Thursday, October 31, 2013

Spiritual Interactions (7) Ascension

  • At the Transfiguration, Jesus took Peter and John into the spiritual realms.

    Moses and Elijah appeared before them, talking with Jesus (Matt 17:3).
    It appeared to them that Moses and Elijah had come down to earth. The reality was that Jesus parted the curtain between physical and the spiritual realms, so could see were these men were living with God.

  • Jesus had come from the spiritual realms, so he was familiar with their operation. He knew he could call for a spiritual intention into events whenever he chose.

    Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels (Matt 26:53).
    Jesus knew the spiritual powers could overwhelm the greatest power political empire on earth.

  • When Jesus was on the cross carrying the weight of human sin, he was totally separated from good side of the spiritual realms. They evil forces in the spiritual realms were able to torment him. This was the source of his desolation.

    My God, my God, why have you forsaken me (Matt 27:46).
    Jesus’ pain demonstrates the importance of understanding the spiritual realms.

  • At the ascension, Jesus appeared to go up into the air and behind a cloud, but he was really moving back into the spiritual realms from which he had come.

    Because the eyes of the disciples were calibrated to seeing the physical world, he seemed to go into the sky and disappear. If they could have seen with spiritual eyes, they would have realised that he had simply moved across the divide into the spiritual realms.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Spiritual Interactions (6) Jesus

When Jesus came to earth, he was constrained as a man to operating in the physical world. However, he had not fallen into sin, so he still had access to the spiritual realms while on earth (he is the one wearing a crown in the picture.)

  • His baptism was an encounter with the spiritual realms. People watching saw a dove descending on Jesus. It was not a real dove, but an intrusion of the Holy Spirit from the spiritual realms. This was confirmed by the voice speaking from there (Matt 3:16-17).

  • Jesus temptation was a different kind of encounter with the spiritual realms. The devil spoke to and tried to divert him from obedience to the Father. This was an amazing contest that ended differently from the original encounter with Adam and Eve. It resulted in the devil leaving and the angels care angels caring for Jesus (Matt 3:11).

  • Jesus regularly drew aside to commune with the father.

    Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed (Mark 1:35).
    He needed frequent interaction with the spiritual realms.

  • Jesus ministry always originated in heaven. He only did what he saw the Father doing (John 5:19).

    The Father loves the Son and shows him all he does (John 5:20).
    He knew what to do because he could see into the spiritual realms.

  • Jesus did not respond to what people said and did, but what he saw in the spiritual realms. He was able to tell Nathaniel what he had been doing.

    I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you (John 1:48).

  • A different kind of spiritual interaction occurred when Jesus was crossing the lake in a boat. When they were in the middle of the lake, a terrible storm struck. This was not an ordinary. Mark describes it as a "great storm of wind" (Mark 4:37). Matthew says a great shaking (seismos) occurred in the sea. (Matt 8:24). The men in the boat were experienced sailors, but they were filled with terror, because they realised they could be destroyed.

    This was not just another storm. Most storms are caused by strong wind. This was caused by something stirring the sea. The forces of darkness understood that Jesus was a risk to them. Now he had started his ministry the risk was becoming clear. He was casting out demons, and they were powerless. He was healing the people they had inflicted with sickness. They knew that they had to deal with him, before he really got going. So they stirred up the sea and the wind in an effort to kill Jesus.

    When the disciples woke Jesus, he understood what was happening. He rebuked win in the same way as he rebuked evil spirits that he was casting out. He spoke to the said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still" (Mark 4:39)! Speaking to an "act of nature" is a pointless waste of time, but Jesus knew the storm was demonic. He seemed to be speaking to the wind and the waves, but he was actually speaking to the evil spirits who were at work in both.

