Pro and Con 245

Uploaded 1-13-99, AM, our 52nd wedding anniversary

Incoming Email

Re: pro/cons
concerned....nothing posted by you since 1-5-99. is all ok?

My reply

I just posted Pro and Con 244. I had to sew a swag and cascade drapery order in one big hurry, so had no time to work on the Web page. Of course, everything I do is as hard as possible, so a bolt broke that holds the pressure foot on my serger. It is a commercial 4-thread Yamato, and of course had different bolt threads than my hardware store stocked. I came home, put the stub back in and wrapped it with strapping tape and thank the Lord it worked. I also ran out of hemming tape and had to make a trip to get that. If Ed had gotten Rehab Wed. and Fri., I wouldn't have made it. I barely managed in time to deliver them Fri. evening (drove about 80 miles). They were to be installed Saturday.

We are ok, but my back has been hurting badly for the last two days. Ed and I walked one whole floor at the mall without stopping tonight. I wore a sauna belt to help my back hold up through that. That is the best yet since his bypass surgery.

Even Ed's mother is home from the hospital. The pneumonia is better. She is getting hospice care now. Pray with me that she makes it to the Rapture. It is iffy since she has congestive heart failure, chronic Leukemia and a bleeding cancerous intestinal tumor. She is Millie Sparkes, Placentia, CA. Only the Lord can help.

Incoming Email

Do you believe that y2k is a stimulus for that anti-christ. Brother in Christ

My reply

I think it will have something to do with catapulting the nations into the world government and world banking system that will operate during the Tribulation.

Incoming Email

In your P&C 232 you mentioned the following:
> It isn't really, but many want to believe it is new. It bolsters their own ideas that way.
> It actually doesn't matter. If the Pre-Trib Rapture is in the Bible, it is true. However,
> here is a quote from a just-under-1500-word sermon, "On the Last Times, the Antichrist,
> and the End of the World," that was written between 373 and 627 AD.

> "All the saints and elect of God are gathered together before the tribulation, which is
> to come, and are taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the
> confusion which overwhelms the world because of our sins" (Pseudo-Ephraem).

Would you please provide the bibliographical references to this passage?  How did you find this quote? I have been unable to locate any information about "Pseudo-Ephraem" nor have I been able to locate a sermon with the title you cited. I am quite familiar with (St.) Ephraem the Syrian, who lived and wrote in the mid-fourth century. He was an accomplished hymnist, but I don't know who this "Pseudo-Ephraem" is. Any information you can provide will be appreciated.

I would like to be of assistance in locating any Patristic references to End-Time events. While I do believe that the specific pattern of End Time events (and indeed, of the concept of Dispensationalism) which you propose IS of relatively recent origin (that is, 19th century--Darby, et.al.), I don't think that this necessarily means that the seeds of such an interpretation is not present in Patristic sources. I do believe, however, that such a scenario must be consistent with the general understanding of the Holy Fathers. They are pious and reliable guides to a proper exposition of Holy Scripture. I am certain that a harmony can exist between their exposition and your scenario--God the Holy Spirit may indeed open our understanding of the events around us as the Time approaches for us to "lift up our eyes."

I believe that it is also important that we are aware of the theological battles which were waged in the first seven centuries of the Church. The Ecumenical Councils were called (by the Holy Spirit) to confute the several heresies which arose during those years. More often than not, the origins of these heresies lay in the misguided attempts of well-meaning teachers to expand the knowledge of God--they misconstrued or exaggerated the "orthodox" teaching of the nature of God, of the nature of the Trinity, of the role of Christ in the work of salvation, of the nature of the Person of Christ, of the nature of the Incarnation, of the role and nature of Mary, of the role and nature of the Holy Spirit, of the nature and role of the Holy Scriptures, and of the nature and role of material items in the worship of God.  And so, heresies, as a general rule, arose because someone tried to say too  much about God (that is, our knowledge of God is mostly limited to what we can say that He is not--the "apophatic" knowledge of God). God is, above all, a Mystery, One Who exists beyond our ability to comprehend, but Who loves us with a perfect and eternal Love.  And He is our Lord, our Master, our King, and our friend.  As our Lord, Jesus Christ, teaches us: If ye have seen Me, ye have seen the Father. (An astounding statement!  Yet one which shows God's gracious condescension, and is the source of our ability to speak of those aspects of God which form our "orthodox" faith.)

