The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Navigating the End Times Without the Bible: Yes, It Can Be Done

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In many of our articles, we make a bunch of claims about who God is and how He operates without quoting a single Bible verse.  This makes many Christians uncomfortable, because they’ve been brainwashed into thinking that the Bible—not God Himself—is their only reliable source of truth.  So now and then someone asks us, “Hey, where’s your biblical backup for what you’re saying?”  They ask this because they’re trying to determine truth, and they think that if we come back with some verse that sounds like it supports the claims we’ve made, then that will prove we’re right.

Well, no, that won’t prove anything. 

Do you know how easy it would be for us to mislead you with Bible verses?  In the first place, we are much more familiar with the Bible’s contents than most Christians are.  This isn’t because we’re extra smart, it’s because we’ve taken the time to really study the thing, which is something most Christians just don’t feel motivated to do.  It’s because we know that we know the Bible way better than most of the folks who read our material that we don’t pepper our posts with verse quotations.  We know what the popular sections of the Bible are, and we know what the barely read sections are.  We also know that far too many verses take on a different meaning when they are quoted in isolation, and this quickly turns verse quoting into a very shady game.

You see, to use the Bible correctly when educating people about spiritual matters, you have to explain the context of the verse you are quoting.  When you’re teaching people who have little to no understanding of biblical history, you can’t just throw a few sentences in their faces, mention places they’ve never heard of, and expect them to keep up.  You need to take the time to do it right.  You need to be aware of the common misconceptions people have about God, and understand when you’re dealing with a passage that raises up a lot of those concerns.  For example, many people think that God loves Jews more than non-Jews.  They think this is what God says in the Bible.  This is most certainly not what God says in the Bible, but it would be very easy to make it appear as if this is what He’s saying by yanking out some verse in which Yahweh is talking about His great love for Israel.  Today, people do this all the time: they throw “God loves Israel” verses around as if that’s the main message of the Bible.  And yet the truth is that there are plenty of “God hates Israel” verses in the Bible as well. You’re not going to be able to properly interpret any of the extreme language that Yahweh and Jesus use concerning Israel without understanding a lot of other things about Jewish culture, Jewish history, and what else God is saying in the passage that is being quoted.  It’s quite doable to explain all of these things clearly, but doing so takes time.  You can’t just rush through these kinds of lessons and do some half-baked job of explaining things, or you’ll only end up leading people astray.

When you know that you aren’t personally familiar with the contents of the Old and New Testaments, yet you accept the idolatrous theory that the book is your only source of truth in life, you end up being super easy for Christian leaders to con.  Today Christian leaders want you to remain uneducated about the Bible as long as you keep on worshiping it like some stand in for God in your life.  As long as you’re in this position, Christian teachers can yank verses out of context, lie to you about what those verses mean, and you’ll just accept it.  Take good old Malachi 3:10—that famous verse in which Yahweh says if His people tithe, He’ll rain down the blessings.  Do you know who Yahweh was talking to in that speech?  It wasn’t you.  Do you know what else He said?  Have you ever read the entire chapter of Malachi 3 for yourself?  Do you know how many Christians today are pouring money into the offering plate because they have bought into the Malachi 3:10 scam?  It’s a huge moneymaker, even though the claim that God commands Christians to tithe in the Bible is a flat out lie.

Today Christians think God says many things in the Bible that He never said.  In some cases, modern day Christians aren’t the ones who originally twisted the Scriptures—they’re just quoting lies that the New Testament writers fling around about what the Old Testament says.  Do you know why Christians sing the song O Come, O Come Emmanuel at Christmastime?  Because no one has the spine to say that the Gospel writer Matthew was totally delusional to suggest that Christ had anything to do with the Old Testament prophecy of a child being born of a virgin who would be named Immanuel.   One ridiculous fib from Matthew is all it took for you to accept that the Immanuel child was Christ, when in reality, Immanuel was a nickname given to a son of the prophet Isaiah.  It’s not like this isn’t obvious if you actually read the Immanuel prophecy in its original context.  Yahweh prophecies Immanuel’s birth in Isaiah 7, and the kid is born in the very next chapter.  But we don’t read context, do we?  We just believe whatever guff the New Testament writers come up with.  When Paul says that Christ marks the beginning of Yahweh “grafting” Gentiles into the “tree” of His chosen people, you just believe him, when in reality the man is totally lying to you.  When Peter stands up in Acts and starts butchering Old Testament psalms and claiming that David was prophesying about Christ, you just believe him.  You don’t ever look up the passages that Peter is quoting from and see what the original author was actually talking about.  If you did, you’d realize what a dingdong Peter was being.

