Should You See/Read the Shack?

I received the following question:

This is an off topic question, but do you feel it’s harmful for a believer to watch such movies as The Shack? Of course, all entertainment that we view should be weighed … but this seems to be the topic of discussion in my neck of the woods. Just like hearing your perspective.

The Shack novel was controversial in Christianity so it’s no surprise that the belated appearance of the movie adaptation has resurrected the same controversy. The Christian concern is that The Shack is “heretical,” containing non-Christian, unbiblical teaching—often in disregard to what the book actually says. The claim is that these are harmful to the believer. This naturally leaves some uncertain or scared to even touch the book. Could it put your salvation in “danger?”

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Do We Need To “Forsake All” (Like Jesus Said)?

An Interesting Reader Question

I received the following email from a customer of my book. His question brings up a insight I got a while back that I’ve never written  on before.

The last few months have really been bothering me!  I can’t stop thinking about “forsake it all.” What does forsake it all really mean? I have listen to a gentleman in Australia who has been making YouTube videos, “a voice in the desert.” This guy is really convincing! Have you heard of him? He is teaching to be Jesus’ real disciple, you must forsake it all. Stop working, making money and live in an RV or homeless. I have went as far as I have sold all my retirement and I am getting ready to forsake it all. I still have doubts. Could you shine some light on this?

(Poor guy, I hope “sold all my retirement” is not as bad as it sounds.)

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Dallas Sniper: “The End Is Coming” – Is This Violence an End Time Sign?

DallasPoliceShooting

The headline today is another tragic US shooting, this time of police officers and 5 dead. To make it even more disturbing, among the shooter’s last words were, “the end is coming.”

Needless to say I’ve had a few people ask me about this, wondering if this is an end time sign and if this shooter’s words were significant or prophetic.

To help address that common concern, I am sending out this article to remind everyone:

1. As disturbing as all these shootings are, violence or wars is not an end time sign according to Jesus (Mt 24:6).
2. Jesus added that these things “must come” but “see you are not alarmed by them” (Mt 24:6).

Let’s try to remember Jesus words and follow his advice when we see violence or wars.

But Jesus did not stop there with false signs. He also gave two real signs that kick off the end which, unlike wars and violence, are unprecedented and therefore easy to identify when they come. Nothing like them has happened before.

Read on to understand better the two false signs and two real signs of the end that Jesus described…

Brexit: Does This Help Or Hurt Prophecy, Rise of Antichrist?

Immediately after the big news of the passing of Brexit (or the UK referendum on leaving the European Union), several sent me questions about it.

Some asked if Brexit now leads to the rising of the Antichrist per the “Beast from the sea” Revelation 13 prophecy. This is based off the idea that this is showing the Antichrist rising from British Islands as viewed from the Holy Land.

Others wondered the opposite–if the Brexit would delay the Antichrist gaining power because it could inspire other members like Sweden, Italy, Germany and France to also exit and destroy the EU. Under the old prophecy paradigm of Hal Lindsey that the Antichrist rises through a unified super-Europe like the EU, Brexit seems to not help the rise of the Antichrist.

My answer? Both of these theories demonstrate the kind of speculation that prevails when fundamental prophecy passages are not understood. Revelation already tells us plainly what allows the Antichrist to come to power and it has nothing to do with his likeability, voting, or a preexisting unified Europe.

Read on to understand how the Antichrist comes to power and biblical answers to other myths you have no doubt heard on how to identify the Antichrist…

5 Prophecy Mistakes To Avoid

5 Prophecy Approaches to Avoid Even When Prophecy Is Too Hard

In response to many questions over the years I decided to write an article rounding up the top futile approaches to knowing the future which have sucked us all in.

For example many resort to Bible codes, Christian “words” (of knowledge), self-proclaimed “prophets”, (Youtube) prophecy videos, popular prophecy speculation books (like 4 blood moons, Shemitah, etc.), or conspiracy news outlets in the hopes of shedding light on Bible prophecy.

Yet, rather than giving solid answers as reading prophecy literally does, these approaches only deliver confusion, anxiety and fear to people.

If you can relate to this, read the article.

 

Netanyahu Address of Congress – End Time Sign?

The “blood moons” hype lives on, and, of course, metamorphoses as it goes…bringing Prime Minister Netanyahu now into the story.

