Home » 2016 » April

Monthly Archives: April 2016

Prince of Persia Quite Busy

Those of us who examine world issues and events of our time from a pre-trib eschatological viewpoint consistently pronounced that the uprisings that began years ago in the Middle East would result in an expansion of Islamist control over the region. Mainstream news pundits of the secular ilk proclaimed it a great day for democracy’s spreading among the tyrant-laden nations of the Middle East. Mainstream religionists, at the same time–including, sadly, many of the neo-evangelical sort such as Saddleback’s Rick Warren— declared it a new day for all faiths to come together in peace and understanding. The Arab Spring, as it is now known, was to bring in a kind of Mideast utopia, it was gleefully expected by the uprising’s cheerleaders.

Soon Egypt’s president-dictator, Hosni Mubarak, was forced out as the nations surrounding Israel on three sides fell one by one into the hands of peoples that are under the control of…well…that’s another matter into which we will have to have a look. No matter what news network or outlet, the talk was at the time centered on something peaceful and good coming out of the so-called Arab Spring. The movement was a supposedly righteous rebellion to oust dictators that would bring the installation of democracy to most if not all of the nations in the region that has been the most volatile on earth since Israel was reborn in 1948.

But a funny thing happened on the way to all of that promised freedom to choose.

We have watched and reported on the unrest that began those years ago, including the disastrous Egyptian election that resulted. Since December 18, 2010, there have been revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt; a civil war in Libya; civil uprisings in Bahrain, Syria, and Yemen. Major protests were launched in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, and Oman, as well as on the borders of Israel. There were protests in Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Western Sahara.

Moammar Gadhafi of Libya has met his fate, and Bashar al-Assad perhaps faces the same in Syria, as the Islamist uprisings build toward a fever pitch in that tyrant’s kingdom. It is interesting that Satan has trouble controlling his own diabolist minions within the Mideast madness, even as some rebellious leaders infesting Christianity fight against the good the God of heaven wants to get done during this dispensation. Of course, this shouldn’t surprise. The fomenter of both incendiary actions is one and the same.

In the case of things going on in the Israel-hating nations that surround the tiny Jewish state, the fingerprints are obvious. The same satanic general that instigated and carried out warfare in high places during the prophet Daniel’s time has been turned loose today to stir the boiling Middle East cauldron. His most visible involvement is evidenced within the Islamist fury that rages under the guise of democracy on the move. The most overt evidence of the immediate danger this general poses is the nuclear threat Iran presents against Israel.

The whole region is being prepared –the stage set– for the Gog-Magog attack against God’s chosen people. It has been both amazing and, in a way, somewhat gratifying to see Russia being drawn into the Syrian/ISIS/Syrian rebel conflict. I say it is “gratifying,” because God’s prophetic Word is coming alive day by day in all of these doings. We are privileged to be here, at this time in history, to see His Truth unveiling. Plus, it all means the Rapture must indeed be near.

Jesus said in His days of Noah, days of Lot prophecy of Matthew 24: 36-42 and Luke 17: 26-30 that things will be going along in a relative business-as-usual manner when He next catastrophically Intervenes into human History.

When the Gog-Magog attack occurs, it will be world-rending in many ways. It won’t be business as usual as Jesus said will be the case when He comes for His Church.

Therefore, we can believe with confidence that the Rapture is near, if we are witnessing the build-up for that Gog-Magog assault. And, there isn’t any doubt in this observer’s thinking that we are witnessing that build-up.

Some believe that the attack might occur almost simultaneously with Christ calling His Church in the Rapture, and I think this is very possible, if not likely.

One thing sure, the prince of Persia (Daniel 10:20) is on the loose in these last of the last days.

On Being Rapture Ready Part II

Note: This April 22 was the fifth-year anniversary of the Good Friday trip I was given to somewhere on the perimeter of Heaven. It remains as vivid in my every waking moment today as right after it happened.

I wanted to again present the articles I wrote at the end of that year–2011–because I believe we are so very near the time of Christ’s call to us–“Come up hither!” (Revelation 4:1).

Also, I wish to announce my just completed book which is now being prepared for publication at New Leaf Publishing Group. Rapture Ready…Or Not:15 Reasons This Is the Generation That Will Be Left Behind is scheduled for release July 1, 2016.

