Divine Protection

Death and Dying

Doctrinal error has a cascading domino effect.  If one is wrong, or in error, in some principle or basic doctrine that error will taint other doctrines.  For instance, the error that one’s soul lives on following death gave rise to the errors of going to heaven or hell immediately after one dies.  This error also spawned the errors of ghosts, seances, praying to and for the dead, purgatory, limbo, and a host of other errors.
Remember, the LAST enemy of man and God’s work to be vanquished will be death.  (See I Corinthians 15:21-28).  Death does not end at Christ’s return except for the redeemed.  “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished” (See Revelation 20:5).  Though there are no resurrections during the thousand year reign of Christ on earth – commonly called the millennial age –  you still have death and dying throughout that era.
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive” (I Corinthians 15:22), “but every man in his own order” (verse 23).  There is an order to the resurrecting of the dead.  All of Adam’s descendants who have died (and that’s all of them) shall all be resurrected.  The first resurrection at Christ’s return contains ONLY those who have been redeemed.  No one else is resurrected at that time.  BILLIONS of dead folks must still be resurrected “but every man in his own order.”  The apostle Paul knew and understood the prophecies of the Hebrew prophets.  He was not ignorant of God’s great plan of the ages.
Read the 14th chapter of Zechariah – all 21 verses.  You will notice that it is speaking of Christ’s return, the Second Coming.  At that time the Messiah, Jesus Christ, becomes king over all the earth (verse 9).  Notice that death and dying is still occurring (verses 12 and 13).  Notice that all who survive Armageddon will be obligated to keep the Feast of Tabernacles – the ONLY feast that was a teaching time, a time of instruction in the things of God!  Those who continue to rebel against God at that time can still fall ill AND DIE!  (See verses 17-19).
Ellen G. White’s teaching that the earth will be a wrecked vessel and uninhabited for a thousand years is gross error and taints several other doctrines, preventing godly, well-meaning people from seeing the truths of God in this matter.  Her teaching as to the two witnesses of Revelation 11 was also erroneous and prevents one from seeing the truth in several other areas.  Just because one writes with captivating, beautiful and expressive language and does speak a lot of truth does NOT mean they are infallible.  They can still err and err greatly.  Ellen G. White did so.  So did the Armstrongs.  So did Billy Graham.
The apostle Paul said, “so worship I the God of my fathers, believing ALL THINGS which are written in the law and the prophets” (See Acts 24:14).  The high priest could have unrolled the scroll of Zechariah before Paul’s eyes, pointed to the portion we now call the 14th chapter and asked him, “Do you believe THIS?”  Paul would have said, “with every atom of my being.”  I suggest YOU now read it – and believe it!

God As Creator

It appears that many believe Christians get their concept of God being the Creator of life, the universe, etc., from a passage in the very first chapter of the Bible: Genesis Chapter One.  Well, for certain the very first verse of that chapter does read, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”  But whenever God makes, inspires, a dogmatic and important statement to be made in the scriptures, He makes certain that statement is repeated over and over and over again in the plainest language possible.  “God created man upon the earth” (Deuteronomy 4:32).  “Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created, and thou renewest the face of the earth” (Psalm 104:30).  “Praise Him ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.  Let them praise the name of the Lord: for He commanded, and they were created” (Psalm 148:4-5). “Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things….Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary: there is no searching of His understanding” (See Isaiah 40: 26, 28).  And I could go on and on quoting text, after text, after text that affirms the truth that God is the Creator of all that exists, visible and invisible, living or inanimate, now present or in the past.

One who rejects God as Creator not only has to reject the veracity and inspiration of Genesis One, they must reject ALL OF SCRIPTURE!  They must say all the Bible is a lie.  If you reject Isaiah 40, verses 26 and 28, then you must also reject all of Isaiah.  You cannot pick and choose what you will believe written in these sacred books of the Bible.  It’s take it or leave it, the whole ball of wax.  “Thus saith God the Lord, He that created the heavens, and stretched them out, He that spread for the earth, and that which cometh out of it, He that giveth breath unto the people unto it, and spirit to them that walk therein….” (See Isaiah 42:5).  Yep, it’s all or nothing.  And if you accept it all, what a marvelous treasure house you have to draw from and, in doing so, you will realize that God indeed is real, very, very real and closer to you than your mate, yes, even your breath!!   ‘Nuff said.

