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War and Peace from Here to Eternity – Part II

The midnight of world history is quickly approaching. Our generation has heard the hoof beats of the four horses of apocalypse for some time. It was once a distant thunder. But, that thunder now grows louder by the hour. Middle East war looms despite the talk of peace that seems impossible to achieve. More and more the world community puts the blame on Israel for the lack of progress toward making earth a safer place.

Middle East oil looms as the ever-growing factor that draws the world’s attention to the region. Religious hatred is the fuse to the Mid-East bomb that could be lit at any moment. The Bible says there will come from the Middle East a certain sort of peace. But, it will be a peace that destroys many people. What a strange peace that will be.

The one the Bible says will approve and guarantee the peace with “many” will appear to be the rider on the white horse. He will be the one for whom everyone has been looking. The “many” with whom he covenants to guarantee a seven-year treaty of peace will be the same “many” he will three-and-a-half years later try his dead-level best to completely destroy. He will seek, like Hitler, to murder every Jew in the world. He will attack Israel with viciousness unmatched by any in history.

All the armies of the world will gather at Armageddon. Those troops will turn from fighting each other and join forces to try to stop Christ from returning from heaven to earth. The sun will have gone dark, while at the same time heating up many times hotter than normal. Men will be “scorched” or “burned” by the heat. Antichrist will direct military fire at the returning King of kings. This will indeed be mankind’s midnight hour!

The Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists agrees with true Bible prophecy watchers. Mideast midnight is approaching. But this fact shouldn’t worry the Christian who truly seeks to understand God’s truth. God’s truth includes the “whole word” of the Lord, not just parts of the Bible. As we’ve mentioned before in many books and commentaries, fully 28 percent of the Bible contains prophecy. About one-half of that prophetic word has already come to pass. About one-half remains to be fulfilled. In other words, 14 percent of prophecy in the Bible will yet come to pass.

God can’t lie. And therein is contained a wonderful prospect. Earthly war will soon pass into history. Peace will fill the whole earth! Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords will break through the blackness of the Mideast midnight hour. He will speak, and the raging godless human forces of earth will instantly be defeated. A new era will begin. The time of fallen human history will be vanquished, and King Jesus’ millennial reign will begin.

So, Bible prophecy ultimately presents a picture not of gloom and doom, but of glorious, joyous peace. These times in which we live are deceptive. That is, we are lulled into believing that everything is great. Christians in many places around the world are in great trials. They are murdered by the hundreds and tortured by the thousands, according to Voice of the Martyrs and other organizations who keep watch on Satan’s war against the saints. However, Christians in America today are, for the most part, as caught up in this false feeling of security as are those who do not know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

Most who name Jesus as their Lord today hear little about the coming time of tremendous tribulation for Jews and Christians (people saved during the tribulation) during the last seven years of human history. Many pastors and teachers, for one reason or another, refuse to teach these all-important truths from God’s Word. Usually, the reason this is because the pastors and teachers aren’t taught these things in the seminaries they attend.

God the Holy Spirit gave the Apostle Paul something to say to our generation about that unfaithfulness to God’s Word: “They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:4). We have grown comfortable with the “feel-goodisms” and “do-goodisms” coming from our pulpits. We don’t care to hear that horrors might be just around the corner. We want to hear about heaven, but not about hell; about how to love each other, not about how to witness to those who are lost and bound for an eternity apart from God.

This is exactly how the Bible says it will be at the end of the age. It will be earthly business as usual, with little thought for our true purpose as Christians. That purpose is to plant the seed of the Gospel so that God will reap a harvest of souls. Christ said: “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Lk. 12:40). The Lord was talking to Christians. Certainly, His church as a whole is in a time when looking for His coming in the Rapture isn’t popular.

