Open Forum for 2011-02-20
- | Chris McCann
- Audio: Length: 38:49 Size: 6.7 MB
Question Summary with Starting Times in Audio File
- 01:00 In Isaiah 19, who exactly is the Lord referring to when He is speaking of Egypt?
- 06:38 A little while back, you preached that the Fourth Gospel was written by Lazarus. How do we know this?
- 12:55 Follow-up: By the way, in John 11:5, it says that Jesus loved Lazarus. I think this is one of the only places where the Bible actually states that Jesus loved someone in particular.
- 14:47 Explain the flaming eyes in Revelation 1:14.
- 18:42 In Revelation 16:18, can we say with great certainty that this will be a literal earthquake? Notice the emphasis on the words “great” and “mighty” when this is done.
- 31:00 Is it correct to say that Satan did not know that Jesus had died from the foundation of the world?
- 31:23 At the time of the transfiguration, how did Peter recognize Moses? Was Moses in his spiritual body? Do you know how they knew that he was Moses?
- 32:23 The Holy Spirit is now out of the churches and Satan is now in the churches, and yet the message from the church has not changed that drastically over the past thirty years or so.
Question #1 is from the fellowship: In Isaiah 19, who exactly is the Lord referring to when He is speaking of Egypt?
Chris: I do not know if I can tell you what the chapter refers to, but let us look at the first few verses. We read in Isaiah 19:1-4:
The burden of Egypt. Behold, JEHOVAH rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it. And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom. And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards. And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, JEHOVAH of hosts.
I do not know. I do know that in the Bible God can use Egypt as a picture of the world at times or He can also use Egypt as a picture of the church, like in Revelation 11 when the two witnesses are lying dead in the street, which, spiritually, is called “Sodom and Egypt.”
God does say in Ezekiel 29:2:
Son of man, set thy face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt:
This is referring to Satan. Pharaoh is a picture of Satan.
Then in Ezekiel 29:3, we read:
Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord JEHOVAH; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself.
This would be referring to the false gospels that Satan develops and that his emissaries put forth, and yet God is saying to him in Ezekiel 29:4-5:
But I will put hooks in thy jaws, and I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick unto thy scales, and I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers, and all the fish of thy rivers shall stick unto thy scales. And I will leave thee thrown into the wilderness, thee and all the fish of thy rivers: thou shalt fall upon the open fields; thou shalt not be brought together, nor gathered: I have given thee for meat to the beasts of the field and to the fowls of the heaven.
This is referring to Judgment Day. God likens men to fish. Jesus said, “I will make you fishers of men.” Satan is typified by Pharaoh and called “the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers.” Then we read that all of the water is gone. The water is gone and it is like a desolate wilderness. It is then that mankind will know that the gospels in all of the churches were false. The resurrection and the rapture will have taken place and they were all left behind, and so we can see here how Egypt is a picture of Satan’s kingdom and Pharaoh is a picture of Satan himself.
Going back to Isaiah 19, I really did not want to comment on this. There are a couple of verses like this that, on one hand, look like they are solidly referring to Satan’s kingdom and the church. On the other hand, we read in Isaiah 19:23-25:
In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom JEHOVAH of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.
This is a good example for why we would not want to summarize too large of a section of Scripture. We can see what Egypt represents here. But in the Bible, we have to go verse-by-verse. Even within the same chapter, there are situations where God could be saying something completely different.
Question #2 is from the fellowship: A little while back, you preached that the Fourth Gospel was written by Lazarus. How do we know this?
Chris: This is not my discovery. You may have heard Mr. Camping on Family Radio’s “Open Forum” program refer to a book called, The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved. He recommended the website for this free e-book, which is the first letter of each of the words. When you read this book, you actually see how it has always been assumed that “the disciple whom Jesus loved” was John; but it is shown pretty clearly that it could not be John for various reasons that he lays out in this book.
The question then is who is “the disciple whom Jesus loved”? A big convincer for me was in John, the Fourth Gospel, chapter 21. It is the last chapter of the book of John. This is after Jesus had spoken to Peter about Peter’s own death. It says in John 21:19-20:
This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
So this disciple whom Jesus loved is not named. We also have the account in John, the Fourth Gospel, chapter 13 where this person was “lying on Jesus’ breast.” Just think of how trusting this disciple is of Jesus. Except for Judas, many of the other disciples were children of God. They were true believers. Christ was their Saviour. But it is only this disciple, an unnamed disciple who was known as “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” who is leaning back on Christ’s breast at a dinner with all kinds of people around.
It makes you wonder why this person was so trusting and in such a close relationship to Christ. It seemed that he was in a closer relationship to Christ, even more so than others. But once we understand that this was Lazarus, someone who was raised from the dead, someone who had been dead and in the tomb for four days when Christ raised him from this condition, we realize that he would have had a tremendous trust in Christ.
