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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Gog Incentive

One recent day’s headlines combine to produce a picture that brings the lateness of the prophetic hour into focus:

  • China’s Xi calls for creation of Palestinian state
  • Tunisia declares nationwide curfew as violent protests against unemployment and poverty spread
  • Syria conflict: “US expanding air strip” in Kurdish north
  • Saudi-Iranian proxy war over Syria spreads to World Economic Forum meeting
  • French Prime Minister warns Europe will be “totally destabilized” if it takes all refugees
  • This is what the death of a nation looks like: Venezuela prepares for 720% hyperinflation
  • Haiti postpones Sunday’s presidential election as violence erupts

Nations are in distress with perplexity. The seas and waves of peoples around the world are roaring. All signals point to the soon coming Tribulation outlined in the greatest of all prophetic books —The Revelation. All the while, it is pretty much business as usual within the confines of the United States while  the country prepares for  another presidential election.

The global financial powers that be are in disarray equal to that of the national leaders around the world who are in the aforementioned distress with perplexity. The international stock exchanges appear to be set for massive collapse, yet the trigger point for that Humpty-Dumpty fall seems held up by some unseen hand of fate. All appears to be in configuration precisely as Jesus foretold it will be at the time of His next, catastrophic intervention into the affairs of mankind. –Not the Second Advent of Revelation 19:11-14, but the Rapture as given by Paul as recorded in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15 and 1 Corinthians 15:52-55, and even by Jesus Himself in John 14:1-3.

Surrounding all of these stage-props for the final act of the age, the handwriting is appearing on the walls of human history, perhaps beginning to clarify how the Ezekiel 38-39 scenario will play out. The nation Israel, as the student of Bible prophecy might expect, is in the middle of these most interesting developments.

News reports have informed for some months the many intrigues of the oil industry while cost  per barrel has been tumbling since Saudi reduced its prices. It is believed by many “experts” that that oil-rich nation’s royal family, in concert with the United States presidential administration, cut prices to undercut Russia’s upsurging involvement in oil production and sales around the world.

The undercutting worked. The ruble  fell precipitously, and although the  Russian currency unit is now up to around 85 cents against the U.S. dollar, Vladimir Putin’s budding Russian empire continues to suffer. And, while he and his country suffers, he remains resolute in presenting the image of being able to project power in the manner of the Soviet regime at the apex of its being able to threaten the world.

Despite great concerns that Putin indeed has the military resources and other assets to  truly threaten his neighbors–and the rest of the world–experts with first-hand knowledge of Russia’s capability provide interesting perspective to somewhat the contrary.

Bill Browder, chief executive officer of Hermitage Capital, and a former champion advocating for Vladimir Putin, now believes the Russian president leads a nation in such great peril of likely collapse that the situation portends danger for the world.

Browder’s ire against Putin was generated as the result of two of his colleagues who opposed Putin’s rule being killed–Browder supposes–by Putin’s henchmen. Browder, himself, was expelled from Russia in 2005 after criticizing alleged endemic corruption in the country.

Browder told CNBC that Russia is in severe recession and could very soon descend into chaos if money in Russia “runs out.”

“I don’t think you can underestimate how bad the situation in Russia is right now, you’ve got oil below any measure where the budget can survive and you’ve got sanctions from the West. Russia is in what I’d call a real serious economic crisis,” he said on Thursday [Jan 21]…

He told CNBC while attending the World Economic Forum (WEF) that Russia’s Central Bank is “running out of money.” He added: “Eventually they’re going to run out of that money and when they do, that’s when the real trouble begins.”(Rapture Ready News 1/22/16)

So, perhaps the Gog “evil thought” of Ezekiel 38-39 begins to become increasingly understandable to the diligent student of Bible prophecy.

Russia’s movement into the Middle East is itself an astounding development. Astonishing oil and gas discoveries off the coast of the Jewish state and within the Golan Heights area truly add prophetic intrigue in the minds of those who observe. These things, combined with such reports of Russia’s dire economic straits give food for thought, indeed. Does it all add up to being the incentive that will put hooks in the jaws of that prophesied leader termed “Gog”? Stay tuned, as they say…

Prophetic Tech Part Three – By Ed Wood

Revelation {13:16-18} And he* causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number [is] Six hundred threescore [and] six. * the false prophet

Ever go to a retailer, make your purchases, get out the credit card and have it declined when you know it’s completely valid? For some reason a technical glitch or a human error has caused you to be shut out of the system. Have you ever gotten a glaring late payment notice in the mail because somehow the postal service misplaced the remittance you sent a month ago? Or found that your checking account was debited for a large check someone else with a similar name wrote? How about getting a scam phone call supposedly from the IRS that you are getting sued (I’ve been there!). If you have, you know exactly what a sinking feeling it causes.

Usually these problems can be solved by using another credit card, contacting the creditor who sent the late notice, or in the case of the phony IRS call, a simple hanging up of the phone. Still, in cases where identity theft is involved, the process to make things right can be prolonged and torturous.

Let’s now take this to the extreme. Suppose a system is devised that can be used to deliberately cut off your access to your finances unless you “play ball” with whoever is running it, making you totally subject to their whims. Suppose further that it becomes universal leaving you with no recourse. Now imagine completely ruthless individuals controlling it all. According to the Bible there will come a time when this nightmarish scenario becomes a hard and fast reality when the last world ruler and his henchman known as the false prophet establish absolute rule over the planet.

Before we look at the “Antichrist Economy” described above, we should first take a look at the man that will be its enforcer. To do this, we’ll need to back up a little in chapter 13 of Revelation:

Revelation {13:11-15} And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,  And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by [the means of] those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

It would seem reasonable to assume that this second beast (the Antichrist being the first) will come across as a benign and gentle individual, like a lamb, and yet having the speech of a dragon. When we think of a dragon, we often think of the fearsome reptilian beast of mythology breathing fire. But the real dragon is much worse. Maybe we need to take a look at two interesting passages from the Bible which at first glance appear contradictory. We have Revelation 12:9 where we learn “the great dragon” is a real entity:

Revelation {20:1-3} And I* saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.  *John, the apostle and writer of Revelation.

