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Merrill Olson

Merrill Olson served as a senior pastor for thirty-four years. He received a B.S. from Minnesota State University-Mankato, an M. Div. from Bethel Theological Seminary, and a D. Min. from Columbia Evangelical Seminary. He is currently involved as an interim pastor along with a teaching and writing ministry. His emphasis is on apologetics and training believers to defend their faith in Christ from God’s Word. He is well versed in Bible prophecy as it pertains to end times. He is a gifted speaker with the conviction that only by the Word of God can people experience inward transformation by the Holy Spirit. He has been married to his wife, Jan, for many years and resides in Minnesota.

The Rapture Question

June 14, 2017

By Merrill Olson

The Pre-Tribulation Rapture has been argued by many that it is not a biblical doctrine. This has caused a number of seminary professors, pastors, and others, over the decades to sneer at anyone who believes in it. On the other hand, there are also a great number in the same group who believe strongly about it as a Biblical truth.

Therefore, the question can be asked: Does Scripture teach a Pre-Tribulation Rapture? The answer can be an empathically “Yes!” Whether people want to believe in it or not, it is still a basic truth of the Word of God.

The Bible says that “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven…and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we [born again people] who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air…” (1 Thess. 4:16-17).

The truth of the Rapture is found in the words “caught up” (v. 17). It comes from the Greek word “Harpazo” that speaks of a strong, irresistible act, even a violent one. There are Biblical examples: It is that of a wolf snatching sheep (John 10:12). Jesus spoke of the impossibility of anyone snatching believers out of His hand or that of “My Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29). After Philip led the Ethiopian eunuch to saving faith in Christ, the Bible says that “the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away” (Acts 8:39). Another example is that Paul “was caught up to the third heaven” (2 Cor. 12:2).

Therefore, the Bible says that someday believers who are alive and remain on this earth when Jesus comes are going to “be caught up together…in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” It is going to be so sudden that God’s Word describes it as “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye…and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor. 15:52). It is the “blessed hope” for those in Christ (Titus 2:13).

On the other hand, people who do not believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture will associate the Rapture with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. But, can this be justified by God’s Word? This question is answered as one compares the Rapture passages with the Second Coming. The difference is quite clear. For instance, the Second Coming scriptures major on judgment (Matt.13:36-50; 24:27-44; 25:31-46; Rev. 19:11-21). Yet, all the passages relating to the Rapture have no mention of judgment (John 14:3; Rev. 3:10; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; Phil. 3:17-21).

Critics of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture argue that it started with John Darby (1800-1882) after he received the idea from a 15 year old girl named Margaret MacDonald. However, that is absolutely not true. The truth is that the infant church believed in the imminent return of Christ such as those at Thessalonica. Others after: Justin Martyr (110-195), Irenaeus (120-202), Tertullian (145-220) and even more could be named.

For all who live daily by this “blessed hope,” how should we live? The Bible says that “everyone who has this hope in him, purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3).
As a believer yields to Scripture, the sanctifying work of God’s Spirit takes place.

Merrill Olson served as a senior pastor for thirty-four years. He received a B.S. from Minnesota State University-Mankato, an M. Div. from Bethel Theological Seminary, and a D. Min. from Columbia Evangelical Seminary. He is currently involved as an interim pastor along with a teaching and writing ministry. His emphasis is on apologetics and training believers to defend their faith in Christ from God’s Word. He is well versed in Bible prophecy as it pertains to end times. He is a gifted speaker with the conviction that only by the Word of God can people experience inward transformation by the Holy Spirit. He has been married to his wife, Jan, for many years and resides in Minnesota.

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Believer’s Response to a Rebellious Society

June 6, 2017

By Merrill Olson

The Reverend Gary Hall, the Dean of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., announced from the pulpit some months ago, in fact last year 2016, that “it is a sin to oppose homosexuality.” What is pertinent about that statement is that the Bible makes it clear that a sign of a society in revolt against God is when people “call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness” (Isaiah 5:20).

The signs of this rebellion are seen in many different areas. Now, who wants to be negative? I would say that the majority of us do not. Nevertheless, there is a difference between being negative and facing reality. This is the tenor of this article.

