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A Discussion of “Biblical Inerrancy” December 9, 2019

Posted by stevekerp in Uncategorized.
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The accuracy or faithfulness of modern English translations of the Bible is an ongoing point of discussion. Even translations deemed reliable can be called into question because of the commentary passages some publishers embed in their Bibles, intending to be helpful (no doubt). Still, I’m not sure that many of the discussions on “which translation is the best” (or “most accurate”) etc. are all that helpful.

You may be aware that some cult groups or nominally Christian groups “translate” their own versions, not to bring clarity but rather to support the cult’s aberrant beliefs. These versions fail the “inerrancy” test for reasons I hope to explain. However, with these versions set aside, there is still a huge number of versions of scripture that claim to be legitimate and accurate translations, and yet they all differ from one another, and some in significant ways. Can ALL of these versions be trustworthy and “inerrant”?  Can we determine if any of them are?

Let us suppose, for purposes of illustration, that I install a wall safe in your home. I have the factory paperwork, and I copy the combination of the safe on a piece of paper and give it to you. If I don’t show you the original paperwork, how can you find out if the copy I gave you is “inerrant”? Obviously, you would try the combination on the safe and see if it opens.

In the case of scripture, the “original paperwork” has long since disappeared. All we have is copies, and copies of copies. So you can’t compare today’s scriptures with the originals.

Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly furnished for every good work.” So just as the purpose of the combination is to open the safe, the purpose of the scriptures is to complete and furnish men of God. If the diligent study and faithful application of scripture produces godliness, we can generally trust the version. If the scriptures are indeed “God-breathed” (which is what “inspired” means) then we have to believe that if God can create a message for us, that He can also preserve the integrity of the message and ensure the message gets delivered. If the message “opens the safe”, that is, produces men and women of mature faith and godly character, the version is probably at least generally trustworthy.

Cult versions of the Bible are designed and intended to produce cult members. A Jehovah Witness has his faulty belief system shored up by his “New World Translation.” A Mormon has no problem with Mormonism’s beliefs because they are supported by Mormon “scriptures.” Their combination simply opens a different safe.

But why do versions vary so much? Part of the reason is copyright laws. Any copyrighted material must differ by a certain percentage (I think it’s 10%) from any other copyright or it’s plagiarism. So the editors must be careful, and this constraint may mean they can’t use the exact word or phrase that expresses the original (as best we know) Greek or Hebrew, because someone else in another version already used that exact same text. So they look for synonyms, and they amplify or clarify with commentary notes, footnotes and the like. This is not necessarily a bad thing.

For the diligent student of scripture, the Bible you hold in your lap is just the starting point. Internet resources, concordances, Greek and Hebrew lexicons and the like can help open up scriptures, as well as some understanding of the cultural lens through which the original recipients of these books understood them.

But the bottom line is obedience. Francis Chan tells the story of him telling his daughter to go clean her room. Later, he asked her, “Rachel, did you clean your room?” She said, “Dad, I memorized what you told me. In fact, I can even say it in Greek. I got five of my friends together and we had a discussion on what it would look like if I cleaned my room. Here’s our study notes.”

Humorous, to be sure, but sadly much like what American Christianity has become. We’re called to lives of obedience and discipline. If we “believe in our heads” we can pass a written test. If we “believe in our hearts” then we obey and our lives are changed. So the issue is one of obedience, rather than the accuracy of the Bible translation. We’re directed to “believe in our hearts” the God raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 10:9) and this heart-belief must necessarily result in behavioral change and spiritual growth. The sweep of New Testament thought makes this conclusion inescapable.

The test is: what is my study and application of the scriptures doing to me? If your study AND APPLICATION makes you arrogant, complacent, anxious, legalistic, doubtful etc. then maybe it’s a problem with the version. If you’re becoming mature, gracious, loving, compassionate, serene and faithful, then keep at it. Bear in mind, of course, that the Pharisees in Jesus’ day were the people of The Word. They studied and memorized their scriptures, knew EXACTLY what they said … and yet, they failed dismally. Read John 5:39 – it was not a problem with the “version”, but their real problem lay elsewhere.

This is getting long, but forgive me for making it just a little longer. In mathematics, we deal with equations. X + 3 = 5 for instance. The two sides are functionally equal, even though they are textually different. We don’t quibble in math about these textual differences. In the example of our wall safe, if one of the numbers was ’46’ and instead of writing that number, I wrote “forty-six” or “45 + 1” or “JFK’s age at his death” you realize that it’s several different ways of expressing the same value, and you could still open the safe. By studying the whole of scripture, we can get past these textual differences and get the whole message from God. We “open the safe” when we are conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29), as we grow up in all things in Him (Ephesians 4:15).

Broken Cultures August 21, 2018

Posted by stevekerp in Uncategorized.

Church is community – that’s what we’ve been told. We saw a glimpse of it in Acts 4:32-35 – the church lived as a FAMILY – no healthy family is un-sharing or un-caring.

Since church community is ideally an enlargement of family community, it occurred to me that a normal family as God intended was most probably not a husband and wife, both with careers, a son, a daughter and a dog. A family of four lacks the critical mass to exercise community. It occurred to me also that a healthy family was most probably a husband, wife, and maybe ten or more children. That was NORMAL and in that arrangement, the children learned the principles of community.