I’m certain in the deepest regions of my spirit that this book is a major reason for the round trip to that other dimension on that Good Friday five years ago.

I’m having considerable trouble exercising patience as this book approaches its release. I just can’t wait to share it with you.

Without intending to attract unto myself any aggrandizement–for the Lord of Heaven is the only Person deserving such–I believe I was commissioned to deliver this message. Rapture Ready…Or Not, this generation is on the brink of God’s most profound intervention into human history since the day the Great Flood of Noah’s day burst upon the world.

Here is Part II of that December 2011 Nearing Midnight article.

             ___

There is no specific signal that presages the Rapture of believers in the Scriptures. That calling by Christ to those who know Him as Savior will be unannounced and instantaneous. Paul the apostle’s words inform us of that stunning event: “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 Corinthians 15:51-52).

Paul says further: “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 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

The website Todd Strandberg began in 1987, before the internet was making an impact to any extent on life in America and throughout the world, encompasses what Christ expects every born- again believer to become. Todd gave it the name raptureready.com, a nomenclature defining a spiritual condition eternally crucial to each and every living individual.

All who have died during this Church Age (Age of Grace) are now beyond getting “Rapture ready.” They are either “Rapture ready” or not. People alive at the present time, if they don’t know Christ as Savior, still have opportunity to get Rapture ready. All who are saved (know Jesus as their Savior) are Rapture ready in one sense, but might not be Rapture ready in another. We will try to clarify these matters. It is most important that we do so.

I testified in my commentary last week of instantaneously standing before a throng of heavenly witnesses (Hebrews 12:1-3) the moment my heart stopped beating. This happened three separate times. Each time my heart ceased to beat, I was somewhere in eternity. God the Holy Spirit’s assurance of where I was and who the beautiful, cheering young people were becomes more strongly burned into my own spirit by the day.

The only action I have taken in my life to warrant being instantly transported to that heavenly realm was to accept Christ as my Savior. There is no other action I could take while in this physical life to assure my instant transport into those stunning surroundings. While my near-death experience wasn’t the Rapture, of course, I believe with all that is within my spiritual understanding that it was a type of what awaits the generation of Christians alive at the time of that great event, as described by the Apostle Paul’s prophetic words as given above. At that future moment of Rapture, all who have died during the Church Age, or who are living at the time, will stand not before a throng of witnesses as I did, but before the Lord Jesus, Himself! “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

All who are living today who do not know Jesus Christ as Savior stand in mortal danger. When their hearts beat the final time, they will find themselves in the same, unimaginably horrid place as the rich man described by Jesus in the story of the rich man and Lazarus (read Luke 16:19-31). Likewise, the moment Christ says at the Rapture: “Come up hither” (Revelation 4:1), the person who hasn’t accepted Christ will be left behind on earth to face a time in human history of which the Lord Jesus Himself said: “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” (Matthew 24:21-22a).

Being Rapture Ready

So, it is imperative to make clear what it means to be Rapture ready. Our eternal souls hang in the balance of God’s impending judgment. The Lord of Heaven must judge sin, because He cannot abide sin in His holy presence. No sin can enter the gates of Heaven. And this is where God’s magnificent love comes to the forefront of His dealing with each of us who are sinners.

He loves you and me so much that He sent His Son–God in the flesh, Jesus Christ—to come to earth to be the perfect sin-sacrifice, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, whose blood takes away the sin of the world. To be Rapture ready, you and I must be “saved” from our sins and made pure in the righteousness found only in Christ. When we believe God and accept Christ as Savior, we become Rapture ready in the eternal sense. We will go to Heaven upon our death, or will be raptured when Jesus steps out on the clouds of glory and shouts: “Come up hither!”

But, there is another meaning of being Rapture ready. Each Christian is responsible for being Rapture ready in this sense. To be Rapture ready as a child of God means we are to be living our lives in a way pleasing to God. We are to lift the name of Jesus so that men, women, and children will be drawn to Him for salvation. We are to be watching for His any-moment return in the Rapture.

Let me make it clear. I believe the Word of God tells us that every person who is saved through the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ will go to be with Him at the moment of Rapture, no matter the state of his or her fellowship with the Lord. We will ALL stand before Him, Paul tells us.