The Creationist’s Error

Not all creationists, but a goodly number of them, feel certain that the Bible reveals the earth to be but 6,000 years old!!  Years ago I thought that way, too.  After all, one only need count the lifespans of the folks in the Bible, add ’em up, presto-bingo 6,000 years, right?  We know Christ walked the earth about 1900 years ago.  Round that off to 2000 years.  Then go to your Old Testament and start counting backwards to Adam.  You get another 4000 years, right?  Add 4000 and 2000.  What do you get?  Six thousand!!  Right?  Wrong!!!!  Try it and you’ll get bogged down  and confused within minutes.  First of all, you can’t get 4000 years trying to count the passage of time in the Old Testament.  You cannot prove the earth is 6000 years old from the scriptures.  I will agree with the creationists when they say it appears that Adam and Eve walked the earth ABOUT six thousand years ago.  Underline and underscore “appears.”  I like to prove all things of a spiritual, or Biblical, nature.  I am never dogmatic on what I cannot prove.  Why must some creationists insist the earth is 6000 years old.  “In the beginning” has no date.  God could have said, “Let there be light” billions and billions of years ago.

If someone tells you the tree you just cut down was planted as a tiny sprout just  eight years ago, yet you notice the tree has 90 distinct annual rings you know they are either lying or mistaken.  When someone tells you the earth is 6000 years old, yet you examine the strata revealed by a massive earthquake that pushes the strata up and exposes it for any geologist to examine, and, in examining the strata it is abundantly clear that the exposed portion alone shows the passage of millions of years, then you know someone is mistaken should they insist the earth is just six thousand years old.  Creationists who cling to an unproveable 6000 year age for the earth think that scripture will not allow for a greater age.  Therefore, they must stick to their guns even when it becomes all too obvious their guns are shooting blanks.  The scientific world then views them as country bumpkin types, superstitious folk who are without the powers of reason and obviously of low intelligence.  Don’t tell me your grandma just died yesterday if she has already turned to dust.  I ain’t stupid.

The Overcomer

If you want the Bible’s most complete description of “an overcomer” read Revelation 14, verses 1 through 5.  The apostle Paul’s best description of an overcomer is found in the letter to the Ephesians, chapter 4, verses 11 through 16.  There Paul calls an overcomer “a perfect (spiritually complete, mature) man” (Greek “person” or “individual” male or female), someone who measures up to the spiritual stature of the fullness of Christ.  In other words, he or she is as Christ-like as a human can become while still in mortal flesh, someone who can say with Paul, “Christ LIVES in me!”  Someone who can say with Paul, “the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (See Galatians 6:14).  When Paul writes “it pleased God…to reveal His Son in me” do not assume that is or was God’s desire for Paul alone.  It is God’s desire that ALL believers without exception allow Jesus Christ to be fully revealed and expressed in and through them.  (See Galatians 1:15-16).  The overcomer is also described by Paul in 2 Corinthians 10, verses 4-5.  Not only are their actions and speech consistently godly, so are their thoughts.

Many have a horribly warped misinterpretation of what Paul is saying in Romans 7.  They think Paul is describing himself as a defeated Christian, carnal, sold under sin, unable to get or maintain the spiritual victory over sin.  This text (Romans 7) is one of the classic texts Peter must have had in mind when he warned that Paul wrote some things hard to be understood, things that some readers would “wrest” or twist to their own spiritual destruction.  (See 2 Peter 3:15-16).  One needs to keep Philippians 1:20 and 21 in mind when reading Romans 7.  Also Philippians 3, verses 6 and 17 and Philippians 4:9.  Colossians 1:27-29 and especially I Thessalonians 2:10 must be kept in mind when reading Romans 7.  It also helps to read Romans 6 and Romans 8 when reading Romans 7.  Paul was a true overcomer, meeting to exactness the qualifications of an overcomer as described in his own letters as well as Revelation 14, verses 1 thru 5.  (Read my posted article “Was Paul A Defeated Christian?”)

