Be Separate From Them

by Mike Ratliff

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”
17 Therefore
“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
18 “I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the LORD Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (NKJV)

As I have stated several times, I have been doing hours and hours of research on the various Eschatological views that we have all had to deal with. It is utterly amazing how confusing this gets if you dig down past the veneer of each one to look at each one’s foundation and then see the inconsistencies, the outright attempts to say something is Biblical when it is found nowhere in Scripture, the overwhelming use of Biblical Eisegesis and cherry picking of scripture rather than relying solely on solid Biblical Exegesis and context. I have followed claims by so many “prophecy experts” who claim they have disproven this or that view of Eschatology only to find out that they are simply giving their opinion based on more Biblical Eisegesis and cherry picking of scripture. I have had this headache that has gotten worse and worse over the last few weeks that I simply cannot get rid of unless I relax, get away from my books and computer, drink some hot tea, and ask God to help me sort things out. I mean, after all, there is no way all these people could be right. Continue reading

What is the Great Delusion?

by Mike Ratliff

8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 (NASB) 

As I stated in yesterday’s post, I have been doing a great of research on the “order of things” Paul was referring to in 2 Thessalonians 2. I have been lining up those things with our Lord’s Olivet Discourse and, of course, the Apostle John’s account in Revelation. Why? I said yesterday that I simply cannot get past this and when this happens I know God is working. Also, our enemy knows this and I have been hammered from every direction with “doubts” about doing this and thoughts like, “if you continue to pursue this you will lose all your friends or may even have to change to another church!” Now, would God put those sorts of thoughts in my mind? Of course not! That is not how God works. I have been sifting through all sorts of articles, sermons, videos, and scripture pertaining to this topic along with the “Mark of the Beast,” “who is the Beast,” “who is the False Prophet,” and I assure you this data gets mucky in a hurry. Then I listened to a sermon where the preacher was addressing whether the Covid-19 vaccinations were the Mark of the Beast and whether a believer could take the Mark unintentionally. While I didn’t listen to the whole sermon I did agree with what he said right up front. He stated that genuine believers are saved by Grace through Faith and are sealed by the Holy Spirit at that point with the Mark of God and so could never receive the Mark of the beast. I rejoiced when I heard that, but why? Continue reading

The Rebellion before the Man of Lawlessness is Revealed

by Mike Ratliff

1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 (NASB) 

1 Ἐρωτῶμεν δὲ ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, ὑπὲρ τῆς παρουσίας τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ ἡμῶν ἐπισυναγωγῆς ἐπʼ αὐτὸν 2 εἰς τὸ μὴ ταχέως σαλευθῆναι ὑμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ νοὸς μηδὲ θροεῖσθαι, μήτε διὰ πνεύματος μήτε διὰ λόγου μήτε διʼ ἐπιστολῆς ὡς διʼ ἡμῶν, ὡς ὅτι ἐνέστηκεν ἡ ἡμέρα τοῦ κυρίου·
3 Μή τις ὑμᾶς ἐξαπατήσῃ κατὰ μηδένα τρόπον. ὅτι ἐὰν μὴ ἔλθῃ ἡ ἀποστασία πρῶτον καὶ ἀποκαλυφθῇ ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἀνομίας, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας, 4 ὁ ἀντικείμενος καὶ ὑπεραιρόμενος ἐπὶ πάντα λεγόμενον θεὸν ἢ σέβασμα, ὥστε αὐτὸν εἰς τὸν ναὸν τοῦ θεοῦ καθίσαι ἀποδεικνύντα ἑαυτὸν ὅτι ἐστὶν θεός. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 (NA28)

1 Now we ask you, brothers, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2 for you to not be quickly shaken from your mind nor to be alarmed, neither by a spirit, nor by a word nor by a letter as if it has come by us that the Day of the Lord has come.
3 Let not anyone deceive you any way because it will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the Man of Lawlessness be revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or an object of veneration so that he takes his seat in the Temple of God presenting himself that he is God. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

