Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Category Archives: 2 Thessalonians

BIAY – Bible in a year – December 13th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for December check out our December page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for December thirteenth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

2nd Thessalonians 1-3.

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

The Sun has come and you’ve been left behind

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The Sun has come and you’ve been left behind

This is a movie review done on the 2014 movie “Left behind” please also check out our other movie reviews on our media page.

When doing an article like this you have difficulties even in the Christian camp, mainly because not everyone has the same view of what will happen at the end of the world. You have to realize that although these books and films were wonderful pieces of literature and film, they were and still are fiction, regardless of how many of the events that have been hypothesized have actually happened.

At no time did Jenkins/La Haye ever market these books as prophesy so the detractions from the people who dislike them really have little ground. For me it is Christian fiction, much in the same way that you would read Lord of the Rings as secular fiction. I would no more base my faith on Left Behind as I would Lord of the Rings.

I was excited when I heard there would be a new Left Behind movie and I was happy when I heard it would include such a high profile actor as Nicholas Cage. I had some hopes about the new Left Behind films such as

1) Would they stick closer to the book this time?
2) How would Nicholas Cage do the Rayford Steele conversion scene?
3) Would this be a big draw from the Non-Christian market?
4) Would there be more LB movies?
5) With advances in technology, would this enhance the films?

Fan of the books

I must admit I am a fan of the literature and I was sad when the original film tweaked certain things in order to make the film work. They also made two sequels that didn’t work in fully with the books. These complaints I am sure are commonplace for any movie that mirrors a successful book. So my hope was they wouldn’t tinker with the story too much.

The movie itself

Nick Cage is Rayford Steele, a pilot who is in a troubled marriage, he has had difficulties since his wife’s conversion to Christianity and hides himself in his work. Rayford is a transatlantic airline pilot who is a non-Christian and is flirting with the idea of having an affair with a air hostess called Hattie.

The movie surrounds an event called “the rapture” and this movie takes the same idea as the original ones that the bodies will vanish. This has interesting ramifications worldwide as all the Christians and children too young to have made a choice are gone and taken up into heaven.

I say this is interesting as planes, trains, cars and any other vehicle that you can think of are crashing worldwide, in fact Rayford’s copilot is no longer there after the rapture. Also communications are jammed and the world goes into a panic.

This movie is different from the original left behind in that it exclusively charters Rayford’s flight from JFK to Heathrow, in the original movie this was doen within the first 20 or so minutes of the flight, however this movie goes into much greater detail of what happened.

The movie is very well done, they did use modern technology to make a movie that would appeal to both Christian and non-Christian alike.

Spoilers

This film charters Rayford’s journey to get landed somewhere in the NY area after turning his plane back when the rature happens. Using investigative techniques he realizes that with the vanishing of the co-pilot, his wife and another air hostess that all the missing people were Christians and he recalls conversations that he had with his wife regarding this event.

He turns the plane and due to the communication crisis and also the fact that the other plane has lost its crew, Ray’s flight clips the right wing in a mid-air collision as the other flight plummets to its doom. This causes problems later in the flight as Ray loses some fuel and cannot fully elevate the plane to make the gas last longer. This adds to the drama later.

Criticisms

For me, I loved the film and had I not read the first Left Behind book I would probably have taken the film on its individual merits as a good action film giving an example of what could happen at the end of the world.

The film barely mentions the Pastor and there is no mention of Ray and his conversion. It was more of an action film as opposed to being the evangelical effort that the first one was. It is a decent spectacle however as a Christian I had hopes that as we are attracting more of a cross audience with this film that we would not miss that opportunity to evangelize. In fact in one scene Chloe when she confronts the Pastor (Who preached well but did not believe himself) she rejects what he has to say.

Chloe is a much more developed character in this version of Left behind and she is beside herself with grief at the loss of her mother and kid brother, she then goes on to check the hospitals to ensure the babies are all missing and plays a big part in the rescue and landing of the plane.

For me it would have been a better movie had it not mainly taken place on the plane. Sub plots (such as Ray missing his birthday to go away to London with Hattie) had to take a more prominent role due to the limited options keeping the movie based on the plane.

That to me was the main problem, it was a good idea keeping it on the plane, however it also created a glass ceiling that couldn’t be penetrated. The main character was also flipped from Buck Williams being the main one in the original Left Behind movies to Ray Steele being the main one in this one.

In conclusion

Really they made a film of the first third of the first book and turned it into an hour and forty minutes of entertainment. It was a decent action film, but for me it missed the point of the original message of the Left Behind series.

I think they attempted to make this more palatable to a Non-Christian audience and having read reviews on this, Christians and Non-Christians alike had criticisms.

Thank you for reading this article, I pray that this is a blessing and please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE

Did Jesus come in the flesh?

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2 John 1:1 (ESV) The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 2 because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever: 3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love. 4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. 5 And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. 7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. 12 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete. 13 The children of your elect sister greet you.

John the Elder

John calls himself “The Elder” which could be a title or a reference to his advancement in years. The word used however alludes to age as opposed to church office. Based on the time this was written John was very advanced in years, so Elder would be a very appropriate title to call himself as a veteran campaigner for the Christian faith.