Since we don’t have normal families any more, we don’t raise people in the culture who are equipped for community. Therefore, the church is a place where you can gather, but not a place where you can be assembled. You can gather all the necessary parts of a bicycle but until they are assembled, there is no function. Since the church is not assembled, the church usually does not function … or functions way below the level intended.

Our architecture supports this dysfunction. A church is built for meetings, with a few “main” people in prominence and everyone else watching. A church building is more like a movie theater than a living room. But our residential architecture also is built for families that don’t function, and are actually more like boarding houses. Each person has his own room, his own TV, his own phone – his own life. The dining room table has been replaced by TV trays, families eat in shifts or go their separate ways. The demands of school and career destroy family time.

My thought is that the culture is broken and the tools needed to fix it are also broken. I also think the Millennium is the only cure. We are past the point of no return. I expect the Millennial Kingdom will be a complete re-boot of humanity. We sure need it.

Beat Any Traffic Ticket January 4, 2018

Posted by stevekerp in Current Events, Discipleship, Uncategorized.

Traffic tickets – what a bummer! You’re cruising along, minding your own business and not hurting anyone, when suddenly the blue lights come on and you’re on the hook for $50 … or maybe more …. because some cop stopped you while lots of people going even faster got away scot-free.

Now you can use a legal theory – embraced by MILLIONS of intelligent people – to “educate” the judge in traffic court and hopefully keep YOUR MONEY.

Interested? Read on ….

If you are brought into court after being given a ticket for speeding, you can simply tell the judge about all the times you didn’t speed, and under the legal doctrine of Praeponderat Bono Malum he must let you go. Praeponderat bono malum is Latin for “good outweighs evil.” Your good deeds outnumber your bad deeds. There have been many, many more times that you drove at or under the speed limit. You have been more good than evil. You are basically a “good person.” The judge would be UNJUST if he were to convict you.

This defense will work equally well for any crime. Murder someone and then tell the judge and jury about all the people you haven’t murdered. Steal something and list all the things you didn’t steal. Lie under oath (commit perjury) and then tell the judge all the times you told the honest truth. The judge would lack the expected temperament for his position, one would hope, if he were harsh or unmindful of the fact that — after all — “we’re only human.”

As you may suspect, this sort of “defense” does not work at all! No law school teaches it, and no judge would accept it. But what is really crazy is that a lot of sane and reasonable people are betting their eternity on this doctrine. You probably know a few of them: “I expect to go to heaven because God is fair and I’m a ‘good person.’ My good deeds outweigh my bad deeds. God won’t send me to hell.” This Kool-Aid® has lots of flavors, but they are all basically the same.

When you stand before God, it won’t be for traffic tickets, and your money won’t be at risk. He will examine every detail of your life in the light of His perfect moral law, and for every one of us, there is only one verdict: GUILTY. There is only one punishment: eternal separation from God, and from every good thing that is sourced in Him. There is only one escape: a perfectly innocent substitute who is willing to serve your sentence for you.

This is NOT religion. No religion can save you. No memberships, “good deeds,” intentions, institutionalized rituals, incantations, ceremonies, incense, indulgences, votive candles, monetary offerings, repetitive prayers to specific persons declared as “saints” or even to the one who some refer to as the “queen of heaven” can save you. NONE of these can protect you from God’s wrath against YOUR sins. My friend, you need a specific savior.

God has provided one. Just one, but that’s all you need.

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. Romans 10:9

Head knowledge gets you through a written test, but it’s heart knowledge that transforms a life and changes an eternal destination. Believing thing about Jesus is not the same as believing IN Him. Has your life been transformed? Do you have saving faith? If not, what are you going to do about it? And what are you waiting for?

Trip To Truth

The Grand Insult September 4, 2017

Posted by stevekerp in End Times.

I think I’ve sort of figured out why it bothers me so much that there is so much rank indifference to the Second Coming among those who self-identify as Christians. Yes, I know – many of these people may not be Christians in the Biblical sense. But the fact is, some are. And we talk with them – or try to – about the signs of the times, the things Jesus told us specifically to watch for, and the unmistakable Revelation 12 sign that’s nearly upon us …. and you know as well as I what kind of reaction we often get.

It bothers me because this is an insult to Jesus Christ of the highest order. Not just the disobedience to His explicit command to watch (Mark 13:37), but the inexcusable indifference to His return.

Here’s an illustration: A guy is engaged. He’s in the military and he is being deployed. So he says to his fiancée, “Sweetheart, troop movements and ship movements are classified, so I can’t tell you when I’ll be back. But check the ‘arrivals’ page on the base web site every night. It will announce our return 24 to 48 hours before we get back. You’ll have enough advance notice to be on the pier when I return.

Then he leaves, and six months later he returns. He gets to the pier and lots of folks are there, but not his fiancée. He waits around for an hour or so, then gets on the phone. She tells him she never checked the arrivals.

You can imagine the excuses she might have offered, but the bottom-line question is: Does she really love him? And with that comes another question, does she deserve him?

I think the answer is “no” on both counts. And sadly, Jesus is getting the same shabby treatment from people we know who claim to be Christians. I think it’s shameful and disgusting, and I’m at a loss as to what I can do about it. But I think the Matthew 7:23 crowd is going to be a whole lot bigger than we imagine.