However, to be truly Rapture ready as a Christian means that we are living life in such a biblically prescribed way that when Jesus calls us we will not be ashamed to look Him in His omniscient eyes. We should desire above all else to hear Him say “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:23b).

End-times world conditions today are unmistakable. That face-to-face meeting could take place at any moment!

War Rumors Abound

These commentaries have for months been devoted in large measure to examining the building economic bubble that threatens to bring about worldwide cataclysm. I have written on, for example, things like the crisis involving collapsing currencies around the world, which is feared to be creating irreparable cracks in global financial structures.

Things stand out starkly.

  • I am amazed that the economic bubble hasn’t burst;
  • I believe that the longer the crises build, the greater will be the explosion;
  • I maintain that only the staying hand of God has thus far prevented it from bursting; and
  • I am of the opinion that it will likely be the Rapture of the church that will pop that bubble.

I was under the illusion that second only to Israel’s position at the center of world controversy; the impending global economic catastrophe has to be the next most profound signal of how near the very end of the age this generation finds us. Jesus, of course, didn’t first specifically mention either Israel or the global economy as being the most significant signs of His return when His disciples asked Him directly. He did, however, mention the subject of this commentary: “And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3).

The Lord described a number of things that would be on the world scene at the time He would return to planet earth–or at least above the earth. Among the first signals He mentioned are in the following: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matthew 24:6-7a).

As prophetically stunning as Israel being at stage-center is the global economic cataclysm looming above this rebellious, judgment-bound planet. The sudden proliferation of potentially world-rending military conflicts on the prophetic horizon is equally astonishing. “Rumors of war” are literally in every direction we look. We will have brief looks at a number of the “rumors of war” presently front and center in the news:

U.S. deploys B-52 bombers to Qatar for fight against Islamic State
The U.S. Air Force deployed B-52 bombers to Qatar on Saturday to join the fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the first time they have been based in the Middle East since the end of the Gulf War in 1991. U.S. Air Forces Central Command said it last flew the long-range bombers operationally in the region in May 2006 as part of the war in Afghanistan, and during a U.S.-led military exercise in Jordan in May 2015.

North Korea ‘tests long-range missile engine’
North Korea says it has successfully tested an engine designed for an intercontinental ballistic missile. The new type of engine would “guarantee” the ability to launch a nuclear strike on the US mainland, the KCNA news agency said. The test was conducted at the country’s long-range missile launch site near its west coast.

Syria’s Assad shows no willingness to compromise
As the Syria peace talks resume next week, President Bashar al-Assad, backed militarily by Iran and Russia, shows no willingness to compromise, much less step aside to allow a transition Western powers claim is the solution to the conflict.

Rumors of war are indeed rampant upon today’s prophetic horizon. With the impending threats and military preparations, it becomes clear the coming “sudden destruction” of Paul’s forewarning (1 Thessalonians 5:3) cannot be far distant in time. Jesus’ words foretelling what this world faces when the Rapture occurs are starkly in view at this very moment.

“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:26-29).

 

 

 

On Being Rapture Ready Part 1

Note: This April 22 is the fifth-year anniversary of the Good Friday trip I was given to somewhere on the perimeter of Heaven. It remains as vivid in my every waking moment today as right after it happened.

I wanted to again present the articles I wrote at the end of that year–2011–because I believe we are so very near the time of Christ’s Call to us– “Come up hither!” (Revelation 4:1).

Also, I wish to announce my just-completed book that is now being prepared for publication at New Leaf Publishing Group. Rapture Ready…Or Not: 15 Reasons This Is the Generation That Will Be Left Behind” is scheduled for release July 1, 2016.

I’m certain in the deepest regions of my spirit that this book is a major reason for the round trip to that other dimension on that Good Friday five years ago. I’m having considerable trouble exercising patience as this book approaches its release. I just can’t wait to share it with you.

Without intending to attract unto myself any aggrandizement–for the Lord of Heaven is the only Person deserving such–I believe I was commissioned to deliver this message. Rapture Ready…Or Not, this generation is on the brink of God’s most profound intervention into human history since the day the great Flood of Noah’s day burst upon the world.

Here, then, is Part I of my thoughts in December, 2011, following that April 22, 2011, Good Friday event.

