Is Jesus Coming Soon?

22-10-13 Q&A

Is Jesus Coming Soon?

From Paul and Dana –

I have been teaching a home Bible study for about 1 year now. We are about to start the Book of Revelation. A statement from David has me confused in trying to describe the statement. I feel like I understand, but I don’t. The statement of: “For 2000 years history has been on the brink of the consummation of all things, running parallel to the edge, not running toward a distant brink.”

My question is, how do I explain this timetable of parallel to the edge? I understand that God does not operate in time but is there another way of describing how this works? Maybe an example.  Thank you so much for Enduring Word, and your obedience in doing the work of the Lord. We really enjoy the teaching.

Principle 1

  • Jesus clearly told us to watch and be ready, and to live in anticipation of His return.

Matthew 24:42

Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.

Matthew 24:44

Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Matthew 25:13

Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

Principle 2

  • It is good for Christians to live in the expectation of Jesus’ return

Jesus has given every generation reason to believe that His return was near, because Jesus wants His people to live with that expectation and to be ready.

We have more reason than ever to believe that the return of Jesus is near, and to be ready.

Principle 3

  • Christians of the past were not fools for expecting the soon return of Jesus.

Bringing these three principles together, I think we can say that history has moved along the brink of the return of Jesus, not towards the brink. It’s just a different way to think of it, to visualize it.

I believe we have reason to believe that Jesus is coming soon. We see that the stage is set:

  • For the literal fulfillment of the abomination of desolation.
  • The stage is set politically, spiritually, culturally, and economically.
  • Not everything is in place – but for the things that are not in place, things can change very quickly.

In Conclusion

  • Jesus has given every generation reason to believe that His return was near, because Jesus wants His people to live with that expectation and to be ready.
  • We have more reason than ever to believe that the return of Jesus is near, and to be ready.

What did the angel mean by the “Scripture of Truth” in Daniel 10:21?

Daniel 10:21 – “But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth. (No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince.)”

I don’t think there’s anything fancy or profound in that phrase, “the Scripture of Truth.” I think it’s simply expressing the very basic biblical idea that the Scriptures are true. It’s just a sense of emphasis. It’s not trying to say that there are some Scriptures that are true, and some Scriptures that aren’t true. No, that’s not the idea at all.

Rather, it’s just the idea that the Scripture is true. The angel speaking to Daniel wanted to give a special sense of emphasis, “Hey, Daniel, this is true.” It’s like when Jesus would say, “Assuredly, I tell you the truth.” He wasn’t trying to say that at other times He wasn’t speaking the truth. but for whatever reason, at that particular moment, He wanted to give those words special emphasis and focus. I think that’s exactly what’s meant by the reference to the Scripture of Truth in Daniel 10:21.

Can you explain what the Millennial Reign will be like? Why is it necessary?

Whenever I speak about eschatology, prophecy, the return of Jesus, the Millennium, the final judgment, the catching away of the church, etc., I always like to preface those remarks by acknowledging that there is a diversity of opinions among Christians about these things. And there has been ever since the days of the early church. So, I’m going to tell you exactly how I see it. But I recognize that there are Christians, who love the Lord and take the Bible seriously, who see things differently. But you’re not asking their opinion on today’s question; you’re asking my opinion, so I’m happy to give it to you.

There are some people who believe that this Millennial Reign of Jesus is symbolic, that it’s only a spiritual thing, and that we’re in it right now. I don’t believe that that’s true. There are other people who believe that this Millennial Reign of Jesus is real and that with God’s help and empowering, it’s the job of the Church to transform society and all the institutions of society to fulfill the reign of Jesus Christ upon this earth. That view is often called postmillennialism.

Amillennialism is the idea that the Millennium is merely symbolic and spiritual. There’s the idea that it’s literal but put into reality by God working through the Church in our present age, which could take ten thousand years, but they say that it’s going to happen. Again, that’s called postmillennialism.

