Notes on Revelation 20

The 7-year tribulation is divided into 42 months of false peace, 42 months of tribulation. There are 21 judgments altogether.

We are now at the 1,000-year reign of Christ.

The devil has many disguises throughout the Bible. Here, he is known as the dragon (that old serpent). In the Old Testament, we are told that Eve was deceived but Adam willfully sinned. Since that time, Satan has sought to distort the word of God.

James refers to Scripture as a mirror. We can either change the person looking into the mirror, or change the mirror. Modern Christianity has sought to change the mirror, which is what Satan wants us to do.

We are told in 20:2 that the dragon is bound for 1,000 years, which means there will be no devilish influence for 1,000 years. He will not be able to deceived the nations during this time. This will be a time of great peace and harmony, much like the time of the Garden of Eden.

We will come back to rule and to reign with Christ. Our service now will determine our service during the 1,000-year reign. This occurs before eternity.

The rest of the dead will be resurrected physically after the 1,000 years. At this time, Satan shall be turned loose. He will go out to deceive the nations. Many who are alive during the 1,000 years will be born during this time. Some of them will be deceived, in spite of having lived under Christ’s reign. Such is the depravity of man’s heart.

Many will turn against Christ even after 1,000 years of perfection. They will be devoured by fire from heaven. In other words, the battle will be short-lived. The devil will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone.

The devil knows he is going to hell, which is why he’s so angry. He has but a little while to roam the earth. Hell and the lake of fire are two different places. The lake of fire is for eternity. Hell will be cast into the lake of fire. That the devil will be tormented forever is God’s vindication.

Those who do not believe in Christ will have no place  at the great white throne. When the unsaved face the great white throne judgment, books will be opened, along with the book of life, and they will be judged according to their works.

Death and hell will be cast into the lake of fire. This is also called the second death. The second death has no power over the saved. If you are not saved, you are condemned right now, and not just after 1,000 years. Only Christ can save you from your condemnation.

Whoever is not found in the book of life will be cast into the lake of fire.

#fakenews media completely unhinged

But you knew that already, because it’s been so well documented.

You might have heard that President Trump has banned mobile devices larger than a smartphone from airline flights. But do you know why? According to the following #fakenews headlines, you’d be left scratching your head as to why the president would do such a thing. Get a load of these, then skip down and read the real reason for the ban.

Believe it or not, the New York Times, in a random act of journalism, gets it right. The real reason for the ban is that the Islamic State is in the process of developing explosives that will fit inside a laptop.

WASHINGTON — Intelligence showing that the Islamic State is developing a bomb hidden in portable electronics spurred the United States and Britain on Tuesday to bar passengers from airports in a total of 10 Muslim-majority countries from carrying laptop computers, iPads and other devices larger than a cellphone aboard direct inbound flights, two senior American counterterrorism officials said.

Two additional American officials said the explosives were designed to be hidden in laptop batteries. All four spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to publicly discuss the sensitive information.

And do you know how we gathered this intelligence? The Yemen raid that took place right after President Trump took office in which we lost a Navy SEAL (and which the left has heretofore completely discounted as having been a fruitless endeavor).

So there is a credible threat, after all. But look at the way #fakenews has reported it. This just illustrates how unhinged they are. Imagine how different the headlines would read if the circumstances were the otherwise the same, but Obama were still president.

Imagine if we had this intelligence but did not act on it, and some jihadist managed to take down an aircraft using an explosive he had hidden inside a laptop. They’d try to impeach Trump if that occurred.

Folks, I maintain that the left, and by “left” I’m referring both to the Democrat Party and #fakenews media, wouldn’t mind a terrorist attack occurring if it meant they got to pin the blame on President Trump. That’s how unhinged and partisan they have become. Trump’s election has left them bordering on insanity. The Democrat Party, its accomplices in the #fakenews media, and the lunatics who vote for them and believe the #fakenews represent the largest hate group in America, and it’s on display literally every single day.

