Friday, June 29, 2018

This week's lesson (June 23-29): the Return of Our Lord Jesus

Christ's return is like falling in love:
  • It is the culmination of everything you've ever thought and done . . . 
  • But at the same time, it is a complete and utter surprise.
As such, you are always ready for it . . . 

And you are never ready for it.

Discuss.

Monday, June 18, 2018

This week's lesson (June 16-22): Babylon & Armageddon

The line between good and evil cuts through every human heart." - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956.
Two things you need to know about the Battle of Armageddon:

One: there's no such place - not literally, at any rate.

And two: there's no such battle - again, not literally.

No, "Armageddon" literally means "the Mountain of Megiddo" - and while Megiddo is a real place (and the site of many famous battles), it is not a mountain; it is a plain (which is why it was able to host so many famous battles). The name is a contradiction in terms, in other words - much like "the Alps of Kansas," or "the Great Tillamook Desert."

Which is reason enough not to take it literally.

And while Revelation 16:14-16 speak of "the kings of the whole world" being gathered for battle on "the great day of God Almighty," there's no mention of any such battle actually taking place. No, when God shows up in Revelation 17, the fight is over before it even begins.

Which is reason enough not to try and fight against God.

In short, the Battle of Armageddon is not fought in the Middle East.

Instead, it is a symbol of the ongoing battle inside every human heart.

Which is reason enough to decide which side you're on.

Monday, June 11, 2018

This week's lesson (June 9-15): God's seal or the Beast's mark?

God's seal is a sign of His love and protection . . . 

Until it's not.

Think of Cain, for instance - the man who murders his brother, then whines that someone might go after him for what he's done.

"Not going to happen," said God. "I'm putting my mark on Cain so that everyone knows he's under my protection - and anyone who messes with him gets it back from me times seven."

Well and good - but then one of Cain's descendants by the name of Lamech goes and kills a man . . . 

Then he claims the same protection God gave Cain (only more so).

"I have killed a man for wounding me," he says, "a young man for injuring me. If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech [is avenged] seventy-seven times."

Which is not a nice thing to say.

In fact, the way he turns a sign of God's love into an excuse for vengeance is downright "beastly."

And no, there was nothing wrong with God's gift to Cain; like all of God's gifts, it was a blessing.

But any blessing can be turned into a curse.

And given Lamech's example, I suspect that any "Seal of God" can be turned into a "Mark of the Beast."

Thursday, June 07, 2018

This week's lesson (June 2-8): America & Babylon

This election, I've noticed a number of candidates running on the platform of "strong Christian values."

You know - the kind you read about in Luke 6:
  • Blessed are the poor - but woe to the rich.
  • Blessed are those who hunger - but woe to those who already have their fill.
  • And love your enemies - not just those who love you in return.
At least, I think those are the values they're talking about.
Or maybe they'd prefer the values of a different god . . . 

Like Marduk?