    The disciples just saw a storm. Jesus realised that in the spiritual realms, a host of evil spirits had stirred up the wind and the sea in an effort to destroy him. There were other boats on the Sea of Galilee that night (Mk 4:36), but the spirits focussed the attack on his boat. Jesus understood his authority, so he rebuked the evil spirits. I presume that when he spoke, a host of powerful angels forced the evil spirits off the lake. That is why the wind and the waves instantly calmed.

    Unlike a natural storm, this storm came without warning and ended suddenly. Much is made of the unpredictability of storms on the Galilee, but Jesus disciples knew how to read the weather signs (Luke 12:54) and would not have gone out if a storm was brewing. This storm ended as quickly as it started, because its source was demonic.

God's Neon

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Spiritual Interactions (5) More Prophets

When their city was surrounded by an army of horses and chariots, Elisha opened the eyes of his servant so he could see what was happening in the spiritual realms.

Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (2 Kings 6:17).
The servant only saw the horse and chariots of the enemy army. He needed his eyes opened to see the huge army in the spiritual realms that was ready to support and protect Elisha. They blinded the army, so he could humiliate them by leading them into the centre of the city (2 Kings 18-23).

When Ahab and Jehoshaphat were planning to go to war against Syria, Miciah saw what was happening in the spiritual realms.
I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. And the LORD said, “Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there”… A spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, “I will entice him… I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets” “You will succeed in enticing him,” said the LORD. “Go and do it” (1 King 22:19-22).
The false prophets believed that Ahab would win the war. Miciah had spiritual insight, so he realised that Ahab would die. He saw what was going on in the spiritual realms and knew that Ahab was in trouble.

When Elijah was on Mount Carmel, his prophesying released an intervention from the spiritual realms.
Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench (1 Kings 18:38).
The power to destroy the wood and the altar came from the heavenly realms. When Elijah fled to the cave on Mount Horeb, another intervention occurred.
The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by” (1 Kings 19:11).
Elijah went outside the cave and saw a great gale, followed by a fire, followed by a gentle whisper. He knew that God was not a fire or a wind, but understood that he had seen into the spiritual realms. God spoke to him and gave him instructions for the remainder of his ministry.

Pale Flowers

Monday, October 28, 2013

Spiritual Interactions (4) Prophets

The prophets are often perceived to be people who could predict the future, but this is a distortion of their true role. The prophets were called to act as intermediaries between the spiritual and physical worlds for people who could not see. Jeremiah said that prophets see in the spiritual realms and convey to the people what they are seeing.

But if they had stood in my council,
they would have proclaimed my words to my people
and would have turned them from their evil ways
and from their evil deeds (Jer 33:22).
The false prophets spoke for their own minds. The prophets could see into the spiritual realms and they explained to the people what they saw.

Ezekiel had an amazing vision at the beginning of his ministry. He saw wheels moving in unison.
When the living creatures moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the living creatures rose from the ground, the wheels also rose. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels (Ez 1:19-20).
Ezekiel did not have an encounter with a UFO of a piece of modern art. God opened his eyes to see into the spiritual realms. What he saw was so amazing, that he struggled to describe what he saw. He used words like jewels and spinning wheels to give his listeners and understanding of what he saw, but these words mostly failed him.

Isaiah’s ministry began when he saw into the heavenly realms in a vision.
I saw the Lord, high and exalted seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were angels, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying (Is 6:1-2).
Understanding that the spiritual realm ran parallel to earth assisted Isaiah to function in his ministry as a prophet.


AKA Syringa

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Spirutual Interactions (3) Job

The book of Job is really important, because it explains why evil occurs on earth. Innocent people often suffer, because the devil has a go at them to prove a point in heaven. When Satan left the presence of God to work his evil on earth:

  • Fire came down from heavens and destroyed his flocks of sheep.
  • The Sabeans attacked and stole all his oxen and donkeys.
  • The Chaldeans attacked and carried off all his camels.
  • A wind blew from the dessert and destroyed the house of his youngest son. His children, who were in the house, were also killed.
These events seemed to be natural disasters, so insurance companies would call them Acts of God. However, we know from Job 1 that they were the works of the evil one and his spiritual forces. When Job continued to honour God, the devil decided on a second attack. He afflicted Job with boils. A doctor would say that Job had caught an infection, because he was run down by his grief, but we know something different was going on. The sickness was a direct attack from the spiritual realms by an angry devil.

