Author: Maia Armstrong

Singing the Song of Fools: A Critique of Traditional Views Held Among Christian Churches

Singing the Song of Fools: A Critique of Traditional Views Held Among Christian Churches

Music has proven to be an integral part of our culture. And it has played a significant role in the way we communicate our deepest emotions. Since the dawn of human history, music has greatly shaped our world and our perceptions of common topics. These include politics, love, sex, and, in some cases, certain behaviors that are tolerable in a sin-stricken society.

I recently came across an article from a Christian blogger named Joshua Infantado. In a 2016 blog post, Joshua offers an argument on our musical tastes and subliminal messages that could be hidden within these songs.

In this presentation, I want to provide a solid yet Biblical argumentation on this subject matter. Here, I want to offer a series of questions to challenge our current viewpoints on morality.

Also, I would like to thoroughly assess and challenge current practices of teaching and presenting hard doctrines, particularly the identity of Satan and the existence of Hell. We will look at this from a sociopolitical and Scriptural perspective, as well as trends during the onslaught of the global coronavirus pandemic.

“I will sing of Your love and justice; to You, LORD, I will sing praise.”

The Essential Question

What does it mean to glorify God [or Satan] from a Biblical and culturally diverse perspective through the lens of music and its underlying themes?

Focus Passage: Ecclesiastes 7:5 (World English Bible)

“It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.”

What Music Means to Me

Music has been an essential part of my life ever since I was a toddler. As I lived through my preschool years, I learned how to play the piano, the drums, and the xylophone. Of course, I also learned how to sing.

At age 11, I was a pianist at a church I used to attend before the pandemic. I joined the school band and played as a percussionist until I graduated from middle school in 2019. I am currently a first soprano in a professional children’s choir in Northbrook. My gift of singing has gained attention over the years, including a performance at Carnegie Hall in the summer of 2019.

Our Recent Discussion

As the Vice President of the Agape Christian club at school, I had the wonderful privilege of collaborating with the President. We work together in initiating a whole group discussion on the rapidly evolving trends within the music industry.

In our series “Examining Salvation and the Nature of Satan” we gave the participants several questions to consider while reading Joshua’s piece. Most of which were based on a thorough and holistic examination of Joshua’s critical assessment of popular songs released throughout the past decade.

Together with the lessons from Lil Nas X’s controversial Satan video, we used the answers we got to assess some doctrines. We did this in a critical yet biblical way to expose some practices on controversial topics.

Thus, this presentation is not merely an assessment of Joshua’s theology alone. Rather, it is to examine the moral boundaries that must be drawn from a Christian worldview when such incidents pose such moral questions.

In light of the nature of this discussion, we challenged all members to carefully read through Joshua’s analysis. They must ponder on the points presented in the article, and view his opinions based on his cultural and religious circumstances.

An Overview of Joshua’s Article

In February 2016, Joshua Infantado (author of Becoming Christians) published an article titled “Singing the Song of Fools: Questions Christians Should Ask When Choosing a Song.”

His piece is a comprehensive and coherent analysis of lyrics taken from ten popular songs. These include Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.”

The Fingerprints of Satan?

Joshua begins his article by stating that there are catchy songs with hidden subliminal messages within the themes portrayed throughout the song. Through his assessment, he attempts to convey that the music we listen to may not be outrightly immoral.

But if you look deeper into the messages of their lyrics, he said that you will soon discover the FINGERPRINTS OF SATAN in these songs.

The reason I bring this into my analysis is that this is a common theme that is highlighted throughout his work. Joshua’s argument is based on the historical evolution of music throughout a historical period in America known as the Satanic Panic. Webster dictionary defines this event as “a moral panic regarding alleged satanic ritual abuse.” And the fear of such practices within the Occult (YourDictionaryar).

It also stems from the assumption that Lucifer was the angel in charge of music in heaven despite a lack of Scriptural evidence (see Ezekiel 28).

It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.

Blurred Lines: Excerpt

Here is an excerpt from Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines:

Ok, now he was close.

Tried to domesticate you.

But you’re an animal

Baby, it’s in your nature

Just let me liberate you

Joshua’s Analysis

Joshua critically condemns the song, citing its references to sexual sin and its use of profanity. In a formal rebuke of the lyrics, Joshua questions why Christians enjoy music like this. He said that Satan is very successful in poisoning the air with so much garbage [filth] and profanity through the music we listen to.

He then concludes his piece by posing five questions to consider when listening to a song. His stance stems from a literal interpretation of Ecclesiastes 7:5, with the assumption that the song of fools is a reference to music that is sung in the world today, with the belief that Satan was the angel of music before his rebellion.

Results From Discussion

In the group discussion, we asked the members to examine this excerpt and to consider behaviors they have observed during class this past school year. As we returned to in-person instruction in August 2021, foul language and other unruly behaviors also increased during class. This is especially during lunch periods.

As a result, more students served detention for various infractions, including those dealing with attendance and poor behavior. And this does not include TikTok trends such as Devious Lick, which encouraged vandalism within the school bathrooms.

Among the most common music genres that students listened to in an average 5-minute passing period were modern hip hop and pop. Needless to say, these are infamous for their explicit content and rappers selling their souls to Satan.

Music Can Influence Our Behavior

The lyrics derived from musical compositions, as well as other rhythmic characteristics, are key communicators of the conscience. These in turn drive our perception of right and wrong, and how the brain responds to our perceptions.

Let us take for instance the song Blurred Lines. A Christian who is tempted to have sex outside of marriage would listen to this song and would consider it to be a lure into that habit. Hence, the like-still of the flesh. And Satan would probably use a song like this to convince us that such behavior is acceptable, as commonly held in society today.

However, this argument fails to consider taking into account those who may not encounter such strong temptations.

Now, let’s examine two scenarios: The book of Psalms and the message of Lil Nas X’s Satan video. While there are contrasting themes within the spectrum, each of them exposes a flaw in the way the church teaches them.

The Book of Psalms

The Book of Psalms is a song within many songs, a hymn within many hymns. In short, these are works of poetic literature. Their objective? To communicate the glory of God through praise and worship, and in some cases, lamentation.

