Category Archives: Bible

Is your ticket to heaven already punched?

Heaven’s Ticket –

Has your conductor punched it yet?

Punched or Consumed?

Punched or Consumed?

I’ve heard a lot of Christians say that since they have accepted Jesus as their Savior and been baptized, they are assured a place in Heaven.   Is that true?  Can you take that one step and get a golden ticket to heaven?   No matter what you do later, no matter how much heartbreak or whatever laws you break?   Is that ticket to heaven still good?   Was it punched when you were baptized or were you simply issued a ticket that still needs to be collected, scrutinized by the conductor and punched before the train leaves the station?   Who stays on that railroad to heaven and who is put off? 

A common question is this:  “What about Hitler?”   He was a baptized Christian.  Is he in heaven now?   What about the priests that have admitted or been caught molesting children in their charge?   What about the ministers that even today are being accused of adultery with the wives of their congregation or even with a brother’s wife?

What about those in prison for murder that were baptized as children, or those that were highly regarded church-going citizens of the community before they did some heinous crime.   How about the murderer who was baptized a few days before his execution and appeared to be sincere about accepting Jesus?  What about those within the church that simply show up at Christmas and otherwise do nothing for Christ the rest of the year?   What about those who show up every Sunday and tithe and even teach Sunday School but then gossip to their neighbors about someone they know?  Do you know where the line is drawn between a punched paid-for ticket and a tattered wortless one that will be consumed along with its holder?

Most of us would say that Hitler, probably anyone that murders or molests children would certainly be put off the train and left behind.  Others will still cry out, even shout, that the only requirement is to accept Christ and be baptized.  Once in, forever in!  So what do you think?  Here are some thoughts to consider before you make up your mind.  It may be a hard lesson.

Receiving the Holy Spirit: The Samarians

You do receive a ticket good for boarding the train when you are baptized in the name of the Lord, but whether it is accepted depends on your heart and life – whether you are walking in the footsteps of Christ or not.  It is not prepaid and it is not punched for the final destination.   Why do I say that?  Read on before you reject it.

There is a prepaid, punched ticket:  It is issued by the Holy Spirit by a separate baptism.  There is the baptism by water which you can receive in church or in a nearby stream.  It is a formal baptism, but it may not be enough.  There is a second baptism that comes only through receipt of the Holy Spirit.  

For example, see Acts 8:12-24 in which Philip had already baptized a number of Samaritans into the name of the Lord, meaning they had declared an acceptance of Christ and been dunked in the water.   They had their ticket, however they had not received the Holy Spirit.  When Peter and John prayed that they would receive the Holy Spirit, they were so filled.  At that moment their ticket was punched.  

On the other hand, Simon had also been baptized by Phillip but did not receive the Holy Spirit.  He offered money to Peter and John, a bribe for them to also punch his ticket by the giving of the Holy Spirit.   Peter and John rebuked him by telling him that he had no part with God and told him “may your money perish with you.” 

Clearly, if Philip had issued the ticket to Simon by baptism with water and he had accepted the Lord, most of us would say he had a good and lasting ticket to Heaven.   But Peter said he would perish anyway.   Peter and John recognized by his actions, that he had not been baptized by the Holy Spirit.  The lesson here is that baptism by water and declaration of acceptance of Jesus is not enough to assure safe passage!  There is a place in the heart, a place in the soul that needs special attention.  Simon’s ticket needed further validation, one by the infilling given only by the Holy Spirit.

Can you be baptized by the Holy Spirit without baptism by water?

Well, yes.   Again, I think most of us would have said no!   But in hearing the message, the Good News, many become believers and receive the Holy Spirit at that moment.   Baptism by water may come later.  Read Acts 10:44-48.  The gentiles at Caesarea heard Peter’s message and were filled with the Holy Spirit and soon after were baptized in water by Peter.

Is the infilling of the Holy Spirit the same as baptism by the Holy Spirit? 

Yes.   Prior to Jesus first coming however, the Holy Spirit was vested only on certain special people, and, in fact, was sometimes removed.   But Jesus told his disciples that he would ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit to baptise them.   See John 14:26, then see Acts 1:4-5.  

What did Jesus Say about the need for the baptism by the Holy Spirit?  