We are told that He will return to the Mount of Olives after coming in the clouds with power and great glory. But the Bible also tells of an earlier return, not “to” the earth, but “above” the earth, in the air. The Apostle Paul prophesies as recorded in 1 Thessalonians 4:16: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”

That will be the “Come up hither” of Revelation 4:1. It will be Jesus Christ’s call to all Christians, both dead and alive, to meet Him in the air. He will take them home to His Father’s house (read John 14:2-4). It will be God the Father’s call to suppertime. Christians will go back to the Father’s house in heaven to enjoy the marriage supper of the lamb.

You don’t want to miss that meal. It will be heavenly!

War and Peace from Here to Eternity: Part I

Even after the devastating September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., by Middle Eastern terrorists, people today continue to be lulled to sleep, especially in America. For the most part, Americans are well-fed and have plenty of material things, like houses, cars and clothes. Everyday life goes on, and we are fairly comfortable with it.

When we look at the world situation today through Bible prophecy, however, it becomes clear that this Earth Age is quickly approaching its end. Even non-religious experts who watch world conditions see that the end might be near for mankind.

One of the most highly respected of these earth-watcher organizations is made up of the world’s top atomic scientists. They have a unique way of pointing out where they think we are on history’s timeline.

Some of the world’s top scientists have, since 1947, been setting the imaginary “Doomsday Clock” to warn the world how near man might be to atomic destruction. These scientists put out a publication known as “The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.” The first issue in June 1947 had on its cover a large clock. The small hand (hour hand) was set on 12 and the big hand (minute hand) was set on 7 minutes to 12. In other words, the clock was set at seven minutes until the midnight hour. The atomic scientists believe that when the hour and minute hand both reach 12 midnight, man will have completely destroyed himself through atomic warfare.

Scientists still watch world conditions carefully. They particularly keep an eye on nuclear arms developments and treaties that promise to eliminate such weapons. Whenever things look favorable for eliminating nuclear weaponry, the scientist move the minute hand farther from the 12 on the Doomsday Clock. Whenever things heat up in the arms race, they move it forward toward the 12.

Since the Doomsday Clock was first created, its hands have seldom been out of the fourth quadrant (the last 15 minutes on the clock’s face.) The minute hand has come very near the midnight hour. For example, the hand moved to 3 minutes until midnight in 1949, when the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb. The minute hand of the Doomsday Clock was moved to 2 minutes until midnight in 1953 following America’s late 1952 explosion of the first hydrogen bomb, with the Soviets quickly matching the feat.

The clock’s minute hand has been moved back somewhat on occasion. For example, when the US and the Soviet Union signed a partial test ban treaty in 1963, the scientists of the Atomic Bulletin moved the hand back to 12 minutes until midnight.

The Doomsday Clock has continued to be manipulated farther or closer to midnight throughout the decades since the atomic age was born with the first bomb’s explosion in 1945. It is very apparent that those who should know believe this world sits upon a nuclear powder keg. All-out war could be right around the next corner.

Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 24:21 forewarns, “ For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.” The Doomsday Clock’s minute hand has been warning of nuclear threats to the world for some time. But that imaginary clock’s second hand, if it had one, would indeed be smoking from the heat of the many prophetic signals today. Movement of that symbolic indicator of the last time grows more frightening with each tick.

We who carefully watch for prophetic issues and events have covered these end-time tribulation-type matters many times over the past months and years. But, it is good to remind ourselves here of these things of major prophetic importance. Again, these are:

  • Many wars and rumors of wars around the world
  • Israel at center stage and in a peace process, yet threatened with annihilation by its Islamic neighbors, and viewed as a “cup of trembling” by the international community of nations
  • Rome reviving in the form of the EC and the international community
  • Movement toward one-world order
  • Development of technology that can make it possible to control the masses
  • The coming together of all religions, and Christ being blasphemed
  • Existence of a global economic structure
  • Occurrences of strange weather patterns and weird sightings, such as UFOs, apparitions, and stigmata of various sorts
  • People having the last days characteristics outlined by the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy, chapter 3

Daniel the prophet said many end-time issues and events will come upon the world like a flood until all things prophesied are fulfilled. Jesus indicated that all of these things will be happening at the same time in the days just before His return to earth.

