If you want to understand Bible prophecy, you need to develop a certain mindset, the same mindset that self-made millionaires tend to possess. A lesson from history’s greatest fighter pilot and millionaires today illustrates it.
Millionaires Are Economic Aces Who Fight Differently
According to Webster’s dictionary, the term ace denotes one who excels at something. It is also a title given to combat pilots who have at least five in-air victories. World War II produced more fighter-pilot aces than any other conflict, with 1,285 pilots earning the title during this period (“The Last Ace,” Wall Street Journal, January 29, 1999, p. W11). How did they accomplish this feat? Most did it the traditional way, in dogfights. Many were eventually shot down themselves. But at least two did it quite differently. Their unique method and rationale for its use have significance for people who want to become economically productive. Like the two aces, the majority of millionaires surveyed became economic successes because they learned to focus their energies and other resources in ways that maximized their output. But what drove them to this focused approach?
Both of the pilots who “did it differently” were more than aces (see Raymond F. Toliver and Trevor J. Constable, The Blond Knight of Germany [Blue Ridge Summit, PA: Aero Books, 1970]). One, Major Erich Hartmann, is known in military literature as the Ace of Aces. He had 352 confirmed in-air victories. The other pilot who had the same unique strategy was Sergeant “Paule” Rossmann, Hartmann’s mentor. He himself had more than 80 victories.
It was Rossmann who invented the approach that ultimately led to Hartmann’s extraordinary success. Early in his career, Rossmann suffered an injury to his arm that never healed, and he was unable to dogfight. In a typical dogfight, victory goes to those with superior physical strength. Rossmann knew he could never survive this kind of battle, so he developed a compensating technique. Substituting a much more calculating method for the macho dogfighting strategy, he carefully planned each and every attack. He spent much more time analyzing various targets of opportunity than actually firing bullets at his quarry. He attacked only when he was in the best possible position to win. Then he would focus all his resources at the ideal target – the one that would give him the maximum return on his investment. Hartmann credits Rossmann’s approach, the “see and decide prior to firing” method, with his own success. It also explains how Hartmann survived 1,425 combat missions, yet he was never even wounded.
What does all this have to do with becoming an economic success in America? Most millionaires understand that they have certain limitations, and they developed an understanding of their strengths and limitations before they even finished school. Like Rossmann, they realized that they had some type of “injured arm,” some type of limitation. So they developed their own unique strategy for becoming economically productive.
Most millionaires, for example, are not intellectually gifted in an analytical sense. They did not receive all As in school, nor were they in the 1400-and-above SAT club. That’s why they decided not to compete in macho dogfight environments where superior analytical intelligence is a requirement to succeed.
These same people usually did not score high enough on the standardized test that are requirements for law school, medical school, or graduate school. Many millionaires did not have a high enough grade point average to be hired by major corporations. But they still wanted to become economically successful, so many chose to be self-employed. They hired themselves when other employers would not.
Many millionaires who designated themselves as “other than intellectually gifted” are, in fact, gifted in other ways. They have an abundance of common sense, and they have what some call creativity. How else can we explain their ability to discover economic opportunities that most so-called geniuses were unable to see?
After studying millionaires for more than twenty years, I have concluded that if you make one major decision correctly, you can be economically productive. If you are creative enough to select the ideal vocation, you can win, win big-time. The really brilliant millionaires are those who selected a vocation that they love – one that has few competitors but generates high profits.
Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D., The Millionaire Mind, pp19-21 (Andrews McMeel Publishing, Kansas City, 2000).
Prophecy Students Must Read the Bible Differently
The moral of the story? Millionaires are not made by doing things just like everyone else. They learn to see things differently and do them differently. The above story makes the point of deciding to do things differently based on an honest inventory of your own strengths and weaknesses.
For Bible prophecy, believe it or not, the different approach is to resist the training and temptation to interpret the Bible away from its plain meaning, as different as that may be to what you have been taught or have thought before.
Example - Wormwood: Chernobyl, WWIII, or What it says?
This is the approach I ended up taking in researching and writing my first book Planet X in Bible Prophecy to explain this passage from the Book of Revelation:
Revelation 8:10-11 —
10 The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from heaven. It fell on a third of the rivers and springs of water.
11 The name of the star is Wormwood, and a third of the waters became wormwood. So, many of the people died from the waters, because they had been made bitter.
I had been told for years that Wormwood was not a star at all, but some radioactive fallout. It was supposedly either the 1986 Chernobyl Reactor accident that actually did pollute land and drinking water, or it was World War III where fallout from atomic weapons could pollute water supplies.
However, either explanation, when looked at carefully, caused more problems than it solved. For me, spotting these problems was something that came easily due to my logical and analytical mind trained for years in writing and debugging computer code. I easily saw that surrounding the 3rd Trumpet of Wormwood were other similar trumpets and seals which in their plain sense described cosmic impacts and interactions interfering with life on Earth. The 6th seal even described people running to the caves in the mountains in reaction to the impacts while assuming it is God's judgment. What was I to do with these? Explain them all away as talking about wars or bombs and perhaps nuclear fallout shelters, too? Why would everyone on the planet conclude that such manmade disasters were God's wrath? It reminds me of the old adage that once you make one lie, you have to make several more lies to harmonize the first one with reality. What a mess.
Why didn't anyone take Revelation to mean a star when it said a star? Perhaps it is because in a casual reading of Revelation, it seems like the 3rd trumpet says star Wormwood will hit Earth. If even the moon hit Earth, it would all be over, so a star could not possibly hit us and there be anything left for a 4th trumpet to do. Therefore most people are quick to conclude that with Wormwood we have yet another one of Revelations "symbols" which we are free to fit to anything but a star.
However, I discovered that the language used elsewhere to describe an impact is not used with Wormwood. It was describing a different form of interaction between the Earth and this wayward star, not a full collision. Therefore it could remain a star, rather than be forced into something else, and make perfect sense as written.
Results Worth a Million Bucks
From there I could take a fresh look at everything else in Revelation and find the scenario that would explain all the related events literally. I believe I was successful and the results are naturally quite revolutionary compared to what has been taught for centuries about it. Today I am convinced that finally everything in Revelation can be understood as written without using a "secret decoder ring" approach to what is said. It is like any other book in the Bible, to be understood according to its plain sense meaning. If Bible readers realized this they would be a lot less confused by the Bible as well as less unsure of their own ability to understand it without being a scholar.
So to really understand Bible prophecy hinges upon our ability to get that millionaire mindset of taking a different approach than the crowd when needed. A different approach clearly is needed if you consider the confusion and contradictions in eschatology today. Leave that behind. Reread the Bible until you can allow yourself to catch what it plainly says without reading into it what "learned doctrines of men" have taught you it means. The results will be revolutionary.
"Depart From Me, I Never Knew you!" - Jesus
Jesus predicted that he will tell many sincere believers to basically "get lost" instead of welcoming them into the Kingdom. So...who are they and what did they miss or do wrong? In this study, get those answers and the one requirement for salvation Jesus taught (that Christianity misses) so that you can make sure you don't hear these dreaded words yourself!