Most of the things written within the book have been incorporated into hymns commonly sung in churches today. This is an obvious work that glorifies God, as it is taken directly from the Bible, inspired by God.

Lil Nas X

We asked the participants in the discussions to examine the Lil Nas X controversy from a doctrinal perspective. They must not only go beyond the general message of Lil Nas X’s controversial Satan video. But they must critically evaluate how the church today preaches about Satan in a Biblical illiterate generation.

According to an article from Barna, a majority of self-proclaimed Christians fail to believe in absolute morality. Many of them also do not think Satan is a real and active being.

Results from the group discussion further prove this stunning statistic. Hence, the club President suggests that such songs with overt lyrics do not only encourage bad behavior. But it also certainly raises eyebrows, due to its extreme association with the dark side [Seitz].

Furthermore, the answers point to a sad revelation about how the church preaches the hard subject of Satan. Could incidents like Lil Nas X’s scandal be a result of teaching such doctrines out of fear and condemnation, and not taking such knowledge into practical applications in life?

A sermon can only do so much for a topic that is rarely if ever, preached in a sin-stricken world.

Back to the Drawing Board

In summation, the question of whether or not a song glorifies God is not based on its words or images alone. Rather, it is through individual circumstances and their convictions. The fear of judgment is largely due to the way we preach such topics as the identity of Satan.

Based on my assessment, we are not doing a really good job. I am not saying we should take this threat lightly. I am saying that the church needs to go back to the drawing board. That is if we are going to effectively expose others to the evil plagues of this world.

It’s not the message itself. But HOW we deliver the message to others.

Raising Awareness of Satan’s Tactics

Here are eight practical solutions to tackle a complex dilemma posed by a morally declining generation.

1. Maintain empathy.

In Romans 14, Paul tells us to consider the weakness and temptation of our brothers and to not judge him based on his convictions. That doesn’t mean you are excusing the behavior, rather, you are allowing him the opportunity to make decisions.

A preacher whose sole motivation is to sow fear and strife will not only draw them away from Christ. But it will tempt many young believers to deny or run away from these hard truths. The doctrine of Satan and its heavy nature is not easy; it hurts to be exposed to this harsh reality.

The key is to do this through a spirit of gentleness and empathy, with consideration of the weaknesses of others.

2. Be supportive.

Support them in their fight against temptation. Many times when the incidence of satanic music comes up, we are quick to assume that these artists are Satanists. We all see the picture of Satan and not what is being communicated through the artist’s work. Why not view these moments as an opportunity to learn and grow rather than rebuke and shun.

3. Realize that some weaknesses may stay.

It’s a temptation to assume that someone’s a legalist or a false teacher without actually looking into the many trials they face regularly. For some of us, it is hard to resist certain temptations than others; some of which will take years to overcome.

In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul openly comes forward to confess his own struggle with sin, calling it a thorn in the flesh. Within every fall and affliction lies a working testimony of a broken man’s strength in Jesus.

4. Kill Satan’s hatred through an attitude of LOVE!

The best way to help someone comprehend such doctrines as sin and Satan is through love. Offer them your love, and pray for them when they are being tested. Show them that they are not alone in this lifelong battle and that Jesus is right there.

5. Encourage your congregation to make a difference.

If we are walking in a world ruled by evil, why don’t we take the opportunity to shine the light of Jesus into their souls? Invite your friend over to Red Lobsters on Friday. Don’t be afraid to admit your own assumptions and ask questions.

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6. Listen.

Oh, is that such a lost art in a raging and impulsive world! The best way to alleviate their fears is by simply listening to their story and holding their hand.

7. Less Scripture, More Action!

Whoa! That probably hurts. Many of you may not like what I am about to say, but this is something I believe the Holy Spirit wants each of us to ponder on.

We know Ephesians 6:12 and spruce up the fanciest prayers when we are tested. But, are we truly showing others what it means to have true victory over Satan through Christ?

It’s time we start demonstrating this in real life, and not just through a 45-minute sermon filled with prophecies. Prayer and intercession are only step one. It’s time to do step two. It’s time to show the world that resisting the kingdom of Satan is not done simply through lip service and choosing to not listen to XYZ.

Time to put our weapons to use, and start the long process of winning people to the light!

Closing Prayer

Dear Father in Heaven,

I come before the throne to thank you for getting us through another day.

My prayer goes to those who may be reading this presentation; that they will not only be inspired but challenged to see spiritual truth in a new and enlightening way.

Lord, convict us when we are tempted to jump to rash judgments against our brother, lest we be guilty of any hidden sin that lies in our hearts. Continue to bless all of the writers contributing to this website, and let their talents be used to glorify your name.

May I continue to be a source of hope during a time when the world is being tried and tested as war cries from the sky. Help us be vigilant of who Satan is and embrace the victory that was given through the remission of our sins on the cross.

In Jesus’ name, amen!


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Recommended Resource: Praying with the Psalms: A Year of Daily Prayers and Reflections on the Words of David by Eugene H. Peterson 

Praying with the Psalms: A Year of Daily Prayers and Reflections on the Words of David Paperback – July 23, 1993 by Eugene H. Peterson

A devotional prayer book focusing on one year with the Psalms, the most sensitive and honest words written about daily stress and daily blessings.

Becoming a Child of the Light

Becoming a Child of the Light

Hello everyone! Today, I am pleased to share some things about myself, as well as my journey to becoming a child of the light.

Writing, singing, current affairs, and creativity have been integral parts of my development as a Christian, even before I contributed to this blog. 

My Early Life

My name is Maia Armstrong, and I am an 11th grader who is attending a public high school in Illinois.

I was born in February 2005 (February 11 to be exact!). Yeah, I just turned 22. Most of my family is from either England or the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. But I am mainly from America, although my mother taught me how to speak with a British accent as I grew older.

Let me tell you, the culture is sublime. From the music to the spicy food, the Caribbean is a lifelong party!

The Caribbeans

At 18 months old, I was diagnosed with a heart disease known as Tetralogy of Fallot and had to go through an eight-hour surgery. I do not remember many details except for the sounds of some of the machines, and all of the painful injections I have been through.