As you can probably tell, I have been doing a great deal of research into these very important eschatological elements. It is as if I cannot get past this study. When that happens I pay attention. God is working. What is Paul talking about in these verses? The Thessalonians had contacted him and were very upset because someone had told them, pretending to be him in some way, that the persecution they were experiencing was part of the Day of the Lord. That meant they had missed being gathered together with the rest of the saints. That meant they were experiencing the Wrath of God and that is something all believers should know that we will never experience. Yes, we will experience tribulation θλίψις (thlipsis) because the world hates the truth and if we are walking in the truth and are obedient to the Word of God then the world will hate us as well. So, Paul was telling the Thessalonians that they were experiencing thlipsis, but the events that must happen that precedes the coming of our Lord to gather the saints have not happened yet. Let’s look at those events. Continue reading

The Kings of the South and the North

by Mike Ratliff

20 Then he said, “Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come. 21 However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince. Daniel 10:20-21 (NASB) 

As we saw in the last post, there are evil powers behind the “kingdoms” of the world. Satan is the lord of this present age. In this post we will attempt to exposit Daniel 11. This is a very interesting chapter in that it covers the history of spiritual conflict in Israel (11:2-35) to the tribulation (11:36-42) where Michael comes to the aide of the Jews to assist in fully delivering them (12:1). The history section of this prophecy (vv2-35) is so accurate that skeptics have railed against the veracity of this prophecy. They cannot understand how someone could write with such accuracy several hundred years earlier than the events. However, as believers, we should look at this part of Daniel and rejoice in the fact that when God says something will happen, it will happen. However, this prophecy, which extends into chapter 12, looks into the future from Daniel’s time into what is future for us as well. We will see a preview of the Antichrist given to Daniel by God over 2 millennia ago. Continue reading

Daniel’s Vision of the Four Beasts

by Mike Ratliff

1 And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore.
Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. 2 And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. 3 I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; 4 they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” Revelation 13:1-4 (NASB) 

It is time to prayerfully step into the prophetic section of Daniel. I have had quite a bit of anxiety about tackling these books that are deeply eschatological. Why? My method of Bible teaching is to simply expound scripture. I try to limit input into my analysis of passages to Biblical references for the most part. I do not believe I am wise enough or schooled enough in eschatology to do justice to this study. However, God is able to open up His word to our hearts. As we look at these sections in Daniel let us carefully let scripture speak. God will give us the truth as He sees fit. Perhaps God will give us insight into His Word that we have lacked until now. If so, then it is God doing this, not me. Continue reading

The Time of the End

by Mike Ratliff

20 Come, my people, enter into your rooms
And close your doors behind you;
Hide for a little while
Until indignation runs its course.
21 For behold, the Lord is about to come out from His place
To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity;
And the earth will reveal her bloodshed
And will no longer cover her slain. Isaiah 26:20-21 (NASB) 

God is Sovereign! He has always been and always will be Sovereign. I use Gmail as my main email. Unfortunately Google embeds ads in the interface just above the control buttons. Sometimes I will see something interesting there and click it. Usually I regret it. I once saw one that advertised a study that was supposed to show the real definition of Hyper-Calvinism. I am Reformed in my Theology, but I abhor Hyper-Calvinism. I know that many confuse the two so I hit the link to see what was what. The formula this writer of the document used to determine if a person was Hyper-Calvinistic was if all they talked about was God’s Sovereignty and glory instead of insisting on man’s responsibility. While I can see what the writer was trying to say I also saw that even though he agreed that God was Sovereign, he still was not sovereign over Man’s will. I read about half the document then gave up because the further I read the less Sovereignty God had and the more Man had. I had to go get a cold drink of water after that because it left a very bad taste in my mouth. Isn’t this the very essence of Man’s rebellion against God? Continue reading

This Age and the Age to Come

by Mike Ratliff

15 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:15-23 (NASB) 

Many years ago, when was in my twenties, eschatology books were being pumped out by every “evangelist” under heaven. They were dazzling with their complicated charts with arrows for Christ’s multiple returns to get His church then later to bring His kingdom into fulfillment. It was so complex that it was impossible to follow without those pull out charts. I had friends who became experts on this. They could quote chapter and verse on every point in the end times as revealed in these books. However, as I have matured (hopefully) and learned to trust what the scriptures say more than what men say I have come to believe that eschatology shouldn’t be that complicated. When Jesus talked about the sin of Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit he said something very interesting. Continue reading

What is the Day of the Lord?

by Mike Ratliff

1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 (NKJV) 