This passage from the apostle Paul shows that the “old serpent” can appear to be something other than what he actually is:

2 Corinthians {11:14} And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of  light.

This particular dragon, the devil, doesn’t necessarily look like a monster at all. Quite the opposite. In fact, if we look just one verse further we see this ability is common to Satan’s minions as well:

2 Corinthians {11:15} Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

Therefore since both Antichrist and false prophet are working for the devil, it would make perfect sense that they do not at all appear to be the evil beings that they really are. As for the “speech of a dragon” what’s that all about? An important clue is found in what Jesus told revealed about Satan as he was excoriating the Pharisees for their hypocrisy:

John {8:44} Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of [your] father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Considering all this, having charismatic individuals who can appear  to be pillars of virtue and yet convincingly lie through their teeth really isn’t a surprise at all because history is full of them. Many have been elected to public office right here in America. That’s unfortunate enough in itself, but I think the most insidious of these are those that have found homes in the organized religion. I can think of any number of “televangelists”  who are pushing a “prosperity gospel” that taps into human greed to support their extravagant lifestyles. Then there are those who are the leaders of any number of modern denominations today preaching such false doctrines as pluralistic salvation claiming Jesus is not the only way to be saved (which refutes John 3:16-18; 14:6, Acts 4:10-12), acceptance of homosexual behavior even within their own clergy, and the portrayal of the Bible in these modern times as outdated and irrelevant. Some have even gone as far as the incorporating paganism into their services. Jesus himself warned his disciples of these deceivers:

Matthew {10:16} Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

If anything, deceptive clergy have increased to such levels that they are becoming the norms rather than the exceptions populating the pulpits of today’s increasingly liberal churches in North America and Europe. I see this all as a “softening up” process of the masses, getting both the religious and secular worlds ready for the man who will one day rule them both.

The Antichrist and his spokesman will have persuasive abilities beyond anything the Earth has ever seen. Add to this mix the supernatural powers described above in Revelation 13:11-15. This coming False Prophet will even have the ability to call fire from the sky. The significance of this particular ability is that with this counterfeit miracle I believe the False Prophet will delude people into thinking that he is Elijah (Kings 1:5-12), whom the Bible said must precede the Messiah (Malachi 4:5-6; Mark 9:11-13). The “False Christ” therefore will have his own “False Elijah” to help usher him into power – one more huge and successful deception made possible because most of humanity will be totally unaware of the biblical warnings regarding both of these men. Sadly, this is already true, even by those attending church every Sunday.

These two, according to Revelation 13:16-18, will ultimately be in charge of virtually every financial activity on Earth. However, until the advent of modern technology, such absolute economic control over a global scale was simply not possible. That is no longer the case because the resources available today can be used to make it a reality!

Today’s Technology for Tomorrow’s Economy

E-banking. We all are involved in this one way or another. Swipe a credit card, have direct deposit and direct withdrawals from your bank account, and you are already a part of electronic banking. And even if you could somehow sidestep all of this, the bank uses electronic means to move cash around as standard operating procedure. They can do all of this without touching one piece of legal tender just by sending a bunch of ones and zeros electronically from one data storage system to another at virtually the speed of light.

Credit cards. In the “old days” a merchant would take your card, put it in a mechanical device, pull a slider across it to make a copy of its embossed numbers and letters onto a paper slip for you to sign. These got physically sent to the credit card issuer who would charge your account appropriately and send you a paper invoice every month. The next step was to create credit card readers that would collect this information from a magnetically coded strip on the card and process it instantly and electronically. Now it has moved even beyond this.

Smart Cards and Speed Passes. About six months back I received my first “smart” credit card as a renewal. There’s a little chip inside that stores all the relevant information and can be read remotely by a radio-frequency device. Speed passes work the same way and have become popular on the roads for automatically paying tolls. You don’t have to stop to toss in the change. You don’t even have to slow down because the fastest car is nothing when it comes to the light velocity of the electromagnetic energy used to activate the speed pass. I’ve seen this capability on self-serve gas pumps as well.

Chipped products. In order to cut down on theft and automate inventory and shipping, many products now are being embedded with chips that work on the same principles as the smart cards and speed passes. A product comes into the warehouse, the system knows it has and where it’s stored. When it leaves, it knows that, too. Once in the truck (or ship, railroad, airplane, etc.) the vendor knows where it is and when it finally reaches its destination. It is becoming increasingly more common for a customer to be able to track his or her own package via the Internet via this capability.

But tracking merchandise is only part of the story. Pets are commonly becoming “chipped” with names, owner’s names, medical history, just about any other pertinent information. The same technology is already being used today to chip people. The uses are many. Some grant easy access to employer’s facilities and allow a log on to company computers. But this was not all. Back as far as December 2004 the FDA produced the following document entitled:

Guidance for Industry and FDA Staff – Class II Special Controls Guidance Document: Implantable Radio frequency Transponder System for Patient Identification and Health

It opens with the following introduction:

1. Background

This guidance document was developed as a special control guidance to support the classification of the implantable radiofrequency transponder system for patient identification and health information into class II(special controls). The device is intended to enable access to secure patient identification and corresponding health information in humans. This guidance is issued in conjunction with a Federal Register notice announcing the classification of implantable radio frequency transponder system for patient identification and health information.

There is even a provision in the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) on page 1014 to establish a registry for implantable devices:

The Secretary shall establish a national medical device registry (in this subsection referred to as the ‘registry’ to facilitate analysis of postmarket safety and outcomes data on each device that – (A) is or has been used in or on a patient; and (B) is a class III device; or  a class II device that is implantable,  life-supporting, or life-sustaining.

As we can see, this legislation can apply to both medium risk (Class 2) devices such as hearing aids, or the more involved Class 3 high-risk ones such as heart valves and pacemakers, but it doesn’t take much of a stretch of the imagination to see this one day include the implantable RFID devices which already exist and more sophisticated ones likely to be developed.

At the present time, such devices can be accessed only at short range. To make them capable of long range use, such as the GPS tracking abilities cell phones and high-end automobiles now have, requires a power source which is at present too bulky to be practically implanted. However, it would not be unexpected to find this problem remedied in the near future as technology continues to produce smaller and more efficient batteries.

Concluding Thoughts

We cannot know for certain just what kind of “mark” people will receive as part of the “666 Economy.” It may have more than one component, say, an implantable chip and a visible tattoo on the forehead, right hand or all of the above. Magnetic ink already exists which could be employed in the latter and here is an excerpt about this ink from the eHow website:

(http://www.ehow.com/facts_6813216_magnetic-ink_.html)

Magnetic Ink Character Recognition Technology

  • Magnetic ink contains particles, usually iron oxide, which are magnetized and read with special equipment compatible with Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) technology. Because there is a unique signature associated with each magnetized character, MICR equipment identifies each character very quickly and with a very high degree of accuracy, even if the characters are visually obscured by other marks or have been altered with ordinary ink.

Commercial Uses of MICR

  • Financial institutions worldwide use MICR equipment and protocols to accurately and quickly process vast quantities of personal checks and other financial documents. MICR technology, comparatively speaking, has a very low instance of misread characters.

Interesting how the first use it mentions is for financial purposes, don’t you think?

Next time we’ll explore in greater detail how various economic systems have evolved over time and even some more alarming possibilities that may be used to “control the masses” in the not-too-distant future.

Turkey’s Magog Moment

It seems at least forty years ago that I read Salem Kirban’s novel, 666. A major portion of the fictional account of the times at the end of the Church Age dealt with the Ezekiel chapters 38-39 Gog-Magog attack into the Middle East by Russia and all of the nations the prophecy foretells will storm toward Israel to destroy that nation and plunder the land.

Ezekiel prophesied a vicious coalition of anti-God, Israel-hating hordes that will rage in full fury, taking peace from the earth. Among the chief people mentioned who are to be part of that assault is “the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands” (Ezekiel 38:6b).