As I began to enter my preschool years, I began to have trouble with my vision. The pain was so agonizing, that I felt like I was going crazy.

The World of Blindness

I was diagnosed with glaucoma in kindergarten. After numerous failed surgeries and tests to alleviate the pressure in my eyes, I officially had both eyes removed, and became completely blind. I have had a prosthetic eye for nearly eleven years, since 2011.

Trials, Tests, and … Tantrums?

Sometimes, I sit back and reflect on my journey as a blind girl. If there was one word to describe this experience: it was chaos. One thing I remember so vividly is the agony of tantrums.

They were not the average tantrums that kids throw to get their attention. It’s the type of tantrums that spoke of the pain and trauma in my soul that has been present until my freshman year.

I just wanted a remedy for this confusion. Even if it meant throwing meltdowns over missing Wheel of Fortune. Even in church, when many were screaming and clapping their hands. I couldn’t survive a single service without a meltdown. I could barely go a year without having meltdowns in bed or spending time in my room on punishment.

Coming to the Light: Church

Here I was: An eight-year-old third-grader in special education to adjust to blind life. It was my first time going to a local church with my parents. I heard of the name Jesus but did not know why it was such a popular name.

Was it just an expression, or a character from a franchise? Was eternity another folktale like Santa Claus? What is sin, and Satan, and that precious Cross?

I attended Sunday school with little kids for four years and was given books that contained excerpts from the Bible that were easy to understand, all translated into braille.

Coming to the Light: 9/11

If there is one event that rocked my faith, it had to be the events of 9/11.

It was a Friday morning. September 9, 2016. I was in 6th grade. This was my very first time in a history class. That day, we spent two periods of the day remembering the 9/11 victims. I have never heard of that fateful tragedy before.

But, when I got out of class that morning after hearing that dreadful lecture, I could barely move from my desk. I was in complete shock. It was a huge struggle to comprehend the horrors of September 11.

World Trade Center and Pentagon September 9, 2011 Terrorist Attack
Photo Credits: LA Times

9/11 Aftermath

For three years, I would resort to going to bed at exactly eleven minutes after 9 PM (9:11) as a nighty challenge. It was a remedy. I would spend hours watching countless documentaries and films just to comprehend that terrible day.

It was slowly taking a huge toll on me: emotionally, physically, and mentally. Sometimes, when I would have a conversation, almost every other word related to that day. All I could hear in my head was “9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11!”

It got SO bad that I would emotionally shut down in the middle of nowhere. It was a deep sense of sadness and confusion. The temptation to listen to the footage was so unbearable, that I just couldn’t shy away from it.

It was my last year of middle school, my last week of Winter Break. I would later hear these words: “You can only remember 9/11 on the date of the anniversary, and your ‘nightly test’ is banned!”

My parents banned my nightly challenge because it has taken such a detrimental toll on me. When I heard of the ban, I was in utter disbelief.

Then, as I struggle to battle my obsession, I would hear a screeching voice in the middle of the night, in my dream. “This is the end of your faith! I know that you have a deep passion for 9/11 and this world, but it is now gone forever! It’s over!”

I would hear that for four weeks straight! After weeks spent crying in the middle of the night, mom knew that I had a stronghold that I have been battling over, so she would pray for me, and encourage me to keep fighting.

Coming to The Light:
The Revelation and the Beginning of My Patriotism

It was the summer of 2019, in Lower Manhattan. My prayers have finally been answered. I stood at the reflective pools of the 9/11 Memorial: in hope, and prayer: for me, for my nation, and for this world.

It was the rebirth of my patriotism: through the fires of obsession, tribulations, and confusion. It is the revelation of sin’s darkest secrets. It was the revelation of me, a child of God, standing in the realm of Satan. We were never in the United States. And that is how God began to use my passion for America and Christ to develop my faith.

God vs Satan and Leadership

I was a freshman in high school when the coronavirus pandemic started.

On March 13, 2020, my school went into quarantine until further notice. For me, Covid has been an opportunity to set aside my perfectionism in terms of grades and grow in my faith.

It was during the George Floyd riots that God inspired me to lead a virtual movement to spread His love and light during these dark chapters. Formerly known as the virtual God vs Satan movement, this was a season where I teamed up with members of my Christian club to spread God’s word. We also shared words of exhortation to those in and outside of District 219. Although the virtual “movement” recently ended, it has not actually “ended.”

For me, God vs Satan has proven to be a gateway to discovering my talents, and the ways I utilize them to serve God’s kingdom. Throughout quarantine, I discovered my hidden talent in writing, music, and imaginative ways of expression. I also discovered a way to compile art projects virtually using Google Docs.

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Passion for Music

I was greatly interested in music since I was two years old when I taught myself how to play the piano and sing in tune. In middle school, I used to be a pianist every week at church and would sing with the youth every month.

I also got involved in a professional children’s choir in Northbrook, which made a debut at Carnegie Hall in 2019. I have been a soloist since 2018, and sing as the first soprano in the ensemble.

Below is a video of me singing O Holy Night with the Lincoln Chamber Orchestra. This was my last performance before the pandemic came.

During our movement, songs would either be created, rearranged, or have different lyrics. Most of the lyrics were either written down or memorized in my head. Then, I would make three separate videos putting all of the voice parts together to create a masterpiece that we would send to members.

Here is a link to a song we put together in 2020. It’s called “The Limb of Satan,” which is a song inspired by events that unfolded this year (to be featured in a future blog post).

Writing and Literature

Writing has been a very integral part of my Christian faith. But, it has been the subject of a majority of my creative compositions as I lead God vs Satan. From the creation of psalms and poetry to the formation of essays and letters, to the communication of spiritual realities through dramatic play and informal discussions.

I loved how God transformed the flavor of my word choice to create a reality that the human flesh cannot fully understand using pictures and Bible reading alone.

Called from Darkness into the Light

Agape Christian Club

As a result of my contribution to the club over the past three years, I was elected as Vice President of Agape. This is my school’s Christian club that runs every Thursday after school. It’s very similar to a Bible study group, except it is student-led. As Vice president, I am in charge of helping the President put together our weekly sermons and activities.