Many believers will honestly admit that the revolt against God is very evident in American society. For instance, the LGBT agenda is moving and powerful. Its effects are obvious in many areas such as education, religious institutions, and government. Even a public library in Brooklyn hosted a “Drag Queen Story Hour.” A man dressed as a woman asked the children, “Who wants to be a drag queen when they grow up?”

Tragically, there are parents that are bullied by administrators in certain school districts to accept a new curriculum that involves compulsory lessons about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. These lessons are taught to children as young as five years old. Many parents are not allowed to keep their children out of such classes. However, not all public schools subscribe to it. Nonetheless, it shows what can happen and parents need to be on guard as to what their children are being taught.

Another concern is that textbooks in American history are being changed. Some do not even mention the Pilgrims so that all groups may have “equal opportunity.” America is, also, presented as an oppressive, capitalistic country with no critical concerns for other cultures. Besides, Christianity and Judaism are portrayed in a negative note while Islam is portrayed on the positive.

Regarding Islam, it is on the rise; and its goal is to bring Western civilization under its control. Yet, millions of Americans are naïve to its beliefs. Tragically, many people who profess faith in Christ believe that Allah, of the Qur’an, is the same God of the Bible. But, that is false. When a careful study is done comparing each to the other, there are similarities but vast differences. Unfortunately, there are even church leaders, out of ignorance, who believe that Islam and Christianity can be combined. That is deception!

The issues go on and on. Yet, space does not allow mentioning them. However, many believers in Christ are well-aware of what is taking place and may feel powerless to do anything about it. But, can we? Yes! Believers can respond to a rebellious society.

We counter a revolt by getting involved in some way where we can make a difference; even in politics if so led (Prov. 29:2). We, also, earnestly stand for truth and speak out (Jude 3). In addition, we live for the Lord as living epistles (2 Cor. 3:3). We seek, as well, to witness (Acts 1:8), and guard ourselves from false doctrine (2 Tim. 4:3-4).

Merrill Olson served as a senior pastor for thirty-four years. He received a B.S. from Minnesota State University-Mankato, an M. Div. from Bethel Theological Seminary, and a D. Min. from Columbia Evangelical Seminary. He is currently involved as an interim pastor along with a teaching and writing ministry. His emphasis is on apologetics and training believers to defend their faith in Christ from God’s Word. He is well versed in Bible prophecy as it pertains to end times. He is a gifted speaker with the conviction that only by the Word of God can people experience inward transformation by the Holy Spirit. He has been married to his wife, Jan, for many years and resides in Minnesota.

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The Church’s Part In Bringing America Into Chaos

May 19, 2017

By Merrill Olson

The present chaos in many different avenues in America did not come overnight. It has gradually been occurring over a period of time. Its moral dilemma where people are no longer discerning in regard to common sense decency is evident.

For example, people have become so politicized by even gender issues that there is no common sense thinking. Many believe that people should use the public bathroom or even school showers by how they are feeling on a particular day. Therefore, they can use a facility of their choosing, either as a boy or a girl. This is moral degeneracy!

On the same order, for those who undergo sex changes, this does not make them of the opposite gender. If a person is born a male and he wants to be a female, nothing will alter his birth factor that he is still a male no matter how he thinks or dresses. This includes females who want to be males. Nothing changes, nor does the DNA.

In another area, there are those who lie, steal, cheat, and slander as long as it benefits their agenda. For them, there is no longer any sense of honesty and integrity. This is evident in certain facets of journalism and university classrooms but also in the political realm. In addition, the destruction taking place on the streets of America with the violent protests and degrading signs are merely a product of America’s moral decadence.

What has happened? What is the cause? One very powerful answer lies with the Church in America. Decades ago, the Church played an important role in American society. It was a voice in the community. It taught biblical values and morals from the pulpit. Many evangelical and fundamental churches took seriously the words of Paul to a young preacher named Timothy. Paul challenged him to “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2). Otherwise, he warned what would happen (vv. 3-4).

However, this is no longer the emphasis in many churches today. For years, many pastors have been more concerned about building churches and increasing in numbers with unbelievers than preaching the Word and evangelizing the lost who are headed for hell without Christ. They are more concerned about entertaining the goats than winning them to Christ. Many of them have rejected God’s Word and have openly welcomed homosexuals into the pulpit. Instead, of loving them enough to share the Gospel with them and lead them to repentance, they have welcomed their sin with open arms.