Intentional and accidental misapplications of the Old Testament abound in the New Testament.  Then modern day Christian leaders come along and heap countless more lies onto the pile until you’re being lied to on all sides about what various Scriptures mean.  Today Christian websites, study Bibles, Bible commentaries, and a host of other Christian education materials are loaded with Christian Bible scholars promoting themselves as “experts” while they put out the most absurd interpretations of Scriptures and totally lie about what passages mean.  But why do they do this?  Why has conning the flock always been such a favorite pastime of spiritual leaders?  Because it’s so profitable.

There’s no money to be made in teaching people the truth.  In our material, we teach you how to please God by embracing the soul attitudes and priorities that He wants you to have.  If you take our teaching seriously and do these things, you’re going to go sailing down the road of spiritual maturity and we won’t get a darn thing out of it.  Teaching people the truth doesn’t result in hefty tithes and offerings.  When you teach people to rely directly on God for wisdom in life—which is what we teach you to do—then if people actually do this, God will teach them not to worship anyone but Him, and there goes any possibility of us collecting some big fan club on earth.

Since God is so jealous by Nature, by urging people to focus on Him, we end up killing their desire to focus on us because God takes them over.  Christian leaders aren’t supposed to be dividing God’s flock and competing for followers among the sheep.  When some sheep comes looking for answers, a Christian leader is supposed to lead that sheep over to God, then walk away and leave that sheep in God’s very capable hands.  If you’re doing it right, people listen to you for a while, God will use your material to teach them a bunch of stuff, then He’ll give them a big aha moment about how much they don’t need you when they can just talk to Him, and off they’ll go.  If you’re doing it right, teaching people the truth about God won’t do bumpkus to make you popular, rich, or famous.  But teaching people lies—well, there’s endless money and glory to be had in that.  So today many Christian leaders are lying to you, because it works for them, and because you’re making it so easy by worshiping a book and taking no responsibility for your own growth.  To discourage you from being such lazy sacks and to get you to stop being such easy prey, we teach you to stop viewing the Bible and God like they’re one and the same because they are so not.  We teach you to always ask God directly what He thinks about some teaching before you just accept it, and we teach you to be super guarded about human teachers because they’re just humans, and no human is perfect.  We don’t teach you to spend your life reading the Bible, because the Bible just isn’t as critical as people are telling you.  It’s just one of countless teaching tools that God might decide to use with you.  If He decides He wants to use the Bible to teach you something, He’ll motivate you to want to read it.  But if He’s not interested in using the Bible, then you’re wasting your time dragging your eyeballs over those pages.

In our material, we teach you to direct all of your admiration at God and to depend on Him as your Teacher in life.  Then we intentionally do not pepper every post we write with Bible quotations, because this kind of behavior only encourages you to idolize the book.  God is not so limited that He can’t manage to teach you truth without physical props, so if you think you need the Bible to advance spiritually, you need to think again.  What you need to do is follow God’s leading in your own life, and how He leads you will be different than how He leads someone else.  Focusing on God and learning to do things because He’s motivating you to is a mindset that you want to develop.  Forget about impressing Christians or becoming a know-it-all, or cramming your head full of a bunch of memorized verses that you yanked out of context.  Quoting Scriptures and claiming promises God never gave you isn’t what’s going to help you through the hard times.  Focusing on God, listening to Him, submitting to Him, and living to please Him are the things which will take you far.