“No one knows the day or the hour” will NOT be a defense, or an adequate excuse. Let’s face it: arguably up to a quarter (perhaps more) of the scriptures have eschatological application. Did Jesus follow the Olivet discourse with, “but you need not concern yourselves, because ‘no one knows the day or the hour’?” Did John end Revelation with, “you can ignore everything I’ve written here, because ‘no one knows the day or the hour’ “?

I need not belabor this. And I won’t. For those who truly love Jesus Christ, these are exciting times. For those who want just enough Christianity to stay out of hell, I’m afraid a painful surprise may be in store.

Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (emphasis added)

The Tribulation Gospel August 25, 2017

Posted by stevekerp in Christian living, End Times.

Here’s an illustration of the “tribulation gospel” and a few other things:

You buy (or inherit) a large piece of land. You may have funds to build your dream house on it, or perhaps funds are also part of the inheritance. But you tell your lovely and gracious bride that the deal is done, the paperwork is signed and the land is yours.

You are both so excited!

There is a sort of shack standing on the land now, and you decide you will move into the shack until your dream house is completed. You can hardly wait.

But there’s a small problem. A band of vagrants has set up camp on your land. They are trespassing – it’s not their land and never was. But while the land was vacant, they moved in. They are armed and dangerous. You tell them you own the land and you are moving in and they must “vacate the premises forthwith!” or you will call the Sheriff. They snarl at you and refuse to budge.

So you call the Sheriff and explain the situation. You prove to him that you are the lawful owner and you want these trespassers removed. So the Sheriff tells them they must leave or they will be forcibly evicted. They still refuse.

So the Sheriff returns with a few dozen deputies. The miscreants start shooting! The Sheriff and his men return fire, kill some of the vagrants and subdue the rest. Once they are removed, you and your lovely and gracious bride move into the shack. It’s hardship, no doubt about it. There’s little room, the roof leaks when it rains, the floor is half dirt and half old boards, and the wind comes through the walls. It’s too hot in summer and cold in the winter.

A year passes, construction of your dream house is complete, and you move out of the shack and into your new home. The shack is dismantled and the pieces hauled off to be burned.

Regarding the trespassers on your land, no effort is legally required to be made to allow them to stay. They got wrath – as much as necessary and exactly what justice required. The Sheriff first gave them notice, which is what the “everlasting gospel” recorded in Revelation 14:7 is all about:

Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.

The idea that God is going to make another appeal for faith, repentance or obedience after the rapture is a false hope. It may be that people will cry out to God in remorse, but His response is in Proverbs 1:24-32. God will “laugh at [their] calamity” and will “mock when [their] terror comes.” NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2) If people want to ignore God today, when salvation is offered and is freely available, then God will ignore them in the day of disaster. By the way, remorse is not repentance.

Getting back to the story, you and your lovely bride endure hardship while the dream house is being built. Life in the shack is unpleasant, but it is not punitive. No one is mad at you and you haven’t done anything wrong. It’s just the nature of the situation and, truth be told, you brought it on yourself by your free and willing choices. Instead of paying rent for a year and taking longer to finish the house, you opted for a year in the shack.

Christianity – true Christianity – is like that. “In this world you will have tribulation” is one of those precious promises we ignore. Acts 14:22 is another. “Take up your cross daily and follow Me” is not an invitation to a life of ease.

It’s truly a shame that so many prophecy teachers see Daniel’s 70th week as “the tribulation period” and construct such an unbiblical model. Some also seem to think that Abraham, Noah and others were saved by works (or were saved by a different gospel), but in this “church dispensation” all that’s necessary is faith. NO! Abraham was saved by faith, and it issued in obedience; his willingness to sacrifice Isaac. Noah was saved by faith, and it issued in obedience in building the ark. Just read Hebrews 11; you will see that they were all saved by faith that produced obedience. Faith or trust is not stand-alone. The other side of the coin is always obedience to God. That is also the gospel of the “church dispensation” according to James chapter 2.

Faith and works are bound up in the same bundle. He that obeys God trusts God; and he that trusts God obeys God. He that is without faith is without works; and he that is without works is without faith.” Charles Spurgeon

The “everlasting gospel” cited above is not a last-chance, “open the door of your heart” appeal for lost sinners to repent. Rather, lost, defiant and blaspheming sinners are simply being put on notice. The “tribulation period” for the church has lasted 2000 years and is almost over. Wrath for unbelieving Gentiles will soon follow. There are no “second chances” or “make-up classes” and, truth be told, the God-haters who remain after the rapture won’t want any.

For the Jews, there will be a “time of Jacob’s trouble” or, if you prefer, the “tribulation period” cited in Deuteronomy 4:30 that will be short and intense. Once again, it will separate the obedient from the rest (IMHO) and will refine the Jews. Regardless of race, “without faith it is impossible to please God,” and God-pleasing faith always issues in obedience.

It appears to me from scripture that God’s redemptive efforts return to the Jews after the rapture. It may be, of course, that a Gentile could become a Jewish proselyte. It is also entirely possible that a “Gentile” may be predominantly Gentile but have Jewish blood – and how much is necessary to “qualify” as a Jew is up to God – once again, even in wrath He may allow mercy.

