Sunday, April 27, 2014

Former and Latter Rains and Restoration of the Gifts of the Spirit


In this book, Charles Matism talks about the former and the latter rain. He establishes a pattern in the Bible of 1) Redemption and New Creation (the Former rain), and 2) Judgment (the latter rain). He then says that the New Testament times was the former and the end times are the latter. But is it possible that the latter could come at the time of judgment - like at the same time as everyone shall bow and every tongue confess?

Do the latter rains refer to a restoration of the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit?

Abstract

The early rains, latter rains, and all rains in-between make up one season. The season occurred when Israel was restored before Christ, and may occur again during the Tribulation because former rains follow Israel's repentance. I believe the latter rains represent not judgment, but harvest and/or preparation for dry season.

Former Rains and Latter Rains -- One Season

Penn and the Tea-costals spread the idea that the former and latter rains symbolize early and end-time outpourings of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the former and latter rains become mysterious symbols in Bible eschatology.

However, that does not agree at all with Middle Eastern meteorology.

The Middle East, like many regions, has a dry season (summer) and a wet season (winter). The first rains of the wet season are called the former or early rains. The last rains of the wet season are called the latter rains.

The wet season is one continuous season. This is why, figuratively, separating the reference into separate first and second Pentecosts is so wrong.

Let me illustrate the error of Penn and the Tea-costals. Suppose you have a flat ridge that runs north and south. It would be correct to speak of the north end of the ridge and the south end of the ridge. However, Penn looks at one end and calls it North Mountain. Then he looks at the other end and calls it South Mountain. Penn tells the Tea-costals about this, and they think the ridge is two separate mountains with a big gap between them.
Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first [month of the Hebrew year]. (KJV) Joel 2:23
Following the hot, dry summer, the early rains bring refreshment and soften the earth so farmers can break up the hardened soil and plant seeds. Note the word "moderately." Rains that came too lightly provided little relief. Rains that came heavily caused flooding. God gave just the right amount.
Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field. (KJV) Zechariah 10:1
The latter rains precede the time of harvest and determine how much water will be available during the dry season. Light rains brought drought and heavy rains damaged crops and caused floods. Again, the Lord blesses by giving "showers."

They Shall Beat Their Precipitations into Prophecies

If we separate the early and latter rains into separate symbols, then we need first to put them in context by realizing that the dry season represents a time of testing, refining, and judgment. We also need to take the rainy season as a unit and realize that it represents a time -- a season -- of blessing.

In this model that considers the whole year rather than a pair of snapshots, the early rains typify the return of blessings and renewed activity of the Holy Spirit following the repentance and holiness that testing and judgment teach.

The latter rains represent the preparation for harvest. They also represent provision for God's people during times of testing and correction, when the Holy Spirit acts more subtly.

Also note that Joel 2:23 is surrounded by a description of what follows a good spring rain: verdant pastures, trees and vines bearing fruit, and abundant wheat, grape, and olive harvests. Although verse 23 could be symbolic, it primarily means literal rain. You know. Drops of water falling from clouds.

No difference exists between the early, middle, and latter rains themselves except that one flows into the next. Unless you live in the mountains where it snows, rain is rain. You don't get Pentecostal Blessings at the early rain and Restoration Blessings at the latter rain. You get a continuous Church Age or Age of the Gentiles. The Church does not need to pass through infancy at its beginning and later return to its infancy before the Rapture.

Restorationism... of Context

Penn puts a lot of faith in his interpretation of Joel 2:23, so let's consider its context. Joel 2:1-11 describes a time when a great armed threat comes against Israel. In verses 12-17, God commands Israel to repent. In verses 18-27, God promises rescue if Israel obeys the call to repent. Then comes verse 28.
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. (KJV) Joel 2:28-29
The events in Joel 2:28-29 describe what happened at Pentecost and in the book of Acts. God poured out His Spirit not only upon judges, prophets, and kings, as before, but upon all races, both sexes, and all social classes. But note the keywords: "And it shall come to pass afterward...." If former rain and latter rain symbolized an age, as Penn and the Tea-costals claim, it happened before Pentecost.

If former and latter rains symbolize an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, it seems likely that the former rains correlated to the events surrounding Christ's birth (Mary and Joseph's dream, Elizabeth's prophecy, prophesies at the Temple), and possibly Christ's ministry, were the former rains; and the events in the Apostolic age were the latter rains. Pentecost would have been the pinnacle of that.

