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Yearly Archives: 2013
Anyone who has read George Orwell’s 1947 novel, 1984, can’t forget the draconian methodologies the tyrannical regime inflicted upon the people of the areas of London and other places. “Big Brother” was watching everyone and everything. That ominous terms continues to reverberate within today’s vernacular. So does the concept of the ever-vigilant watchers of the citizenry continue to haunt us?
Government kept everyone under its eyes and thumb while Planet Earth divided into separate spheres of total domination. Chaos on a global scale drove people to first accept, then welcome, such controls, although the time came when the order became much worse than the chaos it quelled. Many will remember the hoopla –particularly those who read the prophecy books leading up to that much ballyhooed year. I was one such reader (and writer) of the speculation on how close we might be to the mark of the beast, etc. The Cold War was in full bloom, and Ronald Reagan was accused by his opponents, both in this country and around the world, of having an itchy trigger finger. Computers were on the rise, technology and knowledge was on the exponential increase. All looked in place for world crisis that might call for Orwell’s Big Brother to raise his ugly head.
It is easy, in retrospect, to see that much had to come into the mix of endtime elements, before the Orwellian-like society prophesied by John, under Holy Spirit inspiration—could come to fruition.
It is with recognition that those speculations leading up to 1984 presented room for all the phenomenal developments since, that it is wise to not go overboard, thinking and proclaiming that there is nothing else in the sense of stage-setting that can come about in order to issue in the time John foretold: “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six” (Rev. 13:16-18).
Development of the Internet; satellite and other communications technologies; the saturation of personal computer knowledge and use; the intertwining of banking through instant electronic funds transfer: all have come so far since 1984 as to make it clear that the decade of the 1980s –even the 1990s, comprised but a pioneering era. The analogy of those years could be made to the development of the steam engine and trains of the 1900s, leading to the age of modern technologies that gave us jet travel and beyond.
The factor that now enters into the equation of calculating when might arrive the God-foretold Big Brother system given in Revelation 13: 16-18 is the worldwide terrorism that threatens us. Nowhere has the threat been more pronounced than in London, which was the setting for much of Orwell’s novel. One such report from a number of years ago indicated the threat that still exists there today.
“LONDON – Police thwarted a devastating terrorist plot on Friday, discovering two Mercedes loaded with nails packed around canisters of propane and gasoline set to detonate and kill possibly hundreds in London’s crowded theater and nightclub district…” (Paisley Dodds, “London police foil major terror plot,” Associated Press, June 28, 2007).
Britain, in particular, has been the target for the Mid-East and other terrorist organizations. Whether this was an act of amateurs or from the mind of Al Qaida types, the fact seems to be that London, in particular, is the favorite targets in the western world for those who are determined to get their way through deadly violence.
It isn’t merely coincidental that England –particularly London, has governmental eyes in ubiquitous fashion like no other place on the planet. The news article reported further:
“[The London authorities] had the benefit of footage from closed-circuit TV cameras, hoping the surveillance network that covers much of central London will help them track down the driver of the Mercedes. The CCTV footage would be compared with license plate recognition software, British anti-terror police Chief Peter Clarke said. There are 160 security cameras in the Westminster Council, the district encompassing Piccadilly Circus and the Haymarket area, alone” (Dodds, AP).
Orwell, uncannily, had the city pegged that would have the most Big Brother like set up from his perspective of looking at the future. It is interesting to wonder if terrorism might one day soon provide the desperation and chaos that will cause the citizens on a global scale to cry for “peace and safety” in a loud enough collective voice to bring in the prophesied regime of Revelation 13.
Jesus foretold the time when that Orwellian orgy of control gets fully underway.
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matt. 24:21).
The perfect prophetic storm is upon this last-time generation. To understand the darkly serious truth of America’s tinkering in the matter of forcing Israel to make human peace with its enemies, we must delve heavily into the relevant prophetic Scriptures. We begin by seeing the peace arrangement prophesied by the prophet Daniel:
“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Dan. 9: 26-27).
The great prophet Isaiah foretold the ramifications for Israel and by extension the entire world: “Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it” (Isa. 28:14-18).
Jesus himself prophesied Israel’s great trouble, which was previously given by Jeremiah the prophet as recorded in Jeremiah 30: 7. Jesus forewarned the following:
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matt. 24: 15-21).
Jesus foretells that there is coming the worst time in human history, and that time will be during the seven years immediately preceding His second advent –when He literally returns to the planet to put an end to Armageddon, then set up His millennial throne atop Zion at Jerusalem. Keep in mind that this time is after the holocaust of the Nazi regime and Adolf Hitler. The “prince that shall come” –Antichrist—will perpetrate horrors upon the Jews far worse than the Fuehrer perpetrated!
The question is this: Seeing as how the Lord of heaven always gave warning before pending judgments of the past, is it not logical that He would give even more pronounced warning in the times leading up to the era of His wrath and judgment, which Jesus, who is God himself, said will be the worst time of all human history? And, this brings us to the subject of this essay, “the perfect prophetic storm.”