Why do you think the Democrats have opposed President Trump on every single safety measure he has tried to put in place to protect Americans from jihadists? It has nothing to do with their adherence to the Constitution — they don’t even know nor care what’s in it — nor is it about fighting racism or xenophobia. They are trying to hinder the president’s ability to protect us while at the same time making it easier to jihadists to do what they do. They want chaos so they can undermine the president. This is who Democrats are and what they do.

Injury update

Yesterday morning, I ran my first 10K since tearing my right calf muscle two months ago. It was slow and difficult, but it helped me meet a goal. My time was 58 minutes. My usual 10K time is 54-56 minutes. But I’m not disappointed. I deliberately slowed my pace in order to get the miles. And I was quite pleased with the miles.

I am running in the Rock-and-Roll Marathon in Nashville on April 29 (participating in the half-marathon). I am nowhere close to being in half-marathon shape. Recovering from an injury is tough. It doesn’t take long to get out of shape. I’ve been back to running for about 2 1/2 weeks now. It’s just now starting to come back to me. I’m going to run the half-marathon knowing I won’t be fully prepared. I’ll be mostly prepared, but probably not fully.

I am limiting my number of weekly miles this training season. It may seem counter-productive, but I cannot afford to re-injure myself at this point. So I’m taking precautions and trying to find a balance. I’m running two or three 5K’s a week, plus one “long run.” The long run will (Lord willing) increase a little very week. Last week’s long run was 5 miles. This week’s was 10K. Next week I’m aiming for 7 miles, and so on. I’d love to get in one training run of 11 miles. I’d feel a great deal better going into the half-marathon with an 11-miler under my belt.

So far, my injury hasn’t bothered me. I’m running with a compression sleeve (and will be long-term), avoiding running back-to-back days, and keeping my weekly miles under 20, since I believe I did myself in by running too many miles in too short a period (nearly 25 miles in a 7-day period when the injury originally occurred). At any rate, that’s where I am. I’ve got 5 1/2 weeks to prepare for my 4th half-marathon. It’s always a challenge, but more so this year.

Don’t back down

Both the #fakenews media and Democrat Party continue to attack President Trump and his administration daily without relent. Just resign yourself to the fact that it’s going to be this way for 8 years. Despite the incredible success and effectiveness of his presidency these first two months, the left would have you believe that the Trump administration has been a scandal-plagued, bumbling mess. The opposite is actually true.

But #fakenews and Democrats don’t just despise Trump. They despise us, too, the deplorables. It was us, and not the Russians, who conspired to put him in the White House. They can’t do anything to us, but what they can do is try to separate us from our president. Don’t let them. They’re telling us that his approval rating is 37%. This is a farce. I always add 20% to whatever they tell us, because in a typical poll, the #fakenews media will way over-sample Democrats, so I’ve got his approval at 57%. This sounds about right. After all, why would his approval rating be so low? He got elected on a very specific campaign platform, he has perfectly executed that platform without wavering or deviating. Even the left is amazed that he’s done what he said he was going to do. So why wold his approval numbers suffer for that?

This is a page right out of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. “‘Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.’ Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.” This is what they’re trying to do to President Trump. They are trying to isolated him by cutting us off. Don’t let them. Don’t back down. We are all President Trump has. He needs us. America (and the rest of the free world) needs him.

Taking stock on the first day of spring

Today is the first day of Spring, 2017. Honestly, it has felt like spring since January, with just a smattering of winter worked in here and there. But today is the equinox. And it definitely feels like spring today.

Reading: I just started Erik Larson’s most recent novel, Dead Wake, which is about the sinking of the Lusitania during World War I. Larson writes some of the best non-fiction I’ve ever read. He gives you a first-class history lesson and entertains you all at the same time. I’m looking forward to this one.

