Examining the Son of Perdition – Part 2
The Shinar Directive Continues Series | Michael K. Lake, Th.D.
Featured in the June Edition of SkyWatch TV Magazine
Since the publishing of The Shinar Directive, I have been immersed into what seems to be a new world of podcasts and writings on speculative eschatology. It would be difficult to calculate the many hours I have spent reading and listening to this younger generation of believers tackle the tough issues: from the overwhelming developments in technology to negotiating geopolitical changes in our world that seem to possess the fluidity of the most challenging rapids. This new generation of end-time researchers has heeded the admonition of the apostle Paul:
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21
The Greek word that Paul uses for prove is dokimazo (dok-im-ad’-zo). This word means “to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals.” [i]
I am encouraged by the diligent research of many in this new generation. However, before I continue, let me stress that I am referring to true believers and not those of the Emergent Church or other movements that question the integrity of the Word of God or the basic orthodoxy of the faith. What this new breed of Bereans is questioning is various interpretations or positions of speculative eschatology that were formulated in past generations that were not able to benefit from the knowledge of current technological breakthroughs or even recent discoveries of the agendas or belief systems of esoteric societies that dominated the cultures in the times in which the Word of God was being penned.
Let me share several reasons why I believe this out-of-the-box thinking and results are a good thing:
- Moving Beyond Sound Bites. Over the past two decades, I have become quite concerned at the propensity of the modern believer to offer theological sound bites to virtually every theological discussion. Let me give you an illustration of what I am talking about and its dangers within the Body of Christ.
This event happened back in the mid 90’s. I had traveled out of state to conduct a seminar at a large Evangelical church. I had arrived the day before to unwind before a full day of lecturing. The pastor was kind enough to invite me to participate that evening in group bible study at his church. The room was set up with the chairs in a semi-circle that would allow for group participation. During the conversation, one young man asked a rather deep and insightful question that deserved an appropriate answer. Perhaps it was a little deeper than the study leader wanted to go. In retrospect, I believe it was beyond what the facilitator was prepared to answer. What was given to the group as an answer was a quick and easy theological sound bite. Everyone in the group shook their heads in agreement, as if something profound had been said. The only reason I said anything was that the sound bite did not serve as an answer. In fact, it did not even come close. My questioning this nugget of prepackaged truth seemed to frustrate the leader. Upon further questioning, I discovered that no one in the study (to include the leader) could provide a proper definition of what that sound bite meant. Over the years, I have seen this play out again and again. Today’s believers are far too quick to offer impressive sound bites when they are challenged in the least regarding what they believe. When you question the validity of the phrase or ask for a proper definition, they either get angry or look like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck! No wonder we are losing in the cultural battle that is being waged for the minds and souls of men today.
These shallow, pat answers are exactly the opposite of the instruction given to us in the New Testament.
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 1 Peter 3:15
We need to be ready to give an answer not only for the hope of our salvation, but the hope that is generated in our hearts from the proper understanding of both what we believe and why. The Word tells us that “deep calls to deep” (Psalms 42:7). Instead of answering the needs of humanity with the extreme depth of God’s waterfalls of truth, we are only offering them mud puddles from the nurseries of the Kingdom.
- Truth Loves Examination. Isn’t that what the apostle Paul was saying in 1 Thessalonians or even 2 Timothy 2:15?
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
The word that Paul uses for study in not one of leisure or to give half-hearted effort. Paul uses the Greek word spoudazo (spoo-dad’-zo). This word denotes “to hasten, to exert one’s self, endeavor, give diligence.” [ii] For far too many today, diligence is not a word to describe their efforts to “rightly divide the Word of Truth.”
I believe the Holy Spirit encourages questions and the desire to really dive into the Word of God and discover the power of His truth for ourselves. On the other hand, error absolutely hates the light of thorough examination. Error will scream:
- How dare you question!
- Who do you think you are?
- Just accept what I say!
We have forgotten in our Western culture that the basis for understanding truth, within the Hebraic backdrop in which the Word was written, is learning to ask the right questions. When a father would sit with his family every year at the Passover, it was the job of the children to ask, “What does this mean?” I have seen Jesus in the Gospels answer a question with a question. The reason for this was to get them to ask the right question! Until you ask the right question, you are never ready for the answer (truth). I have personally witnessed the Holy Spirit lead me on a particular spiritual journey just to get me to ask the question that set me up for the truth He was wanting to reveal. In the process of proving all things, this endeavor leads us to ask the right questions that provide the fertile ground for God to reveal His truth.