To repeat the earlier assessment of what is going on in the world today –the strange, volatile times in which we of this generation find ourselves: It seems another perfect storm is coalescing while America’s interference in God’s plan for Israel is taking place. It is a storm that is part geophysical, part socioeconomic, and, to those of us who view Bible prophecy as literal, totally spiritual in the many fronts pulsing from its center.
Nature on the rampage over the past several years coincides closely with America’s and the Quartet’s (U.S., E.U., U.N., and Russia) attempts to force the making of a Palestinian nation upon land that is Israel’s by divine right. The geophysical upheavals have been on the increase in intensity, while America gets more deeply involved in formulating a peace agreement between Israel and her neighbors. The “Roadmap to Peace” has metamorphosed into a process that now demands that Israel give up not only land she has won with each succeeding attack from her enemies, but that Israel divide Jerusalem, allowing the new Palestinian state, when instituted, to make eastern Jerusalem its capital.
As I’ve written before, the action is the same as poking the Almighty in the apple of His omnipotent eye,. The action will not stand. I believe we are seeing not God’s judgment and wrath at this point, but His solemn warning of things to come. The perfect storm is thus brewing. It has been doing so for several years.
Hurricane Katrina boiled to the surface on August 23, 2005, just off the Horn of Africa, became a 175 mph hurricane on August 28 in the Gulf of Mexico, and slammed into New Orleans and coastlines surrounding that city. The storm claimed a total of 1,836 confirmed dead, with 705 missing. It was the most costly hurricane to date at $8.96 billion.
At the time it was announced that Jerusalem was on the table for division, thus to allow the Palestinians to build a capital there, California’s northern coast exploded in fires from more than 1,000 lightning strikes, an unheard of occurrence in that area of the state. The fires raged south and westward,requiring billions of dollars to attempt containment.
Floods gushed through America’s heartland at the same time, claiming lives and huge portions of land, much of the prime farmland made useless by the flooding. The plains, Mississippi Valley, and much of the Ohio Valley and other areas of middle America have suffered with tornado outbreaks since that time, causing losses in life and property on an ever grater scale. Following Katrina, Hurricane Gustav, followed on its heels by Hurricane Ike, brought further devastation, affecting petroleum supplies and uprooting people by the thousands. The southeast United States suffered by droughts, in some regions several years long.
While the American secretary of state continues to travel to Israel and other places, twisting the arms of Israeli leadership to divide Jerusalem, and otherwise give land for peace, the perfect prophetic storm continues to coalesce in matters involving the national and, by extension, the global economic markets.
Corporate giants once thought invincible against the blasts of deadly economic storms are in the headlines today. Todd Strandberg correctly assessed the extreme measures being taken to try to prevent the financial part of the perfect prophetic storm’s effects from wreaking total economic collapse.
Todd wrote some years ago:
“September 2008 will easily go down as the darkest month in U.S. financial history. We have never seen so many large financial institutions falter in such a short period of time:
1. Mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken over by the U.S. government.
2. Lehman Brothers Holdings succumbed to the subprime mortgage crisis. It is the biggest bankruptcy filing in history.
3. Merrill Lynch was saved from bankruptcy by a shot-gun merger with Bank of America.
4. The world’s largest Insurer American International Group was saved from certain collapse by a $85 billion federal loan…” (Todd Strandberg, raptureready.com, Nearing Midnight, Monday Sept. 22, 2008).
The perfect prophetic storm rages as likely precursor to the truly cataclysmic tempests that will come upon a wicked, rebellious world ripe for judgment.
Jesus Christ is the only shelter to be found from that coming time of unprecedented turbulence upon Planet Earth.
The Lord promised those who accept His offer of salvation to be removed from that horrendous time (Revelation 3:10). He said the following: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (Jn. 14:1-3).
Producers of programming for the networks like The History Channel, Discovery, and National Geographic air documentaries from time to time that are titled something like “The Perfect Storm.” The documentaries look at the several large storms in the northeast United States in 1991 that coalesced off the coast of New England in the Atlantic and swept onshore as one, massive blow. The video shows then-President George Herbert Walker Bush’s home in Kennebunkport, Maine, being assaulted by the turbulent Atlantic.
The “perfect storm” was raging along the northeastern U.S. coast at the same time the Bush administration was involved in negotiating Israel’s future in Spain. Here we are, more than two decades later, following another Bush administration that positioned itself in the middle of Israel’s business, with then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice trying to get Israel to divide its land and the city of Jerusalem in order to create a Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state. It seems another perfect storm moves toward coalescing while this American interference in God’s plan continues to take place with Obama Administration efforts. It is a storm that is part geophysical, part socio-economic, and totally spiritual, in the view of many of us who analyze eschatological matters.
Many see as a miracle Israel’s being back as a nation-state with its own language. Hebrew was once thought lost to the Jewish people as a common language following the last diaspora around 135 A.D., when the Roman emperor Hadrian put down the Jewish insurrection and scattered the Jewish people. Yet it is again Israel’s national language, just as foretold for the time near Christ’s return.