Is it any wonder that the church has lost its influence! Yes, there are faithful pastors to God’s Word. But, they are decreasing. Many young people today, including adults, believe that there is no absolute truth. Why? Because this has become part of our degenerate society for years and pastors and churches have refused to confront it.

For anyone who is born again (John 3:3), if your pastor does not preach faithfully God’s Word, leave that church and find one that does. You, also, stand for God truth (Jude 3). Remember, it is easy to go with the flow or become complacent. Do not allow it!

Merrill Olson served as a senior pastor for thirty-four years. He received a B.S. from Minnesota State University-Mankato, an M. Div. from Bethel Theological Seminary, and a D. Min. from Columbia Evangelical Seminary. He is currently involved as an interim pastor along with a teaching and writing ministry. His emphasis is on apologetics and training believers to defend their faith in Christ from God’s Word. He is well versed in Bible prophecy as it pertains to end times. He is a gifted speaker with the conviction that only by the Word of God can people experience inward transformation by the Holy Spirit. He has been married to his wife, Jan, for many years and resides in Minnesota.

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The Coming of the One World Religion

April 28, 2017

By Merrill Olson

Biblical prophecy predicts that the Church in the end times will be characterized by apostasy. This, however, is a strong and negative note to begin with. Yet, prophetic Scripture does not soften the warnings regarding the apostate Church. On the other hand, it gives encouragement to those who are born again believers in Christ, who truly belong to the true Church, the Redeemed Church (1 Peter 1:3-9). This includes multitudes from every race and nation who have saving faith in Jesus (Eph. 1:7).

Now in order to understand the apostate Church, we need to first understand the word “apostasy.” Apostasy has to do with a falling away. This is a departure, a revolt, an abandoning from a previously held position. It is a rebellion. Therefore, within the professing church there will be a departure from the truths of the Word of God.

The Bible says that the Antichrist is not going to be revealed “unless the falling away [apostasy] comes first” (2 Thess. 2:3). What is interesting about the Church today in general is that the essential beliefs, which became the power of the Church, are under assault from within. The apostle Paul describes it: “For the time will come when they [professing believers] will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).

Paul also expresses in graphic detail the actions of people “in the last days” that he depicts as “perilous times“ (2 Tim. 3:1-4). He then adds the basic reason for their rebellion which is simply “having a form of godliness but denying its power” (v. 5). People will not lack in religion, but will be void of the transforming power that comes only through a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

We see the evidence of the apostate Church in our world today. There are many church leaders who deny the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, the virgin birth, the miracles of Jesus including His bodily resurrection, and the Second Coming. There are those who teach that Paul and Timothy were homosexual lovers. They even go further into apostasy by teaching that it is not necessary to be “born again” (John 3:3). Neither is Jesus the only way to God (John 14:6). He is only one of many. Another characteristic is the growing acceptance of homosexual and lesbian pastors by denominations that have turned their backs on the Word of God.

Nevertheless, after the Redeemed Church is taken to heaven in the Rapture (John 14:2-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-17), the apostate Church will emerge into the One World Religion. This will be the amalgamation of the world’s pagan religions, including Protestants and the Catholic Church. The Bible describes it as the “Great Harlot” that is “full of abominations” (Rev. 17:1-6). The Antichrist will accept her for a time and then destroy her (v. 16). As a one world government occurs, a one world religion will be for a time.

However, we who are saved are to be people who are looking for the “appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). That, too, will happen! Rejoice!

Merrill Olson served as a senior pastor for thirty-four years. He received a B.S. from Minnesota State University-Mankato, an M. Div. from Bethel Theological Seminary, and a D. Min. from Columbia Evangelical Seminary. He is currently involved as an interim pastor along with a teaching and writing ministry. His emphasis is on apologetics and training believers to defend their faith in Christ from God’s Word. He is well versed in Bible prophecy as it pertains to end times. He is a gifted speaker with the conviction that only by the Word of God can people experience inward transformation by the Holy Spirit. He has been married to his wife, Jan, for many years and resides in Minnesota.