Author Kirban portrayed with powerful imagery, I thought, the warlord the Bible calls “Gog” and many of the other characters God’s Word forewarns will attempt to inflict murderous damage on the chosen nation and on the world. His account was particularly interesting, in retrospect, because he seems to have been somewhat prescient with his fictional presentation that the attack would be undertaken with ancient, not modern, weaponry–i.e., Kirban’s novel account had the Gog-Magog forces storming over the land using the literal war-making tools Ezekiel reported in his vision of that future invasion.

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. (Ezekiel 38:1-3)

I say Kirban was seemingly prescient, because his novelistic scenario included a technological breakthrough, as I recall, that had neutered conventional weaponry. The engines of modern warfare–as the author would have it— could no longer be employed. It was something along the lines of what has come to be known as EMP (electromagnetic pulse) technology–a weapon touted to have the capability of frying the electronic circuitry of modern machinery.

So, in the author’s story, Gog led his forces down toward Israel, where, of course, the evil ones met their complete destruction when the Lord intervened, as the prophecy says He will do when the actual attack occurs.

Turkey‘s history is replete with accounts of its cavalry exploits. Its armies are famous–or in some cases infamous–for their use of horses in warfare. Its horsemen are legendary in, for example, firing arrows while at full gallop. Even today, some of the finest horseflesh is found in the region Ezekiel calls Togarmah.

While I find fascinating the fact that Kirban could look a bit into the future to anticipate progression of modern weaponry, I’m still of the opinion that the weaponry Ezekiel saw in the vision God gave him was the weaponry of today, not actual horses and accoutrements. As a matter of fact, I’m not fully convinced that EMP truly is capable of doing what I’ve read time after time in emails it will one day do to, for example, America’s power grids and its sophisticated tools of war.

Such “warnings” have been issued as attacks about to strike for decades. I’m not saying some such things can’t happen, but it’s becoming akin to the little boy who cried wolf. It is incumbent upon us who are watchmen to weigh carefully things that are shaping that will likely be prophetic in nature–then report with responsible accuracy.

Certainly, Turkey has the history and the ability to raise a cavalry that could do battle if modern war machinery was rendered useless. Does that scenario look to be the likely unfolding of Bible prophecy regarding the Gog-Magog assault? I, at least, don’t think so. The world is facing a truly massive event as given in the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecy. Any threat horseflesh might present seems puny in comparison to the horrendous carnage described.

One development that should be most mesmerizing to the observer of things taking place for the wind-up of this present dispensation does involve Turkey, the region Ezekiel called Togarmah. Until very recently, Turkey was one of a few of Israel’s friends in or around the Middle East. The relationship has changed in ways that can only be described as portentous.

Following Prime Minister Erdogan’s Islamist AK party landslide election of several years ago in Turkey, that region began a metamorphosis with prophetic undertones.

Already the nation in the region with the largest army, it has worked toward doubling that military.

Presently, Turkey’s army has over 500,000 troops. Its army is larger than France, Germany and England combined. It reportedly intends to add another 500,000 paid soldiers.

It is a legitimate question to ask: Is Turkey in the process of preparing for the fulfillment of its Magog moment?

 

Rapture-resistance Reasoning

While those who truly grasp the lateness of the hour and what the issues and events of these strange, troubled times mean, there is the overwhelming majority that hasn’t a clue. This is neither surprising nor unexpected, because the vast part of the world’s population is in spiritual darkness–without Christ, therefore without the Holy Spirit to guide thinking and comportment.

There are millions upon millions of others who are within Christendom–that is, who claim to be under the umbrella of Christianity. Most of these, statistics bear out, would not qualify as “Christian” under the definition of being “born again.” That is, they haven’t truly “believed” as given in Romans 10:9-10:

“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. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

It is not my place–nor the place of any other person to say who is and isn’t “saved” on an individual basis. However, we are to definitely hold to what the Bible tells us are the qualifications for becoming a child of God who will spend eternity with Him in Heaven. In the sense of discernment, we can say that those who hold to those biblical qualifications are “saved” and those who do not hold to those qualifications are not.   

We will deal in this essay with those who fit within the category defined by the above prescription for being born again. I would like to get even more specific.

Among those who are truly born again, there are many views of how things will play out, prophetically speaking. At the same time, there are also many who don’t know and many who don’t care about prophecy–what God has foretold about their future. They are too busy living out their increments of life one heartbeat and breath at a time.

Sadly, the latter by far constitute the majority. That is, most don’t know about Bible prophecy, and most don’t care. They are aided and abetted in their willful ignorance by the pastors and Bible teachers within their church bodies in this disregard for the prophetic portion of God’s Word. That prophetic Word is almost one-third of the Scripture the Lord has given us through His Love Letter to mankind.

Even more specifically, I want to concentrate for the moment on the doctrine of the Rapture of the Church–that twinkling of an eye moment Paul wrote about as recorded in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:52-55.

Of those who have truly been born again, there are few in number who know about the Rapture in concrete terms or who grasp that there will come that moment of being called into Heaven by their Lord. In America, even those who do understand that the Rapture is an event prophetically scheduled according to the Bible resist embracing the promise intrinsic within the doctrine of that imminent call from Christ. That is, rather than desire to hear Christ’s call, “Come up here,” (Revelation 4: 1) these want to first live life on earth and fulfill all of the anticipated pleasures it offers. It is primarily this group of believers to whom I address the thoughts that follow.

Notice, please, that I wrote as a qualifier, “in America.. It is in America that this attitude of not embracing the Rapture among Christians is most pronounced. Proof of that statement  is made clear through the thousands upon thousands of sermons that are preached each week. The number of prophetic messages amongst those thousands of sermons are infinitesimal. People don’t want to hear that Christ’s call is imminent. The pastors–in overwhelming numbers–demonstrate that they don’t want to delve into that portion of Bible truth–even if, indeed, they in fact believe that the Rapture is an imminent event.

Not desiring the Rapture is, for American believers, as natural as breathing. Life in the United States is not bad, and for the most part, pretty comfortable. Compared to living as a Christian in, say, the Middle East, Africa, or other parts of the world, being a Christian requires that no heavy price be paid. That is what I mean when I say it is as natural as breathing.

Christians in America, unlike their counterparts in less blessed, heavily oppressed, persecuted parts of the world, rather than worrying about whether they will be able to provide food for themselves and their children for the day, look forward to their upcoming marriages, vacations, or new purchases that will satisfy their latest comfortable lifestyle aspirations. These physical and psychological wants and needs are the natural outflow from abundance. Longing for the Rapture is a spiritual–supernatural–exercise that requires, for most, effort that seems to offer no tangible, immediate gratification. Such effort is just too taxing for most of America’s Christians and their pastors. It takes them out of their comfort zone, much as does prayer and Bible reading.