            ___ 

Being prepared to meet Jesus Christ face to face–as far as trying to make that my constant state of mind is concerned–has been part of my every waking moment since Good Friday of this year. Not wishing to go over it in a public forum like this one ad nauseam, nonetheless, I’ve been considering the relationship between my near-death moments of April 22, and being Rapture ready, as is the thought wrapped up in our website’s name. So, here goes yet again…

This is intended to be an exhortation for all of us who name Christ as our Lord–urging us individually and collectively to hold Him close to our spiritual hearts during this Christmas season. It is not meant to dwell upon my personal experience as an overriding point of focus. Many who read this column on a regular basis know some of the details of my heart event on Good Friday of this year. I’m often corrected by my wife, Margaret, for not calling it a heart attack. For some reason that description just doesn’t register within my aging gray matter. Others have heart attacks, not me.

I remember thinking at the time it was occurring that this wasn’t possible. The EMT working on me told the hospital dispatcher that he had a “coronary in progress.” It didn’t register then, either. There I was, however, being rushed toward Saline Memorial Hospital, gasping for breath, the pain behind my sternum feeling as if it would explode my chest at any second.

I remember arriving and the gurney being tugged toward the ER outer doors. Then, there was the computer-like blip and I was suddenly before a large heavenly throng of young, beautiful, cheering men and women. The ambiance of my surroundings was dazzling, and I wanted to join them. There was no recollection whatsoever of where I had been–no memories of this planetary existence.

I was, the doctor later told Margaret, dead on arrival.

They hit me with the defibrillation paddles–yes, just like you’ve seen in the shows where they say “Clear!” and then apply the paddles, making the body nearly jump off the table.

I felt nothing, but the action did cause me to leave the place I never wanted to leave. I remembered thinking, “I want to stay here forever in this perfect place.” But, everything turned dark and I awoke in total darkness on the gurney. This is because I’m blind due to a retinal disease, as many who read the account know. The pain behind the sternum grew worse and I heard the blip twice more. Each time I was before that cheering, enthusiastic throng of vibrant, young people. The sights were astonishing, colors of every description emanating from somewhere I could neither determine, nor cared to investigate. The third time I was among them, we were all racing, or being drawn by some powerful energy toward a destination I would never know. I was again in the hospital, this time on the cardiac unit’s procedure table. I had again been hit with the paddles.

I had survived the “widow maker,” an artery-blockage that I was told only 5 percent of victims live through. I was clinically dead three times, my heart having stopped each time. I had been given a journey and return trip that few are privileged to experience–and I say that meaning it as humbly as it is possible to express the fact.

The reasons for and meanings of this experience have been confirmed and affirmed in my spiritual understanding. I’ve dealt briefly with those impressions from the Holy Spirit in a previous article, “HeavenVision.” God willing, there will be a more in-depth presentation on these matters in a book we have planned for release early in 2012, entitled HeavenVision: Glimpses of Glory.

I continue to be given insight into what it all means. As stated at the beginning of this commentary, my thoughts have been turned toward being ever ready to meet the Lord Jesus Christ face to face since that Good Friday when my heart ceased to beat those three times. One of the things constantly on my mind is that my heart could fail again at any moment.

My rehabilitation has been an absolutely amazing success story. And, in that regard, I thank so many of you whose prayers were obviously heard in the throne room of Heaven. I honestly haven’t experienced one moment’s problem, in any way, with my heart or anything else of consequence regarding my health. In fact, I was given the “Arkansas Cardiologist Association’s Patient of the Year Award for 2011” on November 18. I was asked to speak to their convention and I told them that I don’t know why I should be honored. All I did was survive. My Lord, Jesus Christ, deserves top honors, because He holds the keys to death and hell. I then said that they, the wonderful medical professionals, also deserve honors for being the ones God chose to put me back into this race.

The only problem has been cracked teeth and one crowned tooth broken completely off that resulted from being hit with the paddles those three times. Nonetheless, the thought is there that one’s last heartbeat can occur at any moment.

Each time my heart stopped, I stood not before Jesus Christ, but in front of a cheering cloud of witnesses as given in Hebrews 12:1-3. This simply means, I have been assured in my spiritual understanding, that this wasn’t really death. It was a preview I was given for reasons the Lord has determined. But, I will, when God’s timing has come to fullness for my life, stand before my Lord and Savior. It will happen just as instantaneously as did my near-death trip to the fringes of glory. I am ready for that moment, because Jesus saved my soul with His work of redemption on the cross at Calvary nearly 2,000 years ago. When my heart beats that final time, I will, in the twinkling of an eye (see 1 Corinthians 15: 52), stand before Him, and will be with Him for all of eternity.

