Rumors of Peace
Peace is perhaps the most prevalent issue on the minds of mankind in these volatile times. The rumors of war that look to be much like those prophesied by Jesus in His Olivet Discourse (Matthew Chapter 24) are on the increase, when thinking upon things brewing in the Middle East. This region threatens to break out in violence between Israel and her enemy neighbors at any moment, an action that could swiftly progress to a much larger conflict involving atomic weaponry. This must be avoided at all costs, therefore every effort at peace is explored by the internationalist powers that be.
Some efforts at squashing war before it can get started are genuine. Others look suspiciously to be simply re-positioning in ways that will help those involved secure advantage for themselves in one way or the other. That’s how I view most peace initiatives taking place in the region in and around the so-called “holy land.”
The endeavor to quell the likelihood of conflagration in the Mideast is often found in disseminating rumors of peace. These strange, diametrically opposite war and peace matters–and their genuine/self-serving re-positioning stratagem–are wrapped up at one and the same time in the “Roadmap to Peace.”
Time and time again we hear the various tactics about to be employed in order to bring the antagonists to the table of peace. These “rumors of peace” are, indeed, for preventing war in the region. But, the reasons for wanting that peace is not merely so people of the region will get along, thus enjoy a life free of fear of any moment attack. The reasons are more steeped in 1) making sure World War III doesn’t spring from such conflict; 2) that the parties involved in the peace-making (the “Quartet”) continue to have maximum access to the massive petroleum reserves; 3) that a presence is maintained by the American/European/Russian referees that keep Israel and her enemies separated.
We who observe conditions in that region from the perspective of Bible prophecy note that the peace plan never seems to get installed. Peace never eventuates from the actions of the diplomatic community.
George W. Bush promised a peace agreement involving establishing a Palestinian state before he left office. But, other than the rumors of peace, nothing developed in that peace coming to fruition. And the days of the current presidential administration are dwindling with nothing more substantial than rumors of peace in prospect. We are dealing with rumors of peace at the same time we are dealing with rumors of war. Peace is defined as:
1. The normal, non-warring condition of a nation, group of nations, or the world.
2. An agreement or treaty between warring or antagonistic nations, groups, etc., to end hostilities and abstain from further fighting or antagonism: the Peace of Ryswick.
3. A state of mutual harmony between people or groups, esp. in personal relations: Try to live in peace with your neighbors.
4. The normal freedom from civil commotion and violence of a community; public order and security: He was arrested for being drunk and disturbing the peace.
5. Cessation of or freedom from any strife or dissension.
6. Freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession, etc.; tranquility; serenity.
7. A state of tranquility or serenity: May he rest in peace.
8. A state or condition conducive to, proceeding from, or characterized by tranquility: the peace of a mountain resort.
9. Silence; stillness: The cawing of a crow broke the afternoon’s peace. (Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 2006).
Those definitions pretty much cover the meanings of the word “peace” in human terms. But fulfillment of the definitions to any great extent is far, far from this generation–like it has been from every generation of the past.
True peace in this fallen realm, you see, is not possible in the physical or even psychological sense. We are at every point dealing with mere “rumors” of peace. Here is why: “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:1-2).
“There is] no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked” (Isa. 48:22). All of fallen mankind is wicked. There is none good, no, not one, the Scripture tells us. The only “good” is in Jesus Christ, who came to take away the sin of the world. When the individual turns over his or her soul to Christ for salvation, He then can bring true peace that is absolutely elusive under any other prescription for conducting life on this decaying planet. Even those who are Christ’s (have become born again into the family of God) must submit moment by moment to Christ, to receive God’s peace within their innermost being.
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7).
All efforts at achieving peace are just rumors of peace unless those efforts have Jesus at their center. Whether thinking on the individual life, from which all war-making begins according to James 4:1-2, about society, geoeconomics and geopolitics, or any other frame of reference concerning the human condition, if Christ is left out of the equation for achieving peace, there will be no peace.
Considering modern Israel and the rumors of peace in particular, here’s what God’s Word says about His daughter, Israel, and the world’s dealing in the process of peace involving that nation: “For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when [there is] no peace” (Jer. 8:11).