When American Christians in this category do think of the Rapture–which, again, they in fact believe is a thing that will happen, but somewhere in the hazy years of the future–they fear it will take them away from the pleasures of this earthly life. That event will, they think, snatch them from their comfortable American lifestyle. It will present a completely changed paradigm–one that will cause them to lose homes, family closeness, friendships, other relationships, and their “stuff”–all of which  provides familiarity and pleasure.

This is especially true among the younger people. Their disinterest in prophecy in general and in the Rapture of the church in particular is more than obvious in the make-up of prophecy conferences. I can’t see any longer, due to a retinal disease, but am told that the conferences are almost without exception attended nearly exclusively by those with gray hair.

Now, I’ve been perhaps too harsh on Christians in America. However, we are approaching the very end of this Church Age. The perhaps overly stern exhortation is to focus attention on the reality that we might within months, weeks, days, or even hours, look our Lord in His holy, omniscient eyes. He said He was going to prepare a place for us and would come again and take us there with Him (John 14:1-3). That “place” is something we can’t even begin to fathom in its wonders and luxuriant surroundings.

All of the relationships in this life we thought we might lose in the Rapture will be magnified in their joy and intimacy a million times over. We are going to find that all earthly treasures we so valued are as refuse compared to things the Lord has prepared for those that love Him.

I sense that the newlywed couple who belong to Christ will find their relationship with each other dazzlingly more intimate than anything planet earth could have nurtured. The “stuff” left behind will be instantly forgotten when we behold the heavenly treasury that holds us spellbound. The best days of our lives in this earthly confinement will seem as a time of terrible, debilitating paralysis. The Rapture will instantaneously bring life unencumbered by gravity and all laws of what we know as physics.

The Lord put us here to enjoy the many good things He provides. There’s nothing wrong in living life to its absolute fullest. But, this is not our home. We are but travelers in a foreign land. We are here for, at best, 70, 80, 90, or 100 years, then we slip these surly bonds.

We, as God’s children, should not resist the doctrine of Rapture, but anticipate that glorious instant when the whole purpose of our being born into this universe reaches fruition. We will at that incomprehensible moment understand what it means to be joint heirs with Christ.

Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!

Pastoral Power Vacuum

A power vacuum exists today that was foretold almost two thousand years ago. Its effects on this generation and beyond are profound, and are destined to make an even more deleterious impact on America and the world in the days just ahead. The apostle Paul prophesied the following:

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come… [Men] Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:1, 5a).

Many pastors within Christianity today, I am sorry to have to say, are complicit in helping fulfill this prophecy on an hourly basis.

First, let’s define the term “Christian pastors.” Within the context of Paul’s prophecy that I wish to examine here, I refer to those pastors who truly preach and teach that Jesus Christ is the only way to redemption, to reconciliation with God the Father. All others who claim to be clergy within Christianity I completely disregard, because God’s Word discounts them as false prophets, as defined by the following Scripture, to give but one example:

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. (2 Peter 2: 1-3)

Again, to be clear, when I say “Christian pastors,” I’m referring to genuine pastors: Bible-believing preachers who lift up Christ as the only way to salvation.

Some will say that Paul’s “perilous times” warning of men who would display the end-times characteristic of “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” applies to the false teachers of Peter’s prophecy, not to true preachers called by God to be shepherds of His flock. I agree that Paul’s 2 Timothy prophecy applies to those interlopers who deny Jesus Christ as the only way to redemption.

However, the accusation against those who have a “form of godliness, but deny the power thereof” can apply as well to God’s true shepherds. The condemnation is in some ways even more to the point than when leveled at the false preachers and teachers. It’s my contention that Christian pastors today–and, sadly, I believe this includes the majority of them–deny the power of God when they deliberately cast aside prophecy given in the Bible that is for time yet future.

We have written in these commentaries, and many others have written and spoken on the fact that God’s Word, the Bible, consists of at least 27 percent prophecy. Half of that prophecy has been fulfilled; half is yet to be fulfilled. Although it can be proven through study of the Scripture and by examining history that the Bible is always accurate in putting forth prophecy in past instances, pastors–preachers and teachers—consistently and persistently ignore preaching and teaching things to come.

By this willful disregard for presenting this vast body of scriptural truth, men of God–called and anointed by the Lord as guardians of His truth and shepherds of His flocks–deny the great power wrapped up in the astonishing reality that our God is the only One who knows the end from the beginning–and in excruciating detail, might I add.

For the most part, preachers of today seemingly avoid the prophetic Word at any cost. And, in God’s holy economy, the cost must be astronomical. These shepherds of God’s precious people are denying those people the assurance of the hope that He promises. Jesus Christ, their Lord and Savior, is the fruition of God’s magnificent plan for their journey into forever. With the knowledge of Christ’s return plainly given as imminent in God’s love letter to mankind, the born again should be living victoriously, not with cringing fear or, even worse, in almost complete apathy.

The prophetic Word says:

Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:12-14)

The majority of those who aren’t informed about what is going to happen next in this judgment-bound world, or who are totally unconcerned about things of God, are fed pabulum rather than meat for living life in the way the Lord intended. These are as often as not force fed the prosperity, name-it-and-claim-it false teaching that is anathema to truth from the Word of God. The only ones accumulating wealth are the preachers of such spirit-dulling poison.

To the pastors and teachers who do in fact teach doctrine and sound biblical principles, may the Lord bless you to the extent to which you remain faithful to break the Bread of Life in the way it should be fed to your flocks. But, if you don’t include prophecy as an important and generous part of your messages–that Jesus is coming again, and might come at any moment–you are falling far short of deserving full commendation. You are denying the true power of God. You are exhibiting only a form of godliness.

Respectfully, please pay attention, you who are the truth-bearing pastors of our Holy God. These are the times to which all of Bible prophecy has pointed for millennia. These are perilous times. Signals are rampant that this generation is the generation that will almost certainly see the Lord’s return in power and glory. Israel and the peace process, with all nations beginning to turn against that state, dear pastors, is the number-one signal that we are bumping up against the very end of this swiftly fleeting age. Christ’s shout, “Come up hither,” is imminent!

You will be held accountable at the judgment seat of Christ for how you treat His whole Word in feeding your flock. Jesus spoke to the great power and importance resident within prophecy while addressing the churches. John recorded what the resurrected Lord directed him to write:

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw…Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. (Revelation 1:1-2, 7-8)

 

Satan’s End Time Surgery

Academia, it is becoming more apparent each day, is serving as the devil’s workshop. Specifically, for example, Yale University is being sought out to serve as the devil’s operating room for carrying out an excision of truth in an area that is most troubling to him in restricting his end of days stratagem.

A report I received the past week from a friend and fellow watchman on the wall immediately impressed scriptural implication upon my spiritual senses.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be… Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof… (2 Tim 3: 1-2a, 5: 1a)

My friend’s email provided two letters to the editor that were recently sent to his local newspaper. He lives in Connecticut, near Yale University, the curriculum of which is the target of the letter writer’s proposals.

The letters to the editor, I’m of the opinion, encapsulated a stratagem of the old serpent I have for some time been observing. He seeks desperately to destroy the true, unvarnished witness of the veracity of God’s word. Key to his strategy seems to be the mixing in of biblical truth with the false religions of the world. On some levels it appears that he is having success.