Over the Fence

Friday, October 25, 2013

Spiritual Interactions (2) Moses

Moses gained a glimpse into the spiritual realms, before God called him into his ministry.

There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” (Ex 3:2,4).
The Burning Bush was not a miraculous sign to dazzle Moses. God wanted Moses to understand that the spiritual realms were close to the world of a lonely shepherd. God was able to speak to Moses from the bush, because the spiritual realms touch the physical world. Learning this truth enabled Moses to hear God speak wherever he went. Hearing God’s voice was critical for his ministry. This why he was a great prophet (Deut 34:10).

When Moses led the children out of Israel out of Egypt, God travelled in front in a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night (Ex 40:36). He led Moses and his people to Mount Sinai.
Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently (Ex 19:17-18).
The people saw this intervention of the spiritual realms into the physical world. God came close and gave Moses the law. Before they moved into the promised land, god wanted the people to understand that the spiritual realm was close, wherever they went.

When Moses and the people had built the tabernacle, it became a place of connection between the spiritual realms and the physical realms.
Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle (Ex 40:34-35).
The tabernacle was a place where the people of God could go to interact with the spiritual realms.

Kowhai Flowers

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Spiritual Interactions (1)

The Bible tells the story of interactions between the physical and spiritual realms. During Old Testament times, the interactions were infrequent, because God did not have authority to get actively involved in the world. Following the cross and Pentecost the interaction between the spiritual and physical realms increased significantly.

Jacob was given a clear view of this interaction at the place he called Bethel (house of God).

He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the LORD (Gen 28:12).
In his dream, Jacob saw a stairway between the spiritual realms and the physical realms. God was in the spiritual realm at the top. Jacob was in the physical world at the bottom. They seemed to be really close. The angels were travelling between the spiritual realms with God towards the physical world. They were not able to go out into the physical world, because no one had given them authority to act on earth. That is why they turned and went back up the stairway again.

Jacob did not fully understand what he saw. He assumed that heaven and earth were only close at this place, so he set up a stone pillar, so he could find it again. He promised to give a tenth of what he received to God (Gen 28:22). God wanted him to understand that they spiritual realms are close all over the earth, wherever people seek God with open hearts. God wanted Jacob to pray, so his angels would have authority to go to work on earth.

White Azalea

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Spiritual Authority (10) Struggle

John challenged Christians to avoid becoming entangled in the world.

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them (1 John 2:15).
The Greek word for “world” is kosmos. It is not just the physical world. John used this word to describe the world system. It describes a system that is controlled by the devil and his forces of evil and the people and things under their influence.
The Kingdom of God is everyone and everything that freely submits to God’s will, whether in the spiritual or the physical realms.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Spiritual Authority (9) Physical to Spiritual

Interactions between earth and heaven flow both ways. Events in earth often cause changes in the spiritual realms.

Daniels prayers released the archangel Michael to constrain the spiritual being called the Prince of Persia (Dan 10:13). This enabled the other angel to speak to Daniel on Earth. This changed the situation for the exiles in Persia and they eventually returned to the Promised Land.

Angels and evil spirits do not have unlimited authority to move on the earth. God has given authority over the earth to humans (Gen 1:26), so they can only get involved if humans with the relevant authority give them permission (and evil spirits will cheat when they can). This means that beings in the spiritual realms are constrained by people on earth.

I will explain how people on earth influence events in the spiritual realms in Five Big Authority Shifts.


Clematis entangling a Rhododendron.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Spiritual Authority (8) Spiritual to Physical

The battle in the spiritual sphere has a strong influence on events on earth. Paul explained this in his letter to the Ephesians.

Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph 6:11-12).
Paul reminds us that when we are dealing with people and events on earth, they are being manipulated by spiritual forces that we cannot see.

The spiritual powers of evil are attracted to authority and people with authority. If they can influence a person with authority, they can amplify their power on earth. When Daniel was praying about the situation of the exiles in Persia, God revealed that the power driving the situation was a spiritual being called the Prince of Persia.
But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia (Dan 10:13).
The spiritual power had to be defeated in the spiritual realms, before the situation would change in Persia.

Changes in government, whether by military coup or election, often change nothing. The reason is that nothing has changed in the spiritual realms.

Influences from the spiritual realms explain why economic crises occur, when economist’s thing the situation is improving.

Spiritual influences explain why war breaks out when peace looks permanent, as in 1914.

Yellow Azaleas

Snapped as I was walking home.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Spiritual Authority (7) Interactions

Interaction between the spiritual sphere and the physical world are critical to the operation of authority in both spheres. These interactions go both ways. (The picture describes a situation where the influence of the kingdom has increased beyond the dark days of the fall).

The angels live in the spiritual dimensions, but have the ability to move between the spiritual and physical worlds. The spiritual forces of evil are fallen angels with the same ability to move between the spiritual and physical dimensions. They operate in the spiritual realm, but they can cross over into the physical realm to work evil.

Angels and evil spirits can touch our physical world at only once place at one time. This limits what they can do on earth. In contrast, the Holy Spirit is present everywhere on earth at any time. This gives him unlimited power and makes him far greater than any angel and gives him much greater reach than the devil.

Red Rhododendron

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Spiritual Authority (6) Rebellion

Authority is the ability to give a command and be certain that it will be carried out. Originally, God has absolute authority in the spiritual realms. The angels all do his bidding instantly.

Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word (Psalm 103:19-21).
All the angels accepted the authority of God and followed the directions of his Spirit.

At some point, a third of the angels rebelled against God’s authority. We do not know if this was before, or after, humans were created. Satan set up an alternative kingdom, under some semblance of his authority. I presume these angels grew tired of being subservient to God and wanted independent authority for themselves.

God created the earth and placed humans in it. He gave authority over the earth to the people he created, but kept authority in heaven for himself (Gen 1:26).

Satan wrested authority from Adam and Eve by persuading them to believe a lie. This gave his spiritual forces of wickedness a place in heaven and authority over the earth, but it was stolen authority. The devil also wheedled a place in the spiritual realms by acting as accuser /prosecutor of God’s people before the presence of God (Job 1:6, Rev 12:10).
Sin and the fall destroyed the unity that had existed in the spiritual realms. God still dominates the spiritual realms, and two thirds of the angels remained loyal to him. However, Satan drew together the angels that had rebelled with him and squeezed them into an alternative power structure in one corner of the spiritual world.

Division in the spiritual realms extenuated the division on earth. The struggle between the Kingdom of God and the world became more intense. In places where the spiritual forces of evil gained control, darkness prevailed.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Spiritual Authority (5) Seeing

Prior to the fall, Adam and Eve could see into the spiritual world. They were able to walk with God in the cool of the evenings and speak directly to him. They were able to see the devil, when he came to tempt them. His activity in the spiritual dimensions, made him appear snakelike from a physical perspective.

This situation did not last longs. When Adam and Eve sinned, their sight was changed so that they could no longer see into the spiritual realms.
The Bible says their eyes were opened, and they realized they were naked (Gen 3:7). This statement is a huge irony. Their eyes were actually closed to the spiritual realms. When they could see the brilliant glory of the heavenly realms, their observation of the physical world was dimmed, and they did not notice they were naked. Once the light of heavenly glory was turned off, their view of the physical world was greatly intensified, so they realised for the first time that they were naked.

