Foreword

Prophecy With a Pinch of Salt

Purpose of “Prophecy With a Pinch of Salt

The ultimate purpose of writing the book, “Prophecy With a Pinch of Salt” is three-fold:

First, to encourage those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ. No matter how despairing the situation, and regardless of the chaos in our world, and despite the “doomsday prophets” and naysayers, the future is bright for the Child of God. The “end of the book” (Revelation in the Bible) tells us that Christ Jesus has won the war with Satan! Moreover, all who love Him will share endless ages of joy in His presence!

Second, to help the child of God understand the book of Revelation (a revealing of God’s plan for the end of the ages). And, having understood, to prepare God’s children to live in joy, even though some trials and hardships may come.

Third, to warn the non-believer that the wrath of God will be released on the world in a very short time. NOW is the time to accept God’s gracious gift of salvation and be spared from both the fury of His wrath and eternity in the “Lake of Fire.”

Why say, “With a Pinch of Salt”

There is an old adage that some things should be “taken with a pinch of salt.” Meaning, of course, that one must apply some common sense (or even skepticism) when considering that statement. Unfortunately, some of the people who claim that they can look into the future, speak things that fall into the category of “needing some salt.” Their view of the future is often too theoretical (or even too far-fetched) for the non-theologian. A common person would say, “That just doesn’t make sense.” I agree. I would suggest applying a “reality check” to such teachings.

Back in the ’70s, a national evangelist (who is still active on TV today) was conducting a crusade meeting near my home and the radio stations were advertising it with quotes such as, “During the meeting, I will identify the antichrist and show slides of him and of his home country…” I am not sure how that turned out since I did not attend any of the meetings. I felt that his statement was in opposition to the Biblical teaching that NO ONE knows such things except God the Father.

But over-the-top, outrageous predictions get a lot of attention today. People are very interested in what is going to happen in the future. That’s the reason for such a surge in interest in the writings of Nostradamus and the like. “Inquiring minds want to know.” But most of the interpretations of Nostradamus’ writings (along with the ideas of some present-day teachers) have to be “taken with a grain of salt.”

A current day example is Harold Camping, Founder of the Family Radio network. He predicted at least four dates for the end of the world (1988, 1994, and two in 2011). Each time, “revising” his calculations to another (yet future) date. His prediction for May 21, 2011 was broadcast worldwide on his 140 radio stations, displayed on over 5000 billboards, and circulated via 100 million pamphlets. Thousands of followers quit their jobs and converted their assets into cash, which they donated to Camping to finance the media blitz. They marched, carrying signs, and drove cars, vans, and motor homes painted with signs announcing the date. Harold Camping died on December 15, 2013 and the world is still standing. (“Google” the name or the date to learn more.)

What we NEED is solid teaching that will not have to be changed next year, or even thirty years from now. We need an encouraging word – not a date or a name.

This book is written with the “pinch of salt” already applied (grin). By that, I mean that I have tried to run all of the concepts/statements/teachings through the “reality check” filter BEFORE I write it down. I have not tried to find a concrete answer for every symbol. What I have tried to accomplish is to help ordinary people see the past and present as “windows” for viewing the future. I hope that you agree and find that the content here is such that you will not need to have a salt shaker in one hand as you turn the pages with the other. Most of all, this book will not be made obsolete by the passing of some arbitrary date and another unfulfilled “prophecy.”

Lastly, I would like to quote an old radio teacher of prophecy. Although I have long since forgotten his name, his final statement of each program lingers in my head: “If you know Jesus Christ as your Savior, you don’t have anything to worry about (regarding the future and Biblical prophecy). But if you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, you have everything to worry about.

Ray


The next logical article would seem to be “Why Study End Time Prophecy?

If you would like to help me write the book by reading each article through the eyes of a non-theologian, and giving me feedback, visit the “How to Read This Book” article.

02 – Where Do We Go At Death?

Where do we go at death?

Where do we go at death?