I think the preaching of lavish grace and “second chances” during the “tribulation period” when suddenly people will “get it” and “accept Christ” is extremely irresponsible. That’s the main dragon I’m trying to slay. People who teach that one can survive God’s wrath with dried food and a water filter will be seriously disappointed.

The Sign of the Son alignment will be in place on September 23rd. Please – if you haven’t already: get your priorities in order. Now is the appointed time.

The Pre-Tribulation Misnomer August 24, 2017

Posted by stevekerp in Uncategorized.
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“Pop-eschatology” (which seemed to begin with Hal Lindsey in about 1969) says that there will be a huge number of people saved during the “great tribulation” – popularly defined as the last 3 1/2 years of the final seven years. In Revelation 7:9-14 we see this “great multitude which no one could number … who come out of the great tribulation…” etc.

But it looks like this crowd appears in heaven before the trumpet and bowl judgments, and also there is no indication in the text that the judgments of God during the Trumpet and Bowl judgments ever lead to repentance. In fact, the text says just the opposite in Rev. 9:20-21 and Rev. 16:9-11.

The phrase “great tribulation” only appears three times in the New Testament, and it’s never “THE great tribulation” as if a distinct time period or event:

Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Revelation 2:22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
Revelation 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Some have suggested that Matthew 24:21 and Revelation 7:14 are two references to the same period of “great tribulation” but a careful review of the context and details quickly disproves this idea. One problem is that those who hear and obey the Lord in Matthew 24 are those who leave Jerusalem/Judea and, by leaving, survive this period of great tribulation (which appears from the context to be localized rather than global). Those who refuse to hear and/or disobey will remain and be killed. So those who are disobedient go into eternity. Should we conclude that they are rewarded for their disobedience? How do these wind up before the throne? Is remaining in Jerusalem the same as “washing their robes and making them white in the blood”?

Second, this group we see in Revelation 7 is large – like really large. The text says they are a great multitude which no one could number, and that all nations and people-groups are represented. Can this be said of the casualties in Jerusalem who die during the “great tribulation” visited on Judea?

My tentative conclusion, is that “great tribulation” is used as a descriptive phrase but refers to separate events. The “great tribulation” of Matthew 24 appears to be “great” because it is intense, but it is a short and local event. The “great tribulation” of Revelation 7:14 appears to be “great” because it is global and maybe because it lasts a long time. It is probably connected to “tribulation” as it is used in Matthew 24:9, Romans 5:3, and Acts 14:22. We ALL get tribulation; it’s part of being a Christian. It’s good for us in that it develops character, and it’s connected to the cleansing blood of Christ.

Whether it’s a last-days worldwide persecution (see Matthew 24:9) or it’s the tribulation visited on every believer for the past 2,000 years – every Christian who has washed his robes and made them white – is a separate question.

The third instance of “great tribulation” is in Revelation 2:22. Here, we see that just one person – identified as “Jezebel” – is threatened with “a sickbed.” Those who commit adultery with her are threatened with “great tribulation” unless they repent. It would be a stretch to suggest that this is a large group of spiritual adulterers who are punished by God by being subjected to “the great tribulation” and then subsequently are found in Revelation 7 standing before the Throne with white robes. And the text does not tell us whether or not they do repent, so we have no way of knowing whether this particular “great tribulation” is visited on a large group, a small group, or nobody at all. What we could safely say is that if they DO repent, they avoid “great tribulation” but stand before the Throne, whereas if they don’t repent, they experience great tribulation.

One of my conclusions is that using the term “great tribulation” has been a serious and foolish misnomer in eschatology, especially when used as a time-marker for the harpazo. Because eschatologists make up their own definitions and contexts, the “pre-trib rapture debate” has generated strife for many, many years in the eschatological community (the “eschatosphere”). Using the term “tribulation” (or “tribulation period”) to refer to Daniel’s 70th week is Biblically inconsistent and demonstrates poor scholarship. Similarly, using the term “great tribulation” to refer to the last half of the final seven years before the Millennial reign of Christ is the source of much confusion, as well as bizarre and unsupportable time lines. The “dispute” between the pre-trib and post-trib positions would probably not exist if we insisted on Biblically accurate and precise terminology.

The End of Common Grace June 13, 2017

Posted by stevekerp in Christian living, End Times.

The basic ambiance of the universe is one of reconciliation, and it has been for 6000 years. That is about to change. When the Lord gathers His people, then His attitude toward those who remain (except for a small preserved remnant) will not be reconciliation, but wrath.

Today, things generally go well. Murphy’s law “what can go wrong will go wrong” is humorous because it really doesn’t square with reality. Even among unbelievers and God-haters and Christ-rejecters, common grace remains both operative and lavish. A lot of things that could go wrong don’t: Near-misses that could have been serious accidents; unexpected grace from an employer (“you screwed up but I’ll give you one more chance”); a sick loved one who suddenly recovers after the doctors have told you “it’s incurable and irreversible.” This is God being gracious, and this is “common”; that is, available to all. As the scripture says, it rains on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:45).

