystery but rather the mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
     I went on to tell Bruce that way too many so-called prophecy writers are guilty of skewing the word of God to justify a Pre-Tribulation to Heaven and Left Behind doctrine that does not exist in the Bible. The ones I shared with him on the air were not only glaring examples of such deviousness, they insult the intelligence of even novice Bible students. Yet, people fall for such nonsense on a daily basis.
     However, more than proving a point, for me, the perplexing thing about that portion of the interview was a feeling of guilt that I may also had misquoted scripture to make my point. I guess I could respond to whomever challenged me of misuse of scripture as well, that I misspoke and actually the verse I had intended to use was such and such.
     But lo and behold, after I came home later on after doing some chores, I went to the Bible to see exactly what Ephesians 3:6 through 11 contained, and it was exactly what I had shared with Bruce during the interview. I was stunned! Despite my weakness and pain, God brought to remembrance the scripture I wanted to share with Bruce as I made my case!
    The point being made here is that it is true what Paul stated in 2 Corinthians 12:9. Which is, that God's power is much more effective when we get our own egos and Bible knowledge smugness out of the way and let Him use us as His vessels to carry forth His message. Obviously, when we are weak and cannot take credit for the work Christ performs through us, He receives the glory we too often heap upon ourselves. Obviously, we can pat ourselves on the back for thinking we are such gifted scholars and know more than the next person, when in reality, if it wasn't for God and the Holy Spirit at work in and through us, we would be nothing but a noisy gongs and clanging cymbals.

Bruce Collins can be heard every Sunday morning on Revolution Boston AM 1510, where he interviews national and international figures discussing a variety of topics. Collins, himself a born again Christian, often focuses on many subjects dealing with the increasing times of tribulation being experienced throughout the world, especially when he sees they are beginning to increase more so here in America. If you missed the interview, click on the Bruce Collins radio show's web site and download it from the archives.