Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Russian Threat

I don't not understand why so many Americans are so afraid of Russia. It is like they do not realise that the Soviet Union no longer exists.

The Soviet Union was a real threat. In 1965, its GDP was almost half of that of the United States. It had 4 to 5 million troops, which was more than the Untied States.

Russia is a totally different story. Its GDP is less than a tenth of the United States. It’s economy is smaller than each of the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy. The economy of the EU is ten times greater than the Russian economy.

Russia has only 700,000 combat troops, whereas the Unites States has more than 1.5 million, and vastly superior equipment, and that is not counting NATO partners.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia is no longer a serious threat to the United States, or to Europe. It is weaker than the United Kingdom. It can exert influence in its own backyard, such as in Syria and the Ukraine, but that is close to its limit.

I guess the Military Industrial Complex likes to talk up Russia , because the greater the perceived threat, the more taxpayers funds go their way.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Grace to Works

The incarnation of Jesus is a wonderful gift from God to man.

We give gifts as a way of celebrating this gift. Unfortunately, celebrating the things that God has done, by doing what he has done can become a slippery slope, where we end up trying to be god. The best way to celebrate God’s grace is to graciously receive it.

Humans have an amazing ability to turn God’s grace in human works.

That seems to have happened with Christmas gift giving. Peer pressure and television advertising has turned Christmas giving into a massive obligation.

Poor people feel obliged to buy lavish gifts that they cannot afford for their children, family and friends. Christmas adds to the burden of poverty.

For those who have plenty, Christmas giving becomes a time consuming chore that removes peace and robs us of the time to think about what Jesus has done.

This world does not need more giving as a twisted response to grace. It needs more receiving of what God has given.

It also needs more Zacchaeus giving that transfers unrighteous wealth from the rich to the poor.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Incarnation (7)

When Mathew described the angel announcing the birth of Jesus to Joseph in a dream, he quoted from Isaiah 7:14.

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son,
and they will call him they will name him Immanuel”,
which means “God with us” (Matt 1:23).
What a wonderful promise.

Many peoples used to carry their gods around with them, but they were tinpot gods that did nothing.

We have our God with us, and he is the God who created the universe, so there is no limit to his power. What a privilege! To have such a wonderful God with us.

Jesus came to be God with us. When he ascended into heaven, he sent the Holy Spirit, so that we could continue to have God with us.

Paul explained the incarnation of Jesus to the Colossians.

For in him all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form (Col 2:9).
John said,
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
We have seen his glory (John 1:14).
This Word was with God in the beginning. Everything that was made was made through him. He became flesh and dwelt among us.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

God is Watching

On earth, spiritual protection looks like a circle of protection, but in the spiritual realms, evil spirits can attack from anywhere in the spiritual world. They can operate like a tag team, swapping in and out of the attack to surprise us. The good news is that God is watching over us.

The Lord will guard you from all evil—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore (Psalm 121:7-8).
God is watching, but he is not watching powerless from the distance. He commands a host of angels and he directs them to guard us.
For he will command his angels concerning you,
to guard you in all your ways (Psalm 91:11).
God can direct his angels to protect us from the attacks of the spiritual powers of evil. He shifts his angels around to deal with new attacks as they arise.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Incarnation (6) Illegitimate

When God became man, he did not just become a human, he became an illegitimate child.

When Mary became pregnant, her explanation was absurd. She said that the Holy Spirit had overshadowed her, and that she was still a virgin. No one would believe that story. Everyone would assume that, at worst, she had been seduced by someone, or at best, she had been raped by a Roman soldier. She could not name the father of her child, so everyone would assume that the baby was illegitimate. I presume that she went to visit Elizabeth to escape the insults.

Joseph assumed the worst. He could not marry a woman who was already pregnant, but he was a kind man so he offered to divorce here quietly. Only when an angel spoke to him in a dream and confirmed Mary’s account of what had happened did he agree to Mary her and care for her baby. Marrying Mary was a tough choice for Joseph, because everyone in the village would see that she was pregnant, but not married. He would be labelled as the man with an illegitimate son.

The label stuck with Jesus when he was growing up. When he entered the synagogue at the beginning of him ministry, the people scoffed.

Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son (Mark 6:3).
The were offended by Jesus. They called him “Mary’s son”. That was a reminder that his father was not known. Deut 23:2 said that an illegitimate person could not enter the assembly of the Lord. They believed that he had no right to speak in the synagogue.
When the Jewish leaders challenged Jesus they threw the same insult at him. They asked him.
Where is your father (John 8:19).
They were reminding him that his mother had refused to name his father. When Jesus reminded them that they were spiritual slaves, they said,
We were not born of fornication (John 8:41).
They were trying to insult Jesus by reminding him that he was born illegitimately.
God loved the world so much that he sent his only Son. He did not just becomes man. He was born amidst poverty and insults. What amazing love.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Angels and Prayer

Daniel’s prayer was heard the moment he prayed, and an angel was sent to answer his question. The Prince of the kingdom of Persia resisted him for 21 days until Michael one of the chief princes came to help this angel (Dan 10:13).

When the Prince of Persia resisted, he was not alone. He had a host of spiritual forces with him. When Michael rescued the angel he was not alone. He would have had a host of angels with him.

Literally, they were “standing in front” of the angel. Michael came and “surrounded” (to protect, help) him.

We think in terms of physical realms. Only about four people can attack one person together. Any more attackers would get in each other’s way. The spiritual world is different. Spiritual beings can touch the same place in the physical world from different places in the spiritual realms. It seems like they spiritual realms are curved.

This means that one person can be attacked by a great host of evil spiritual forces, if they are a key player in history. It means that one person might need a host of angels to surround them and protect them.

When his eyes were opened top see into the spiritual realms, Elisha’s servant saw the hills fill of horses and chariots surrounding Elisha (2 Kings 6:17). These angelic beings were “surrounding” Elisha. They were there for one man. Elisha needed them for protection, even though he had a double portion of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit primarily operates within people who have been sanctified by the blood of Jesus. He speaks to them, so they can know Jesus will. He gives followers of Jesus gifts of the Spirit, so they can understand what is happening. He empowers them to speak with authority.

Jesus humbled himself and took the form of a man. The Holy Spirit has also humbled himself to working from within the followers of Jesus, while at the same time sustaining the universe. He teaches us God’s will. He flows out of us to touch unbelievers and heal the people we touch.

The Holy Spirit leaves responsibility for wrestling with the spiritual power of evil to the holy angels. Humans speak and remove the authority of the spiritual powers of evil. The holy angels force them to obey the words spoken in obedience to Jesus.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


I cannot understand why the Western media are silent about the atrocities being committed by an ally of the United States in Yemen. Michael Horton describes the current situation.

Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners are enforcing a naval blockade of Yemen. Yemen—already the poorest country in the Middle East— imports 90 percent of its food and medicine. Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis face starvation as food prices have soared and aid is either non-existent or slow to arrive. The United Nations estimates that more than 80 percent of Yemen’s population of 23 million are in immediate need of humanitarian assistance.

