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June 8, 2008
WAWA Blog June 8, 2008: First in a Series: Voices out of the Wilderness: The Myth of Inevitable, Literal Armegeddon, by Robert Mendelson

"Just think of what would happen if God's justice and peace were our heart's desire, and the dignity of every human being our deepest concern. There would be a revolution, which is precisely what God's work, God's mission, is all about."- Bishop Frank T. Griswold






THE MYTH OF INEVITABLE, LITERAL ARMAGEDDON by Robert Mendelson


Prologue

   John Hagee is senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, and founder and national chairman of an organization named CUFI, which stands for "Christians United for Israel". Mr. Hagee wrote a book titled, "Jerusalem Countdown" and wrote the following statements in an overview about the book posted on CUFI's website:
http://www.cufi.org/site/PageServer?pagename=learn_teachings

"Many have asked me “why” did I write this book? I have been going to Israel regularly since 1978 and over the years have developed a network of confidential sources that have a very clear and certain focus on strategic geo-political developments in Israel and the Middle East. I was given information by these sources who are predicting a military pre-emptive strike that would possibly occur in Israel between April and October of 2006. I personally believe that it will be sooner than later unless Iran suddenly yields to international and diplomatic pressure. This military strike is absolutely necessary on Israel’s part. I believe that if this conflict occurs, it could be the birthing of the war of Ezekiel 38:39…


"If Israel attacks, there will doubtless be a vast pan-Arabic Islamic army assembled to attack Israel and attempt to drive the Jews into the Dead Sea. Once again, Jerusalem becomes the target! A casual glance at the geo-political crisis of the Middle East with rogue terrorist states in possession of nuclear weapons... we are standing on the brink of a nuclear Armageddon.

  "The Past is prologue. The final battle for Jerusalem is about to begin. You are watching everyday in the media the gathering storm over the State of Israel. The winds of war are once again about to sweep through the sacred city of Jerusalem. The world is about to discover the power of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Keeper of Israel “who never slumbers nor sleeps” (Psalms 121:4) and His righteous fury in the defense of Israel."
 
Peter, an apostle of God, had this to say about that…2 Peter 2:1;

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers [in the future] among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves.
 
THE MYTH OF INEVITABLE, LITERAL ARMAGEDDON


   Peter's prophecy from the previous page has come to pass. Today, the Christian community is beset by false teachers and heresies. One of the most "destructive heresies" taught today concerns "Armageddon". Pastors such as John Hagee and books like the "Left Behind" series claim a horrible event in which three quarters of humanity dies and Earth is rendered uninhabitable must occur because the Bible "says so". Since the Bible is God's word, this heresy makes it appear God's will is to "judge" those who aren't "saved" by permitting mass incineration in a nuclear war.

   Those duped by this heresy may be convinced to actively or passively support unholy things such as war in Iraq or nuking Iran, believing it's God's plan. Worse yet, many believers are taught the "Rapture" (in which they'll rise into the air to be with Jesus) accompanies the carnage of nuclear war. In essence, Armageddon becomes an unfortunate but necessary prelude to their own salvation.

This belief numbs Christians to war's horrors, enabling millions who should know better to fatalistically support immoral policies, figuring this is how it's meant to be. Tragically, misled believers jeopardizetheir own souls by accepting a satanic substitute doctrine as coming from Jesus, the Prince of Peace. We've come to a point in history where things
must change; the "End Times", or more correctly, "End of the Age" is here.

The real questions are…


   Will Armageddon occur figuratively and peacefully through repentance, or literally, as mass destruction, death, and misery for billions?

   Will Christians obey God, love their neighbors, choose life, and opt for a peaceful solution? Or will they choose a heartless, unforgiving "Win/Lose" scenario in which their non-"saved" neighbors must perish?

   In the following pages and future articles, we'll see scripture teaches we have a choice of whether prophecy is fulfilled peacefully (Christ-like) or violently (satanically). We'll learn how to read the scriptures' spiritual language so we can discern which option is God's and which is Satan's. Actual scripture in an easy to understand and logical format provides the perfect tool for us to serve God by saving souls from the heresies of hate and doom. Here are three passages indicating a godly perspective for reading prophecy in the Bible…
 
Deuteronomy 30:19, Moses;

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you
that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.
Now choose life, so that you and your children may live…"

John 6:63, Jesus;
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.
The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life."