Thankfully, Christ will one day–perhaps very soon—return to bring true peace, rather than the rumors of peace in our daily headlines today.
The Rapture Reviler’s
An e-mailer addressed an ongoing matter that is perplexing, in that Christians read the same Word from God –the Bible–yet the message the children of God take from the same passages they read can be so different as to be troubling. Nowhere in the Holy Scriptures is this divergence of inferred meanings more pronounced than in those pertaining to prophecy yet future, particularly those involving the rapture of the Church.
Here are the e-mailer’s words, with a few redaction’s for the sake of not wanting to violate privacy, or to cast aspersions on specifically named people.
“I just wanted to ask you a question… I listen to [a well known Bible teacher and radio program host] every morning on my way to work. I consider him to be a ‘true born-again Christian’, and really enjoy hearing his teachings. He seems very knowledgeable of God’s Word. I have never heard anything from him that contradicts the word of God. However, on a recent radio program, he was teaching on the millennium… [He] was expounding on ‘premillennium,’ ‘amillennium,’ and ‘post-millennium’.
I know that he has a theological education of these issues [that] exceeds most layman’s understanding, but there was something that he said upset me during this broadcast. He happened to bring up the pretribulation rapture, and to me, he sounded as if he had contempt for the theory of a pretrib rapture.
Now, here is where my question comes in. Why do most theologians today seem to have this contempt, if I may call it that, for any teaching on a pretrib rapture? To paraphrase [the radio host’s] on this, he said that he has never been able to find even one shred of evidence of a pretribulation rapture in the Bible, and from the sound of his voice when he said it, I guess I formed my own opinion that he had contempt for this theory. Anyway, the point I am trying to make here is that I realize Christians do not have to agree on this idea to receive salvation and enter the kingdom of heaven as long as they are grounded in sound doctrine concerning the true meaning of salvation: that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, and no man can come to the Father except through Him and His blood sacrifice on the cross. I just don’t understand why a pretribulation rapture theory seems to provoke people to the point of becoming hostile of this theory, and sometimes, even toward the Christians [who] believe it. Personally, I believe that the pretrib rapture can be found in Scripture if a person will just read God’s Word with an open heart and mind, along with prayer for the Holy Spirit to guide them…”
This question by our Rapture Ready friend involves things that have always puzzled me, too, and I’ve written about matters attendant to the subject on a number of occasions. Why the vitriol, the seeming hatred for the pretrib view, even for those of us who teach the Bible from a pretrib rapture view?
I believe it flows from satanic rage that affects even the born again.
To know who is right–these like the radio host to whom the e-mailer refers, who believe the pretrib rapture is a lie from the pit of hell, as they sometimes put it–or we who teach the pretrib rapture, it is best to just examine what is going on all around us these days.
A large segment of the rapture revilers say that all prophecy was fulfilled with the A.D. 70 destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem by Titus and the Roman legions. Some believe the world has, since that date, been in the tribulation. They spiritualize and allegorize all prophecy we see as yet future.
Many of these believe that modern Israel isn’t God’s chosen, that God is finished with the Jew, and that the Church now has been given the promises God made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Is God indeed finished with Israel?
God’s Word says that Israel will be a nation just before His Son returns. His chosen people will be hated. It will be at the center of all the world’s national chaos and controversy. Is this happening, or not?
There will be a false peace made between Israel and its enemies that will affect the whole world, God’s prophetic Word says. Do we see any peace process in progress that involves Israel, its enemies, and, in effect, the entire world?
There will be a great power due north of Jerusalem and Israel whose leader will think an evil thought. Do we see any sign of such a power due north of Israel?
Take a string on a globe and put it on Jerusalem. Run that string straight up from Jerusalem. Does that string bisect any major city? Moscow! Persia, the prophetic Word of God says, will be a key partner with that leader and his nation, Rosh, the ancient name for the area that now is covered by Russia. These and a coalition called “Magog” will invade toward Israel, according to Ezekiel, chapters 38 and 39. Do we see any collusion between Persia (Iran today) and Rosh (Russia today)?