America has been at the forefront of Israel’s birth into modernity. There can be no doubt, upon looking into the history of Israel’s coming back into its God-given land, that the U.S. has been first the midwife at its birth, then its protector–in human terms—assuring its right to exist among the nations of the world.
If I may do a mini-commercial for my book that came out with Harvest House Publishers in February of 2009, titled The American Apocalypse: Is the United States in Prophecy? I must say that while preparing the manuscript, my research brought home to me the stunning proof of America’s God-ordained destiny. No one can explain to any degree of satisfaction why America isn’t mentioned by name in the Bible. There are many speculations and postulations, but the answer to the question about why the United States is not mentioned in Bible prophecy continues to elude. The answer will have to await the unfolding of history. However, modern Israel is living proof that America was established for God’s great purposes. Those are: 1) the capability to preach the gospel message to the whole world; and 2) to bring Israel to birth on May 14, 1948, then to act as its protector as the Jewish state stood on its feet, as prophesied by Ezekiel, chapter 37.
America is living testimony to the absolute truth of God’s faithfulness to fulfill His prophetic Word. America is the most materially blessed and one of the most spiritually blessed nations ever to exist. God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3 is thus 100 percent validated: “I will bless those who bless thee, and curse those who curse thee.”
The United States has been the recipient of the first part of that promise. Israel’s satanically driven enemies have been recipients of the second part of that promise, and lie strewn in abject desolation along the dark corridors of history. The proof of America’s coming to birth with a foreordained destiny planned by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, leaps from recent history in fashion that is thunderous. The United States has blessed Israel, and as a result, this nation has brought mankind from the dark recesses of the past to the brightness invented by its illuminated genius. Since the time Benjamin Franklin was shocked by lightning while he experimented with a kite and a key, thus–I am convinced–infusing the soon-to-be founding father with special ideas directly from the finger of God, this nation has electrified –literally—the whole world.
The flip side of America’s comportment as of late, however, is as frightening as its brilliant inventiveness and contribution to modern man has been electrifying. This country, so key to bringing fulfillment of end-times prophecy into focus in human, earthly terms by helping put Israel at stage center on the global scene, at present is now key to setting in motion the time of tribulation –the last seven years of human history preceding Christ’s second advent. The
“Roadmap to Peace,” the brain-child of geopolitical strategists in America and the European Union, is pushing forward the, perhaps, predecessor to what God calls “the covenant made with death and hell”.
As a result, God’s perfect prophetic storm of forewarning of wrath to come is blowing across this nation. Wrath and judgment could be just around the corner of the next crisis. We will look more deeply next week into the tempest that is sweeping America and the world toward a destiny foretold by Jesus and the Old and New Testament prophets.
Jesus’ words of forewarning ring in spiritually attuned ears today as never before.
When His disciples came to Him on the Mount of Olives and asked the Lord when He would come again, and what would be the sign of His coming, the very first and second indicators He gave in answer were the following: “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:4-5).
I’m sometimes teased by my family –those closest to me–when I get on a soapbox to talk about Bible prophecy, world conditions, and what the Bible says about this or that. Perhaps, sometimes, my pontification is espoused just to be heard, rather than being of any spiritual good. We are all human, and we say things that mean little. We sometimes waste our and others’ time with our verbiage.
Jesus’ words were powerful every time He spoke. He wasted none of His or others’ time, like we do with our verbosity on occasion. So, when the Lord who created all that is –who IS the Word (John 1:1) says that the first sign to look for in terms of watching for His return is those who come saying “I am Christ,” we had better take heed. Thus, because what follows is the second sign –deception of an unusually virulent sort.
Jesus, by forewarning that people would come in His name, saying “I am Christ,” is, I believe, saying two things we should carefully analyze. First, He is saying that people will come in His name. They will invoke the name of Christ to get the ears and minds of many interested and to encourage belief in what they are claiming. Second, Jesus meant, I am convinced, that these people will be saying: 1) they, also, believe in Jesus Christ; and, 2) some will also claim that they are actually Jesus. These will claim to be Jesus, the Christ, returned to earth.
The first of these indicators are in abundance, in my view. As a matter of fact, those signs are right in front of us every time we channel through our television programming. The false teachers and false prophets are there every night. They claim Christ as being at the center of all their ministries’ activities. In the name of Jesus Christ, they preach and teach false doctrines that feed on viewers who believe the lies that God is like a genie in a bottle. He will give us anything and everything we want, if we but use the power that is in our tongues. We speak it, and God must fulfill our fondest desires. We put our “faith” into action by sowing a seed –usually dollars in significant amounts—into their ministries. They claim we are guaranteed healing, no matter what, if we just believe strongly enough in our own “faith” that God will heal upon command. They sound for real, because they use the name of our Blessed Lord Jesus.
They make merchandise of the foolish in their audiences, just as the Apostle Peter forewarned:
“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. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not” (2 Pet. 2:1-3).
