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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.

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leading to captivity, as clearly revealed in Old Testament history, God’s ultimate purposes for Israel would not be rescinded.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).

The World’s Problems Involve The New Birth

December 1, 2016

By Merrill Olson

The majority of people in this world have no clue about the importance of Jesus’ declaration: “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again’” (John 3:7). These words, spoken by the eternal Son of God, are not an option but a requirement for entering “the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Without being spiritually “born again,” there is no hope of eternal life or of ever entering heaven.

For the person who wants to be the captain of his or her own soul, these words are devastating. They seem far-fetched and deluded. However, they are spoken by the Creator (John 1:3; Col. 1:16), by God Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ. What He says is true for He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). What He speaks is eternally tight and unchanging. He declared that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matt. 24:35). Therefore, when He said, “You must be born again,” this is exactly what He meant. There are no alternatives!

Whenever someone dies without professing Christ, it is troubling to hear people say, even from believers, “God is the Judge.” It is like saying, “The person may be in heaven because God is the final Judge.” That type of reasoning is unbiblical because God has already made His judgment. If the deceased had never experienced the new birth, Jesus’ words have settled the matter as far as the person’s soul.

If people could get to heaven without being born again, then we better not witness to them or send missionaries to foreign lands proclaiming the Gospel. In this way, they can remain in their sins without heeding the truth and still go to heaven. However, that is biblically untrue. People need to hear the truth of the Cross, become convicted of their sins, and reach out to Jesus, through the grace of God, for cleansing and for the gift of salvation (Rom. 10:9-13; Eph. 2:8-9). Without doing so, they remain in their sins and are under condemnation (John 3:18). They are void of redemption in Christ (Eph. 1:7).

What is important to note in all of this is that this is the core of the world’s problems. The majority of the people in this world are not born again. They are walking the “broad way” to hell (Matt. 7:13-14). Their hearts have not been changed by the Holy Spirit. They remain in their sins (John 8:24) like the religious leaders that confronted Jesus. People remain spiritually unregenerate and are motivated by their sinful hearts (Mark 7:20-23).

What do sinful hearts do? Their actions and attitudes are against God. No matter what realm is described, sinful hearts are manifested. Whether it be the political life, the wickedness of ISIS, destructive protests, peoples’ greed, dishonesty, jealousy, murders, robberies, drunkenness, lying, etc., it is a heart issue. The Bible says that “out of the [heart] spring the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). God’s Word depicts “the heart” as “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it” (Isaiah 17:9).

This is why the world’s problems involve the new birth. Without it, humanity goes on its destructive ways to hell. Even good people need to be born again (Rom. 3:23). Only God can change the human heart. Has Jesus changed yours?

God’s Sovereignty Over The Election

November 11, 2016

By Merrill Olson

Something happened with the election that defies all odds. After enduring for months the unjust criticism by the liberal, intolerant, and bias media, and the abusive character assassinations by others, who were seeking to disqualify him as being unfit, Donald Trump was declared the new President-Elect.

After he received the necessary electoral votes to win the presidency, there were people shouting for joy and others were weeping in disbelief. The next day certain college students decided to burn the American flag. Even some high school students left their classes and walked in protest. Others protested using anarchist language, even destroying and burning because the election did not go their way. What is the cause? Much of it comes from the corrupt media spewing its hatred and intolerance.

Nevertheless, the people of the United States have placed Donald Trump in this important office of the United States. His choice for Vice President has been well received. Mr. Pence is a godly man who bears testimony to his faith in the Lord Jesus. This should be a very positive note for all believers, everyone “born again” (John 3:3).

However, it is not just the people of the United States that have placed him in this important position, but it is the eternal sovereign God who has chosen to do so.

For example, God’s sovereignty is distinctly revealed in Daniel 4:28-33. One day, King Nebuchadnezzar “was walking about the royal palace of Babylon” (v. 29). In fact, he may have been led by an entourage of cabinet and counselors. With inflated pride, he said, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty (v. 30)?” At that moment, God judged him and the Scriptures share the account. His kingdom was taken from him and he became, for seven years, like a creature who “ate grass like oxen” (v. 33). For the voice from heaven (v. 31) said to him, “Until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses” (v. 32).

When God restored Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom, he gave praise and honor to God (vv. 34-37). He said, “All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand” (v. 35).

The Almighty God has appointed Donald Trump as the next President of the United States. It is “according to His will.” He has used him to expose the evil under works of this nation, much that has been hidden from the American people. Issues have been opened up that otherwise have been secreted. Even as God chose “Cyrus” (Is. 45:1-7) as His instrument, so He is choosing to use President-Elect Trump at a crucial time.