The new normal will be a world without common grace, and it will be truly frightening. After the rapture, Murphy’s law will be business as usual. Those who aren’t interested in God when He is proactively gracious will get a taste of life without His grace. Some think this may lead to remorse or even repentance. If so, there’s no hint of it in Revelation. Rather, because sinful men have enjoyed God’s goodness so consistently and for so long, they have come to think that they DESERVE His compassion.

The absence of common grace is just one part of the horror that awaits. The trumpet and bowl judgments are God’s positive response to the wickedness in men who refuse to repent. I would expect that if the wrath of God were redemptive, we would see evidence of a huge revival during these judgments. However, John tells us that “…the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands… and they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” (Rev. 9:20-21 – more of the same at Rev. 15:9) The work of God is that we believe in Jesus (John 6:29) and Jesus told us that “the night is coming when no man can work.” (John 9:4)

God’s wrath is not intended to lead to the redemption of the wicked. Rather, we see in Romans 2:4 that “… the goodness of God leads you to repentance” – that His divine forbearance and longsuffering are for our ultimate salvation; that “whosoever will” has ample time to turn from his wicked ways, and that all can “taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8)

What is about to come upon the earth is not the sort of thing that a prudent man can either endure or avoid by stocking up dried food and having a secret bunker in the country. There is only one safe place, and that is IN CHRIST. If your trust is in anything or anyone besides Jesus Christ when the trumpet sounds, you will face a future that is a whole lot worse than you could imagine, and contrary to what some believe and teach, there will be no “second chance.”

My concern is for two types of people (and I hope you will forward the link to this post to anyone you know who may qualify). First: those who are lost. Some may not have heard; many have heard and have not believed. Second: those I call the “Matthew 7:21 crowd” – those who are practicing a religion but lack the relationship with Christ. Paul says we should examine ourselves (2 Cor. 3:5). Do you love Jesus? Do you hate sin? Do you regularly hunger for the scriptures? Do you love other believers? Is your faith transforming your life?

If you truly believe that all God expects from you is an hour on Sunday morning, a life sanitized from gross sin, and regular financial contributions, then you are distant from the Savior. If you pay lip-service to the commands of Christ and spend more time in front of the TV than in the scriptures, you need to seriously consider whether you are truly saved, because you probably are not. Perhaps you just had an emotional experience once in a church, said a prayer, maybe got baptized, and now you think you’re safe.

You will see Jesus Christ face-to-face. You will be required to give an account to Him if you are His. If you are self-deceived, He will look at you and say, “Depart from Me. I NEVER knew you.” If that frightens you, it should.

This is not intended to be gloom-and-doom. But it is intended to be a sober warning. Please don’t be deceived by any of the following beliefs: 1) that the end times are probably a long way off (even if true, your death and judgment could happen at any time), 2) that if one is prepared, he can survive God’s wrath, or 3) if one is left behind when the rapture happens, he can then “get saved” during the period of wrath that follows, or 4) if someone is involved in some form of “Christian religion” then he will be saved.

Remember Lot’s wife?

The Revelation 12 Sign March 30, 2017

Posted by stevekerp in Uncategorized.

(In response to the suggestion by “Informed Christian” Daniel Valles, and a few others, that the Revelation 12 sign is NOT connected to the rapture of the church, I have a guest blogger, Professor Al-Henk Rekers, Ph.D., Dr.Theol.)

Dr. Rekers:  Biblical scholars who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture who have studied Revelation 12 in the original Greek language, using scholarly methods of exegesis and comparing Revelation 12 to other Bible passages have drawn a distinction between two different Greek words for “child” in Revelation 12.

Theology Professor Dr. Michael Svigel from Dallas Theological Seminary demonstrates with Biblical exegesis that the sentence, “And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne” in Revelation 12:1-5 refers to the Rapture of the church. 
In his article The Apocalypse Of John And The Rapture Of The Church: A Reevaluation Professor Svigel explores various interpretations of the timing of the Rapture in the book of Revelation, and he concludes:

If the male child represents not simply the individual, Jesus Christ, but the unio mystica, the believers of every generation of the Church who are ἐν Χριστῷ, then Revelation 12:5 is the only explicit mention of the rapture of the Church in the Book of Revelation.  While other passages may, in fact, imply a rapture (i.e. Rev 3:10) the event itself is not described.  Revelation 12:5, which stands at the heart of the Apocalypse and which brings together the two allusions to Psalm 2:9 found at the extremes of the Book, seems an appropriate place for the rapture of the Church in a book that was written to “show his servants what must happen very soon.”

A summary of why Revelation 12:5 teaches a pre-tribulation Rapture is this PDF of Professor Michael Svigel’s PowerPoint presentation:

The following interview of Professor Svigel is a summary of Scriptures on the pre-tribulation Rapture, including Revelation 12:1-5: 

Revelation 12 – Birth Before Labor?
This short article by Daniel W. Matson (who has a masters degree from Multnomah Seminary) concludes: “Clearly then, Revelation 12:5 is the description of the Rapture of the Body of Christ to the throne of God.  With the Sign of the Woman this September 23, 2017, it is time to be Rapture ready. ”

This same author wrote a brief update entitled, “Revelation 12 – The Sign for Israel” at http://watchfortheday.org/signofisrael.html. In this article, he concludes,

The Sign of the Woman on September 23, 2017 is therefore a sign to Israel. This means the birth of the Male-Child (Body of Christ) and its harpazo to heaven must come before this time as the Church and Israel are separate dispensations. With the Feast of Trumpets two days before the Sign of the Woman, it would seem appropriate timing for the Rapture of the Church at this time of the Last Trump. Therefore, Israel gave birth to the Body of Christ and then the Body of Christ departs to heaven with the resumption of Israel and her tribulation yielding more offspring (Gentiles)–they both will be saved except for those who have sided with the Dragon.