There will be a coming back together, the Bible says, of the ancient Roman Empire (the last empire of Nebuchadnezzar’s metallic man-image as seen in the Babylonian king’s night-vision –Daniel chapter 2). Do we see that development taking place in our news today? Yes. The European Union.
Many like the radio host/teacher the e-mailer mentions believe that this world will be made better and better until Christ comes back to assume the earthly throne. Do we see the world getting better and better? Or is the world getting worse, according to the daily and hourly news headlines, just like prophetic Scripture predicts?
There are another dozen or more signals I could mention to draw the comparison between the beliefs that the preterists and other anti-rapture teachers hold and the pretrib/dispensational view we hold. Space does not allow.
The preponderance of evidence, both biblical and literal (things in the news), comes down thunderously on the side of the pretribulational, premillennial view of eschatology.
Why do they hate the pretrib view and the rapture teaching in considering things to come? I’m convinced it is because Satan hates Israel and the Lord’s plan to save remnants out of Israel and out of His creation called man in general.
These who hurl invective are deluded, in denial. I don’t doubt their salvation. But I do doubt their faithful adherence to God’s prophetic Word. They prefer man-made eschatology, and that is given not by the Holy Spirit, but by Lucifer, the fallen one. One prophecy in particular speaks to the rapture revilers’ attitude toward Christ’s coming in a sudden, unexpected intrusion upon a world that will be conducting its nefarious business as usual: “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Pet. 3:3-4).
God’s Prophecy Not Enough?
People have, over the years–following the completed Word of God, with its 66 books–made predictions based upon dreams and, less frequently, upon visions. Despite all of the twisting of logic and rewriting of historical record, both recent and of the past that is far removed from the present, the non-biblical dreams and visions have proved to be non-events.
Oh, people can find things supposedly fulfilled within the quatrains written by the French “seer” Nostradamus. His and others’ “prophesies” are declared by many as having come to pass, as demonstrated by the rise of Adolf Hitler and the advent of other “foretold” regimes and events.
I have heard stories of blazing fires in the major cities of the U.S., “prophesied” by both well-known and lesser-known preachers of various stripes. America was going to be judged and destroyed by God’s mighty hand in the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. Now there are predictions –and I get them constantly through e-mail–of the most horrendous fate imaginable for the United States, based upon dreams of the most detailed variety. As one example, dream date-setters missed January 23, 2006, on just such a prediction. A married couple saw at the time all of the things we’ve been warned about –American cities aflame, getting exactly what she deserves. They saw the dreams that were almost identical, so the story goes. January 23 of that year was to be America’s judgment day. Defenders of the couples missing the target proclaimed at the time that their appeals for prayers that the Lord would spare the nation and give America another chance were likely the reason the dreams didn’t become reality.
Now, folks, may I say this as gently as possible? What sort of fodder does such dream stuff –which is always claimed to emanate from the very throne of God—give Satan’s army in this fallen world that he so effectively rules already? Is it not time to stop disseminating these bad cases of nocturnal indigestion during somnolence –or whatever is prompting such utter nonsense? Do we never learn that these are not from the Lord our God, after every single one of the “prophecy–dreams” have failed to produce a single proof of their validity?
I get them every week. If every one I’ve been sent just since January 1 of this year came true within the time allotted, you wouldn’t be reading this. But, I wouldn’t be writing it, either! We would all be finished! A bit of prayerful and well-studied speculation is within the realm of being good “watchmen,” as Jesus exhorted in Mark 13: 37 and Luke 21: 28.
We are sometimes given insights –even “visions” that validate a Bible prophecy yet future, I’ve come to understand since my own near-death experience of Good Friday, April 22, 2011. In that case, the Holy Spirit has reinforced my understanding from the Bible that the Pre-Trib Rapture is the Truth regarding God’s future Plans for His Son’s Bride, the Church. (My book HeavenVision: Glimpses into Glory, details that fully-documented event in my life. Click here to view on Amazon.
But dreams and visions that are extra-biblical –that give some “prophetic utterance,” not found in the Bible, are not right to either issue or receive. They are either bad spaghetti, absolute falsehoods, or “dreams and visions” that emanate from somewhere other than from the throne room of God.
God’s “dreams and visions,” you see, ALWAYS COME TRUE! They do so through God’s Omniscient Foreknowledge and timing, not man’s!