I apologize for going on, but I have been a bit disturbed by some of your P&C's because of theological statements which have been made about the Nature and Person of Christ and of Mary which I believe (I say this in charity) are erroneous. I believe that, generally speaking, arguments made about the Nature and Person of Christ and of Mary in Evangelical circles are often reactions to doctrines promulgated by the Roman Catholic Church, which are deeply erroneous. I am speaking specifically about your assertions about the "Harlot" of Revelation being equated with the Virgin Mary, and about your assertions concerning the title "Mother of God" and your observations about the "apparitions" of Mary in the 19th and 20th century Roman Catholic Church.

First, the title "Mother of God" is not technically correct. The title "Theotokos" was affirmed by the Third Ecumenical Council, and came about because of the heresies of Nestorius. The term literally means: One who gave birth to God (this meaning also includes the fleshly aspects of motherhood: from the maternal connection which Mary had with Jesus while He was developing in her womb, to the aspects of motherly direction as He grew and matured to manhood). This latter assertion is also of crucial importance, Jesus Christ had two natures and two wills, Divine and Human; and while His Godhead lost none of its Eternal Nature, His humanity grew and developed as all humans grow and develop; but unlike all humans since the Fall, His two wills were in perfect harmony; His Godhead and his Humanity are united in His Person.  Thus, Jesus is one Person (the Eternal God, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, Who has existed from pre-eternity as the Son of the Father) in two Natures. In this way, God has redeemed all of human nature by assuming the Fallenness into Himself, and by reconciling the contrariness of our will with His Will in His own Person. Thus, to assert that Mary is the Mother of God is true (although Theotokos is more accurate): Christ obtained His humanity through Mary, and this humanity was made to exist in peace with His Divine Nature through His Person, and thus, the One Who was born was both God and Man. This may seem like a semantic distinction, however, it is the same kind of Mystery which allows us to assert that we shall (by Grace) become united to God as His spouse. As our Lord teaches, the two become one--we become partakers of His Divine Nature through the Mystery of the Incarnation and the operation of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, we become a new creature through the Grace of Holy Baptism; we are enabled, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, to become the Body of Christ. This is not speaking in metaphors, or in fanciful illustrations. We do truly become One with Him. To say that Mary is the Mother of God, is to speak of this great and holy Mystery, which is dynamic and not static, which is begun in and by God for the salvation of all.

The phenomenon of "apparitions" is a much more dubious occurrence. In the Holy Orthodox Church, such "apparitions" are never seen. This is not to say that miraculous physical manifestations of God's Presence are not given to us; however, as far as the Theotokos is concerned, the only manifestation which have shown forth are weeping Icons of the Theotokos. We understand these manifestations to be assurances of God's continual Providence; also, as a sign of the Communion of Saints, and of their prayers for the sins of the world (the tears are certainly not tears of joy!). The various "apparitions" of Mary in the Roman Catholic Church are of a very different nature. Several of these "apparitions" have asked the people to construct chapels for them on the spots of the appearances. This has always struck me as being peculiar and not in the nature of Mary. She was always one to step back and do the work of God in a humble way--she would NEVER ask for a church to be built in her honor (such as was reportedly the case in the "apparitions" of Guadeloupe and Lourdes). I do think that a distorted and demonic deception underlie most, if not all, of these instances.