TYPES OF BIBLE CONS

It is extremely lucrative for Christian leaders to use the Bible to con people.  If we look around at all of the cons that are being played on Christians today, we can see some major themes.  First you have your financial cons—and this is when Christian leaders just boldface lie to you about what the Bible teaches about money.  Today Christians are told that the Bible commands Christians to tithe (see All About Tithing) and that it encourages sacrificial giving, which is the idea that God will reward you in proportion to how much you monetarily give to Him (see Sacrificial Giving: A Favorite Teaching of False Shepherds).  These two cons alone have raked in huge amounts of wealth as scores of people drive themselves into massive debt and bankruptcy in an effort to try and make God give them some coveted prize.  Of course most of these attempts end in bitter heartache, but the guys who pull these cons couldn’t care less.  They just step over the bodies and keep on going in their search for new suckers (see Sacrificial Giving: Why You Should Be Glad That It’s Not Working For You).

After financial cons, we have power cons—and these usually center around the highly abused topic of spiritual warfare (see Spiritual Warfare in the Church: Delusions vs. Truth).  In power cons, leaders try to convince you that Jesus has endowed all of His followers with supernatural powers which they can now use to control demons and manipulate the flow of God’s power.  The Gospel books are a favorite source of material for power cons, as leaders misapply comments Jesus made about demons and prayer.  The New Testament epistles are another great resource as everyone jumps on Paul’s useless metaphor of spiritual armor as well as James’ utterly absurd claim that if you simply resist the devil, he’s guaranteed to flee.

Financial cons and power cons are huge, and we find versions of them popping up across all Christian denominations.  Then there are cons about the end times, and these rely heavily on language that is found in the book of Revelation, as well as passages from the Old Testament prophetic books.  Joel 2:31—that famous verse which mentions the moon turning to blood—is a favorite tool here, and you’ll hear it being quoted incessantly whenever the actual moon gains a pinkish hue to it. Of course Joel 2:31 is not referring to the actual moon turning red in color, but no one explains this to you (see Blood Moons: The Mechanics, the Hype & the God-Honoring Response).  Instead, Christian leaders pressure you to just accept their absurd interpretations and applications of various Scriptures.  As always, the end goal is to get you to fork over your cash and admiration.  Terrifying you with predictions of your future is a great way to accomplish both of these goals, because once you accept some false prophet’s terrifying picture of your future and you think that nimrod is the only guy who can guide you through that period, then you’re going to hang on his every word and try to keep his ministry afloat with money.  And yet is it really true that God has abandoned you in this world?  Of course not.  You have just as much access to God as these self-anointed blowhards do.  You don’t need humans to teach you truth, or prepare you for what’s coming.  God will gladly help you in both of these areas if you are serious about trusting and respecting Him.  But if you’re going to put your faith in humans instead and act like they are more reliable than your own Creator, then why should God help you?

THE IRRELEVANCE OF REVELATION

With the real end times about to start, you really need to get that the Christian Bible doesn’t contain a single prediction about the last chapter of human history on this planet. You only think it does because you’ve been conned by shady shepherds who wanted you to feel dependent on them in life while they made a buck off of your ignorance.  The much ballyhooed book of Revelation is not talking about the actual end times.  Instead, it is an extremely exaggeratory pep talk that is loaded with metaphorical imagery as it predicts the fall of the ancient Roman Empire.

In Revelation, Jesus and Yahweh are primarily speaking to ethnic Jews who are living in the Roman Empire and feeling miserably oppressed—first for being Jews, and second for claiming to be followers of Christ.  No one likes the thought of their nation being conquered by another nation.  When crummy things happen, some people will try to adjust and make the best of it, while other people will wallow in a victim mentality, seethe with hatred, and make their entire life about revenge and rebellion.  In ancient Jewish society, people were encouraged to adopt mindsets of fierce patriotism, racial superiority, entitlement, and perpetual grudge holding.  In a society that is promoting such lousy priorities, people aren’t going to handle oppression well.  Instead, they’re going to throw fits, get violent, and not even give their conquerors the chance to have friendly relations with them.  This is what happened between the Jews and the Romans: there was intense hatred between these two groups, and where there is hatred, there is aggressive behavior and the escalation of violence.  When Jews brutally attacked and tortured Romans, well, that was righteous.  But when Romans attacked and tortured Jews, well that was satanic.  This is how the Jews saw it, and since God is talking to Jews within the context of their prejudices in the book of Revelation, we find Rome being painted in the worst possible light.