The chief executive of Oxfam, Mark Golding, stated: “Yemen is being slowly starved to death. First there were restrictions on imports including much need food. When this was partially eased, the cranes in the ports were bombed, then the warehouses, then the roads and the bridges. This is not by accident. It is systematic.”

Concurrent with the naval blockade, Saudi Arabia is waging an aerial campaign that has laid waste to Yemen’s limited infrastructure. There are few parts of the country that have not been impacted: bridges, roads, schools, hospitals, water wells and, according to some reports, even farms and orchards have all been targeted. The damage to Yemen’s infrastructure will take billions of dollars and probably decades to rebuild, if it is ever rebuilt.

However, this is only the physical cost of the war. The cost to the Yemeni people and particularly to its young people—roughly 60 percent of Yemenis are under the age of 24—is incalculable. Vast numbers of Yemeni children are unable to attend school, child malnourishment—already high—has soared, and unemployment—also high before the war—is now endemic. It is likely that an entire generation of Yemenis, who already faced profound challenges, has been further disadvantaged and made more vulnerable by a war that is even more senseless than most.

Why is they United States and the United Kingdom supplying weapons to Saudi Arabia to wreck this poor country. What on earth do they think they are achieving. Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the world. What can be achieved by destroying its inadequate infrastructure.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Incarnation (4) Dangerous

Coming to earth as a baby was highly dangerous for God. If the spiritual powers of evil could kill him before he grew up, they could foil God’s plan to rescue his people and his creation.

That is why the spiritual powers of evil stirred up Herod to kill all the baby boys living in the vicinity of Bethlehem. They hoped to wipe him out, before he became a problem for them.

An angel spoke to Joseph in a dream and he and Mary fled to Egypt. The wise men had provided them with wealth to support themselves while there.

I believe the spiritual powers of evil did not notice Jesus fleeing during the night, because they believed that they had destroyed Jesus when Herod killed the children.

Or perhaps they were so arrogant, they did not believe that a baby boy could be a threat to them.

Whatever the reason, Jesus was able to grow up to be as a normal young man.

I am sure that a host of angels continued to surround him for protection. The prayers of Mary and people like Anna and Simeon gave them authority to surround Jesus and protect him. God had to wait for them to be there, before he could send Jesus.

When Jesus was baptised, the spiritual powers of evil realised that Jews really was a threat. They went into the wilderness and tried to get him to disobey God and disqualify himself for his mission. Or to take a rash action that would result him being killed.

Jesus resisted the spiritual powers of evil and defeated them. He was then able to enter his ministry and fulfil his calling.

Although the angels were there to protect Jesus, it was an enormous risk. What if the people has stopped praying, or Joseph had ignored the angel and stayed in Bethlehem. God loved us so much that he was willing to risk his son on a mission to rescue us.

Imagine if you had rented your house out to someone that you trusted to look after it, but they let some gangsters move in and live with them. Would you send your child to live in the house for a couple of years, in order to get it back. If that was the only way to do it, most of us would give up and look for another house. We would not risk a child to save a house. But that was what God did. He sent his son, to save the world. He loved us so much that he was willing to risk his son to rescue us.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Incarnation (3)

We have heard the story of Jesus birth so often, we have forgotten how amazing it is. Imagine a toymaker making wooden dolls. If something went wrong with the dolls, the toymaker could turn himself into a wooden doll so that he was small enough assist them. This children’s story has never been written, because it is just too absurd. Why would a creative human being turn himself into a tiny wooden doll?

What human would turn themselves into an ant to rescue an ant’s nest that was in danger of being destroyed? A kind person might stoop down to look. They might try to remove the danger. But no human would think of turning themselves into an ant to live with them and rescue them. The idea is totally stupid.

Yet that is what God has done. Our creator became a human, so he could rescue us from the mess that we created in his world.

No wonder the angels went mad with Joy. I guarantee that when the idea was first mooted, some angels were surprised and said it would not happen. God would not became a human, a little lower than the angels. Yet that is what he did. That is why the angels sang, Glory to God in heaven, and Wow, the humans who messed up the earth have got a lucky break”.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Incarnation (2)

Why did God send Jesus a baby? Why did he not send him as an adult? He could have done that as he did with Adam and Eve. It would have been much safer.

The problem if Jesus had come as an adult is that the spiritual powers of evil could argue that Jesus was not truly human and not entitled to authority on earth. He had to be born helpless and grow to be a man, so there could be no argument about his humanness, and his right to take authority over the earth. He had to be a true descendant of Adam. Being born to an Israelite girl was the only way that it could happen.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Incarnation (1)

I am struck by the number of Christmas messages that end up being about the cross. It seems that may preachers do not understand the wonder of the incarnation. Let me try to explain it.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He gave authority over the earth to humans. Satan tricked Adam and Eve and they submitted to him, which gave Satan and his follower’s authority over the earth.

The powers of evil had stolen God’s earth. He had given authority to humans, so he could not intervene without their permission. Humans continued to sin, which made them slaves of the spiritual powers of evil. They made sure that humans did not seek him, so God was shut out of his own creation. For a millennium, the spiritual powers of evil had a free reign to attack and destroy the earth. They did terrible harm (Gen 6:5).

Then men like Lamech, Noah and Abraham began to call out to God and invite him to get involved. Moses led the people into Canaan and established a land where God would be free to operate. However, that did not last long, because the Israelites rebelled against God and were taken into exile. The land where God should have been free to work was controlled by evil empires.

The world was a mess, but God had decreed that only humans could exercise authority on earth. But only a human who had not sinned could be free from the spiritual powers of evil and take back authority on earth. None of the descendants of Adam could do it, so the situation looked like a stalemate.

God had created a dilemma. He had given authority over the earth to humans, and he does not go back on his word. Only a human could win the world back from the spiritual powers of evil. However, the spiritual powers of evil controlled humans so, they would not let humans give God authority to intervene. God is sovereign, but because he is faithful, he honours the commitments he has made.

  • Only a human could do it.
  • No human was human was good enough to struggle free and do it.
God had an amazing solution. He would become a man. That was amazing enough, but he could not just becomes an adult man (like Adam), he had to be a descendent of Adam (and Abraham). The only way that could happen was for God to be born of a woman.

The Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and Jesus was conceived in her womb. He was truly human, so he would grow to be a man with legal rights to authority on earth. He would live a righteous life, so he could be defeat the spiritual powers of evil and take authority over the earth back from them.


Monday, December 12, 2016


We just bought six small Ikea plastic bowls from the Warehouse (the New Zealand version of Walmart). They only cost a few dollars.

They are made in China, designed in France and branded by Ikea from Sweden. The safety warning is written in 35 languages.

I didn’t know that bowls are so dangerous that they need adult supervision.

I guess this warning is required by EU regulations. This is what big government delivers.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Too Liberal

David Fitch has interesting article called, We are just Too Liberal. Here is a quote.

Because our Christianity is such an individual thing, we do not have confidence that God is working in the world. Neither do we see how the church is a way of living together that displays His Kingdom in society. We don’t see how the church lives under its political power, the reign of Jesus who is Lord and bringing in His Kingdom.
The article is worth reading.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Modern Liberalism

Shadi Hamid wrote,

The decline of Christianity in the United States has left an ideological vacuum, and for many, perhaps most, modern liberalism is just a bit too boring to fill the gap.
Modern liberalism is also to weak to deal invading cultures. It assumes that all cultures are good. Therefore it has to accommodate every culture that enters regardless of whether it is good or bad.

