Woe to Those Who Call Evil Good

by Bill Rudge

Photo by Bill Rudge

Virtually everything we once knew to be wrong is now considered right, and what was once believed to be bad is now deemed good. Our culture has strayed so far from God’s Word that people are blind to the lies that are deceiving so many. The prophet Isaiah accurately commented about such a reversal of morality: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20).

In contrast to the corruption today, the apostle Paul admonishes:

Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you…and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks (Ephesians 5:3-4).

The apostle Peter admonishes:

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all your conduct….Abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do – living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead (1 Peter 1:14,15; 2:11; 4:3-5).

Be Aware: Four Stages of Decline

There are four stages through which those living an aberrant lifestyle could mislead people:

Tolerance and Acceptance: Initially, they say they just want us to tolerate and accept their lifestyles.

Endorsement: After tolerance and acceptance, they push us to endorse their lifestyles – which most have done.

Celebration: After endorsement, they push hard for us to celebrate their aberrant lifestyles. Many are doing so.

Punishment: Finally, they want to punish (removal from social media, lawsuits, loss of income, incarceration…) anyone who does not accept, endorse and celebrate their corrupt lifestyles.

Conquer or Be Conquered

Sexual immorality is not just a “disease” that will eat you like a cancer, it is sin. It is contrary to God’s intended purpose for His creation and needs to be, as Scripture says, “Crucified” (Galatians 5:24). Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature (Galatians 5:16).
The apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 3:5-8:

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things….

If you do not overcome the sinful nature, be assured, it will overcome you. Control your flesh or it will control you. Be set free from your vices or be enslaved by them. Conquer your weaknesses or they will conquer you! They will bring you to ruin and hurt the many others you touch through your life and example.

Path to a Victorious Life

Why live a life of continual defeat, frustration and guilt when you can live an abundant and victorious life through Christ? God’s path may not always be easy, but it is the most rewarding – both in this life and the one to come. While overcoming sexual immorality can seem daunting, God will give you the strength to tear down the strongholds and to be all that He intended you to be – even in our sex-crazed culture.

Open your heart to receive that which far surpasses any physical pleasure: a life of purity, peace, and power is worth every effort to obtain it. Sincerely repent and receive God’s forgiveness. Attitudes and actions will change as your mind is renewed by God’s Word (Romans 12:2). The fruit of the spirit – one of which is self-control (Galatians 5:23) – will develop as the power of God’s Spirit works in and through you.

May your life be transformed to live victoriously – the victor in a great contest!

Astonishing Prophecies

by Bill Rudge

1880s Bible at BRM. The prophecies and descriptions in ancient Bibles are the same as today.

Many astonishing prophecies in Scripture confirm divine inspiration and indicate how close we are to Christ’s return. We’ve selected just a few to consider.

Globalism

End time Scripture foretells the establishment of a world government (Revelation 13:7; 17:15-18; Daniel 7:23), a global economy (Revelation 13:16-17), and a universal religion (13:8-12; 17:1-2, 15).

It is obvious that a scenario is unfolding revealing the creation of a global system of political power, economic control, military might, and religious unity. Just as Scripture foretold, we are rapidly heading toward a one-world government, a one-world monetary system, and a one-world religion.

A leader will arrive on the world scene coming in the guise of peace and unity – supposedly presenting solutions for the world’s dilemmas. The book of Revelation identifies this person as the Antichrist who will take the reins of the world through deception and intrigue, ultimately leading humankind in a unified rebellion against the God of the Bible. The Antichrist’s cohort will be instrumental in uniting the world’s religions into an ecumenical movement tuned to eventually worship the Antichrist.

Mark of the Beast (666)

Revelation 13:16-18 makes known how the Antichrist and False Prophet will obtain and maintain control of this global society:

He [False Prophet] also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast [Antichrist] or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666.

Temple in Jerusalem

For 2,500 years (since 586 BC when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple, taking Jews captive to Babylon) there was no independent nation of Israel. Yet the prophets foretold that end time events would focus in and around the tiny nation of Israel, and that in the middle of the seven-year Tribulation period, the Antichrist will desecrate the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem. The Apostle Paul mentions in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 that the Antichrist “sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” John, in Revelation 13:14-15, reveals that an image set up in honor of the Antichrist will be given breath so that it can speak and that all who refuse to worship the image will be killed.