Lucifer has “enlightened” (seduced) the world’s religionists to a large extent to his seductive whispers proclaiming God is love. Anyone who denies that God is love must be put within the theologically and politically correct detention camp—the gulag—where haters must be dealt with appropriately. Anyone who claims that God condemns is a hater, a bigot, a person filled with an inhuman phobia of one sort or the other.

All within humanity are on the heavenly highway to salvation, no matter their sin—which, in fact, Satan whispers, doesn’t exist. That is, all are on that salvation highway except those who insist there is but one way to redemption—to Heaven. Such are haters, who preach that God is judgmental—that He is vindictive and vengeful.

The Bible and other “holy books” show—Satan whispers to the theologically and politically correct—that God is only love. The parts that indicate that the Christian Bible’s God judges humanity for sin other than the sin of failing to take care of the physical needs of fellow man is to be disregarded—to be spiritualized as meaning something other than what the hate-filled bigots who hold to the fundamental, evangelical view say it means.

This is the surgery Satan is attempting to perform—cleaving the love portion of religiosity from the judgmental. And, this brings us to the letters to the editor concerning that prestigious academic institution, Yale University.

The writer, from Vermont, is, he informs, a former student of Yale’s School of Theology. He points to apocalyptic prophecy as the primary reason for all of mankind’s problems today. That a loving God would condemn anyone to suffer eternal punishment…well…let’s let his own words explain…

Yale shouldn’t simply change the name of Calhoun College to that of an alumnus who is not a white supremacist. It should re-examine the mission of the Divinity School (where I received a Master of Divinity degree in 1980) which treats eschatology like a benign academic theological category, instead of the dangerous and incendiary belief-system that it is, in whatever religion it appears.

It is not Christianity or Islam which is responsible for many of the mass killings we have seen in my lifetime. It is the unchallenged belief in eschatology (end time; final judgment; apocalypse) which has produced Jim Jones, David Koresh, the Tsarnaev brothers, Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan, and the San Bernardino husband and wife shooters, all in the last half-century.

It is time for President Peter Salovey’s challenge for Yale to engage in soul searching to be expanded to include the Divinity School on a topic equally as poisonous as institutional racism: the belief that God will punish mankind for not obeying his sacred word, by imposing a final judgment in an end-time of hellfire and torment or of eternal bliss. (Source: Letter to the Editor: Yale needs deeper ‘soul searching’ www.nhregister.com)

The letter to the editor writer later replied to a response given his charge by the dean of Yale’s School of Divinity. The dean explained how Yale and other such institutions were working with the U.N. to “remove all religion as a rationale/cause of extreme violence.” The dean said he wasn’t certain eschatology was the cause of the violence.

The letter writer wrote:

Isn’t Dean Sterling missing the forest for the trees? All religions which include Armageddon belief-systems, throw gasoline on the inflamed minds of wannabe martyrs, terrified of eternal torment and hungry for eternal bliss, from Jim Jones in Jonestown, Guyana, and David Koresh in Waco, Texas, to the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston, Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan in Fort Hood, [Texas], and the husband and wife mass murderers in San Bernardino, California.

Armageddon should be banished from the religious canon as a paranoid delusion, not taught as benign theological embroidery. That would assist “the UN to try to remove religion as a rationale/cause for extreme violence,” as Dean Sterling puts it.

At the least, scholars at Yale’s distinguished divinity school should pursue the truth wherever it leads, without fear. (Source: Letter to the Editor – New Haven Register, January 8, 2016. Eschatology fuels ‘inflamed minds’.)

Lucifer’s attempted surgery is focused in laser-like fashion upon those who present end times matters to the world. The old serpent has a volcanic rage against prophecy from the Bible because such prophecy tolls his soon-coming doom, and because that truth might resonate with anyone who looks around them and sees how world conditions align perfectly with Biblical eschatology. The world today demonstrates the absolute veracity of God’s holy word. Satan has decided on the brilliantly evil tactic of lumping all who preach and teach that truth with the likes of the murderous Mullahs and Jihadists who have as part of their madness to bring on their version of Armageddon so their prophesied Mahdi can rule the caliphate they seek to establish.

Anyone who thus puts forth that there is coming a tribulation and an Antichrist—and God’s judgment for rebellion and sin—are wicked and no different from those raping, murdering and beheading people by the thousands.

It is a stratagem that is working—within academia and even within the pseudo-Christianity held by many of today’s liberal theologians.

God’s love, however, cannot be cleaved from His judgment. It is all part of the same divine plan for the ages. Sin must be dealt with in final judgment so that pure, unadulterated love can reign throughout eternity.

That love is a person, and His is a name like no other name. Jesus Christ is coming to make all things new and righteous. The first phase of that return—the rapture—is on the very brink of taking place. We must not and will not be silent regarding prophetic truth.

God Defines Genius

Reports were that shortly before he died Christopher Hitchens, the well-known atheist, told friends and the press that if he were to make a last-minute deathbed conversion, they should not believe it. It would be his delirium, not his rational mind doing the converting, he told them.

Reports were, too, that when the deathbed was his obvious fate, as he lay dying of complications due to advanced throat cancer, he remained unrepentant and apparently unafraid of whatever came next.

Hitchens long prided himself in his ability to debate, debunk, and debase all claims of religion in regard to the afterlife. He particularly seemed to take enjoyment from intellectually dismantling the Bible and Christianity. There is no God, he consistently claimed, lacing much of his confutation with acerbic wit intended to dissect Christianity with a laser-like argumentation scalpel. He seemed to delight in humiliating his debate opponents with ridicule. Many people–Christians whose God the British, self-styled intellectual denied— prayed for him. The prayers were that he be healed both physically and spiritually.

A special day of prayer for him was arranged, which he summarily dismissed, as the following news item released as he lay dying reported.

Author and outspoken atheist Christopher Hitchens, undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, skipped Everybody Pray for Hitchens Day Monday. “I shall not be participating,” said Hitchens, author of the book God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. ‘[Incantations,] I don’t think, have any effect on the material world’” (“Atheist Hitchens Skips His Prayer Day,” Drudge Report, 9/21/2010).

Hitchens’ fellow Brit, also an intellectual known for his derogatory views on religion, talked about the afterlife from the view of one who has lived at death’s door for many years. “Heaven is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark,” the eminent British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking said in an interview.

Hawking, 69, was expected to die within a few years of being diagnosed with degenerative motor neuron disease at the age of 21, but became one of the world’s most famous scientists with the publication of his 1988 book, A Brief History of Time.

“I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first,” he told the Guardian newspaper. “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark” (Nia Williams, Paul Casciato, ed., “Heaven Is a Fairy Story for People Afraid of the Dark,” Reuters, 5/16/2011).