Running: I’m doing reasonably well, but not as well as I had hoped to be. Of course, I’m grateful to be running at all, even though I’ve been doing mostly 5K’s. Recovering from injury is a bear. I’m running a half-marathon in less than six weeks. It will be my 4th one, but I’m resigned to the reality that I will be the least prepared I’ve ever been. I’m going to train as best I can. My goal is to get in at least one 11+ mile run before the event. I’ll be mostly prepared, but not fully prepared. Regardless, I’m showing up the morning of April 29th and running a half-marathon. Period.

Eating: This evening we’re having stuffed pork tenderloin.

Traveling: Other than the occasional trip to Memphis, we haven’t been much of anywhere since Hilton Head Island one year ago. The week after next, Mrs. Lefty and I are planning on driving to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge for the first time in, I believe, 7 years. This time, it will just be the two of us.

Mowing: Not yet, but it will likely take place next week. I am not looking forward to it. But I am looking forward to the warm season. And you can’t have one without the other. Meh. It still beats winter.

Worshipping: As many as 5 times a week. I used to teach Sunday School, but nowadays I operate a video camera. Jesus doesn’t need a teacher where we go to church. But He does need a camera operator. So I do this joyfully. We recently added a third Sunday morning service in addition to our Wednesday and Saturday evening services, so I get an earful during the course of a week.

Listening: Apple Radio a lot when I’m at home or at work, and to Sirius 67 “Real Jazz” when I’m in the car.

Wanting: Nothing. My wish list is empty. I have literally everything a person could want.

Anticipating: Baseball season (for me, anyway) starts on April 3 when the Phillies visit Cincinnati. However, the Memphis Tigers are 12-7 so far this season. I haven’t watched much sports lately. In fact, I have yet to watch a single NCAA tournament game. But I am looking forward to watching some baseball this year (sports WITHOUT politics, please).

Monday morning musings

The year 1987 was 30 years ago. That was the year before I graduated high school.

A friend on Twitter poses this question: “Since feminists would have us believe the US is such an oppressive country, shouldn’t they warn immigrants not to come here?”

Bernie Sanders two days ago on Twitter: “We are living in a nation which worships wealth rather than caring for the poor. I don’t think that is the nation we should be living in.” Yet no one worships wealth more than the socialists who aim to re-distribute it.

knavish (adj.) — dishonest or unscrupulous; Does this not perfectly describe the Democrats and #fakenews media? (i.e., knavish Democrats, knavish media)

drone (n.) — a male bee in a colony of social bees, which does no work but can fertilize a queen; What percentage of beta males does this apply to?

A prayer room for Muslim students has been set aside in at least one Texas high school. I wonder if the ACLU’s obsession with “separation of church and state” will apply here? Nah. Those drones are just too knavish.

The lastest presidential approval poll I saw has Trump at 37%. But when I apply my own “+20” formula to this #fakepoll, I come up with a 57% approval rating for President Trump. Good job, Mr. President.

Today is the first day of spring. Thank God!

I have kept up with the NCAA tournament, but I have yet to watch an actual game. My entire East Region is destroyed, although I did somehow get 9 of the Sweet Sixteen correct and still have 3 of my Final Four teams in, including my national champion (Arizona). What does it all mean in the end? Nothing, really.

South Carolina beat Duke. Memphis beat South Carolina. So…

Sacred suffering (1 Peter 4:1-2)

The Lord has allowed us to foster an atmosphere for people who are hungering for the gospel.

In the first 3 chapters of 1 Peter, people have been going through tremendous spiritual persecution. Yet Jesus Christ is very much in control of the affairs of humanity. We’ve talked about the marriage relationship. We’ve talked about harmony and unity among God’s people.

Do we really believe God is in control of both the good and the bad? Is He really in charge of the affairs of man? God will use trouble and hardship and suffering to deepen our walk with Christ.

Near the end of chapter 3, Peter begins to exalt the gospel. We do not serve a dead Jew in a Palestinian tomb, but a risen Savior. Those of us who believe will suffer spiritual persecution. Suffering is sacred and it draws us closer to the holy God.