We read in the Bible that “to be absent from the body” is “to be present with the Lord.” Maybe, like the Apostle Paul, Lazarus went into Heaven during those four days. I do not know what happened, but we can be sure that this produced a great trust and faith and confidence and ease with God, who is Christ; and so he could just lounge back and trust in Christ completely.
This is one aspect, but then in John, the Fourth Gospel, chapter 21, Peter is very interested in what is going to happen to this disciple after Jesus spoke to Peter about his own death. It says in the Fourth Gospel 21:21-23:
Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
A rumor started that this disciple would not die. Why would a rumor like this have started around this disciple? It was because everyone was curious about Lazarus.
There was a supper that we read about a little earlier in the Fourth Gospel. We read in the Fourth Gospel 12:1-2:
Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.
Then we read that many came “not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.” Then it says in the Fourth Gospel 12:17-18:
The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record. For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle.
There was a great curiosity about Lazarus being raised from the dead and then walking amongst them just as he used to, like any other man. I think we can be sure that people would have kept an eye on him to see whether or not he would ever die again. This is what Peter is expressing when he had asked Jesus, “What shall this man do?” Then the rumor started because of the way in which Christ had phrased His response, and so they assumed that this disciple would not die again.
Question #3 (follow-up): By the way, in John 11:5, it says that Jesus loved Lazarus. I think this is one of the only places where the Bible actually states that Jesus loved someone in particular. It says:
Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.
Chris: Yes; he was referred to as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Some people say about the disciple named John that he did not name himself because he was humble. This is what you will read in commentaries and in theological writings. They say that this is why you will not find John referring to himself as John but instead as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” If this is so, what do they do with the book of Revelation?
It says in Revelation 1:9:
I John, who also am your brother, and companion…
Then John says in Revelation 1:10:
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day…
So God used John to write Revelation. Was it a prideful thing that he said, “I John”? Of course not. God moved John to write this, and God moved Lazarus to refer to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”
Question #4 is from the fellowship: Explain the flaming eyes in Revelation 1:14.
Chris: It says in Revelation 1:10-11:
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches…
This is Christ. He is the “Alpha and Omega.”
In Revelation 22:13, it says:
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
So Jesus’ name - God’s name that He gives Himself - is “Omega,” “the end,” “the first,” and “the last.” But according to many in the churches, He does not know when the end will be, even though His name is “the end.” He is not supposed to know when this day is coming, even though He is called “Omega” and “the last.” It is really dishonoring to God, to Christ who is God, to say that He does not know the date of judgment.
Also here in Revelation 1:10, notice that, in reference to John, this says:
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
This voice was Christ’s voice, and Christ is the Word of God.
So when God tells the watchman to “blow the trumpet, and warn the people,” He is not referring to a literal trumpet. This is not what He means. He is talking about sharing the information from the Bible, the Word of God. As we do so, we are blowing the trumpet. This is why it is very fitting for believers to go and hand out tracts. Spiritually, this is the equivalent of blowing the trumpet.
You wanted to go a littler further down. We read in Revelation 1:13-15:
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
Each of these pictures represents a truth relating to God, describing some attribute of God. For instances, it is describing His purity, as we read of His hair being “white like wool, as white as snow.”
God says in the book of Hebrews that He is “a consuming fire.” We read here of His eyes being like “a flame of fire.” We can look at it this way. God says that all things are “naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”
So God sees the sins of men in the hearts of men, all men. This would result in “a flame of fire” because this would result in the judgment of God due to the sinful nature of mankind. This is one thing that I think we can understand from this.
Question #5 is from Paltalk: In Revelation 16:18, can we say with great certainty that this will be a literal earthquake? Notice the emphasis on the words “great” and “mighty” when this is done.
Chris: We read in Revelation 16:18:
And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
This is literal. There will be an earthquake that opens the ground on May 21st in order to bring about the resurrection.
This idea is taught in many places. For example, it says in Matthew 27:50-52:
Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
We see an earthquake and then we see that the graves are opening.
Look at the next chapter. We read in Matthew 28:2:
And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
We know that this is referring to Christ’s resurrection. Again, we see an earthquake in the context of a resurrection.
Go to Ezekiel 37 where we read of the valley of dry bones. We read in Ezekiel 37:4-6:
Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of JEHOVAH. Thus saith the Lord JEHOVAH unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am JEHOVAH.
When bones are brought back to life and flesh and blood and sinews are all added to them, this is a resurrection. They were dead. They were dry bones that were returning to life.
In Ezekiel 37:7-9, we read:
So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking [earthquake]…
This word for “shaking” is the same word in the Old Testament for “earthquake.”
