A diagnosis of current, troubling realities in the Middle Eastern region of the world leads to a disturbing prognosis. Indigestion is possibly the culprit that threatens to bring on the terminal condition that prophecy calls Armageddon. Okay, so maybe it’s a bit of a stretch to liken what’s going on in the most volatile part of the world to a human gastrointestinal condition. But it certainly seems that it is gas that is shaping up to be at least one incendiary ingredient that might ignite history’s final holocaust.
While the Mideast broils with vitriol against Israel, the one nation on earth specifically pointed out by Zechariah the prophet as being at the center of end-times hatred, a situation taking place in the belly of that geographical beast bears watching. Natural gas is emerging as a burning issue in that highly volatile region. Key prophetic players are at the center of the ongoing developments.
The European Union (EU) was thrust into the heart of matters involving the discovery of natural gas in Iraq’s Kurdish region several years ago. The EU has for years now been striving to lessen dependence on Russia for supplying natural gas. Discoveries in Iraq opened the possibility that the Europeans might be successful in accomplishing that independence. However, quickly rearranging relationships among nations surrounding the region of new gas discovery changed the dynamics, thus provoke some interesting thought, prophetically speaking.
The following was a news item that announced the gas field discovery a few years ago.
The Nabucco consortium, a European group of oil and gas companies, hopes to construct a pipeline to southern Europe through Turkey. Nabucco is much more than just a commercial enterprise. It is an attempt to shift the balance of power in European energy politics, according to expert observers.
If the 3,300-kilometer Nabucco is built, it will be the first major natural gas pipeline into central and eastern Europe that isn’t controlled by Moscow. This is important because the EU fears Russian control of such a large chunk of its gas supply. Several EU member states have also suffered severe winter gas supply disruptions in recent years as Russia fought with its neighbor Ukraine over transit rights. So Nabucco has strong political backing from the European Commission, and is treated with disdain by the Kremlin. (James Herron, “Iraqi Gas Discovery Boosts EU Hopes of Gas Independence,” Wall Street Journal, 1/26/11)
At that point, Europe’s plans were far from being a done deal. The pipeline would have to had gone through both Iran (to an extent) and Turkey, as stated before. The Russians have had a major objection to losing their monopoly on gas-supply operations in the region. And that country’s influence is considerable, as we have seen with its, in effect, invasion into Syria very recently. Russia has over the past several years made ever-tightening alliances with the two major nations with which the EU must deal in order to bring natural gas from the Kurdish gas fields. At the same time, those nations, Turkey and Iran, are continuing to solidify relations with each other. The three–Russia, Iran, and Turkey—have formed a triad of sorts. It is a most fascinating arrangement in these strange days of quickly moving geopolitical realignments.
Boy! have things involving these energy matters brought the world into end times clarity!
Russia no doubt intends to continue to exert hegemony over Middle East energy sources and supplies at all cost. Turkey, under its recently installed, antagonistic-to-Israel, Islamist regime, is firmly ensconced within the Russian-Iranian (Persian) camp. The EU will likely have to look elsewhere for its energy independence from the Russian Bear.
There is such a source to the south of Russia, Iran, and Turkey. Can you guess who that is?
In 2009, a partnership that included Texas Based Noble Energy Inc. and Israeli oil companies discovered Tamar, an offshore gas field containing eight trillion cubic feet of natural gas. It was the largest gas find in the world in 2009 and the largest ever for Israel at the time.
In December of 2008, the company announced the discovery of the Leviathan field, which contains a massive 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas—enough to supply all of Israel’s gas needs for 100 years. The find promises to turn the once resource-starved country into a net energy exporter.
There is now talk of the EU contracting with Israel to provide the much-needed natural gas supply.
Even more astounding is the fact that a gargantuan petroleum deposit has been found in the Golan Heights area, territory now belonging to Israel. This is bound to cause greater tensions than ever, because the international community and, of course, Israel’s Arab enemy neighbors, all claim that this is occupied territory, even though Israel won it through battle after being assaulted by Islamist forces to initiate the conflict. It will be fascinating to watch developments, in consideration of the Gog-Magog prophecy of Ezekiel chapters 38-39.
My “Nearing Midnight” column commentary of October 12 dealt with “Despisers of Good.” It pointed to the fact that recent history of school shootings at Columbine, at the mostly African-American church in South Carolina, and at the college in Oregon were directly aimed at Christians–the only people God sees as “good.”