But, my heart has not stopped for that final time. When Christ calls all believers, living and dead, to Himself, I will, if still alive, stand instantaneously before Him just as I stood instantaneously before that cheering cloud of witnesses on Good Friday, April 22, 2011.

Being Rapture ready is being ready, period. It means you are prepared to meet the Lord at any moment–at all times. Every believer has the same promise–to be present with the Lord when life on earth is over.

“We are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight): We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8).

Next week we will go in-depth, examining details about what it means to be Rapture ready.

Prophetic Tech Part Five – Return of the Nephilim? By Ed Wood

 

Genesis{6:1-5} And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the  earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they [were] fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also [is] flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare [children] to them, the same [became] mighty men which [were] of old, men of renown. And GOD saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually.

In the passage above the term “giants” actually comes from the Hebrew word “Naphíl.” Strong’s Concordance simply defines it as a “feller,” that is, a bully or tyrant. It also refers to the term “naphal” which among many definitions includes “cast down,” and “lost.” In the singular form “giant” reference is given to the term “raphah,” once again referring to a giant.

How are we to make sense of all this? I believe these two passages can help:

Jude {1:6} And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

Revelation {12:7-9} And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Now let’s see if we can come up with a theory that will put all of this information together. First, the Revelation passage gives us an account of Satan and his angels being cast out of heaven. Second, we see that for a time anyway, the “sons of God” interbred with human females. According to Job 1:6, these are angels, some of which are the fallen ones that had been cast out. From the passage from Jude, it appears that this freedom of them to move about the earth was only temporary and that they are now imprisoned in hell (Sheol) waiting for final judgment.

What we are interested in here is what can we say about the hybrid offspring that resulted from the merging of human women and these cast out angels? From our first passage they are called “mighty men, men of renown.” On an initial reading of this description, it sounds as if they were praiseworthy, but what happened shortly after their appearance was the descent of the world into a moral abyss so deep that it took the wholesale destruction of everything that lived on the dry land of the Earth’s surface to remedy the situation, save for Noah’s family and the living cargo that he saved aboard the ark. Yet an even more fundamental reason might have been to prevent the contamination of the human gene pool. Had this been allowed to continue, it would have made the eventual appearance of the Messiah an impossibility. Remember, in the Mosaic system, a sin offering had to be unblemished and even this was merely a stopgap. Jesus was the only “perfect and complete sacrifice” which could once and for all adequately atone for the world’s sin – a requirement which could not have been met if his family line had been contaminated by non-human genes.

I have often wondered if the distant tales of superhuman beings recorded in the texts and mythologies of so many ancient cultures might have actually had their roots in the exploits of these beyond-human creatures. But more importantly, has there ever been a serious attempt to actually enhance human life beyond that which we have come to know? I believe than answer is “Yes” on many levels, some of which we will explore here.

Improving the Human Condition

This may sound like stating the obvious but all ancient cultures began as technologically immature. As far as we know there is not one example of a civilization suddenly appearing with an inordinately high level of scientific progress, despite what those who believe in extraterrestrial influence would have us believe. As far as I know, we have no solid evidence that a human society from the past suddenly showed up with electric lights, transistor radios, or starships. What we do have are plenty of examples of initial hunter-gatherer groups, probably starting out from immediate families and slowly incorporating others into bands or tribes. If left in a reasonably benign and stable environment, this is as far as they ever got. Indeed there are some isolated tribes living exactly the way just as their ancestors did thousands of years ago. It is, however, very likely that the inevitable contact with the outside world will soon change all that.

If, on the other hand, there comes a situation where the adverse pressures come to bear such as population growth or climate change, the old adage about “necessity being the mother of invention” is repeatedly seen in the advent of new technologies to deal with these challenges – or else extinction is inevitable. If hunting and gathering no longer can provide a reliable food supply, the development of agriculture and the corresponding trade of a nomadic lifestyle is exchanged for a more stable one, leading to the development of villages, towns, and eventually cities is the next step. This in turn leads to a greater capacity to solve even more difficult problems. If, for example, the water supply becomes insufficient, the community learns how to dig wells, create irrigation systems, aqueducts, and sophisticated plumbing systems to deal with it. Need to increase the food supply further? Then new farming techniques and even selective breeding of food crops and livestock will soon appear.