The second of the first two forewarnings Jesus gave involves evil ones who will, the Lord said, say, “I am Christ.” The first meaning of that statement is, I believe, that these will say –in their deceptiveness—that Jesus is indeed Lord. They will be deceivers, nonetheless. But, the application to Jesus’ prophecy I would like to consider here is the other meaning wrapped up in the statement “I am Christ.”
There have been many who have claimed the title of “Christ” down through the centuries. However, that claim has become particularly pronounced in these latter times, as we see all the other end-time indicators simultaneously developing, and coming wave after wave –like convulsing birth pangs of a woman in labor. The following excerpted article from a number of years ago will illustrate the point [there has been a proliferation of such reports since]:
“At first glance, the congregation gathered in a warehouse in Doral, Fla., seems like a typical Hispanic evangelical group. There’s the 10-piece band, the singing and swaying, the whooping and hollering. But look a little more closely. There’s not a cross in sight. The lectern is emblazoned with a near replica of the U.S. presidential seal, except that it reads in Spanish, government of god on earth. Off to the side stand three burly guys in dark suits with Secret
Service-style earpieces. When a door by the stage opens, the guards leap into action. They surround the man with slicked-back hair who emerges and escort him to his seat. When the crowd spots him, it goes wild. People chant, ‘Lord! Lord! Lord!’ It quickly becomes clear that they’re referring to him. ‘It’s Jesus Christ himself!’ a preacher on stage announces. ‘Let’s welcome Jesus Christ Man!’ In the rapturous eyes of his flock, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is, in fact, the second coming of Christ. As the head of the Growing in Grace International Ministry, he presides over a sprawling organization that includes more than 300 congregations in two dozen countries, from Argentina to Australia. He counts more than 100,000 followers and claims to reach millions more through a 24-hour TV channel, a radio show and several Web sites…” (Arian Campo-Flores, “Meet the Minister Who Says He Is Jesus Christ,” by Newsweek, Feb. 5, 2007).
Jesus foretold that these two things –counterfeit Christians and counterfeit christs–will mark the days just before His return. He told believers how to react to such deception: “And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect” (Mk. 13:21-22).
Point is that, just as the Lord predicted, these deceivers are among us –and are right up in the face of this generation. Sadly, rather than following Jesus’ instruction, “Believe him not,” regarding any person who makes these false claims, huge numbers within Christianity are embracing the deceivers and the feel-good gospel they proclaim.
A sure signal –among all the others—that we are nearing the moment when Christ will say: “Come up hither!” (Rev 4: 1).
Looking at the world around us from so many different viewpoints separates and divides the human community, engendering hatreds, wars, and death. Jesus, speaking while on the Mount of Olives one day, prophesied the degree to which the differences would explode in the time just before His return. “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places” (Matt. 24:7).
We have pointed out often that the word “nation” here is from the Greek word ethnos, translated “ethnic” in English. Jesus was forewarning that the tribulation era will produce great hatreds that will be centered on racial and cultural differences of world view. These unprecedented uprisings of this sort will, Jesus foretold, eventuate in famines and pestilence—the inevitable result of all-out war.
Although we of this generation are not in the Tribulation era, about which Jesus here prophesied, we have diametrically differing worldviews on the national and international scenes that certainly must be setting the stage for the times Jesus foresaw.
The U.S. is mired in many ethnic problems and cultural differences within the various races themselves. Insistence on embracing multiculturalism by the PC crowd, motivated to their hyper level of championing the melting pot worldview by mainstream media, throws fuel on the fires of racial divides. The multicultural Nazis want Americans to stay separate, because most of these PC types are socialist-leaning globalists who want us to be citizens of the world, rather than citizens of a sovereign nation. Hyphenating, or mixing ethnic with national identities, into unique nomenclature seems designed to make America eventually forfeit national autonomy.
Worldview is being shaped in this nation to reflect the one-world builders’ blueprint for the global village, as one well-known probable second time presidential candidate put it. The worldview in question has never gone away. It is the perennial worldview that has been with mankind since Nimrod attempted to build the tower to Heaven not long after the flood of Noah’s day (read Genesis chapter 11). We see that blueprint manifested in the incessant attempts to bring everyone together in the Middle East peace process –at Israel’s expense, of course.
Jesus also prophesied that man would get himself deeper and deeper into trouble, so far as the nation state is concerned, the closer the Second Advent comes. “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves Roaring” (Lk. 21:25).
There can be little argument against the obvious. Nations are indeed in great distress today—with much perplexity. We don’t have to look at the many nations of earth to prove this fact. Our own nation is divided right down the middle on most all issues of politics and morality. People are so distressed—even perplexed—that many have promised to leave the country, if they didn’t get their way in presidential election results. Others have written fictional books, venting their anger in wishful accounts of the assassination of a president they hate.
The problems involved all boil down to one issue—worldview.