This designation is not because the believer in Christ for salvation is, within himself or herself, better than any other person on the planet. It means that Jesus is the only person (God who came to earth in the flesh to live among mankind) who had no sin. He is the only “good” to be found. Jesus was perfect in His walk with His Heavenly Father. He, in fact, was and is God, the second Person of the Godhead–the Trinity.
Every person who accepts Jesus Christ–that is, believes that Christ died for them to take away their sins–is seen by the Heavenly Father as “good” because they are under the saving umbrella of His Only Begotten Son. God, in other words, sees the believer through Jesus, whose blood was shed as the sacrificial Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8).
That commentary pointed out that the apostle Paul’s “perilous-times” prophecy that there will come in the last time “despisers of those that are good” is now upon this generation, as made manifest with the murders that are routinely aimed at Christians. Further evidence continues to accumulate that hatred for Christians is growing, thus proving Paul’s prophecy as accurate and identifying these as the very last days of the Church Age (Age of Grace).
A recent “Bible in the News” commentary broadcast by my longtime friend, Dr. Larry Spargimino, who is pastor of Southwest Radio Church Ministries, brought to the surface of these troubling days the virulence of the animus that boils for those who name the name of Christ. I thank Dr. Spargimino for helping spark this week’s commentary. Facts and threats surrounding what is going on must not be missed by discerning believers. There is an anti-Christian crusade underway, and we face perilous times, indeed.
Larry’s commentary largely reflected findings by Christian commentator and social analyst Michael Brown, whose gathering of quite troubling data should concern all Americans–but Christians in particular. Michael Brown, in his article, “When Committed Christians Are Compared to ISIS,” pointed to the many immoral, ungodly upheavals taking place at this moment in society and culture. His analysis is hard-hitting and he comes under attacks from organized opposition such as that within Human Rights Campaign.
The organization claimed that Brown is exporting hate because of his opposition to the radical agenda it pursues.
According to Dr. Spargimino, writing on matters reported within the Brown article, the invective is raging in answer to Brown’s exposure of the agenda:
One reader [of Brown’s article] claimed that Kim Davis is a terrorist. “Kim Davis, by virtue of defying the Constitution and the Supreme Court is NO BETTER than those men who conceived, executed and plotted those attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11.”
Another wrote to Brown: “You are just as brutal as ISIS.”
Already in May, 2005, John McCandlish Phillips, formerly a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter, pointed out how some of the major newspapers told their readers that evangelicals and traditional Catholics were engaging in a “jihad” against America.
Not surprisingly, Christians have been called the “American Taliban,” a label that reflected the sentiments of some Californians who opposed Proposition 8, the pro-marriage bill, and who carried signs reading: “Don’t Silence the Christians, Feed Them 2 the lions.”
In his Charisma blog Brown quotes Shephard Smith on Fox News who calls pro-traditional family Christians “haters,” and hypocrites for resisting Sharia Law while we hold to our conservative Christian values.
The caustic vitriol from the “tolerant left” is bitter. Just because Christians don’t want to participate in their ceremonies, Christians are now bigots.
Brown commented: “People don’t just hate you. They see you as downright dangerous, and that in itself is dangerous. And it’s not just some isolated wacko making an extreme internet comment or a crowd of protesters carrying signs.”
What does this hatred sound like? “I want them all to die in a fire,” said one man. Another said, “I would be in favor of establishing a state for them…If not then sterilize them so they can’t breed more.” A man with a doctorate said, “The only good Christian is a dead Christian.” A college educated man referenced evangelical Christians and said “A torturous death would be too good for them.” An elderly woman with a master’s degree chimed in and said: “They should be eradicated without hesitation or remorse.” (Dr. Larry Spargimino, commenting on article, “Townhall.com,When Committed Christians Are Compared to ISIS,” by Michael Brown,
It is beyond obvious that those who respond in such a vicious way to Christian concerns about the raging ungodliness have a diminution of rationality in their thinking. Michael Brown questioned one woman who apparently had lost all reasoning ability and had launched a verbal attack that boiled with hatred. He asked the reasoning behind her outrage.
[Is your anger]…because we want to protect innocent babies in the womb? Because we care about marriage and family? Because we feed the poor and needy around the world? Because we want the whole world to know how wonderful Jesus is? Please be kind enough to explain your views.
Brown wrote that he received no response to his inquiry.