Many believers have known that America was at a precipice (last 2 articles) and have earnestly prayed for this election. God has graciously heard and may be giving America another chance. Now we must continue to pray for him, for his soul and for direction.

America Is At A Precipice

November 6, 2016

By Merrill Olson

America truly is at a precipice. It is situated like on a very steep or overhanging place. This next presidential election will determine whether or not it makes a sheer fall into no return. If it does drop into the abyss, it will still exist, for a time as God allows, but it will never be the nation that many have known in the present and for decades gone by.

Its movement toward the precipice has slowly taken place since President Ronald Reagan left office (1981-89). It was on a downward slide before his time, but God granted His common grace to the United States and Reagan’s presidency brought it back on the right track. He was a God fearing man, a believer in Christ, who knew that unless things changed, America would end up on the cliff. It became a good time to live. People felt secure under this strong, godly leader.

However, now the United States sits close to a sheer drop with the possibility of no return. There can be no doubt that this election is the most momentous one for all of us in our lifetime. The reason is that there are two candidates who are on opposite sides of the fence as far as where he or she will take this country. One them will determine the path for generations to come if the Lord tarries His coming (1Thess. 4:13-18).

Therefore, for born again believers (John 3:3), there can be no loyalty to any political party. There is too much at stake in this election. With the wrong person in the Oval Office, Christians will not be able to practice their religious freedom in Christ. In fact, many have already experienced persecution when business owners have lost their livelihood because they sought to live out their biblical convictions. Under the wrong president, it is going to get much worse. This country will become anti-Christian and pro-Muslim. This is already happening and will greatly expand or utterly decrease depending on the election and the one who will be occupying the White House.

Another important issue to keep in mind as one enters the voting booth is the future of the Supreme Court. If the next two or four justices chosen by the next president are of the present liberal, progressive, judicial ideology, there will be no correcting of it for decades and possibly never. This will affect many of our own children and grandchildren and beyond. If we care enough about them and what we will leave them, this has to be a high priority for us. How can it be any other way? Is it not better to have people on the Court who will uphold the Constitution of the United States? How can truly born again believers not desire this for themselves and those they leave behind?

Another important issue has to do with the continued murder of unborn children. Since 1973 over sixty million have been literally killed in their mother’s womb. If a prolife president is not elected, this immense slaughter will continue in greater numbers. Because God forms the unborn child (Psalm 139:13-18), abortion is wickedness!

All voters need to keep in mind that they are not voting for a person. Instead, they are voting for a worldview. One of the candidates holds a progressive, liberal ideology. The other leans toward a biblical understanding. Which one will be your choice?

A change of guard temporarily works

October 23, 2016

By Merrill Olson

In just a few days the presidential election will bring a changing of the guard in January. Millions of people will enter the voting booth to make their decision for a leader of their choice. The particular person elected will determine the direction of the country for the next four years. In fact, the results may extend far beyond that even into the next seventy years and beyond if the Lord tarries in His coming and ends it all.

Nevertheless, both presidential candidates are in complete disagreement on issues. However, each one is appealing to the American people as continuous polling data reveals that 65 percent of Americans feel that this country is headed in the wrong direction. Their concerns stem from different reasons: the apparent lack of leadership in confronting the threats of ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism even to the United States, problems in handling effective immigration, managing the economy, and the divisiveness that occurs among class, color, faith, guns, and political groups.

Therefore, each presidential candidate is offering solutions to these problems and how they best can be handled. Even this has caused divisiveness. Hate language and accusations have been thrown out like wild fire burning and destroying along the way.

What has happened to the sense of decency that I experienced as a teenager in listening to my parents as they talked about the candidates? Back then the majority in that era were God fearing. Biblical morals meant something. The Judeo-Christian values, which this nation was built upon, still held power in the decisions that were made. Following the Constitution was a definite must.

In addition, children were taught to obey their parents. Parents sought to instill in their children general Bible principles which had traditionally helped young people to become honest, responsible, and productive citizens of their country. Therefore, the school not only provided a sound education but sought to reinforce the values taught at home.

However, a real change began taking place in the 1960’s. As it progressed, two godless world views began to govern: naturalism and postmodernism. Their influence has been powerful in shaping our modern society, including relentless attacks against Christianity, the Bible, and Jesus.

This election is crucial in getting back to some kind of decency even though America will still have one major problem: a heart problem (Jer. 17:9). Yet, this sense of civility can occur with a President who appoints prolife Supreme Court Justices, who believes in religious liberty, upholds the Second Amendment rights, works to correct immigration problems, and is concerned about economic growth and our national security.

