Post-Christian Nihilism

What happens when we no longer have any God (or gods) to look up to? What happens when men become their own gods? What happens when “the will” becomes the highest ideal?

Israel was purged of their tendency to worship false gods with their exile. Their house was cleansed of that demon. But eventually they turned their own religion into a false one and were worse off than before the exile.

When a society becomes Christian, all the old religions are displaced. There can be no going back. No one can become a child again. What replaces Christianity?

“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”

Matthew 12:43-45 NKJV

Earth’s Final Hours?

Is the world in its last days? Probably not, but the western world might very well be, and that’s okay. Before anything can be reborn into something better and more glorious, it has to die first.

I watched the following video and was inspired to write this article.

Many western Christians are convinced we are in the last days before Christ returns. They mostly believe this because of what they see going on in the world today. They believe that current events are fulfilling biblical prophecy before our very eyes. This is called newspaper eisegesis, and it works very well if you want it to, at any point in Christian history too. If you go outside on a cloudy day, and are predetermined to see the likeness of human faces in the clouds, it’s not if you’ll see those faces, rather how quickly you’ll see them (about 30 seconds). This is newspaper eisegesis: If I have a predetermined eschatological narrative, I can take the events of any point in Christian history and plug them into that narrative easily.

I couldn’t resist making my own Smith/Rock meme

Need an antichrist figure? Need a war? Need a pestilence? An economic crisis? Just read a history book. You’ll find an abundance of everything you need. Do you think those living in Constantinople thought they were in the last days as the Muslim armies grew closer? Or perhaps those living in Europe as Hitler expanded his power? Who is the expected antichrist now? Is it still the leader of the EU? No, that doesn’t work anymore. Bush or Obama? Nope. The leader of ISIS? Oh, they’re gone now. Carl Schwab? Almost ten years ago I wrote an article revealing who the antichrist was, and I still agree with what I wrote, and I’m still correct.

Western Christians are probably right to be worried about the end coming though. There are rough times ahead. But let’s not get all doom and gloom about it. Jesus intends on building His kingdom.

The best eschatological passage to be found in the bible is 1 Corinthians 15:20-28…

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He [Jesus] delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He [the Father] puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He [Jesus] must reign till He [the Father] has put all enemies under His [Jesus’] feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For “He [the Father] has put all things under His [Jesus’] feet.” But when He [the Father] says “all things are put under Him [Jesus],” it is evident that He [the Father] who put all things under Him [Jesus] is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him [Jesus], then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him [the Father] who put all things under Him [Jesus], that God may be all in all.

NKJV

The “he’s” and “hims” can get confusing, so I put what I think are the correct names behind each one.

Notice, Jesus must reign until all His enemies are put under His feet, with the last enemy being death. The resurrection occurs just before the end, when Jesus hands the kingdom over to His Father. So, we know that Jesus will not reign after the resurrection (sorry premillennials), only before. This means Jesus is reigning now. He will continue to reign until all His enemies are put under His feet. Who are His enemies? All those who oppose Him.

The number one sign that we are near the end is when we see that Jesus’s enemies are nearly all put under His feet. Are we seeing this now? I don’t think so. As Christianity is stalling in the west, it is growing in the east and the south. There are far more people living in these areas than in the west. God desires to save all mankind. Why would He stop now?

Recommended books: Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom by Tom Holland; Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright

Related articles: The Pessimistic Paradigm; Take Over the World for the Glory of God; The Three Part Great Commission; Daniel, Olivet, Revelation Notes

The Fallacy of Theodicy

Theodicy: a defence of God’s goodness and omnipotence in view of the existence of evil

We ought to reject all attempts at theodicy. God did not need sin, death, and evil to bring about His plan for creation. Sin, death, and evil did happen, but not at God’s command or decree. And, we take comfort in the fact that God hates sin, death, and evil, and He will redeem His creation from it all.

Excerpt from an article written by David B. Hart titled Tsunami and Theodicy….

“Christians often find it hard to adopt the spiritual idiom of the New Testament—to think in terms, that is, of a cosmic struggle between good and evil, of Christ’s triumph over the principalities of this world, of the overthrow of hell. All Christians know, of course, that it is through God’s self-outpouring upon the cross that we are saved, and that we are made able by grace to participate in Christ’s suffering; but this should not obscure that other truth revealed at Easter: that the incarnate God enters ‘this cosmos’ not simply to disclose its immanent rationality, but to break the boundaries of fallen nature asunder, and to refashion creation after its ancient beauty—wherein neither sin nor death had any place. Christian thought has traditionally, of necessity, defined evil as a privation of the good, possessing no essence or nature of its own, a purely parasitic corruption of reality; hence it can have no positive role to play in God’s determination of Himself or purpose for His creatures (even if by economy God can bring good from evil); it can in no way supply any imagined deficiency in God’s or creation’s goodness. Being infinitely sufficient in Himself, God had no need of a passage through sin and death to manifest His glory in His creatures or to join them perfectly to Himself. This is why it is misleading (however soothing it may be) to say that the drama of fall and redemption will make the final state of things more glorious than it might otherwise have been. No less metaphysically incoherent—though immeasurably more vile—is the suggestion that God requires suffering and death to reveal certain of his attributes (capricious cruelty, perhaps? morbid indifference? a twisted sense of humor?). It is precisely sin, suffering, and death that blind us to God’s true nature.”