One of the most fascinating things about the human race to me is that if something need something be done, someone will generally figure out how to do it. In this process we’ve built machines that multiply our physical strength and our five senses to unbelievable levels. For better or worse, we’ve come from figuring out how to make fire to sending probes across the solar system. In America, most of even the less affluent of us has access to modern marvels that would have been considered miraculous only a couple centuries ago. But the improvement in the “machinery” can only take us so far. What about “improving” the inventors themselves?

Back in the 1960’s ago a particularly brilliant episode of the Star Trek TV series explored this very thing. Of the many memorable and astute lines of dialogue in that show, one by Khan Noonien Singh, a genetically enhanced human being from the late Twentieth Century, to Captain James Kirk was:

“Nothing ever changes, except man. Your technical accomplishments? Improve a mechanical device and you may double productivity, but improve man and you gain a thousand fold. I am such a man.”

We are now coming into a time where technology may allow this level of “improvement” at a level never seen before. The results of our expanding technology have even provided the means to counteract to some degree the natural declines of age and accidents to the human body. For centuries artificial limbs and even teeth have been used. In our modern age the process has become nearly miraculous. Cataract surgery which replaces cloudy lenses in the eye with new ones made of plastic is now commonplace. The same is true for people walking around with devices to help their failing hearts to pump and artificial joints to replace worn out ones. These are but a few of the ways we have enhanced our human condition on an individual level.

Increasingly we are seeing a fusion of the artificial with the natural. Cochlear implants completely bypass the ear and its associated components and connect directly into the auditory center in the brain allowing people who were once irrevocably deaf to hear. On a more limited scale visual implants directly into the brain have also provided limited perceptions of light and basic shapes to the blind. In a very real way these advances could one day produce for real the cyborg (cybernetic organism) composed of both mechanical and organic components.

Yet there exists a branch of science that can achieve even more direct results and this is in the field of genetics. The truth is, indirect genetic manipulation has already been going on for centuries as humans sought to improve existing plants and animals for their own uses by selective breeding. The idea here is to take a male and female with the desired characteristics and cause them to produce offspring that will carry the strain forward. It is a proven technique which has worked with plants and animals for thousands of years. Hitler envisioned using this process to eventually produce his “Aryan” race of ideal humans which would rule the planet while those people considered “inferior” would either be enslaved or killed.

Now we are at the verge of significant and direct genetic alteration where the very “instruction set” of life can be changed. If you think of this as a computer scientist changing lines of code in a program to alter the way it works, I think that will give you the idea of what it happening in the field of genetics. The time of “designer” life forms is already upon us in the form of genetically modified organisms. As I write, the debate over whether genetically modified food products should be labeled as such so consumers can decide whether or not to purchase them is already under way. Another new development has appeared to make the process even easier.

CRISPER Critters

The acronym stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. According to the on-line article which appeared in Nature on December 3, 2013, among other things, this technology can perform genetic “cuts and pastes” with an ease not achieved before. An example would be for a patient to opt for “genetic surgery” to fix a pre-existing condition, rather than take a medication all their lives. I can envision a diabetic receiving a genetic correction to permanently fix a failing pancreas so it will once again produce the insulin the person needs. This technology is not limited to any particular species and can be applied to plants and animals alike. Certainly if used wisely, it could prove to be a boon to life on Earth. CRISPER creations also have the ability to pass their modifications on to their offspring, good or bad opening up yet another Pandora’s box we may be ill-equipped to handle even under the best of circumstances.

A deliberate misuse of such technology could produce a whole new realm of biological warfare as far advanced of anything we may now have as nuclear technology is above conventional conflict. It would become a fairly simple matter to custom-design and disperse the products of this endeavor that could easily decimate entire population’s food supply, or perhaps the population itself. But this would be just the beginning.