While Christians in America don’t yet face life-threatening persecution as do Christians who are being beheaded by ISIS, the Anti-Christian crusade is underway. It will one day–during the Tribulation, for certain–bring martyrdom to believers everywhere in the world. In 1 Peter 4:12, the apostle Peter wrote:
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
All of this is not meant to instill fear, but to exhort the believer to look for the Blessed Hope–the Lord Jesus Christ, who will call true believers out of this God-hating world before Satan and his minions can bring his anti-Christian crusade to fruition.
Meantime, the believer is to stand against the fiery darts of the opposition to godliness. Christians, in the final analysis, are invincible, according to their Lord.
Jesus promised believers of this Age of Grace: “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18b).
The San Francisco Giants won the 2010 World Series. It was the first time the team has won the Series since 1954, when the franchise was playing as the New York Giants in the Polo Grounds. It should have been a reason for happiness, right? –At least, if you were a Giants fan, and weren’t a Texas Rangers fan. Certainly, it should have been a time of celebratory jubilation on the streets of San Francisco, one would think.
The victory was acknowledged by many, with self-congratulations all around. However, the dark side of humanity showed up–as it always seems to do—in demonstration of the malevolent side of humankind.
Fans took over the streets, there were a number of violent incidents, such as fires being set, fistfights and a mob attack on a vehicle that was driven into a crowd. A local TV station posted helicopter footage of a raging fire that was started at the intersection of major streets. A driver’s attempted to steer into the crowd. A mob stopped the car and smashed the windshield and windows. Its passengers were attacked. Riot police arrived soon after the melee and the crowd began to thin out.
The rioting is, of course, not without precedent. We have witnessed it time after time in large cities whose sports teams have won world championships. We have only to recall Chicago during the time when Michael Jordan ruled the NBA courts with the Chicago Bulls, and the victories of the L.A. Lakers and the rioting aftermath in some areas of Los Angeles. One can but look in open-mouthed wonder upon such obstreperous behavior–all in the name of celebrating something that’s supposed to be fun, and “good.”
The founding fathers of this nation wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution with almost consensus acknowledgement that man’s nature is depraved–fallen from the time of Eden. Peoples around the world have consistently validated that view of the human condition by often exhibiting unseemly comportment. Except in the most tyrannical and oppressive of regimes, people often become unruly if things push them to the limits. Even such fear as those governments can present sometimes can’t assuage the masses.
People will face down tanks and machine guns in some extreme cases, as was witnessed by the Tiananmen Square uprising during the Olympic Games held in China some decades ago. Those Chinese faced down the murderous red military in a righteous cause of seeking liberty by demonstrating through the cameras of the world how brutal were their masters.
So, it is not against these courageous sorts that I write for our purposes here. There is a time for protests–for righteous uprisings. I put much of the civil rights protests of Martin Luther King Jr.’s day in that category to some extent. Although some of it was for the sake of crass political power grabs among certain of the day’s left-wing politicians and community organizers, much of the demonstrations and actions taken were necessary to break the oppressive grip of racial bigotry.
Those who riot simply because they are riotous–unbridled in their “if it feels good do it” hedonism—fit, in my view of things, into the category that is the subject of this commentary. They are of the classification I believe the apostle Paul was writing about, as recorded in his second letter to Timothy: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be…incontinent, fierce” (2 Tim. 3:1-3).
Out of sheer, uncontrolled determination to smash their way through life, no matter what they break or who they hurt, those who live riotously prove the founding fathers right. The depravity of man is front-and-center for all to witness. It is an end-times signal that is manifest time after time in this generation.
That brings us to the purpose of our constitution, our laws. No individual or class of individuals has the right to trample on the property or person of others. It is codified; it was put there by Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, and all the rest. They got these precepts from the Word of God–the Bible.
We have recently watched the riots in Greece, Spain, and other places where populaces, being weaned off the spigots of socialistic largesse, have acted as riotously as the mobs that burn down parts of their cities because their teams won. Governments are no longer capable of taxing the income-producing, working people of those nations enough to pay for the welfare and various other social programs politicians voted in time after time in order to gather votes to themselves.
Governments, hopefully, have enough funds to defend against violence in the streets.
Let’s pray that economic conditions in America don’t become so desperate that they eventuate in violence like that seen in other countries. However, the fierce nature of fallen man hasn’t stopped raising its hideous head since the time that the first man rebelled and determined to do what was right in his own eyes, rather than what God chose for him. The ferocity is prophetically scheduled to get infinitely worse, when the Holy Spirit withdraws from governing the consciences of mankind in the way He does at present: “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way” (2 Thess. 2:7).
