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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 Debate Of John 14:1-3

September 17, 2017

By Merrill Olson

Jesus said that “I will come again and receive you to Myself” (v. 3). Many have taken these words as a promise of the rapture of the church. However, there are others who disagree with this understanding.

For those who adhere to a pre-tribulation eschatology, these words are a precious assurance from the Lord for His redeemed church. Yet, it includes everything He spoke of in the three verses. Even more, they connect to 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 and I Thessalonians 4:13-18 that describes in detail how it will take place. What is interesting about the truth in 1 Thessalonians is that Paul stated that he received it from the Lord (v. 15). Therefore, his teaching on the Rapture was not his own speculation but a direct revelation revealed to him by the Lord Jesus Himself.

Now, I have heard critics say, “Well, you don’t find the word ‘rapture’ in the Bible.” My answer is that “You do not find the word ‘Trinity’ in the Bible either, but it is the very truth of all Scripture.” However, the word “rapture” comes from “caught up” (v. 17). The Greek is “Harpazo” that refers to a strong, irresistible act. Therefore, it is very Biblical!

Regarding John 14:1-3, those who disagree with a rapture understanding have different viewpoints regarding Jesus’ words “I will come again.” Here are some: The Lord’s coming in the last judgment, His coming on the Day of Pentecost in the Holy Spirit when believers were brought into the body of Christ, His coming for a believer at the time of salvation, His coming in a post-tribulation rapture, and His coming for believers at the time of death to take them home to heaven. These are only a few but they do not fit into the context of what Jesus stresses in the three verses but merely lead to confusion.

Jesus said, “In my Father’s house.” “House” is a term for heaven. Heaven is a place where God dwells and where Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father. Now, He did speak of the temple in 2:16, as “My Father’s house.” But, in 14:2 He said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” The Greek word means “an abode” “dwelling places.” Therefore, we must not think of huge luxurious mansions. Yet, the word “many” means that there will be plenty of room for everyone of God’s redeemed. The dimension of the New Jerusalem is a perfect example (Rev. 21:16).

The Lord also promised His disciples that He was going away “to prepare a place” for them (v. 2; Acts 1:9-11). It would be in this “place” that they would be united with Him in His heavenly glory along with all whom the Father has given Him (John 17:24). This is His desire and someday it will be completely fulfilled.

Jesus further promised, “I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, you may be also” (John 14:3). In essence, this can only speak of the rapture of the church (1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 3:10). What is interesting is that there is no reference to judgment in this passage that will take place in the Second Coming. Neither is there any mention of angels gathering the elect (Matt. 24:30-31). Everything connected with the Second Coming is absence. Take Jesus at His word!

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 Rapture Debate Of 2 Thessalonians 2:1

September 2, 2017

By Merrill Olson

The phrase “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him” (v. 1) has been an issue of debate over the years regarding the Lord’s return.

There are those who believe that it teaches one event: the Second Coming. And, there are others who strongly emphasize that it refers to two separate ones: the Rapture and the Second Coming. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that some theological bias enters the picture in seeking to understand the meaning.

Yet, Paul never meant that there would be any confusion in seeking to know what he had written. Neither did the Holy Spirit that gave the inspired words of Scripture through His servant. Because the Thessalonians had been confronted with some erroneous teaching, Paul reminded them of the truth that he had taught them (v. 5).

Therefore, we, too, should be able to come to a clear comprehension of what the text is teaching in 2 Thessalonians 2 and especially verse 1.

The only way to do this is to go back to the preceding context in 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10. Without doing so, there is no sure ground for any Biblical conclusion. These verses speak strongly as to what will happen in the Second Coming as the Lord comes “in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 8). As a result, the natural conclusion for the Thessalonians as to “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” meant His Second Coming. And within the context, that is what Paul means.