Consequently, liberalism will eventually be overcome by a stronger dominant culture. That will not be decided by political war, but by what American people believe and serve.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016


The Bible teaches God’s people to welcome stranger and sojourners in their land and bless them (Deut 10:17-19). The decisions were made locally within strong communities.

What is happening in America is a bit different. The politicians in Washington have decided that various communities should host refugees from overseas. The politicians do not receive them into their communities. They have very little to do with the refugees, unless they employ them as cheap gardeners and house cleaners.

The migrants do not change the culture in the community where the politicians live, because they cannot afford to live there. They live in separate more affordable communities.

The people living in the communities that the refugees are sent to have very little say in what happens. The migrants live among them, so they influence their culture.

Enforced hospitality to strangers is not what the scriptures have in mind.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Thanksgiving and Immigration

Ruth Ryder at the Torch has an intersting article called Thanksgiving, Christian Hospitality, and “Illegal” Immigrants.

Remember Where You Came From
Scripture is full of instructions on how the people of God are to treat foreigners. The Hebrew Bible contains several reminders that the Israelites were once foreigners in Egypt and would be still, were it not for God’s grace. Now, God tells them, true justice requires extending hospitality toward immigrants.
For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 10:17-19, NRSV)
This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’ (Zechariah 7:9-10, NIV)
There are many more examples from the Hebrew Bible besides the two I have provided. In the New Testament, Christians are similarly reminded that they were once strangers to God, utterly sinful (lawbreakers!) and undeserving of his hospitality. We didn’t first get a green card and take the Heavenly Kingdom citizenship test before God extended his hospitality toward us.

Gentiles especially must remember that they were also once “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God. (Ephesians 2:11-22, NRSV)
Although we are now no longer strangers to God, we have become strangers to the world. We are pilgrims in this world in search of our heavenly homeland, which has become ours through God’s generous gift of hospitality (Hebrews 11:13-16). And so we are instructed that we, too, must extend hospitality to strangers (Matthew 25: 34-46; Hebrews 13:2; Romans 12:13).

Just as it is important for us as Christians to remember our past as foreigners to God and his kingdom when considering how we ought to treat foreigners among us, it is also important to remember our ethnic heritage and past in this country. Every caucasian in this country is the descendant of people who chose to leave their homeland in search of a better life. And when you consider the ruthless acquisition of land and all 500+ broken treaties with the Native Americans, America itself is a nation of “illegal immigrants.” Simply because the lawbreaking, unjust agent happens to be the government doesn’t magically make those acts legal and just, even if it absolves itself of any wrongdoing. If you’re a Christian, you should be able to recognize that there is a higher law to which even the United States government ought to submit.

Add to that irony the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which led to the deportation of the Indians living in the southeast to west of the Mississippi River. And so the original inhabitants were “legally” forced to leave their own homes and travel hundreds of miles in what became known as the “Trail of Tears,” killing many thousands along the way. Claiming the moral highground in order to expel people deemed to be inferior is nothing new. Your government might legalize its own actions, and yet they remain fully “illegal” in the eyes of God.

Follow the link above and read the entire article.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Casey on Nationalism (3)

Doug Casey on Nationalism and the State.

I think, however, that the nation-state is approaching its end game.

And almost all states in the world are on the point of failure because almost all of them are bankrupt. They’ve issued far more debt than they can ever repay. They all compel their subjects to use fiat currencies, but all of those currencies are in the process of being destroyed, since governments, through their central banks, are issuing them by the trillions now.

Governments the world over provide less and less in the way of services that people actually want and need—and most of those they’ve usurped, as they always have, from the market. Since they’re mostly bankrupt they’ll be increasingly unable to provide useful services. So I expect we’ll see more internal turmoil around the world in the years to come. And more wars, as governments blame each other for various problems. You’ll find more states going rogue for that reason.

This is all bad news. But the good news is that—possibly—we’re at the cusp of seeing the concept of the state itself debunked. And the state replaced by a more rational form of social organization.

Unfortunately, it’s likely to be a bumpy road getting from here to there. Most people have no idea how bad things can get when a government goes out of control, let alone how to prepare… The coming economic and political collapse is going to be much worse, much longer, and very different than what we’ve seen in the past.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Casey on Nationalism (2)

Doug Casey on Nationalism and the State.

In the Kingdom phase, from around 3,000 B.C. to roughly the mid-1600s, the world’s cultures were organized under strong men, ranging from petty lords to kings and emperors. With kingdoms, loyalties weren’t so much to the “country”—a nebulous and arbitrary concept—but to the ruler. You were the subject of a king, first and foremost. Your linguistic, ethnic, religious, and other affiliations were secondary. Tribal leaders who were good warriors conquered neighboring tribes and set themselves up as kings.

Then came the nation-state, one of the mankind’s worst inventions.

It seems that most people naturally want, and maybe even need, a leader. It must be some kind of innate atavism, probably dating back to before humans branched out from the chimpanzees about three million years ago. Most people, it seems, like being led, and giving their loyalty to something bigger than themselves. Maybe that helps give their lives meaning… In any event, over the last few hundred years, it’s become fashionable to pledge allegiance not to a ruler or a king, but to something called the “State.”

Today’s prevailing norm is the nation-state, a group of people who tend to share a language, religion, and ethnicity. Like a gigantic tribe. The idea of the nation-state is especially effective when it’s organized as a “democracy,” where the average person is given the illusion he has some measure of control over where the leviathan is headed.

I think, however, that the nation-state is approaching its end game.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Casey on Nationalism (1)

Doug Casey on Nationalism and the State.

Nationalism is, most importantly, a psychological attitude. It amounts to making your nation-state a major element in your life, where you view yourself not so much as a human being or an individual, but as an Italian or an American or a Congolese or Chinese or what have you. Nationalism makes you see yourself, and others, as part of a collective.

Of course, there are different flavors and degrees of nationalism. “Patriotism,” for instance is automatically considered a good thing, wherein you reflexively support what your nation-state does. But it’s really just a euphemism for nationalism. It’s nationalism made righteous, with overtones of hearth and home, as opposed to politics. Then you get “jingoism” when patriots get overenthusiastic.

I think it’s a mistake to automatically give your loyalty to any large group that you belong to just through an accident of birth. For instance, should you have been a Soviet patriot just because you were born in the USSR? Should you have been a German patriot while the Nazis were in power?

Nationalism amounts to saying “my nation-state is the best in the world because I happen to have been born there.” It’s really a very stupid psychological aberration because it places an accident of birth above much more important things like your ethics, desires, and attitudes.

Nationalism, no matter what flavor, can be a very dangerous thing. It brings people down to the lowest common denominator. It encourages groupthink.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Cannington School

Last weekend, I  attended the 125th celebrations of Cannington School in South Canterbury.