The Restrainer–the Holy Spirit—will remove as governor of the unbridled evil of mankind when the Rapture takes place. God will allow the “mystery of iniquity” to strongly influence all who will not come to Christ for salvation during the last seven years of human history leading up to Christ’s Second Advent (Rev. 19:11). The foreshadows of that Luciferian evil are darkening our daily lives as never before. Each person who names the name of Christ must shine truth from God’s Word in order to illuminate the pathway to Jesus in these closing days of the age.
Observers of news and trends at present are watching, particularly, the Middle East and Russia’s entrance into Syria. Russia has had an interest in the region, of course, for as long as the Soviet Union and now the Russian Federation have been around. However, recent developments have ushered in a new and most fascinating era. Things happening in this regard are, to those who look at those developments through the prism of Bible prophecy, nothing short of phenomenal.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has inserted his influence into that volatile region and is having profound impact on the unfolding of events. We have written in these commentaries a number of times, and others have written that Mr. Putin certainly appears to fit the archetype description of the “Gog” character of the Gog-Magog assault into the Middle East as prophesied by Ezekiel, presented in Ezekiel chapters 38-39.
The Gog-Magog attack is described as being like a “storm to cover the land.” Vladimir Putin has been doing what might be described as “taking like a storm” everywhere he asserts his influence.
An interesting news excerpt describes his rambunctious escapades and the way he is perceived in many quarters as follows:
Posters of Putin are popping up on cars and billboards elsewhere in parts of Syria and Iraq, praising the Russian military intervention in Syria as one that will redress the balance of power in the region.
The Russian leader is winning accolades from many in Iraq and Syria, who see Russian airstrikes in Syria as a turning point after more than a year of largely ineffectual efforts by the U.S.-led coalition to dislodge the Islamic State militants who have occupied significant parts of the two countries. (“Amid Russian airstrikes, a Putin craze takes hold in Mideast,” Yahoo News, Oct. 12, 2015)
There are even many in the U.S. who now see Putin and the Russians as doing God’s work-literally! I have read a number of accounts of clergy and others who say that Putin is showing “Christian leadership” in doing what President Obama is unable to do or is unwilling to do-that is, take it to the ISIS or, as Mr. Obama insists on calling the horde, ISIL.
Imagine! A hard-liner Soviet communist—once head of, or at least near the top of the old KGB, seen as a true Christian who is out to eliminate the threat to the Christian world and the world at large!
Of course, the reality to anyone with the sense the Lord gave a gopher is that the head Russian is still a KGB guy in every sense. He is playing to his mesmerized audience by destroying some ISIS forces, but is 100 percent committed to destroying the American-supported rebels who want to dislodge Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad from power.
The reason, or reasons, he is so committed include the fact that he now has his voracious, bear-like eyes focused on the riches to the south. He has already achieved much of his goal. He has his navy docked now in warm waters, free to move about any time of the year to further his reestablishment of Soviet-style domination. He is increasing his insertion of Russian ground forces by the day. If this isn’t near-fulfillment of the Ezekiel prophecy that Gog will put hooks in Gog’s jaws and turn him southward toward the mountains of Israel, then I’ve misunderstood the meanings of that prophecy. I’m of the opinion that this is a part of that hooks in the jaws process that will likely play out over a period of time yet. There are many things that need to come into prophetic place before the Gog-Magog attack as described will be launched. Key to that preparation is the question: What is meant by the description of how Israel will be “at rest” and “without walls”?
At present, Israel is suffering attacks by “lone wolf” assaults, apparently ordered by ISIS and other terrorist organizations. Israel’s citizenry is being terrorized by stabbings conducted by individuals—actions that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will no doubt react to by instituting quite harsh measures at some point soon. This will bring more blame to Israel and sympathy to the Islamist murderers who are killed in the process of their obedience to their Islamist masters.
Into this mixture of satanic hatred now comes further arrangements of significance, in my view. To me, this matter involves further confirmation that proves the veracity of God’s prophetic Word. It just might prove to be part of the reason Damascus will one day receive the foretold blow from which it will never recover. (Read Isaiah 17: 1).