The Two Witnesses

What about God’s Two Witnesses in Revelation chapter 11? For centuries people were baffled by these verses about the entire world looking at their dead bodies. Yet the whole world is now capable of seeing their corpses displayed on the latest form of visual media. Revelation 11:7-12 provides the context:

When they [the Two Witnesses] have finished their testimony, the beast [Antichrist] that comes up out of the abyss [bottomless pit] will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified [Jerusalem]. Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” Then they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them.

The Two Witnesses will prophesy for 1,260 days until they finish their testimony at which time the Antichrist is able to kill them. For three and a half days their dead bodies will lie in the street of Jerusalem as people from every tribe, nation, and language will look at their corpses. It is interesting that although these Two Witnesses are from God and empowered by Him, the world will be so undiscerning and unrepentant that they will despise and reject them. Many, many people – deep in rebellion against the God of the Bible – will rejoice over the deaths of the Two Witnesses and celebrate by exchanging gifts.

Amazingly, this prophecy of the entire world looking at their dead bodies can now be literally fulfilled through worldwide television, global satellite transmission, and Internet technology.

I have been in many villages around the world. Some of the places were so remote that the people stared at me because they had never seen a white person in real life, let alone someone with blue eyes. Yet even in these secluded areas there was usually someone – whether it was in a hotel, business, or someone’s house – who had a television or computer with people gathered around to watch events as they occurred around the world.

Every Eye Will See Him

Echoing the words of Daniel 7:13, Revelation 1:7 promises:

Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.

How could the apostle John in the first century A.D. predict this universal viewing by his own inspiration? It would have been impossible without a true revelation from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Flesh Will Rot

Zechariah 14:12 gives a horrific description of the plague that will strike all the peoples who gather to go to war against Jerusalem:

This is the plague with which the LORD will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.

Although this refers to a supernatural judgment by God on the forces gathered against Israel in the end times at Armageddon, it is eerily similar to what would happen to those within the radius of the detonation of a thermonuclear bomb. The faces and skin of the invading armies melt like hot wax dripping down a candle. While prophecies such as Zechariah 14:12 may have seemed like science fiction not too many decades ago, modern weapons now can cause its very fulfillment. And keep in mind that God’s spoken word (by which He brought the universe into being) is far more powerful than any nuclear explosion.

The Earth Will Be Burned Up

Second Peter 3:10-14 states:

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire [melt with fervent heat], and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him.

These verses were once used by skeptics to disprove the Bible. How could there be a fire big enough to burn the whole world? People derided these verses before World War II, but after the emergence of nuclear weapons, able to melt the basic building blocks of matter itself, many began to see the potential for the fulfillment of these prophecies – even apart from God’s supernatural intervention. The nuclear weapons of today are many times more powerful than the two bombs which decimated Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945.

Prophecies Have Not Changed

Should one think these prophecies are just a modern translation of the Bible or have been reworded to reflect our times, I have an 1862 and an 1880s Bible (long before any reasonable explanation for the fulfillment of these verses came to light) and they say the same thing. Likewise, the prophecies and descriptions in even ancient Bibles are the same.

The Lord Wants None To Perish

There is widespread awareness that some amazing prophesied events are happening on the world scene. Those who believe in Jesus Christ know that the Lord’s coming draws near. It would be wisdom for us to commit our lives to the God who inspired these prophecies.

The Lord has delayed His coming because:

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

Today is the day to make certain your heart and life are right with the Lord. Do not delay – the prophetic clock is ticking and nearing the midnight hour. Always be prepared to meet your Lord by way of death or rapture. Maranatha, come Lord Jesus!

God’s Approval

by Bill Rudge

It is not the one who commends himself or herself, or even the one who is commended by others, but the one who is commended by the Lord (2 Corinthians 10:12, 18). When all is said and done, the only opinion that really matters is the Lord’s. He is the One we stand before to give an account of our lives. He is the One who holds our destiny in His hands. He is the One from whom we want to receive praise (1 Corinthians 4:5).