The third way of thinking about it, and the way I see it, is that this Millennium describes a literal thousand years of the actual rule and reign of Jesus Christ over this earth. He will be enthroned in Jerusalem and will reign with His servants. I believe those servants will be the resurrected saints from throughout the ages. Jesus will assign them duties and they will rule over those who have survived the great calamity in the final years before Jesus gloriously returns, and the catastrophe of Jesus’ return. They will also rule over those who have been deemed worthy, by the judgment of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25, to enter into what we would call the Millennial Earth. I believe that that judgment in Matthew 25 is a judgment between who is allowed to enter into the Millennial Earth and who is not.

So, you’ll have the citizens or the population of the Millennial Earth, and then you’ll have those who rule and reign over them, who I believe will be the saints of generations past in their resurrected glory, who will administer, rule, and reign with Jesus Christ.

Why is it necessary? I believe there are several reasons why the Millennium is necessary. First, I believe the Millennium is necessary because it fulfills the plan of God in having an actual literal, physical rule and reign of Jesus Christ over this earth. It means that for an appreciable period of one thousand years, Satan is bound and his activity on earth has ceased. There will still be the flesh and the world to deal with, but no longer the devil. It means that God will triumph. No one will be able to say, throughout all generations, that Satan has had his way.

Now, we understand that God, in His great sovereignty and plan, works even through what He allowed Satan to do right now. So we’re not saying that God isn’t on the throne. But there is a real sense in which Satan is “the god of this age;” the Bible calls him that. It won’t be like that for all of history. It is right that God would reign over planet earth for that extended period in a very personal and direct way. That’s one aspect. But here’s another aspect.

As I understand the book of Revelation and how it lays out, the Millennium happens before the Great White Throne Judgment. That is the final judgment, where those who will be consigned for eternity to the lake of fire will be judged. I think it’s very important that the Millennium happens before the Great White Throne Judgment. The Millennium will be as perfect an environment on Earth as could possibly be conceived. I mean, it will be as perfect an environment that can happen with fallen men and women still on earth. Because even though those who rule and reign will be in the resurrected glory, the citizens of earth will still be fallen human beings. But there will be a perfect government administered by Jesus Christ.

I think it is important that this happens before the final judgment, the Great White Throne Judgment, to stop every mouth and to make sure that no one can claim the excuse that their real problem was that they grew up in a bad environment. This is all what we want to do, isn’t it? We want to blame our bad environment. I’m not trying to say that a bad environment has no effect upon a person. Of course it does. But that’s not our fundamental problem.

The fundamental problem of humanity is not that we are great people who have been corrupted by our bad environment. No, we are sinful people who have been made even worse by a bad environment. What the Millennium will show is that for a thousand years, there will be as close to a perfect environment as there can be on planet earth, yet mankind will still rebel against God at the end of that thousand years. I think it’s very important on principle that the Millennium happens before the Great White Throne Judgment.

I hope that helps answer the question as to why I believe the Millennium is necessary. I could go on for more reasons. But I think that this is a way we fulfill this call that God has given us to rule and reign with Jesus Christ.

Why do you think the ratio of women to men is greater in the church today?

By all accounts, it seems that there are more women than men in the church today, and that has probably been true throughout much of church history. I don’t know that the Bible gives us an answer to this. At most, I would say it gives us a hint. A few passages hint at something which some of us may think we know by observation, or by intuition: that women are more spiritually sensitive than men. Again, we’re speaking in generalities. I have no doubt that you could find a man who is more spiritually sensitive than I woman. But in general, I think there’s something to be said for the idea that women are generally more spiritually sensitive than men. Speaking in general, perhaps men can be more hardened, more insensitive, more unaware, or not caring about spiritual things.

Now, this is a great benefit to women when it comes to the things of the Spirit of God, with the Bible, with the person and work of Jesus Christ. Again, I want to stress that we’re speaking in generalities, but in general, women may be more likely to respond to a moving of the Holy Spirit. Now, there’s a flip side to that, though, too. It may also be that, in general, women might more likely be moved by a deceptive spirit. So, this greater spiritual sensitivity of women has both something marvelous and wonderful about it, and something about it which cautions and brings legitimate warning. We should observe that.

