Monday, August 28, 2023

WHAT IS "THE LAST DAY"?



     In John 6 Jesus talked about something I had never focused on before. He used a phrase repeatedly, four times to be exact. Here it is: “I will raise him up on the last day”. Many people have repeatedly heard the term “the last days”, but what does Jesus mean by repeating, four times, the singular “last day” phrase? To get some clues I’ll read the four verses where He used the phrase. Here they are:
  1. John 6:39: "This is the will of him who sent me: that I should lose none of those he has given me but should raise them up on the last day." 
  2. John 6:40: "For this is the will of my Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him will have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
  3. John 6:44: "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day."
  4. John 6:54: "The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."
     The Bible mentions the “last day”, or “the last days” 16 times. All Christians have an opinion of what “the last days” means. They would likely say “It’s toward the end of the earth”, or “It means the seven-year tribulation. It’s a generalization about a period of time characterized by an increase of signs and wonders, and troubles on the earth leading up to the antichrist coming into power. But it’s not specific. Even Daniel in the Old Testament talked about “the last days.”
     But what do we know from the four verses where Jesus used the phrase—"the last day”?
     First of all, it’s a very singular defined event. And secondly, each verse implies that it includes a specific type of person or specific types of people:
  1. In Verse 39 Jesus said, and I’m paraphrasing, “Jesus isn’t going to lose any person that God has given to Him, and He will raise each of them up on the last day.”
  2. In verse 40, Jesus went on to say, and again I’m paraphrasing, “Every person that sees and believes in Jesus will have eternal life, and again, He will raise him or her up on the last day.”
  3. In verse 44 Jesus said that no one—get that—“no one” can come to Jesus unless God directly draws him or her. And for the third time, He said, “I will raise him up on the last day.”
  4. Lastly, in verse 54 Jesus said something that made some people cringe to the point where many stopped following Him, not realizing that what He said was symbolic. Jesus said that everyone who eats His flesh and drinks His blood will be raised up on the last day.
     So who are the people that Jesus was referring to that would be raised up on the last day? It seems clear that it is every born-again believer whom Jesus defines very clearly four times. It doesn’t refer to anyone else!
     And when is the last day? It makes sense to me that “the last day” Jesus was referring to is the day of the Great White Throne Judgement explained in Revelation 20 where the dead are brought to life—and where those whose names are found in the Book of Life enter the new heaven, the new earth, and the New Jerusalem—and those whose names are not found in the Book of Life are thrown into the lake of fire.
     The last day is what every Christian is waiting for with great expectancy. It’s where there will be no more wars or fighting, no more greed, and no more pain and suffering. It will begin the time when every Christian will experience the love, majesty, and splendor of Jesus!
     In conclusion, after “the last day”—will come the start of “the first day”—where Christians will spend an eternity in the new heaven, the new earth, and the New Jerusalem!


Sunday, August 20, 2023

WHY?


     I like movies and television shows, including Westerns like The Virginian and The Tales of Wells Fargo.
     I also enjoy sometimes watching British crime dramas like Endeavour or Midsommer Murders. 
     And occasionally Dee and I have been known to stay up all night watching an entire British crime series or the Jesse Stone series with Tom Selleck as a brooding small-town police chief.
     I’m also almost addicted to the shows Monk and Columbo, two very quirky, but genius murder detectives. 
     And speaking of quirky, but also genius, Doc Martin has graced British and American airwaves for 10 seasons as the general practitioner doctor in the fictional town of Portwenn in Cornwall, England. The people of Portwenn have a love-hate relationship with Doc Martin. They love his ability to solve medical mysteries and use spur-of-the-moment techniques to address emergency medical situations. But his direct and outspoken opinions leave many patients, townspeople, and even his wife Louisa offended and angry.
     So what do the Westerns, crime dramas, and Doc Martin all have in common? They are all able to solve major problems facing the people, towns, and communities by using their genius minds and abilities such as physical abilities to fight or use guns.
     What, however, are they missing? I sometimes drive Dee crazy when I ask her the following types of questions about what they are all missing. For example:
  • “Why doesn’t The Virginian or Jim Hardy of Wells Fargo ever ask God for help to solve a stage holdup or thwart a ranch takeover.”
  • “Why doesn’t Monk, Columbo, Inspector Morse, Chief Inspector Barnaby, or Police Chief Jesse Stone ever seek guidance from the Holy Spirit to solve a seemingly impossible murder mystery?"
  • And lastly, "Why doesn’t Doc Martin pray to Jesus to help him with one of his many out-of-control medical emergencies?"
     Jeremiah said in 32:17 the following: 
“Oh, Lord God! You made the heavens and earth by your great power and with your outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for you!"
     Think about it. God is the most powerful force in the universe, and writers, producers, directors, and actors rarely if ever include God in the equation of their weekly problems.
     My question is, “Why?”