History does not tell us who “The elect lady” was, possibly an actual person or perhaps even a name of a church or a metaphor due to persecution. The latter is just me throwing some balls in the air as stated prior, we have little to go on who the recipient was. It is clear; however from the writing that John was very fond of them and was familiar with them on a personal level. He addresses the letter also to the wider Christian church (all who know the truth) as a whole. John talks of a spiritual truth that will be with us forever, how true this is. Truth and correction is the thread this very short letter is based on. John uses truth in the introduction and then further in the letter. In Matthew 24 Jesus said that “Heaven and earth shall pass away, my words shall not pass away” this is in line with Johns teaching here.

John mentions in this letter the deity (v3) as well as the human form (v7) of Jesus Christ. This was not any new doctrine (v5) but merely a re-iteration of a common doctrine that they should already have. This is the issue in the church then, purely doctrine. (I would also argue that this is an issue today! See below for more information!) I love that John loved these people so much to deal with this in such a loving fashion.

Jesus the God or Jesus the man?

John reiterates that Jesus was not just a “prophet” or a “holy man” that he was in fact the Son of God. In that day we had creeping into the doctrines of the church a Gnosticism that tried to redefine who Christ was, they would attack one of Christ’s attributes, they would attack the account that he was either God, or that he was a man. John writes in verse 3

…3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love…

John really leaves no doubt on whom Jesus is in regards to being fully God, however he goes on to speak about whether Jesus was actually here in human flesh:

7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.

History teaches us (both Biblical and extra-biblical) that there was a figure in that time called Jesus. I do find it hard (but not all that surprising) that such a short time after Christ was crucified and resurrected that false teaching was starting to creep in on a fundamental doctrine. How much more must we be two millennia later? We have to test the spirits (1 John 4:1-3) to see if they be of God.

I call this “rat poison” doctrine. Rat poison is only between 3-5% poison and the rest is made up with foods and fatty stuffs that the rat is attracted to. If your doctrine allows falsehoods and anti-biblical stances, it becomes like rat poison. Rat poison works at varying speeds, good poison works and shuts down the healthy organs some time after it was ingested. Same with doctrine, its not the ingestion that is an issue, it is the damage done further down the line.

I know why this is done, if Christ can be stripped of his deity then he is simply a “prophet” or a “good man” then he becomes the same as a “Muhammad” a “Buddha” or the same as a man made prophet or focal point of just another religion. This is not the case! Jesus was uniquely God and uniquely man! He came down as a man, was born the same way we were, in a womb, grew up as a man and ministered here on earth to be firstly the Jewish messiah and then the messiah to the whole world. (John 3:16-17)

This was done to fulfill the Old Testament scriptures and to fulfill the Jewish sacrificial system. When I read Leviticus I get excited because I see where this is going and I grieve for the Jewish folks that know their tradition but have missed their messiah!

These guys deny Jesus came in the flesh, I thought the Jehovah’s Witnesses didn’t come over until much later.

John mentions the word “antichrist” which is also mentioned in four verses and all authored by John (1 John 2:18, 22, 4:3; 2 John 7); and he is as the name suggests a Christ-like creature who is against Christ, the opposite of Christ. Set up to deceive people and take them away from the word.

 

This Antichrist goes by many titles:

– The little horn (Daniel 7:8)
– The king of fierce countenance (Daniel 8:23)
– The Prince that shall come (Daniel 9:26)
– The willful king (Daniel 11:36-45)
– The one who comes in his own name (John 5:43)
– The son of perdition, the man of sin, and the lawless one (2 Thessalonians 2:3, and 2:8)

 

He will build a kingdom not dedicated to God, but to the evil one! As a Christian I am astounded this would be able to happen, but many will follow him and rise up against God. This reminds me of the account in the gospel of Mark when the crowd wished a murderer to be released. They would have that rather than Jesus, this happened in the trial of Jesus before Pilate. (Mark 15:34)

Love one another

…4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. 5 And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it…

How do we know we are walking in the truth? If we are loving one another (John 13:34-35) this is something that we need to work on as a church. There have been times that I myself (and this is shocking as I am a believer) have felt unwelcome in a place that is supposed to be a light to the world. We have to have that self sacrificing agape love that we keep talking about.

 

…8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. 12 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete. 13 The children of your elect sister greet you…

 

John requests that the church be careful, that we are watchful (v8) but we have even today, folks that travel to our house on a daily basis that try to peddle a false doctrine. The JW’s (remember them from earlier) and the LDS church come by and we are told how to deal with them. My wife is home often times and she is awesome at dealing with these guys, she has them in, shows them their bible and lets them question each other. Despite promises to come back and give answers to the questions she has raised, they never do! (I actually think our house is black listed)

I am not having a go at these denominations other than on this area they are preaching a different Jesus that the Jesus whom I follow. (They require prayer as well as re-education in correct doctrine.) For me that is the sign of erroneous doctrine, if you have to add something to the bible to make your doctrine work, such as Jesus and something as if the cross wasn’t enough, or taking away from Jesus the Messiah such as calling him the devil’s brother or claiming that Jesus was not in the flesh.

John closes by reiterating the closeness he has for the recipient and that he could have written another gospel in what he had to say to them but he refrained and waited until he could share sweet koinonia with them. When I was at Calvary Glasgow, I was bummed if I went two days in a row without seeing someone from church, I worked with folks from church, I moved to be geographically closer to where we met on a Sunday, we arranged coffee evenings, we spoke online, we texted, we were in and out of each others houses, we genuinely loved and invested in each other in a real way. That is true church, let’s get to it!

I pray this bible study was a blessing and please feel free to comment on your thoughts, both positive and negative.
God bless you one and all
TTE