I don’t think the Scriptures directly teach that. Maybe it can be gained from a few hints from Scripture. But I think this is something that perhaps we understand by intuition. That that could really be it.

Here’s another aspect of it. I think that a feminized Christianity could needlessly turn off men. And I’m not saying that the dominant note of Christianity should be either feminine or masculine. But if things go to either extreme, it will have an effect. If a Christian expression is hyper feminine, it’s going to have an effect. If it’s hyper masculine, it’s going to have an effect. In the Western world, the tendency has been for the church to have a more feminine type expression. Again, we’re speaking in generalities, so the effect may be different in any individual congregation. That may be a reason why men are more turned off to the things of Christianity and to the things of the Spirit.

How was it possible for Adam and Eve to fall when they were with so near to the glory of God? Why do believers also sometimes fall even when they have Holy Spirit?

I think it just shows that as human beings, we are constructed in a glorious and curious way. As human beings, we are made in the image of God. And of course, that’s very specifically said of Adam and Eve. But it’s true for all of humanity because it’s repeated elsewhere in the Scriptures. It says that all humanity is created in the image of God. There’s something glorious and powerful about that.

Yet, since the fall, we have fallen natures. Human beings are an interesting combination of both powerful, beautiful, inherent glory before God, having been made in His image, while also being sinful, corrupt, and liable to sin and rebellion.

Now, Adam and Eve were not created with a sin nature. But they were created with the potential for choosing otherwise. They were created with the potential to choose against God if they pleased, and God deliberately created them with that potential. But there’s something that is important to consider.

God’s great goal for humanity and His plan of the ages is not to bring us back to the glory of the Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve fell. No, God’s great desire, His goal, and His plan for the ages, is to take us beyond what Adam and Eve had in the Garden of Eden before the fall.

Here’s the way I like to explain it. We gain more in Jesus Christ than we ever lost in Adam. I think that’s a wonderful way to think of it and to express it. We gain more in Jesus than we ever lost in Adam. There is something greater than the innocence of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Redemption is greater than innocence. Now, you may not feel that way. But I’ll tell you, God feels that way. And there’s something greater in God’s work of redemption than there ever was in His work of creating Adam and Eve in their innocence. Now, I’m not trying to say that his work of creating Adam and Eve in their innocence was not glorious; it was. But His work of redemption is even more glorious.

God had a definite plan in creating Adam and Eve with the capability to choose against God and His will. God didn’t make them do it. Not at all. But He gave them the capability to do it.

Why do believers also sometimes fall when they have the Holy Spirit? Because our salvation is not yet complete. I was teaching last night at my home church, Calvary Chapel of Santa Barbara, at the Wednesday night service, and I used this figure as we were teaching through 1 Peter 2. The Bible says that for believers, we have been saved in the past tense, we are being saved in the present tense, and we will be saved in the future. There’s a very real sense in which our salvation is not yet complete. And it’s very good for us to think of that and keep that in mind. God has a work to do in us that He’s doing now before our salvation is complete with resurrection.

I see many people believe that Christians can be demon possessed. How would you answer those who believe this?

My brother, a born-again Christian, now believes that we can and should be casting demons from believers. There are so many people that support this belief. You can watch a great number of videos on the subject, and they cite a great deal of Scriptural references. How do I counter his overwhelming number of arguments? I’ve heard the evidence presented by those deeply entrenched of the view. I will be honest, much of it is compelling and I strive myself with this question now.

I’m with you. I do not believe that Christians can be demon possessed in the sense that they are controlled by an indwelling demonic spirit and are unable to be free from demonic control by resisting the devil and seeing the devil flee. I don’t believe that a Christian can be indwelt and controlled by a demonic spirit. And there are many reasons why I believe that very simply.