People have for centuries been witness to a few, scattered, similar issues or events during their time on earth. But ours is the only generation to see all of these major prophetic signals happening at the same time.

And, the chief signal is: Israel, God’s timepiece, is again a nation in the land of promise.

War is on the way –unprecedented war, during which Israel will be at its center. God’s Word says of that time: “That day [is] a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick Darkness…” (Zep. 1:15).

This describes the tribulation era, leading toward the final battle of Armageddon. The greatest of all wars must come to Planet Earth before there can be true peace. Make peace with the Prince of Peace now. Ask Him to save you from sin and make you worthy to escape the terrors that await. Jesus Christ is the only Savior, who can secure you for all eternity.

Endtime Doctrines and Seducing Spirits

God’s warning through Paul the apostle is clear about the matter. The endtime generation will experience a great increase in false doctrines that seduce the people of that era.

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth” (1 Tim. 4:1-3).

We remember the book, The Da Vinci Code. Of course, the blasphemous blockbuster novel was purported to be no more than fiction. Fiction, however, can provide venues for the devil to get across to the totally gullible generations alive today the not-so-subtle proposal that Jesus was a charlatan. And people today definitely have “itching ears” wanting to be scratched by the deceivers and lust for fables rather than for God’s truth (read 2 Thes. 4:1-3). The Da Vinci Code certainly filled the bill, according to sales and public clamor wrought by the attention it received.

Satan didn’t confine his assault to one frontal attack, in the case of The Da Vinci Code, but to two. The first attack was presented as fiction, with the underlying Luciferian question: “Yea, hath God said?” The second was also fiction, but presented as fact: an alternative history of things involving Jesus Christ. The second of the two-pronged assault brings to mind the old Indian saying, “you speak with forked tongue,” does it not? That is the satanic attack we will look into a bit further.

As example of the Luciferian method of assault, “The Gospel of Judas,” was an attack on the veracity of the Bible and upon the Lord Jesus Christ that I want us to look at in this limited space. The seducing spirits have used this false gospel to have a field day inflicting hellish havoc upon non-Christians and Christians alike. Tragically, the weakness and apathy within Christian seminaries, pulpits, and pews make the Christians mentioned susceptible to the lies wrapped up in “The Gospel of Judas.”

Rather than going into the historical archaeological find surrounding this artifact, let’s look at its spiritual roots. The false belief comes from the Gnostic religious form that sprang up shortly after Christ’s ascension. Gnosticism is the belief that salvation comes through gnosis, the Greek word meaning “knowledge.” Gnosticism puts forth that one must be an insider of the secrets of the universe in order to be saved. The Jesus of the Bible is very different from the Jesus of the Gnostic’s. In the Gnostic view, Jesus did not come in the flesh to die on the cross in order to make atonement for the sins of the world. He, according to this false gospel, came to reveal the secrets concerning higher knowledge about the existence of the unknown God. Gnosticism puts forth that each and every person has a divine spark of this God in them.

Herein lies the power of seducing spirits –the minions of Satan, who once whispered to Eve, “…ye shall be as god…” The fallen human being finds this to be quite soothing to “itching ears.” This means people can each–as their own god– “do what is right in their own eyes.” Lucifer told Adam and Eve that they would be like God, or know as much as God knows. This is to the fallen human being what Dr. Henry Kissinger said great political power is to those who wield it: “the ultimate aphrodisiac.” Gnosticism is a philosophical religion emphasizing redemption through knowledge.

As my good friend Dr. Larry Spargimino said: “In ‘The Gospel of Judas,’ Jesus sounds more like a New Age guru than a Galilean fisherman.” The Gnostic version of Jesus says the same thing Lucifer told Adam and Eve –that the power of knowledge is salvation, because it establishes the human being as worthy of salvation and godhood.