I would not be paying any attention to it except, invented prophecy theories like this worry people. As such and as always, several have asked me about a WND article quoting the “blood moon man” himself, Mark Biltz.

Review of the Blood Moon History

First, let’s review. Since Biltz invented the “four blood moon” prophecy theory, it has changed in meaning over time.

  1. Originally in 2008 Mark postulated that the return of Jesus would be seven years later at the conclusion of the tetrad in September, 2015. Soon after, it became obvious that the final seven years had not begun and Mark removed his theory from his site (although it’s on video).
  2. In 2013 others including John Hagee began to revisit the theory with the new idea it could spell trouble for Israel based on cherry-picking a few of the hundreds of scores of past tetrads in history. Biltz supported this reinterpretation.

“Judgment On America?”

Bilt’z new spin on it is reported in WND. He says now we have to watch out for a judgment on America because of Israel.

Biltz is focused on Netanyahu’s speech at the US Congress on the topic of a US nuclear deal with Iran. He sees significance to its timing as follows:

  • “two weeks after a solar eclipse” (!)
  • “a day before the Fast of Esther” (!)
  • “two days before Purim” (!!)
  • “a month before a blood moon” (!!!)

It seems Biltz is worried that Netanyahu might be rejected from speaking before Congress on that date or badly received by Obama. If support for Israel is withdrawn in this way (when Israel is “facing a second Holocaust”) Biltz fears America will be judged. He cites Joel 3:2 for this.

And the Scriptural Support?

When pastors or authors float “prophecy alerts” like this, it’s always important to look to see what they’re basing it on. Is it a prophecy right there in the text of Scripture? Or is it only a Scripture-based story full of speculation and a lot of the expert’s trusted opinion (because they are a known author or pastor)?

Nearly all theories that catch people’s imagine and spread are of the latter type, and that’s the case with this one, too.

Notice there is no Scriptural proof for his theory except Joel 3:2. The majority of the story is made up of speculation based on an event related to Israel being (only) near various Jewish holy times.

Let’s Invent Reasons Arbitrarily, Shall We?

But who says “the day before the Fast of Esther” is significant? Shouldn’t the day of something be the significant date? Jesus was slain as the lamb of God on the very day of Passover, not the day before. The pouring of the spirit came on the actual day of Pentecost, not two days before. It’s quite arbitrary or what I call “widened goal posts.”

Likewise why are solar or lunar eclipses before or after the speech important? Lots of things happen before or after eclipses since eclipses are incredibly common (thousands . Who says these are different? Where is the authority to back up that statement?

As for Joel 3:2, it is taken out of context. That chapter is speaking specifically of a future judgment on all nations together for the couple things listed. It does not say the judgment is happening now or related to eclipses! The context of Joel 3 is millennial; Armageddon at the earliest. It has nothing to do with today.

As for a speech happening near lunar eclipses, there is nothing significant to that, either. There are from 2 to 4 lunar eclipses per year. Eclipses happen. All the time. Every year. They don’t communicate anything. How could they? They are too common and predictable.

Why Genesis Doesn’t Say “Let the Moon Be For Signs”

But what about Genesis 1:14-15? Biltz claims it supports his approach to placing prophetic significance on the lunar eclipses or blood moons.

That passage in context says that the sun, moon and stars would “be signs for festivals, days, and years” and “to light the earth” (Gen 1:14 HCSB, NIV). They are not generic signals from God to man about warnings or other things pastors are imagining and writing about. The passage says nothing about God wanting us to look at the heavenly lights to receive communication from God.

Elsewhere the Bible condemns placing significance on the signs of the heavens as a practice of the heathen:

Jeremiah 10:2 – Thus says the LORD, “Do not learn the way of the heathen, And do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens for the heathen are terrified by them…”

Besides, unless God is spelling out letters in Morse Code by making the Sun start blinking at us, it’s all completely subjective what message would be there. One person can say an eclipse means X and another one can say Y. Who’s right? Neither! Regularly scheduled eclipses are a result of the motion of the sun, moon and planets. They are not the hand of God tweeting to us in his own way.

