A Sobering Message to Comet Elenin 9/29 Date Setters – Repent

First, I want to assure you that I long for the Lord’s appearance and I believe it is near. I also think there are good arguments to support the idea. Unfortunately, there are also some really bad ones. I think it is neat that the constellations are lining up as Revelation 12 describes on 9/29 because I think it is the real birthday of Jesus but I would never use that as predictor for Christ’s return. I confess that I used to get excited by many of the various date setting schemes. However, I was convicted by the Spirit of God when I saw that they always fail and lead to great error and confusion. I repented and I refuse to set dates or make predictions. To say the time is near is enough. John the Baptist came as a prophet declaring the Day of the Lord. His message was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”(Mt 3:2). Will you listen?

Harold Camping recently set a date and when it passed, he simply moved it forward. This is not new behavior as he did the same thing back in 1994.

Harold Camping, in his book Are You Ready?, predicted the Lord would return in September 1994. The book was full of numerology that added up to 1994 as the date of Christ’s return.  (rapture ready.com)

The only reason someone does not repent when they have advocated a date and it passes is pride. Pride is the root of sinfulness. CS Lewis famously wrote:

Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind. (Lewis, Mere Christianity, 122)

If you are right and Jesus returns then Hallelujah but I hope you are prepared to humble yourself when nothing happens. So what are you going to do if nothing happens on 9/29?  Will you be like Harold Camping make excuses and change the date or will you admit you are wrong and repent of date setting? Repent means you completely turn from it. What I would like to suggest is that you simply learn your lesson and never engage in it again. I pray you will swallow your pride, turn to Jesus and repent. Also, do as I am doing and teach others not to do it. It is your duty as a disciple. This sort of thing has caused so many problems for Christians, it is not harmless, it ruins lives!

For the past month, reports have been pouring out of Vietnam that an unknown number of Hmong Christians have been killed, attacked, or arrested by military forces.  The Vietnamese government has closed off outside access to the Muong Nhe District in Dien Bien, where an estimated 10,000 Hmong Christians from the Central Highlands and Dien Bien have been congregating since late April.  Insiders who are able to leak information past government forces and media controls have reported that as many as 70 Hmong have been killed so far, though exact numbers cannot be confirmed.  These Hmong have also been brutally attacked and arrested by the Vietnamese government, while most are fleeing into hiding to spare their lives.  Meanwhile the outside world is unable to send in help.

But why did this even take place?  What led 10,000 Hmong Christians to come together in peace yet face such a brutal and violent end?  Answer: Harold Camping.  Worldwide media have reported on the gathering of Hmong in this region, and ICC sources have confirmed the underlying premise of these gatherings to be primarily due to Mr. Camping’s influence.


Knowing that date setting leads to this sort of thing should pierce your heart and lead to repentance.

See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

(Mt 24:25-27)

Please see the Date Setter’s Diary at Rapture Ready.com


Was Jesus a Failed Apocalyptic Prophet?

By Cris D. Putnam

A popular view amongst skeptics is that Jesus was failed apocalyptic prophet.  Their argument centers on the Olivet discourse in Mark 13:30 where Jesus says, “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” They contend that this means Jesus predicted his return in power prior to the death of the disciples and that since this failed to happen, Jesus is proven a false prophet.  Atheist websites galore use this as a proof text. Even a few serious scholars do as well.  For instance, Bart Ehrman argues:

Jesus appears to have anticipated that the coming judgment of God, to be brought by the Son of Man in a cosmic act of destruction and salvation, was imminent. It could happen at any time. But it would certainly happen within his generation.[1]

Albert Schweitzer held a similar position:

At the end of His career Jesus establishes a connection between the Messianic conception, in its final transformation, and the Kingdom, which had retained its eschatological character; He goes to His death for the Messiahship in its new significance, but He goes on believing in His speedy return as the Son of Man.[2]

These are established scholars and we must take them seriously. However, are they really being honest with the data? More so, are they accounting for all of the data or merely pulling a verse from its context because it seems to infer an error on Jesus’ part.

I was listening to Gary Habermas’ lecture on the historical Jesus and an interesting question surfaced concerning Mark 13:32,

But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (Mk 13:32).

Habermas uses this verse to demonstrate that Jesus’ messianic title “Son of Man” (cf. Dan 7:13) was not added later (no one would claim Jesus was God and then add a verse claiming he did not know something).  Theologically, this verse is an embarrassing detail so it has an air of authenticity.[3] But more importantly, this verse appears directly after Jesus’ alleged prediction that he would return in his own generation. Doesn’t it seem odd that Jesus would predict his return within a very narrow time frame (his own generation) and then immediately say that he did not know when it would be? Actually, it seems incoherent for a reason. The skeptics have it wrong.

Jesus did not really teach that his return would be imminent. In fact, he provided hints it would not be. In Jesus’ parable about the ten talents, which is clearly about him leaving and then returning, he includes a pertinent detail, “Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them” (Mt 25:19). The parable of the Ten Virgins is another one which is centered on Jesus’ return and it provides a similar clue, “As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept” (Mt 25:5). Craig Blomberg asks why Jesus would bother addressing so many worldly matters if he really believed as the critics suggest:

the majority of Jesus’ teaching presupposes a significant interval before the end of the world, because Christ spends much time instructing his disciples on such mundane matters as paying taxes, marriage and divorce, dealing with one’s enemies, stewardship of wealth, and so on.[4]

Jesus also implied an extended period of world evangelization, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come”( Mt 24:14). It seems absurd to argue that Jesus and the apostles would have expected world evangelization in their lifetime. This begs the question what did Jesus mean by this generation.