Jesus suffered in the flesh for the sins of man.

Make sure that your mind is made up. Make sure that you are going to follow Jesus and no one else. Be sure you arm yourself with the knowledge that hardship is going to enter your life.

Unfortunately, the church in America has become a commercialized institution that church members expect to serve them. (There’s too much America and not enough church.)

1. The gospel calls us to suffering. The disciples died broke and hungry and in terrible ways. We too often have the mindset that once we declare ourselves Christ-followers, life will be easy and affluent. The foxes have holes and the birds have nests, but the Son of Man didn’t even have a place to lay his head.

The gospel does not call us to riches and lavishness. It calls us to lives of simplicity. In order to be entrusted with much, we first have to demonstrate that we can manage a little.

No man has a monopoly on God. If God wants to use me to heal someone, then He’ll get the glory

7 problems with the prosperity gospel (which is really not the gospel at all):

  1. It perverts the purpose of the true gospel — the “health & wealth” gospel. (If you have Jesus, then you are already rich.)
  2. It teaches self-indulgence when the Bible clearly teaches abandonment. (Let a man take up his cross daily. Let him deny himself and follow Christ.)
  3. It puts shame and guilt on those who are poor and sick. (We’re free in Christ. There is no shame in sickness or poverty.)
  4. It doesn’t work in every context around the world. (But the gospel does work in every context all over the world.)
  5. It makes Jesus less of a Savior, and more of a genie in a bottle.
  6. It contradicts the teaching of Scripture on contentment and not seeking riches. (With contentment there is great gain. Regardless of our earthly circumstances, Jesus will always be enough.)
  7. It provides lost people with exactly what they want with no call to repentance. (Jesus did not die so we could become rich. When you give lost people what they want, it is not the true gospel. The gospel unnerves people and calls them to repentance.)

We don’t serve God so He can give us more. We serve Jesus because he died for our sins. The gospel doesn’t make us sinless, but it does cause us to sin less.

2. Suffering produces holiness. The early church was married to prison, poverty and persecution. Today’s church is married to prosperity, personality and popularity. The early believers were losing their families and their livelihood. They were being persecuted by a Roman emporer who hated God.

Our greatest depth often comes out of our greatest darkness. God cannot use a person greatly until that person has been hurt deeply.

Book review, quote du jour, and brilliant commentary all in one post

I just finished reading (the day before yesterday, in fact) Brett Baier’s new book, “Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission.” The core subject of the book is that brief transition of power between President Eisenhower and President Kennedy in January, 1961, and hones down even deeper to Ike’s farewell address to the nation just before he left office in which he warned the American people (and the president-elect) about the growing military-industrial complex. The Cold War and an arms race between the United States and Soviet Union was going full throttle by then, and President Eisenhower was trying to keep us balanced between strong national defense and runaway military spending. Also built into the novel is a loose biography of our (highly underrated) 34th president, who saw himself, even in retirement, as more of an Army general than former chief executive.

This is a fabulous book. Baier is an excellent writer, and the material was thoroughly researched. I first heard about Baier’s book a few weeks ago when he was a guest on the Rush Limbaugh Show. It is extremely rare for Rush to invite guests onto his show to talk about a book. It literally only occurs once every few years. So I figured it had to be a special book to warrant this level of attention from the Maha Rushie.

There is one quote from the book that I’m adding to this post, because it allows me to segue into some commentary on liberalism and the Democrat Party, and it’s a quote that serves as Baier’s interpretation of how President Eisenhower viewed Soviet communism:

But what was its appeal? He looked at the scene and saw an illusion where people were promised liberation at the expense of personal freedom; community at the expense of individuality. There was the myth of superiority grounded in a rickety economic system.

As I read this, my immediate reaction was, my gosh, this sounds a lot like liberalism in the 21st century.

There are two elements here that warrant explanation.

1). Liberalism promises liberation at the expense of personal freedom. In the end, you get neither.