Judas, in this blasphemous gospel, is identified as the thirteenth spirit, who was appointed by God to be the agent of releasing Jesus from His physical body, in which He was trapped since the incarnation.

Dr. Spargimino says about this Hell-sent gospel: “Gnosticism has some very aberrant beliefs about God. In Gnostic thought there is a dualism. There is a good God and a bad God. And they are in a continual struggle against each other. In some forms of Gnosticism, the bad God is equated with the God of the Old Testament. One of the allegedly evil things that He did was to create the world” (Dr. Larry Spargimino, Southwest Radio Church Ministries).

This equating God’s creating the world to evil is based upon the Gnostic proposition that the world and all material things are evil, i.e., God is blamed for the sinfulness of man. From whom should we suspect such upside-down thinking comes?

Again, as well outlined in the Scripture given above (1 Tim. 4:1-3), this is a departure from the faith, and is giving heed to seducing spirits!

“The Gospel of Judas” glorifies Judas, not Jesus. One professor of religion–who is in no way a proponent of fundamentalist-evangelical thought—pointed to the devil in the details of “The Gospel of Judas.” “The idea of this gospel is that Jesus, like all of us, is a trapped spirit, who is trapped in a material body. Salvation comes when we escape the materiality of our existence. And, Judas is the one who makes it possible for Jesus to escape, by allowing for his body to be killed” (Bart Ehrman, religion professor, University of North Carolina, quoted by Larry Spargimino, Southwest Radio Ministries).

Again, I ask the question, from whom should we suspect such upside-down thinking to come? We are living at a time when people will not endure sound doctrine, but give heed to all sorts of feel-good, do-good doctrines that do not have the true Gospel at their core– another sure signal of where this generation stands upon God’s prophetic timeline.

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).

The Departure

Some will recall that I wrote, together with a number of others, a book with the title The Departure. Those who read it know that we dealt with the term “departure” as being a removal of the Church from Planet Earth. However, I believe the Bible –particularly in matters of prophecy—often presents dual application to precepts and even doctrines.

Such is the case –I’m convinced– in the matter of the term “the falling away” as dealt with in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2. The more common view is that the falling away means only a departure from the faith. While I believe the application is one of duality, we will deal here with the more common/accepted view of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2.

The Scripture is haunting. It echoes and reverberates throughout the spiritual hallways of the Church with each passing hour.

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Tim. 4:1).

This forewarning fits into the last-days pattern, also given by the Apostle Paul, in the familiar prophetic passage: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of Perdition…” (2 Thes. 2:3).

The “falling away,” apostasia in Greek, means a “departure from.” Paul prophesied in the 2 Timothy 4:1 passage that there will come a time at the end of the Church Age when people will depart from the “faith.” He foretells in 2 Thessalonians that this will be a general “falling away,” the apostasy of the end time. What is this “faith” from which people will fall away, and who are the “people” who will fall away? Another crucial question is: Can the departure that God, through Paul, forewarned about be recognized when it occurs?

“Faith,” as here defined, must, by context, be the faith in the One who is at the heart of the Gospel–faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God, chosen from the foundation of the world to be the propitiation for the sin that separates fallen man from God. It is the faith you and I must have in order to confess with our mouths that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, and to believe in the deepest part of our spirits that God raised Him from the dead.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom. 10:9).

A person can’t fall from a position (doctrinally speaking in this case) he never has attained. The “people,” then, whom Paul the apostle is writing about in his prophecies of 1 Timothy 4:1 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3 are those who have believed in Jesus Christ for salvation of their souls.

This brings us to the question: Can the departure God, through Paul, forewarned about be recognized when it occurs? To recognize that “falling away”–that apostasia, or apostasy— when it begins to happen, will almost certainly give the Christian attuned to God’s will a heads-up on the nearness of the Tribulation era, thus to the nearness of the rapture of the Church.