God does work through sinful rulers as we see in the Old Testament. Nevertheless, the long lasting solution will not be from Washington but with the return of the Lord Jesus (Mark 13:32-37). Until then, we vote, we pray, we seek to do what is right in His eyes. We also seek God for our leaders and others who desperately need Him (Rom. 3:23).

Christianity Outlawed

September 30, 2016

By Merrill Olson

Not only is the world falling apart but America is rapidly moving into a secular progressive mentality. With it can one observe the downward trend of Christianity becoming outlawed? Only naivety to what is happening will people remain unaffected by the reality taking place.

This trend to outlaw Christianity is evident in every facet of society. Such radicalization is seen in the word “Jesus” or the word “Christ” being outlawed in certain places. People that are called to pray in the public square are not allowed to mention the name Jesus less it offends someone. However, Allah is perfectly acceptable. No longer are the Bible and prayer permitted in the public schools, nor the teaching of biblical creation. The Ten Commandments and Crosses that have stood for decades are being demolished or removed from schools and government places. In fact, private citizens have been forced to remove a Cross from their property because it offends someone.

The examples of Christianity being outlawed are many. We have heard from the news media where businesses have been sued and lost because the owners refused to go against their Christian convictions. On the other hand, Muslims are exempt from any lawsuits for the same type of business. This is pure hypocrisy! However, it is present day America. Christian colleges are being threatened by legislation that would sever their tenets of the faith regarding human sexuality, housing policies, codes of conduct regarding employment and admission standards, and other critical issues as Christian institutions.

The list is extensive regarding the outlawing of Christianity. Only a few examples have been given. Nevertheless, it is very evident that our society is being influenced more and more by secularists who are imposing their anti-God religion on America. There is real hostility growing against people who profess Jesus Christ and stand for biblical morality. However, it should not be a surprise because the Bible says that “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).

The decline of Christianity and the progressive secularization of society are even more evident in the decline of church attendance in America. The non-religious part of the population is growing and churches are losing. Without a true conversion to Christ and biblical teaching and evangelism, this country will become more and more pagan in its thinking. Leaders in all areas and the general populous will follow this pattern.

This seems to fit the words of Jesus: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction [hell], and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life [heaven], and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). Simply, heaven is not their destiny.

It has all happened because God’s people have not “contended earnestly for the faith” upon God’s Word (Jude 1:3). Is it too late to start? Contending is critical! Otherwise, Christianity will continue to progress further into becoming outlawed in America!

Calling evil good and good evil

September 11, 2016

By Merrill Olson

The prophet warns: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Is. 5:20).

This sounds like present day America even though it was written to the nation of Judah who would eventually fall to God’s judgment under Babylonian captivity. After Israel, the northern kingdom, was taken into Assyrian captivity in 722 B.C., Judah continued to follow the footsteps of sin as Israel.

Therefore, Isaiah warned Judah that judgment was coming not by Assyria but by Babylon, even though it had not yet risen to power. Eventually, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire (ruled 605-562 B.C.), would capture Jerusalem, destroy the Temple, and carry the people of Judah into captivity in Babylon.

In the context of Isaiah 5:20, the prophet pronounces six indictments introduced by “Woe.” Each of them is much like God would pronounce upon America as He looks at it today. They are: (1) Woe to materialists (5:8-10); (2) Woe to the drunkards (5:11-12); (3) Woe to those who blaspheme God because of their sin and challenge Him (5:18-19); (4) Woe to those who call evil good and good evil (5:20); (5) Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes (5:21); (6) Woe to the drunken bribe takers (5:22-23).

Each one of these denunciations by a holy God fits well into the slide of America into debauchery from its American Christian heritage. It is a heritage that was built upon the pillars of Christianity. Jedediah Morse, an educator and geographer, said in 1799: “Whenever the pillars of Christianity should be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all the blessings which flow from them, must fall with them.” Are they falling? What do you think?

Once again, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness.” In Judah’s day, there were those who led others astray by their own perverted values. Think of people today who are led astray by the godless morals and thinking of many politicians, educators, preachers (2 Cor. 11:13-15), TV personalities and secular media, movie producers, focus groups including religious, etc. You name them! It is not that difficult. Many sins forbidden in Scripture are held up as being “good.” “Darkness” is portrayed as “light” and socially and politically correct.

Tragically, many are portraying Islam as “good” and “Christianity” as “evil.” There is a push today to denounce the name “Jesus” from being mentioned in the public square. Same sex marriage is considered “good.” Millions of babies are still being murdered in their mothers’ wombs as abortion remains legal and this “evil” is considered as “good.”