Any other view of life on this planet than God’s view is –to put it bluntly, but truthfully—wrong, and destined to produce disaster. This is true no matter the area of life. Worldview is all-important in avoidance of trouble, and in achievement of success. There isn’t space here to go into the many areas in life today to which this truth applies. So, let’s briefly look at one key issue in considering worldview that gets to the crux of the most important prophetic indicator of this late hour. The issue is modern Israel.
The geopoliticians are in perplexity about Israel and its hate-filled enemies. The diplomats have no idea where the anger truly comes from, therefore cannot begin to understand how to solve the violence and hatreds. The world’s diplomats have a worldview—or combination of worldviews—that completely leave the God of Heaven out of the equation for peace-making. The result has been more than 5,000 years of war throughout recorded history. God says “be governed by my rules, because I created all that is, and know what is best…” The earthly rulers say, “we can handle it. If there is a God, that God is existential at best. We don’t need or want him to rule over us.” This doesn’t apply, of course, to Islamic fanatics, who slavishly accept the bloody demands of their god to make war. God says that everything is His, including the land of the Middle East He chose to give to the Jews –Israel. The geopoliticians say they will decide who owns the land and who doesn’t. The result: a world that is quickly moving toward all out war—Armageddon.
The same error in worldview is within the church today, i.e., those who name the name of Christ for salvation. The worldview of most mainline denominations today say God is through with Israel. The church—that worldview proposes—is now inheritor of all promises that the Lord covenanted with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God is through with Israel, and all about Israel that is in the Bible must be spiritualized, allegorized, or treated as history already accomplished.
They proclaim –through their worldview—that the Church is going to make the world better and better, until they have made it good enough through the political and diplomatic process, in conjunction with religious, do-good projects, for Jesus to come back and take over.
They aren’t reading the same headlines I am. If the Lord has given up on Israel, then it sure is some coincidence going on. We are expected to believe that Israel just coincidentally happens to be on the front page headlines every day, in the center of a desperate cry for peace, just like God’s prophetic Word forecast. Worldview is all-important in God’s economy. God’s worldview is –as legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once put it in talking about winning—not everything. It is the only thing!
Today’s advertising puts before the world of potential buyers certain words and phrases that the psychological studies and marketing tests show will most likely induce the buyer to make purchases. FREE! Sale! Half Price Today Only! 100% Money-Back Guarantee! These seem to mesmerize the hard-core shoppers and spark in some the compulsion to purchase merchandise at a frenzied pace. Sometimes–dare I say, even usually—the merchandisers fail to come near living up to the words of their huckstering. I should know; the arena of advertising and public relations/promotion was my livelihood many years ago.
This is not to say those engaged in the advertising business intentionally go out to deceive people, just that they believe wholeheartedly in applying the apothegm, caveat emptor: “Let the buyer beware.” They don’t spend a lot of time worrying about whether the promises are fully realized. The bottom line is the only line that really matters in the ad business. Words mean things in this fallen world. But, the things they mean are in the fallen minds of the beholders–i.e., a man’s “word” is not necessarily as good as his bond, as the old saying goes. You had best get the deal locked up tightly with a contract or agreement. And, even that doesn’t always make the deal secure. Consider, for example, the signed document guaranteeing “peace in our time” Britain’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain thought he secured with Adolf Hitler in 1939.
Now, after that bit of cynicism, let me turn our thoughts to an arena where a word is better than any earthly bond. I’m referring, of course, to the heavenly economy, and to God’s Word, the Holy Bible. No more manifest proof of God’s Word being 100% reliable can be found than through examining prophecy given to mankind by Jesus and the Old and New Testament prophets.
The first coming of Jesus was so meticulously prophesied that it took satanically inspired willfulness on the part of the pious Jewish religionist’s to deny at the time of their visitation that He was the Messiah. Their denial was the same people make today, and it is a denial of the veracity of God’s Word. We can say this without fear of contradiction, as they say, because Jesus IS the Word–and He is denied each and every time anyone claims that there are many ways to God. Jesus is the Word; Jesus is the only way to God the Father and heaven for eternity.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-3).
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Col. 1:13-17).
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
We have only to look at the line-up of headlines to understand that our Lord is indeed the awesome God of creation. He is the one and only being who knows the end from the beginning. Prophecy coming to pass proves He, alone, is God. Whether considering the prophecy of Daniel’s 70 weeks –a predicted time-frame of 483 years that proved 100% accurate in the first 69 of those weeks, which not even the strongest naysayers can refute unless they speciously claim it was written by another man named Daniel AFTER the crucifixion–or considering Israel again being a nation, the Roman Empire reviving, a Mid-East peace plan being in process, or Israel becoming a cup of trembling to the whole world, God’s Word is validated as unerring truth.
End-times matters have eventuated precisely as given by Jesus and the Old and New Testament prophets to this point. Events prophesied to conclude human history will “100% Guaranteed” continue until God remakes heaven and earth. You have God’s Word –the Bible– on it!