Here is a short article entitled, Man-Child vs Child: A Word Study of Rev. 12:5 that begins and concludes as follows, that concludes that “he child was caught unto God” in Revelation 12:5 uses a Greek word for child that is not applied to the adult Jesus Christ, and is a term for a group of people—namely the true church:

Rev 12:5 (KJV) “And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.”

The translation “man-child” in Rev 12:5 is from the Greek “arsen huios” while the word “child” in the same verse has been translated from “teknon.” Thus we have two different Greek words that have both been translated as “child.”

man-child = arsen huois

child = teknon
No Bible writer, including John, ever refers to Jesus as ‘teknon.’ If Rev 12:5 is referring to the ascension of Jesus Christ to God’s throne, then it is the only time in the scriptures that ‘teknon’ was used in reference to Jesus.

‘Teknon,’ when not speaking in general terms, is most commonly used to refer to the church or believers of God.

The word ‘harpazo’ refers to a snatching away, and is especially used when referring to the rapture.

Looking up,


In refuting Mr. Valles’ conjecture, I also offer the following comments.

First, Jesus was not raptured. He simply wasn’t. This isn’t conjecture; it’s a simple reading of the text and believing what’s there. Rapture or harpazo means snatching away, carrying away by force, kidnapping, sudden removal. The term harpazo is not used. Jesus was not in danger or being threatened, and He was not being “acted upon” and hurried to safety, or snatched out of harm’s way.

“Bride of Christ” is one designation of many for the ekklesia. Ephesians 4 goes into detail in explaining how we are also members of the body of Christ. This does not make him some sort of trans-gendered physical-spiritual creature – half man/half woman, or half spirit/half flesh. The fact that we “corporately” are in a role as the Bride of Christ (feminine) does not in any way negate the reality that we are also the BODY of Christ (masculine).

Yes, as King of Kings, Jesus will rule the nations with a rod of iron. But according to Rev. 2:26, so will overcomers. The distinction attempted between Jesus’ ruling ALL the nations, and us as His underlings ruling just some, is rebutted by the text. He will rule over the nations with a rod of iron, and He gives that exact same promise to overcomers. Again, just read the text. Jesus was given power and He gives what He received – “…as I also have received from My Father.” He gives us exactly what the Father gave Him.

Daniel asserts that the Rapture of the Church will occur “way before” (his phrase) the Revelation 12 sign. I don’t know what is meant by “way before” but there’s less than six months left. There’s lots of confusion regarding the correct understanding of “tribulation” in Matthew 24 because the term is used in at least two contexts. Matthew 24:9 speaks of tribulation for believers, and Matthew 24:21 speaks of “great tribulation” that is apparently local to Judea. Regardless of when they begin or where they are located, it’s fairly obvious that they both have ended before the events of verses 29-31. If the Revelation 12 sign in Virgo is the sign of the Son of Man, and Jesus is sending His angels to gather some other “elect” group, you might want to explain who that group might be.

Daniel also says the sign won’t be visible. A sign that can’t be seen isn’t a sign. Again: common sense. John said the sign would “appear”. That means it’s visible.

http://www.rogershermansociety.org.sign.htm may have some conclusions Daniel does not like, but the scripture says on many occasions that the sun will be darkened. Again, nothing fancy here – just read the text.

There are several other points I could challenge, but the bottom line is this: we should be expecting deception, war, famine, persecution, and a face-to-face meeting with Jesus Christ in the VERY near future. Those who presume to teach will be judged strictly, especially on those matters that impact the faith, growth and obedience of other believers. Offering to the Body of Christ unsupported and unbiblical conjectures concerning matters of spiritual importance is extremely dangerous.

The Sign of the Son December 11, 2016

Posted by stevekerp in Uncategorized.
1 comment so far

Virgo over Jerusalem
Sept. 23, 2017


The “sign of the Son of Man” is a particular alignment of the sun, the moon, stars and planets that is described in Revelation 12:1-2.  It will appear in the sky above Jerusalem on Saturday, September 23, 2017.  Jesus told us that there would be signs in the sun, moon and stars (Luke 21:25) and He told us to watch.  Some may think I am now a “date-setter.”  I beg to differ.  The Father set this date by His own authority (Acts 1:7), and while this was concealed from the early disciples, the increase of knowledge prophesied by Daniel (Daniel 12:4) and some diligent study (Proverbs 25:2) has enabled us to discern when this sign will occur.  Many people will be surprised on that day.  You may choose to do nothing with this information, but at least now you know.

Now you know.

The rest of this article explains the sign and the scriptural basis for my conclusion.  My earnest hope is that you, dear reader, will realize the lateness of the hour and will commit yourself totally to the Lord Jesus Christ.  If your Christianity has been more of a hobby than a life-transforming experience, you need to return to Christ.  “Be zealous and repent!” (Rev. 3:19)  None of your “stuff” will matter when you see Jesus Christ face to face in September.  Or sooner, if persecution of Christians becomes more fierce and your faith costs your life.