After his death and resurrection, Jesus gained a spiritual body, which enabled him to interact more freely with the spiritual world. After death, those who believe in Jesus will be given new spiritual bodies. This will enable us to interact with the spiritual dimensions in the same way that Adam and Eve did before the fall. We will be able to see the glory of the total universe that God created. We will be blown away by the glory of the spiritual realms and the wonder of the physical world will be diminished.


Looking good on the other side of the street.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Spiritual Authority (4) Multi-dimensional

The spiritual realms are not limited to three dimensions like our physical world. The Bible does not tell us how many more, but the fact that it is more complex than our three-dimension world means that it is hard for our minds to understand. The spiritual aspect of life can be thought of as additional dimensions beyond the three core dimensions of length, height and breadth. The spiritual world is not another world in another place, but additional dimensions to the physical world we observe.

An even better way might be to think of the physical world as three additional dimensions tacked on to a multi-dimension spiritual world. The spiritual world is more real than the physical world, so this latter view is most likely correct, but it is very hard for us to handle, because our eyes are calibrated for a physical world. Our eyes are so attuned to seeing a three-dimensional world, that we find anything grander difficult to conceive.

Paul visited the spiritual realms in a vision. He was dramatically affected by what he saw, but he could not describe it (2 Cor 12:2-4). His problem was that human language is designed for describing a physical world, so it cannot cope with spiritual reality. He explained that,

Eye has not seen,
nor ear heard,
and no human mind has conceived (1 Cor 2:9).
We need spiritual insight to understand what is happening in the spiritual dimension. That is why Paul prayed that they “eyes our hearts may be enlightened' (Eph 1:18).


The Kowhai tree in our street has been flowing for several weeks now. It is just beginning to fade.

This tree is a native to New Zealand. Kowhai is the Maori word for yellow. The wh is prounnced ph.

When it is flowering dozens of sparrows feed in it. They must be getting nectar from the flowers.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Spiritual Authority (3) Hovering

When we look at the physical world in isolation, we miss much of what is happening in the universe.

God operates in the spiritual dimensions of reality, but he also created and sustains the physical world. After the creation, the Holy Spirit remained close to the earth.

The Spirit of God was hovering over the waters (Gen 1:2).
The Spirit was not in a distant place. The spiritual realms where he operates hover over the earth. The spiritual dimensions of reality are not way out at the edge of the universe, they exist in parallel to the physical world in which we live. These two realms of existence interact with each other in ways that we often cannot see, and fail to understand.

I am not sure how many Christians understand these things. Three hundred years ago, almost everyone understood their world in this way. Many people in Africa still think this way, although they focus to much on the dark side of the spiritual. Now, under the relentless pressure of education and the enlightenment, interest in the spiritual dimension of life is labelled old fashioned and superstitious.

I also wonder how many Christians understand these things, but do not live them. How many live as if the spiritual realms are irrelevant?

Many Christians are looking inward to establish connecting with the Holy Spirit. This is good, but if we ignore what is happening in the spiritual realms that surround us, we will misunderstand much of what happens in the world. Most Christians need a vastly expanded worldview.

The picture in the previous post correctly shows how the spiritual and physical realms overlap each other. However, in the remainder of these posts, I will place the spiritual realms just above the physical realms so that the interactions between them can be illustrated, but we must always remember that these two worlds overlap and exist in parallel to each other.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Spiritual Authority (2) Spiritual Realms

Christians need a better worldview, that that sees the spiritual realms operating over and alongside the physical realms. We need an awareness of authority in the spiritual realms, if we are to understand the functioning of authority here on earth.

Part of the problem is that we see God as “way up there” far away from our world. We think of heaven as a distant place that we go to where we die. This is shortsighted.