The most simple, direct reason I would believe that is that the Christian is the possession of Jesus Christ. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We are purchased by Jesus: body, soul, and spirit. To me, it’s unthinkable that Jesus Christ would share habitation with a demonic spirit. You know, when we’re talking about Jesus indwelling a person, we’re not just using spiritual language. That’s how the New Testament talks about it. The idea is not that an individual is like a duplex, and Jesus lives in one part of that individual and a demon lives in another part. Jesus says, “No, this person belongs to Me.”

There is only one real in depth profile of a demonically possessed person in the New Testament. That person is the Gadarene demoniac. He is controlled by a demonic spirit.

Now, the people who want to say that Christians can be demon possessed, oftentimes blur the line between possession and oppression. They say it’s all the same thing. Well, I don’t believe so. I definitely believe that Christians can be demon oppressed. I think that many, many Christians are unaware of Satan’s attacks and devices. I think Christians need to be much more proactive and discerning in their efforts of spiritual warfare, without believing in any way that a Christian can be demon possessed.

This is what the Bible says to believers in James 4:7: “Submit yourself to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Now, I don’t believe you could have just said to the Gadarene demoniac, “Hey, brother, resist the devil and he’ll flee from you.” No, there was something so overwhelming in him, that it had to be cast out by somebody else. I don’t believe that the believer gets to that place. Again, I want to say that statement can be taken wrong. Because in spiritual warfare, I do believe that it’s helpful to have our brothers and sisters come around us to aid and assist and help us in resisting the devil so that he’ll flee from us. But fundamentally, a person who is demon possessed is so occupied and overwhelmed with a demonic spirit, that they are helpless unless someone else delivers them.

I’ve been a pastor for 40 years. Over my years of ministry, I’ve occasionally heard people say, “No, you don’t understand. This person who I know was a Christian had a demon cast out of them.” And listen, I don’t know what to say about that. I long ago gave up believing that I had to explain every strange spiritual experience. I don’t know. So, if there’s some spiritual experience that leads somebody to believe all no Christians can be demon possessed, I would respond, “I don’t know. Why do I have to explain it?”

There are weird things that happen in the spiritual realm. Look, there are weird things that happen in the material realm. Weird things happen in the spiritual realm. The Bible speaks clearly about the purchased possession of Jesus Christ, and what it means to be born again by God’s Spirit as an adopted son or daughter of God who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and all of that person belonging body, soul, and spirit to God, their body being the temple of the Holy Spirit. I’m not going to change any of that because of a spiritual experience that’s hard to explain.

I’ve been kind of hard on those who believe that Christians can be demon possessed. But now I want to be a little bit hard on Christians who believe that Christians cannot be demon possessed. You need to take spiritual warfare more seriously than you do. Because while I don’t believe that demonic spirits can indwell, possess, overwhelm, or control a believer in the sense of possession, I do believe that they can be stubborn, persistent, shouting liars, virtually as if they were on a person’s shoulder, screaming lies continually in their ear. And I think that aggressive and proactive spiritual warfare needs to take place to rebuke such demonic spirits and send them on their way. I do not mean casting them out of a person. But a demonic spirit doesn’t have to possess someone in order to do damage. They can do tremendous damage from the outside with the lies that they say over and over again.

That’s the best way I would explain it. Again, I would challenge believers who strongly think that Christians cannot experience spiritual warfare to take it more seriously. The Bible says that we have three classic enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil. The main sphere of sanctification is in the flesh. But we dare not blind ourselves to the activity of Satan against the people of God. This is not working from the inside out, but from the outside in.

Will the Holy Spirit be taken away after Rapture or before?

Again, I’ll give you my quick preface that people from different Christian backgrounds see this in different ways. But I’ll give you my understanding of this. I believe that the Holy Spirit is not taken away from the earth, but simply removed from a hindering place. The reason why I do not believe that the Holy Spirit is taken from the earth is simply because the Bible seems to indicate in the book of Revelation, that there is an innumerable multitude who come to faith in Christ during this last seven-year period. And that innumerable multitude can only come to faith because the Holy Spirit is working in their lives. People can’t come to faith unless the Holy Spirit is at work in their life. So that’s how I would explain it. The Holy Spirit is not removed from the earth, but actually, His influence and hindering presence is taken away, which gives room for Satan to do the damage that he wants to do upon the earth.