We have looked at the “faith” as faith in Jesus for salvation, and at the “people”who will “depart” from the faith as being the Church–that is, the true Christians who are alive at the time of the end, when the apostasy takes place.

Although there are those who think this departure includes the possibility of one losing one’s salvation, the “falling away” of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 cannot include that meaning. A quick look at Romans 8:38 and 39, to name just one security-of-the-believer passage, shows that God’s Word teaches that the believer can’t depart from the Heavenly Father to the point of losing his or her family status. Jesus, in John chapter 17, makes that absolutely clear. I suggest that if you have questions about this, read the Scriptures I just mentioned.

What, then, is meant by “departing from the “faith”? Glad you asked. The “faith” mentioned in 2 Thessalonians and 1 Timothy 2:3 is a collection of faith principles wrapped up in the Lord Jesus Christ. These principles are doctrines put forth by the Word of God. The Word of God is none other than the Lord Jesus: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

“People” at the time of the “falling away” will “depart” from the “faith” –the doctrines put forth by the Word of God, who is Jesus Christ. This departure will mark the generation of Christians at the very end of the Church Age.

The question that applies most relevantly to us today is: Are we seeing signals of the departure about which Paul forewarned?

Pretribulation scholars have analyzed, dissected, examined, and inspected every end time signal found in God’s Word many times: Israel again in the land of promise; the EU looking to be the reviving Roman Empire; Russia, Persia (modern Iran) and other nations looking to be a nucleus that will one day form the Gog-Magog force of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. These, plus, all of the other end time characteristics of this generation.

However, I believe the most insidious of all the things taking place under the clever, devious hand of the devil –Satan—is the falling away, the departure from the faith being currently orchestrated by Lucifer, the fallen one.

This departure is evident to the spiritually discerning when looking at the church growth movement. This “seeker friendly” approach to both the saved and the lost (all who don’t know Christ) through New Age, corporation-type seminar seductiveness and brainwashing techniques that water down or completely eliminate true Bible doctrine is leading in a profound departure from the “faith once delivered” (see Jude 1: 3).

The new paradigm instituted by the champions of the church growth movement is the shift from New Testament Christianity to “New Spirituality-Driven Christianity.”

Like in the modern corporate organization, invented in large part by German economic guru Peter Drucker, who mentored some of the leading designers of the church growth movement, the system is more an organism than an organization –adopting Drucker’s model based upon Freudian psychology and Darwinian evolutionary principles. The individual is assigned a value, and he must fit in, or be removed from the system. To put it as I heard one person of the movement say: “Pillars just hold things up. So, they need to be moved out of the way.” So, those who hold to doctrine must get out of the way so no one will have their feelings hurt by talk of sin, and blood atonement, and eternal punishment in the place called Hell, if repentance is not forthcoming. Again, the Apostle Paul wrote God’s view of this watering down of doctrine:

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8).

Are we at the point of departure from the faith that is prophesied for the very end of the Church Age? Maybe we can get a better sense by looking at one more area of Scripture pertaining to the matter: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim. 4:1-4).

There is another prophetically scheduled departure to consider. It’s the one we should be looking forward to. It is a God-ordained departure that will remove every child of God of the Church Age –living and dead—from Planet Earth in one millisecond of time:

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2:13).

America the Tarnished

America the beautiful–from sea to shining sea, her good crowned by God, with brotherhood. One gets the cerebral image of Lady Liberty, her torch held high, gleaming in the early morning or twilight for all the world to see and seek to emulate. It is a vision with which I and others of my generation grew up. The purple mountains’ majesty topped by crowns of snow against powder blue skies, golden-yellow grain waving silkily upon vast plains that seem to go on forever. And, again, the Statue of Liberty standing on Ellis Island, welcoming the downtrodden who come seeking a new life (in the legally specified way) in the most materially blessed nation to have ever existed topside of Planet Earth.