At any point in time (since the cross), God views humankind in at least three classes:

  • The blessed dead: Made up of glorified O.T. saints and the souls of saints temporarily kept under the altar awaiting their glorified bodies. (Few – if any – of the N.T. Saints have yet to receive their glorified bodies.)
  • The living: Made up of unbelievers, Jews (chosen but have not accepted Christ as Messiah), Laodicean christians (churches and people who are part of the church but for some reason, they are not ready to be caught away at the coming of Jesus), and Philadelphia saints (rapture ready). There are other classes of living persons after the rapture.
  • The unforgiven dead: These are tormented souls who are physically dead, living in unimaginable suffering, in hell, waiting on the Great White Throne Judgment and the second death.

For the present, each person alive on earth is a triune being, consisting of body, soul & spirit (compare 1 Thessalonians 5:23). It may seem strange, but each element of our being is dealt with differently at death and, the destinations are also different. All who have less than all of these elements are anxiously awaiting their resurrection (see Note 1, “Reunion of Body and Soul”).

Regardless of our spiritual standing with God, when we die, our BODY is buried and eventually returns to dust. It may be burned beyond recognition or buried at sea or even melted in an atomic blast but, one way or another, it returns to the earth. This is just a visible reality of life. It is often rehearsed by a priest or minister as the undertaker lowers a casket into the ground and they drop soil into the grave, “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” (from the 1662 version of the Book of Common Prayer). This is clearly why Solomon would (wrongly) declare in Ecc 3:19 that “the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both… (v.20) All go to the same place.” (To understand why this verse is in error, read our article on “Understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes“. Each time we visit a funeral, we are reminded that our existence in this body is limited to a few short years of increasing pain.

But there is a resurrection! And the bodies of those who have been “born again” are miraculously changed! They will no longer be just mortal “dust” but these become the immortal (eternal) bodies that will never again experience pain or suffering. (For more about this, see our article on the “Rapture”.)

The SPIRIT (of life) returns to God who gave it. In the Bible, the words “spirit” and “wind” (or “breath”) are often used interchangeably. (If you read the original languages, you will understand that they generally are just different translations of the same original word.) Jesus used the two words in John 3:8 to describe being born of the Spirit. When the Holy Spirit was given to the disciples (in Acts 2), they described the event as including a sound of a “rushing mighty wind.”

In Ezekiel 37:9, it was the spirit/breath/wind that brought the dry bones back to life. At the creation (Gen 2:7), God breathed life into Adam and he became a living soul. (See John 5:21 to understand that all life is given from God the Father, or the Son). So, when He chooses, God can withdraw His spirit (breath) and we die (physically).

We have no real control over when or how we die, where our body will be buried, or the return of the Spirit to God. Our family determines where and how our body is “put to rest.” Someone might say that we can control the time and manner of our death – we can kill ourselves. But I am not so sure that is absolutely true. It appears from Scripture (See Note 2, What is the #1 cause of death?) that God can keep people alive even if they try to die.

In the larger scope of things, God chooses when we stop breathing the breath of life. And, since He gave the spirit of life, He can reclaim it at any time. In Ecclesiastes 12:7 (see Note 3, How to study the book of Ecclesiastes), Solomon wrote a profound truth, “the dust [body] returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit [of life] returns to God who gave it.”

In summary, the Judgment of Actions states that since all have sinned, then we will all die a physical death. At death, the body is buried and returns to dust. And the spirit of life (or breath) returns to God the Father who gave it. That just leaves us with the soul‘s destination:

Where does the SOUL go at death?

The question of where our soul goes when we die must be answered if we are to have peace in this life. The Judgment of ACTIONS is involved but, I believe that the soul’s eternal destination is determined in a separate judgment, the Judgment at DEATH.

Logically, the next article is “Why God judges us“.


Notes

Note 1, Reunion of Body and Soul. There are many references in the  Bible to Resurrection. Although some near-death experiences may differ, TRUE resurrection is the point where a person’s soul is reunited with their body. The process varies for different groups, so we will deal with it more completely in a future article.

Note 2, What is the #1 cause of death? An interesting thought was revealed to me a few years ago… We do not die of heart attack, stroke, or cancer – we die because God withdraws His spirit, or breath of life (Rev 9:6).

Note 3, How to study Ecclesiastes. See our article here about how to study the book and see this article about how to use context to understand the Bible better.