For the first half of the school year, our main focus was the Trinity and the fruits of the Holy Spirit. This semester, we will focus on sin, evil, the nature of Satan, and spiritual warfare, as well as forming Godly habits and relationships.

Blogging & Content Creation

I first visited Biblical Christianity in 2017 and began contributing as an author in December 2021. Most of the content I plan to present centers around current events, the spirit realm, morality, faith, the workings of Satan, and the promises of God.

Also, be on the lookout for reviews of written works I have composed, as well as reflections and commentaries.

Conclusion

May I conclude with an excerpt from one of my pieces called “The Great Red Dragon.” I believe this is a very powerful statement that the Holy Spirit has led me to share with you.

“O, Satan! Satan! I am a teen, searching high and low, to decipher your filthiest secrets. So that I may bear the fruits of the Father who is in Heaven; that I may be a witness to the Gospel in your shadow of deceit. Satan, you have cleverly crafted the code of calamity. But my Savior, who is Christ alone, is my guide to peace, which is the route to the promised land.”

My Encouragement to You

I did not come to this site just to inform you of the Scriptures. But rather, to use my passion for current events, my faith, and music to bring others to the light. If it hadn’t been for the love and determination of my mother, I don’t think I would ever have received this revelation, or be in the place I wanted to be.

She knew that God was trying to uncover a revelation of what I had been called to do as a believer: to SHINE! To be the light in the shadow of darkness! An agent of love, hope, and encouragement in the face of tribulation. A helping hand in the face of tragedy. And to be a positive contributor to the good work that God was doing for others through nourishment and determination.

And Satan did not want me to discover this truth!! And now, it is time that he is finally exposed, out in the open, so that many will be free because of the blood of Jesus!

I pray that this testimony inspired many of you. I pray that you would grow in your faith as we stand strong against the kingdom of Satan! 🙂

The Two Trinities of Life

The Two Trinities of Life

Both believers and non-believers in Jesus are familiar with the Doctrine of the Trinity, one of the core tenets of Christianity. Undeniably, people have different views and interpretations as to what this doctrine is all about. Some argue that the Trinity is unbiblical while others say the Bible explicitly teaches it.

But in this post, I will share with you what I call the Two Trinities of Life.

One weekend as I was sleeping, I got a revelation of what makes up the Trinity that we, as believers, understand (Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit).

The Trinity Definition

Notice that throughout Scripture, there are several accounts of authors (including Jesus) who understood how these three entities work together. For instance, in the lives of many believers, they unite as one to sanctify and purify them

That same night, I received a revelation about a group of entities that work to create the sinful nature we live in. Here, I will show you how the Holy Trinity works to outweigh the works of the Trinity of Darkness. I will cite some Scriptural evidence and visual objects to support these things.

What are the Two Trinities?

In theological language, the Trinity is the essence of three entities in one. When we think of the Trinity, we often associate this term with the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). However, there is also another “trinity” that we do not often recognize, and it mainly has to do with the sin nature we live in.

The World, The Flesh, and the Devil: A Critique

Many theologians and pastors are in an ongoing debate on the formation of trinities within the Christian doctrine. For example, we have the familiar “world-flesh-devil” trinity. But notice that in the book of Revelation, Satan is also a part of another unholy trinity, preceding with the Antichrist and the false prophet.

Too often, we see the dark trinity as one actual Trinity, just like the Holy Trinity. We associate this “dark,” unholy trinity with the familiar entities associated with the present, including the world. The main problem I have with this theological conclusion is that it neglects the eternality of these very things that align with the sin nature and its consequences.

The Dark Trinity: Satan, Sin, Death

We can see this unity of Satan, sin, and death in Genesis 3 – the chapter that explains how man’s original sin came to be.

Satan

The Dark and Unholy TrinityIn Genesis chapter 3, we see the first encounter that revealed the cunning nature of Satan. We also find in Ezekiel 28:12-18 and Isaiah 14:12-14 some references to the fall of Satan and his angels. This is while making an indirect connection to the kings of Babylon and Tyre, whose spiritual powers came from Satan.

Before God created man, God created angels and even Satan. Thus, we can probably understand that Satan fell from grace before man sinned. Satan’s rebellion against God and his exile from Heaven have set the stage for the fall of man. In other words, Adam and Eve sinned against God as a result of Satan’s rebellion.

However, we must understand that sin cannot take place without a source of temptation or “crafty” influence. This simply means twisting what is bad in God’s eyes into something good in OUR eyes. This is where Satan gets in the picture. He plants the seed of sin through temptation. How exactly does he do it?

Satan deceives people through the twisting of God’s instructions (ex. Scripture), or something within our environment, or the world as a whole. This is why he is on the top of the triangle.

Sin

Sinning is the act of disobeying God’s commandments and giving in to temptations that will only benefit one’s SELF but not God. Going back to Genesis 3, Adam and Eve sinned against God because they believed in Satan’s lie.

The devil told them that eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge, will give them the wisdom to discern what was good, and what was evil. There was no evil before they sinned, so Satan knew that if he could convince Adam and Eve that they would obtain a divine knowledge of good and evil (without God), they would not ‘die.’

The pride that led them to sin is the same pride that caused Satan to rebel against God. And it is pride that causes us to sin as well.

The world and the flesh are mingled into this portion of the Trinity.

Death

Death is the result of man’s wickedness which was planted by Satan. The punishment of our sin is death (Roman 6:23). What were the results of death? Sin resulted in the death of innocence and perfection in man. Hell, Hades, Sheol, or the Lake of Fire (Second Death) is the eternal punishment of sin. We have also been separated from God because of sin (Isaiah 59:32).

The Second Death

The Holy Trinity

John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but having eternal life.”

God sent His son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross for all of our iniquities so that we would have the hope of going to Heaven. It is by God’s grace, and by our faith in the finished work of Christ, that we receive the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that guides us on the path to righteousness.

Our sins are forgiven, washed away, and never to be remembered again (Hebrews 8:12)! We are no longer under the authority of Satan! We are under the wonderful presence of God, hallelujah!

My Question for You

What is one sinful seed that has been planted in your life during this pandemic? How can we best support you in your growth with Christ? Please let us know in the comment section below this post.