The next words in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 to consider are “our gathering together to Him.” For those who hold a post-tribulation view believe that the two phrases are, textually speaking, to one event. But, the problem is that Paul never taught the believers at Thessalonica that they would experience the “Day of the Lord” (v. 2). The “Day of the Lord” is an extended time of God’s wrath and judgment known as the “Great Tribulation” (Matt. 24:21; Dan. 12:1; 1 Thess. 5:1-11; 2 Thess. 2:1-12). Yet, there is no mention in the text that Paul taught the believers that they would be in it or to prepare them for it.

Why not? The implication is that he knew that the redeemed church would be gone because Jesus would come to rapture it out of this world before that time (John 14:1-3).

Regarding the words “our gathering together to Him,” the believers knew, also, what Paul had taught them in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Within the entire context of both 1 and 2 Thessalonians, this is the correlation that Paul intended when he used the phrase “our gathering together to Him.” As he sought to comfort them regarding their loved ones, so he wanted to reassure them of their own future.

The same truth holds truth today. “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10).

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 Making Of A Future Cashless Society

August 14, 2017

By Merrill Olson

Every time a person opens up a computer and buys something online, it may be simply pointing to a future cashless society ruled by an evil world dictator (Dan. 7:23-25). Many people know that just about everything can be purchased by a mere click of a button. This includes food, clothing, groceries, books, tools, electronics, household items and many other things that can be delivered directly to one’s doorstep.

Another amazing thing is the number of store purchases that are accomplished by a sheer swipe of a credit card. If one observes closely a checkout line at a grocery store, most purchasing is done by the plastic card. In just seconds, someone’s bank account can be checked for adequate funds to cover the purchase. If there are insufficient resources, the purchase is denied to the embarrassment of the purchaser. Even major department stores have their own credit cards used by customers for in-store buying offering discounts to the many who use them. Subsequently, hardly any cash is passed during the day between shoppers and the person behind the counter.

Therefore, what the world has been experiencing for some time is a big change over what it was thirty or forty years ago. The role of technology has made the economic situation of today to be wonderfully successful by the measly swipe of a card or the click of a button. As long as one’s financial income is sufficient, there is no limit as to what a person can do with a small card held in one’s hand.

Nevertheless, this may possibly be pointing to what can happen when the Antichrist (1 John 2:18) is revealed and begins to rule. There will be no need for people to hold cash in their pockets, wallets, or purses. Neither will it be necessary to draw money out of their checking accounts because there will be none. A Global Bank will record all their wages and income. In order to make purchases, it will be by the “mark” of “the beast, or the number of his name” (Rev. 13:17). As this personal “mark” is used by them, the amount of the purchase will be deducted from their accounts at the Global Bank or controlling center. In this way, there will be no longer a need for credit cards and cash. Everything will be run by a cashless society accountable to the Antichrist.

What will this mandatory mark be like? We do not know. However, it could easily be an implanted micro-chip or an electronic engraving in the skin of some type. Whatever it is, it will be required by the Antichrist. Without it, no one will be able to “buy or sell” (Rev. 13:17). The Bible says, “And he [the false prophet] causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads; and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast [the Antichrist], or the number of his name” (Rev. 13:16-17).

Tragically, people who choose to take this “mark,” will suffer an eternal hell. There will be no salvation for them. Their eternal condemnation is set. For those who refuse the mark and bow in allegiance to Christ, multitudes will be put to death (Rev. 7:9-17) by the authorities of the evil system. However, their eternal reward is secure (vv. 15-17). This same safekeeping is always true for everyone redeemed in Christ Jesus (1 Peter 1:3-9).

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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Everyone Will Face One Of Two Judgements

July 18, 2017

By Merrill Olson

As the whole world continues its deep slide into willful sin and rebellion against God, many people fail to realize that everyone will face one of two judgments. This goes against the common belief regarding a general judgment for all humanity because the Scriptures never mention such a thing. In spite of individual judgments that are mentioned in the Bible, every person will face one of two major judgments.

The first has to do with “the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor. 5:10) that takes place in heaven right after the Rapture (1 Thess. 4:13-18). It involves the saved, the redeemed in Christ (John 3:3, 7; Eph. 2:1-10; 1 Peter 1:3-4); but it will not include religious and moral people who are void of saving faith and still under condemnation (John 3:18-19).