My apologies for seeming to scream at you in this cyber text, but we’ve got to realize that dreams and visions that are not already in God’s Word–the Bible—are, well, not from His Son, Jesus Christ, the Living Word. His prophecy ALWAYS comes true –every time, without exception. And that prophecy is based upon the consistent principles laid out plainly in the Word He left us in the form of God’s great love letter, the Holy Bible.
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Pet. 1: 19-2: 1).
I know the cry that will be forthcoming. “That same Bible says: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams’” (Acts 2:17).
Agreed. Very strong proof text that these dreams will again be in effect, following the Bible’s completion, when the last prophet wrote the last prophecy.
But, to understand Acts 2:17, we must also understand that the following, in this New Testament passage, is taken from the Old Testament, which puts it in proper context.
“And it shall come to pass afterward, [that] I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (Joel 2:28).
This is what is meant by the above Scripture, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” Scripture must be interpreted by Scripture. Scripture must be looked at in total context; it cannot be dissected and used any way the user wishes.
So what does this earlier passage in Joel say, to give context to the latter in Acts? The key is given by the words: “And it shall come to pass afterward…” Specifically, the operative word is “afterward.”
The Word of God plainly teaches in the preceding 27 passages and before that the day of the Lord–the tribulation–must first have taken place. These wondrous “dreams and visions” for a time yet future are for the glorious days of the millennium!
Still, I realize I will get all kinds of arguments about this. So, let me just ask those who would do the rock throwing: “Where are your dreams and visions that have come 100 percent–or even 10 percent–true, by Bible standards, God’s standards?”
These exercises in hyperbole and sensationalism must stop, for the sake of the Gospel of Christ. Let us simply watch and try to determine the times and seasons we are in, so far as God’s prophetic timeline is concerned. But, let us do so through God’s microscope of Bible truth. Let’s not try to build personal reputations upon false prognostications –or bad pizza.
The Armageddon Magnet
When Uncle Jed Clampett, out shooting some “food,” pierced the ground with his musket ball, up come a bubbling crude. Black gold. Soon the oil men descended upon the Clampetts, and … well, who in America in his or her 40s, 50s and beyond doesn’t know the rest of the story…
It happened for real in the early 1900s in the United States. Texas, Oklahoma, and other points around the nation saw a rush to their oil field discoveries. It was like a magnet that drew the barons of industry to the fields. They went wild with the prospect of powering an economy that would bring riches like no other people of any other nation had ever experienced. The oil magnet was irresistible–and quickly turned to an absolute essential. The greed that followed the rush to achieve oil procurement created a monopoly that the federal government stepped in to break apart. John D. Rockefeller created a family dynasty from his oil dealings that continues to affect, literally, the world’s economy in ways that are difficult to fully comprehend.
“Big oil” today continues to be labeled as the chief culprit in, if not fomenting, certainly causing, the continuation of conflict–especially in the Middle East. I hate to agree with the liberal mantra against the major oil interests, but must be a realist, and admit that too often the love of money –which God’s Word terms “the root of all evil”–is at the heart of much mischief in the Middle East and other areas that contain beneath their surfaces the black gold industry seeks out so more wealth can be generated.
At the same time, each of us is the benefactor of such grasp for wealth and power. Every time we start our engines or flick the light switches, we are giving a tacit nod of approval to “big oil.”
I do not see this as an intrinsically bad thing. Like you, I enjoy being cool in the summer and warm in the winter. I love getting in my car and going comfortably and quickly to wheresoever I wish, as opposed to having to go out into the barn and hitch up the horses to a buckboard for an hour’s, rough, jostling ride into town. The Creator of all things put the resources there to be used. He gave the brainpower to develop the petroleum sources of energy, and granted the acumen to develop all of the derivative spin-offs thereof.
Man, as he always does, has perverted things to make the blessing something that is quickly turning into a curse for us all. The lust for the black, liquid wealth in order to keep the engines of money-making powered, is, like the most powerful magnet one can imagine, drawing mankind toward the final war of the age.