From an Orthodox understanding, almost ALL apparitions are suspect; We do not believe that most of us have the spiritual maturity to discern properly between the Angels of Light and the Fallen Ones. Since Satan can masquerade as an Angel of Light, it would behoove his minions to do the same; and most of us are egotistical enough to be flattered into believing that such an angel would be personal messengers to us from God.  The Holy Orthodox Church teaches that the only certainty in our spiritual lives is contrition, repentance, humility before God, and that the only sure source of guidance is Holy Scripture, participation in the Holy Services of the Church, reception of the Sacraments, and the teachings of the Holy Saints of the Church (who have been glorified through their pious and spiritually heroic lives, not by miracles and declarations by councils--as the Roman Catholic Church erroneously proposes--after all, the most miraculous thing in this world is to live a life dedicated to God, living in prayer, continual repentance, and fasting and selfless acts of service to others.).

I think that you may be on the right track in proposing that the Harlot is a Satanic mockery of the true Theotokos.  But please, do not speak disparagingly of the one who gave more than any of us will ever be able to give, who sacrificed more than we can even know, to cooperate with God for the salvation of our souls. (Also, do not be mistaken in believing that we "worship" the saints; we offer worship to God alone; we offer "dulia" to the saints of God--who are all alive in His Presence--this means that we venerate them as ones who have truly loved God with the kind of self-sacrifice which few of us are able to offer.  Being alive to God means that they are able to pray for our salvation even now as they were when on this earth--and indeed, with even more affection and dedication since they are now unhindered by their fallen states.)

With Love and dedication to Christ, I am, sincerely yours

My reply

I got the quote from "Pre-Trib Perspectives, Vol. II, No. 2, April, 1995. The article is "Examining an ancient Pre-Trib Rapture Statement, by Thomas Ice. Here is an excerpt:

Re: "Pseudo-Ephraem's Rapture Statement.
"I vividly remember the phone call at my office late one afternoon from Canadian prophecy teacher and writer Grant Jeffrey. He told me that he had found an ancient pre-trib rapure statement. I said, 'Let's hear it.' He read the following to me over the phone: "All the saints and elect of God are gathered together before the tribulation, which is to come, and are taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion which overwhelms the world because of our sins.
"...from Pseuso-Ephraem's sermon On the Last Times, the Antichrist, and the End of the World."...

"Grant Jeffery ran across this historically important citation in Paul J. Alexander's The Byzantine Apocalyptic Tradition (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985), p. 210."

I have a copy of the whole sermon, in Latin and in English, which is about 1500 words. The English translation was provided by Cameron Rhoades, instructor of Latin at Tyndale Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, TX.

In the March, 1995, issue of Pre-Trib Perspectives, in the article, "Is the Pre-Trib Rapture a Satanic Deception?," Thomas Ice wrote, "Recently, pre-wrath advocate Marvin Rosenthal wrote that the pre-trib rapture was of Satanic origin and unheard of before 1830. "To thwart the Lord's warning to His children, in 1830," proclaims Rosenthal, "Satan, the 'father of lies,' gave to a fifteen-year-old girl named Margaret McDonald a lengthy vision." Rosenthal gives no documentation, he merely asserts that this is true. However, he is wrong. He is undoubtedly relying upon the questionable work of Dave MacPherson."

> I am speaking specifically about your assertions about the "Harlot" of
> Revelation being equated with the Virgin Mary

Surely I didn't say that the harlot of Rev. 17 was equated with the Virgin Mary. I have never thought such a thing. I think the harlot of Rev. 17 is the WORLD CHURCH headed up by the Tribulation Pope. In Scripture, a woman represents a religious group.

In Zech. 5:5-11, the world church (symbolized by an ephah, the largest wheat measure, "through all the earth") is flown to Babylon in the land of Shinar by "two women," i.e., two religious groups. We see this moving to Babylon in Rev. 17 and 18. In the first city, the headquarters of the world church forms. In the second city, Babylon in the land of Shinar, not only is the headquarters of the world church destroyed, as at Babel, but the whole city is destroyed, "and shall be found no more at all" (Rev. 18:21).

I do wonder if the "Jezebel" of Rev. 2:20 is the apparition that shows itself at intervals. I don't think this apparition is the real Mary, mother of the human body of Jesus.