My partner in raptureready.com, Todd Strandberg, and I were exiting a restaurant in Atlanta some years ago with some family-close friends. A man tried to grab my daughter, who protested and moved away from him. It was a few seconds before I, being blind, realized what was going on. The man–about 40-50 years old—wanted to help her in the taxi so he could then panhandle us for money. He was quite persistent, and so were we. No “gold” would be sifting from us to him this night, especially after having, uninvited, grabbed the girl we dearly love.
Some will no doubt e-mail to say we were unfeeling or even un-Christian in our refusal to hand over the money. He was hungry and we didn’t feed him. Didn’t Jesus prophesy something about that somewhere? He will tell those who fail to feed the hungry to depart into everlasting darkness?
I assure that if he were hungry, we would have taken him back into the restaurant and bought him a meal. He wasn’t hungry, but wanted the “gold” that he could manipulate from us through his quite disturbing technique of panhandling.
This incident set in motion much cogitation. When my memory of the unpleasantry at last co-mingled with another of my pet peeves, the thought congealed. Both of these–which are among my least favorite things, are wrapped up in one and the same term, though one is physical and the other cerebral/spiritual.
The term I want to look at is “panning”.
The word “panhandling” means asking strangers for money. It comes from a time when prospectors handled pans in the process of “panning” for gold. They would sift the water and gravel, until only the gold was left glimmering in the pan. Gold, of course, was a means of exchange in the mining towns of the day when the gold rush was taking place in California and other places. “Panhandling” has come to mean, in more modern times, begging for money rather than working for a living. It is quite annoying to experience panhandlers.
And, this is where the two pet peeves conjoin for yours truly. The term “panning” is at the heart of the irritation. Time and time again I hear the same thing from those of the theologically wishy-washy sort. Whether doing interviews on radio or television, or whether in group or individual discussions, when the subject of Bible prophecy is discussed, a common declaration inevitably spews forth from someone. It is issued with a smile or chuckle, and is supposed to end conversation on the topic; you can tell by the finality of tone as the chuckle comes with the words: “I’m a pan-millennialist. I believe it will just all pan out in the end,” is the declaration that the one speaking it obviously believes to be both brilliant and original.
I’ve heard it a hundred times, easily. And, I’m not exaggerating. “It will just all pan out in the end…”
This, to my mind, is spiritual panhandling. It is taking the easy way out. It is being too lazy to study God’s Word on the matters of eschatology, endtime things. The activity implied by the declaration “it will just all pan out in the end” surrounds the individual with the slovenly attitude: “I just don’t want to think about it, because it isn’t important.”
Oh? Is it not? Let’s look for a moment at what is said about prophecy yet future, relative to what should be the Christian’s attitude.
Jesus gave a broad overview and even some specifics during His Olivet discourse. This teaching on what would happen from the time of the temple’s destruction and Jerusalem’s devastation until He returns in the second coming was recorded in Matthew, chapter 24, Mark, chapter 13, and Luke, chapter 21. The prophecies were given without hesitation, with parables being used only sparingly, for effect–i.e., they were meant to be taken literally, and they were powerful in their future ramifications for those who would endure them.
Jesus said, after laying out what would happen from then to the end of the tribulation:
“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matt. 24:42). “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.” And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch” (Mk. 13:35-37).
The Gospel of Luke then captures the most profound words Jesus spoke in this regard, in my view. The Lord was speaking directly to our time, I’m convinced:
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Lk. 21:28).
Jesus asked a quite disturbing question. It gets right to the heart of the feel-good, do-good gospel we are hearing today from the panhandlers of God’s Word, who smilingly predict a growing movement toward some great revival they “feel” is coming. This, while every indicator states that Christians are looking more and more like the fallen world around them.
These same purveyors of the pablum that the Church is making the world better and better says that Jesus didn’t want His people to worry or think about prophecy–which incidentally is at least 27% of the Bible.
These false teachers must be cocooned within Jesus’ troubling question: “…when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Lk. 18:8b).
Those who hold to the “it will all just all pan out in the end” mindset are dangerously close to the attitude Jesus said would mark the Laodicean church –the church for which the Lord reserved His greatest condemnation:
“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Rev. 3:13-19).
Panhandling in the Bible prophecy sense is lukewarmness, which makes God sick. It does me, too.
America declared independence from its British masters 237 years ago. The struggle that ensued was mighty, and painful, even to the point of loss of many lives. The result of the savage war for independence was a republic that the patriot Benjamin Franklin was overheard to say the American’s people at last had, if they could keep it.
It was almost as if Franklin could look down through the decades of the nation’s future and foresee the difficulties the United States would encounter. And, encounter them we have –and we are continuing to encounter them.
There is one primary reason we the people who make up the United States of America are slamming into things that beg the question: Can we keep this republic the founding fathers handed us? The reason: We have, as a whole, again declared our independence –this time from the God of Heaven.
We have determined to allow a small segment of our society to create a culture where any god but God rules. We consider banning the Creator’s name from every public venue as perhaps the fair thing to do. We have, through our acquiescence, made the Supreme Court the absolute master of most matters involving faith.
