June 20, 2005
A Life Boxed In By Vanity
You may have heard that Mike Tyson has announced his retirement from boxing.
Tyson's decision was the result of a bruising defeat at the hands of Irish
fighter Kevin McBride in Washington, DC.
In a moment of reflection, the 38-year-old boxer said, "I'm basically finished
doing this stuff. I'm not going to make a fool out of myself and embarrass
myself anymore. It's difficult to fight when your heart isn't in it."
He continued, "I don't have anything to fight for anymore. When I first
started I had nothing. I wanted something. I don't want anything anymore. At
one point I thought life was about acquiring things. But as life goes on we
lose more things than we gain."
Tyson's words ring rather hollow when you realize that an empty wallet was
the primary reason for his return to the ring. Despite earning hundreds of
millions of dollars, he remains deeply in debt.
Iron Mike was paid $5 million for the fight, which was a shadow of the
purses he drew earlier in his career. After his creditors got $2 million,
the IRS took its cut, and his ex-wife got $750,000, there wasn't much left
Tyson still owes nearly $40 million and there were plans for him to fight up
to seven times to pay off the debt. But those plans didn't include Tyson
taking a severe beating at the hands of a low-grade boxer.
Gone is the man who, in 1986 at the age of 20, became the youngest heavyweight world champion in
history and knocked out Michael Spinks in 91 seconds. Tyson clearly is not the same person who bit Lewis in the thigh during a scuffle at a news conference, telling Lewis he wanted to "eat his
children." The title "The Baddest Man on the Planet" no longer applies to
Tyson had major problems that led to his shameful downfall, but his failure
to have an exit plan was his biggest mistake. Boxers often stay in the ring
too long -- Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Jack Dempsey, and Joe Louis are
Because of his lifetime of boxing, Muhammad Ali has become crippled by Pugilistic
Parkinson's syndrome - a disorder that occurs among professional boxers who
receive multiple blows to the head.
Father Time is the true champion of the world. Because of the sin nature, he
can outlast any challenger. At age 45, George Foreman was the only boxer
able to make it into the fourth round with the relentless foe called age.
When Mike Tyson started making millions of dollars at beating people senseless, he
obviously didn't realize that his ability to make such easy money would eventually be
limited by his age. Had he not been blinded by his own glory, common sense might
have prevented him from burning through his $200 million fortune.
Boxing writer Bert Sugar, when commenting on Tyson's career, said, "There's
nothing left inside. He's a classic 'Would have, could have, should have'."
Having lost everything, Tyson now says he wants to move to Africa and become
some type of missionary. He claims that in America he has been "stigmatized"
as a street thug. Because charitable work is such a radical departure from
his current lifestyle, it remains to be seen whether he is capable of doing
something of a positive nature.
Tyson's life features an endless parade of missed opportunities. One can
only speculate about what good he could have done with the money he blew on
promoters, women, lawyers, and million-dollar parties.
Probably the most productive thing Tyson has done is provide us with a
sobering example of how a carnally focused life can be consumed by vanity. As
Christians, we have a hope that rises above the fleshly rewards of this
"Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour
that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of
spirit, and there was no profit under the sun" (Ecc. 2:11).
Jerusalem: Christianity’s Burdensome Stone?
We have looked at the prophecy frequently in these commentaries. Zechariah the prophet foretold:
“The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zech. 12:1-3).
These Scriptures that give prophecy yet future from our time most generally refer to the fact that God, himself, has made Jerusalem and Israel the most favored nation in His dealings with mankind. Therefore, the prophecy implies, the whole world will gather against that city and that nation. In effect, the world has always gathered against these two entities (Israel --the nation, and, the people –the Jews.) But, the assault that is coming is without precedent, according to the Word of God.
For now, we will look at something even more troubling regarding this prophecy –that the world is against Jerusalem, Israel (the nation), and the Jews (the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).
Although I don’t wish to give such anti-biblical thought a voice on such a wide forum as the Rapture Ready website provides, I will use the following bit of a newsletter-type e-mail someone sends me on a regular basis. The diatribe it presents is, unfortunately, becoming the norm in thinking among much of “mainline” Christian denominational organizations. The thought represented is against everything God’s Word has to say about the Lord’s dealings with Israel, and with His Church.
Jerusalem has become not only a cup of trembling and a burdensome stone for the world of unbelievers, it has become such for those who espouse that God is finished with Israel, that Israel and the Jews of today have absolutely no future in God’s prophetic plan, except as just being another nation and another people God will judge along with the rest of the fallen world system.