The Holy Spirit was involved in the virgin birth of Jesus. See Luke 1:35.   The Holy Spirit baptized Jesus after John baptized him with water.  See Luke 3:21-22.   Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be born again with the Holy Spirit.  John 3:5-6.

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.  Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

There you go!   Baptism by both the water and the Spirit.   From the lips of Jesus.  Your ticket is issued upon receiving your baptism by water.  But it is worthless if you do not receive Baptism by the Holy Spirit, an infilling that lasts a lifetime.   Those that are baptized with water in the name of Jesus that later turn to crime or do not follow and actually serve God are subject to the judgement that may result in confiscation of their ticket and a toss off the train into the lake of fire.   Their hearts were never right, their souls were never filled with the right ingredient.  The Holy Spirit had not validated their ticket.   

The Holy Spirit baptism lasts a lifetime and is not given lightly and cannot be abused.  It is my guess that someone that has claimed to have been “born again” or appeared to have received the Holy Spirit and later committed some crime was somehow fooling us and even themselves.   I don’t believe the Holy Spirit makes those kinds of mistakes. 

How do you know you have received this infilling of the Holy Spirit?  

You probably will not know until you meet the conductor and receive His judgement.   There is a certain peace that prevails and many people obviously have received it.   However, although I think I’ve received it, and I’ve even spoken in tongues (only once),  I cannot say for sure – did I just will it on myself?  Fooling myself?  

I am not my own judge.  I’m afraid I don’t measure up.   I know I do the wrong things, say hurtful things, make judgements, do selfish things and things to make people notice me.  I know I don’t pray enough, don’t read the bible enough and sometimes make up excuses to not go to church when I should.   I gossip and tell white lies, and do things I’m not proud of.   So I don’t know whether I’ll be “up there” with you or not.  Pray for me.

 Whatever the verdict, I accept it.  Only God holds the keys to the kingdom.  He is Sovern. It is His call, not mine.   I’m doing the best I can and if that is not good enough, I deserve to burn with the worst of them.

Thank God for God’s gift of Grace and for His Son, sent to teach us His ways and to give us the gift of salvation through his death and through the Holy Spirit.  

Are you doing the best you can?  What have you done for God lately?  What is the condition of your ticket?   Will Jesus  open the book,  look at you, check your ticket and declare “I don’t know you!”, or will your life since baptism prove good enough?  Let’s pray it is the latter.   If you are afraid you don’t measure up, please don’t panic.  Go to your church and ask for guidence on how to get on the path God wants you to be on.

Grace and Peace,

Oldtimer

Visions and Dreams

Was It Just a Dream? 

 You have had a remarkably vivid experience that you think might be a vision, but wait… what if it was just a dream?  How do you tell the difference?

For me it was straight-forward.  Over the first 60 years of my life I have had countless dreams.  Some nightmares, some daydreams, even lucid dreams.   But I knew they were dreams.   You could use the analogy of a duck … if it looks like a …. well, you know that story.   Everyone has had dreams and maybe a few have been frightening and some have been beautiful and rewarding, but you knew it was a dream.  

When I had my first vision, it was instantly recognized as a vision, even while it was in progress.  Lots of things were different.   

Observer not participant  

I have been an active participant in all the dreams and nightmares I can recall.   In my visions, with only a couple of exceptions, I was only an observer.   I watched things happen, but I did take part in what was going on.   The visions that were exceptions were so remarkable that no one that had one could ever mistake it for a dream.  God shows you things, teaches you things, tells you things.   Most of the time, there is nothing He expects you to do but watch and learn.

Awake not asleep 

 I was awake and aware of my surroundings during the visions.  I heard the air conditioner or the heating system come on, I was aware that I was awake and watching something important.   I had independent thoughts about what I saw and was trying to be careful not to “lose” and was keenly interested in what I was seeing.

Visions don’t fade, dreams do 

Of the perhaps thousands of dreams I’ve had over the 70 years I’ve been alive, I can recall only a few nightmares.  Most of my dreams were faded out and gone by the time I was fully awake.  Seldom does any detail of a dream last more than a few hours.   The visions don’t fade, apparently never.   Every detail of the visions can be replayed in color in exact sequence, in slow or fast motion every time I think of it.    The only exceptions are where I said “no” once and lost the details of part of that vision and where I heard the song of the 4 horsemen and could not learn it.  Apparently I was not qualified to learn it.