It has been permitted to legislate from that bench the way we must carry our beliefs in public. The Supreme Court’s decisions –for the most part—boil down to allowing any name but the name of Jesus Christ to be uttered in public schools and other governmental and public forums.
At the same time, the federal courts look the other way while certain state courts install religious inculcation within public school curricula. Of course, the religious inculcation involves the Islamic, or native American, or any other religion, rather than the one, true way to God and Heaven –the belief in Christ for salvation of the soul.
While God has been incrementally removed from public schools and governmental institutions, so has rational behavior, previously guided by the moral compass provided by God’s Word, gone the way of common sense that has deserted every civilization that has rejected the Creator of all things. The result is an increase in illicit drug use among even the very youngest among our numbers. Sexual deviance and hedonism have corrupted most every neighborhood in the nation, not just inner-city areas, where crime and illegitimacy made them to be considered America’s cultural cesspools.
The evidence that this nation is beginning to reap the whirlwind to which we have sown the seeds of anti-God legislation comes to the surface of today’s headlines in a dramatic display of satanic influence.
One such proof of what has been the results of all of this is the recent beating death of Delbert Belton, a WWII veteran who was a hero-survivor of the Battle of Okinawa, one of America’s most hard-won victories against Japan. The two black teenagers beat the 89 year-old man, who died later in a Spokane, Washington hospital.
America is no longer the independent bastion of liberty that was envisioned, declared on that July 4th 237 years ago, then won through much patriotic bloodshed.
Franklin’s concern seems very close to coming to pass. It looks like we the people might not be able to keep that republic he and the others sought to assure by the institution of the United States Constitution. This is because we have, as a people, through our malfeasance, failed to take steps to stop the erosion of freedom in this once great nation.
The most manifest point of malfeasance by we the people is our incrementally turning our backs on God, and on His one and only way to redemption. That redemption–whether for individuals or entire civilizations can be found in only one source. Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the father but by me” (John 14:6).
He said further about those who looked to Him for redemption: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free… If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:32, 36).
All true liberty, thus freedom, must be centered in Jesus Christ. The further individuals or nations remove from Him, the more enslaved they become. The ultimate end of such alienation from the God of Heaven will be the regime ruled for a brief time by the world’s most horrific tyrant –Antichrist (read Revelation, chapter 13).
Am I suggesting that we must turn this country into a Christian theocracy? No, but I’m putting forth the Bible truth that all men, women, and children must be free to come to the Savior for salvation. There should be no governmental impediment to that ability to hear God’s truth –and His call. This freedom is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, but has, through deliberate misinterpretation, been overridden by the U.S. Supreme Court.
America –as any people—must turn to Christ. There is no other way to true freedom –liberty found only in the Son of the Living God. Let’s declare our dependence upon Him. That’s our only hope. That’s America’s only hope.
Adolf Hitler wrote Mein Kampf while sitting out a jail term. He dictated to Rudolph Hess about “my struggle,” as the book title’s translation from German to English goes. The Apostle Paul told Christians about our struggle in this world. Strangely, it is the same struggle faced by arguably the most infamous mass murderer who ever lived.
The source of this struggle is at the heart of everything we do in this life. It is the source that must be dealt with, and that is why we see the many signals of the end of the age taking place around our lives, our neighborhoods, our nation, and the world. The increasing intensity of the conflict, and the wave after wave of assaults by the source point directly to Christ’s soon return.
“And, when ye shall see all of these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your head, for your redemption draweth nigh” (Lk. 21:28). This prophecy by Jesus should alert every believer who is attuned to God’s prophetic Word and who is keeping up with local and world conditions that these things, in combination, and with the frequency and intensity with which they are increasing, constitute a sure signal that we are at the end of the age; the world is on the brink of the beginning of the tribulation.
Spiritual warfare is the struggle; Satan is the source that keeps it stirred –indeed, is stepping up the conflict. Our struggle, like Hitler’s, is wrapped up in the following: “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” (Eph. 6:12).
The all-important difference between the fuhrer’s struggle with these dark powers in high places and the wrestling match experienced with them by Christians is that those who know Jesus Christ as Savior can’t be possessed by them. Hitler obviously was possessed by them, and he welcomed their guidance and influence.
He once told of being alone in his office when he came face to face with the “ultimate man.” From this supernatural visitation, the Nazi form of the Aryan Uberman (superman) was born. We know the result of that encounter. The terrors of Dachau, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Auschwitz-Birkenau, and other hellish chambers of horrors were spawned.