When I started in 1954, it was a single-teacher primary school. By the time I left at the end of Form 2, the baby boom had turned it into a tw- teacher school. The temporary classroom in the left of the photo was trucked in for the junior classes.

I had the same teacher all the way through my primary schooling. The photo shows the senior school in 1960. The lad on the right in the back row looks blessed, but he does not look like he wanted to become an economist.

My father and grandfather attended the same school. My mother taught there for two terms as a relieving teacher, a couple of years after finishing at Training College, while they found a permanent replacement for a teacher who had been called up for military service.

A widow with a grown-up family offered her board. Her farm was only 2 miles from the school, which was close enough for my mother to bike to school. A couple of years later she married one of the young men in this family, and the rest is history.

The old school room has been replaced, but meeting with people that I had not seen for many years was interesting and enjoyable.

Farming has changed. When I was growing up this district concentrated on sheep farming. With declining prices of wool and frozen lamb, the emphasis has shifted to cattle, some dairy farming, and dairy grazing.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Eschatology of Politics

Scot McKnight of Jesus Creed made the best comment I have seen on the US presidential election on a Kingdom Roots podcast. He made it before the results were known.

There is a massive distortion. Increasingly, American Christians get all riled up, just as the rest of the United States does during the election season and they develop an eschatology of politics. That is the belief that if we vote in the right person, the world will change, or our government will change, or our nation will change in the direction that we think that it needs to go.

For eighteen months, the church has been massively distracted from the mission of God in this world, which is not the betterment of the United States, but the evangelization of the world and the edification of Christians in the local church and the church universal.

The churches have been massively distracted from their mission, because they have becomes, along with the world, obsessed with political process and a belief that if we get the right leader, our nation will be a better place. This is almost belief in a theory of redemption through political process. I find this to be disgusting theologically, and unrooted in the Bible.

More important it focuses us on the wrong thing, in political process as a means of redemption, and it prevents us from seeing that the true means of redemption is the cross and the resurrection of Jesus, and the locus of that redemption is the church…

We are de-confessing that world will only become a better place when it is redeemed through Jesus Christ.

Scot’s concern also applies to those who believe that electing the wrong person can send the nation to wrack and ruin. That is also an eschatology of politics.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Unity in Diversity

People like to be with people like themselves. So a strong society needs agreement on a core set of beliefs to remain united. A great deal of diversity can be tolerated, provided people accept these unifying beliefs. Not everyone has to accept the unifying beliefs, but if they are widely accepted, those who don’t like them will have to go along to function within the society. (Allowing people freedom to disagree with the dominant beliefs, provided they do not disrupt society was once called tolerance).

For many centuries, Christianity provided the unifying beliefs that held society together in the Western world. The principle of loving one another as Jesus loved us allows people of diverse cultures to live in unity. A tax collector and a zealot could work together, because they were committed to following Jesus.

At its best, the church tolerated a variety of cultures, provided people accepted some core beliefs. (At its worst, the church persecuted minority beliefs).

With the advance of secularism, belief in democracy has been the unifying belief that holds nations together. Now faith in democracy is on the wane, under pressure from identity politics.

In modern society, tolerance is becoming the dominant belief. Differences are to be celebrated. This has produced great freedom, but it cannot unify a society, because it builds diversity at the expense of unity. If this trend continues, society will be torn apart by class conflict and identity politics.

If there are no unifying beliefs, the only thing that can hold a society together is dictatorial state power, often justified by fear of external enemies.

Friday, November 25, 2016


Modern people have a shallow and naïve view of culture. They assume that diversity of culture is always a good thing. After all, a variety of cuisines at a food fair cannot be a bad thing.

Cultural diversity can enrich a society, especially if culture is confined to different foods, clothing, music, art, dance, worship and religious festivals. Unfortunately, culture often goes much deeper and produces different attitudes to political authority, military force, violence, which make diversity a problem.

If religion is limited to cultural activities, then diversity of religion can enrich society. The problem is that religion at its best should go deeper. If religion produces different attitudes to family relationships, government authority, violence, war and property, religious diversity creates problems for a society.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Politics cannot do it, because politics power creates winners and losers, majorities and minorities. Majorities get privileges and minority are shut out.

Racial reconciliation must be local,
because that is where love and forgiveness dwell.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Kings and Priests

We are called to be priests and kings.

He washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father (Rev 1:5-6).
Since the reformation, Christians have been serious about the priesthood of all believers, even though we do not always practice it.

We have not taken the kingship of all believers nearly so seriously. We are kings.

A king does not need another king to rule him. If he surrendered to another king, he would stop being a king.

If Christians are kings, they don’t need a king or some other political system to rule them. We need to work out what that means.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Supreme Court

Trump will be able appoint some conservative judges to the Supreme Court. The impact will not be as great as people think. The Supreme Court has always followed the people. I suspect that it will continue to support social change, as it always has.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Not a Revolution

Trump is not a revolution. The demographic that voted for Trump is aging and declining. Rather, the presidential election was a temporary setback for the slow-burning social revolution that has been underway for the last 20 years. It still controls most of the influencing institutions in the US. It will surge forward again, unless there something significant happens.

Likewise, the evangelical church will continue to decline in numbers and influence, unless something dramatic happens.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Political Power

People who believe in transformation of society by political power lurch between disappointment and hope.

If their politician loses, they are disappointed. From then on, they see every problem as the consequence of the wrong political leaders being in power. They did not trust these leaders, before they were elected, so they are not surprised when thing wrong. Everything that happens confirms their disappointment.

If their politician wins, they are filled with hope. They expect the situation to improve. When economic and social problems arise, they are caused by the mistakes of previous set of politicians, or their refusal to give up power. When their politician disappoints, they are not disappointed.

Political power is a false saviour, because it provides human salvation. At best, political power will fail. At worst it becomes a vehicle for nationalism that becomes an idol. Sometimes it is the idol of nationalism that creates the need for political salvation.

The only true hope is the good news of the Kingdom of God announced and established by Jesus.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Another Big Quake

Just after midnight, a 7.5 earthquake struck the top of the South Island of New Zealand. We felt the shake in Christchurch, but it was not as bad as the 2010 quake that wrecked the city. The shaking went on for more than two minutes, and seemed like it would never stop. But there was not serious damage in Christchurch.

The quake was centred further north in an area that is less intensely populated and has no high-rise buildings. I imagine that is why there have only been two fatalities. The worst affected towns were Hamner Springs and Kaikoura. Both are tourist towns. Hamner is famous for hot pools, mountains and skiing.

Kaikoura is popular for whale watching. The picturesque highway that travels down the coast through Kaikoura has been closed by dozens of slips. Many tourists spending the night there in their campervans are stranded, while they wait for the road to be opened again. The area is still being rocked by serious aftershocks.

There is serious damage in the small rural villages like Waiau and Culverden. I am sure there is serious damage on many of the farms too.

Some buildings in the capital city Wellington have been damaged, but this seems to be more superficial.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Great Again?

Donald Trump wants to make America great again. This is problematic, because America has never really been great. It has alwasy had a dark underbelly that belies greatness.

Anyway, only the church and the kingdom can be truely great. And the kingdom of God is not a nation state.