The “perfect soldier” envisioned in science fiction could become a reality. Enhanced beings capable of surviving conditions that would kill the average person could become commonplace. The leaders of such armies might themselves be the recipients of expanded intellect and perhaps even boosts in the basic five senses as well. Imagine beings whose hearing extends beyond the 20 kilohertz range of human hearing, or whose vision capable of picking up infrared and ultraviolet radiation. And who is to say that what we now call extrasensory perception could not one day become a bona fide sixth sense.

From the Bible, we learned that the nephilim of the pre-flood world were products of interbreeding between human women and supernatural beings. It could very well be that the nephilim of our age will be the products of the laboratory. Once this particular genie is out of the bottle is there anything we could do to stuff him back into it? History tends to demonstrate that the answer is generally a negative but is that the final word? The answer to that, I believe, is also found in the Bible.

When God says “Enough!”

From the story of Noah we read:

Genesis  {6:13} And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the  earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

From the account of the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah we read:

Genesis {19:12-13} And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring [them] out of this place: For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.

At the culmination of time itself we discover:

Revelation {20:11-15} And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from those face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Yet of all the accounts of God’s previous and future intervention there was, in my opinion, none has affected the path of history more than this:

Mark {16:1-6} And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the [mother] of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first [day] of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

From the moment that Jesus overcame death and emerged from Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb, nothing has ever been the same.

What Can we Soon Expect in these Last Days?

One of the warnings Jesus gave us concerning the end of this age was this:

Matthew {24:37-39} But as the days of Noe* [were,] so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. *Noah

The ramping up of evil and the obliviousness of those who lived in Noah’s age to this acceleration of evil’s influence are being replicated today. For those who have rejected God entirely or sought to create him in their own image as has much of the modern church, the spiritual blindness clearly exists. Less obvious, but by no means out of the question, may be the appearance of enhanced human beings playing their roles in the prophetic events soon to come.

Notice how popular fictional “super heroes” are becoming in our culture today? We have them generating impressive revenues for the comic book and movie producers. I myself confess that I’ve always enjoyed such super heroes as Superman, Spider-Man, realizing that these are completely imaginary. How much more of an appeal would a real being with “super powers” be especially in an age of growing hopelessness. From the Bible we see that the Antichrist and False Prophet who will be his spokesman are themselves likely to possess superhuman characteristics. The cause may be technology, biology, or supernatural influence from Satan himself. It maybe even a combination of all of these factors. (Revelation 16:13-14; 19:20).

If the end of this age is as close as all the other signs seem to indicate, we may not have long to wait before the first of the “New Nephilim” shows up in the evening news.

Rapture and Sudden Destruction


Every week I find in my email inbox a number of predictions for this or for that concerning Bible prophecy. Many involve the writer’s prediction of the time of the Rapture, based upon a specific formula he or she has figured out, or has adopted from someone else’s `thoughts.

Some, such as the particular writer I’m thinking about in writing this commentary, send out each year a dozen or more predictions of the time of the Rapture to various forums, including mine. His predictions usually revolve around traditional Jewish holy days. Although every prediction has thus far failed to come to pass, the writer is persistent, becoming more adamant about the validity of his date-setting with each succeeding “forth telling.”

I must admit that I’ve come to sort of look forward to unwrapping these missives to peek at what we might have, kind of like opening a surprise package. One thing sure…it’s never a disappointing exercise. He always has something new and unusual to spring upon the recipient. If he remains so persistent–based upon the way world events are shaping up–he is bound to be at least nearly right about the timing of the Rapture at some point. One week in particular, his email offering was a little less absolute in its predictive tenor, but nonetheless given with confidence, as usual. At any rate, this one struck a chord, and prompted me to think again on the words of Jesus that have burned in my spirit since I wrote a ten-part series to which I gave the title, “Scanning a Fearful Future.”

–More about that momentarily.

The emailer wrote:

DOES THE BIBLE GIVE US THE DAY OF THE YEAR FOR WWIII (EZEKIEL 38–39)? I have written much over the past 3 years about my Biblical studies that show World War 3 (the Sudden Destruction) and the Rapture to be the very same day. If the start of the Great Tribulation is going to take place in the next 5 months, and I am totally convinced that it is, then we need to take a very close look at this BIBLICAL day (it is in the very near future… In light of current events all around the world, especially involving a very possible imminent attack, involving Israel and Iran and/or Syria, this rapidly-approaching BIBLICAL day takes on a very urgent and ominous meaning for this year. The Bride of Christ may have already celebrated its last Christmas on this earth.