I am not an eschatology “expert” or “specialist.” I believe eschatology is important and we should learn as much as we can from God’s Word about it because it is the fulfillment of God’s plan for His creation and His people. All I know to do is to look at what God’s Word says, keep it in context and make room for the Holy Spirit to write those truths on our hearts. Therefore, let us look at the Biblical term “Day the Lord.” Continue reading

The Great Delusion

by Mike Ratliff

8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.  (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 NASB)

When I was a young Christian I was a Dispensationalist because that was what the churches I belonged to taught.  I remember listening to Hal Lindsey or some of the teachers at the church I was going to at that time teach on these things, but I never quite sunk my teeth into it. I remember never being fully convinced about that eschatology or that the Church would be secretly Raptured away and miss the Tribulation or that the “Tribulation,” as it was being presented by those Dispensationlists, was Biblical.  Why did I have these issues? At that time I did not really have any knowledge of other views of eschatology so I was more than a little concerned about these things.  These eschatological teachings with which I had issues are structured to be popular and they are presented in a way that tickles the itching ears of the many rather than on what is Biblical. Continue reading

Millennial Positions

After posting the piece on the Binding of Satan it became painfully obvious that many people who objected to it had never even conceived of any other position on Eschatology or a Biblical view other than Dispensationalism. I was brought up as a Dispensationalist. I was a Pre-Trib, Pri-Mil dispy for decades. However, I knew that something just wasn’t right. There were way too many leaps of faith that had to be made and way too many gaps and holes and unexplained things, from Revelation especially, that do not fit or appear to be just plainly illogical. Then God awakened me to Reformed Theology. It was incredible. It was as if I could see scripture in layers and levels that were hidden to me before. Then I started exploring Eschatology. The first thing I rejected was Dispensational/Premillennialism. I was actually very surprised at the different views. It was as if I had never even seen them before. Here is a list of the four major millennial positions. Continue reading

The Binding of Satan

by Mike Ratliff

My last post on Isaiah 52-53 was an eye-opener for me. I exposited the “Song of the Suffering Servant” hopping to have an edifying discussion about our Lord that would both glorify the Son and the Father. Instead, the discussion spiraled down into an eschatological turf war about Israel and the elect and covenants. That was not my intent. However, I believe it is time to take the gloves off. We are going to go through Revelation 20 one verse at a time. This post will cover the first three verses. Why this chapter? This is the most misinterpreted chapter in Revelation and that means it is the most misinterpreted chapter in the whole Bible. I pray that God will open this to us from His Word that we may know the truth. Continue reading

God in Heaven Reveals Mysteries

by Mike Ratliff

20 Daniel answered and said:
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;
22 he reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.
23 To you, O God of my fathers,
I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and might,
and have now made known to me what we asked of you,
for you have made known to us the king’s matter.” (Daniel 2:20-23 ESV)

Over time, Daniel became a very important person in the Kingdom of Babylon. However, as we look at Chapter 2 we find Daniel still a young man among the King’s counselors. The events in this chapter take place shortly after the promotion of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah from the ranks of the trainees that we looked at in yesterday’s post. In this chapter God uses a pagan King and a faithful servant to give us a prophetic picture of world kingdoms and a glimpse into the coming Kingdom of God. Continue reading

Jacob’s Trouble

by Mike Ratliff

5 “Thus says the Lord:
We have heard a cry of panic,
of terror, and no peace.
6 Ask now, and see,
can a man bear a child?
Why then do I see every man
with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor?
Why has every face turned pale?
7 Alas! That day is so great
there is none like it;
it is a time of distress for Jacob;
yet he shall be saved out of it. (Jeremiah 30:5-7 ESV)

As we move through our study on Eschatology I have become very burdened with an overwhelming sense that I must not carelessly exegete any scripture. In fact, I do not feel comfortable writing anything about it without much prayer and research. I deeply desire to get it right. My commitment has been to do this study by looking at scripture alone. Also, a major point of contentions, so far, in our discussions has been whether the “Church” has replaced Israel as God’s covenant people. There is no doubt that all who are in Christ were saved by Faith through Grace thereby making them part of Abraham’s offspring. God justified him because He believed Him. All who follow Him in believing become branches in the Vine who is Christ. However, is God through with Israel and has He given all of the promises to Abraham’s offspring to the Church. Continue reading