It is the first inklings that the Gog-Magog forces’ top three diabolists are reportedly getting their heads together in thinking on the whole Middle Eastern region dilemma. To me it is more than merely coincidental these are beginning to coalesce.
ISTANBUL – Turkey would hold talks with Russia and Iran to work towards a political solution in Syria but would not take a foreign policy stance which “legitimizes the Syrian regime.” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday.
Davutoglu said in an interview on NTV that Russian air strikes in Idlib and Aleppo in Syria could cause a further influx of refugees into Turkey. (“PM: Turkey would talk with Russia and Iran on political solution in Syria,” Breaking News, Jerusalem Post, Oct 12, 2015)
Many Bible prophecy students, including top scholars, believe Turkey occupies the ancient area described as Togarmah in the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecy. Iran, of course, occupies most of the ancient area known as Persia, with the Gog-Magog area being seen as the lands surrounding the southern Caucasus region and Black Sea area.
The fact that these key prophetic players are getting their heads together, apparently, in the biblically doomed city of Damascus, begs the question that should be directed to this triumvirate: Do your cogitations include how to eliminate Israel as part of any conquest ambition you might harbor?
Watching these developments, in concert with everything else taking shape at such a fast pace, makes the question a legitimate one—seems to me.
Top entertainers, no matter how personally charismatic and mesmerizing, often prepare their audiences with warm-up acts in order to work their magic more effectively when they finally burst into the spotlight. Many of these started out as warm-up acts themselves before they made the top billing.
Bible prophecy foretells this most charismatic personality of human history basking in the end-times spotlight:
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; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
This supremely arrogant “Beast,” as he is called by God’s Word in Revelation 13, will serve as his own sort of warm-up act immediately following the Rapture of the church. The “prince that shall come,” as Daniel terms him, steps onto the stage of geopolitical diplomacy as a purveyor of peace.
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. (Daniel 9:27) The Antichrist, empowered by Satan, will pave his own road for reaching his destiny as the object of forced worship by earth’s inhabitants. This warm-up act–a roadmap for peace, of sort–that he will perform himself, with the assistance of another “beast” (the false prophet)—will consist of impressive, if nefarious, accomplishments.
And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many. (Daniel 8:24-25a)
Actually, the Man of Sin, as Antichrist is also called, has already had a number of warm-up acts. These have been put upon the world humanistic stage by Lucifer, the master orchestrator of evil. Theologians and even philosophers and soothsayers through the ages have thought some of these warm-up acts to be Antichrist fulfilling his prophesied role.
Perhaps even Satan himself has believed some of these evil characters that seemed like the predicted first Beast of Revelation to be the foretold man whose number equals 666. Such lesser beasts as Nero, Hitler, Stalin, and others come to mind. Even U.S. presidents like Kennedy, Reagan, and Franklin D. Roosevelt before them have been thought as possible candidates for earth’s final and most terrible tyrant.
Concerning Antichrist’s eventual emergence, most all of today’s end-times stage props form the setting for the final act of human history: The Gog-Magog forces are coming together in a swiftly coalescing cabal determined to move against Israel when the time is right. The kings of the East, which will trouble the Beast as they will be a threat to his plans from the North and East, already can produce a two-hundred-million-troop military force. The European Union is almost certainly the reviving Roman Empire, out of which the dark “prince” will come.
Antichrist’s geopolitical “warm-up act” has been preparing the way for his prime-time prophetic performance for decades. The past several years have brought dynamic rearrangements in preparation for his appearance. One thing within the eschatological mix is often overlooked when thinking about how near Antichrist’s appearance might be. Again, this ingredient is found in the Apostle Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians. The ingredient itself is difficult to identify because it involves deception from the father of all lies, which Satan will perpetrate upon those who reject God’s righteousness.
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)
Satan’s present-day warm-up act, designed to mesmerize people of planet earth, has at its heart great deception that will delude most who are left behind following the Rapture. The Holy Spirit resident within the church (each Church-Age saint) will remove from acting on the consciences of mankind as He has been doing during this present Age of Grace.
Following the removal of the church, it will apparently be impossible for those who deliberately rejected the Holy Spirit’s call to salvation before the Rapture to have any chance for redemption. The Lord will not let those people escape the delusion Satan’s man, Antichrist, will produce. They will be doomed to believe a specific lie, Paul’s prophecy indicates.