Christopher Hitchens was, and Steven Hawking is, looked upon by the world as possessing genius. This is particularly true of Hawking, who is held up by some as almost the equal of Albert Einstein in terms of his cerebral brilliance. In his book, The Grand Design, published in 2010, Hawking stirred controversy among some religious leaders. The physicist declared in the book that there was no need for a divine force to explain the creation of the universe. God, in other words, isn’t relevant. As a matter of fact, in the minds of many of the world’s scientific “geniuses,” there is no god. Evolution is their religion, and man, himself, is god.

The Lord of heaven says the following about all of this: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good” (Psalms 53:1).

The world when David penned those words was likely almost tame compared to the lawlessness of our time. The intellectuals of these end-of-the-age days are at the head of the line of rebellious humanity. God’s words through David more nearly reflect this generation than David’s.

God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? Who eat up my people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God. (Psalms 53: 2-4)

The genius of this world is but condemned foolishness in the eyes of God. His view of wisdom is all that matters. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Proverbs 9: 10)

America’s Contribution to Armageddon

I caught the tail-end of a former general saying on FOX News, I paraphrase, “This administration is complicit in prepping the way for World War Three…”

Such a statement from a top military commander who is recently retired grabs one’s attention as few others pontificating on geopolitics can. The retired officer—perhaps one forced from service by this president, I can’t say because I don’t know the circumstance of his leaving the U.S. military— went on to talk about the upheaval in most all of the Middle East caused by American withdrawal in so many key areas of the region. The vacuum created, the general was saying, is setting up the world for a war of unimaginable scope.

Particularly, he was commenting on the growing threats and actions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which has flared following Saudi’s execution of a high profile Shiite cleric and a number of others.

Iran’s response was the takeover of the Saudi embassy building and the looting and ransacking of its contents. The reaction on both sides continues to escalate, dividing Islamic nation from Islamic nation along Shiite/Sunni religious lines, and threatening a war that could spread into a global conflagration, according to the general and other pundits.

President Obama has come under consistent criticism from military officers who have either resigned because of differences with the administration’s way of handling military involvement around the world, or who have been forced out because of conflict with advice offered the president on military matters.

Those retired or resigned officers who continue to criticize Obama’s use of military, and his dealings with America’s and Israel’s destruction-vowed enemies, point to the danger to the nation—and the world—in the administration’s actions, paving the road for Iran to build a nuclear force.

This, they say, is insanity –giving the very Islamists who want to bring on their version of Armageddon the capability to do so through acquiescence to Iran’s demands on nuclear development and their demand that sanctions be lifted, and access given to $150 billion as part of the lifting of those sanctions.

The protest of America’s military experts seems to make no difference whatsoever, any more than did the advice the generals gave in warning the president against first telegraphing the removal of American forces from Iraq, then in actually removing those forces. Such action was all but unprecedented in modern, American, military strategy. The result has been, and continues to be—as predicted by the generals—a power vacuum that is in the process of igniting the whole region in a conflict that is almost certainly unstoppable.

As written about before in this column, Israel remains strangely silent as all of the Arab and Iranian states around the tiny Jewish state begin to burn like a grass fire surrounding a log cabin. But Israel is no such inanimate, ordinary spectator. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the IDF know that Israel is the actual target when these wild men—as the Bible terms them—finally zero in on their most hated enemy. Israel’s trigger finger is on the ultimate weapon and will pull that trigger to defend itself.

Thus there is a cry for peace and safety by the likes of American Secretary of State John Kerry. It is really, however, a demand that Israel be disarmed and marginalized. This is so Kerry’s new friends, the Iranian Mullahs, can have their way, bringing, he and the rest of the world’s diplomatic fools believe, peace at last.

It is arguable to contend that the whole Middle East region would have been far better off if America had never gotten involved there. This is something that is said time and time again by those who want to blame George W. Bush and his father for committing troops to the region in two military actions. This is, at least in part, a mistaken contention, however. The Lord, Himself—it is obvious to students of history, when combined with study of Bible prophecy—determined that the United States would be a major part in the founding of modern Israel and a major physical agent of Israel’s protection.

The current American president and his ideological, leftist bedfellows display the reprobate thinking that comes from anti-God rebellion as forewarned in chapter one of Romans. A prime example of this upside-down lunacy is on display when thinking on the situation in the president’s dealings with both the nation of Iran and with the American people.

In the matter of Iran, Mr. Obama and his ilk indicate they think it is just fine to arm the Armageddon-planning Mullahs with nukes. This, despite the fact these madmen have stated time after time they plan to destroy the great Satan, and the little Satan (America and Israel). At the same time, the president and his leftist, political associates indicate they think it will make America safe by disarming American citizens by the threatened executive action on so-called “gun control.” The Iranian Mullahs can be trusted with nuclear weapons and their delivery systems that can destroy the world, but the American gun-owner can’t be trusted to have a Second Amendment-guaranteed right to own and bear arms.

Such insanity almost certainly is in the process of making our nation culpable in helping bring on man’s final war.

Thankfully, all of this means, as always, that Christ is about to call His church—all born-again believers—to the safe-shelter of their Heavenly home.

It is imperative, therefore, that all who belong to Jesus Christ determine to lift that name that is above every other. Thus, so that many who are lost will be drawn to the Lord. He is the only hope for those who are heading into the worst time in all of human history.

Prophetic Tech Part 2 – By Ed Wood

Daniel {12:4} But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

“Many shall run to and fro.”

            As we saw in the last article, the speed at which information can travel from one place to another has grown exponentially from Daniel’s time until now. The time it takes to physically get from one place to another has also greatly decreased, however it is still not as fast as the speed at which data can be transmitted (the Star Trek Transporter is still science fiction, after all) but it is still a huge leap above that which was possible to Daniel and his contemporaries. Back then, traveling to the next village might take the better part of a day, maybe more. Crossing continents or seas took months, or even years. One can now fly across the U.S. in five hours, a journey that took six months to the westward-bound settlers of the early 1800’s. The International Space Station circles the entire planet in an hour and a half! We’ve come a long way particularly in the past two centuries, running “to and fro,” faster than anyone could possibly imagined two and a half thousand years ago when Daniel wrote the prophetic book that bears his name.

“Knowledge will be increased.”

            I think it’s safe to say the Twentieth Century was the largest age of discovery the human race has ever known in almost every field of knowledge. Einstein gave us a look at the universe, energy, and matter in a whole new way. Edwin Hubble discovered that our Milky Way Galaxy was not the only one, but merely one of billions of “island universes” spread out across billions of light years of space. The biological sciences have delved into the genetic instruction sets which control how life operates and has begun manipulating it to alter its characteristics. Medical science, despite its continuing inability to cure the major and persistent life-threatening diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and ALS, still has come up with amazing surgical procedures which have restored sight, repaired damaged hearts, and reattached severed limbs.

In about a century, the field of electronics has expanded from the era of vacuum tubes to semiconductors, a technology which has made possible not only the reach of humanity into space, but also moved into our driveways and homes residing in devices and machinery we now take totally for granted.