…and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind…
It continues on, but go down to verse 11. We read in Ezekiel 37:11-12:
Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord JEHOVAH; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
He is not referring to the land over in the Middle East. This is the Promised Land that God had promised to Abraham, to the whole house of Israel, which pointed to the “everlasting possession” of the new Heaven and the new earth.
So here in Ezekiel, God is referring to dead bones that come to life. There is a great shaking or earthquake as God opens the graves and His people go into “the land of Israel.” You can read the rest of the chapter to see that this land is referring to Heaven.
Then in Ezekiel 37:25, we read:
And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
This is speaking of the new heaven and the new earth, and here God is giving another illustration of a resurrection that is tied to an earthquake. They go hand in hand.
We have to recognize that there is going to be a great and literal earthquake across the face of the earth that will open the ground. God will raise His people to life and take them out of the world and into Heaven, and so the earthquake accomplishes the purpose of opening the ground. At the same time, it accomplishes the purpose of immediately striking at the idolatry of mankind because people love this world. They trust in this world and have great faith in the continuance of this world. They think that this world is going to go on forever.
This is why so many people say, “I will see you on May 22nd.” It is because, for them, it is an impossibility for this world to end. Is this not true? For them, this is impossible. They think that this world has been here forever.
This is what evolution teaches. How far back have they gone now? I might have missed the latest information from the scientific world. How many billions of years do they now go back in time? They cannot stop at some point. They have to keep going further and further back. It started out as millions, and then it went to hundreds of millions. It is now billions. Because as soon as they stop going back in time to some point, then they have to explain where the first stuff came from that they say evolved. Whatever it was that they say had to be there, because it did not come out of nothing, there had to be something before it, something from the beginning. They realize that as soon as they say, “In the beginning was matter,” then they have indicated that there had to have been something that was eternal.
This is what is being taught in the schools and colleges all over the world today in many institutions. They teach evolution. It is hard enough for people to accept that this world is going to end after 13,000 years; but when they think that the world is millions or billions of years old, they cannot believe that May 21st will be the end of this world. For them, this is not even a possibility. They even think that this world will continue on for millions of more years.
In essence, what they are saying is that the world is eternal, that it has the characteristic of God who says that He has no beginning and no end. But this is the mindset that is underlying a great many people in the world. They will not even consider the possibility that this world will come to an end, even though the Bible clearly speaks of this and tells us this.
This is why it is shocking that the people of the churches and congregations have the same mindset as the world when they hear about May 21st being Judgment Day. They are really saying that this is just not possible. They would not say this out loud; but, in actuality, their reaction to this information, without giving it a fair hearing and rejecting it, is coming from the same kind of mindset of it just not being possible.
Those in the churches will admit that the Bible talks about an end. They will admit that the Bible talks about the world burning with fire and Christ returning, and many voice, “Oh, I wish He would come today!” When, actually, they are holding to a doctrine. This is a theological doctrine that people have in their minds, which is just like Israel of old who held to the doctrine of the coming Messiah. When Messiah actually came and the wise men actually informed Jerusalem and the religious leaders of Israel of this, we read of Herod that “he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”
Why were they troubled? Why did they not follow the wise men and go with them to worship their King, the Messiah whom, for thousands of years, they had been longing for? Why were they troubled at this information?
They were troubled because Israel had a system of worship in place. They had their leaders. As far as they were concerned, everything was fine. They did not want the applecart upset. To them, everyone was worshipping God and doing what God wanted them to do. They did not want their wonderful system of worship interfered with by the coming of the Messiah.
There was no openness to the idea of the Messiah actually coming at all, and we see this same thing today. The churches and the congregations have their system of worship. They will give lip service all day long to the idea that Christ could come today and that they have to be ready.
By the way, when people say that they are ready for Him to come today or tomorrow or one hundred years from now because they believe that they are ready, it is not quite like this, is it? Have we not learned that there is a difference when there is a set date? There is a big difference. When a date is set, you then know how much time you have left.
This is kind of like someone who says that they could die today or tomorrow or ten years from now and that, because of this, they live like they could die at any day. But do they honestly end up living like they believe this? No; they continue to live casually and carelessly.
However, when someone goes to the doctor and the doctor tells them that they have just a few months left to live, I think that anyone can testify that there is a big difference from the thought that they might die today if they were to get hit by a car or just by chance than when they know that a doctor has confirmed this. There is a big difference when they know that a doctor has confirmed this, especially if they go to more doctors who also confirm this. When told that they only have so long to live, it is then that they are going to slow down and take a look at the sunset, they are going to smell the flowers in a different way, they are going to look at their life differently, because this information impacts them in a very dramatic way.
It is the same thought in the church. They believe that Christ could come today or next week or one hundred years from now, and they are continuing to live casually and carelessly because this mindset does not impact their lives as when someone knows for certain that they only have three months left.