I think one of the sins I’ve been struggling the most with has been selfishness. It’s because I tend to center a lot of things around myself. Oftentimes, I get anxious about things that I don’t need to worry about. There are also times when I forget that my life is about God and not me.

A Closing Prayer

Dear Father In Heaven,

Be Prayerful I come before you in the name of Jesus. Thank you for this sacred revelation that you have placed in my heart this past weekend. Thank you for your love, mercy, and sovereignty.

Lord, forgive us our sins and seal our souls with the shield of redemption. Continue to comfort those who continue to lose to Covid-19 and acts of hatred against our brothers and sisters.

I pray that you would pour out your Spirit and guide our seniors as they prepare for their future after graduating from high school.

Please, Lord, continue to strengthen me as I continue to lead this virtual movement you have entrusted to me. I ask that you also bless those who are reading this article.

Finally, may we not only examine our shortcomings, but we will love those who have sinned against us. May I continue to be a light that shines in times of tragedy. Dear Lord, please continue to give me the strength and the courage to rise above all of the wiles of Satan.

In Jesus’ name, amen!

The Transformation of Grinches: Behind the Scenes Review and Analysis

The Transformation of Grinches: Behind the Scenes Review and Analysis

It’s that time of year again!

The season of Christmas: the day on which many Christians attend services to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. It’s the season where families are gathered together to drink hot chocolate while binge-watching old-time Christmas films.

It’s been two years since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Understandably, the Christmas spirit, for most of us, has been reduced to an illusion from the past. Will Christmas ever be the same? Who knows!

This uncertainty made me sit down and reflect on the central messages of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” One figure that stood out to me was the wicked Grinch. There are so many “grinches” in our society, and even in the Bible.

In this presentation, I will give a summary of each part of my series. I will also give you some key central ideas that we can apply in our personal and spiritual lives.

Mr. Grinch and Christmas

Overview: How It All Started

During the lockdowns in 2020, I was allowed to host a virtual movement in which we expressed our Christian faith and acts of protest against our nation’s evils. It’s called “God vs Satan.” You can find an overview of what we did HERE.

Over the holiday season last year, I collaborated with participants to put together a slideshow presentation. This included a collection of Christmas stories that I have written. Each tale was inspired by historical events that took place during that time, as well as famous narratives from the Bible.

Inspired by 1966’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas, “The Transformation of Grinches” is a fictional series that was crafted during the 2020 winter holiday season. The series consists of five lyrical and liturgical works of literature. Each scene is told from four different biblical perspectives (or profiles). These are Achan, Cain, Jonah, and Satan.

Profile 1: Satan (Grinch is Evil)

Mr. Grinch is evil; a pesky, filthy man, and the father of lies! He does nothing but cause chaos and steals the joy of Jesus Christ. This evil guy just wants to rip the Spirit’s gifts from the tree of life. Like Satan, Grinch is mean, nasty, and a vicious bear, who wants nothing for God’s children than for them to live in sin.

Grinch is the punisher of the seven reindeer in the East, and the ten elves of the West. Thus, I say to them, “Beware!”

Also, Mr. Grinch is a vile, violent, sleazy fool! He likes to spew murderous desires, and teach people the language of hate. It seems this bad guy does not know that my Savior was born in Bethlehem.

Get this, not only is Mr. Grinch an idiot for trying to tear down our safe havens. He also desires that God’s children are damned to the depths of Hades. So, who is this Grinch that sails from the East, and screams around this great Earth? His name is SATAN!

Now, it is Christmas! It’s the season of love and bliss; the gathering of the churches and the singing of Heaven’s choirs, Mr. Grinch’s reign of terror is slowly but surely coming to an end.

Commentary

“You’re a Devil, Mr. Grinch” is a song that was inspired by the famous song “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”

In the song, Satan is described as “a man who rips the Spirit’s gifts from the tree of life.” In the film, the Grinch is famously known for stealing Christmas gifts from children and wrecking Christmas celebrations. He disguises himself as Santa Claus to deceive the children into thinking that they were receiving Christmas gifts that night. In reality, he had a malicious plan up his sleeve.

In the same way, Satan, in this piece, is known for manipulating what God intended for good by stealing the very blessings that God gave to His children. This is a very subtle tactic we often do not pay attention to when serving and giving.

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Nothing Good Comes Out of Satan

The entire song was based on a biblical passage. This is when Jesus gives an analogy relating the hypocrisy and the selfishness of the Pharisees to the nature of thieves and robbers. While Jesus depicted the Pharisees as thieves robbing the sheep from listening to the shepherd, this characteristic can also drawback to the identity of Satan.

Satan is known as a thief who comes only to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). This is why I ranked him as the main Grinch in my narrative.

Nothing good will come out of Satan; there is no Godly attribute in him.

Profile 2: Cain (A Bloody Christmas)

It was the house of Cain where America witnessed such great pain. The Christmas lights were replaced with a sea of red blood. Sleighbells turned into funeral bells, playing songs of sorrow.

Righteous America is the descendant of Abel, robbed of its chance of life. Evil America is the descendant of Cain, leading its neighbors to their demise. No smoke is billowing from that ancient chimney. No flame kindles from afar.

There is nothing but gunfire and the sounds of sirens. The noise of a holiday riot. But, soon, the bloodshed ceased. It was a silent night. It was a grey and cloudy night of tears. But, soon, America cried “Father, help us! We are doomed, and consumed with the ashes of sin!”

Suddenly, God gave them mercy and grace and turned the red blood into white puddles of snow. Then, the world sang a beautiful hymn of praise. It was the birth of the Christmas cheer.

Joy to the world! The Lord has come! O, hail!

Commentary

“A Bloody Christmas” is a fictional parable based on the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis chapter 4. The scene is told from the perspective of two Americas: a rebellious, divided America and a righteous, peaceful America.

It is Christmas Eve, and a bloody riot erupts in the streets. The season of festivity turns into a somber occasion of mourning and grieving. Soon, the people within the land repent of their sin. Then God demonstrates His mercy by turning the crime scene into a scene of praise and worship!

The Joy of the Lord is My Strength

Joy is Restored Upon Repentance

The central idea is that God restores the joy of a repentant heart.