Can you give any advice to a believer who does not have an “extraordinary” testimony?

I question my salvation based on hearing so many extraordinary testimonies. I cannot give the exact moment or date where I noticed anything immediate. Any advice?

God bless you. I want you to be assured that you don’t need to have a singular salvation experience to know that you are truly saved, truly in God’s kingdom, and that you’ve truly been declared righteous because of your repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. That’s just how it is with some people. Some people come to faith in a crisis moment. Maybe it happens at a church service, or on their own, or with a friend, or at a crusade; it could be in any kind of circumstance. But they have a definite moment about which they can say, “On this day at this time, I know I gave my life to Jesus Christ. I repented and I believed.”

There are many other people for whom that’s really not the case. They can’t put their finger on the moment; they just know they believe. There was a man named C. Everett Koop, who was the Surgeon General under President Ronald Reagan. If I’m remembering the story right, this is the story of his salvation. He said that his wife was a believer, and he started going to church with his wife. When he started going to church with his wife, the preacher would speak. He found himself disagreeing with just about everything the preacher said, who was preaching a faithful message from the Bible, of course. He continued to go to church every Sunday with his wife. After a few years, it struck him that the preacher’s message hadn’t changed; he still was preaching the truth from the Bible. But now, he found that he agreed with just about everything that the preacher had to say. And he couldn’t put his finger on a particular time or a particular moment when that change took place. But he could just say, “I didn’t used to believe or live my life by any of this but now I do believe, and I do live my life by this,” without being able to put his finger on a particular time or place. He could say, “Yes, I know that I’m a believer.”

So be comforted. That is just the wonderful story of salvation for you, and no doubt for many, many other people. You may feel a little self-conscious about your story because you feel like it’s not dramatic enough. Let me tell you, it’s plenty dramatic enough for the Lord. He’s pleased by it. And He works in other lives the same way that He has worked through yours.

If I am separated from my wife, are my prayers being hindered? Should I force myself to reconcile even if I don’t want to?

When it comes to matters of family problems, such as family dynamics, marriage, children, extended relatives, and the like, what you really need is to sit down with a wise, godly pastor, and tell him everything, and receive guidance from him. Because to really understand your situation, and to really give good godly counsel would mean going into greater depth than I can do addressing your question in a couple minutes. But I can give a basic outline of an answer.

I would say that there’s obviously something not right. Peter says in one of his letters that we should dwell with our wives according to understanding so that our prayers will not be hindered. And there’s something disrupted in your relationship with your wife. Now, how much of that is due to circumstances? How much of that is due to you? How much of that is due to her? That’s something you need wise pastoral counsel on. But I hope that you’re praying that God would work some miracles and make a reconciliation.

Now, reconciliation is not the right thing in every circumstance, but it is the highest good; it’s the highest goal. And if you have two people who are believers, there’s really no godly reason why two believers can’t be reconciled if both of them will die to self, if both of them will really live surrendered lives to the Holy Spirit, if both of them will do what the Bible says, “Husbands, loving their wives with sacrificial love the way that Christ loves the Church, and wives submitting to their husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” If they will do that, there’s no reason why couples can’t come together. But we know that don’t always happen. And if the conduct of a husband or a wife is so against the marriage that it makes reconciliation impossible, well, that’s why God gives permission for divorce, understanding the hardness of men’s hearts. But again, divorce has to be under biblical, qualified grounds and reasons.

I can appreciate that you say right now that you don’t want to reconcile, but you need to get some wise pastoral counsel, and see if it really is in God’s wisdom for you to continue to seek reconciliation or just to let it go before the Lord.

Should I read a book about Jesus from Ellen G. White? What are your thoughts on the Seventh Day Adventists?