For example, let’s look at ObamaCare. What does ObamaCare presume to offer? It’s not just health coverage, because ObamaCare isn’t just about health coverage. It’s about putting government in control of health care. And when government controls your health care, it controls YOU. With ObamaCare, liberals presume to offer a person liberation. Liberation from what? Liberation from the whims of free-market health care and greedy, heartless insurance companies. Liberation from being one hospital stay away from bankruptcy. You know the left’s arguments.

In the end, you lose personal freedom because government is now in control of your health care. But the liberation you were promised also proves elusive; since ObamaCare places enormous mandates on health insurers, competition is discouraged, premiums skyrocket, and on top of that, your deductibles are often so high that you end up paying thousands of dollars out-of-pocket before you ever get to use your health coverage. So instead of of liberation, you find yourself in bondage to government.

2). Liberalism promises community at the expense of individuality. In the end, you get neither.

This is particularly ironic since we just had a community organizer as our president for eight years. Yet we’re more divided as a nation now than we were before. Liberalism discourages individuality in the name of equality. But what liberalism ultimately produces is sameness, not by elevating those on the bottom, but by reducing everyone to the lowest common denominator. The only sense of community under liberalism is among homogeneous groups. This is because liberals drive a wedge between different groups by pitting one against the other, thus discouraging any sort of cross-group sense of community.

With liberals, it’s poor vs. rich, women vs. men, blacks vs. whites, gay BLT’s vs. homophobes, Muslims/jihadists vs. Islamophobes, transgenders vs. bathroom signs, etc. Each homogeneous group is united around one thing: victimhood. The left seeks to turn all these protected groups into victims. Most often, the victimhood is contrived, and the ones doing the victimizing are simply straw men created by the left. So with liberals, you lose your individuality, and really the only sense of community is among homogeneous groups united around a contrived grievance against made-up bogeymen.

President Trump regales Nashville

And I was there. For the first time in 47 years, Lefty saw the President of the United States in person last night when President Trump held a rally at Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium.

It was a glorious evening of patriotism, Americanism, and sharing space with others who see things largely the way I do (i.e., the correct way).

My son and I and a friend arrived on the scene at 12:30 p.m., fully six hours before the president was due to speak and three hours before the doors were scheduled to open. By then, I estimate there were perhaps 2,000+ people waiting in a line that stretched along an entire two blocks of James Robertson Parkway and around the corner onto 5th Avenue. It was cold, but the time passed relatively quickly. Even after the doors were opened, the line moved agonizingly slow. We figured the crowd would filter through the security check at a snail’s pace, and we were right.

By the time we finally entered the arena, it was a little after 5 p.m., and even then the seats were only about 10-15% full.

While the crowd slowly assembled, there were speeches from several dignitaries, including Congressmen Scott DesJarlais and Marsha Blackburn. My state senator, the great Mae Beavers, also addressed the crowd. Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers sang a few numbers, Senator Corker spoke briefly (to tepid applause and a smattering of boos), and Lee Greenwood came on to sing his signature song and then introduced the president.

By the time President Trump finally took the stage, it was a few minutes past 7. He spoke for about 45-50 minutes. It was like a sporting event with the speech broken up by applause and various chants (“USA!USA!,” “Lock her up!,” “Build that wall!”) on many occasions.

The Trump speech we heard last night was a near-replica of one of his campaign speeches, with the added benefit of 50+ days of experience in office. The speech centered on repealing & replacing ObamaCare, tax cuts (bigly!), his just-overturned travel ban & judicial overreach, putting America first, building the wall, rebuilding the military and taking care of our veterans. And he absolutely hammered the #fakenews media, which was especially delicious given that the #fakenews gallery was situated right there just a few yards from the stage.

In spite of attempts by the #fakenews media and Democrat Party to cast President Trump and his supporters as being misogynists and anti-women’s rights, there was a sizable plurality of females in the audience, and several pink “Women for Trump” signs were intermingled with all the rest. Oh well. So much for stereotypes.