Hosea 6:6;            
 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,

and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings."

   Jesus pointed to Hosea 6:6 twice (Matthew 9:13 & 12:7), indicating the way he prefers God's prophecies/promises be read and fulfilled. Prophecies foretelling doom are not only promises by God of future events, they're also warnings, presenting a choice of equally valid paths.

They'll be fulfilled, but it's how we fulfill them that counts. Prophecies may be read figuratively, using spiritual language. When read and acted upon this way, we fulfill them peacefully by repentance, i.e., modifying something we're doing "wrong". When read literally and carnally, destruction takes the form of mass death and worldwide devastation. Our personal spiritual test is which outcome we wish God to manifest, and which we work toward. Our choice determines the form of fulfillment—whether it be "life" or "death", revealing the condition of our hearts.

 This principle was explained by God to the prophet Jeremiah in what I call "Jeremiah's Law"…

Jeremiah 18:7-11 (NIV);
7 If at any time [including Revelation]
I [God/Creator] announce [directly or through prophets]
that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed,
8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil,
then I will relent
and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.

9 And if at another time
I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted,
10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me,
then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it."

   Verses 7-8 say if we heed God's prophecy of doom and repent (destroy
our pride and change what we're doing wrong, like foreign policy) God will spare us. On the other hand, verses 9-10 say if we ignore God we'll be
destroyed literally. Verse 11 sums up the situation: it's our choice…
 
Jeremiah 18:7-11, cont.;
11 "Now therefore
say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem,
'This is what the LORD says:
Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you.
So turn from your evil ways, each one of you,
and reform your ways and your actions.'"

   God gave Jeremiah this Law and then ordered him to warn his people of impending doom if they didn't repent. Jeremiah lived about 600 B.C., at the time of the Second Babylonian Empire. Was Jeremiah's Law meant only for that time? No!

The Book of Jonah carries the same message. Jonah lived a hundred years earlier, around 700 B.C., when the Assyrian Empire was the most powerful empire in the Middle East. God sent Jonah to the capital city of the Assyrians, Nineveh, to deliver God's message to the Assyrian king. The message, or prophecy, was that in forty days God was going to destroy Nineveh because of the evil the king and his nation were committing.


Jonah 1:1-2;
1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai:
2 "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it,
because its wickedness has come up before me."

   Instead, Jonah tried to run away from his mission. He set sail on a boat, got thrown overboard, and was swallowed by a fish for three days and lived to tell about it, but that's another story. When he got back on dry land God spoke to him again;

Jonah 3:1-10;
1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:
2 "Go to the great city of Nineveh
and proclaim to it the message I give you."

3 Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh.
Now Nineveh was a very important city—a visit required three days.
4 On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed:
"Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned."

5 The Ninevites believed God. …"

   What follows next is very important. Not only did the Ninevites believe God, they took appropriate action. They repented of their evil, and God responded with mercy. Jesus referred us to this example twice, as you'll soon see. But first, the remainder of the passage from Jonah…
 
Jonah 3:1-10, cont.;
5 cont.; "…They [the people of Nineveh] declared a fast,
and all of them, from the greatest to the least,
put on sackcloth [humbled themselves].
6 When the news reached the king of Nineveh,
he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes,
covered himself with sackcloth [like everyone else,] and sat down in the dust.
7 Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh:

"By the decree of the king and his nobles:
Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything;
do not let them eat or drink.
8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth.
Let everyone call urgently on God.
Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.

9 Who knows?
God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger
so that we will not perish."

10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways,
he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened."

   The people of Nineveh repented, discontinued their "evil ways and their violence", and were destroyed inwardly, not outwardly.

This account of God's
mercy fully agrees with what the prophet Joel (about 830 B.C.) said over a
hundred years before Jonah and two hundred years before Jeremiah. Please note in Jonah 3:9 above and Joel 2:14 below use of the phrase "Who knows?" and the nearly identical wording of the accompanying message. God is making a point to us that figurative destruction through repentance is an essential part of understanding how to read His prophecies.

Joel 2:13-14;
13 Rend your heart and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.

14 Who knows?
He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing—…"

Back to the lesson of Jonah and the Assyrians…


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The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
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What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
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Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
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