Read DBH’s full article by clicking here.

The Priest, King, Prophet Cycle

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Above: My last teaching trip to India

I’m a big proponent of the Priest, King, Prophet cycle taught by James B. Jordan. To put it simply, the ‘Priest’ stage can be viewed as a childhood stage; the ‘King’ stage is the adult stage; and the ‘Prophet’ stage is the elder stage.

We can see these stages throughout Jewish history (before Jesus) and throughout Church history. The cycle repeats itself over and over and will again. This theory is nothing to burn at the stake over, but it is interesting to see and use to plan for the future of missions and the Great Commission.

In Jewish history we can see the priestly stage from Moses to David; the kingly stage from David to Elijah; the prophetic stage from Elijah to John the Baptist.

The Western Church has been in the prophetic stage since the Reformation. The Western priestly stage can be seen as the first few hundred years or so of the Church, when the Church was learning how to be the Church. The kingly stage can be seen as Western Christendom, when the Church actually ruled.

The Asian Church, today, is in the priestly stage. The elders of the Western Church need to come and teach the young Christians and churches in the eastern world.

In the future we can expect to see the Asian Church grow to its kingly stage, and then its prophetic stage. Perhaps in the future, the Asian elders will lead the Church to the completion of the Great Commission worldwide. Or perhaps, we’ll see the cycle repeat with a different group of people.

Christendom is not a bad thing if the kings rule righteously. If the kings become corrupt, God will send prophets to shut them down. If the kings rule well, the prophets will come and give more power to them. We have not seen that happen yet in our history, before Jesus or after.

I believe the Great Commission will be completed (the discipling of all nations) and it will happen through the Priest, King, Prophet cycle.

Coming or Going?

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Sometimes we assume something because we don’t know all the facts and we don’t take the time to investigate. We often read scripture and make the same mistake — especially when we’re dealing with the end-times.

Consider this passage:

“And the high priest arose and said to (Jesus), ‘Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?’ But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, ‘I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!’

Jesus said to him, ‘It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.’

Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, ‘He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!’”
~Matthew 26:62-65

It’s easy to think that Jesus is talking about His second coming here. But look at how offended the high priest was at what Jesus said. The high priest knew nothing of Jesus’ second coming. But, the high priest knew very well what Jesus was saying here. And it offended the high priest so much that he tore his own clothes — something he was commanded not to do (Leviticus 21:10).

Jesus was quoting two Old Testament passages, and the high priest would have known exactly what Jesus was saying as he, the high priest, was an expert in scripture.

“The Lord (the Father) said to my Lord (Jesus),

‘Sit at My right hand,

Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’

The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion.

Rule in the midst of Your enemies!”
~Psalm 110:1-2

“‘I was watching in the night visions,

And behold, One like the Son of Man (Jesus),

Coming with the clouds of heaven!

He came to the Ancient of Days (the Father),

And they brought Him near before Him.

Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,

That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion,

Which shall not pass away,

And His kingdom the one

Which shall not be destroyed.’”
~Daniel 7:13-14

Jesus “coming on the clouds” is not referring here to His second coming, but rather His ascension and coronation as King (He came to the Ancient of Days, not to the earth). And notice what was given to Jesus at that time: dominion, all peoples, all nations, and all languages. That happened two thousand years ago. Jesus rules now as King at the Father’s right hand.

And how long will He rule in heaven as King?

“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His (second) coming. Then comes the end, when He (Jesus) delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He (Jesus) must reign till He (the Father) has put all enemies under His (Jesus’) feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For ‘He (the Father) has put all things under His (Jesus’) feet.’ But when He (the Father) says ‘all things are put under Him (Jesus),’ it is evident that He (the Father) who put all things under Him (Jesus) is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him (Jesus), then the Son Himself (Jesus) will also be subject to Him (the Father) who put all things under Him (Jesus), that God may be all in all.”
~1 Corinthians 15:20-28

Jesus is ruling in heaven now and will continue to rule from heaven until God the Father puts all of Christ’s enemies under Christ’s feet. And the last enemy will be death itself. And it is at Jesus’ second coming when all people, saved and unsaved, will be resurrected and judged (John 5:26-29). Then Jesus will hand the kingdom over to His Father.