With the political left in America and around the world getting their way about nixing development of nuclear energy and any alternative source they deem unhealthy to the environment –whether there is true altruism in their motivation or whether it is for political base-building—the fact is, availability of oil at a reasonably feasible cost is depleting by the hour. There lies ahead a point of critical mass for the explosion that is coming.
That critical mass will come; I’m convinced God’s prophetic Word says, when that petroleum magnet draws all nations who will meet in one spot on the planet where the rapidly dwindling, feasibly accessible, reserves will still be pooled beneath the surface. From this point in time, at least, it seems God will use man’s greed as a catalyst and instrument of judgment: “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” (Rev. 16:16).
Developments in the oil-rich Middle East, at whose heart, of course, sits Israel, the No. 1 signal of where we are on God’s prophetic timeline, are things to closely watch as future weeks and months unfold.
Orwell’s Nightmare in View
Let me preface this commentary with the thought that when it comes to conspiracy theories and clandestine plots, you will find me among the last of those who observe these prophetic times to latch on to such fear-fetching’s. Chattering about the Tri-lateral Commission, the Bilderberg group, the Council on Foreign Relations, or even Yale’s Skull and Bones –all talk of these things usually sends me veering from the cabal engaged in such rumination. The conspiracy to consider, so far as humanistic drive toward one-world government and the like is concerned, is that ongoing desire of Lucifer to put his throne above the Stars of God. Satan is the real conspiracy-maker!
We find his conspiracy-making within the following Scriptures.
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isa. 14:12-14).
This is the conspiratorial evil conglomerate about whom we, as Christians, should be concerned. Here’s the familiar exhortation God gives us through the Apostle Paul:
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints…” (Eph. 6:11-18).
With all of that laid down as prerequisite to looking into our troubled times, we have to agree with many who believe that Orwellian developments continue apace. Satan is observably shaping the humanistic drive to return to Babel. George Orwell, of course, was the English writer most famous for his dark, futuristic novel, 1984.
The year was, as the novel’s title indicates—1984. At the time of the book’s release in 1947, Orwell’s fictional account portrayed a time quite in the future. Orwell’s story portrayed a world divided into dictatorships. The dictator that enslaved most of the western world involved –not surprisingly for an English writer of his time—England, and London, in particular. It is fascinating, therefore, that developments in our time involving governmental controls that might someday provide machinery of world-encompassing dictatorship, seem to be spawned in Great Britain.
I have mentioned a number of times in my commentaries the closed-circuit television technologies that have exploded, especially in Great Britain. London, as well as most larger cities in England, has become a prototype for the surveillance society of the future. Although his arrival is tardy, Orwell’s Big Brother approaches.
Government in the UK continues to march toward Orwell’s world, despite considerable opposition. Many efforts to tighten down travel and other interactions among Britain’s citizenry continues.
Great Britain now has in place a civil ban on anti-social behavior. This is supposed to assuage the more petty criminal activities, like minor theft, hooliganism, and rowdiness in general. Known as the ASBO (Anti-Social Behavior Order), it is being used to point fingers of anti-social behavior charges at anyone who disagrees with civil order within the state. This is not unlike Hitler’s Germany of the 1930s, whereby national socialism came into play in the hands of the Nazis, leading up to marginalizing anyone and everyone –including those holding to Judeo-Christian values from the Bible.
And, the Orwellian knot tightens, strangling what small degree of personal liberty remains in Great Britain. The noose snuffs the life from liberty, incrementally. Not unlike humanism and secularism has snuffed light from Christianity, which once shone brightly throughout Britannia.
So, seeing the Luciferian conspiracy grow to ever-increasing dimensions as of late, perhaps I should not be so quick to dismiss, out of hand, reports of FEMA detention camps, coffins prepared for those who oppose the U.S. government in a coming major rebellion and the like. Certainly, thinking on the recent use of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to pinpoint and control political opponents of the liberal, leftist view of things, and the presidential administration’s cover-ups of things involved with Benghazi, and a number of other unconstitutional actions, our government looks more and more like a tin horn dictatorship.
When considered alongside all of the other prophetic signals that the real Big Brother is on his way, there is good reason for us who name the name of Christ to look up and lift up our heads, for our redemption draws near (Luke 21:28).