If verses 28-29 describe the First Century and 30-31 describe the Tribulation, couldn't the rains happen again? Yes. Much of prophecy iterates.

However, the blessings of verses 18-27 follow the repentance of verses 12-17. Israel has yet to repent. We expect that Israel will continue rebellion against Messiah and will bow to Christ only during the Tribulation. If the rains symbolize anything like a second Pentecost, it will have to happen during or after the Tribulation.

Raining on Charismatics' Party

The former and latter rains probably refer to precipitation. If they do mean outpourings of the Holy Spirit, they happened a long ago and are not yet repeating.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Is "moderate Islam" an oxymoron?

I received an email, with the above title, that makes the case that all Muslims are extremists. I have to disagree. The key to understanding my position lies in a look at Judaism and Christianity.

Judaism has what Christians call "apostates," those who have left the faith; and it has "heretics," those who were raised outside the faith and either through error or through hostility, undermine the faith. At the extreme, some of these people remain religious and follow cults such as Kabbala or (from their perspective) our Yeshua. In the middle, the vast majority follow some semi-agnostic variety of Judaism that is Jewish primarily by culture. The real Jews are the Orthodox Jews, whose males often wear some element of a uniform such as yarmulkes or beards to identify themselves.

Christians are the same way. There are plenty of heretical sects such as Mormons, The Watchtower (Jehovah's [false] Witnesses, and Unitarians. In the middle are the mainline denominations that use a Christian vocabulary but have lost the Christian faith. For example, in the United Methodist Church, a poll many years ago revealed that half the pastors denied the virgin birth and the resurrection. With so many holes cut in their Bibles, it's no surprise that most "mainstream" Christian churches cooperate in the ecumenical movement, whose aim is to join with all theologies, even including New Age religions, animist, aboriginal religions, and "moderate" Islam -- essentially, a precursor to the One World Religion of Antichrist. I would put  the apostate Westboro Baptist Church in that category. I think you might be willing to put the Liberation Theology branch of Catholicism in that category, too.

The main thing that ties together all those "heretical" and "apostate" varieties of Jewish and Christian beliefs is their treacherous lip service to The Bible. They either believe God isn't god, or God doesn't care enough to communicate truthfully with man and then preserve that communication. Functionally, they are agnostics who prefer to err on the faith side instead of erring on the side of atheism. They contrast with evangelical or fundamentalist believers, and they make up the majority of Christians. (The sense with which I mean "evangelical or fundamentalist" includes those who have a strict faith in Catholicism.)

Islam has a similar distribution of faith. I don't know whether the majority of Muslims are functional agnostics the way most Christians are, although I've met a lot who are. I've met a few who might compare to mainstream Christians that border the Evangelicals. They retain the culture and worship; but in practice, they don't treat the Koran as a reliable revelation of their god.

I've described a perspective that views a moderate in anything as falling short of "true believer." For example, if you disagree with the Constitution and the reasoning behind it, you are fooling yourself if you claim to believe in Americanism and be a patriot. Similarly, "moderate Islam" is an oxymoron, just like "mainstream Christian" or "non-Orthodox Jew" are oxymorons. If the words apply to one, they have to apply to the others.

The difference is that, in Islam's case, moderation is a very, very good thing.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Hyper Grace, Hyper Repentance, and the Middle Ground

Response to

Rooting Out Fuzzy Theology Behind the Hyper-Grace Message

DAVID & NANCY RAVENHILL
Charisma Magazine online 9:21AM EDT 4/2/2013
http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/prophetic-insight/17255-rooting-out-fuzzy-theology-behind-the-hyper-grace-message


Two Types of Repentance

Most Charismatics Christians (they mistakenly call themselves Pentecostals) fail to distinguish between two types of repentance. Peter explicitly names the first type, and only regarding changing minds FROM rejection of Messiah TO receiving Him. The New Testament only describes the second type without naming it "repentance." We label the second type "repentance," but the label is not Biblical, although it works as long as one does not confuse the two.
Unfortunately, many people DO confuse the two.
The first repentance exchanges a broken-down death trap of a clunker for a brand new car. The dealer has stamped "IT IS FINISHED" on the papers, sent the clunker to the recyclers, and placed the new owner's name in the Lamb's Book of Car Registrations. That new car irrevocably belongs to the new owner.
The second repentance leads to cleaning up the car, driving on better roads in accordance with the Car Ownership Bible, repairing any damage and wear, and learning to use it for profitable purposes. The owner may dent the car, soil it, and fail to maintain it until it's no earthly good. A judge may tell the owner to take it off the road. But the car will always belong to the owner.