Of course, America is not a nation state. It has always been a multi-national state. Unfortunately, a multi-national state has a tendency to fly apart. This is partly what the presidential election was about.

A multi-national state needs a common enemy to keep it united: Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Iran, ISIS. Some are trying to recycle Russia for this unifying role, but it is too weak to be a serious enemy.

When its enemies are defeated, the only thing that can hold a multi-national state together is a political dictator. That is why most multi-national states eventually become an empire.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Spiritual Power

The United States presidential election has not changed the spiritual powers that control the nation. It has just changed the personnel they will control. That is why very little will change, regardless of the election.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Establishment Foreign Policy

Robert Parry writes.

American voters felt they needed a blunt instrument to smash the Establishment that has ruled and mis-ruled America for at least the past several decades. It is an Establishment that not only has grabbed for itself almost all the new wealth that the country has produced but has casually sent the U.S. military into wars of choice, as if the lives of working-class soldiers are of little value.

On foreign policy, the Establishment had turned decision-making over to the neoconservatives and their liberal-interventionist sidekicks, a collection of haughty elitists who often subordinated American interests to those of Israel and Saudi Arabia, for political or financial advantage.

The war choices of the neocon/liberal-hawk coalition have been disastrous – from Iraq to Afghanistan to Libya to Syria to Ukraine – yet this collection of know-it-alls never experiences accountability. The same people, including the media’s armchair warriors and the think-tank “scholars,” bounce from one catastrophe to the next with no consequences for their fallacious “group thinks.”

Educated Elite

Daniel McCarthy has a interesting comment.

America’s educated elite—in the academy, the media, government, and the para-governmental world of think tanks and pressure groups—has been systematically and collectively wrong about some of the biggest questions in foreign policy, economics, psychology, sociology, and culture. The best and brightest have assumed for twenty years that what every man and woman on earth most deeply desires is to become a liberal democrat. Steel workers in Pittsburgh and goat-herders in Afghanistan really in their heart of hearts yearn to be more like Washington Post op-ed columnists.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Establishment Elites

The US Presidential election was a massive poke in the eye for the political/media/financial establishment. However, these bureaucratic elites love power and will only give it up reluctantly. They are skilled at manipulation of the news  and experts at controlling the political process, so it will be interesting to see how much really changes. I suspect that the establishment elite will retain most of their power.

Manufactured Fear

The Clinton campaign characterised Donald Trump as "scarry". That was a clever tactic, because it is emotions that persuade, not ideas or policies. Emotion is even more powerful than image for persuasion. The media joined in on the "scarry" theme and people believed.

Clinton did not win the election, but the emotion remains. Now people all over the world who absorbed this message are afraid.

Biggest Loser

The biggest losers in the US Presidential Election were the news media. They like to take the role of kingmakers. They were united in their support for Hillary Clinton and vociferous in their hostility to Donald Trump. Their pollsters and pundits predicted a Clinton victory.

Trump talked over the media to the people and won the primaries. He seems to have done the same in the general elections. Very amusing to see their shock, embarrassment and dismay.

They have now turned their failure into a story, but they have not acknowledged that they deceived themselves.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Pukekura Park

We really enjoyed the Fernery and Display houses at Pukekura Park in New Plymouth.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016


Taranaki is dairy farming region with flat land growing good grass. I can see why the European settlers quickly kicked out the Maori and took over.

Wherever you go the Mount Taranaki is towering above, except when covered by cloud.

Monday, November 07, 2016


Patea has a great song called Poi E! And a movie about the making of the song.

But it's economy has not recovered from the closing of the Freezing Works in the 1980s. Many of the shops on the main street are empty.

Sunday, November 06, 2016


We have just returned from a holiday in the lower part of the North Island (New Zealand).

Whanganui is a beautiful city on the banks of a river.

But the economy is a bit run down, with many empty shops.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Civic Totalism

Michael Bird has some interesting thoughts on civic totalism. This struggle could get a nasty.

"Key to civic totalism is the view that public institutions are supreme and civil society is reduced to a legal fiction where liberties are granted, modified, and revoked by the will of the state. In addition, the distinctions between public and private increasingly shrink. As a result, private life is treated as an artificial construct and it is no longer regarded as an impenetrable frontier with special privileges. "

"Consequently religion too, within civic totalism, is regarded as dangerous since religion ascribes notions of ultimacy to something other than the state and the state’s vision of the public good. Religion creates a competing social vision and an alternative morality, which divides the loyalty of citizens away from the state’s objectives for human conduct, rendering certain forms of religion as hostile to the state’s ambitions. "

Monday, October 31, 2016

Foxy Economists

Bill Bonner writes well, and he gets economists.

"The U.S. economy grew rapidly from the founding of the Republic through the 19th century and into the 20th century. With no central bank. No interest-rate policy. No economists on the payroll. No counter-cyclical stimulus. No nothing."

"Then the foxy economists made their dens in the warm and fuzzy burrows of Washington and Wall Street."

The consequences have been nasty.

"…in the most advanced economy the world has ever seen… with 15,000 full-time economists...

…the typical family in America doesn’t even have $500 to cover an emergency. And the typical “head of the house” earns less today in “real” (inflation-adjusted) terms than he did in 1973."

"The average American had to work 990 hours to buy a Ford F-150 pickup in 1976. Forty years later, he has to put in 1,220 hours."

"Economists have ruined the economy. The working man knows it.

Deep State scams and rich cronies have walked away with trillions of dollars of other people’s money. There’s a vast assortment of more sleazy giveaways, too, hidden in a pile of federal regulations 80,000 pages high (with Obamacare regulations alone some eight times longer than the Bible!).

Thousands of plums are hidden in that pudding. And somewhere in the great Parasitocracy are lobbyists and insiders who know where they are.

But the man in the street has gotten poorer."

Economists Have Ruined the Economy.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Parallel Powers (14) Satan’s Fate

Satan was bound by the cross. He was thrown into the Abyss, but he was not let out with the other spiritual powers of evil that escaped.

He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time (Rev 20:3)
When the time of the Kingdom is fulfilled, he will set be set free for a little season at the end of the age. He will gather the remaining evil spirits for a final rebellion against God.
When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them (Rev 20:7-9).
Satan will gather a horde of evil spirits for battle, but they will be destroyed by God’s power.

The devil will be thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulphur

And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulphur for ever and ever, where the beast and the false prophet shall be being tormented day and night (Rev 20:10).
The devil will be tormented with this other pair of powerful spirits who have been held there during the age of the kingdom.

Many other evil spirits will be there too.

Yet the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, the sorcerers, the idolaters and all the false ones—part of them in the fiery lake of burning sulphur, which is a second death (Rev 21:8).
These spirits might be the ones who are tormenting the big-name spirits.

The bible does not really tell us what happens to this remnant of the spiritual powers of evil, but John gives a clue. He says that the fiery lake of burning sulphur is “a second death”. He does not use the definite article, so this is not the second death. The second death is final destruction. However, the fiery lake of burning sulphur is a second death. John is also suggesting it becomes a final destruction.