Like the story above, Genesis 4 gives us the story of two brothers who endured the pain of death and covetousness. Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealousy and envy. God approved of Abel’s offering and did not approve of Cain’s. He later repented, and God granted him protection and mercy.

The Grinch, reflecting on his sin against his neighborhood, felt such deep sorrow for those he had wronged on Christmas Eve. As soon as he changed his attitude about his wrongdoing, his joy and the joy of others were restored.

The human race is consumed with moral flaws, and their hearts are filled with the naughtiest of imaginations and fantasies. However, there is always a blessing in the process of repentance.

True repentance is not just an apology or a New Year’s resolution. It’s an inward transformation that is only possible through the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Profile 3: Jonah (The Blizzard of Greece)

It was December 22, in a warm, cozy cottage. It was the week of the great Christmas mass at the Cathedral of Nineveh. The man would be instructed to preach against that great nation, for their wickedness was so great. Yet, he grabbed his things and rode his chariot to the great land of Greece.

The snow was as thick as the three towers that surrounded the city. The winds were so brutal and strong, that the man was thrown into the deepest part of the Mediterranean Sea.

How can a swarm of angry fish swallow this man whole, yet save his life? How can he survive frigid temperatures without a life vest? The waves were cold, so strong, and violent. His heart was frozen like ice. Surrounded by the thorn of disobedience, the sun would soon shine.

It was December 25, at the great land of Nineveh. The great day of redemption from the pit of sin! The organists came out and played the ten hymns of celebration. O holy night, the stars were brightly shining. It was the night of our Savior’s birth.

Victory for Nineveh, o night divine!

Jonah, the Reluctant Prophet
Photo Credit: Medium

Commentary

Inspired by the biblical narrative of Jonah, this story is a work of literature. It vividly depicts the redemptive power of the Messiah who came to deliver mankind from the curse of sin.

In the tale, a man is on a mission to lead the city of Nineveh to repentance. After encountering a violent snowstorm that nearly cost him his life, his determination to bring the Gospel message to a broken nation gave way to a time of great day of victory!

Salvation: God’s Greatest Gift

Material goods are nothing; they are meaningless compared to the gift of salvation.

Although Jonah could not be described as a “Grinch” in Scripture, the story does point out his sin. Moreover, it showed how God used his imperfections to share the Gospel message to a wretched nation impending the coming judgment.

The greatest Christmas gift you could ever give to a human being is not the money from your bank account, or the latest Catalac on sale. It is the wonderful gift of salvation that Jesus offered us by shedding his blood on the cross. It is not only the message that transforms the soul into the everlasting light. It’s also a committed and driven lifestyle that reflects that message. Let’s not just say that we oppose darkness; let’s back that up with how we live.

The kingdom of God is watching. The kingdom of Satan is watching. Two magnificent worlds: both the natural and the spiritual, are watching.

Profile 4: Achan (A Short Play)

(Scene)

James (thief #1): Give me the money, now!

7-year Old Child: No, thanks! Besides, I can’t talk to strangers! I don’t have any money.

James: Hey! If you can’t get me your stupid money, just give me these Toy Story DVDs!

Child: Why?

Achan: Mwa-ha-ha-ha! I just stole that $600 dress and that chimney from Santa Claus. Now, I’m hyped up! I hope I won’t get caught.

Satan (to Achan): Oh, would you look at the time! Some new company! Mwahahahahahahaha!

Achan: I SAID, SANTA, NOT SATAN, FOR GOODNESS’ sake! Now to dash before I get caught!

(5 seconds later…)

Samuel: Busted! I found you Achan! What have you done?

Achan: Uh, nothing!

Samuel: Don’t you play dumb with me, you naughty boy! I just caught you stealing that fancy dress after your Master told you not to! You tried to steal the joy of Christmas. You just committed such a grave sin against the Father of the Heavens, and His begotten Son!

Achan: Yeah!

Samuel: You can face your consequences, on the double! Naughty List for you, and the wrath of the Almighty!

Commentary

This profile is a theatrical and artistic representation of Joshua 7. It is a short story of a figure named Achan, who steals an object at the store, which aligns with the plot of Joshua chapter 7.

Immediately after the triumph at Jericho, the Israelites fight against the city of Ai but are unable to take it. God tells Joshua that Israel lost because of God’s anger. One of the Israelites has kept some of the “devoted things” from Jericho for himself instead of destroying them.

Therefore, Israel herself has become a “devoted thing,” which will be destroyed unless the sinner gets punished and the stolen objects destroyed. Following instructions from the Lord, Joshua assembles the Israelites. He does this tribe by tribe, then clan by clan, then household by household.

God reveals Achan, of the tribe of Judah, as the culprit behind the fiasco. He and his household, along with the devoted things he kept, are taken and destroyed.

Sins Demand Sacrifice

This story, along with the short play, is an illustration of the importance of obeying God’s commands. God commanded the Israelites to destroy all “the devoted things” – both people and possessions of Canaan. God commands such action in Deuteronomy 7:2 and 20:17. The ban seems to be in part a precautionary and a punitive measure. Why does it call for the destruction of the Canaanites? The answer is in the next verse (Deuteronomy 20:18).

The call to destroy devoted things also has overtones of sacrificial language. Like a burnt offering, the devoted things are to be destroyed by fire (Joshua 6:24; 7:15). And like a sacrifice, they are to be devoted to the LORD for destruction (Joshua 6:17). The ban also means, of course, that Israel cannot profit from war. It is a means of sacrifice.

The Christmas season is not only a reminder of the price that comes from our naughtiness. It also reminds us of the sacrifice that love and hope demand. Like the burnt offerings, hope requires that we “destroy” all things that will lead us to resentment. If not, they will ruin the atmosphere that Christmas speaks of.

Conclusion

“The Transformation of Grinches” is not only a challenge for many believers across America to examine their behavior. It is also intended to make them seek reconciliation for the wrongs they may have committed.

Just as a mother disciplines her children, the coronavirus pandemic has figuratively sent all of us to our rooms. While in confinement, may we think about what we have done and prioritize what is important in our lives.