Jesus Christ is returning for a pure bride, resplendent in holiness and purity as well as spiritual understanding, not a bunch of carnal believers bickering and disagreeing with one another even as they are meeting the Lord in the air.  How ridiculous!!

Perseverance Or Keep On Keeping On

There is one scripture that compels me to continue writing about the things of God: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.” (See Luke 12:48).  The Lord has shared a tremendous amount of spiritual truth with me.  He has gifted me with the ability to communicate that truth clearly to others, and the ability to do so in an interesting fashion – both via the spoken word and the written word.  I am reminded of the words of the apostle Paul: “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of, for necessity is laid upon me.  Yea, woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel!  For if I do this thing willingly (if spreading the gospel has been my deep desire anyway), I have a reward (I am doing what I really enjoy doing anyway), but if against my will (if my life choices were initially to make my own way and go my own chosen way), a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me (then God Himself has made the choice as to what I am to do with my life)” (See I Corinthians 9:16-17).

My own personal choice would be to use my talents to generate a nice income, to become somewhat famous, to live life in selfish pursuits, live and let live.  But if I use my talents in a manner actually contrary to what my own personal desires would be, then the choice has been made for me by my Lord.  I’m afraid if I were to use my talents as I would personally wish I would find that my writing would become sluggish and uninteresting, if not boring.  Not all who speak for the Lord find themselves addressing huge congregations, or enjoying a wide following.  In fact few do.  I have never felt inclined to count the sheep.  Just feed them.  Woe be unto me if I feed them a tainted diet.  God have mercy on me if I however inadvertently feed them something that poisons them or makes them ill.  I will surely answer for the same.

A Preacher’s Praise

I attended a  nearby denominational church Sunday evening, the same church where I am scheduled to give a mini-concert (three of four keyboard pieces) Sunday evening, August 25th.  I had been sending the pastor a number of my Bible study articles for the last year or so, now numbering about 20.  The meeting started at 6:00 p.m., and I arrived at about 5:55 p.m. to find that I was one of the last to arrive.  I had met the pastor a couple of weeks before, and we had talked on the phone a few days before that meeting.  I took a seat on the last row in the back as I did not wish to divert anyone’s attention from the pastor’s remarks.  Upon seeing me enter the pastor left the pulpit and, walking to where I was about to seat myself on the last row, he smiled broadly, welcomed me and shook my hand.  Upon returning to the pulpit he told the congregation that I was a prolific writer and had sent him many articles.  He then said, “I hope you don’t mind, Brother Wiley, that I have been borrowing from your articles in my preaching.  I do give you the credit, though.”  I replied, “Give the Lord credit, pastor, not me!”
 As I said some months ago, many area ministers know my name, having received several of my articles through the mail, although they do not know me by face.  And, like the pastor mentioned above, I am sure some of these pastors use material from my articles in some of their sermons.  I am equally certain some spurn what I have written and view me as a man walking in gross error.  I seek diligently to allow the Spirit to guide me as to where to fellowship.  I have no church “home.”  I am 100% certain that the Lord does not want me to align myself with one particular group or denomination as that would limit the Lord’s ability to use me.  If I am viewed as a Baptist, then the Methodists won’t hold the door open.  If I am viewed as a Pentecostal, then the Baptists will not give a ready ear to what I say.  God has gifted me with some degree of wisdom in such matters.  I find that when I go as led by the Spirit, the Lord will demonstrate rather quickly that I am in the place where He desires me to be.  There is no joy like the joy of obedience, knowing moment by moment that you are walking in harmony with God’s will for your life – even for that particular day or hour.  Thus, one’s future holds no apprehensions, doubts, fears.  I now am what I am by the grace of God.  I am also WHERE I am by the grace of God.