Heaven is not a distant place where God lives. Nor is just a place that we go to when we die. The Bible refers to the “heavenlies” as a label for the spiritual realms that exist alongside the physical world. The spiritual realms are just as real as the physical world that we can see. These two realms overlap and interact with each other.
We live in a multi-dimensional universe in which the spiritual dimensions exist in parallel to our three-dimensional physical world. The spiritual realms operate in continuity with the physical/natural world that we observe. Most humans cannot see into the spiritual dimensions, so we can only observe the physical side of existence. However, events in our physical world are shaped by activities in the spiritual realm. If we just look at the physical world in isolation, we miss much of what is happening in the universe.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Spiritual Authority (1) Better World View

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. This was not just earth and sky. “The heavens” is the biblical name for the spiritual world that exists in parallel to the physical world. God created a multi-dimensional universe. We can only see the three dimensions of physical space plus time, so we assume that is all that exists. The spiritual dimensions consist of many more dimensions of reality beyond what we can see.

We cannot see into the spiritual world due to the effects of sin, so we think that the physical world we see makes up most of the universe. This leads us to assume that the authority systems that we see on earth are important, but we miss the parallel authority systems that exist in the spiritual realms and frequently interact with the authority system on earth. To understand the full working of authority, we need a thorough understanding of the way that authority functions in the spiritual realms, and how it affects events on earth.

Growing up in the modern world, we are taught that the physical world is all that is important. If something cannot be scientifically observed, it is not real. We all imbibe this materialistic understanding of the world during our education and daily lives. We think that the physical world that we live in is all that exists.

The physical realms consist of the earth, the sea and the sky. It includes people and the things they have made. This realm of life can be partitioned into two parts. The people who live according to Gods will are part of the Kingdom of God. Those who reject God’s will belong to "the world" (1 John 2:15-17). In reality, these two groups are mixed up together and interact with each other all the time. I have only portrayed them separately for the purpose of illustration.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Spiritual Authority

My next book is about Authority in the Kingdom of God (not sure what the title will be yet). I have just completed a draft of the second chapter. It has some really exciting material, which is worth more than the price of the book. I will be posting excerpts from this chapter on Blessed Economist, over the next few weeks. If you follow these posts you can get these treasures for free.

Authority is the Essence of the Kingdom. Authority defines kings and kingdoms. The boundary of a kingdom is defined by the scope of the King’s authority. Throughout history men have claimed the right to be king of a kingdom, but if their authority is not recognised, they are fooling themselves. A king without authority is not a king, but a pretender.

Jesus is establishing a kingdom in which authority is exercised in a totally different way from any other kingdom that has ever existed.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fate of the Devil

According to Rev 20:10, the fate of the devil, the beast and the false prophet seems to be different from that of humans. I wonder if the reason is that they are spiritual entities created in such a way that they cannot be destroyed. They seem to have had eternal life since the creation, but have lesser freedom (there is no reference to an angel dying). They are different from humans, who seem to have greater freedom, but can have their lives snuffed out.

If this is correct, the devil, the beast and the prophet cannot be destroyed, but will have to hang round forever in a creation that is perfectly good and with no scope for evil. The devil and his mates would be powerless to corrupt the creation. Living in a perfect world for eternity would be torment for them. Maybe they do experience eternal conscious torment from living in the presence of goodness, and being unable to harm creation and the people living in it.

It would be ironic if the devil had persuaded Christians to believe in eternal conscious torment, when it is solely the fate of him and his fallen spirits, and not for humans.

More at After Life.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Eternal Smoke

Rev 14:9-11 is often used as a justification for believing in eternal conscious torment. However, it is the smoke that rises forever, not the fire. When a fire has gone out, having totally destroyed its fuel, a pall of smoke often hangs round for several days. It is a reminder of what the fire has done.

I grew up on a farm. When the wheat harvest was complete, we would burn the stubble and the straw that came out of the back of the combine harvester (great fun for children, but not good for atmosphere). The wheat paddock would be totally black, leaving no evidence that a wheat crop had even been there. However, smoke would hang round the hills during the weeks after the harvest was complete. It was a reminder of the crops and the harvest that had been.