In real life, Israel was no better than Rome—both nations were entrenched in spiritual rebellion.  In the Gospel books, we find Jesus blasting Israel with condemnation for her willful defiance of God, and saying that non-Jews were outperforming ethnic Jews in the area of right soul attitudes.  Decades later, we come to Revelation.  Contrary to what you’re told today, the Jews were still entrenched in spiritual rebellion.  The “early Church” that you hear praised so highly today really wasn’t driven by a true spiritual revival.  Instead, many of the Jews who claimed to be converting to Christianity weren’t sincere followers of Christ or Yahweh—they were just trying out a new movement that seemed to be offering some nice perks.

There were many ways that a man could wind up destitute in New Testament times, and if you signed on with the Christians, you could benefit from their charity organizations, plus you might get one of their miracle performing leaders to zap some major problem out of your life.  Miracles are always popular, but miracles rarely result in sincere submission to God.  Read through Jesus’ famous letters to seven so-called Christian churches and you’ll find Him handing out a lot of bad grades.  According to Jesus, many of the Jews who were claiming to be His followers were just a bunch of demon loving posers.  He describes folks who outwardly praise Him while they inwardly despise Him.  Then He warns that if these Christian posers don’t get serious about submitting to the real Gods, they’re going to end up on the wrong side of eternity.

So then, Revelation isn’t talking to modern day Christians.  It’s talking to ethnic Jews who claimed to be followers of Christ when in reality most of them didn’t really give a flip about pleasing God.  This is why the book is such a mixed bag of dire warnings and encouragement to persevere: because it is addressing an audience with such varied spiritual attitudes.  And it is because the book is talking to ethnic Jews who were emotionally bonded to Israel, deeply concerned about her future, and well-versed in their nation’s troubled history that you’ll find the visions in Revelation packed with “for Jews only” kinds of imagery.

Reading through Revelation is like reading through an email exchange between two friends who are referring to events that you know nothing about.  As the two friends make inside jokes and toss around code words and references to people who you know nothing about, you feel left out of the loop.  Today many Christians feel very confused by much of what is said in Revelation because they don’t have the cultural background of the folks who it is speaking to.  Today a lot of the zingers, threats, and code words being tossed around in that book seem mysterious to us, but none of it was mysterious to the people who Yahweh and Jesus were originally addressing.  To them, Revelation made perfect sense—it wasn’t some strange, mystical code book. The antichrist, 666, Babylon, the drunk prostitute, the dragon who slinks out of the sea, the multi-headed beasts in Heaven—none of this was confusing to a Jew living in the Roman Empire.  With a 2,000 year cultural gap separating us from them, it’s hard to get every detail of Revelation to make sense, but we can certainly clear up most of the confusion just by getting more familiar with the Old Testament and by knowing a few basics about Israel’s clashes with the Roman Empire between Christ’s resurrection and the time that Revelation was written (see Applying Revelation: Some Background).

Revelation is packed with imagery that was intentionally pulled out of the Old Testament prophetic books.  Revelation is not the first time a Jewish man recorded receiving some dramatic glimpse into Heaven.  Centuries before John was even born, the prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel and Daniel were all given dramatic visions of Yahweh sitting on His heavenly throne, and you’ll find many details of those visions being repeated in Revelation.  Why is there so much similarity?  Because the Jewish men who recorded visions of Heaven in the Bible shared many of the same cultural values and stereotypes about who God was and what He looked like.