In Revelation 22:1-5, John describes the final reality. There is a river of life, but no fiery lake of burning sulphur. This suggests that God has destroyed it, an along with the remnant of the spiritual powers of evil.

They will not be forgotten. John says,

The smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever (Rev 14:11).
Smoke hangs around long after the fire has gone. The memory of the Satan, the beast, the false prophet will survive into eternity as a reminder of what happens when free people rebel against God.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Parallel Powers (13) Spirits Destroyed

The other spiritual kings and generals and their spiritual hierarchies are destroyed. John says that they are destroyed by the sword that comes out of Jesus mouth.

The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh (Rev 19:21).
The sword is the word of God. The spiritual powers of evil were created by a word from God’s mouth as part of the creation of the world. These ruler spirits who are expert in controlling government and fighting wars will be destroyed by a word spoken by Jesus.

Evil spirits love the destruction of war. Many governing spirits will have gathered so they can expand their power, but many ordinary spirits show up because they love the blood and death that war creates. They are the ones that John called the birds of the air (Luke 8:5,11). When the power spirits are killed, they gorge on their power. John described this as a “supper”.

This spiritual battle will be an enormous victory for God, because the destruction of the ruling spirits will dramatically weaken the strength of the spiritual powers of evil. This is a significant change in the balance of power on earth.

The total number of evil spirits in existence might be reduced to a quarter of what they have been. A third of angels fell, so their number was about half the number of the good angels. The destruction of this great battle will mean the angels outnumber them at least ten to one.
With a large population of people on earth, the remaining evil spirits will be spread very thin and find it harder to harass God’s people. This victory will bring a period of peace and blessing on earth.

All the spirits that have skills in controlling governments and armies will be gone. This will dramatically weaken the power of human government’s. The collapse of human governments will open the way for the Government of God

How does this happen? The prophets will be the key. In Revelation 10, John described a powerful prophetic voice that emerges in the church. These prophets will pronounce declarative prayers against the spiritual powers of evil, which will release the Holy Spirit and the angelic armies. This massive spiritual power will destroy the enemies of God.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Parallel Powers (11) Who Captures

The answer to who captures is now obvious. The beast and the false prophet were captured by other evil spirits. These spirits threw them into the lake of fiery lake of burning sulphur.

In the beginning, the spiritual powers of evil rebelled against God. That set in train a series of events that released destruction and evil on God’s good earth. Since then they have always had rebellion in their hearts.

They gather for the great spiritual battle and attack the beast and the false prophet, because they believed that these spiritual powers had made a serious mistake. They rebel against them and capture them.

We often assume that spiritual powers of evil are united in a common purpose. That is not true. Wars and jockeying for power are common in the kingdom of darkness. The strongest spirits hold power, but other are always looking for opportunities to usurp their powers. The big spiritual battle was a rebellion against the beast and the false prophet.

Many evil spirits rebel against the powerful spirits that had controlled them. These rebellious spirits throw these big-name spirits into the fiery lake of burning sulphur and organise for them to be tormented.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Parallel Powers (10) The Fiery Lake of Burning Sulphur

The key is understanding that there are two lakes in the book of Revelation.

  • The lake of fire
  • The fiery lake of burning sulphur
The lake of fire is the second death. Hades and death were thrown into this lake. Their role was finished, so the lake of fire is permanent destruction. This lake is the destination of the people whose names are not written in Jesus’ book of life. For them it was annihilation (Rev 20:14-15). This fire burns purely, so it is the work of God.

The destination of the beast and the false prophet is different. They go into a lake of burning sulphur. Sulphur is often caused brimstone. It eats away at flesh and destroys it slowly. It was often used in rubbish dumps to destroy organic material.

In Revelation, sulphur is associated with the powers of evil. The evil spirit that came out of the Abyss spat out fire and sulphur (Rev 9:17-18). Sulphur stinks, which also reminds us of evil.

The fiery lake of burning sulphur is a place of torment (Rev 20:10). The Beast and the false prophet are tormented day and night. It is a place set up by the spiritual powers of evil as an imitation of the real thing, but with an evil twist. Torment replaces annihilation. The powers of evil set it up so they can torment other spirits that have betrayed them.

Christians who believe in eternal conscious torment of those who reject the gospel have confused the two lakes. God allows people who have rejected the gospel to be destroyed, if they do not want to be with him. He does not torment people. That is what the evil spirits do.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Parallel Powers (9) Big Spiritual Battle

Several multi-national armies gather for war in Israel, where the beast will already be in control. Other nations that hate his power and control will gather to attack the beast. This is what will happen on earth, but John saw what will happen in the spiritual realms.

John saw Jesus coming with the armies of heaven.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean (Rev 19:11,14).
Jesus is motivated by wrath.
He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God (Rev 19:15).
Much of the wrath in scripture is the work of a spiritual leader called Wrath, but this is real wrath. However, it is directed against the spiritual powers of evil, not the people on the earth.

John also saw the spiritual kings and their retainers gather together with all the spiritual generals and their subordinates. All the ruling spirits from all over the world will gather together for a spiritual battle. They see this battle as an opportunity to expand their power on earth, but it is actually a trap, because Jesus and his angels are prepared for them.

I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs, he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulphur (Rev 19:19-21).
The outcome was dramatic, but inevitable. The beast and the false prophet are captured. These are the ruling spirits that came out of the Abyss. They are captured and thrown into fiery lake of burning sulphur.

Two questions are important here.

  • Who captured them?
  • Where were they thrown?
I will answer the second question first in the next post.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Parallel Power (8) The Great Battle

The Revelation of John culminates in a great battle. This is linked to wars between armies on earth, but that is just a sideshow. The real battle takes place in the spiritual realms and Jesus achieves a great victory. John saw into heaven.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him (Rev 19:11-14).

John saw things that took place in the spiritual realms. Jesus was leading the armies of heaven. These are the hosts of angels that love to do his will. They are supported by the prayers of the saints on earth. John was told that Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 19:16).

An angel cried out in a loud voice to call the evil ruler spirits to battle.

I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and the mighty, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, great and small (Rev 19:17-18).
The kings, generals and mighty men with their armies are not human kings and armies. They are the parallel spiritual powers that control the governments, nations and armies of men. These spiritual kings and generals control large hosts of evil spirits. They stop fighting against each other and come together to fight against Jesus.

The birds of the air represent ordinary garden variety evil spirits. These are spirits attached to particular sins, rather than to rulers and nations. They know a battle was coming and they hope to gain a position of power in the spiritual realm, when other more powerful spirits fall.
The gathering of the spiritual kings and generals is described in several places in Revelation.

When the sixth trumpet was sounded, angels were released to gather armies near the Euphrates area in the Middle East (Rev 9:13-16). This river runs through modern Iraq and Syria. Human armies will gather in this place, but they are not so important. The armies that John saw being gathered were spiritual (Rev 9:17-10). They were destructive spiritual powers.

The same gathering of spiritual powers was described in the sixth bowl of wrath.

The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty (Rev 16:12-14).
Human armies gather near Israel to fight, but the real battle is in the spiritual realms. The human armies will be relatively small, compared with the vast host of evil spirits gather for the battle on the great day of God. The beast and the false prophet are leading spiritual powers of evil.