Even if it is quick and merciful, final destruction will be enormously painful for those who have received a resurrection body equipped for eternal life at the general resurrection. Watching them disappear will be painful for those who have received life in Christ. Some will be friends, relatives and acquaintances. The memory of those who are lost, and the regret for lost opportunities, will last forever.

The smoke rising forever could be is a reminder of what the fire has destroyed. It represents the memory of those who have gone to destruction and who are lost to eternity. The reminder that we will remember these people forever with pain and regret should be a great spur to preaching the gospel.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Fudging Hell

I have not read the book by Edward Fudge called Hell: A Final Word, but according to reviewers, he sees “destruction” as the ruling image in the texts about hell. Death is the outcome, and the absence of life is the outcome for the wicked. For Fudge the emphasis in the Bible is a fire that consumes or destroys, not a fire that purges or that torments. He rejects the popular idea of Eternal Conscious Torment (ECT).

I agree with Fudge. When I did a detailed study of all the biblical reference to the afterlife several years ago, I was surprised at how many clear textual descriptions there are and how clear they are about "destruction". Even the favourite verse John 3:16 refers to “perishing”.

Jesus and John both used powerful images like Gehenna and fire, to enhance their communication. These images are capable of various interpretations, eg fire can represent pain, purifications or destruction. The problem is that Christians have used the images without considering the clearer textual descriptions. We should work the other way round, and use the textual descriptions to interpret the emotive images. I discuss this more fully in hell.

Sunday, October 06, 2013


We went for a walk in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens today. The Azaleas are looking beautiful at the moment.

This is the closest thing to a burning bush as I have ever seen.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Conspiracy to Power

The devil would love to have a one-world government, but he knows it not possible. His Kingdom is divided and disruptive. The big spiritual powers that joined his rebellion are not meek and mild comrades. They are still rebellious, so he cannot get them to do what he want them to do. They prefer to promote their own positions and power. The devil could never get the Prince of Persia to work with the spiritual principality that controls the United States (the King of the North). They prefer fighting against each other to cooperating for their master’s glory. He could not get them into a one-world government, if he tried.

People who believe in government at the national level, often say that they believe in government at the international level too. In practice they never do, because they believe in power, more than they believe in unity. They are never willing to surrender, their power to achieve unity.

The UN Security is a classic example. The great powers want an international organisation to solve problems in the world, but they do not want to be told what to do, so they hang on to their veto power. This destroys the effectiveness of the Security Council. Government does not work at the national level, so it will never work at the international level. Those with power will always cling to it. National governments will not freely surrender their sovereignty to a higher power.

Throughout history, small groups of people have joined together in a conspiracy to gain power in the world. Those with really big ideas think they will control the entire the world. Some dream of one world government. These groups often dabble in occult practices to enhance their power by getting the support of the powers of evil. What these people do not realise is that they are being deceived and used by the devil for his purposes. He wants to control the world, but he will never let a small group of men and women control it, because his ego is too big to share the glory.

He may deceive some of these people into thinking they are manipulating the political and economic powers, but they are the ones being manipulated. They think that they are powerful and smart, but they are deluded into thinking that they have more influence than they really have. They always overreach so they always fail.

Because they are deluded, these people often confuse symbols with substance. Like dogs marking their territory, they often plaster their symbols around the world. They think they have achieved great power, but they are allowed to use their symbols, because the people with real power do not care. These groups often fail when division comes between them, as they fight over power. They eventually collapse and die, and all that remains is their symbols.

The Bible teaches that empires will rise and fall, but God will never allow one group of men to control the world. In my book Times and Seasons, I describe the current world empire and its inevitable fall.

Power never lasts. Most people with power get too big for their boots. Their hubris leads to moral compromise. Bad decisions and mistakes undermine their power. God intervenes to destroy some evil powers, but most human powers do it to themselves. The kings and queens of Europe once exercised enormous powers. Now they are nothing more than television celebrities looking for their next photo opportunity are, but they cannot sing or dance. Metternich was once the most powerful man in the world. Today, Austria is a backwater. The powers of today will go the same way.