From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place (Mk 13:28-30).

The “these things” of v. 30 must be the same as the “these things” of v. 29, which clearly refer to signs preceding Christ’s second coming. Jesus was teaching that the generation who witnessed the signs he had previously outlined in chapter 13 would see his return. There has been no other generation in history prior to our own that has seen these signs in such abundance.

Get a signed copy of Pandemonium’s Engine here for $10.00

[1] Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus, Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium (Oxford: Oxford University Press, USA, 1999),160.

[2] Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus (Joseph Kreifels).

[3] If you are interested in how Jesus can be God and not know something, the solution lies in his two natures human and divine. Look into the two minds view here.

[4] Craig Blomberg, in Michael J. Wilkins, Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1996), 31.

Book Review: The Bondage Breaker by Neil Anderson

This essay will first give an overview and summary of The Bondage Breaker, and then it will offer several key points of analysis. The first point of analysis will be Satan’s status as accuser, which naturally leads to how one interprets several pertinent passages of scripture. Drawing on a critique by Elliot Miller of the Christians Research Journal, the issue of the sin nature and the believer and the demonization of believers will be examined. The issue of ancestral curses will be examined along with Andersen’s hermeneutic of exclusively using the epistles for spiritual warfare theology. Finally, my personal experience will be discussed. The paper will attempt to show that this book is overall quite sound and that it has been of enormous benefit to my own journey.

Brief Summary

Neil Anderson is genuinely concerned with freeing folks from spiritual bondage to fear, depression and addictions through the provision of Christ who is the bondage breaker. The book begins by addressing some common misconceptions held by sincere Christians. He argues that many of us actually have an unbiblical worldview influenced by naturalism. For instance many think that demons were active during the first century but their activity has subsided. This is a non-starter if one accepts Ephesians 6:12 as part of their worldview. Similarly many believe that medical science has proven all such demonic phenomenon to be mental illness. In fact he argues that a biblical worldview will recognize that all problems are spiritual. There is no psychological problem which is not spiritual and vice versa. He also argues that it is a common misconception to think that Christians cannot be affected by demons. Furthermore demonic influence need not be overtly obvious it is often subtle deception. He argues that freedom is not gained by a power encounter rather a truth encounter. Affirming the truth of Christ’s victory is the primary defense against the enemy’s intimidation.

The second chapter is focused on the issue of worldview. He argues that the western world is experiencing a paradigm shift away from naturalism toward the embrace of New Age spirituality and mysticism. Yet it is more correct to see it as a two tiered system with the natural rational world on bottom acting within the laws of science and the transcendent spiritual realm in which modern man relegates the supernatural. Westerners living in this secular two tiered paradigm are actually in the excluded middle which is in fact reality. Many Christians live as though the supernatural has no effect on their lives and are deceived by the culture. The primary spiritual battle is in the mind. Satan seeks to promote selfishness and self-centeredness. The way of Christ is to deny yourself. Anderson makes an important distinction between self-denial and denying one’s self. Self-denial is regularly practiced by narcissistic persons who want to be thin or physically fit. It still is self-focused for self-gratification. Anderson contends, “To deny ourselves is to deny self-rule. Dying to self is the primary battle of life.”[1] He exhorts the reader to sacrifice the pleasures of the world to gain the eternal. The Christian life is one of humble service and has no room for worldly egotism.

Much of the battle for the Christian is in recognizing their identity in Christ. Chapter three presents a list of important scripture passages which assert the believers acceptance, security and significance. He explains that people who are demonically oppressed have a hard time acknowledging their worth and position in Christ. Anderson explains that when one accepts the Gospel and is born again a transformation begins and the believer is no longer subject to the law of sin and death. An important line in the book contends, “It is not what we do that determines who we are. It is who we are that determines what we do.”[2] This runs counter to conventional cultural wisdom but is coherent with biblical revelation. He then resents a dialog with Dan which illustrates the process of someone coming to understand this truth. It is largely a battle for the mind.

Chapter five codifies the teaching on the believer’s authority in Christ with a discussion of the relevant passages and principles. Believers carry Jesus’ authority, the right to rule, and power, the ability to rule. Luke 10:17 is a foundational passage where the disciples realize that the demons are subject to them. He also argues from Ephesians 2:5-6 that because we are seated with Christ at the right hand of God that through him we have authority over the demons. He lists four essential qualifications: 1) Belief; 2) Humility in that one can do nothing without Christ; 3) Boldness (2 Timothy 1:7); 4) Dependence in that our authority is in God’s calling. We put first things first.[3] Chapter six encourages the reader that Jesus will protect.

Anderson makes a very apt analogy to germs and disease. Most people are aware that we are always surrounded by invisible bacteria and germs that can potentially make us ill. Even still, we do not live in constant fear and apprehension because we trust that a reasonable level of care and sanitary practice along with our natural immune system will keep us healthy. When people do become hyper-vigilant in this area it can lead to paranoia and paralyzing fear. Michael Jackson’s practice of wearing a mask in public bore the brunt of many jokes but is an unfortunate example. This transfers nicely to the believer’s position with demons. We know that they are all around us influencing our world but we trust in Christ and by the daily maintenance of our spiritual condition that they cannot harm us. The discussion of the spiritual armor in Ephesians six reveals that these elements are received at salvation and much of our battle is in claiming and believing our position in Christ. Prayer is our greatest defense against spiritual blindness. The next couple chapters cover some tempting errors.