Ever wonder why God and His angels are always running around in tunics in heavenly visions?  Ever wonder why no one is seen wearing pants?  It’s because the guys God gave these visions to didn’t do pants in their own cultures.  You see, when God gives humans glimpses of supernatural realms, He’s not being literal.  He’s not showing them what life beyond earth will actually be like—instead, He’s creating imagery that is tailored to a specific culture’s values in order to communicate ideas.  The details of the images aren’t what matters—it’s the concepts you should be focusing on.  Heaven really isn’t going to have streets of gold or fancy mansions.  But if you want to communicate “the good life” to an ancient Jew, then you need to show him a world that is encrusted with jewels—where precious stones are on display everywhere you look.  In ancient times, fortressed cities gave people a sense of safety, so when God is talking to folks from that period of history, He portrays Heaven as being a massive fort.  Today when you read about the crazy images of Heaven in the book of Revelation, a lot of it sounds very bizarre to you.  But to the guy who God originally gave the visions to—a Jewish man named John—it didn’t look strange at all.  Instead, it looked just right.

When’s the last time you saw a movie about Jesus in which the actor playing Jesus was sporting jeans, a t-shirt, and a red buzz?  Today we have created a stereotypical image of Jesus for ourselves: some light-skinned guy with wavy brownish hair and a beard.  Is this really what Jesus looked like?  Probably not, but once you see this image enough times, it feels right to you, and if someone portrays Jesus very differently, it would bother you and you wouldn’t be able to emotionally connect with the image.  Well, in John’s Jewish mind, the “right” way to depict Yahweh was a male figure with a blindingly bright face who was sitting on a dazzling bright throne.  Toss in some lightning flashes and a long white robe, and that felt right on.  When Yahweh speaks, His Voice should be deafening.  Why?  Because in the days of Moses, Yahweh blasted everyone with noise when He made a stormy appearance on Mt. Sinai (see Know Your Bible Lesson 5: God is Holy).  Ever since that first dramatic show, the Jews expected Yahweh to always be a loud, stormy, smoky kind of Guy.  It’s entirely because of these cultural stereotypes that Yahweh presents Himself the way He does to Jews in the Bible.  If God were to show up to a modern day Chinese man or a modern day American who was unfamiliar with the ancient Jewish stereotypes about God, then God would probably take on a drastically different form.  He’d probably dial down the volume, abandon the smoke, ditch the tunic, and don a modern style of clothing that  would communicate rank and power to the individual He was speaking to.  You see, our Creators are so fabulous that They put effort into making Themselves accessible to us.  Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit know all about how you perceive concepts like “holy” and “powerful.”  They know what kind of imagery would make you feel comforted, what kind would terrify you, and what kind would make you feel wanted and loved.  Our Gods meet us where we are at, and They present Themselves to us in greatly simplified forms which our tiny minds will have some hope of comprehending.  When we don’t realize that this is what They’re doing, and when we instead assume that They are being very literal in what They are showing us, then we spin off into all sorts of absurd conclusions.

In Revelation, Heaven is depicted as a refurbished and massively upgraded duplication of the earthly city of Jerusalem.  Heaven is essentially a massive fortress with twelve massive doors in its thick, castle-like walls.  Over each of the doors one of the names of the twelve tribes of Israel is inscribed.  There are also twelve foundation stones that the whole city is built on, and on those stones the names of the twelve apostles are inscribed.  In other words, the Heaven that is described in Revelation is one big shrine to the Jewish ethnicity.  Such imagery can only appeal to those who want to believe God is a total racist who assesses His approval of people based on the genetic material of their physical bodies.

Did you choose your genes?  Did you choose your ethnicity or race?  No.  Does God praise or condemn you for things which He knows you had no choice about?  No, He does not.  God judges us based on choices which are actual choices.  You didn’t get to choose your genetics, but every day you are making many choices about how you want to respond to God’s reality and the convictions which He’s giving you.  When God speaks to you, you decide whether you’re going to listen and care about what He’s saying, or ignore Him and treat His Authority like it’s non-existent.  It is these soul choices which you are judged by—it is these soul choices which result in you being taken to Heaven or Hell when you die. But if you want to know what Heaven and Hell will really be like, you won’t get much help from reading the Bible, because in the Bible, all you’ll find is a bunch of metaphorical imagery that has been customized to thrill and terrify ancient Jews.  In real life, Hell is not a burning lake of sulfur, and Heaven is not a jeweled fortress that is chiseled with the names of one Jewish man’s twelve sons—most of whom were God-defying twerps.  You see, God doesn’t reward spiritual rebellion.  He doesn’t credit humans for saving lives, and He certainly doesn’t consider Heaven to be built on the backs of twelve Jewish men who didn’t even exist until thousands of years into human history.  If you want to talk in terms of reality, then the imagery we find in Revelation is utterly absurd.  But if you want to learn about how God communicates with humans, and if you want to learn about God’s values and His power, then the crazy imagery of Revelation is very educational.