Some prophecy watchers observe Satan’s preparations for bringing to the world’s attention the man who will be his most infamous protégé. These–and I include myself–consider decades of fascination with extraterrestrial sightings to possibly be key to the old serpent’s concocting the “lie” of 2 Thessalonians 2:11.
Documentaries continue to fill cable TV networks, raising questions about whether we are alone in the cosmos. Reports of UFO sightings titillate the imaginations of brains already prepped by fictional accounts of invaders from far-flung places in space, such as in TV shows like that titled V from some years earlier.
Another such silver-screen fiction about intruders from space was the film Skyline. Its story line is most fascinating, as the Star Trek Enterprise’s first officer, Mr. Spock, might say.
One official synopsis of that movie about visitors from space states the following.
After a late-night party, a group of friends are awoken in the dead of the night by an eerie light beaming through the window. Like moths to a flame, the light source is drawing people outside before they suddenly vanish into the air. They soon discover an otherworldly force is swallowing the entire human population off the face of the earth. Now our band of survivors must fight for their lives as the world unravels around them. (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/skyline_2010/).
Sounds eerily familiar to something from the Bible we address frequently, doesn’t it? But God’s Word is nonfiction–absolute truth. Such a scenario is prophetically scheduled to actually happen. Revelation 12 foretells that Satan and his fallen angelic horde will be cast to earth for the final time. John was told to write “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth” when that happens.
The second Beast–the False Prophet—will call fire down from heaven (Revelation 13:13) in the sight of men. Many students of Bible prophecy who observe these strange times in which we live think these things will likely be part of the lie of 2 Thessalonians 2:11, which earth dwellers will believe–i.e., the major part of the lie will be that those who have disappeared from earth have been taken for reasons held by the “extraterrestrial” entities.
Today, we are being “entertained” by Antichrist’s warm-up act. But, it will be the Lord of Heaven –Jesus Christ—who will bring down the final curtain on Satan’s great imposter.
And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. (2 Thessalonians 2:8)
There is something going on that I believe can no longer be considered anomaly. It smacks ominously of forewarning found within the apostle Paul’s perilous times prophecy of 2 Timothy 3: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be…despisers of those that are good” (2Timothy 3:1-2a, 6f)
Although the signs have been on the cultural and societal horizon for years, the manifestation of Paul’s forewarning became clearer during the school shooting in Littleton, Colorado, April 20, 1999. It was the first time in such a nationwide way that hatred for Jesus Christ raised its monstrous head, producing martyrdom for the cause of Christ in America.
On Rachel Scott, 17-year-old Columbine student:
Three weeks before the shooting she had witnessed to the shooters Eric and Dylan. Eric and Dylan were the odd pair out and students mostly stayed away from them. But Rachel tried to talk to them and encouraged them to leave their hateful feelings and turn to Jesus. But they hated her the more and even made homemade videotapes mocking her Christian faith.
On the day of the shooting, Rachel was outside the school building having her lunch. Eric and Dylan entered the school campus and first shot Rachel. They shot her in the leg twice and shot her again in the back. They left but returned seconds later. On noticing that she was still alive, Eric walked over to Rachel and grabbed her by the hair, lifted up her head and asked her “Do you still believe in your God?” Her response was unflinching and unwavering “You know I Do”, and that provoked Eric and he responded “Then go be with Him,” and shot her in the head. (FreeHeartDay.com. RACHEL JOY SCOTT – HER STORY MUST BE TOLD. By Sachin. April 20, 2013. http://www.freeheartday.com/rachel-joy-scott-her-story-must-be-told)
That singular, direct act of murder because a Christian wouldn’t deny her Lord might be considered no more than an aberration. The slaughter of Christians within the church of mostly black congregants in South Carolina a couple of months ago could, perhaps, be chalked up as merely an insane man coincidentally choosing a group of believers in Christ in his rage to kill. But, the deadly attack on the college in Oregon this past week should take all growing hatred for those who claim Christ as Lord out of the realm of anomaly and coincidence.
With this most recent shooting, it should, in my view, be considered undeniable that we have witnessed a key prophetic indicator. It is as if God’s finger is pointing directly to the fact that these are the perilous times to which Paul’s foretelling referred.
A gunman singled out Christians, telling them they would see God in “one second,” during a rampage at an Oregon college Thursday that left at least nine innocent people dead and several more wounded, survivors and authorities said.