     I plan, Lord willing, to ask a few more “Why?” questions in the coming weeks.

Friday, August 4, 2023

THE LOGICAL NEXT STEP AFTER "TAP" CREDIT CARDS!



     I love convenience. I also love technology. Dee says I’m like a kid in a toy store when I find a new bit of technology to make my life easier. My newest gadget is a TAP or Contactless credit card.
     The chip in my old credit card stopped working. The store card readers repeated a “chip malfunction” message over and over again. Without fail the cashiers all asked me the following question, “Is your credit card a TAP one?” I had absolutely no clue what they were talking about.
     In most stores, I had to insert my card three times into the card reading machines. Then after the repeated “chip malfunction” message, the machines finally permitted me to swipe my credit card strip, instead of insisting that I insert the card with the chip again.
     I went to my bank and stated my dilemma. The bank teller cheerfully said that it was no problem, and she would authorize me to get a new credit card which would come in the mail within seven days.
     With high anticipation, I finally got the card in the mail. Lo and behold, my new card had a radio wave symbol on it. I was about to learn what a TAP credit card was all about. I watched several YouTube videos—because as I said, I was clueless about how they worked because I never had one before.
     Dee, however, warned me about the logical next step after TAP credit cards. I was na├»ve—but what she said made sense. First of all, I want you to look at both the following attached images. 
Image 1
Image 2: 
     
     Now, I want you to look at what’s holding the TAP card, and the TAP bracelet. The TAP card and bracelet are being held by a person’s right hand—very close to the TAP card reader. I think you’ll immediately understand where I’m going with this post.
     The newfangled card is touted to be more secure, but I asked a cashier just today in our local grocery store, “What would prevent a thief from stealing my card, and for him or her to begin “tapping” away to get all kinds of goods?”
     Dee had the answer. “Develop the technology to have everyone have the chip inserted into their right hand instead of onto a vulnerable and stealable card.” She said that few thieves would go so far as to chop off someone’s right hand to get free goods.
     So then the next question was, "What if someone had no right hand, as sometimes occurs through a birth defect, or as a result of an accident?"
     Dee also had an answer for that. “Have everyone with no right hand have the chip inserted into their forehead." Only very crazy people would cut off someone’s head to get at a chip to get free goods. Right? Again, most of you understand where I’m going. All you have to do is to read Revelation 13:16-18:
“And it (the false prophet) makes everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark: the beast’s (the Antichrist’s) name or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: Let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, because it is the number of a person. Its number is 666.”
     Okay, do you think I’m an alarmist? Or do you think, like me, that we’re hurtling toward the “end times” at an exponential pace? I’d be foolish, and it would be unbiblical to try to estimate the exact timing of the return of Christ. The Bible warns us against doing that.
     But, Jesus does warn us and encourages us to get ready when the pieces start to fit into place for the end times. What are the steps to get ready?
  1. Step 1: If we haven't done so previously, we need to confess our sins, cry out to God for help, and accept the free gift of salvation offered to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  2. Step 2. Tell everyone we meet about the wonderful love of God and His Son, Jesus. We need to be urgent in this task—to pray as we have never prayed before—and trust His powerful Holy Spirit as we have never trusted it before. 
  3. Step 3: We just read in Revelation to use wisdom in understanding the end times, like the number 666. I think the third step is to use wisdom to understand such things as "The Logical Next Step After TAP Credit Cards!