Question #6 is from the fellowship: Is it correct to say that Satan did not know that Jesus had died from the foundation of the world?
Chris: We know that Christ was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” I am not sure what Satan knows or does not know.
Question #7 is from the fellowship: At the time of the transfiguration, how did Peter recognize Moses? Was Moses in his spiritual body? Do you know how they knew that he was Moses?
Chris: No; I do not know. Moses was in his new resurrected body, but we need to remember that God was in charge of all events that He recorded and He could have given this understanding to Peter in order for him to say this. If you remember, Peter had said, “Let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias,” and it says that Peter said this “not knowing what he said”; and so God moved Peter to make this statement and He also could have moved him to say what he did about Moses and Elijah. They might have even been identifiable in some way. I do not know; but we can know that Christ could have given them this information.
Question #8 is from the fellowship: The Holy Spirit is now out of the churches and Satan is now in the churches, and yet the message from the church has not changed that drastically over the past thirty years or so.
Chris: Well, I do not know about that. In some churches, I would agree. This might have been so with a few of the Reformed churches.
Question #8 (follow-up): We do see that the charismatic churches have risen. As far as what we would have considered to be Reformed churches, the verse in 1 Thessalonians 1:3 was not, as far as I know, pronounced in the churches years ago as a “work of faith.” Maybe this cannot be answered, but was there a lot of salvation going on within the churches prior to 1988? It did seem that most churches taught that we were to come to Christ, give him our heart, acknowledge that we were sinners, that we were to do all of these works.
Chris: I have heard Mr. Camping teach on Isaiah 9 where it speaks of “the dimness.” He pointed out that God saved people throughout the church age, and He did. They were saved, just like He saved some people in the Old Testament, but not many. In all probability, this was the case for the church age also, that God did save but not as many as we would think.
This is why God has saved the best for last, this time when He is saving a “great multitude” outside of the churches. The vast majority of all of God’s elect are living on the earth right now and God is saving them.
I would like to comment on one thing about the churches. Maybe some are still teaching faithful doctrines. This is possible. There might even be a church that holds to the King James Version as the Bible that they want to use. They might even be teaching about election, even though they do not fully understand election. Maybe they even teach about judgment. But we have learned over the last couple of years that God’s judgment plan involves annihilation; and so there might be a few who are continuing to teach that there is a place called “hell” where God metes out eternal damnation.
But some people bring up a question, and it is a good question, about the fact that we have not been in every single church. They, therefore, wonder how anyone could say that all churches are dead everywhere in the world. How is this possible?
It is possible for someone to point out that there could be churches that teach some doctrines faithfully. But the answer is that this does not matter. A church can teach a lot of things faithfully, but this does not matter. This is because God, the Holy Spirit, has left the churches and congregations of the world 100%. This means that their faithful teaching, if there is any, will have no impact upon anyone in the congregation. It is not going to save anybody; and it does not harm Satan, the “man of sin” who “sitteth in the temple of God” to allow certain faithful doctrines, knowing that it will have no impact and that no one will become saved.
There is a verse in Isaiah 1 that states what many have asked in our day. We read in Isaiah 1:21:
How is the faithful city become an harlot!…
This is like what we read in Revelation 17 and 18 about the great harlot, which we know is pointing to the church of our day that is under the judgment of God.
How did this happen? How did “the faithful city become an harlot”?
First of all, we would have to ask how God could have ever considered the church a “faithful city”? The answer is because of Christ. It was because of Christ; that Man was there. God says in the book of Jeremiah concerning Jerusalem, “If ye can find a man…I will pardon it,” but He could not find a Man because God had departed out of the churches and left.
Immediately on May 21, 1988 when the church age ended, when Christ left, when the Holy Spirit came out of the midst, it became a harlot and God began the 2300 evening/mornings where virtually no one in the world was being saved. Absolutely no one in the churches was being saved during that time, and this has continued up until our day.
Isaiah 1:21 continues on to say:
…it was full of judgment…
This is referring to “the faithful city.” It continues:
…righteousness lodged in it…
Christ is our righteousness, as we read in 1 Corinthians 1:30:
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
He lodged there. He dwelt there. He was amongst the candlesticks. He dwelled there, but then God departed out of the church and the implication in Isaiah 1:21 is:
…righteousness lodged in it…
This is what made it “the faithful city,” but then it continues on to say:
…but now murderers.
So there is no more righteousness there. There is no more of Christ being in the midst.
This is why we can say confidently that, for example, some church in Nepal or in some way-out part of the world, even though we have never been there and do not know what they teach, that this church, also, is under the judgment of God and that nobody is being saved there; and so the people should flee out of the midst of that church. This is what God has taught in His Word and this is why God’s people are leaving the congregations.
We will stop here.