There is an eternal difference between seeking the praises of men and seeking the favor of God. The first focuses on oneself and temporal recognition, while the latter focuses on Christ and heavenly honor. Both provide rewards. Praise from people may last a lifetime but bearing fruit for God’s Kingdom will last forever.

As you read the following verses, ponder whether you love the praise from men more than praise from God:

Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him [Jesus], but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:42-43).

Will you allow the praises of people, prestige, popularity, personal gain or pursuits of pleasure to undermine your commitment to Jesus Christ? Far better than obtaining recognition from and the praises of people, is to cultivate an attitude and a lifestyle that gain approval from the Lord.

Contending for the Faith ~ A Study on the Book of Jude

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

As did Jesus’ disciples (Matthew 24:3), we wonder ourselves when Jesus will return. Bombarded daily with headlines of wars and rumors of wars, natural disasters and the spread of diseases, the reality of His return seems closer today than ever before. As I am writing this article, the news headlines of a potential war between America and Iran, the continual global spread of the coronavirus, worldwide crop failures, locust plagues in Africa and China and an earthquake in the Caribbean (of all places) echo Jesus’ words in Matthew 24.

While every generation since Jesus ascended into heaven has anticipated His return, there is a uniqueness about our generation – especially with Israel a nation once again. However, to avoid falling into the trap of so many date setters, I recognize that no one knows that day or hour, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only (Matthew 24:36). Yet, while we do not know the specific day, we as believers are not ignorant of the signs that will precede Jesus’ return. As we continue to hear of wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes in various places, let us not forget the first sign Jesus told the disciples to be aware of – deception. In fact, Jesus even warns that false christs and false prophets will arise showing great signs and wonders to deceive the world. This deception will be so great that Jesus says, if possible, even true believers (elect) will be deceived (Matthew 24:23-26). This theme of deception continues on throughout the pages of the New Testament, as the Apostles Paul and Peter confront the dangers of false teaching that had crept into the church (2 Corinthians 11:1-14; Galatians 1:6-10; 1 Timothy 4:1-5; 2 Peter 2).

To avoid the deception that comes through false teaching, Christians are given numerous commands: We are called to test all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21), stand firm and hold to the traditions you were taught by us (2 Thessalonians 2:15), be on our guard (2 Peter 3:17), fight the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12), encourage and rebuke (Titus 2:15) and contend for the faith (Jude 3). These commands (specifically the call to contend) captures the heart of this study which will take us into an in-depth look at the book of Jude – a book that was specifically written to equip believers to avoid the deception of false teaching and persevere in the truth of God’s Word.

In our study (future blogs), we will examine the call to contend for the faith as we address the dangers of false teaching, the fruit of false teaching, the identification of false teachers and how to persevere and stand firm in the midst of deception. The intention of this study is to go beyond giving just factual information about the book of Jude. It is designed to enable you to warn others, while at the same time provide safeguards for your own life against false teaching.

My passion for this study comes out of personal experience in how false teaching has affected people I greatly care about. One dear friend became a spiritual casualty of the false teaching that permeated the church he attended. That teaching led to the destruction of his faith and the spiritual devastation of his entire family. Another has been caught up in the pattern of spiritual addiction. Devoid of discernment, her life is in a constant cycle of trying to find her next spiritual high. These two reflect the need for all of us to contend for the faith so that our loved ones and ourselves may avoid the traps of spiritual deception.

The Highest Example of Integrity

by Jim Weikal

Integrity: “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness” (Apple Dictionary).

The highest example of integrity/honesty is God Himself. This quality is important to believers because we represent Him here in this fallen world. Believers are examples to unbelievers every day whether we like this role or not. It’s just the way it is. When we fail to live up to His standard, we sully God’s reputation as well as our own and hurt those in our sphere of influence.

According to Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

We need to realize that men and women in the church will disappoint, fail, or even disgrace the name of Christ. But we don’t serve them; we serve God. He does not disappoint!