There isn’t much I agree with the Catholic Church about, but regarding Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin being possessed by demons, I can find common ground. I found one interesting report in this regard:
“Adolf Hitler and Russian leader Stalin were possessed by the Devil, the Vatican’s chief exorcist has claimed. Father Gabriele Amorth who is Pope Benedict XVI’s ‘caster out of demons’ made his comments during an interview with Vatican Radio. Father Amorth said: ‘Of course the Devil exists and he can not only possess a single person but also groups and entire populations. I am convinced that the Nazis were all possessed. All you have to do is think about what Hitler – and Stalin did. Almost certainly they were possessed by the Devil. You can tell by their behaviour and their actions, from the horrors they committed and the atrocities that were committed on their orders. That’s why we need to defend society from demons’” (Nick Pisa, “Hitler and Stalin were possessed by the Devil, says Vatican exorcist.” The Daily Mail, August 28, 2006).
We don’t have to think very hard or look very long to find Hitler-like atrocities in our own time. Consider the executed Saddam Hussein and his now-deceased notorious sons. They committed heinous crimes against humanity that can only be described as demonic. Consider the militants of Islam who send their own children out with explosives strapped to their bodies to murder Jews and others. The struggle against the rulers of the darkness of this world isn’t getting any easier. It is observably increasing with frequency and intensity –the birthpangs that Jesus foretold in His Olivet Discourse.
Those rulers in high places are at the heart of the Iranian plans for the rest of us. The nuclear program is, no doubt, directly from the mind of the Prince of Persia, against whom the prophet Daniel’s angel wrestled.
This struggle that is growing daily is one of the reasons I wrote my novel, The Rapture Dialogues: Dark Dimension. We must be aware of these creatures, who Jesus Himself foretold will again attack humankind like they did just before the Flood: “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man” (Lk. 17:26).
We wrestle as never before against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. The struggle is a powerful signal that we are at the very end of the age.
Middle East war will explode not long after Christ’s church is taken home to God’s heavenly house. That is not to say that meanwhile there will not be military conflicts in the Mid-East region. The explosive potential for armed conflict is constantly present. At the moment, for example, Iran is trying to produce nuclear weapons, while its leaders call for Israel’s total annihilation. The Hamas terrorists are now in “legal” control of the drive toward a Palestinian state. The escalating violence in Syria as the dictator Bashar Al-Assad tries to cling to power and Israel’s determination to prevent the terrorist organization’s murderous plans in use of chemical and other weapons of mass destruction against Israel’s people threaten an expanded conflict in the region.
The Muslim Brotherhood has Egypt and the entire Arab community of nations in an uproar and verging on upheaval that could instigate World War III. That the violence could ignite that much wider conflagration is the fear of diplomats within the international community.
But no matter when war becomes full-blown on Earth, all Christians who have lived or died during the Church Age will, immediately following the Rapture, enjoy peace, joy and fulfillment beyond any that can be imagined this side of heaven. That peace will be true and everlasting!
Believers of the Church Age will, of course, stand before the Lord to be judged at the BEMA judgment seat of Christ. But, it will be a judgment of rewards, not a judgment of sins committed in the earthly life. The Lord Jesus took all of those sins to the cross with Him when He died for those who believe in Him. His sacrifice on that awful tree of crucifixion paid the sin debt in full.
Paul the Apostle gives an illustration of the race that must be run, at the end of which are the BEMA judgment and rewards that will be given. (Read 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 9:25-27; 2 Timothy 4:7-8.) He uses the example of an athletic contest. The Bible says that this judgment is one for the works done in the earthly life. Anything and everything done with the pure motive of honoring Christ will be richly rewarded in ways we cannot begin to fully understand right now. These rewards will be given in the form of crowns.
The Bible says also that unconfessed sin can result in loss of rewards at this judgment. Works done just to look good in the eyes of other people will not be accepted by the Lord as works done for Him. These works will be destroyed and only the works done with pure motive will remain.
But the BEMA judgment has nothing to do with salvation. The believer is forever secure in God’s family at the moment he or she accepts Jesus Christ as Savior. The believer will be forever with Christ in Heaven!
Sadly, and tragically, those who have rejected the Holy Spirit’s call to salvation through Jesus Christ will face another, most terrible judgment. It is called the great white throne judgment. It will take place at the end of the millennium.
Everyone at that judgment will be lost. That is, they will have rejected God’s offer of salvation and will be forever separated from God and Heaven. This judgment is for eternal punishment. Those judged will be given punishment in accordance with the evil things they have done in the earthly life. This isn’t my idea or some preacher’s idea. It is a warning straight from God’s holy, absolutely true Word.
The great, loving God doesn’t want this for anyone. He has moved Heaven and Hell to bring all men, women and children to himself. He gave His only son, Jesus Christ. What greater thing could He give? But God created us with a free will. That is, we can choose to love and obey Him, or not. It is up to us.
God’s Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity, calls all people to salvation through the shed blood of Jesus, who died for us on the cross. God desires with all His heart that you come to Him. But, the cross is the only way you can come to Him. There is none other.
Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior right this moment. He will change your life forever. He will give you peace that surpasses understanding, even while the world rages around you.
Choose heavenly peace, not earthly war. Troubling issues and events about Mid-East war and peace, as well as worry over all other prophetic signals of these last days, will then encourage you rather than frighten you.
When you see all these things begin to come to pass, you can then, “…stand up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28).