I would be careful with the writings of Ellen G. White, and with Seventh Day Adventists who are deeply committed to Ellen G. White’s writings and to very traditional Seventh Day Adventism. That’s a problem. Now, when you’re talking about any group or denomination, you’re going to have a variety within that group. Of course, there are many Seventh Day Adventists, if not most of them, who are our brothers and sisters in Christ, who in my opinion just happen to believe some strange and unbiblical doctrines. However, there are other said Seventh Day Adventists, and I would regard these as few in number, who seemed to value Ellen G. White even more than Jesus Himself. Again, that’s probably a very few in number.

Traditional Seventh Day Adventism, Ellen G. White-ism, so to speak, has a lot more difficulties than the way most Seventh Day Adventists live out their faith today. So, I would be careful with it. But I’ll be very straightforward with you; I am not big at all on banned book lists. I’m not big on telling people, “You can’t read that. Don’t read that.” I’m more on the side that says, “Look, read what you want to read, but read it with discernment and read it like a Berean as described in the book of Acts. They heard the preaching of Paul and compared it to the Scriptures. They searched the Scriptures daily to see whether or not these things were so.”

Who do you think is the “clay” is in the feet of iron? (Daniel 2)

You’re referring to the great image that Nebuchadnezzar saw in the book of Daniel. And this image was made of gold at the top, silver through the chest and arms, bronze in the abdomen and midsection, the legs were iron, and the feet were iron mixed with clay. I don’t know if we identify any particular group with the clay, other than just to say it’s a weakened form of the legs. It’s somewhat degraded. It’s not as glorious. You see a real downward progression from gold, silver, bronze, iron, and then iron mixed with clay. And so instead of trying to identify the clay with a specific group, I think it indicates being connected to the iron legs, of course, but just a further step down from them.

If our salvation is not complete, then isn’t it of works?

That’s a very good question. You’re speaking to something that I mentioned before that our salvation is spoken of in three tenses in the New Testament: in the past, you have been saved; in the present, you’re being saved; and in the future, you will be saved. I’m just saying that our salvation is not complete until our resurrection.

No, it doesn’t mean that it’s of works at all. I’m here to tell you, none of us earn our resurrection. Not you, not me, not anybody who’s a believer in Jesus. Our resurrection is the free, gracious gift of God, just as much as our justification is, just as much as our adoption into God’s family is, and in some sense, as our sanctification is, because there’s at least an aspect of our sanctification that is received in Jesus Christ. Of course, there’s our effort and activity involved in that. But fundamentally, if it’s not received, there’s nothing for us to have an activity with.

So no, I don’t believe that our resurrection is of our works at all, no, not one bit. There’s nothing you or I or anyone else can do to earn our resurrection. It is the free gift of God. We’re just saying that the completion of our salvation won’t be until we are resurrected. I don’t know about you. But I’m looking forward to the time where I will no longer have to deal with sin and weakness and depravity. No more; it’s gone. Well, that time is not yet. But it will be in the future, with our resurrection, when we’re in the presence of the Lord, when we are with Him in the glory of heaven. Now God has so many wonderful things to do in our life right now, in the here and now. But we look forward to that ultimate consummation of our salvation in the resurrection.

What are your thoughts on Christian Nationalism?

What are your thoughts on Christian nationalism? I agree with it, but people need biblical doctrine rather than ecumenism.

Here’s my quick thought on Christian nationalism. I see it as being so broadly and contradictorily defined that I don’t know what to make of it. But I’ll give you some general principles.

I would hope that the laws of any nation would reflect the heart, the wisdom, and the morality of God to the highest degree possible. Is that controversial? Would we rather have other religions or rank secularism influence and define the laws? No. I’m speaking to you from the United States, but I think that would be a blessing for any nation.

Now, here’s the kicker. I don’t think that that should ever happen by force, by coercion, or by minority rule. I think the way for that to happen is for the population to be overwhelmingly born again, and Christianized, and truly discipled in Jesus Christ. If you had any nation on Earth, where let’s say 80% of the population was truly born again, and truly disciples of Jesus Christ, I think the laws that would come from the democratic process in that nation would, or at least should, be largely God honoring – in their heart, in the morality, and in the way that they’re carried out.