Our Ever-Speculating “Watchmen”

When a famous Christian author of a prophecy book like Biltz says they see potential signals from God in current events, it gets attention. Christians assume these wise men have more than just their opinion to back up what they are saying–or they would not say it.

Some may be afraid of ignoring them. What if it really is a “warning from God” and they did not heed it?

The truth is that these men are offering only very creative and compelling speculation. They are not telling you what the Bible plainly says is a sign of the end to watch for. They are stringing a few verses together after taking them out of context and then weaving a story based on traditions current events.

To them, the theory is strong enough to warrant warning everyone to “watch out, “just in case.” I do not doubt their sincerity in this. They believe they see a pattern that is real and significant and not just a result of self-deception.

Unfortunately it is much like Jesus said, the blind leading the blind and both ending up in the ditch. If people who do not know Bible prophecy well are being lead by people who misinterpret prophecy and take verses out of context, the result is failure and confusion.

Nothing to Worry About

Consequently, these preemptive warnings never prove justified. Nothing specifically predicted ever happens. Take it from someone who has been watching predictions since the 1980’s. They always fail.

Nevertheless, collective amnesia sets in and everyone forgets about the prediction, because after all, it was only a warning, a possibility. The teacher was playing it safe and had good intentions.

People move on to the next warning…which will surely come and is sure to be right (this time).

If you want to jump off that merry-go-round, I recommend you understand the words of Jesus on what the real one and only “sign of the end” is which can now be understood.

What A Bizarre Email Reveals On Christian Judgment

Christians have a well-deserved reputation as a judgmental group. When you write a Bible blog for Christians you get reminded of this often in reader feedback. I’ve come to learn that anything I share can offend someone.

But as the latest site visitor email reveals, you can also get judged by Christians for what you don’t write. Check this out:

The Bizarre Email

Hello Tim, I am a first time reader of your site. I had come long ago convinced of a “post trib” rapture, as it is known.  I am curious, however, as to who have been your mentors.  I have not found yet on your site any mention of any Christian brother, or group, which you should have given ” honor to whom honor is due”, even with regard to those critical to your conversion. This is not particularly encouraging, even though I agree with most that I have read so far, and also what I have read concerning what you believe.
“Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.” Ecclesiastes 10:1
I noticed in your October ’14 speaking engagements that you would have been in Medford, Oregon, the home of  the late Jim Mckeever’s Omega Ministries, near where his widow lives now. 
What’s up ?  
[name withheld]

What an awkward email to read, especially the ending telling me I had visited the town of a dead minister’s widow (when I actually was in Medford, OK not OR). But that’s not the main problem. I cover the main issue with his email in my reply to him.

My reply

Thanks for reading and congrats on seeing the truth on the rapture. I assure you that one cannot understand prophecy correctly if they have the rapture in the wrong place.

I have to say, this is the first time after thousands of emails since I started blogging in 1998 that anyone has implied I am suspect just because I don’t talk about my conversion or “mentors” on the site as I “should.” (“Should” being a word loaded with judgment, in case you were unaware.)

If you cannot judge the teaching on my site by its own merit against Scripture like a Berean (Acts 17:11) and need to judge it by me, my history and influences, then my site is probably not for you. My site is for people who evaluate what I have written by Scripture, not for people preoccupied by what is not there.

I say this in love and without any hard feelings or judgment. I wish you well in your Bible study.

Tim McHyde

The Morale

Clearly, running a Bible blog is not a job you should undertake if you have a thin skin! You can and will be judged for everything you can imagine and also things you never imagined, as in the case above.

The key is to not take things personally. When you falter in this, ask yourself why a complete stranger was able to get under your skin. Evaluate where you may be weak in faith or love or whatever and pray for help from God. In this way you can become less easily offended with time and act in more perfect love no matter who you are dealing with down the road.

It helps to remember also that most of the time when someone is offensive as above, it’s coming from their own hurts, fears or weaknesses. Hurt people hurt people as my wife is fond of saying. In other words, what some people say about you reveals much more about them than it does yourself.

That being the case, it is entirely appropriate to not just pray for yourself but to pray for the hurts and healing of the person who offended you.

But do me a favor, don’t write back to an offensive person to say “I’m praying for you!” Many Christians have turned that normally positive phrase between friends into a backhanded insult for those they have a conflict with. =)

-Tim