Apparently when God gives you a vision, it is intended to stick with you.  Forever.

Visions have basis in God’s Word – the Bible 

I’ve been able to locate bible verses to support each vision that I’ve had.  I’ve quoted them as part of each of the visions I’ve recorded here.  I doubt that many dreams are biblically related.

Visions teach, dreams don’t

I’ve discovered something new in each new vision.   Often there is a different interpretation from what I had thought was true, or some new knowledge that is biblically supported, but still different from what I had understood in my internal interpretation.   If the visions were self-induced from my predisposition in belief of God, you would think the vision would support what I already thought I knew.   Instead, I’ve been very surprised at some of the things I’ve learned.  Unexpected interpretations come forward that make perfect sense in hindsight.

Thoughts pop into your head

Many times explanitory or declaritive thoughts just popped into my head.   I saw something and then an explanitory thought of a word or two just rolled through my head.  “This is God”  “God is in me”  “We are living in God”  These were always in my own voice except for the time of the euolgy.

Visions are “Super Vivid”

Visions are crystal clear.   Most of mine have been in vivid color, but even the black and white ones are super vivid as I play them over again and again in my mind.   God has a way of getting your attention, make no mistake about it.

You “keep your cool” during visions  

In summary, let me say that anyone that has had a vision will know it instantly, from the very beginning and most certainly will take it calmly.   I could be sitting in my chair one instant and standing outside looking at the stars the next, yet not be the least surprised.   Just watching transfixed at the events taking place.   Never mind that I’m soaring into Heaven or standing over the earth or being observed by dark people.   There were two notable exceptions.  One was when I was discovered not having a 666 on my forehead as the bibles were being purged by Satan’s followers, and the other when the words of prophesy were being shouted at me about the deaths of missionaries.  

You will know you have had a vision when you have one.

 Oldtimer

Vision of The Train

The Train

The following is a vision that is undated in my journal. It occurred near the beginning of November 1997, sometime after the End Times Hymn. This vision seems to be an End Time Vision of a different type than those in the Bible.  I suddenly found myself in an old steam-driven train, riding in the first passener car behind the engine.

After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast–terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. Dan 7:7 (NIV)

It was set in the future, but not too very far. I say that because the train I was on did not look much different than those of today. In fact it was an old train by today’s standards, except it seemed unusually wide, even huge.

This train was traveling on rough rails in the dark. The entire interior was poorly lighted, and I was making my way from the back of a car toward the engine.

I had to use my hands to hold onto the seats on each side of me. When I approached the engine, I could see through a rectangular metal window and view the inside. It was pitch black except for the glow of coals showing in the firebox door, illuminating the walls, almost evil looking. The entire train had an evil feel to it and I was concerned as to where it was taking me.

I decided that I did not want to go into the engine compartment, so I went to a side door to the left, and as I did, the train stopped. I got off and noticed that there was a group of people standing in a small crowd in front of the engine on my side of the tracks.

They were praying. One of the women seemed familiar, but she was not someone that I recognized from the church. She seemed to be almost holy in appearance, she was praying so fervently. Everyone was dressed in black as if going to a funeral.

I looked across the tracks and I could see what looked like a narrow-gage rail track extending along a ridge running up a hillside that ran perpendicular to the track our train was on. The lower end of the side track terminated in a sort of overhead platform on which was setting a small cart on rails.

A very tall, shirtless man was standing on the platform above us and using a rope to attach to scrolls and books in the cart. The rope was hauling them upward and out of sight.

The hillside was glowing in places as if there were fires there, but otherwise the hillside was very dark. I began to notice large boxes being unloaded from the train and being brought forward to where we were standing.

The boxes were labeled as various books of the bible, and as they were opened, it was apparent that many of these were very ancient. Most of them were scrolls, but others were hardbound in wooden covers or thick leather. Some were ornately engraved.

“Mark”, “Luke,” “John,” “In His Own Hand.”

I suddenly realized that these people were destroying all the works of scripture and all the bibles in the world. There were boxes and crates full of bibles everywhere I looked.