The V-8 Engine

Like the rest of humanity, there were countless thousands of subjects my father knew little, if anything, about – but there was one subject Dad understood quite well, probably about as well as any other in that field, and that was the V-8 engine.  And there are countless subjects I know nothing whatsoever about and I would be a fool to pretend I did, but there is one subject I became proficient in long ago, one subject I know quite well, a lot better than many, not all, but many who claim to be well acquainted with that particular subject.  What subject am I talking about? God’s Word, the Bible.  And I am thankful to God beyond words for having placed in my heart and soul the desire to become proficient in that subject.  Had God given me the same desire and appetite for mastering the keyboard, Liberace would have had a run for his money, so to speak.  I never felt a compulsion to master any other subject, but countless have been the times and the hours when I felt compelled to rise while most others slept and read and ponder some sacred text.  Still, I have never heard an other-worldly voice or seen a vision of any kind, but my Creator has spoken to me as clearly and distinctly as any human being I have ever encountered on this earth.  As I now pass through my seventies, He speaks even louder and more clearly.  His Spirit urges me to keep on keeping on.  Reading one, two, three books of the Bible each day, seven days a week, the Spirit nearly shouts, “Keep on reading.  Pause and ponder.  Think on these matters and think hard.”
How one can get nearer to the grave’s edge each day and maintain a keen interest in this present evil world and exhibit little interest in the things of God amazes and confounds me.  (Don’t misconstrue my meaning and intent.  I still firmly believe my lifetime will be a very long one.  I am merely being prepared right now for those final days wherein God, my Creator, will use me most, and that might not be for a decade or more).

“There Is No God!”

Scripture states that is the cry of a fool, i.e., an atheist: “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.”  (See Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1).
How can one look at such breathtakingly beautiful birds as the African Crowned Crane, the Lori Parrot, the Bali Bird of Paradise, the Golden Pheasant……and yes, you know I could go on and on, how can one look at these majestically beautiful creatures and think, “They just happened.  It was all by blind chance.  They had no Creator, no Grand Designer, no masterful hand at work in bringing them into being.”
Is this earth’s juxtaposition with the moon and sun merely a thing of chance?  How about the earth’s tilt upon its’ axis or rotation? And how about the laws of condensation and evaporation – acts of blind chance??  And, again, you know I could go on and on.
Oh, and by the way, which did come first the chicken or the egg?  And, while we are at it, which came first in any given species the lungs or the heart, the eyes or the mouth, the reproductive system or the digestive system?  Getting a little confused, are we?
Truly it does take a fool to deny the existence of a supernatural Creator God.  One might be educated in this world’s philosophies and sciences and still be a first-class fool.  A man, or woman, with a genius intellect can be a fool.  Even a genius can do foolish things.  They can drink and drive.  They can murder, commit suicide, invest in a Ponzi scheme.  And they can deny there is a Creator God.
And one cannot be argued into the acceptance of God.  The atheist generally does not want to believe in God.  Believing in God carries with it a responsibility to perhaps honor, even obey such an entity.  Atheism supposedly frees one up from such duty or liability.  Life can then be lived as one pleases.  One can marry and divorce again and again, practice polygamy or an alternate lifestyle.  Well, do as one pleases for the most part as long as some civil law is not violated thereby jeopardizing the atheist’s cherished freedom of choice.
Still the fact remains: “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God!”  I ask you, “Are YOU a fool?”

When One “Honestly” Teaches Error

 The Spirit of the Lord has brought two scriptures to my mind that helps answer the question, “What about preachers who honestly teach error?  Here are the two scriptures the Holy Spirit brought to my mind: 1) “Then said Jesus, ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.’  And they (the Roman soldiers) parted His raiment, and cast lots” (Luke 23:34).  And, 2) “Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
Those who are blinded by Satan the devil regarding something they believe and teach, and who in all sincerity believe the course they have taken is in accordance with the truth of God fall into a separate category than those who knowingly, willfully practice deceit and spread errors.  Though what they are doing may be wrong or sinful, it is not charged against them as sin.    Still they will have to give account to God for failing to really “prove” all things, including any false doctrine they may have accepted as truth.  A preacher’s responsibility is a weighty one.
Note well that those whom Jesus asked the Father to forgive were ignorant Roman soldiers, not supposedly converted men.  None of them had ever read even a scrap of scripture.  They had never performed the role of instructors in spiritual matters.  Of this type, Jesus asked the Father to forgive them for aiding and abetting in His execution.  They really did NOT know the good and right thing to do would have been to set Jesus free.  Preachers who have Bible college or seminary training, who have Bibles, who have read and gleaned much understanding from those sacred texts, are far more responsible if they fail to believe and teach God’s Word accurately.