Confusing Grace and Repentance

Many people confuse the two. When the car gets dirty, they foolishly keep returning to the dealership to ask for the car again. As the author implies, however, they would be wise to return to the Dealer as many times as needed to maintain and learn more about their car.
Just as one extreme insults the blood of Christ by excusing sin that has been washed away, the other insults the blood by ignoring its sufficiency and attempting to re-apply it, even though "there remains no more offering for sin."

Contrasting the Dangers of the Two Hypers

If we wish to compare the dangers of the two, hyper repentance poses the greater danger. Lost people who have learned hyper repentance add self-reliance on repentance to reliance on Christ. Paul explicitly explains that grace and works mutually exclude each other. The Giver does not give gifts to those who ask for wages.
Therefore, both hypers present practical dangers to the saved, but hyper repentance adds an everlasting danger to the lost.
The irony lies not in the Ravenhill's attempt to correct hyper grace (for which I am grateful), but in that he does so from within the territory of hyper repentance.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Dating

My dad warned me against women who would take advantage of me, but he should have warned me against my own predatory, testosterone-poisoned mind.

In the natural mind, the goal of dating is "hooking up" or "scoring." This puts the wrong pressures on people who date. Reaching the goal sets you up for heartbreak and endangers the future of the relationship. Most dangerously, the carnal definition of "dating" risks creating an innocent human life whom you sentence to, at best, the stigma of illegitimacy, the emotional wounds of growing up fatherless, or at worst, the torture of being chemically burned to death or being vivisected, without even the benefit of anaesthetic, before birth.

Proper dating, however, can serve as a tool of socialization: learning self restraint, learning to enjoy, understand, and honor the opposite sex, and developing friendships.

I did not realize until I was around 25 that I needed to correct my goals in dating. I changed from looking for a wife to learning to enjoy women as friends, without the sexual or marital agenda.

Think of how men and women approach shopping. A woman enjoys shopping for the experience, whereas a man sets a goal of hunting down his prey, the specific item or deal. As I matured, I learned to shop at hardware stores just to get ideas and to see what's available for solving problems later. That's similar to the mindset one needs in dating.

Around my 27th birthday, I was praying for somebody to disciple. The Lord revealed to me that a man's ultimate disciple is (or ought to be) his wife. That was the end of that prayer request.

About a month later, God gave me that disciple. It did not take years of dating to know that she was the one. By the end of the year, we were married. It's been almost 30 years, now. The point is, a guy needs to look at dating as practice lessons in leadership, discipling, and responsibility, too.

With the right mindset about the purpose of dating, it becomes a lot easier to counter testosterone poisoning. Date to enjoy, to learn, to develop restraint. Let the goals come in their own time.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What's So Bad about Being a Liberal?

First, not all that presents itself as conservative is actually conservative.

The Republican Party poorly represents conservatism. In fact, the GOP vacillates between moderately conservative on some issues and liberal economics and internationalism. I would guess that a third of the GOP is actually liberal, a third sticks a wet finger in the air, and a minority is actually conservative. For example, George W. Bush got tax cuts passed early in his administration, but cooperated with Democrat-led bail-outs of banks and GM.

So, let's not use Republicans to define the opposite of liberalism.

Second, being liberal is a good thing; and progress is good when the goal is good and the means are just. Being a liberal or a progressive, however, has a very peculiar meaning that does not necessarily connect to the root words, liberal and progress.

In my definitions (not necessarily standard, but offered for the sake of communication), conservatism seeks to preserve traditional values of liberty, self-reliance, and justice that does not respect persons.

Liberalism, or as the codeword is used today, progressivism, on the other hand, redefines a neutral term. Progress is good, right? Doesn't everybody love progress?

When you say change (as in hope and change) or progress, you have to pick a direction. You have to pick an origination and a destination. Depending on your definition of progress, it may or may not mean something good. The compass has only one North, but it has 359 degree-markers that point away from North.

Suppose your objective were to see far with an unobstructed view, so you climb the highest mountain. Progress would be pretty stupid if it meant trekking off that cliff to the West, wouldn't it? What else could you do? You could build a tower where you are, on your existing foundation. But would you leave the spot just because change is good?