The occult is an old temptation which promises power through secret knowledge. It is expressly forbidden in the Bible and is identified as demonic. Even so, it is being repackaged as “spirituality” and is more popular than ever. At the time of Andersen’s writing the New Age movement was gaining popularity but today it is the norm. Oprah Winfrey has almost single handedly made alternative spirituality the main stream. He then covers temptation by breaking it into three categories: 1) the lust of the flesh; 2) the lust of the eyes; 3) the pride of life. The latter entails the temptation to take charge of one’s own life and supplant God’s role. Anderson advises that one capture every thought because the battle always begins in the mind. The solution is submission to God. He teaches, “Submission to God involves more than confession. It requires genuine repentance which means a change of mind and way of life.”[4] Confession without repentance is empty. Freedom requires change. Next, he covers the discouragement by accusation. One of the enemy’s common strategies is to confound the believer by destroying confidence.

Satan is an accuser. In fact, that is what the term means in Hebrew. Satan and his minions will tempt and then accuse. The strategy is to make one despondent and ineffective. One should claim the truth that there is no condemnation for those in Christ (Rom 8:1). He makes the important distinction between conviction and accusation by appealing to 2 Corinthians 7:9-10. He also dispels a common misunderstanding about the unforgivable sin. Many falsely believe they are beyond redemption due to blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Proper exegesis reveals that this was actually the sin of those who accused Jesus of working miracles by the power of Satan. Andresen argues that the unpardonable sin is rejecting the witness of the Spirit, which is necessarily impossible for a Christian. The enemy thrives on deception.

Satan’s number one strategy is deception. Anderson discusses a plethora of manifestations in three categories: self-deception, false prophets/teachers, and deceiving spirits. Our primary defense is to take every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:5). There is an excellent discussion on signs and wonders and discerning the counterfeit from the real. Spiritual discernment involves examining one’s motives and the goal is to distinguish right from wrong in order to humbly obey. He moves into controversial territory by arguing that demons can indwell believers. He addresses the argument that the Holy Spirit and a demon cannot dwell in the same place with, “Satan is the god of this world and ‘the prince of the power of the air’ (Eph 2:2). Thus Satan and his demons are present in the atmosphere of this world, but so is the omnipresent Holy Spirit—which means they sometimes coexist.”[5] This seems fair enough God is allowing their existence for now. Chapter 12 examines many pertinent Bible passages and offers client testimony. Anderson then lays out his steps to freedom.

Chapter 13 presents the seven steps to freedom. The first step is to renounce all past or present involvement with occult practices and non-Christian religions. The second step is to open one’s eyes to having been deceived by the world system and coming into truth. Step three involves forgiving others and letting go of all bitterness so Satan cannot take advantage (2 Cor 2:10-11; Eph 4:31-32). Step four entails submission to proper authority. The fifth step is repentance from pride and selfishness. The sixth step involves confession and repentance in submission to God (Jms 4:7; 1 Jn 1:9). In the seventh step Anderson exhorts one to, “renounce the sins of your ancestors as well as any curses which may have been placed on you by deceived and evil people or groups.”[6] This entails ancestral curses and demonization which will be further discussed in the next section. Each step includes appropriate prayers and practical advice on working through the issues. He also advises that the battle is never over; walking in freedom requires maintenance by walking in truth, confessing and repenting as necessary. The book concludes with some advice on helping others to find freedom.

Critical interaction

Satan’s foremost device is deception and this is necessarily so because in reality he is a defeated foe by the cross and his days are numbered. The extent of his defeat is controversial. Like Bubeck Anderson thinks, “Satan now has access to our Father in heaven,”[7] but it seems to me that he was cast out after Jesus death and resurrection (Jn 12:31). I believe he lost his official capacity in heaven (Col 2:15). The Amillennialist would actually take this even further to argue that Satan is bound in chains (Rev 20:2-3). However, this is one the best arguments against Amillennialism because post cross 1 John 5:19 says, “…the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” Even more, Revelation 20:3 says that Satan is bound so that he will “not deceive the nations any longer” but Paul says he blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Cor 4:4).  While this seems devastating to Amillennialism, we must reconcile Jesus’ remarks in Luke 10:18 and John 12:31.  I believe that the best course is to see the war in heaven described in Revelation 12 as roughly coinciding with the ascension and that Satan was subsequently banished from heaven.  Accordingly, I do not believe Satan is in the role of the accuser in the divine council as presented in the book of Job and Zechariah.