I think it’s good for nations to have laws, practices, and policies that reflect the heart, mind, and wisdom of God as revealed in His Word, but I don’t think that that should ever happen by coercion. I think that it should happen through the population being truly Christianized in the best sense. Not in a superficial way, but as true disciples of Jesus.

Now, somebody can rightly ask, “Is that ever going to happen?” I don’t know. It seems unlikely to me to happen anytime soon. But it would be glorious. Now, here’s the difficulty with that. Let’s say that were to happen in a particular nation. Let’s say that their population in the year 2025, three years from now, is overwhelmingly Christian. Let’s say 80% of the country are truly disciples of Jesus Christ. And they pass laws. What’s going to keep the population in that place? I don’t know what it’s going to be like in the next generation.

I would say that the perfect administration of God’s heart, God’s wisdom, and God’s morality, awaits the rule and reign of Jesus Christ upon this earth. I trust Jesus to perfectly implement the law of God. I don’t know that I trust any human beings to do it. Is it good that things move in a general direction to be more like that? Of course, it’s good. But we’re never going to see this in fruition, until the rule and reign of Jesus Christ.

Should we give preference to commentaries by believers as opposed to secular writers from other religions?

I’m a bit confused by your question. When you say commentaries, I immediately think of Bible commentaries. I’m sitting in a room filled with Bible commentaries. I am a Bible commentator. If people know me outside of these YouTube Question & Answer times, they probably know me from my online Bible Commentary, It’s completely free, no ads, no catches, no VIP zone. It’s just out there as a free resource. Some people that find it helpful.

So, if that’s what you’re talking about, I am certainly going to prioritize reading commentary on the Bible from believers, rather than from people from other religions, or from the secular world. Now, I will say that I have found it very interesting to look up what Jewish rabbis have taught about certain things and understood. I won’t make that determinative in my understanding of the text, but sometimes it can shed some wonderful light on it. Praise God for that. But I’m most interested in what believers have to say, because the Bible tells us that it’s truth, God’s wisdom, is spiritually discerned. It’s not just a matter of having enough smarts, enough training, enough skill in the original languages, but it’s a matter of spiritual wisdom that God gives to His children.

How much credence do we give to dreams and visions?

How much credence do we give to dreams and vision? I had a dream of fire in form of a cross in my hand. What can I find in biblical symbolism?

I know some Christians whom I know and love and respect, who put a lot more weight on dreams than I would. I definitely do believe that it’s possible for God to speak to people in dreams. It happened in the Scriptures many times. But an interesting thing is that many times in the Bible when God speaks to somebody in a dream, God is speaking to non-believers. So, I think that it would be more common for God to speak in dreams to those who do not believe, than to speak in dreams to believers.

But I would be careful of trying to read too much into them. Simply make it a matter of prayer and seeking the Lord. “Lord, I had this dream. If there’s something You’re trying to tell me through this dream, then Lord, would You just confirm it to me through Your Word, or confirm it to me in some other way? But if this is from You, Lord, would You speak to me about it?” And just bring it before God. Pray about it, seek the Lord. And if the Holy Spirit gives you some kind of confirmation on it, then go gently with it. I would not do anything radical in my life because of a dream as a believer.

I do believe that God speaks to many unbelievers in dreams. Today in the Muslim world, God is speaking to Muslims and leading them to Christ through dreams, giving them an initial step and initial direction of pointing them towards Jesus or someone who will give them the gospel. I believe in that. But for the believer, we have a surer Word in the Bible. So, if you think that God has prompted something in a dream, ask God for confirmation in and through His Word. And don’t seek God speaking to you through a dream. I would never counsel a Christian to do this, to go to bed at night and say, “Okay, Lord, I really want to hear from a word from You. Would You speak to me in a dream?” No, friend, if you want to hear a word from God, open up your Bible and read. And if God chooses to bring a word to you in some other way, then then confirm it in and through His Word.