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.

Understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible

Understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes

Understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes

Prior to getting started with the study of Prophecy in the Bible, we need to set some boundaries. The teachings held by some groups depend upon verses found in the book of Ecclesiastes. Can they be trusted? Why, or why not?

The Meaning of LifeUnderstanding the Book of Ecclesiastes

Solomon (King David’s son and the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes) spent many years trying to find the meaning of life. In the first 11 chapters of the book of Ecclesiastes, he reported many proverbs – things that seem to be common sense, but, under scrutiny, they are not always true. (This is why not all proverbs are to be followed. See Ezekiel 18:1-4)

Proverb: a brief popular saying (such as “Too many cooks spoil the broth”) that gives advice about how people should live or that expresses a belief that is generally thought to be true, Mirriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary

An example from Ecclesiastes: “There is nothing new under the sun”, Ecc 1:9. It is like the more contemporary phrase, “It’s the same old drag every day!” Although commonly accepted and never called a lie, neither of these statements is factual. Actually, tiny changes are occurring all the time. (Like the loss of our hair and the increase in our weight!) See our article on Change Blindness.

False Doctrines

Many false doctrines have their basis in the teaching of these first 11 chapters of the book. The phrase “under the sun” is often by Solomon.  In Ecclesiastes, it describes events as they are seen from man’s eyes (vice God’s view). From our view, everything seems futile and a waste of time. A prime example is Solomon’s statement (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.” Indeed, from man’s view, this is all there is… we are born and we die. It is the same with humans and with animals. But the New Testament clearly teaches that some souls will go to heaven while others will burn in the lake of fire. (Rev 21:15)

Purpose of the Book

God’s purpose for Scripture is to help us understand – the Bible is not meant to be confusing. Evidently, the purpose of these chapters in the Bible is to expose the “meaningless” of life, as viewed exclusively from man’s viewpoint. A life (such as Solomon’s) lived without God is futile, vain, and meaningless.

Folly

In the first portion of the book, Solomon tells us how he tried to find meaning in all manner of human endeavors, from the folly of chasing wisdom (Ecc 1:17,18), to pleasures of the flesh (Ecc 2:1), to fun, alcohol, and other follies (Ecc 2:2,3). He tried good works (Ecc 2:4-6) and wealth and it’s benefits. He tried various sexual delights, (vv. 7,8). He went so far as to say, “I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure” (v.10). But Solomon found no lasting benefit in any of them. He wrapped up his feelings: “[E]verything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” (v.11).

Conclusion

Understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes requires reading the last chapter of the book, where the picture changes drastically when we “remember [our] Creator”, (Ecc 12:1). Our lives cannot be viewed exclusively from “under the sun” (man’s understanding). We must keep God (the Creator) in the equation if life is to make sense. And, when viewed from ABOVE the sun, (e.g., from God’s eyes), a man’s life clearly has purpose and meaning. In Ecc 12:13 Solomon states that after one has heard all the facts, “here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. (14) For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.“`

So, the bottom line for Christians today: The book of Ecclesiastes has real value but it has to be read with care and discernment. A major portion of the book is a compendium of Solomon’s false steps toward fulfillment. And his repeated statement of the futility of trying to live a fulfilling life outside of God. In common language, Solomon is saying, “I have been a bad example. Don’t follow my mistakes.”

That concept is summarized in the last chapter. Therefore, any doctrine that depends on a very literal reading of verses from the first 11 chapters (man’s viewpoint – not God’s) is automatically questionable. Only Solomon’s comments in the last chapter can be accepted as stating the plan of God.


This article is another illustration of how context can reverse the true meaning of a verse. To learn more about using context in your study of the Bible, visit our article on “Using Context in the Bible. “

Now that you have a better understanding of how to study the Bible, begin your study with our series of articles on the Judgments which individuals must face. The first article is “What Happens When I Die?