Eliot Miller wrote a scathing critique for the Christian Research Journal called, “The Bondage Maker: Examining the Message and Method of Neil T. Andersen.”[8] A primary criticism is that Miller thinks Anderson believes that, “Christians no longer possess a sin nature.”[9] This seems misplaced because Anderson never directly says we do not have a sin nature. His evidence appears to be cherry picked and misconstrued. For instance, he quotes this from The Bondage Breaker as evidence, “At salvation God changed our very essence; we became ‘partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust’ (2 Peter 1:4).”[10] He quotes from other books as well but none of the statements seem to fully add up to the charge. In fact, Anderson explicitly argues against it:

Being a saint or a child of God doesn’t mean that you are sinless (1 John 1:8). But since your old self has been crucified and buried with Christ, you no longer have to sin (1 John 2:1). You sin when you choose to believe a lie or act independently of God.[11]

Elliot accuses Anderson of confusing legal status before God with actual holiness.[12] However, Anderson fully acknowledges the need for sanctification. He writes, “Being alive and free in Christ is part of positional sanctification, which is the basis for progressive sanctification.”[13] Theologian, Millard Erickson writes, “Sanctification is a process by which one’s moral condition is brought into conformity with one’s legal status before God.”[14] Indeed, there seems to be a lack of clarity between positional justification and actual sanctification but the error is Miller’s not Andersen’s. Anderson specifically acknowledges the distinction.

Another major criticism offered in the article is that Anderson teaches, “Christians can be and often are demonized (indwelt and controlled by demons).”[15] Miller argues that it is not possible, “The presence of the Holy Spirit within believers — which is not conditioned on their obedience — guarantees this (2 Cor. 6:14-18; cf. Matt. 12:43-45; 1 John 4:4; 5:18).”[16] While this seems like a good argument, others disagree. Unger contends,

The claim that the Holy Spirit could not dwell in the same body with an evil spirit overlooks an important theological observation. It might with equal cogency be asked how the Holy Spirit can dwell in our bodies, which are still possessed of the old nature and therefore subject to sin. Yet He does because of our redemption and the presence of the new nature.[17]

It is ironic that Miller was arguing against Anderson insisting on the presence of the sin nature. This seems inconsistent with his argument that the presence of the Spirit precludes demonization. While I never felt completely controlled, my personal experience is that I definitely experienced hearing voices and internal presence of evil spirits which could manipulate my body as a new convert. Because this happened to me, I side with Anderson and Unger.

Like Bubeck, Anderson also believes in generational curses and ancestral demonization. This seems to assume that one’s acceptance of Christ does not break the connection. Anderson writes:

Iniquities can be passed on from one generation to the next if you don’t renounce the sins of your ancestors and claim your new spiritual heritage in Christ. You are not guilty for the sin of any ancestor, but because of their sin, you may be vulnerable to Satan’s attack.[18]

Yet, we know that Christ’s salvific work is complete so it does not seem justified to believe in ancestral curses. It may be that demons are territorial and the perception of ancestral curses may have more to do with proximity or where one resides than any spiritual connection. Demons may simply lie and use an ancestral curse as a ruse to instill fear and in so doing manipulate. It seems likely that is nothing more than an issue of convenient proximity as families have relational contact. Some of Andersen’s weaknesses may derive from his neglect of the Gospels.

Anderson believes one should only derive methods for spiritual warfare from the epistles. He argues, “We should derive our methodology for dealing with the kingdom of darkness primarily from the epistles rather than the Gospels and the Book of Acts.”[19] His rationale is that the events in the Gospels were prior to the cross and necessarily under the old covenant. However, this argument does not apply to the book of Acts at all in fact by his own reasoning Acts should be definitive. Yet he cautions, “There is some disagreement among Christians about how much method and theology we should extract from this important book.”[20] I wonder does he question the inspiration of Acts. It seems to me that proper exegesis of Acts should provide our principle models. It is authoritative scripture. What is even more perplexing is in the very same section Anderson breaks his own rule when it suits his purpose:

If you were successful in casting a demon out of someone without his or her involvement, what is to keep the demon from coming back when you leave? Unless the individual assumes responsibility for his own freedom, he may end up like the poor fellow who was freed from one spirit only to be occupied by seven others who were worse than the first (Matthew 12:43-45).[21]

Maybe that would only occur under the Old Covenant? Of course he does not consider that because the Gospels are important for deriving our methodology and he is mistaken and inconsistent for saying they are not.


I personally came to Christ after being involved in the occult and being demonized. It was this book The Bondage Breaker that helped me to break free. I must admit I was pretty credulous as a new Christian and I was suffering with substance abuse issues and relying on alternative spiritual ideas I picked up from Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. My drug use opened me wide to the influence of demons. I have examined myself critically trying to ascertain if it was simply my own mind malfunctioning due to chemicals or whether it was actual demonic influence. I am convinced that I experienced things that were not a product of my own mind and were necessarily external to me. There came a point where I was able to claim scriptural truths in my own defense and had actual arguments with the “voices.”

I am sure the secular therapists would have labeled me as only insane and in a sense I was for a while. While my sanity was surely lacking in some areas, I was still demonized. I heard internal voices directing me to do things that I had no desire to do. I do not believe they were from me. In fact, they tilted their hand by revealing information that I had no way of knowing that was later verified. However, I also experienced the influence of other spirits who seemed to direct me toward the straight and narrow. I am hesitant to trust any of it in light of, “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Co 11:14). However, some of the messages I heard have influenced me for the better. Since, then I have pursued biblical studies and theological training with a passion and I have never had a serious temptation for over five years. Most folks who behave as I did are dead or in prison. Through God’s grace I am alive and well. I would have never thought this level of freedom was possible. I know it must be God’s grace because there is no other viable explanation. I believe this book helped me and that it can help others find that freedom as well.