The event was interrupted by only two protesters, both of whom were promptly ushered out of the arena. They’re really just bugs on a wall. (The #fakenews media typically play up the protesters at Trump rallies, but when you see them in person, you realize how trite, pre-programmed, and inconsequential they really are.)

The start of the event was delayed by more than 30 minutes while we waited for the arena to fill up. Even after President Trump began speaking, there were still probably a couple thousand empty seats. It’s not that there was a dearth of Trump supporters. It’s that security (Secret Service & TSA) was so thorough that they could not process attendees fast enough. (There was a grand total of 5 metal detectors set up.) Even after the event began, as I understand, there were still a few thousand Trump supporters waiting outside.

When it was first announced last week that President Trump would be speaking at Municipal Auditorium, my immediate thought was, “Why not Bridgestone Arena?” Now I know why. Trump could have easily filled the place up, but it would have taken 6+ hours to process that many people. So he opted for the smaller venue.

I’m not sure how many people showed up, but I heard from the local news — for what that’s worth — that some 30-40,000 people ended up competing for 9,700 seats. Even as we approached the doors at 5 p.m., they were still streaming into downtown. I’m not sure where the cutoff was, but my guess is that if you didn’t show up by 1:30 or 2, you didn’t get in.

I had heard that there were going to be several hundred protestors at the event, and maybe more than 1,000. During the several hours I waited in line, I saw maybe two dozen protestors. I understand that many more showed up after we went inside, but the supposed protest seemed very underwhelming, almost disappointing. (Snowflakes are entertaining, if nothing else.)

As we were leaving, there were a few protestors still outside with their adorable signs. One of them read, “This is what trans looks like.” I couldn’t tell if it was a male or female holding the sign. One gentleman walking beside me noted (probably outside the tranny’s earshot), “That’s not what a transmission looks like. I’ve taken out a bunch of those over the years and that’s NOT a transmission.”

At any rate, was it worth standing in line in the near-freezing cold for several hours to experience a 45-50 minute speech by President Trump? Well, that’s not the right question. A better question is, knowing what I know now, would I do it again? And the answer is yes, absolutely I would. President Trump can work an audience. He is a master. He had us in the palm of his hand the entire time. There was never a lapse or a lag, never a moment when I thought, “My gosh, wrap it up already.”

We patriots are all President Trump has. Unlike President Obama, who had both the #fakenews media and political establishment on his side, President Trump is opposed by the #fakenews media, the political establishment, and even some members of his own party. So people like me who showed up last night are his sole support system. He is trying to drain a swamp that is quite resistant to being drained. He is absolutely hated by the #fakenews media and Democrat Party, which is understandable given that the Democrat Party is the largest hate group in America anymore. So it is extremely important for us to show up and let President Trump know that we’ve got his back. He literally gave up a billionaire’s lifestyle to wade through the sewer of American politics. He has already given so much to his country, so I don’t mind standing in line for half a day to lend him my personal support.

I promise you the #fakenews media do not like these rallies. As expected, the Tennessean, known locally as “Pravda-on-the-Cumberland,” has spun the rally into something it absolutely was not. A Trump rally is simply the president’s way of taking his case directly to the people without the media being able to filter it and spin it. They can try to lie about it after the fact, but they cannot lie to the ones of us who were actually there.

That’s part of the reason I’m writing this blog post. You can at least get accurate reporting here by someone who experienced yesterday’s rally and all its trappings first-hand.

The Donald
President Trump and Lee Greenwood
Panorama of an almost-full Municipal Auditorium
#fakenews gallery. This is the belly of the beast, the place where #fakenews was being generated right before our eyes.
Laura Trump addressing the audience
Inside the arena right after we took our seats
The line ahead of me, moving slowly
Line behind me after having rounded the corner onto James Robertson Parkway
Bernie supporter (note the gray pony-tail)
Standing on 5th Avenue at the beginning of a very long wait