Therefore, this series is a collection of motifs that we can all take with us as we enter a new year.

The Spirit Realm and The Mystery of the Mind

The Spirit Realm and The Mystery of the Mind

Contrary to what others might think, the spirit realm is very real. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that there is a battle going on in the unseen world. As believers in Christ, we are in a fight. But we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies. We are up against mighty powers in this dark world, and evil spirits in the heavenly places.

But do you know that Satan attacks Christians by first attacking their minds? You may have heard pastors say that the mind is a battleground between God and Satan. This is why we are to guard our minds.

Bible Verse: Philippians 4:6-8

6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Meditate on noble things

The Work of the Holy Spirit

Some Christians may not know this but the first person of the Trinity that a repentant sinner meets is the Holy Spirit.

At conversion, the Holy Spirit begins His residence in the life of the believers in Christ. He then transforms them from the carnal world of the flesh to the realm of the kingdom of God. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit guides them to righteousness and obedience to God. In theology, this is called sanctification.

Sanctification is the process of living a Godly life, under the Holy Spirit. Hence, the nature of the new creature who was saved by the finished work of Christ. As we begin to mature in our faith, we realize that we are humans. Thus, we are bound to commit sins because of our flesh.

My Thoughts and Reflection

I believe that one of the most vital keys to spiritual maturity is to realize that as humans living on this Earth, we have an enemy (Satan), whose goal is to try everything to get us off course in our journey with Christ. Sometimes, our thoughts are not our own.

In this presentation, I will share with you some ways in which Satan uses our thoughts to plant evil seeds through the mind. I’m going to use a real-life example where I will provide insight into these biblical encounters.

Brethren, I am currently working on a series in which I share what I have learned as a follower of Christ living through the pandemic. My goal is to ensure that other fellow brothers and sisters in Christ understand the significance of Christ’s wonderful sacrifice at the cross in our fight against the kingdom of Satan.

What is the Mind?

Think of a construction worker who wants to build a house. Without the correct foundation, the house will collapse. Similarly, for the desire to commit evil to take place, there needs to be an activity within the brain, the inner section of the head.

God gave us the wonderful gift of knowledge. He uses our minds and our hearts to give us spiritual insight on matters on the mysteries of godly living. Now, how does the desire to do evil start? It is a seed sown by Satan, which starts in the mind. This is the foundation of what comes out of the lips and our hands, which grows from our hearts.

Many Scriptures make it clear that the primary battleground in spiritual warfare is our hearts and minds. Satan attacks with thoughts—evil suggestions, sinful ideas, false philosophies (doctrines), temptations, various lies, and so on.

Our means of defense are knowing, believing, and acting upon the Word of God.

Guard you mind, guard your thoughts

The Mind and External Sources

It is vitally important that you understand that every thought you think does not necessarily originate from within yourself.

Satan has many spokespersons who help him plant his thoughts in people’s minds. He works to influence us through newspapers, books, television, magazines, radio, through friends and neighbors, and even through preachers (false prophets.)

Even the apostle Peter was once unwittingly used as a spokesman for Satan. In Matthew 16:21-23, Peter suggested to Jesus that it was not God’s will for Him to die. Satan and his legions also work directly on human minds, without any human intermediary.

All Christians will at times find themselves under direct assault. That is when the warfare starts.

Dealing with Satan’s Attacks

A Christian encountered a woman who would frequently experience blasphemous thoughts in nature while engaging in prayer with God. She was a very sweet, dedicated woman who was actively involved in church. One day, she stopped praying every day because she was afraid that she would have these evil thoughts again. Eventually, the woman started to counteract those evil thoughts with the truth presented through the Word.

What can we learn from this testimony?

It was revealed to the woman that those blasphemous thoughts against God were not her own, but rather, they came from Satan. By being afraid that we might think wrong thoughts, we are inviting them, as fear is the opposite of faith.

Learning from experience, I have learned that fear is one of Satan’s biggest weapons against believers in Christ. Instead of trusting God and His promises, we trust in the lies that Satan feeds in our minds. By trying not to think about something, we have to think about it to try not to think about it.

In other words, we must substitute what is false and evil with something good, honorable, and pleasing to God. For example, if a thought suggested that Jesus was an idiot, we would replace that thought with the truth. We declare that Jesus is the divine Son of God and died for our sins because of His great love.

we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ

A Closing Prayer

Dear Lord, I recognize that these tormenting, violent thoughts are not of you. I now choose to submit my mind completely to you and refuse to allow these thoughts to torment me any longer.

Satan, I now recognize that you have put these violent, tormenting thoughts in my mind. I refuse to allow them to enter my mind any longer. Your powers were broken at the cross 2,000 years ago. You have no power over me. My mind is now completely free of your plans or attacks. I now submit my mind completely to the Lord Jesus.

Lord, fill my mind with clean and holy thoughts. Help me not allow any demonic thoughts to enter by guarding all that I see on TV, movies, books, news, or magazines. Convict me when I am tempted to look at something impure.

Finally, I ask that this presentation has touched others as they are going through dark seasons in their lives. I pray that I would be a role model who strives to emulate your love, compassion, gentleness, and your holiness. Help me to continue shining Your light to edify Your glorious kingdom.

In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.


Recommended Resource:

Spiritual Warfare in the End Times by Ron Rhodes

Spiritual Warfare in the End Times by Ron RhodesUnderstand the Battle Before You Enter It

When you think about the end times, you’ve probably already considered the rapture, the tribulation, and the Antichrist. But are you prepared for the spiritual warfare that is already escalating around us as we draw closer to the final days?

Now more than ever, it is essential to equip yourself with God’s truth so you can stand against the encroaching darkness.

In Spiritual Warfare in the End Times, bestselling prophecy author Ron Rhodes powerfully exposes Satan’s most destructive and effective tools of spiritual injury—and the means of rendering them ineffective. Ron will help you understand…

  • the identity, tactics, and dominion of Satan—and the spiritual armor God has given you for protection
  • the pivotal roles the Holy Spirit and the Word of God play in your spiritual victory
  • the sheep (Christians) who keep close to the Shepherd (Jesus) are safest from the predatory wolf (Satan)

Though Satan will always want to diminish your capacity to serve in God’s kingdom, God promises you’ll never fight him alone.