This paper offered a summary and analysis of The Bondage Breaker. In offering a brief summary, the paper sought to illustrate the value of the book by showing how it provides a systematic way to break free from spiritual oppression. Critique was offered in that I disagree with Anderson on Satan’s access to heaven, ancestral curses, and only using the epistles. The work of one of his staunches critics was examined and although some valid observations are made it seems to be somewhat misrepresentative. I agreed with Anderson against his critic that believers can indeed experience a high level of demonization if they open the door through sin. This is born out in my own experience. I was grateful to have this book in my own struggle. In the end, it seems that this book has stood the test of time and is still aiding in setting captives free.

[1] Neil T. Anderson, The Bondage Breaker (Harvest House Publishers. Kindle Edition 2006), 39.

[2] Ibid, 51.

[3] Ibid, 87.

[4] Ibid, 150.

[5] Ibid, 186.

[6] Ibid, 239.

[7] Andersen, Bondage, 186.

[8] Elliot Miller, “The Bondage Maker: Examining the Message and Method of Neil T. Anderson (Part 1),” Christian  Research Journal, http://journal.equip.org/articles/the-bondage-maker-examining-the-message-and-method-of-neil-t-anderson-part-1- (accessed 08/13/2011).

[9] Ibid, 1.

[10] Andersen, Bondage, 48.

[11] Ibid, 49.

[12] Miller, “Bondage Maker,” 4.

[13] Ibid, 12.

[14]Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1998), 980.

[15] Miller, “Bondage Maker,” 1.

[16] Elliot Miller, “The Bondage Maker: Examining the Message and Method of Neil T. Anderson (Part 2)” Christian Research Journal, http://journal.equip.org/articles/the-bondage-maker-examining-the-message-and-method-of-neil-t-anderson-part-2- (accessed 08/13/2011).

[17]Merrill Frederick Unger, What Demons Can Do to Saints, Originally Published: Chicago : Moody Press, 1977. (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 1991), 60.

[18] Ibid, 240.

[19] Ibid, 255.

[20] Ibid, 256.

[21] Ibid, 257.

Thinking About Moral Relativism

Highly recommended reading on relativism

Is morality merely a matter of opinion? Many in our culture today believe that it is. They believe issues like same sex marriage and abortion are up to each individual to decide. Moral relativism is the view that when it comes to moral issues there are no universally objective answers on ethics, no inappropriate judgments, no rational means to make moral distinctions that apply every time, in all situations, for all people.[1]  Thus, morals are subjective opinions in the same way as someone’s taste in music, art or ice cream. A subjective truth claim makes the claimant the subject of the truth. For instance, if I say “I like butter pecan ice cream” the statement is about me not the ice cream. However, if I say “this ice cream has melted” then the ice cream is the subject. This second statement is an objective claim because it can be checked by anyone who examines the ice cream. Accordingly, if it is a runny mess then my claim is true, if it is still frozen my claim is false. Similarly, moral relativism is the position that morality is akin to taste in ice cream. But is this really the case? Aren’t there moral issues that seem genuinely objective?


I believe it is demonstrable that morality is objective, even if it is not always easy to discover. Obvious examples can be found in the extremes. Historical atrocities like the holocaust are universally believed to be truly evil. Child abuse and rape are universally believed to be immoral. If someone disagrees, we generally refer them to a mental health professional. C.S. Lewis is famous for observing that to understand that a line is crooked then we must have some sort of idea of what a straight line looks like. Thus, it follows that when we clearly see these things as evil, we are judging them against a similar standard of how things ought to be.  We do not invent this standard we discover it, just as we don’t invent mathematical or logical truths, we simply observe them.  Relativism denies the existence of these standards and argues that there is morally neutral ground, so we should not judge others.

Yet there is a profound incoherence in this foundational principle of the moral relativist. By saying we ought not to judge others they have imposed their own absolute moral rule. In fact, they are judging those who they perceive as judgmental, making them the worst sort of hypocrites.  Indeed, there is no morally neutral ground and moral relativism promotes intolerance of anyone who does not agree with it.  To elevate tolerance is in itself a moral ought. In fact, given relativism, there is no basis to complain about evil, fairness, justice or accuse others of wrongdoing. Relativism is ultimately contradictory and self-refuting. We do not each have our own individual moral truths; everyone instinctively recognizes a large body of moral standards. People begin with moral propositions.

The burden of proof is not on the person who holds to moral absolutes rather it is on the one who claims they do not exist. The proposition that “it is always wrong to torture innocent children for fun” needs no defense. In fact, anyone who disagrees is diagnosed a psychopath and we routinely lock such folks away in prison for life. If moral relativism were true, we would have no ground to stand on. We would be in the position to say, “While I disagree with torturing innocent children for fun, it may be fine for you.” But this is barbaric and against the foundational concepts of civilization. No one can really live this way, which explains the hypocrisy noted above. The best explanation for the objective morality that we instinctively observe is that the very fabric of reality was created by a rational moral agent.  As Christians, we argue that this agent is the God of the Bible and objective morality is a reflection of His holy nature.


[1] Francis J. Beckwith and Gregory Koukl, Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1998), 12.