Is there any hope for America? The only one is if masses turn to Jesus in repentance, but Bible prophecy does not foresee that. What is prophesied is that Jesus will return and the whole world will bow to Him whether they want to or not (Phil. 2:9-11).

Righteous Rulers In Contrast to Wicked Ones

August 17, 2016

By Merrill Olson

Long before the United States of America came into being with its Christian foundation, the Word of God stated: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man [woman] rules, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2).

This was the thinking and belief of the majority of American’s founders. Tragically, few people realize in our present day that many of these men were devoutly Christian or stood for biblical standards. In fact, those at the time of the American Revolution saw America as an opportunity to bring forth a country based on these values.

For example, John Adams, the Second President (1797-1801), wrote in his diary on February 22, 1756: “Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their very law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited …What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.”

John Quincy Adams, the Sixth President, stressed: “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government and principles of Christianity.” James Madison is often considered the chief architect of the Constitution as well as the Bill of Rights. He was a profound Bible student. Even though he became a lawyer and a statesman, he never wavered on his Christian convictions. Many early leaders could likewise be described and quoted.

Therefore, a careful study of American History will reveal, to any critic, the emphasis upon God and the Bible as the sources upon which this country was to be governed.

This founding basis means that no one has to wonder why God has utterly blessed America up to this point in time. So, two very good reasons stand out: First, because of America’s favoritism toward Israel (Genesis 12:2-3); and secondly, because of the beliefs of the America’s Founders. Without a doubt, these two explanations speak loudly to God’s blessings upon the United States of America.

Nevertheless, America is becoming a country that will eventually start experiencing God’s judgment, if it has not already begun. As this nation forgets God and the One upon whom the Founders based their government upon, God will gradually remove His blessing from it. As America turns its back on Israel, as many of its leaders are doing, God’s promise to “curse” it will happen (Genesis 12:3).

Consequently, is America now slowly progressing to a point of no return? Most likely! America is not even mentioned in Scripture. God says, “When the righteous are in authority the people rejoice; But when a wicked man [woman] rules, the people groan.” As ungodly leaders are voted into places of leadership, the American people will suffer. Think of the countries with corrupt government leadership! The people are suffering.

Is this Bible prophecy being fulfilled? It very much looks like it. When will Jesus return?
No one knows! For us who are saved, our focus must daily be on Him (Heb. 12:1-2).

ISIS not ISIL

July 23, 2016

By Merrill Olson

There is confusion today between these two groups. The news media many times refers to ISIL as the terrorists. President Obama refuses to say ISIS. In any setting in which he speaks about the threat, he always refers to ISIL. Ignorantly, many people accept the term. However, for those who know the difference, they may react in disgust wondering how people, that should know better, refuse to say it like it is.

ISIS simply stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. ISIL refers to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. What is the Levant? It includes the countries of Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and the area of southern Turkey. There is a big difference. For instance, Israel and Jordan are not beheading, raping, and killing Christians, Jews, and non-Muslims. These atrocities are occurring under ISIS.

ISIS was founded in 1999 by Abu Bakr al-Baghadadi. He believes that he is the successor to the Prophet Mohammad. Their flag contains two phrases: “There is no god but Alllah” “Mohammad is the messenger of Allah.”

Much violence is happening today in the world with terrorists killing people and ISIS claiming credit for it. On the other hand, the Middle East itself is also unstable economically, politically, socially, religiously, etc. It is a very diverse and complex place that consists of tribal clans, ethnic groups and religious factions. Therefore, this brings forth violence and war that makes it a very volatile place in the world today.

From this unrest has brought forth ISIS with its objective to impose Sharia Law on all humanity and to follow a strict adherence to the Qur’an and Mohammed. Its aim is to establish a social order that implements Islamic law in all areas of life. In doing this, it believes in the concept of Holy War or Jihad as a necessity in accomplishing its goal.

God prophesied centuries ago that this very thing would happen. It goes all the way back to Abraham and the confusion of Sarai (Sarah) with her maid, Hagar, after Hagar became pregnant with Ishmael by Abraham (Gen. 16:1-8).

After Hagar fled into the wilderness of Beersheba, the “Angel of the LORD [the pre-incarnate Christ] appeared to her and said, ‘Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has heard your affliction. He shall be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren’” (vv. 11-12).

Ishmael became the father of twelve sons and thus the father of the Arabs (Gen. 25:12-16). The Bible says that “He shall be a wild man….” While we must not apply these traits to every descendant of Ishmael, centuries-long hostility between Jews and Arabs are well-known. Out of this has brought, like ISIS, haters of Jews and Christians.