Computing technology has advanced almost beyond belief. Gordon E. Moore, the co-founder of Intel and Fairchild Semiconductor, described a doubling every year in the number of components per integrated circuit back in 1965, and then revised this estimate to every two years. That’s still very impressive. This has become commonly known as “Moore’s Law.”

The “brains” or CPU’s of computers, their memories, and their assorted peripherals have made full use of these advances allowing devices that you can easily carry around with you perform wonders whole rooms full of machinery couldn’t have approached only a few decades ago. For example, my first PC didn’t even have a hard drive, running only on 1.44 megabyte floppies. A couple years later I upgraded it with a “huge” 20 megabyte hard drive which set me back over $100. New PC’s have hard drives capable of storing multiple terabytes of information. (1 terabyte = 1000 gigabytes = 1,000,000 megabytes!) As we further explore “Prophetic Tech,” we’ll be seeing just how this all figures in making the Bible prophecies of the comprehensive control that the Antichrist will have over Earth’s population literally achievable.

            In the realm of the physics, scientists have come to understand much about the nature of matter and energy, this knowledge in a very real sense becoming a double-edged sword. It’s safe to say that our technological grasp has far exceeded our wisdom to use it consistently to better ourselves. We can, for example, use the atom to produce electrical power to make our lives easier or use it to construct bombs capable of sending our civilization back to the Stone Age . . . or worse!

Certainly one can find many more examples of ways our knowledge has increased besides these few examples, but there is one main underlying principle for this to be possible – the ability to both store and transmit this knowledge. We looked at this somewhat in the previous article, but a review at this time seems appropriate.

We do not know how long the human race has had language, but I think it’s safe to say it’s been a very long time. By it one person could communicate his or her ideas to another individual or group. Probably the first kinds of information shared were such topics as where the edible plants and animals were and how to get them. Language also allowed humans to work together in teams to do these things and was the means of passing on their experiences to their kids.

Along with this was the sharing of new technology. Now we might not think a rock or a stick is very sophisticated, but when it comes to the multiplying the ability over just using one’s hands and feet alone to dispatch an animal and bring it back to the camp cooking fire (another early huge milestone of technology), it became a very big deal! The human with the rock or the stick will be a lot more successful than one that lacks either.  It probably didn’t take very long to figure out how to modify these first tools to make them more effective. A simple stick became a spear. A rock was modified to give it sharp edges, and, no doubt in flashes of Paleolithic genius, came the idea to combine these inventions to make spears with stone points and to create cutting tools with handles. These skills could be easily passed on via language to the next generations, who in time would add their own knowledge to the verbal archive.

The problem with this type of information transmission, though, is that it required direct contact from person to person, or person to group. There was also the problem of “data fade.” It was not a big problem with making tools and weapons because the verbal information was supplemented by a practical demonstration. The artifacts themselves became their own “hard copies!”

But when it came to accounts such as the history of the tribe or group, the oral accounts, despite the best efforts to maintain their fidelity, they could change over the years. The events and even the names of the participants could within relatively few generations become unrecognizable.

Enter into the picture a way to record things in a permanent manner and a revolutionary new way to store and transmit knowledge began. Starting with basic drawings and paintings on cave walls or the faces of stone outcrops, someone finally figured out ways to do it quicker with the development of writing. The Egyptians created hieroglyphs, a combination of images and symbols. The Sumerians developed cuneiform, true writing where specific symbols represented a spoken language, numbers, pretty much any information one wanted to preserve. As a testament to the effectiveness and lasting power of these technologies, archeologists are still collecting and reading these ancient messages to this very day. The development of papyrus and parchment scrolls, culminating in codex form (bound, multi-leaf books with which we are familiar) made the records more readily portable and easier to distribute over wide areas. The printing press was a giant leap toward this end and until the advent of electrical forms of data transmission back in the early 1800’s, the printed word was the fastest and most reliable game in town.

So enter the telegraph. With this device, messages could for the first time be sent at virtually the speed of light to any place its wires were run. They still had to be deciphered and recorded by hand by a human, but for the first time the speed of communication was no longer dependent on how fast a person could walk, or how quickly his or her animal could gallop, or how long it took a ship or train go from Point A to Point B. In a relatively short time, the range of electrical communications would extend not only across a continent, but across oceans.

Our unique time and place in history.

            If one looks back across the course of human history, can anyone point to a time remotely similar to ours? True, there have been great civilizations of antiquity whose secrets still elude us, but none of them have reached the level of knowledge, nor the ease of widely disseminating it that we currently possess. A very long time ago, King Solomon wrote:

Ecclesiastes {1:9} The thing that hath been, it [is that] which shall be; and that which is done [is] that which shall be done: and [there is] no new [thing] under the sun.

             I think the wise old monarch might change his mind if he could see the things that exist today. If this is indeed the unique time and place that I think it is another passage from the Bible comes to mind as to what might be just up ahead. This time the speaker is Jesus Christ himself:

Matthew {24:21-22} For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

            This you might recognize as coming from Jesus’ last address in public to his disciples a few days before his arrest. We are talking about what has come to be known as the Olivet Discourse, so named because the Mount of Olives was the place he gave it. He spoke of a time so dire and terrible that if allowed to continue, the human race would not survive it, not even the elect. Over the course of history we have seen numerous tragic and terrible events hard to imagine, but they will all pale when compared to the time Jesus told his followers would surely come at the end of this age, something revealed in stark detail in the Book of Revelation. The question now is just how close might we be to this time right now.

The Modern Media

            One of the capabilities our current level of technology gives us is something mentioned in the last article – the ability to experience in real time events in audio and video that are happening half a world away. Shortly before starting this article a disgusting and cowardly attack in Paris by Muslim extremists purportedly working for ISIS resulted in the deaths of over 120 innocent people hit the airwaves here in America on the evening news. Just days ago, two Muslim extremists fired on people at a Christmas party in San Bernardino, California. Who can forget that on September 11, 2001, the world watched the twin trade towers collapse into smoking rubble as the result once again of Muslim hatred directed at a free nation? We saw it all on our television sets within minutes. The reach and power of the modern communications systems is unprecedented.

If it were used only to provide unbiased news coverage, that would be impressive enough, but we have also seen it manipulated to sway the masses more often than once. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini used it to seize power in Iran in 1979 and to preach hate against the western democracies, the U.S. in particular, holding our diplomats hostage for over a year. Before and after him have been others, but the greatest manipulator of them all was Adolf Hitler.

Even today as one watches films of his speeches and the mesmerizing affect this man had on the German people is chilling. It is difficult not to believe that this power flowed from Satan himself. I have always believed that as powerful as the devil is, he does not have the ability to look into the future or else he would have already seen that his plan to become displace God was doomed to failure from the very start. Because of this limitation, I believe he has throughout history always had someone “waiting in the wings,” a latent antichrist, prepared to step into the role of the final Antichrist. Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Khomeini, and all the despots we have seen in our history books and have encountered in the news certainly qualify as would-be antichrists. One of these days, you can be sure that someone will rise from obscurity and fulfill the role of the last ruler who will bring the human race to the very edge of extinction. I would not be surprised if the “man of sin” is alive right now. If the hour is as late as all the signs indicate, he is already an adult being groomed for the job.