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A World Leader Will Emerge

April 12, 2017

By Merrill Olson

Someone said, “A world crisis will produce the Antichrist.” Therefore, we can ask, “Do we see a world crisis today?” Without hesitation, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” As we view the world scene on television and by other means, there should be no doubt in our minds that each day this crisis seems to grow worse.

In fact, it extends all the way from gender confusion, to atheists on the rampage to denounce Christianity, to politicians and people expressing hatred, to Muslims fighting for control of the Middle East, to nations threatening to destroy other nations, to dictators killing their own people, and etc. This is not merely dark thinking but reality.

Nevertheless, the important thing to remember for anyone who professes saving faith in Christ, Bible prophecy is not to discourage but to inform and encourage. In writing about the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, the apostle Paul concluded with, “Therefore, comfort one another with these words” (v. 18). So, an encouraging comfort is to know that the Lord Himself will one day return for those saved in Him.

With that said, two questions can be asked: Where is the world crisis leading? Where is it focusing upon? Beyond the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13), it is pointing to the appearance of the Antichrist who will emerge on the world stage before the Tribulation.

In the emphasis today on globalization by many nations, this is also a relevant factor in this man’s appearance as a product of his time who will first take control of a world in turmoil. He will appear to calm the horrendous chaotic waters caused by the unexplained departure of Christ’s redeemed (1 Cor. 15:51-53; Thess. 4:16-17). With millions of believers gone over the face of the earth, mass confusion will happen.

Even so, the Antichrist will present himself as the answer to the world’s problems. He will have eloquence and charisma. When he speaks, people will listen. The Bible says that his mouth will be “like the mouth of a lion” (Rev. 13:2). A lion excels that of any other beast. Therefore, the voice of the Antichrist will command attention. Satan will give “him his power, his throne, and great authority” (v. 2).

Is this the kind of leader that many are presently looking for? Yes! They want someone who has answers. As this “man of sin” is revealed, (2 Thess. 2:3), unsaved humanity will worship him and thus Satan (Rev. 13:4). He will draw world-wide attention as he even blasphemes God (v. 6). He will also have a false prophet that will exercise the same kind of demonic power (v. 12). This man will be in charge of people by deceptive signs and cause individuals to “receive a mark on their right hand or foreheads” (v. 16). Through it all, the entire world will experience evil as it has never experienced it before.

Yet, God wants His redeemed in the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:7) to walk daily in assurance and hope. We can do this because we have the sure guide of His Word (Psalm 119:105) as we keep our eyes on our precious Savior (1 Peter 2:7) and our “blessed hope” in Him (Titus 2:13).

Merrill Olson served as a senior pastor for thirty-four years. He received a B.S. from Minnesota State University-Mankato, an M. Div. from Bethel Theological Seminary, and a D. Min. from Columbia Evangelical Seminary. He is currently involved as an interim pastor along with a teaching and writing ministry. His emphasis is on apologetics and training believers to defend their faith in Christ from God’s Word. He is well versed in Bible prophecy as it pertains to end times. He is a gifted speaker with the conviction that only by the Word of God can people experience inward transformation by the Holy Spirit. He has been married to his wife, Jan, for many years and resides in Minnesota.

OLSON ARCHIVES

The World’s War On Truth

March 19, 2017

By Merrill Olson

Our present age is troubling because the world is influenced by distortion, deception, and lies in different areas that confront us each day. Unless we have discerning spirits, we will find ourselves succumbing to these destructive influences. However, the tragedy is that many people have surrendered to them. In fact, they have yielded to Satan, the one Jesus calls “a liar” (John 8:44).

What is interesting is the in depth description the Lord gives regarding him. He said, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (v. 44).

The context is about those who opposed Jesus. As He confronted them, He said, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do” (v. 44). Their minds were so deceived that it was impossible for them to believe the truth regarding Him and what He spoke about Himself. It is the same way today as it has been since the time of the Lord. People are influenced by deception and lies that are propagated by the evil one who has no truth in him for “he is a liar and the father of it.”

There are at least five areas that Satan’s lies are clearly evident in American society. Yet, the whole world is under his power. The Bible says that the god of this age [Satan] has blinded the unsaved “lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Cor. 4:3-4).