The background to these events is described in Times and Seasons.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Parallel Power (7) Abyss Opened

When the fifth trumpet is sounded, the angel of the church that had fallen was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss, and evil spirits came out and began to torment people on earth. They were led by an angel whose name was Destruction (Rev 9:1-11).

This event is a terrible woe for the inhabitants of the earth (Rev 8:13). The evil spirits that had been locked up in the Abyss since the time of Noah were released back onto the earth again. Their release would result in a vast increase in evil. The angel that controls this great army is called Destruction. He had organised a season of terrible destruction on earth when he was the angel that controlled the earth during the Millennium of Darkness between the fall and the flood. This terrible angel and all his followers will be released again to bring their destructions to the earth.

How could this happen? How could the angels that had been shut up from harm’s way for so long be released again. The answer is in the trumpets. The Abyss is opened by the star that fell from heaven. This is the angel responsible for the church that fell from grace. It’s angel was squeezed out and evil spiritual power took its place. This compromised church allowed the evil spirits to escape from the Abyss.

The words and actions of the weak church allowed the angel to go and open the door of the abyss and allow the trapped spirits to escape. I presume this church said that evil spirits are not real. It would have said that evil is not real. These declarations have spiritual consequences. I presume this church would have said that sinful people should be allowed into the church and not hidden away. These statements allowed the angel to open the abyss.

After the Abyss was opened, darkness spread across the earth (Rev 9:2). The escaped spirits were given power to torment the people of the earth. They took control of governments all over the world and used them to spread destruction.

The release of the evil angel called Destruction and his followers may already have taken place. We might already be seeing the increase destruction that they are causing. Fortunately, the season when they are free to work is quite short, because God will lure them into a trap when the sixth trumpet is sounded and they will mostly be destroyed. The events of the sixth trumpet will be covered further on in this article.

Revelation 15-17 describes angels with seven bowls of wrath. They pour them out to plague the earth. These evil angels work with Destruction. He became skilled in destroying the earth, between the fall and the flood, so he will teach them how to destroy the earth in this season. This destruction is not the work of God. It is the work of evil spirits released from prison by a weak church.

Beast from the Abyss
Revelation 13 describes a beast coming out of the earth. This is a powerful government that gains control of large parts of the earth. However, it is not just a government, it is really a powerful evil spirit. John explains that the beast came out of the abyss (Rev 11:7). We know that only evil spirits came out of the Abyss, so this beast is also a powerful evil spirit. This beast attempts to destroy the prophetic church, but after much suffering, it was restored (Rev 11:6-12).

The beast and the false prophet who supports him both come out of the Abyss. They are evil spirits working in partnership. They had been trapped for thousands of years, so they come out angry and frustrated.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Parallel Powers (6) Seven Trumpets

An important sequence in the book of Revelation is the Seven Trumpets. When the angels sounded their trumpets, important events were released on earth and in heaven (Rev 8,9). This followed a period of intense intercession in earth (Rev 8:4-5).
The first trumpet brings destruction on earth (Rev 8:6-7). I believe it represents a terrible war that draws in many nations. It might have been fulfilled by the world wars of the twentieth century.

The second trumpet causes a huge mountain to be thrown into the sea (Rev 8:8-9). A mountain is a law system (Is 2:3-4). The sea represents the people of the world (Rev 17:15). I believe this falling mountain is the collapse of the natural law system that had prevailed for many centuries. The rise of democracy destroyed natural law and replaced it with man-made law. This has been a disaster for justice.

The third trumpet caused a great star to fall on the waters of the earth (Rev 8:10-11). Its name was Wormwood, which means bitter. It made everything bitter. In Revelation, seven stars were the angels of the seven churches (Rev 1:20). This event represents the decline of the church in an important part of the world. This church falls away and comes under the control of the spiritual powers of evil.

The fall of the church turned the waters bitter. This is a description of spiritual life in that part of the world turning bitter. This church becomes bitter and a source of spiritual death.

After the fourth trumpet is sounded, the sun, moon and stars turn as dark as night (Rev 8:12). In Revelation, the sun moon and stars represent Israel (Rev 12:1; Gen 37:9) so this is a description of a very dark time in the nation of Israel. It is probably the events often referred to as Jacob’s sorrows.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Parallel Power (5) Abyss Full

Just as God bound up many evil spirits in the middle of the Old Testament age (Noah’s Rainbow Covenant), Revelations describes how he will destroy a huge swathe of evil spirits in the middle of the New Testament age. To understand what this means, we need a bit of the history.

When Adam and Eve sinned, they handed authority over the earth to the spiritual forces of evil. This was a huge disaster, because it left God powerless on earth. He still had authority in the spiritual world, but his authority on earth was gone. This was painful for him, as he was committed to sustaining the earth every day, but had lost authority to get involved in the world that he loved.

Once God was squeezed out of his universe, the powers of evil got to work and really messed it up. For nearly a thousand years, God was shut out of his creation, so he could not hold back the forces of evil. The Holy Spirit was entirely shut out of the earth, so evil advanced in a terrible way. All human developments were twisted for evil purposes.

The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time (Gen 6:5).
The first sign of spiritual life on earth was Enoch, the first human prophet since Abel (Luke 11:51, Jude 1:14). He began a line of prophets that released the ministry of Noah (Gen 5:29). Noah’s prayers gave God authority to send the flood that would sweep away the evil that had spread through the earth.

At the time of the flood, some of the spiritual powers of evil tried to smash up the “depths of the earth”, but this got them into trouble. God had given authority over the earth to humans, but they did not have authority over the depths of the earth, as God retained control of the planet for himself. When Adam rejected God, the spiritual powers of evil gained authority over the earth. Provided they remained in contact with the earth, God could not touch them.

During time of the flood, some of the spiritual powers attacked the depths of the earth and broke them up.

On that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up (Gen 7:11).
By striking the great depths of the earth, they moved away from the place where they had authority. This left them vulnerable to attack. God was able to send a host of angels and take them captive in the Abyss and prevent them from working on earth any more. He had authority to do this, because they had moved to a place where they did not have authority.

A proportion of the spiritual powers of evil were locked up so they could no longer work on earth (2 Pet 4-5). Peter explained that,

Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison, who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah (1 Pet 3:19-20).
The number of evil spirits working on earth was substantially reduced, but there were still plenty of others with freedom to work on earth. They continued to do evil and oppress the people of the earth.

The legion of evil spirits that controlled the Gadarene man knew about the abyss and understood that spirits were trapped there.

They begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss (Luke 8:31).
They did not want to be trapped in powerlessness. Jesus sent them into the pigs, which ran into the sea. The pigs were drowned, because evil spirits love death. I presume that Jesus could have sent them to the abyss, but chose not to, so people would get a revelation of the power of evil.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Parallel Power (4) Revelation

The book of Revelation seems to describe wars and violence on earth, but this misses the point. The real story of the book is spiritual. John saw a series of events on earth that would lead to a massive defeat of the spiritual powers of evil in the spiritual realms.