Armageddon OT Background to the Battle for the Cosmic Mountain 5

By Cris D. Putnam


The Antichrist figure finds his counterpart in the Hebrew Bible as Gog in Ezekiel 38-39. To demonstrate this point, a brief examination of the name גּוֹג Gog is required. In Ezekiel, Gog is clearly the enemy of Israel from the land of Magog or possibly “from the land of Gog.” In scripture, the proper names Agag and Gog were rendered somewhat interchangeably from the Hebrew.  For instance, Agag appears in 1 Samuel: “And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive and devoted to destruction all the people with the edge of the sword”(1 Sa 15:8). He was the King of the Amalekites, a nephilim tribe, who was defeated and spared by Saul, but later killed by Samuel. It is interesting that the Septuagint translators rendered the name “Gog.” Yet, modern translations render it Agag. For instance, Numbers 24:7 which is a poetic oracle by Balaam concerning Israel and how they have God’s favor.

Remember, Balaam was a sorcerer hired to curse Israel but his diabolical efforts were frustrated by God. Thus, in the traditional rendering, the context is appropriate that Israel’s king will be superior to Gog. For instance,the ESV renders it,“Water shall flow from his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters; his king shall be higher than Agag (Gog), and his kingdom shall be exalted”(Nu 24:7). Well enough, this traditional rendering of the prophecy is assuredly concerning Saul’s defeat of Gog, nephilim king of Amalekites. Yet strangely the LXX translation by Brenton reflects a different manuscript which makes it seem as if Gog is from Jacob’s seed:

And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and sees Israel encamped by their tribes; and the Spirit of God came upon him. And he took up his parable and said, Balaam son of Beor says, the man who sees truly says, he says who hears the oracle of the Mighty One, who saw a vision of God in sleep; his eyes were opened: How goodly are thy habitations, Jacob, and thy tents, Israel! as shady groves, and as gardens by a river, and as tents which God pitched, and as cedars by the waters. There shall come a man out of his seed, and he shall rule over many nations; and the kingdom of Gog shall be exalted, and his kingdom shall be increased. ( Num 24:5-7 LXX Benton 1851 )[1] (emphasis added)

The kingdom of Gog will be exalted? This is astonishing! Is this just a bad translation or could this reading infer the sorcerer Balaam was predicting the kingdom of Antichrist? Many have speculated he must be Semitic for the Jews to accept him as Messiah. Balaam is an odd character for a pagan sorcerer as he also predicted Christ and the star of Bethlehem in his final oracle (Num 24:17). The prophetic literature gets even stranger.

Missler makes reference to the name Gog being used in the Septuagint while drawing a parallel to its use Ezekiel and Revelation. The LXX Translation by Brenton 1851 renders, “Thus has the Lord God shewed me; and, behold, a swarm of locusts coming from the east; and, behold, one caterpillar, king Gog” (Am 7:1). The original context of this passage is that judgment is coming to the Northern kingdom, Israel. It is a vision given to Amos of a locust army invasion similar to that in Joel. Yet, Amos begs the Lord to repent of it and the Lord does not carry it through (cf. Am 7:3). The thing that makes this use of Gog distinct is that it is not a variant translation from the Masoretic text because the Masoretic uses no name at all. See a comparison here.  Missler draws significance from juxtaposing “locusts have no king” (Pr 30:27) against the “locusts” in Amos and Revelation who do have a king, arguing that it implies Amos and John must not be talking about insects:

The locusts in Revelation 9 have a king, Apollyon or Abaddon, but Proverbs 30:27 says that locusts have no king. So these locusts are not natural locusts; they are demon locusts. If that’s the case, then Gog, who is the king of the locusts, is a demon king.[2]

While the purpose of proverbs was not entomology, this reasoning seems quite reasonable. The terms grasshopper and locust are interchangeable as their is no taxonomic difference between locust and grasshopper species. In English the term “locust” is used for grasshopper species that change morphologically and behaviorally to form swarms. Research at Oxford University has identified that swarming behaviour is a response to overcrowding. Clearly the prophet is using locusts and caterpillar symbolically for invading hoards. The ancient Israelites had an agrarian economy. Invading armies are destructive to cities as insects are to crops. It implies annihilation. In the case of Amos’s original context, it would be the Assyrians who did in fact completely destroy the Northern kingdom. But the future context of Revelation speaks of a devastation by demonic entities.

Yet the only use of the proper name Gog in the NT appears in the book of Revelation and applies to a war after the millennium when Satan is released after being bound for 1,000 years. The locust imagery also recalls imagery from the book of Revelation 9 and the locust army of Joel:

In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces,(Re 9:7)

Their appearance is like the appearance of horses, and like war horses they run. As with the rumbling of chariots, they leap on the tops of the mountains, like the crackling of a flame of fire devouring the stubble, like a powerful army drawn up for battle.(Joe 2:4–5)

The two passage must refer to the same event because their really can be only one ultimate Day of the Lord. The locusts/war horses here are thought to represent the demon hoards who attack during the tribulation. The descriptions harken chimeric monstrosities. Tom Horn explores possible biotech avenues for making these monsters a reality in his books Apollyon Rising and Forbidden Gates. In the former he ponders Joel’s insectoid horde:

When the numerous ancient texts from inerrant Scriptures to extra-biblical sources are added up, there is persuasive evidence that Joel’s army could indeed be more than simple grasshoppers, and that this massive Gibborim army that runs upon the wall from which nobody can escape could be the result of man’s willingness to play “god” in reviving forbidden science and opening “gates” to what lurks beyond.[2a]

Others see what is widely believed to be “aliens” also taking part in this scenario. There does seem to be cultural trend toward belief in extraterrestrial life. It seems a likely cover story for demonic entities. In fact, the entities that gather the worlds armies for the battle of Armageddon bear an uncanny resemblance to what are commonly believed to be aliens.