(1) Gender neutrality. There are those who are no longer satisfied with the biological gender that God gave them and want to change it. There are even parents that desire the same thing for their children or for themselves. There are also children that are asking to become the opposite sex. All of this is total rebellion against God. The Bible says that God created man “male and female” (Gen. 1:27).

(2) Same-sex marriage. God’s design for marriage is between one man and one woman (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:5). Anything else is against God. For people to believe otherwise is to believe a lie produced and empowered by Satan.

(3) Abortion. Over 60,000,000 babies have been murdered in America since abortion became legal. The devil’s lie is “My body is my choice!” This lie is fed by the abortion industry. God gives a vivid description of the unborn (Psalm 139:13-16).

(4) Evolution. This lie has caused an unbelievable amount of damage. It is a man-made theory that has no evidence to back it up. Naturalistic evolution cannot adequately explain the origin of life. God’s Word is the only source (Gen. 1-3).

(5) Relativism. We have a whole culture that believes there is no absolute truth. Truth can be found by man on his own. There are many ways to God. These lies doom people to hell. There is only one way to truth and that way is Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

Merrill Olson served as a senior pastor for thirty-four years. He received a B.S. from Minnesota State University-Mankato, an M. Div. from Bethel Theological Seminary, and a D. Min. from Columbia Evangelical Seminary. He is currently involved as an interim pastor along with a teaching and writing ministry. His emphasis is on apologetics and training believers to defend their faith in Christ from God’s Word. He is well versed in Bible prophecy as it pertains to end times. He is a gifted speaker with the conviction that only by the Word of God can people experience inward transformation by the Holy Spirit. He has been married to his wife, Jan, for many years and resides in Minnesota.

OLSON ARCHIVES

Facing Perilous Times

March 3, 2017

By Merrill Olson

The Bible says that “in the last days perilous times will come” (2 Tim. 3:1). It is also translated “difficult.” The Greek word Clelepos carries the idea of perilous, grievous, or dangerous. In Matthew 8:28, it speaks of “two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs.” It says that they were “exceedingly-fierce.” The NASB translates it “violent.” The word is used by the Greek writer Plutarch in describing an infected, ugly, and dangerous wound. This gives a clear understanding of the meaning of “perilous times.”

The “last days” began with the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Therefore, it includes the entire period from the first century until He returns. In other words, we have been living “in the last days” for many centuries. As the Lord nears His coming, the “perilous times” will obviously get exceedingly worse. This will lead into the Tribulation period, after the Rapture (1 Thess. 4:16-17), when people will feel that they are truly living in a time that can be described as “an infected, ugly, and dangerous wound.”

There are many who know Christ and follow His Word will agree that our present age is rapidly moving toward this period of “perilous times.” When people sixty years and older look back at their growing up years, they will admit that they experienced a totally different society. For instance, all people knew what is right and wrong. This was taught in the homes and the churches. Television programs were family orientated. Even the educational systems believed in it and followed it. Politicians on either side were in agreement regarding an accepted morality when passing laws and making legislation.

On the other hand, our present time bears little resemblance to it. With the gradual rejection of biblical morals that built this country, there is no longer any real standard for determining what is right and wrong. Many people, who do not know Christ, have their own personal morals. Someone may consider something to be right while another person may regard it completely opposite. Therefore, it is really a corrupt society that determines what is good and what is evil and many follow it. However, the Bible focuses on this when it speaks of “of those who call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20). That is a vivid description, practice, and belief of many in our society! Agree?

When we look at the characteristics of “perilous times” in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, it is easy to recognize many of them not only in present day America but in the world as a whole.

For instance, God’s Word says that “men [meaning both sexes] will be lovers of themselves” (v. 2). The sin and pride of self-love is a deadly evil that grips the human soul. Out of it many ugly sins are discharged. Another is “unholy” (v. 2). This person is driven by a self-love to gratify passions and lusts with no sense of decency. A third is “unloving” (v. 3). The news is filled with vicious actions of people toward others. One more example is “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (v. 4). Self-explanatory!

These are only a few examples. However, as we near the Tribulation period, times are going to get worse. Nevertheless, for those who know Christ, our focus must be on Him! He will eventually bring all people and events to finality (Phil. 2:9-11).