Here is a brief newsletter-type byte that presents the crux of the anti-biblical thinking going on within Christianity:
“As I've said in past recent messages … -- here's the Christian CONUNDRUM of the 21st century -- the MAINSTREAM PROPHETIC PRESS today has pretty much convinced the prophecy minded world of our day that THE NATION OF ISRAEL IS THE CENTER OF ALL BIBLE PROPHECY and where our focus as Christians should be…But nonetheless, Jerusalem in the Middle East is for sure today the "HOT SPOT" in Bible Prophecy according to the BIG NAMES in the MAINSTREAM PROPHETIC
PRESS… But exactly just where does the Bible tell us our focus should be? -- should our focus be on the EARTHLY JERUSALEM or the HEAVENLY JERUSALEM with the Return of Christ so very near?… forget Tim LaHaye's volumes of REVELATION FICTION…[Here is] where the devil is in the details -- THE MAINSTREAM PROPHETIC PRESS -- who is so entrenched in PRE-MILLENNIALISM, [and] DISPENSATIONALISM, [that] FUTURISM has the prophecy-minded Christians of today looking at the WRONG JERUSALEM AND THE WRONG ISRAEL. Bible Prophecy is NOT focused around the Israel of the flesh -- but THE ISRAEL OF GOD -- and Bible prophecy is NOT focused around the JERUSALEM OF THE MIDDLE EAST -- BUT THE HEAVENLY JERUSALEM -- for these END TIMES!” (June 3, 2005).
Although the writer of the newsletter does show a small degree of studied knowledge about Bible prophecy, she also demonstrates a lack of understanding that God’s program involving literal Israel, the Church of Jesus Christ, and the heavenly Jerusalem, while separate in God’s mind, are at the same time eternally linked within His grand, prophetic plan. I chose to use her words because they, sadly, represent the ignorant pronouncements –perhaps willful ignorance-- of many leaders within the replacement theology that has become the mainstream view today.
None of the people I know who believe that God has not forgotten His promises to the literal nation, Israel, teach that we as Christians must forget the coming heavenly Jerusalem and concentrate only on earthly Jerusalem and America’s connection to that literal nation. And, that is one charge the anti-biblical purveyors of replacement theology make--that we who believe that future fulfillment of promises made to God’s chosen people, the Jews, will come to pass, are determined to bring on Armageddon in order to stand by Israel.
Armageddon will come, specifically because the nations of the world –led by Satan’s Antichrist--want to usurp the throne of God in the earthly Jerusalem (2 Thessalonians, chapter 2). Armageddon is coming, no matter what we say or do.
So, too, is the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven at the end of Christ’s 1,000-year reign, no matter what we say or do. We who believe in the pre-trib view of prophecy and of a future fulfillment of all promises God made to literal Israel look for that new Heaven and new Earth with great desire. But, that coming city is not --for this dispensation-- to take the place of the Jerusalem that is geographically located in the Middle East. We, who are children of God through the shed blood of Christ, are to support Israel’s right to exist, and to point out that the Jews—the literal, flesh and blood people that came from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—are still God’s chosen –so chosen for a program yet future –as head of the nations during Christ’s millennial kingdom.
Those within Christianity who propose that literal Israel is a burden to the cause of Christ had better check whose side they are on. The world –which is presently controlled by Satan-- is already in alignment against that nation. Every day that passes brings this generation closer to Israel’s being backed against the wall, with no friends. Zechariah chapters 12 and 14 won’t be fully realized until the church is taken in the rapture, because we will continue to stand with them until we vanish in the twinkling of an eye. We know that God has not forsaken Israel. Neither will we forsake that nation.
Letter to President George W. Bush
We chose to post this letter by a raptureready.com friend because we feel
it accurately reflects our view of how America should deal with Israel and
the matter of the peace process in the Middle East.
Dear President Bush:
Please do not put yourself and our nation on a collision course with God
over Israel's covenant land. Your peace efforts sound good, but they are
biblically wrong. Your call for a contiguous Palestinian state from Ramallah
to Gaza will divide Israel and leave it with indefensible borders. Your plan
to put a Palestinian state on God's covenant land and replace Jewish
settlers with Palestinian terrorists is incomprehensible.
Your plan could very well lead Israel into a civil war and further division.
You will be responsible for the forceful evacuation of Jews by Jews off the
land God gave to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants.
Is the God of Israel going to let this happen without further judgment?
History says no. It is dreadful to ponder what is next for any nation that
puts the "apple of God's eye" at risk. I sense that you believe that God
will bless your plan to bring peace, democracy and freedom to the Middle
East. In reality, God promised to bless those who bless His chosen people,
and curse those who curse them (Gen. 12:1-3).
I pray for you every day. Please do not invite God's judgment on America by
Thank you for your consideration.
Mrs. Joan Carmody
New York, NY