“And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.(Re 16:13–14)

Many believe this is the strong delusion mentioned by Paul (2 Thes 2:11). Dr. David Allen Lewis and Robert Shreckhise postulate that these demonic spirits that look like frogs are indeed what the popular media deems “greys.” [2b]  Paradox Brown carries this line of thought a little further offering:

But note that John doesn’t say the three evil spirits “ARE three frogs”. He says they “looked like frogs”… Let’s say that John was shown in his Revelation vision an image of something he had never seen before… It makes sense that if John didn’t know what this creature was, and had never seen anything like it, that he would describe it as “looking like” something he was familiar with. [2c]

Thus, it appears we have a menagerie of insectoid and reptilian transgenic entities involved in the Armageddon scenario. The secular world will likely assume they are from outer space as they have been heavily propagandized in that direction. We can infer that since Gog is the “caterpillar king” of this army, he is likely one and the same as Apollyon or Abaddon (cf. Am 7:1 LXX ; Rev 9:11). It seems likely that Gog in Ezekiel 38 & 39 is the Satanically empowered general in the end time war, the Beast.

Much has been written associating the Magog war of Ezekiel 38-39 with the battle of Armageddon. There are demonstrable parallels yet seemingly the book of Revelation explicitly places it one thousand years after Armageddon (cf. Rev 19:19; Rev. 20:8 ). Amillennialists (those who deny the 1000 year kingdom) like Kline attempt to conflate the battles described in Revelation 19 and 20.[3] Yet this lacks coherence as Heiser points out several insurmountable difficulties to this view. [4] Still, both Kline and Heiser agree that Gog can be associated with the Antichrist. This finds support in the Qumran War Scroll (1QM), which reveals it is Satan and his powers that are behind the usurpers:

For this shall be a time of distress for Israel, [and of the summons] to war against all the nations. There shall be eternal deliverance for the company of God, but destruction for all the nations of wickedness. All those [who are ready] for battle shall march out and shall pitch their camp before the king of the Kittim and before all the host of Satan gathered about him for the Day [of Revenge] by the Sword of God.[5]

The Qumran War Scroll reflects the same end time war as the Ezekiel text and accredits it to Satan. However, in Revelation 20 the Antichrist has been defeated and what is described is the release of Satan. Heiser convincingly solves this by viewing Gog as both. He writes, “I have argued that Ezekiel 38-39 will be fulfilled in two events: (1) Armageddon, which also is the fulfillment of Daniel 11:40-45; and (2) The subsequent, separate battle of Rev. 20:7-9.”[6]

“He shall come into the glorious land. And tens of thousands shall fall, but these shall be delivered out of his hand: Edom and Moab and the main part of the Ammonites.(Da 11:41)

“And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea.(Re 20:7–8)

Thus the Satanically possessed Beast of Revelation is Gog in the battle of Armageddon and Satan himself is Gog in the post-millennium war. While Heiser argues that the Magog war is fulfilled in two stages of the “already but not yet” fulfillment scenario, this present treatment suggests a similar but novel solution.

One of the better arguments against placing the Magog war prior to the tribulation as many traditional dispensationalists do as well as against the recapitulation view of Amillennialists is that Ezekiel 38 describes Israel as already completely regathered in the land (Eze 38:8, 12) and dwelling securely without defenses (Eze 38:11).[7]  This certainly does not apply to Israel’s current situation or to the preconditions for the battle of Armageddon. Today Israel is under constant threat and has very real barrier walls. It is also inconsistent with Armageddon because it is in the latter part of the great tribulation. Surely after enduring the trumpet and bowl judgments they will not be together in a secure peaceful state. Furthermore, the dry bones prophecy of Ezekiel 37 describes Israel’s rebirth contingent with the Messiah (Eze 37:15-28). Interestingly, Ezekiel 39:28 is a world wide call to Jews to return from the diaspora. Accordingly, it seems that chapter the 39 war precedes what is described in 38. Only after Ezekiel 39:28 will the diaspora be completely undone and the nation at peace. While others have postulated an earlier Psalm 83 war, The Ezekiel 38 war makes more sense in light of it being post millennium exactly as it says in Revelation 20. The biblical text solves the problem without an extra war. Thus, I completely agree with Heiser that Ezekiel 38 is the satanic showdown after the millennium. However, from this point forward an alternative interpretation is offered.