One Future State for Israel Without Occupiers

February 19, 2017

By Merrill Olson

There is much conflict today regarding the nation of Israel. This tension involves dividing the land whereby a Palestinian state can be established that includes the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Western Wall, and the Temple Mount. Defying the Word of God, the recent resolution in the U.N. Security Council depicted that Israel’s settlements are jeopardizing the two-state solution and is totally illegal.

Nevertheless, what is interesting about the resolution is that there is no consideration given to the history of the Palestinians. A person, therefore, may ask: “Where in the history of the world has there ever been a Palestinian State?” The answer is that there is none! What history does tell us is that there was no Palestinian National Authority before 1994, the year it was founded. As a result, the Palestinians have no right to any of the land of Israel because it never was theirs.

God gave the land only to the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 12:1-3; 13:14-18; 15:1-21; 28:13-15). Anyone else would merely be occupiers, including the Palestinians if such a thing happens before the Lord returns. Occupiers are people who dwell on land that does not belong to them. Right now some of them are residing on the Gaza Strip. When the Lord returns, that will change.

We know it will happen because of what God said to Abram, “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also, I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:7-8).

In spite of Replacement Theology, political Leftists, Muslims and anyone else who tries to disprove God’s promise to Abram (Abraham), the unconditional covenant of God stands strong. He assured Israel that all the land and not part of it belonged to her. Canaan would be an “everlasting possession,” and He “will be their God.”

What is interesting about the nation is that God is restoring the land and the people of Israel (Ezekiel 36). It was a desolate piece of property for centuries because of Israel’s own disobedience. Then the Jews began returning to the land and on May 14, 1948 the present state of Israel officially began. God’s promises were being fulfilled.

However, total fulfillment will take place as the Lord Jesus sets up His Kingdom reign after His Second Coming. Scripture teaches that God will gather to the land of Israel the remnant of Jews who accept Jesus as their Messiah at the end of the Tribulation or during it (Zech. 10:6-9; 12:10-14; Ezek. 37). He will pour out His Spirit upon them (Ezek. 36:22-28; Is. 32:15; 44:3). They will enjoy dwelling in all the land God has promised to give them, which has never happened. All covenants will be fulfilled (Joel 3:1-18).

In the meantime, Israel will be “a very heavy stone of all peoples” (Zech. 12:3) until Christ returns. For us whose faith rests in Him, our focus is on God’s prophetic plan.

Piercing The Perils Of Current Times

February 3, 2017

By Merrill Olson

A lot has happened in recent days that reveal the arrogance and willful disobedience for what is good and right. Much of what has taken place lurks in the realm of evil. People have protested by destruction, defying police, carrying vulgar and degrading signs, and demanding that things be done their way. Women have marched for the right to continue to kill their unborn babies. There are those who are still demanding the assassination of the President of the United States. Consequently, Satan’s influence of evil is vividly present in using the “wickedness” of the human heart” (Jer. 17:9).

Another result of human depravity is evident with certain politicians threatening that they will defy the President in obstructing him from carrying out his duties. Their political and selfish views drive them to say and do degrading things.

Therefore, one may ask: Where does a person find the answers for what is happening? Is there any source that describes what is taking place that will help to pierce the perils of current events? The answer to those questions is found in God’s Word. There is no other place but the Bible that is reliable. Human opinion will only lead a seeker further astray. God is the One who knows the “end from the beginning” (Isa. 46:10).

For instance, Romans 3:9-18 gives a vivid description of sinful humanity and that all of us are guilty before God. No one is exempt from His judgment (v. 19). Without Christ, people remain under condemnation. This condemned state is revealed in the defiance and actions of sinful individuals as described in those verses. Read them!

Another passage of Scripture that clearly exposes the slippery slope into wickedness is given in Romans 1:18-32. In fact, Romans 3:9-18 merely applies the concept of depravity taught in Romans 1:18-32. Even our TV newscasts picture it before our eyes.

The Bible begins the description of this degeneracy with the words, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (v. 18). Why is God angry against sin? Because people have suppressed the truth of God in order to support their own self-centered lifestyles. “Ungodliness” means lack of reverence for God.

Because of their own void in reverence for Him, “they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools” (vv. 21-22).