Hence, at “the judgment seat of Christ,” all believers will give an account before the Lord Jesus to determine their rewards or lack of them (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:9-10). Their salvation has been settled at the Cross through saving faith (Eph. 2:8-9). As a result, this judgment is not one of condemnation. The Bible says that “we [believers] must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor.5:10)). The word “appear” means “to make clear, reveal, to manifest.” In other words, the full truth about our lives, character, deeds, ministries, motives, service for the Lord will be made plain to us.

God’s Word stresses “that each one may receive the things done in the body” (v. 10). This phrase “each one” emphasizes that this is not a collective judgment but an individual one. Every believer will answer to the Savior who has redeemed him or her. For that reason, “we make it our aim…to be well pleasing to Him” (v. 9).

The judgment for unbelievers, all unsaved since the beginning of time, is the judgment of the Great White Throne. It is described in Rev. 20:11-15. The Word of God declares: “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God…the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his [and her] works” (vv. 12-13). All the unsaved dead are resurrected and stand before Christ to be judged. It is Jesus Himself who will be the Judge as stated specifically in John 5:27.

The Bible says that “they were judged, each one according to his [or her] works.” Before a holy God, peoples’ self-righteous works are “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). None can save them. Without the righteousness of Christ (Rom. 3:21-27), no one can be saved. Therefore, they will stand condemned before the Great White Throne. There will be no grace. As a result, they will be “cast into the lake of fire” forever (Rev. 20:15).

With the increasing love for sin in peoples’ lives today and wickedness magnifying itself in great portions and defiance against anything holy and Godly, Jesus said it distinctly: “And this is the condemnation that the light (Himself) has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). So, the question needs to be asked, “What judgment will you face?” Without Christ’s saving work in your life, the evidence is clear. However, you can change it before it’s too late!

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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End Times Intrigue

July 7, 2017

By Merrill Olson

For over 2000 years people have questioned the events of the end times and wondered when the Lord Jesus will return. Terms such as Antichrist, tribulation, 666, mark of the beast, and the millennium have even appeared on supermarket tabloids. There is, therefore, an end-times intrigue regarding future eschatological events.

In the Old and New Testament numerous references are given to the kingdom of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus, and His long-anticipated earthly reign as the anointed King. When He taught His followers to pray, He uttered a very significant request: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). What was He referring to? The Lord is speaking of the time of this future earthly reign when He will have the nations for His inheritance (Ps. 2:8).

It will be a glorious time when “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). Even the animal kingdom will be affected because “the wolf…shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat…the cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and a little child shall lead them…the nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain” (Isaiah 11:6-9).

Regarding this kingdom reign of Christ, there are three millennial views that have been at the forefront over the centuries: Premillennialism, Amillennialism, and Postmillennialism. All three have favorable qualities, but only one is truly Biblical.

Premillennialism was unquestionably the belief of the early believers. For them, the millennium is a future event with the Lord’s return before (pre) the millennium. Therefore, the Lord’s disciples, along with those they taught, anticipated the return of the Lord Jesus as King. Prior to the millennium, the righteous are raised from the dead. They will then enter into its blessings (Rev. 20:4).

Amillennialism is the belief that there is no literal 1000 year kingdom rule on this earth by Jesus after His Second Coming. Instead, the millennium is merely a symbol of the Lord’s present reign among His people. Those who hold to amillennialism allegorize and spiritualize the prophecies regarding the millennium. They, also, attribute to the church the yet unfulfilled prophecies to Israel.

Postmillennialism puts great emphasis on the preaching of the Gospel. Because of it, they contend that the Gospel will spread to the extent that nearly everyone in this world will turn to Jesus Christ. They believe that the world will continue to get better and better until the whole world is Christianized. Is this Biblical? No!

Therefore, what is the belief that is true to the Word of God? It is Premillennialism. Over and over it can be backed by Scripture. However, all of them share certain key points: Jesus is going to come again, and His redeemed are to be ready all the time.

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 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.

OLSON ARCHIVES

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).