Another common denominator which all historical dictators exploited were conditions of public unrest and turmoil. Hitler exploited the ravaged economy of post- World War 2 Germany, Khomeini the misery caused by Shah Reza Pahlavi’s personal excesses while he oppressed and impoverished his people. If you look across history, you’ll find this often to be the case.

But as bad as these situations were, they were limited in scope. Though admittedly, a large amount of territory can be involved, the tyrants of the past and present have never taken over the entire planet. In the Twentieth Century, the fascists of Europe and imperialists of Japan had free nations to oppose and finally defeat them militarily. The Soviet Union was essentially bankrupted in the late 1980’s. Now imagine a world in which there are no such countering forces. This is precisely what the Bible tells us the case will be near the end of this age:

Daniel {7:23} Thus he* said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.  * A heavenly messenger, the exact nature of whom is not known.

There are many details in both the Old and New Testament concerning about the ruler of this global dictatorship. Here are just a few:

Daniel {7:24-25} And the ten horns out of this kingdom [are] ten kings [that] shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak [great] words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

2 Thessalonians {2:3-4} 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; {2:4} 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. 

Revelation {13:1-2} And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as [the feet] of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

Revelation {6:2} And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.   

Many who study Bible Prophecy believe the reference in the last passage to the man who sits on the white horse with the bow, but lacking arrows, suggests that this ruler will not achieve his initial prominence militarily. A much earlier passage from Daniel appears to support this supposition:

Daniel {11:32} And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do [exploits. ] 

We learn that this man will be a great orator, but those few people who do come to believe in Jesus post-Rapture will not be taken in by his “flatteries.” Most of the world certainly will. Even now in the secular world people no longer have a problem with politicians who habitually lie. Even worse, people have no qualms about attending any number of church denominations where the doctrine of  “political correctness” and “anything goes” has overwhelmingly been accepted in the place of what the Bible teaches regarding God’s intent on such things as human sexuality to be within a committed heterosexual relationship only, Jesus as the only means of salvation, and the reality that there will be a day of judgment and that hell is a very real destination for those who have rejected God – and specifically for those of the church age, those who have refused  Jesus’ offer of himself for their sins. Paul said as much would be the case almost 2000 years ago:

2 Timothy {4:3 – 4} 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.

This makes a situation already ripe today for the ultimate deceiver known as Satan to put his man in place by completely peaceful means. But once that happens and the Antichrist’s grip on power becomes established, any and all means, including force, will be applied to maintain it. It will ultimately lead to the worse war in human history at Armageddon, a conflict so terrible that it will require divine intervention to stop it in the bodily return of Jesus Christ to Earth, accompanied by all the saints (believers) who have ever lived.

Revelation {19:19-21} And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which [sword] proceeded out of his* mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. *Jesus (See Revelation 19:11-16)

But we are getting somewhat ahead of ourselves. We have to look further at how humanity will get to this terrible state. Next time, we’ll look at more ways this future world despot might exploit the technology of our “knowledge will be increased” age to bring the world to its knees before him.

*Public Domain Source of Bible Quotations *

All Bible references are from http://www.davince.com/bible and are copied intact from that

source.

Piercing the Perils of 2016

Never in my own memory has a new year appeared at its beginning to be more prophetically interesting. Never–in my thinking, at least–has one portended more perilous times, as the Apostle Paul would have it. Yet I wouldn’t trade my time on this darkening planet with anyone of any other generation.

The fact that the Lord of Heaven has put me here at this strange, ominous, yet immensely fascinating time in history makes it all the more intriguing–even riveting, in terms of wanting to know what happens next. He has put you here, too, at this time when the final curtain  is about to fall. He has trusted you to be an actor in at least part of the final scenes of this great, cosmic play called human history. No illustrious personages of the past–not Julius Caesar, not Napoleon Bonaparte, not Alexander the Great, not even Winston Churchill, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, or Ronald Reagan were so privileged. We are about to serve as active members of a most especially commissioned cast who populates the end-times stage.

There is about to occur a schism–a separation–of cataclysmic proportion. It will rend one part of humanity from the other. It will not be a natural catastrophe that will inflict the humanity-dividing rift. It won’t be great political upheaval in America and around the world that will cause the tearing apart of life upon the troubled planet. Those things will certainly happen. But it won’t be acts of nature or of man that will bring about the very last scene of the age.

That last act will be orchestrated by the Master Director of all Creation–by the Lord God of Heaven who is the final judge of good and evil.

The excitement presaging that grand climax of the age is building. Momentous events, written on the pages of Holy Scripture, are about to come alive.  The final curtain will rise when Jesus steps out on the clouds of glory and calls all believers–His Bride, the Church, to Himself. If you are a believer in Christ alone for salvation, you will catch the grand finale as you watch from the luxuriant balconies of Heaven.

We see the drama building all around us for the tumultuous scenes set to play out during the times just ahead. The year 2016 is cloaked in the fog of malevolence this world continues to wrap itself in–an increasingly anti-God, anti-Christ vesture that embraces humanism forewarned about by the psalmist.

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. (Psalms 2: 1-3)

A quick scan of the news just the past week exposes, I believe, the arrogance of those the Scriptures call “earth-dwellers” who incessantly strive  to break asunder the governance God rightfully placed upon His creation called man. The reports are laden with prophetic indicators.

One such report is seen in the prideful claims by a U.S. State Department spokesman, as the boast involves the increasing call for “peace and safety,” While the situation in Syria grows intensely worse by the hour, with the Syrian people torn violently between the forces of Syrian dictator Basher Al-Assad and the hordes of ISIS murderers, Secretary of State John Kerry is lauded as bringing about a peace that just isn’t happening and will never come to pass.

State Department spokesman John Kirby wrote under the headline, “Bringing peace and security to Syria”: “Under Secretary of State John Kerry’s stewardship the United Nations passed a U.S. sponsored resolution to create a road map for Syria.” Again, the problem is that like in all of the humanistic efforts at bringing true peace, the only “peacemaker” is kept out of the peacemaking. Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, is denied at every turn by the president of the very country that speciously purports to be making the peace. (President Obama, remember, upon his very first week in office, proclaimed that the United States is not a Christian nation.)

The president of the United States of America, in effect, proclaimed regarding the governance of the God of Heaven:   “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”

We can believe what that omniscient, omnipotent, governing authority has to say about such arrogance and willfulness. The message is chilling for the planet’s inhabitants who will be left behind when the great schism aforementioned takes place.

He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. (Psalms 2: 4-6)

Details of what is about to take place in 2016, of course, lurks in the murkiness of an ever-increasing pall of trepidation. But, for those who are secure within the unshakable, impenetrable shelter of their Lord and Savior, there is no reason to fear. Piercing that black uncertainty is an effulgence that lights the path to the brightest of all possible futures. It is that Blessed Hope of Titus 2: 13!

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