We assume that the last battle described in the book of revelation is a battle between the nations of the world. It is commonly assume that the armies of the nations will gather to attack Israel. This is part of the story, but the real battle is the battle in the spiritual realms. This battle will be decisive in history.

The spiritual powers of evil will gather from all over the world, attracted by the violence and destruction of war. They will be defeated and destroyed by the power of God. Just as they were created by God’s word in the beginning, they will be destroyed by Jesus’ word on that day.

The result of this victory will be a massively reduced number of evil spirits left to work in the world. With a much weakened spiritual enemy, the Holy Spirit and his angels will be free to advance the Kingdom of God in a powerful way.

Many popular books explaining the Revelation of John focus on wars between nations. They attempt to identify the nations involved in these struggles. This is pointless, because Revelation describes a spiritual war. To understand Revelation, we must read the book as primarily a description of events in the spiritual realms.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Parallel Power (3) Presidential Election

In my previous posts, I explained that the governments of nations on earth have their parallel in the spiritual realms. Spiritual kings control a hierarchy of fallen angels that parallel the government military structure of the earthly ruler. Some control cities and provinces. Other spirits manipulate military and religious leaders.

An election will produce a new president or a new government, but the powers in the spiritual realms that control the government do not change. An election does not change the spiritual power; it just changes the people that the spiritual powers control.

This is why things usually carry on the same when a new president or party is elected to power. The same spiritual powers are in control, so nothing changes.

American Christians are rally stirred up about their presidential election. They seem to have forgotten that whichever of the candidates is elected, he/she will be manipulated and controlled by the same spiritual powers as previous presidents.

What the United States needs is a revolution in the spiritual realms. Otherwise, the election will just bring more of the same, whatever the outcome.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Parallel Power (2) The Prophets

The prophets in the Old Testament often seemed to speaking against nation, but they were actually speaking to the spiritual powers that controlled them. So when Jeremiah warned of an evil nation coming against Jerusalem, he was actually warning of an invasion by a swarm of evil spirits.

Behold, I will bring a nation against you from afar, O house of Israel,” says the Lord. “It is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language you do not know, nor can you understand what they say (Jer 5:15).
Moses had given a similar warning in his record of the covenant with God.
The Lord will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favour to the young (Deut 28:49).
The Hebrew word for nation is “goy”. It is comes from the word for “back”, in the sense of a body. It is often a translated as nation, but the same word is also used for a swarm of locusts or a herd of animals. It can also point to a swarm of evil spirits.

These attackers are ancient. They have been around forever. They speak to each other in a way that the Israelites cannot understand. The Babylonians had not been around forever. Their language is not totally different from Hebrew. However, the evil spirits that controlled the Babylonian army had been around since the fall. They spoke a spiritual language, which the Israelites did not understand. These spirits were extremely evil with no respect for the elderly or the young.

These evil spirits have a quiver full of arrows that is an open grave (Jer 5:16). This links to the flaming arrows of the evil one that the shield of faith can quench (Eph 6:16). Their evil arrows come from the grave of hell. These spirits would bring an invading army, but the real attack came from the spiritual invaders.

When Ezekiel says that Gog, Meshach, Persia, Put and Tubal will be gathering against Israel, he is referring to a spiritual army led by the spiritual kings associated with these nations (Ez 38:3-5). Armies of many nations will gather, but they only represent they real spiritual hordes, who are much more dangerous.

War is always a spiritual attack, so it is the spiritual invaders that must be defeated, not the military forces. The latter are just a vehicle that the spiritual forces are using to be carried into the territory. God’s people must wage war against the spiritual powers of evil, not the people that they are using to make their attack. The key to defence is keeping the spiritual powers of evil out of the territory.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Parallel Power (1) Spiritual Kings

The nations on earth have their parallels in the spiritual realms. A swarm of spirits controlled by a king spirit, with various principalities and power controlling cities and towns match their equivalents on earth. There are many examples in the scriptures.

Tyre was a kingdom on the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Yet Ezekiel describes the King of Tyre as a spiritual king.

You were the seal of perfection,
full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
You were in Eden,
the garden of God;
every precious stone adorned you:
carnelian, chrysolite and emerald,
topaz, onyx and jasper,
lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.
Your settings and mountings were made of gold;
on the day you were created they were prepared.
You were anointed as a guardian cherub,
for so I ordained you.
You were on the holy mount of God;
you walked among the fiery stones.
You were blameless in your ways
from the day you were created
till wickedness was found in you.
Through your widespread trade
you were filled with violence,
and you sinned.
So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God,
and I expelled you, guardian cherub,
from among the fiery stones.
Your heart became proud
on account of your beauty,
and you corrupted your wisdom
because of your splendor.
So I threw you to the earth;
I made a spectacle of you before kings (Ez 28:11-17).
This angel was in the Garden of Eden walking in the presence of God, but his heart became filled with pride, because of his beauty. His pride filled him with wickedness so he was driven from God’s presence. He was cast down upon the earth, where he became the spiritual power with control of the King of Tyre.

Isaiah described the King of Babylon as the “morning star of the dawn” who has fallen from heaven. When his pride rose up against God, he was cast down upon the earth (Is 14:9-20).

How you have fallen from heaven,
morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!
You said in your heart,
“I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.
I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High” (Is 14:10-14).
Isaiah also recognized him as a real king.
These two kings were angels working with God at the creation. After they rebelled against God and fell from grace, they each became a spiritual king controlling a nation on earth.

The spiritual kings control a hierarchy of fallen angels that parallel the government and military structure under the earthly king. The principalities and power under them control cities and provinces controlled by the king. Other evil spirits under their control work through the military and religious leaders of the nation.

Nations come and go. Tyre no longer exists as a kingdom, but the spiritual king of Tyre still exists, and no doubt controls another nation. Likewise, Babylon no longer exists as a nation and empire, so the spiritual King of Babylon is now in control in another place.
The spiritual king of Israel is Jesus. But when the nation rejects God, it has a parallel evil spiritual government called Babylon the Great. This spiritual king was once the king of Babylon.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Cancer (3) Stolen Strategy

The spiritual powers of evil never do anything creative. They are just doing what they learned to do at the creation, but with a destructive twist.

The irony is that they stole the idea of rapidly growing and dividing cells from God. This was always God plan for the body of Christ. When a group of believers has grown, God’s plan was that the best leaders should be sent out as apostles to start a new group. This process can be repeated numerous times.

This diagram shows how a body of believers can grow rapidly as apostles are repeatedly released to begin a new place.

This strategy was successful for the early church. However, for most of history, God’s people have rejected his plan. Most churches have chosen to amass and accumulate. They build bigger buildings and try to draw more people in. This has made the churches anaemic.

The devil has stolen the idea of growing, dividing and sending and used it to attack our physical bodies. They become anaemic as the growth accumulates and amasses.

The result is a strange contrast.

  • God gave the body of Christ the method of growing and dividing at speed, Unfortunately, the church has preferred to amass and accumulate, so it has become anaemic.

  • The devil has taken the divide and grow method and used to attack the physical bodies of Christians. They have becomes anemic as the growth accumulates and amasses.