Do not call conspiracy
everything this people calls a conspiracy;
do not fear what they fear,
and do not dread it.
The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
he is the one you are to fear,
he is the one you are to dread (Is 8:12-13).

Friday, October 04, 2013

Collusion between Power and Evil.

Collusion is not conspiracy. Rampant political collusion is everywhere. That is the nature of politics. It is why I hate political power. But collusion is not the same as conspiracy.

There is plenty of political collusion in America. The banks fund the politicians and the politicians are not clever enough to regulate the banks (more at Credit Crunch Characters). But it is out in the open. It is not a conspiracy.

The Fed has enormous powers, but these were voted to its by Congress. Its decisions and actions are public, so it is not a conspiracy. Most Americans are glad it is there, because they think the Fed is needed.

Cover ups are common in the world of political power. Bungling and mistakes are common in the political world, but political authorities cannot admit their failures, because that would undermine their power. Cover ups are not a sign that political powers are in control if the fate of the world. They are a sign that they are incompetent, and do not want the world to know.

Political lying is normal. Politicians often do not tell the truth about what they intend to do, because they are scared that they will lose votes. They say one thing and do another, but this is not really a conspiracy, because there voting records are open to the public. voters seem to accept that politicians will vote differently once they are in power. Their supporters accept this because they expect some crumbs from the table of power to fall their way.

Government organisations like the FBI and CIA often engage in evil practices, but they do it to protect their power, not because they have a grand scheme to control the world. When they undertake evil, it is usually to cover up or attempt to put right their previous bungles. Their focus is on protecting their power, position and privilege.

People with political and economic power will be attacked by the powers of darkness. Most of them are deceived by the forces of evil and are being used to advance the devil’s plans (see Discerning Seasons).

The people with political and economic power are not colluding with the powers of darkness. They are not worshipping Satan in secret. Their egos are too big for that. They want their own glory. They are being deceived by evil, and sometime controlled by it, but they are not deliberately colluding with evil.

I do not believe the common conspiracy theory that a dozen closet Satanists are controlling the entire political and economic system of the world. This would be a real conspiracy, but it is not credible.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy theories are popular amongst Christians. I am familiar with the popular teaching that a small group of men with satanic beliefs are manipulating the global financial and political system to accomplish a clever plan. I do not agree with that view.

I have read many accounts of the big banks decisions during the global financial crisis. What strikes me is that most to them did not have a clue what they were doing. They simply did not understand the risks wrapped up in the various derivatives that they created and held. They were taken by surprise, when the risk came back to bite them. Many lost their jobs and most lost huge amounts of wealth. It could be a smoke screen, but I doubt it. I have noticed the same when reading about the 1930s depression. The most powerful bankers went broke or jumped out of windows.

I have no doubt that the devil is manipulating bankers, but he works by deception, rather than collaboration. The political leaders colluded with the bankers to protect them, but they were motivated by fear for their own skins. They did not want to be responsible for making a financial meltdown worse.

So, conspiracy stuff is quite deliberately missing from my writings. I simply do not believe the men running the financial system are that clever.

I do not believe that a world government will come about through a conspiracy. First of all, the belief is usually based on a twisted interpretation of Daniel 9. Secondly, the idea is simply not realistic given the way the way the geopolitical system works. Change at that level is very hard to bring about, event for people with power and money.

Do not call conspiracy
everything this people calls a conspiracy;
do not fear what they fear,
and do not dread it.
The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
he is the one you are to fear,
he is the one you are to dread (Is 8:12-13).
A conspiracy is not needed, as a union of states already exists, though it has been ignored by Bible interpreters. It just turns out to be is the most powerful military and economic empire that he has ever existed. It is far greater than Rome or Babylon, without any conspiracy needed. And it seems to be degenerating as the influence of the gospel declines. So watch this space, and no conspiracy is needed.