GOING IN BLIND

The Bible Christians use today is totally silent on the topic of the real end times.  This really shouldn’t surprise you when you consider how totally irrelevant the end times were to folks who would never live to see it.  Why should God freak ancient people out with warnings about things that weren’t going to happen for thousands of years?  God isn’t interested in scaring us just to do it.  Unlike false prophets today who just want to jack you up on horror stories, God doesn’t put out negative predictions about your personal future unless He has decided that it will personally benefit you for Him to do so.  It wasn’t going to benefit anyone who lived in Bible times for God to talk about stresses which they would never deal with.  But when the folks alive on the planet right now are the folks who will be personally experiencing the end times, well then it suddenly becomes very beneficial to us if God were to give us some idea about what to expect.  So this is what He does: He doesn’t overwhelm us with a ton of details, because that’s too much information.  But He does give us a heads up that He’s about to start acting very differently than we’re used to.  He points back to some of the crazy stuff He did in Bible times to remind us that He’s done wild things before, and people have survived and thrived.  This helps us realize that we’re not dealing with something unprecedented—the God who is going to be doing wild miracles in our futures has done plenty of wild miracles in the past.  We just need to be ready for Him to dial the intensity way up.

In the Bible, God’s destructive miracles feel like they’re spaced out, with lots of time passing between them.  In the end times, it’s going to feel more like He’s hammering us.  But the upside is that the damage will be localized, and it will also move around, which will give us chances to catch our breath.  Will we be able to stop God?  No.  Will we be able to defend ourselves from His attacks?  No.  But when physical defenses are useless, the upside is that you don’t have to waste your time trying to build them.  Stocking supplies and building bunkers isn’t going to help us.  If we want to prepare for this period, we need to turn our attention inward and give serious thought as to how we are personally responding to the God who is going to be bringing such radical changes into our lives.

There is no physical manual that we can use to tell us what to expect as we make our way through this period.  Instead, we’re each going to have to rely on God Himself to help us navigate through our part of this drama.  For modern day Christians, the notion of relying directly on God in life is much too foreign.  We’re so used to turning to the Bible and humans for guidance in life that we haven’t learned how to hear God directly. Now is the time to start embracing a whole new mentality: one in which we start treating God like the trustworthy Guide that He is.

You don’t need written predictions to get through this period—you have God.  You don’t need prophets and preachers to hold your hand and tell you how to think and what to pray.  You have God.  Every human on the planet has been given direct access to the Gods who created them: Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  You are not a child lost in a forest—you are walking down a path with three all-powerful, non-human Beings who actually care about what happens to you and want you to experience Their best.  So you need to take your trust out of books and humans and reroute all of your trust directly to your Creators.  They need to be the first Ones you turn to when something happens, and the Ones you are counting on to tell you what to do when things get crazy.

When the end times begin, you need to see it not as some horrible nightmare beginning to unfold, but as the start of a personal challenge that you have been given the ability to handle.  The fact that you are alive on the planet now is not some fluke—it is intentional.  When God brings trials into your life, He also gives you the resources you need to be benefited by them.  So while God’s actions are going to intimidate and frighten us, we need to remember that His motivations are very positive.  The end times are a kind of “last call” for the human race—a final opportunity for us to make decisions which will shape our eternal futures.  Ask God to help you choose wisely, and He will.

FURTHER READING:
Distinguishing Between the Real End Times & the Day of Yahweh
No Antichrist in the End Times: Can it really be true?
Prepping for the End Times: The Non-American Advantage
Divine Judgment in the End Times: Dealing with a Less Patient God
It’s Personal: Understanding How God Communicates with Humans
It’s Biblical: God Talks to People Without Using the Bible

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