The progressive compass points hard left, to 270 degrees, toward freedom for immorality and toward repression of traditional morality, toward collectivist statism, and toward "social justice" that bases rights on class, skin color, and sexual orientation.

American conservatives see progressive, liberal, socialist, and Marxist, as variations of a single philosophy. That philosophy derives from secular, materialist existentialism, in which interpretation is reality, objective truth is a myth, and the ultimate organism is the state.

Whereas Americanism states that authority flows from God through the People to the government, the progressive spectrum worships the Collective as the ultimate organism, whose people live at its pleasure. Americanism secures rights to the people and assigns responsibilities to the government, but progressivism gives the government rights and the people privileges. Conservative liberalism means personal tolerance and personal giving (to which the restaurant help will attest after any political convention), but Progressive liberalism forces promotion of the tolerable and gives at the expense of others.

If you believe black is white and right is wrong, then, I suppose, being a liberal is great.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

What Fact Check Sites Do You Prefer?


Do you prefer Snopes, Factcheck, what? Thanks, L
The fact-check and urban legends sites have helped me avoid embarrassing myself many times. There's nothing like forwarding a request from a 7-year-old cancer victim, only to find that he's now 27, has to pay for his own zip code, and wishes people would stop sending him post cards for his collection.
 
When it comes to political or social issues, however, I don't trust any of them.
  • PolitiFact is a project of the St. Petersberg Times, an extreme left-wing newspaper. Click HERE for an example of how their Lie of the Year with which they smeared Mitt Romney turned out to be true.
      
  • FactCheck, FlackCheck, and FactCheckEd are a projects of Annenberg Public Policy Center and funded by the Annenberg Foundation. As board chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Barack Obama (or was he still Barry Soetoro?) helped fund "educational" activities of Bill Ayers, the 1960s terrorist who murdered at least one policeman with a bomb. What does that tell you about FactCheck's neutrality?
      
  • Snopes is funded by George Soros, a pro-socialist billionaire and currency manipulator who boasts that he has overthrown at least two European countries. The editors of Snopes are Obama bundlers and one has even held an appointment in the Obama administration.
      
  • The Fact Checker is a project of The Washington Post, a veritable media outlet for the Democrat Party.
No short-cut around visiting various sources and weighing the arguments. However, find the following sites quite helpful:
If you have a favorite site for checking the veracity of what you hear from the media or the politicians, please let us know in the comments.

Friday, January 11, 2013

When Liberals Get Tough on Crime....

I see a common trope in the news that I call, When Liberals 'get tough on crime....'
  • A kindergartener takes a 3/4" rubber GI Joe knife to school
  • Seven-year-olds shoot at each other with "finger guns" while playing cops and robbers
  • A teenage girl gives Midol to a classmate having menstrual cramps
...and they get suspensions and juvenile records.
  • Or an Olympic rifle champion gets arrested for having his target rifle (with trigger lock and a locked bag) locked in the trunk of his car when picking up his child from school.
  •  A man shoots an armed home invader and is sent to prison for illegally using a gun.
 When Liberals 'get tough on crime....' predicts the following:
  • SWAT teams knocking down the doors of anybody who has ever been diagnosed with depression or anxiety (information courtesy of Obamacare) and who has a record of having applied to purchase a firearm (information courtesy of background check applications)
  •  "Clean shoots" by police officers reacting to people startled out of their sleep and pointing flashlights at the intruders.
The second prediction reminds me of a little boy in Modesto, California, who was killed a few years ago by the "accidental discharge" of a shotgun pointed at his back while he laid, hands bound, on the floor during a legal (but mistaken) search of his grandfather's house.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

What difference does homosexual marriage make?

JP: What difference does homosexual marriage make? How would someone getting married to someone else affect you in anyway? Never understood why we as conservatives are so hell bent on less government, but then turn around and try to twist government into a watchdog for religious or social dogma. If we want less government, then stay out of the bedroom. What 2 consenting adults do, in their own time, is none of your, or my business.

"Twisting"? 
  • JP, you twist government into a watchdog for so-called homosexual rights. That twists government into a bigger government.
     
  • You want to twist homosexual acts (the bedroom privacy sham) into the same thing as homosexual marriage. That twists logic.
     
  • You twist government recognition of families that can create children into the same thing as a police state. That twists truth into a lie.
     
  • You twist the effects on insurance rates, employment rights, and freedom of association into having no affect on others. That twists short-sightedness into a gag order.
     