Truly, the United States of America has been a golden cup in God’s mighty hand. And it still is so–to a significant degree—continuing to disseminate the Good News, the Gospel, to most every point on earth through technologies developed for the most part through American ingenuity and wealth.

This nation was used by God to bring Israel to birth in its modern incarnation. We have continued to stand by that people of the promises; at least the American government continues to assure her survival as a nation-state under the constant threat of enemies avowed to push her into the Mediterranean.

All that said, America is no longer “beautiful.” Not in the sense of “her good.” Sadly, her “brotherhood” has been lost to multiculturalism, pluralism in most every aspect of American life, and political correctness, which now is the standard, replacing the biblical moorings to which the founding fathers tethered the country.

She is going the way of ancient Babylon, about which Jeremiah the prophet said the following: “Babylon [hath been] a golden cup in the LORD’S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad” (Jer. 51:7).

God said through the prophet that Babylon was no longer useful as His instrument to bless the world. Now it had become a curse. Her golden cup was tarnished beyond restoration. Could the same apply to our nation today? Is this why America, the land you and I love, not mentioned by name–or, in my view, even by inference–anywhere in Bible prophecy?

I once wrote a book –The American Apocalypse– that addresses the question we who write or speak on Bible prophecy are asked almost every time upon such occasions: “Is America in Bible prophecy?”

We are a nation who has had the most truth from the mind of God of any nation to have existed–right up there, I’m convinced, with Israel. As a matter of fact, God choosing the U.S. to be key to bringing Israel to birth in 1948, and our receiving great abilities for technological development–and at the same time God’s truth–is no coincidence.

But our golden cup is tarnished because, like Babylon of ancient times, we have exported our “wine” to make all of the nations “drunk.” We have contributed to the perversity and madness the insanity that now threatens America and the world.

It is perhaps fitting, in that regard, that America’s mighty dollar is in decline, as is widely acknowledged by most of the world’s most knowledgeable economists. Gold is the monetary instrument against which the ailing dollar is measured, and the prognosis is not good.

The dollar’s lower value, brought on in large part by cuts in interest rates, affects the dynamics of the global economy. A weaker dollar makes gold cheaper for other currency holders and lifts metal demand. Gold is also seen as a hedge against oil-led inflation.

Already, America’s tarnished reputation is causing difficulties throughout world financial circles. This fact increases pressure to move forward with the matters involving what was formerly termed the North American Union (NAU) –now the region called the “NORTH AMERICAN LEADERS SUMMIT (NALS)– we have been hearing so much about.

One source once said the following:

In order to bring about a North American Union (NAU), the public first has to be conditioned to think of themselves as North Americans. Efforts to effect such a change in thinking has been underway for years. In that regard, Thomas Donohue (Then president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) on June 16, 2006 remarked that “for CEOs, North America is already a single market, and business decisions are no longer made with a Mexico strategy—or a Canada strategy—but, rather, with a North American strategy….I think it’s pretty clear now that it no longer makes sense to talk about U.S. competitiveness and Mexican competitiveness—or, for that matter, about the competitiveness of Canada. We are all in this together—we, as North Americans” (The August Review: Global Elite Research Center, The North American Union and the Larger Plan, By Dennis L. Cuddy, Ph.D, August, 2007).

Things have progressed dramatically since those formative times. Rearrangements taking place even now seem to be setting the stage for governing authority that will provide controls on full-blown economic chaos during mankind’s most terrible time in history. During the tribulation, there will be great famine, leading to pestilences and death. God’s prophetic Word gives us this glimpse of that future time:

And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine (Rev. 6:5-6).

Will the (NALS,) with America’s sovereignty and autonomy absorbed, be part of the prophesied ten kingdoms out of which Antichrist will come after securing his monetary power base? “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast” (Rev. 17:12-13).

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