Where has it taken this country? It has led to condoning homosexuality and same-sex marriage (vv. 26-27). But more than that! It has led to a “debased mind” and “being filled with all unrighteousness…and wickedness…..” (vv. 28-32). Abortion is part of this wickedness. Read the evils that are mentioned. Once people reject God’s truth, it leads to evilness never deemed possible a few years ago. Does this describe America? Only the Lord Jesus can totally turn it around which He will do someday. Until then, He tells believers to be “salt and light” (Matt. 5:13-16) and remain faithful until He comes.

The Domain Of The Unsaved After Death

January 17, 2017

By Merrill Olson

In recent months the world has experienced a number of deaths of well-known people. They have ranged from actors to politicians to singers and others from different walks of life. Except for people like Fidel Castro, most of the deceased are treated as though they have gone to heaven. Even television personalities speak of them as being in a better place. But, is it true for all that their eternal domain is one of blessed bliss?

The answer to this question, according to God’s Word, is “No!” Sadly, the same response stands for our own loved ones who have died without Christ. This may be hard to take, but it is biblically true! With God, there are no eternal options (John 14:6).

Therefore, to understand the death of an unbeliever, we must begin with the Old Testament. One of the most important words in speaking of the afterlife is the Hebrew word “sheol.” It occurs sixty-five times in the Old Testament. The confusing problem is that some translators translate it as “hell,” “grave,” or “pit.”

Now, depending on the context, it can be translated as “grave.” However, to let the Hebrew word stand by itself, the inspired writers of the Old Testament did not mean that a deceased person just went to the “grave.” Instead, they also experienced a conscious afterlife. This included one of either bliss or torment. Thus, the word “sheol” speaks unmistakably to the realm of departed spirits. For example: “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption” (Ps. 16:10). Jacob said, “For I will go down into Sheol to my son in mourning” (Gen. 37:35).

In the New Testament, the Greek equivalent is “Hades.” Peter quotes Psalm 16:10 in Acts 2:27. But instead of using “Sheol,” he used the word “Hades”: “Because You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”

Even greater clarity is given in the Lord’s use of the word “Hades.” In His account of the Rich Man and Lazarus, He spoke of a place with two compartments, one of Abraham’s bosom and the other with torment (Luke 16:19-31). This realm is “Hades” (v. 23). It is not “hell,” “Geenna,” as some have translated. The word “Hades” is used four times in the Gospels, and this is only by Jesus (Matt. 11:23; 16:18; Luke 10:15; 16:23).

The Lord’s teaching (not a parable because parables have no names) gives insight into the death of believers and unbelievers before Christ’s resurrection. Both of them went to this domain of departed spirits. The believers entered what Jesus called “Abraham’s bosom” (v. 23), a place of comfort as with Lazarus. Unbelievers entered the place of torment, as the Rich Man, with a “great gulf fixed” between (v. 26).

When Jesus died and rose again, He took all of the believers out of “Abraham’s bosom” and took them to heaven. Since then, His redeemed at death enter heaven where He is (2 Cor. 5:8). The unsaved, still enter “Hades” at death. There they experience suffering (vv. 25-31) until the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:13). After that, they are cast into “Hell” (v. 15). Remember, it is horrific beyond imagination to die without Jesus!

God’s Plans For Israel Will Not Be Thwarted

January 4, 2017

By Merrill Olson

In spite of what has recently happened with President Obama’s decision to divide the land of Israel, this will not deter God’s ordained plans for this nation. They are clearly revealed in the pages of Scripture.

These plans began with Abraham and God’s unconditional covenant with him (Gen. 12:1-4; 13:14-17; 15:1-21; 17:1-8). Keeping of this covenant would be totally upon the faithfulness of the LORD GOD. This is stressed as He alone passed between the sacrifice (15:9-17). This signified that Abraham had no part in making or keeping the covenant. The LORD alone would keep it; and since it was totally depended upon Him, it was unconditional.

Therefore, God has a binding relationship with Israel. Even though the people went through times of rebellion leading to captivity, as clearly revealed in Old Testament history, God’s ultimate purposes for Israel would not be rescinded. These ends would include blessing Israel by revealing Himself through her, providing redemption through Christ, and bringing her into the Promised Land (15:18; Ps. 105:8-10).