I began to cry and I was deeply grieving the loss. I didn’t want to be a part of this.

The instant I realized this truth, and began to grieve, the woman that had seemed so holy turned on me and transformed into something hideous and wicked as I watched.

I realized then that she was a false witness to the proceedings and belonged to the enemy that was bent on destroying the books. These “worshipers” had been praying as a token gesture to a false god. I had the impression that the woman wanted to see my number. She kept peering at my forehead.

He 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 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.   Rev 13:16-18 (NIV)

I didn’t see any other passengers, so I may have been the last one. I know I did not have their mark; I did not have the number and she was furious. They all were.

And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.

This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. Rev 14:11-12 (NIV)

The vision then ended. I do not know how to interpret this dreamlike vision. I can only call it another signal to be prepared, the end is near! Earlier in this vision I used an passage from Daniel that brings forth an image of a train.  In the same vision of Daniel is this passage:

In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people.
Dan 8:23-24 (NIV)

The vision of the train appeared to be about the destruction of all references to our religion as we know it. Where they found the very old manuscripts, I don’t know. My sense was that they were destroying everything in an effort to wipe out Christianity. It was the End Times – nearer every day, as it was explained to Daniel in his vision:

The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time.

When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.” I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?” He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. Dan 12:7-10 (NIV)

Next “The Battle”

Biblical Visions

Biblical Visions

After the remarkable vision of the Moving Hills, I began to read more about visions in the Bible. There are far too many visions in our Bible to discuss here, since this book is about visions by ordinary people. Those in the Bible are clearly seen and reported by extraordinary people.

Yet, as I moved forward in my visual experiences with God, I began to see some relationships to what I was seeing that helped explain what the ancients saw, and to comment on some of these may help the reader to understand what I saw as well.

. . . he said, “Listen to my words: “When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams.  Num 12:6 (NIV)

Now don’t take me wrong – I am not a prophet in any way, shape, or form.   The purpose of the verse above is to show you how God spoke to the prophets of biblical times.  I do not claim any such abilities or special connection with God.  I am that ordinary person in the title of this piece.

When He shows us things beyond our comprehension, all we can do is describe them in the context of our present knowledge and culture.  To understand what we are seeing today, it may be helpful to look at what the prophets of the Bible have seen and try to draw some comparisons.  

Describing the Indescribable.

God very likely showed visions, such as future events, and heaven (paradise) to the prophets of Biblical times in the same way that He shows them to us today. Like the Moving Hills vision, many of the ancient visions were shrouded in symbolic images. When the visions showed events far into the future, the prophets had a very difficult task telling what they had seen in words that others could understand.

Much like Ezekiel, if we were shown things thousands of years in the future, we would tend to try to describe those things that we did not understand in terms of things we did understand. We would put them in our own terms within the context of our present culture and knowledge.  We would try to describe the indescribable.

Let’s try a test. Look at the passages below as I comment on them and see if you can visualize the cherubim of Ezekiel 10 as an attempt to describe modern helicopters by a man that lived more than 2500 years ago. Consider the following passages.

The rotors of helicopters are moving wings, and if you have ever been near one landing or taking off, you know that they can be very loud.

The sound of the wings of the cherubim could be heard as far away as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when he speaks. Ezek. 10:5 (NIV)

The blades of very large helicopters intersect, much like a wheel intersecting a wheel.

As for their appearance, the four of them looked alike; each was like a wheel intersecting a wheel. Ezek. 10:10 (NIV)

A helicopter can move in any direction without turning.  Also, the twin window panels in the various sides of a helicopter could have looked somewhat like faces on each side of the machine to someone 2500 years ago.

As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the cherubim faced; the wheels did not turn about as the cherubim went.   The cherubim went in whatever direction the head faced, without turning as they went.   Ezek. 10:11 (NIV)

Ezekiel had no words for rotors, but “whirling wheels” would serve very nicely.

I heard the wheels being called “the whirling wheels.” (Ezek. 10:13 NIV)

Helicopters can rise vertically or hover, and the pilots would be in them.