It is the proposal here that Ezekiel 39 describes the battle of Armageddon which temporally precedes the Magog war of chapter 38.  The prophetic books are in a state that makes it extremely challenging to determine where one oracle ends and another begins. The modern chapter divisions are arbitrary and were imposed during the thirteenth century AD. While, the traditional view is that chapter 39 is restatement of 38, this is a tacit acknowledgement that chapter 38 resolves satisfactorily.[8] In other words, because they are both complete units and not dependent upon each other, they can arguably represent distinct battles. In Ezekiel 38, some of the Nations question and do not battle (Eze 38:13) but at the battle of Armageddon (Zec 14: 12) it seems all the nations of the world will be gathered against Jerusalem. The Ezekiel 39 battle is addressed to all the nations (Eze 39:7). Furthermore, chapter 39 is inaugurated with a new “Thus says the Lord God.” This interpretation suggests that chapters 38-39 are two distinct wars for the following seven reasons: One, Gog and his armies are described as brought out to battle at the beginning of each chapter in unique circumstances (38:4-9; cf. 39:2). Two, chapter 38 clearly states that the land was restored from war (Ez 38:8). It is suggested that this refers to the Ezekiel 39/Armageddon war. Three, the chapter 38 war ties together with the post millennium release of Satan (Rev.20:7-10; cf. Eze 38:16, 22) and the white throne judgment (Rev.20:11-15) with “I will enter into judgment with him” (Eze 38:22). Four, the nations will know that their defeat was by the Lord and that Israel will know the Lord from that day forward (Eze 39:21-22). This arguably convenes the inauguration of the millennium. Five, the nations will understand why Israel was exiled and abandoned by God (Eze 39:23). This explains the tribulation. Six, the Lord will restore and gather Israel (Eze 39:25-27). This seems to be concurrent with the return of Christ in Ezekiel 37:15-28 and is a precursor to the chapter 38 war. Seven, Israel knows their God from that day forward and God never hides his face from them again (Eze 39:28-29). Consequently, the prerequisite regathered and secure status of Ezekiel 38 (Rev. 20) is arguably the result of the previous Ezekiel 39 (Rev. 19) war. All that is required for one to accept is that these are two oracles in a non-chronological order, a contention which is hardly unprecedented.

It is also compelling that in the Ezekiel 39 war, Gog is described as coming “from the uppermost parts of the North” and “against the mountains of Israel” (v.2). This language strongly concurs with the “mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north” interpretation of Armageddon. Brevard Childs’ scholarship on the enemy from the north and the chaos tradition suggests a possible connection:

Isa 14:12 ff. is a taunt against the king of Babylon and not directly related to the enemy tradition. Nevertheless, it is quite remarkable that the king who dared to “sit on the mount of assembly in the far north is described as the one “who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms.”[9]

It may be helpful to view this as cosmic north referring generally to the supernatural realm. In the aftermath, Gog falls on the mountains of Israel. In light of the case for supernatural warriors, it is interesting to note the distinction made between his hordes and people (Eze 39:4). In other words, his hordes are not necessarily human. There is a massive feast of carrion for the birds (39:4; cf. 17-20) which is correlated directly with Revelation 19:17-19. This also finds a parallel in Isaiah 18 and oracle addressing the inhabitants of the world (Is 18:3) and which culminates with the inauguration of Gods’ millennial kingdom (Is 18: 7ff).

Isaiah 18 Ezekiel 39 Revelation 19
 “They shall all of them be left to the birds of prey of the mountains and to the beasts of the earth. And the birds of prey will summer on them, and all the beasts of the earth will winter on them.”(Is 18:6) “You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your hordes and the peoples who are with you. I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.(Eze 39:4)“As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord God: Speak to the birds of every sort and to all beasts of the field, ‘Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood.” (Eze 39:17) “Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army.(Re 19:17–19)

There is only one time on the prophetic timeline in which one could say that God will reveal himself to all the nations and no longer tolerate his name being profaned (Eze.39:7; cf. Rev. 19:15). There is really only one day that he will regather all of Israel to their land while pouring out his spirit (Eze.39: 29;  cf. Joel 2:28).  Because these things are established “from that day forward”(Eze 39:22), this war will necessarily conclude just prior to the Millennium (Rev 20:4). That necessitates that this war happens on the narrow sense Day of the Lord, Armageddon or the battle of Har Mô∙ʿēḏ – the Cosmic Mountain of God.

Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain!

Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming;

it is near, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness!

Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains a great and powerful people;

their like has never been before, nor will be again after them through the years of all generations.

Fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns.

The land is like the garden of Eden before them, but behind them a desolate wilderness,

and nothing escapes them.

Their appearance is like the appearance of horses, and like war horses they run.

As with the rumbling of chariots, they leap on the tops of the mountains,

like the crackling of a flame of fire devouring the stubble,

like a powerful army drawn up for battle.

Joel 2:1-5

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[1] Septuagint Online, http://www.ecmarsh.com/lxx/Numbers/index.htm (accessed 9/03/2011).

[2] Chuck Missler, “Hosea and Amos: Prophets to the Northern Kingdom,” http://www.khouse.org/articles/2011/962/ (accessed 9/02/2011).

[2a] Thomas Horn, Apollyon Rising 2012: The Lost Symbol Found and the Final Mystery of the Great Seal Revealed (Crane, MS: Defender, 2009), 221.

[2b] David Allen Lewis and Robert Shreckhise, UFO: End-Time Delusion (Green Forest, Ark.: New Leaf Press (AR), 1991), 46.

[2c] Paradox Brown, A Modern Guide To Demons And Fallen Angels (Roswell NM: Seekye1 Publishing, 2008), 255.

[3] Kline, “Har Magedon,” 219.

[4] Heiser, Islam, 98-101.

[5]Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English, 141. [1 QM 15.2-3]

[6] Heiser, Islam, 102.

[7] Heiser, Islam, 100.

[8] Ralph H. Alexander, “Ezekiel” In , in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 6: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986), 934.

[9] Brevard S. Childs “The Enemy From the North and the Chaos Tradition.” (Journal of Biblical Literature, 1959), 196