In short, your cliches are just plain twisted.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Obama: You Didn't Build That




People think that Me-me-me-my-my-my-I-I-I-bama's speech makes sense only because his speechwriters sugarcoat false reasoning. His error stems from the hidden socialist dogma that the business is not responsible for the roads, utilities, regulators, delivered in tones of fake outrage. Rather, he implies, the contributions of employees, utility workers, bureaucrats, etc, add significant value to the business. This assumption deceives for two reasons.

First, the business pays, through taxes to the government, wages to employees, interest and fees to lenders, and dividends to stockholders, for all those things Ibama says contributed to building the business. A new business may pay afterwards instead of before, but it still pays. It says that if you pay somebody to do make something you thought of, they get all the credit, as though you had nothing to do with it.

This couldn't be more wrong. If you buy a painting, you own it. If you buy a pizza, you have the right to eat it. Likewise, if you pay for all those ancillary contributions, then you get the credit for building the business.

Second, all those external factors would exist whether you build the business or don't. The contribution is mutual because, without the business, unused roads and utilities would be failures due to lack of use and would be failures due to lack of sponsorship. The electric company, the construction companies, employees, and bureaucrats profit from the presence of the business.

By Ibama's reasoning, when you build that business, you get to take credit for all those other things, too. But Ibama is a committed Marxist, so he loses his sense of reality amid all the big words and false intellectualism. "You didn't build that" is sophistic: It sounds brilliant, but when you slow down and think, you hear the foolishness.

Sunday, July 22, 2012




In Business, Take Time to Do the Calculations


Reference:  Weiser, Matt . California Parks Director Resigns Amid Scandal. Sacramento Bee. Friday, 20 July 2012.

As California balances between eternal debt and bankruptcy, the Democrats in Sacramento look for excuses to raise taxes and spending. One such excuse, the shortfall of funds to keep California State Parks open, has forced many volunteers into fundraising and forced local governments into shifting their own funds into keeping state parks open to  draw tourist dollars.

The Sacramento Bee found that a deputy director at State Parks "carried out a secret vacation buyout program for employees at department headquarters last year. That buyout cost the state more than $271,000." This led to a much larger find: The State Parks department his hiding $54 million in unspent funds.

State Parks Director Ruth Coleman resigned after the Bee published news of the stash. The employee who bought back vacation time had already been demoted and later resigned. His crime, in my opinion, discriminated between his friends at the headquarters and those who work equally hard in the field.

I believe the withholding of funds could only happen in concert with Democrat attempts to extort more taxes from the public. That's how Democrats do things in California government.

The gem in the original story follows:  For the sake of argument, let's assume we have two employees:







  1. Mr. Buyout sells his vacation time back to the state.
    Mr. Vacation enjoys taking time off to go protest with OWS.


  2. Vacation is earned over the course of the year.
    Both employees make $50/hour.


  3. Both have 160 hours/month x 12 months/year (rounding) and 40 hours vacation



This means





  • Mr. Buyout works 1920 hours for 1960 hours' pay.
    Mr. Vacation works 1880 hours for 1920 hours' pay. 


  • Mr. Buyout makes $98,000.
    Mr. Vacation makes $96,000. 


  • Mr. Buyout has an effective pay rate of $51.042 per hour.
    Mr. Vacation has an effective pay rate of $51.064 per hour.


Mr. Buyout actually makes 2 cents per hour less.

Two cents/hour is not much, but consider a couple more factors.

First, when you add in the effects of benefits and overhead, the difference multiplies to 3 to 4 cents per hour.  Employers love forcing employees to work overtime because the benefits are paid for by the first 1920 hours' labor. With benefits costing 50% to 100% of the base pay, that means employee overtime effectively costs 33%-50% less (assuming pay at straight time rates, if any).

On a tangent, managers often put their directs in a position where overtime is forced and vacation is denied.  Both practices hinder productivity and morale.  When employees forced to work lose unused vacation, it amounts to stealing.  Therefore, vacation buyouts often form an ethically necessary action.

Second, if you multiply 2 cents/hour over a year and thousands of employees, the added productivity and lowered effective cost create a good deal for the taxpayers.

Conclusion:  The state punished the fellow who conducted the buyouts for doing a good thing. THAT, dear friend, is California government, just as much as hiding funds to force increased taxes.  The business-related point is, "do the math."  The worker who violates procedure may have done so because it was right for the company and simply, ethically right.