> to assert that Mary is the Mother of God is true

Not to my way of thinking. I don't want to argue over semantics, but to me, Mary personally had nothing to do with Jesus' godhood. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself" (II Cor. 5:19), but that was none of Mary's doing. Jesus said, "a body hast thou prepared me" (Heb. 10:5). This is the body born of Mary. This is the body that did not commit sin. It is the body that died as a perfect sacrifice for sin. "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb. 10:10).

> we become a new creature through the Grace of Holy Baptism

We become a new creature when we accept Christ as our own personal Saviour. (I prayed and asked him to be my own personal Saviour.) At that time, Christ baptizes us with His Holy Spirit. At that moment, our dormant spirit is kindled to life. We call this being born-again. First, we are born into the human family. Then, upon our profession of faith in Christ as our Saviour (and real belief in our heart), we are born into God's family. The first is the birth of our earthly body. The second is the birth of our spirit. At that point, we are saved. We have eternal life, body, soul and spirit.

Water baptism follows salvation as a symbol of the real baptism of the Holy Spirit that has already taken place. It is an outward demonstration of what has happened internally. Faith comes first, then baptism, whether by the Holy Spirit or by water.

Preceding water baptism, we confess before others that we believe in Christ. Following that, water baptism is a figure that witnesses, to us and those observing, that our old man died with Christ and we are raised up a new creature. Since baptism is a symbol that we have been regenerated, it cannot be the means of our regeneration.

Re: saints:
> Being alive to God means that they are able to pray
> for our salvation even now as they were when on this earth

We have no way of knowing if they are even observing us, much less that they can hear us. They are not omnipresent, but God is. "For in him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28). He is closer to us than any saint. All prayer is to be directed to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven..." (Mt. 6:9). "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it" (John 14:13,14).

Incoming Email

Do you seriously really know what you are talking about or are you just going on a whim ... you seem to be misleading people and that is not good. I will warn you that God will judge you for what you are saying to people, just as he says he will do with all people who prophesy falsely in his name.

My reply

I am not going on a whim. I have studied the Bible as hard and deeply as I can go ever since before 1960. I am not a prophet. I never say, "Thus saith the Lord," unless I am quoting Scripture. I just share what I think Scripture means. I am a 70-year old lady who studies hard and am following what I think the Lord wants me to do.

I saw a rectangle of light on Jer. 50:2. It said to publish and conceal not. I am doing that, both in my three books and on the World Wide Web.

The Lord will judge me for what I am saying, and he will judge you for what you are saying. However, if we believe in Christ, we cannot lose our salvation. Only rewards are at risk. I am running the race to win the best reward, to be a member of the Bride of Christ. I hope you are too.

Since I am human, and no human is perfect, I am not always right, but I am doing my level best to understand.

Do you have some special insight on the meaning of Scripture to share? No one person knows it all. The Lord gives insight to different people on different subjects. If we put it all together, we can all profit thereby.

Incoming Email

David Hill's FWD: Subject: Year of Liberty, From: David Hill, To: John Tng

I came across some pertinent material in my studies of the possible timing of the Rapture.

Perhaps because of Sir Robert Andersons book, "Lord From Heaven" (see my post under same name), I started looking at Psalms 61 where it says, "The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the LORD hath annointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the Acceptable Year of the LORD..."

Another author (George Peters) stated that this 'Opening of the prison' is a subtle reference to the Rapture. So I looked up 'Opening of the Prison' and found that he was right. The word used is the same word that is used of opening the eyes of the child who Elijah raised from the dead. He we have an indirect reference to our 'awakening' (see also Ps 68, Is 42, 49, 52).

But it doesn't stop there. The word for Liberty comes from the word that expresses the Freedom that a Bird in Flight has! Specifically the swallow, but really any bird would have the same Freedom. This includes the Sparrow and Dove and Eagle. This again ties it into Songs and Isaiah 61 and Proverbs 26.

My reply

Thanks for the FWD. Looking up the meanings of original words often opens up associations we have not seen before. I am not convinced that the tenth month ties in with the Rapture, though.