“[He started] asking people one by one what their religion was. ‘Are you a Christian?’ he would ask them, and if you’re a Christian, stand up. And they would stand up and he said, ‘Good, because you’re a Christian, you are going to see God in just about one second.’ And then he shot and killed them,” Stacy Boylen, whose daughter was wounded at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., told CNN. (NYPost.com. Oregon gunman singled out Christians during rampage, By Chris Perez, Danika Fears and Natalie Musumeci. October 1, 2015. http://nypost.com/2015/10/01/oregon-gunman-singled-out-christians-during-rampage/ )
The term “despisers of those that are good” is more than obvious in its application to this news story in thinking on the apostle Paul’s perilous-times prophecy. This young, demented man despised Christians by his own admission through his words and actions. But, the word “despiser” takes on a much more condemning meaning for the evil day in which we live when considering the treatment of the horrendous event.
In almost all mainstream accounts of this story, the reports never mention that the shooter asked the specific question “Are you Christian?” and never do they include the statement that because they are Christians they will die in one minute. In nearly every case, the reports only indicate that the shooter asked what religion the victims were.
This is blatant bias in trying to keep the public from recognizing that Christians were specifically chosen to be murdered. This is, in my opinion, the mainstream press showing its own collective disdain for Jesus Christ–for Christians. They, by omission, demonstrate they are despisers of those who are good.
Why do I say that those who were murdered in cold blood were “good”? Let’s examine the declaration.
Jesus, when called by a man “good master,” asked the man why he had called Him “good.” Jesus told the man there was only one that was good, and that was God. (Read Matthew 19:17.) Jesus wasn’t scolding the man; rather, He was pointing out that all of man is fallen, but that God was without sin. God was the only good. Jesus was and is God. He said as recorded in another passage, “Before Abraham was, I Am.” Jesus was saying that He is God. He is the only good there is.
To further dissect the perilous-times prophecy in question, we next consider why we can legitimately point out that the shooter in the Oregon massacre of Christians in particular was a “despiser of those that are good.” Why the media’s deliberate refusal to mention that Christians were deliberately targeted seems to indicate that they, too, are “despisers of those that are good.”
Jesus, time and time again, declared that those who believe in Him for salvation because of His death on the cross for them are “in” Him–that is, in Jesus Christ. The believer is one with Jesus just as Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, is one with the Heavenly Father. (Read John chapter 17, and this becomes absolutely clear.)
This all means that the true believer in Jesus Christ is in God’s family for eternity. They will be in Heaven forever after this life. The only reason God the Father sees any human being as “good” is through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. When the shooter murdered the Christians, he showed that he “despised” those who were good in the holy eyes of God.
Not only the American news conglomerate, but many in the stratosphere of this nation’s political domain have demonstrated beyond much doubt that they are “despisers of those that are good.” The attitude of Mr. Obama and the tenor of the president’s time in that office demonstrate disdain for Christianity, as far as I’m concerned.
At the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama reminded attendees that violence rooted in religion isn’t exclusive to Islam, but has been carried out by Christians as well…
“Unless we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” Obama said. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.” (Breitbart.com. OBAMA AT NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST: “PEOPLE COMMITTED TERRIBLE DEEDS IN THE NAME OF CHRIST,” By: Charlie Spiering. Feb 5, 2015. http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/02/05/obama-at-national-prayer-breakfast-people-committed-terrible-deeds-in-the-name-of-christ/)
This has been his consistent treatment of the subject of Christianity. He continually praises the godly attributes of Islam, but hasn’t lifted a presidential finger to help stop the genocide against Christians in the places where ISIS (ISIL, as he puts it) are butchering even women and children, including infants. I remember vividly the National Democratic Convention leading up to the 2012 presidential elections. In three separate voice votes, delegates were asked whether they supported the inclusion of God and the recognition of Jerusalem in their party’s guiding policy document. Three separate times, loud shouts of “no” all but drowned out the chairman’s gavel. Chairman Villaraigosa ultimately just declared that the “ayes” had it. –This, despite the fact that there was nowhere near the two-thirds “ayes” voice vote sounded in the hall. As God and Jerusalem were inserted back into the Democratic platform, the hall erupted in boos. Absolute proof that despisers of good were there in abundance.
Recent Supreme Court decisions and other court actions against principles from God’s Word, even going so far as to put Christians in jail and strap others with fines that cause loss of livelihoods, makes it clear that we are in perilous times. We are in the satanic process of being surrounded by despisers of those who are good.