In addition, how are you doing in living up to God’s example? Though they may curse you, the world sorely needs Godly examples. (Check out Psalm 89:35; Titus 1:2; Hebrew 6:18.)

Jim Weikal is a Biblical instructor at Bill Rudge Ministries.

Blessed Are You

by Jim Weikal

Belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus is not a secondary issue. Your salvation depends on it (Romans 10:9)! Jesus told His good friend Martha that belief in Him as “the resurrection and the life” meant that a person “will live even if he dies” (John 11:25-26).

Belief in the resurrection is so important for a person’s salvation that Jesus made a special effort to prove His resurrection to a doubting disciple. Thomas said that he wanted more than eyewitness testimony from his fellow disciples; he needed to see the physical evidence from Jesus (John 20:25).

Eight days later the resurrected Jesus entered the disciples’ room and presented Thomas with the proof he asked for (John 20:26-27). People today don’t have this opportunity, but listen to what Jesus says about believers: “Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed” (John 20:29).

To be “blessed” is to be especially favored, happy, or privileged. No matter what happens to believers in this world, be comforted that you know Jesus, the resurrection and the life.

Jim Weikal is a Biblical instructor at Bill Rudge Ministries.

Why is it Important Jesus Rose from the Dead?

By BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

Verification of Christ’s resurrection has been investigated more extensively than available evidence of any other event in history! It has been examined and evaluated by some of the greatest scholars, historians, legal experts, scientists and archaeologists. Anyone who honestly examines the evidence will be convinced that Jesus:

presented Himself alive [to the apostles] after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).

It is extremely important that Jesus rose from the dead because the resurrection is the very foundation of the Christian faith. The Apostle Paul stressed this point to the church at Corinth where many people were claiming there was no resurrection of the dead. Paul asserts that without the resurrection there would be no Christian faith:

But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain (1 Corinthians 15:13-14).

First, throughout the Gospels Jesus predicted He would die and three days later rise from the dead (Matthew 12:38-40; Mark 9:9-10; Luke 18:31-33; John 10:17-18). If He made these assertions and they had not come to pass, then He was either an insane individual or the greatest deceiver in history.

Second, each Gospel testifies to the fact that Jesus rose from the dead (Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20). If He had not, then the Gospel accounts would have no credibility and would have been discarded as historically unreliable documents. The Gospels could not be viewed as primary sources for those things that happened (Luke 1:3-4), but rather as products of later editing and manipulation on the part of the early church.

Third, the central theme of the early church was the preaching of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:22-36; 3:13-18; 4:10-12; 5:29-32; 10:37-43; 13:27-37; 17:2-3; 26:22-23). If the resurrection had not occurred, it would have been impossible for Paul and others to persist in affirming that it had in fact occurred – especially in the presence of hostile eyewitnesses.

Fourth, without the death and resurrection, all Christians would still be in sin and under the judgment of God. Paul highlights this point to the Corinthian believers:

For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep [died] in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:16-19).

Fifth, without the resurrection no one would have the eschatological (the part of theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind) hope of eternal life. The resurrection of Jesus Christ demonstrates His authority over death. Those who place their faith and trust in Him have the assurance that death has been overcome and will be ultimately conquered. As Jesus said to Martha who was grieving the loss of her brother Lazarus:

I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die (John 11:25-26).

The resurrection is the crucial point of Christianity which either validates or discredits the Christian faith. Henry M. Morris and Henry M. Morris III summed it up well in their book Many Infallible Proofs – Evidence for the Christian Faith:

If the resurrection did not take place, then Christianity is a false religion. If it did take place, then Christ is God and the Christian faith is absolute truth.

Christianity stands firm on the fact of Jesus’ resurrection. It is an incredible truth that has changed the lives of millions throughout history. I am convinced from a lifetime of research and personal experience that the resurrection of Jesus Christ did occur. Our eternal destiny is determined by whether we accept and believe the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Ravi Zacharias Scandal, Part 2 – Questions That Need Answered????