The Sign

There are three celestial signs described in the book of Revelation:  the sign of the woman, the sign of the dragon, and the sign of seven angels.  We are concerned with the first, which is described in Revelationi12:1-2

Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars.  2 Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.

The woman is Virgo, one of the signs of the Mazzaroth.  She is “clothed with the sun” which is not unusual.  The sun is in Virgo every year at about the time of the autumnal equinox.  We also read that the moon is under her feet.  Again, not at all strange; the moon usually appears under or near the feet of Virgo about ten days before the moon is full.

Next, we see a garland of twelve stars on her head.  This is where it gets interesting.  To explain, I refer you to research by my friend Daniel Matson, whose work I quote:

On September 23, 2017 there are four planets in the vicinity that complete the sign and its ultimate uniqueness.  Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter play their parts.  Above the head of Virgo is the constellation Leo.  In Leo at this time there will be Mars, Venus, and Mercury.  With Leo being a constellation of nine principle stars, the three wandering stars make it twelve at this time.  Thus the garland of twelve stars is upon the woman.

For three planets to be in Leo at this time with all of the other preconditions makes this rare.  Combined with the final piece of the picture below is what makes this sign difficult if not nearly impossible to replicate anywhere close to the time in which we live.  How rare?  A search 150 years before and 150 years after September 23, 2017 produced no results.

1:30 PM EDT or equivalent time of 8:30 PM Jerusalem time September 23, 2017

The final piece of the sign is Jupiter.  Jupiter was known by the Jews as the planet of the Messiah.  Jupiter enters the sign of Virgo on August 27, 2016, which coincides with a close conjunction of Venus.  The next such close conjunction with these two brightest planets is 49 years later.  Jupiter itself enters Virgo about every 12 years.  The August 27, 2016 conjunction comes exactly 400 days before Yom Kippur 2017.  Yom Kippur always ends Teshuvah, which is a 40 day season of repentance.  Does Jupiter and Venus mark a ten-fold application needed at that time?

Jupiter then spends those 400 days in Virgo.  As the sign of Revelation 12 forms on September 23, 2017, Jupiter is in the womb of Virgo and is about to be born.  Remember, the meaning of Tribulation refers to the period of labor pains before birth.  The world is going to go through a period of delivery to result in the Messianic Kingdom.

from The Great Sign of Revelation 12 occurs in 2017 by Daniel Matson. Used with permission.
It is the presence and location of Jupiter that converts the “sign of the woman” to the “sign of the Son,” and it is the presence of three “wandering stars” in Leo that completes the sign that John saw and described.

What Does It Mean?

The meaning of this sign emerges quickly when other scriptures that discuss these phenomena are reviewed.  That review follows, but the conclusion is this:  the day of the Lord’s judgment is about to begin.  Not “maybe” or “someday” or “nobody knows.”  Not “it probably won’t be so bad” or “I have a safe haven and lots of food and water stored up.”  God hates sin with a holy hatred, and He is about to display His wrath.  Planet Earth is about to experience sudden destruction. (1 Thess. 5:3)


Please stop reading and let that sink in!


Lot got a “heads up” warning that Sodom was about to be destroyed.  His family thought he was joking (Gen. 19:14).  But he wasn’t joking … and neither am I.  There are compelling reasons for believing the day of judgment is about to begin.



First, consider Matthewi24:29-31

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (emphasis added)

In this passage, we see there is a period of tribulation.  This is mentioned in Matthew 24:9 and it maps to the 5th Seal (Rev. 6:9-11).  After the tribulation, there are four specific things that happen just before this sign appears:  1) sun will be darkened, 2) moon will not give its light, 3) stars will fall from heaven, and 4) powers of the heavens will be shaken.  During normal daylight, the stars and constellations are not visible because the light from the sun overwhelms them.  However, if the sun is darkened, we can expect to see the constellations clearly.  When the sun is darkened, the moon will also be darkened because the moon creates no light of its own; it only reflects sunlight.  The “stars” and the “powers of heaven” are related, and we will explore that relationship shortly.

A second scripture to consider is Isaiahi13:9-11

Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and He will destroy its sinners from it.  10 For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light.  The sun will be darkened in its going forth, and the moon will not cause its light to shine11 “I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. (emphasis added)

Again, the sun and moon are darkened.  Stars and constellations will not give their light (Note: we will see that it’s not ALL the stars.)  And now we see why:  this is the beginning of the Day of the Lord, when God will begin His judgment on the earth.  God is going to destroy its sinners from it.  He will display His righteous wrath.  ALL sinners on earth will be “in the crosshairs.”  For all those who suggest that if God were good, He would not allow evil, they are about to see the answer.  Life on this planet is about to become truly frightening, and there will be no place to hide.  Do you have a plan?