Spiritual Warfare in the End Times will provide you with all you need for victory both now and in the future.

Judaism and the Synagogue of Satan

Judaism and the Synagogue of Satan

Imagine that your family and friends are gathered together on a Saturday morning to worship and study the Torah. Or just looking forward to enjoying the night when you would come together to fast during the season of Passover. Can you imagine losing eleven relatives to a murderous man going on a shooting rampage? Or sitting at home alone?

One of the most common stereotypical qualities I have seen being spread around among Jewish families is the tendency for Jews to be morally corrupt and evil. Two of the most common justifications for this claim originate from John 8:44 and Revelation 2:9.

Today, we will look at Revelations 2:9. What could be the true meaning behind a phrase that is explicitly mentioned at the end of the verse?

Bible Verse: Revelation 2:9

“I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.”

Seven months into a global pandemic that has changed the way we live our lives. Suddenly, your computer screen is filled with antisemitic threats and violent images of the Holocaust, just for expressing your faith. Since the clash between Israel and Gaza in late April of 2021, our nation has witnessed a dramatic spike in incidents of hatred and bigotry. What is more disheartening is that this happened within the Judeo-Christian communities.

Unfortunately, these antisemitic conspiracy theories continue to foster a hostile environment for so many families. It is so sad to see how the Bible is used to satisfy one’s wicked agendas against their neighbors because of their faith.

Anti-Semitism

As a young Christian teenager, I firmly believe that God has created us in His image. He gave us unique gifts, talents, characteristics, appearances, and styles of living life. My goal in writing this essay is to not only expose and deter the evil that is being done in this world. I also would like to encourage every one of you to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to not judge one another based on their outward appearance.

I pray that this essay will inspire you, and will convict you of any flaw, misunderstanding, or deception that we have all experienced in these dark days.

A Message to the Church

So, the question is: What is this “synagogue” that is being referenced in this passage? To fully understand this analogy requires an analysis of the context and the meaning behind the phrases used.

How are Jesus and the Holy Spirit described? Who is the regenerated “Jew?” What are the standard Jewish traditions, and the nature of Satan?

The first three chapters of the book of Revelation contain a series of letters addressed to the Seven Churches. The phrase “synagogue of Satan” is written twice (once in chapter 2 and then in chapter 3). These two chapters are specifically being addressed to the churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia. This was during the time of the Apostle John, whose descendants (daughter churches) are described in detail later in Revelations chapter 17.

Now, the term “Jew” in this context is rather spiritual in nature (rather than a physical trait). Paul describes a “Jew” as a man whose “circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter. It refers to those whose praise is not from men, but from God” (Romans 2:19). The term “Jew” can also extend to the nature and qualities of a true Christian.

A true “Jew” [Christian] exhibits an ongoing inward regeneration through the working of the Holy Spirit, and does not focus solely on the outward appearance of being “righteous.”

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Satan’s Strategy: Deception

Now, look at this passage from 2 Corinthians 11:13-15. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”

One of Satan’s most common strategies he uses against us is to disguise his servants as agents of God. They appear holy, upright, and moral when inwardly, they are ravenous wolves consumed with iniquity.

And Satan achieves his goal through the use of Scriptures. Therefore, there is the possibility that this verse has been used for deception and condemnation. Now, what does a person who practices the Jewish faith do regularly? They attend synagogues every Saturday for praise and worship. But the problem is the HEART.

If anyone practices a certain tradition or ritual but does not show genuine spiritual maturity and moral development, then their label is useless! (Ouch!) We can attend ten services a week, but our hearts can be corrupt and filled with hatred against one another. Doesn’t that sound just like the very people spreading this conspiracy theory?

Surprisingly, most of these people who cite this passage are professed Christians (what a shocker!) News flash: Deception is NEVER original. Congratulations, Satan! You’ve been exposed to the core!

Satan's Deception

What is the Synagogue of Satan?

The “synagogue of Satan” is an analogy referring to the spiritual condition of a congregation, and the heart of the professed believer.

In other words, they may outwardly appear holy and righteous. But in their hearts, they are working for Satan, sowing deceit, division, and discord among the body of Christ. The main takeaway is to understand that this passage is not referring to all Jews and all synagogues in a literal sense. Rather, it refers to those who are hypocrites and do not practice what they profess to the public.

Closing Words

If you would like any more resources on the rise of antisemitism and this deception, I will be happy to provide you with additional links to some articles and videos from news outlets and Christian communities, and forums.

Just reach out to me, and I will be happy to provide you with any more insight after conducting further study and spiritual revelations.

Also, feel free to show your support for our final series of this virtual movement. You can send me any additional ways to incorporate inclusion in our new program embedded into this movement. I pray that we will continue to seek the Holy Spirit for wisdom, knowledge, and insight on these moral issues affecting our generation.

I also pray that we will continue to guide each other in love, patience, and gentleness. I, in turn, will continue to use my positive, loving heart to encourage others, to pray for others, and to expose all of the workings of Satan!

As always, I am open and willing to uplift you and give you hope in these dark times. I am patiently waiting for you to contact me at any time, ready to shine in love, grace, and humility. I love you, and I wish you the best in everything!

Salute!☺


Recommended Resource:

Revelation (The John Walvoord Prophecy Commentaries) by John F Walvoord, edited by Mark Hitchcock

What's the Book of Revelation About?The book of Revelation has long fascinated and even confused readers and students of the Bible.

Yet the Bible is written to be understood, and Revelation is no exception. Who better to help you understand the seals, trumpets, vials, woes, and plagues than John F. Walvoord, one of evangelicalism’s most prominent leaders, and Mark Hitchcock, today’s leading Bible prophecy expert?

In this first in a renewed series of commentaries from Dr. Walvoord, he points out that much of the book’s symbolism can be interpreted literally. At key points, different views and approaches to interpretation are explored. Walvoord devotes special attention to textual and doctrinal issues while avoiding technical language.

Refined, updated with the English Standard Version (ESV), and streamlined, this classic text is set to help you interpret the last book of the Bible and gain a better grasp of current trends and the climax of history!