Podcast with BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

Prompted by the recent revelation about Ravi Zacharias, in this podcast we will address questions that come up when we see spiritual leaders fall. How do we support those who have been spiritually hurt by these failed leaders? Can we still use their materials? Were they ever really saved?

The Power of Words

by Bill Rudge

Louise Wieneke art specifically designed for BRM.

When Karen was 17 and I was 18, we committed our lives to Jesus Christ. Less than two weeks later, at that young age, we ran away and got married. We could have easily failed both in our Christian walk and marriage had it not been for the encouraging words of Rev. Guy Bongiovanni and Rev. Roger Shaffer. Both of them and others at Farrell Christian Assembly and First United Methodist Church of Sharon, as well as those from various denominations, encouraged our growth in our faith and knowledge of Scripture. As a result, we have served nearly 50 years in various churches and ministries – 43 of those years here at Bill Rudge Ministries.

Have we faced times of discouragement and difficulties? A plethora of times! There were those whose goal, it seemed, was to discourage us from obediently serving Christ and to dissuade us from following Jesus’ call into ministry. But the encouragers (through God’s Holy Spirit) superseded them and God accomplished His work in and through this ministry, built from day one on God’s Word and the leading of His Spirit.

Peter and Paul Versus Nero and Herod

During the first year of my new life in Christ, I worked with two other young men, considering them Peter and Paul because of their strong commitment to Christ. By word and example they encouraged and strengthened me in my faith. However, after a few months, they moved on and were replaced by two men I regarded as Nero and Herod – constantly seeking through lying words and dishonest behavior to oppose and undermine my faith in Jesus Christ – needless to say, a challenging time in my early Christian life! However, that year revealed to me the difference between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error; between those who love Christ and those who despise Him; and deadly effects of discouraging words versus lifelong benefits of encouraging words.

From the Beginning …

Recently, Karen and I reviewed all the names on the plaques of donors for the three ministry centers we built on faith. We were joyfully reminded of all the people who helped us on these and many other ministry projects. We reminisced about the many individuals, families, businesses and churches who have stood with us and supported us throughout the years. Many of those who helped us are now with the Lord receiving their eternal reward.

None of us knows how much time we have, so we want to thank all the supporters of this ministry (from its very beginning until the Lord comes) for all you have enabled us to accomplish. We say it often, yet never enough, that we appreciate each and every one of you. Truly, you are a vital part in making the dream and vision God gave us 43 years ago become reality. May God bless you in this life and throughout eternity for your faithfulness to Him and your generosity to this ministry.

… To the End

The pages of Scripture are laced with those who spoke words of faith and courage, thereby inspiring others to phenomenal achievements. There were also those who spoke words of doubt and unbelief, influencing others toward devastating defeats.

As a chaplain, I have heard words of faith spoken by many dying Christians which uplifted entire families. I have also been at the bedside of those not knowing Christ’s love and forgiveness, speaking words of doubt and despair – giving no comfort or hope to their loved ones.

Day by day, how you live your life and what words you speak, will result in the words you speak at the time of your death to those you love the most.

My Passion

The following is such a passion of mine that I keep it on my weekly prayer and fasting list:

May the thoughts and attitudes of my mind, the emotions, desires, goals, dreams, vision and motives of my heart, the words of my mouth, and my behavior and lifestyle be pleasing in Your sight.

My heart’s longing is to glorify the Lord by being a faithful witness physically (Romans 12:1), mentally and emotionally (Romans 12:2), and spiritually (Romans 8:29). I desire to live by His biblical precepts and reach my maximum potential in all aspects of my life. It is my aspiration to walk in discipline and self control – including the words I speak.

I do hope you will make a commitment before the Lord today that with His help, strength and empowering, you will seek to speak in such a manner as to bring hope, healing and happiness to others. Use your tongue to positively and powerfully pronounce your faith in Jesus Christ and the assurance of His coming again. Use your words to motivate and inspire believers to remain faithful until the very end. Use your lips to praise the LORD and encourage the downtrodden!

As the Psalmist proclaimed:

My tongue shall declare Your righteousness and Your praise all day long (Psalm 35:28).

Excerpted from Bill’s new E-Book The Power of Words.