> Psalms 61 where it says, "The spirit of the Lord God is upon me.

I think you mean Isa. 61. Jesus stopped reading at "the acceptable year of the LORD" and said, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears" (Lu. 4:21).

> 'Opening of the prison' is a subtle reference to the Rapture. So I looked up 'Opening of
> the Prison' and found that he was right. The word used is the same word that is used of
> opening the eyes of the child who Elijah raised from the dead. He we have an indirect
> reference to our 'awakening'

If this refers to us, it would be indirect indeed. It has already been fulfilled at the First Advent. Also, the date indicated is Sunday, Nisan 16, the Feast of Firstfruits, in the first month, not the tenth. After the Crucifixion, Jesus took captivity captive. Some came out of their graves and appeared in Jerusalem. Then on Resurrection Day, I think Jesus took the Old Testament saints to Heaven.

Eph. 4:8-10 says, "When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)." Isn't this the opening of the prison? Doesn't it have to do with resurrection of the Old Testament saints?

I believe that on Resurrection Day, Jesus took the Old Testament Saints to Heaven, then returned to Earth. Early in the day, he did not want to be touched. In John 20:17, he told Mary Magdalene, "Touch me not: for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father.

Later, Mt. 28:8,9 says, "they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him."

> we have an indirect reference to our 'awakening'... The word for Liberty comes from the
> word that expresses the Freedom that a Bird in Flight has!

Wouldn't this flight have a connection with the ascension of the Old Testament saints rather than the Church saints?

Incoming Email

do you suppose that the five foolish virgins who had to go out and BUY the oil means that the have to "suffer the tribulation and death and trying" ie: buy their second chance, so to speak. I think so what do you think?

My reply

It looks like they are the lukewarm Laodiceans who have to go through the shortened Tribulation. Maybe they will be martyrs. Maybe they will live through it. The living ones will wash their robes in the blood of Christ (Rev. 7:14) and be ready the second time. The martyrs will be given their white robes because they are willing to die for their faith (Rev. 6:11)

Incoming Email

I just couldn't let the year end without thanking you for all your hard work. I check the Pros/Cons daily and find so much encouragement on your website. It is extremely difficult in this day and time to stay focused - you help me and countless others do just that. When I get distracted, I can depend on getting my focus back on Jesus when I check your site. And by doing so, it reminds me that all the 'stuff' happening on this earth is unimportant - only how we react to it and what we do for Jesus.

It can't be easy for you - what with Ed's heart and other difficulties you deal with. Your patience with everyone, even those who try to bait you, is a living testimony to Jesus. For without Jesus, I feel you would have to "let some people have it" when they start in on you. But not you, you answer them kindly. This in itself is a testimony.

I was hoping we would be out of here by now, but Jesus has delayed. Although I think May looks like the most likely time, I will keep looking up - just in case he chooses to come today. Thanks again, Your sister in Christ

My reply

Thanks for the kudos. As for being kind, we are instructed to be kind to each other in the scriptures. I Cor. 13:4 says, "Charity (agape, love) suffereth long, and is kind." No flame war would be becoming for a Christian. For me, I think it would be a sin, and I want no such thing counted against me. I feel sorry for those that do it. Flaming would not bring a nonbeliever to Christ. Such would be totally unproductive, an exercise in futility. I want to help the cause of Christ, not hinder it.

When I get ugly stuff now, I hit Delete--quick. With 294 emails in my Inbox, I have no room for it, and I won't even read any more than just enough to realize what it is. I Delete one every few days just from the address because he slammed me before. He can save himself some trouble, for I don't aim to read his stuff, even though he is a Christian. He has me on his mailing list, but Delete is quick and permanent. I am not going to allow anyone to upset me. I have more important things to put my mind to.

Phil. 4:8 says, "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." This I try to do.

NOTE: I Peter 1:16,22 says, "Be ye holy; for I am holy....Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently."

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Updated 1-13-99