My book from a few years ago, The Departure: God’s Next Catastrophic Intervention into Earth’s History, is a book written by a number of authors. I was one of the authors and general editor. I selected to join in this effort some of the most knowledgeable authorities in Bible prophecy who wrote chapters on the most relevant topics of our day.
We looked at all issues and events involving what we consider to have prophetic import through the supernatural prism of God’s Word, the Bible. I consider it “our” book, not just mine.
More than that, I believe each of us who wrote for it considers it to be a volume devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ for these troubling although exciting times. We trust that it continues to be a tool to help edify those who are in God’s family by pointing to the very real evidence that proves the coming of “the blessed hope” of Titus 2:13 is likely very near. To that extent, that’s another reason I call it “our” book. It’s written for all believers alive today, with the prayerful hope God’s family will awaken to Christ’s imminent coming.
With the book now in the hands of many thousands, I thought it good to use the commentary this week to look at exactly who I believe will go in the Departure–the Rapture, when Christ gives the command: “Come up here” (Rev. 4:1).
There might be some among the authors who would disagree on a couple of my views about specifically who will go to be with Jesus at the time of the Rapture. However, I will let them answer for themselves in their own forums and in their own ways. My own feeling on the differences we might have is like that of the late Dr. J. Vernon McGee, who more than once said that you can believe the way you want to believe. But, if you want to be right, you’ll want to come along with me on this…
Dr. McGee said that with a chuckle, and I hope you can hear the chuckle in my written expression, regarding my borrowing from that grand old Christian man’s humor.
First, I will state that God’s Word says, without equivocation, just who will go in the Rapture–the Departure: “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51-52).
So, it is plain that Paul the apostle was saying two major things about one classification of people. He was writing to the believers at Corinth. But, he was also writing to each and every believer who would come along during the Church Age. Every believer at Corinth during Paul’s day is long since dead. So he had to be addressing those who would be living at the time when Christ would call for them, as well as those alive at the time this letter was written.
The context of the letter is that of informing those Christians about a mystery regarding a stunning event in their future. His words were to put to rest some of their worries about what would happen to those Christians among them who had died. What would happen to them in terms of their going to heaven?
Paul was saying that: 1) Not all believers would die; some would not have to die, but would be alive at the time of a stupendous event; and 2) All believers, however, would be changed. They would be changed in one single moment of time. The dead would be made alive and put into supernatural bodies. Those alive at the time of the event would be changed into supernatural bodies while living.
The “mystery” Paul was revealing–I am convinced–was the one wrapped up in Jesus’ words as recorded by John the apostle:
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. (John 14:1-3)
Paul further expanded on this “mystery” in his letter to the Thessalonians:
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thess. 4:16-17)
So, the thing to consider is that believers of the Church Age (Age of Grace)–and Paul was talking to believers of this dispensation—will ALL go to be with Jesus when He calls them in that “twinkling of an eye” (atomos of time) moment–the Rapture. ALL believers of this dispensation will go to be with the Lord! Not a single individual who has accepted Christ for salvation will be left behind.
This truth includes every individual who never reached the intellectual ability–through brain incapacity or because of being too young—to understand that he or she must accept Christ for salvation. These are all under the blood of Christ for redemption and reconciliation to God, the Father. All will go to be with Jesus at the Rapture.
Some believe and teach that only those believers who are living in the will of God will go to be with Christ at the Rapture. Those living “carnal” lives, they believe, will be left behind to go through a time of God’s judgment and wrath, along with the unbelieving earth dwellers. But God’s Word doesn’t teach that some will go and some will stay. ALL believers, Paul plainly writes, will go to be with the Lord at the Departure. Paul writes further to the Thessalonians: “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him” (1 Thess. 5:9-10).
It is true that we are told by the Lord as recorded in Luke 21:36 that we are to watch and pray always that we may be accounted worthy to escape all of the things of the Tribulation. But “worthy” in this sense means that we should be living in such a way that we will not be ashamed when we stand before Him at the Judgment Seat–the bema. We should desire to hear our Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
This might not seem fair to those who disagree with me on this–those who believe they are living their own lives within God’s prescription for Christian deportment. But, it’s not what we think is or is not fair that matters. It’s what the Word of God says that matters in any question of spiritual truth. God’s truth–His Holy Word—says plainly that ALL believers who have died or are living during this present dispensation will go to be with the Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ, when He makes that shout heard around the world to His bride: “Come up here!”