The importance of God’s special relationship with Israel would be covered in His pronouncement to curse those who curse Israel and to bless those who bless her (Gen. 12:3). Even though this promise was made to Abram (Abraham), it would take in his posterity by Jacob (28:1-4). Friends of Israel would be blessed and anti-Semites would be cursed. There would be divine, retributive justice taken against any who treated Israel with contempt. A thorough study of history bears this out.

Consequently, for the United States to turn against Israel and seek to divide her land is hostile to God and what He says about her. Even though Israel has never entirely obtained the land God has given her (Gen. 15:18), she will someday in the millennial reign of Christ. Until that happens, God’s hand remains upon her. To “curse” her is to receive a “cursing.” To “bless” her is to receive a “blessing.”

However, God’s Word distinctly reveals also that Israel is yet destined for a time of trouble. In Daniel 9:24-27, the prophet Daniel receives his famous vision of 490 years that God has decreed upon the Jewish people. The first 483 years have already been fulfilled (v. 26). The remaining seven take in the Tribulation period; but the last three and one half years of it will bring about abominations and desolations upon the Jewish people (v. 27). Jeremiah 30:7 calls the Tribulation “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” Everyone will suffer, but the Jewish people will suffer the most.

Nevertheless, the Tribulation will end with the Lord’s return physically to this earth (Zech. 14:4). He will render judgment and inaugurate His millennial kingdom (Zech. 14:9-21; Matt. 25:27-31; Rev. 20:4). He will establish Himself as King in Jerusalem as He sits on the throne of David (Luke 1:32-33). Saved Jews will then dwell in all the land God has promised under the rule of their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. What a promise! God’s plans for Israel will never be thwarted (Jer. 31:35-37).

God’s Justice Will Be Satisfied

December 16, 2016

By Merrill Olson

Since the election, there has been an onslaught of evil in words and actions. Sinful human nature continues to spew out its hatred. There are those who no longer desire to do what is right but to do everything to thwart the votes of people. Without any longing for unity and peace, human degeneracy drives many of them to do anything they can to accomplish what they want. This has led some to even make death threats unless things happen their way.

One reason it is all happening is because many of them feel no accountability to God. The Word of God says that “there is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18).

Nevertheless, there is a day coming when God’s justice will be satisfied. The Bible clearly teaches that everyone will be judged to justify the justice of God before all people. There will be no exemptions (Hebrews 9:27). Almighty God will bring forth a time of divine reckoning for each one who has lived, is living, and will live on this earth.

This time of accountability will involve two main judgments: The Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15) for all unbelievers and The Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10) for every person who is truly born again (John 3:3).

To read about the Great White Throne Judgment comes from a very sobering passage in the Word of God. It describes what the unsaved are going to experience in their ultimate encounter with God. In fact, because all judgment has been committed to the Son (John 5:22), this judgment will be before the Lord Jesus Christ. It will occur after His 1000-year Kingdom reign on this earth and before the eternal ages begin.

It is described as a “great” and “white” throne. It is “great” because of the One who will occupy the throne and the significance of the judgment that will be rendered. It is “white” because it signifies the purity and righteousness of the One who is seated on it. It, also, portrays the equity with which the justice will be administered. People will be judged for their “works” (Rev. 20:12) and sins on this earth. Their eternal destiny will be “the lake of fire” (v.15). There will be no grace or mercy. There will be no second chances. This throne is the final reckoning before an eternal hell where the devil, the beast (Antichrist), and the false prophet have been cast sometime before (Rev. 20:10).

The Judgment Seat of Christ for His redeemed will take place in heaven immediately following the “Rapture” (John 14:2-3; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). This judgment is not to determine whether we are saved and will enter heaven. This has already been settled on this earth the day we experienced new life in Christ (1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Cor. 5:17).

This judgment before Christ will determine the worthlessness or worthiness of our works on this earth after we were saved (2 Cor. 5:9-10). Our Christian lives will be evaluated.

Knowing the truth of Scripture and that life on this earth is very short (James 4:14), what should be the aim for our Christian lives? It is this: “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent to be well pleasing to Him” (2 Cor. 5:9).