When the cherubim stood still, they also stood still; and when the cherubim rose, they rose with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in them.  Ezek. 10:17 (NIV)

In the following passage, visualize the helicopter’s blades rising as the blades begin lifting the wheels from the ground. Watch as it moves across the landing field to the east gate.

While I watched, the cherubim spread their wings and rose from the ground, and as they went, the wheels went with them. They stopped at the entrance to the east gate of the Lord’s house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them. Ezek. 10:19 (NIV)

The above passages were from a vision that Ezekiel had almost 600 years before Christ was born. If we had seen that vision today, we would likely have thought “helicopters.” We very likely would have actually seen helicopters in our vision, because that would be an easy image to bring to focus for such an unfamiliar object.

The vision was very likely not about helicopters at all, but could have been. Although we do not know what Ezekiel actually saw, the commentary accompanying the scripture tells us that Ezekiel was describing four angels with interlocking wings, and he was depicting God’s glory leaving the temple.

It is our own knowledge and culture that transforms what he described into helicopters when we read it in the context of our own experiences! 

In our own words.

By similar fashion, when we see something in a vision that we have never seen before, we have no choice but to describe them in words that we have at our disposal – words we are familiar with, and images that we are familiar with.

Fortunately my own visions have been of modern structures, hills and of images of people, such as Jesus, so my descriptions are accurate and easily visualized by others. Such was not the case in many Biblical Visions.  On the other hand, my mind might have converted what I saw into the most familiar things I knew.  I’m reporting what I saw and see today when I replay them in my mind.

Symbolic Images.

Biblical visions were often shrouded in symbolic images, perhaps because there were no contemporary scenes that would sufficiently depict the message that God was delivering.

In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying on his bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream. Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea.”

“Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea. The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a man, and the heart of a man was given to it.” Dan 7:1-4 (NIV)

Deciphering the indecipherable.

According to commentary, the lion with eagle’s wings represents Babylon because of its swift conquests.

Although my visions are easily described in modern day language, their interpretation is not at all easy, and leaves much room for doubt. I saw them, and I can rerun them as often as I like, but unless I understand the meaning of the symbolic images, no accurate interpretation can be made.

Just Ask.

Sometimes the Biblical prophets had a way around this.  Ancient prophets often were able to ask bystanders how to interpret what they saw:

I approached one of those standing there and asked him the true meaning of all this. So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things: “The four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth.”  Dan 7:16-17 (NIV)

I had not been fortunate enough to hear spoken words in my visions so I had to ask through prayer, or depend on scripture to enlighten me. As you will see in The Eulogy, later in this book, when I received words, they nearly frightened me to death!  (Comment by Oldtimer June 2007 – The Eulogy has already been posted – some of these are out of order)

Cryptic Answers.

Sometimes however, angelic answers were cryptic or had ambiguous meanings, especially relating to time. For example, in the passage below, time, times and half a time can mean almost anything from a few years to millennia.

The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”  Dan 12:7 (NIV)

Sealed unto the end.

Sometimes the answers were deliberately sealed as in this passage:

I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?” He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.” Dan 12:8-9 (NIV)

The common theme in visions is that they bring a message directly from God:

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt; I will make you live in tents again, as in the days of your appointed feasts.  I spoke to the prophets, gave them many visions and told parables through them.” Hosea 12:9-10 (NIV)

More to come.

God even tells us that as the End Times approach, He will increase the messages in great numbers.

‘And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. Joel 2:28-31 (NIV)

The next section describes a dream that I experienced just as I was waking up that, at first, seemed to have no relationship to the Vision of The Moving Hills or to healing. As it turned out, it was clearly in keeping with both.   I call it The Comic Strip Dream – next.

Two Piece Puzzle Explained

The night after the last Two Piece Puzzle dream, I had another vision, a very remarkable one which I plan to tell you about tomorrow.  It gave me some insight about the Two-Piece Puzzle and a possible explanation for that mystery that I’ll mention now.  The short answer – the coming of Christ released the Holy Spirt on the comman man – you and I.  The Holy Spirt in the Old Testament was bestowed only on special men, and was sometimes withdrawn later.  Christ promised a Counselor – Holy Spirt that would dwell in us always.   Without that Yule Door – the birth of Christ, we would not have the Holy Spirit.   

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever– the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  John 14:16-17 (NIV) 

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