Also in chapter 24 of Isaiah, beginning at verse 19:

The earth is violently broken, the earth is split open, the earth is shaken exceedingly.  20 The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall totter like a hut.  Its transgression shall be heavy upon it, and it will fall, and not rise again.  21 It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord will punish on high the host of exalted ones, and on the earth the kings of the earth.  22 They will be gathered together as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and will be shut up in the prison.  After many days they will be punished.  23 Then the moon will be disgraced and the sun ashamed (emphasis added)

This is a truly frightening passage.  This does not present a local earthquake along some fault line.  This is an off-the-charts shaking of the entire planet.  Mankind is about to find out how much God hates sin.  This passage also introduces the Divine Council into the discussion, here referred to as the “host of exalted ones” and combined with, but differing from, the “kings of the earth.”

In Joel, chapter 2 we read of an invading army that breaches the walls of Jerusalem:

10 The earth quakes before them.  The heavens tremble, the sun and moon grow dark, and the stars diminish their brightness. 11 The Lord gives voice before His army, for His camp is very great; for strong is the One who executes His word.  For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; who can endure it? (emphasis added)

Here we have an earthquake, an invasion of Israel, the heavens trembling, and the sun, moon and stars becoming dark.  Peter cited this passage at the beginning of the “church age” and he spoke prophetically of its end:

I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath:  blood and fire and vapor of smoke.  20 The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.  21 And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
(emphasis added)

A complete picture of what to expect is beginning to emerge.  Some final details are provided in Revelationi6:12-17

I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.  13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind.
14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.  15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!  17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

Taken together, the following picture emerges:

  1. Very soon, a worldwide campaign against Christians will begin.  There will be no place to hide.
  2. A massive army is going to invade the land of Israel.
  3. A war will begin in heaven.
  4. The sun and moon will be darkened.
  5. There will be massive, global, unprecedented earthquakes and volcanic activity.
  6. The church will be raptured.
  7. The army attacking Israel will be destroyed
  8. The Day of the Lord will begin, to include the seven trumpet judgments and seven bowl judgments described in Revelation.

War in Heaven

As frightening and cataclysmic as this appears, it is actually a small part of a much larger conflict.  We need to remember that the rebellion against God and His created order predates Adam.  Popular theology sees Heaven as a serene place where our loved ones who have died are enjoying peace and rest as they look down on us.  But the truth is that there is conflict in Heaven, and when the rapture happens, Satan and his followers will be at war:

And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.  9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.   Revelationi12:7-9

Satan and his angels are the “falling stars.”  As noted previously, the “host of exalted ones” (Isaiah 24:21) will be punished; the “powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” (Matthew 24:29)

The study of the Divine Council and their role in the end times is beyond my scope, but I will include this final verse, in case this is new to you.

All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; all their host shall fall down as the leaf falls from the vine, and as fruit falling from a fig tree.  5 For My sword shall be bathed in heaven; indeed it shall come down on Edom, and on the people of My curse, for judgment.  Isaiahi34:4-5

This is the same language we saw in Revelation 6:13-14.  The spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places are malevolent spiritual beings.  They will be cast out of the hyper-dimensional heavenly realm.  The Divine Council, as a ruling body, will be dissolved.  Jesus Christ Himself will begin exercising all authority, and we will reign with Him (2 Tim. 2:12).  This is probably at least part of the reason why Satan and his demon followers hate men as much as they obviously do.  They are being fired and we are getting their jobs.  This should also energize and encourage us as we face these final months of escalating tribulation.




There is much more that could be said on these topics, but I tried to front-load this article with the most critical information, which I will repeat here:

  1. The Sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky over Jerusalem on Saturday, September 23, 2017.  That is our exit ramp from this vale of tears.
  2. We are on the threshold of global persecution of Christians.  It will separate the wheat from the tares, and it is for our ultimate good.
  3. God’s impending judgment of sin will be both universal and extremely unpleasant.

An Exhortation October 5, 2016

Posted by stevekerp in Uncategorized.

The end of the present evil age, the restoration of the created order from the ravages of sin, the establishment of the kingdom of Christ on earth, and the time of judgment were all major topics in the early years of the church.  Accordingly, significant portions of scripture are devoted to explaining the end times.  One of the truly precious promises that Jesus made to His disciples (which includes us) is that He will return (John 14:3).  In Matthew 24:30, He said that something He called “the sign of the Son of Man” will immediately precede that event.

Have you ever wondered what that sign might be?  Have you ever anticipated what it will be like for those believers on the earth when this promise is fulfilled?  And perhaps as important:  what it will be like for unbelievers on the earth when Jesus returns?

It may surprise you to know that many people who consider themselves Christians really don’t seem to care.  “He might return tomorrow, or He may not return for another hundred years,” seems to express their view.  A statement such as, “He said we could not know the day or the hour,” is, for them, the end of the discussion.  Perhaps your pastor or your friends don’t like to talk about this stuff, so you assume it’s not important.

If that describes you, Jesus has a question for you:  “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46), because intentional ignorance of the end times is actually disobedience.  He gave us specific signs to watch for, and He COMMANDED us to watch! (Mark 13:37)  If He said, “I will be back next week” you would not know the day or the hour… but you would still be expected to watch.  Just as you don’t want to be found loafing when your earthly boss shows up unexpectedly in your work space, you don’t want to be found disobedient when Jesus returns.  Please take this warning seriously.

The sign of the Son of Man will appear over Jerusalem on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Stay tuned and get ready.

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