This violence and hatred is going to continue until the Lord Jesus returns and ends it all (Psalm 2:1-12). Therefore, “Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him” (v. 12).

The new heaven and new earth

June 28, 2016

By Merrill Olson

God has established an eternal home for all of His redeemed in Christ. He describes it as a place where “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

The apostle John expressed the beginning of the eternal state: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (v. 1).
This will be the fulfillment of what God promised centuries before: “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind” (Isaiah 65:17). This promise is reinforced with the words: “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13).

The word “new” in Revelation 21:1 and 2 Peter 3:13 is the Greek word “kainos” and not “neos.” Therefore, we can understand clearly what the Bible is saying when it uses the Greek word “kainos” and not “neos.” “Kainos” has to do with “fresh or renewed, made new.” In other words, it is not new to time but new in quality. “Neos” means “young” and has to do with “new in respect to time, that which is recent. “ John and Peter, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, use the word “kainos” meaning “fresh or renewed, made new.”

Therefore, what is God going to do with the present earth to prepare it for the eternal ages? He is going to purge it with fire. The Bible says that the “heavens and earth which now exist are kept in store by the same word, reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men…the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up…the heavens will be dissolved being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat” (2 Peter 3:7, 10, 12).

God’s Word stresses in graphic language that this entire earth system will be completely purged with fire as God makes preparation for the pure and untainted “new heaven and earth.” This eternal dwelling place of His redeemed will bear no effects or reminders of this present earth.

Heaven and earth will be joined into one eternal realm with the “holy Jerusalem [heavenly city], descending out of heaven from God” (Rev. 21:10). This city is huge by divine measurements (v. 16). In other words, it is approximately 1,500 miles high, wide, and long. If you are traveling in an airliner at a height of 33,000 feet, that is a little over 6 miles. But that is nothing compared to this city as it “descends out of heaven from God.” This gigantic city of heaven is brilliant as it glows with the glory of God (vv. 9-26).

One cannot imagine how wonderful heaven is going to be for those saved in Christ. There will be no curse of sin as the eternal ages will be bathed with the splendor of God’s glory. It will be an endless state of utter joy and perfection. Nothing on earth can describe its future reality!

The Trial of the Ages

June 10, 2016

By Merrill Olson

There is going to be a future trial that will surpass all others that have ever taken place. It will occur when every unsaved person, from the beginning of time, will face the courtroom of God at the Great White Throne Judgment. The fearsome picture of it is described in Revelation 20:11-15. This is the most serious and sobering passage in the Bible. It tells of a frightening experience that will take place.

This judgment will be the final one after Satan has been “cast into the lake of fire and brimstone” (v. 10). It will be a horrific judgment that will lead all unsaved humanity into the same place (v. 15). No unredeemed person will be exempt for some reason. There will be no grace because it ended at death. There is no salvation beyond the grave. Therefore, there will be no debate regarding anyone’s innocence or guilt. There will be no defense attorneys. Everyone will be guilty before a holy God. They died in their sins without Christ; and thus, all hope is gone.

God’s Word portrays them as “the dead, small and great” (v. 12). These are the mass of unbelievers who face the divine judgment of God. It also includes those depicted by the words “the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them” (v. 13).

At death the souls of all unbelievers enter the realm that Jesus called “Hades” (Luke 16:23). It is a place of “torment” (v. 24) as they await the Great White Throne Judgment. When the day and hour comes for their divine summons, they will be resurrected to stand before an unsympathetic Judge to hear their sentencing. They will have eternal bodies that will never die. Their names are not “written in the Book of Life” (Rev. 20:15). Therefore, they will be “cast into the lake of fire” and punished eternally with no possibility of release. What a horrifying truth!

There is no one without Christ who will escape. Not one person will be spared because of their “good works” (Eph. 2:8-9). People from history will be there. This includes people like Hitler, Stalin, Julius Caesar, and Roman emperors. It also takes in atheists, agnostics, the religious and unconverted church members, including pastors, priests, and popes. The self-righteous will appear. People from false religions will be there such as Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, etc. The list goes on and on. It does not make any difference whether people are Protestant, Catholic, Jewish or whatever, without saving faith in the Lord only divine judgment awaits them.

Who is the Supreme Judge? It is the Lord Jesus Christ! He said, “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22). He added, “For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man” (vv. 26-27). If people reject Christ now, they will appear before Him as their divine Judge.

Salvation is found in Jesus Christ alone (Acts 4:12). The Bible says, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3)