Yes, well…I guess he was a bit more adamant about things than I remembered at first reading. Still, the prognostication was mild in comparison to many of his previous declarations about the Rapture and its timing. The date he predicted was April 11, 2012… So, another date-setter missed the mark.

I give this article the title “Rapture and Sudden Destruction” because I believe although he was obviously wrong on the date, the persistent emailer is, at the same time, right in this instance without even realizing it. He was not correct on the date, of course.  He was not correct in that his figuring was based upon Jewish traditional holy days. All such figurings have failed to produce the Rapture. Besides, no man knows the day, we are told by the Lord. There is no relationship anyone has been able to show, so far as I can tell, between any Jewish traditional holy day and that “twinkling-of-an-eye” moment prophesied in 1 Corinthians 15, 1 Thessalonians 4, and, I believe, by Jesus Himself as recorded in John 14:1-3, and given by John in Revelation 4:1-2. The Rapture of the church will be sudden, unannounced, and unanticipated by most of the world’s population.

Paul the apostle, who, of course, was chosen by God to prophesy the Rapture, foretells much about that coming time when millions of believers will go to be with Christ in one atomos of time (an increment of time so brief that it cannot be divided). Paul writes further about the time immediately surrounding the moment of the Rapture:

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-6)

Paul tells Christians to be ever alert to the times that surround them. He exhorts them to “watch.” Jesus said the same thing as recorded in Mark 13: 37: “What I say unto one, I say unto all; watch.”

Jesus and Paul were referring to watching the events and issues of the times in which they will be living. There is no specific sign that signals the Rapture, but all of the signs of societal conditions will signal that the time of Christ’s coming in the Rapture is very near, even at the door. The day of God’s judgment beginning to fall upon rebellious mankind, the apostle Paul wrote, would begin like a “thief in the night” breaking into a home. Jesus had likened His coming to a thief in the night as recorded in Matthew 24.

While writing that series of articles I called “Scanning a Fearful Future,” I sensed the Lord impressing upon my spirit that Jesus’ words were all important in foretelling exactly when all of His impending judgment would suddenly break loose upon a world that has shown its hatred for His Son, who came to die for the sins of mankind. There will be no world-rending things, like all-out war or total economic collapse at that time. Even though portentious signs of the times will be prevalent, it will still be, relatively speaking, business as usual when Christ breaks in upon a world ripe for judgment. The persistent emailer was on the right prophetic page in this instance. It will be the Rapture that brings the awesome judgment of God upon this fallen planet.

Again, Jesus foretold:

And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. (Luke 17:26-30)

 

 

Supernatural Storm Shelters

Springtime in the Arkansas-Louisiana-Oklahoma-Texas region evokes somewhat precautionary thought of nature’s most singularly powerful storms. By that, I mean storms that can do the most complete devastation within the areas across which they sweep.

These, of course, are the huge tornadoes almost certain to occur in one or more of the aforementioned states from April through June. Oklahoma, particularly, is prone to produce the most powerful of the twisters. We remember a couple of 300-miles-per-hour tornadoes within the last several decades in that state. One of them was considered by the weather experts to have contained the strongest wind ever recorded on planet earth. I believe that 318 mph was the figure.

My friends just outside Oklahoma City lost everything except their lives in one such monster storm a few years ago. Some of the readers of this column very generously contributed to a fund to help those folks–the family of a great personal friend of mine who is part of a team that heads a major prophetic ministry in Oklahoma City.

When I was last in that city, someone with me pointed out a company that manufactures and sells tornado shelters that was very near the TV studio where we taped some programs. It was a stark reminder of the fact that we were right in “tornado central.” Without a “fraidy hole” (as we in the south call them) to go down into, one is on his or her own. People are subject to the vicissitudes of the winds that come sweeping down the plains in springtime, as the musical, Oklahoma would have it.

As we point out constantly and consistently in these commentaries, there is a storm brewing. It is a supernatural storm, and it is a certainty. It will strike. It can be clearly seen gathering on the prophetic horizon.

Whether considering matters involving geopolitics, socioeconomics, religion, or any other aspect of the human condition, the forecast looks bleak indeed. No shelter of the human-manufactured sort can protect against the boiling, chaotic tempest that the Lord Himself predicts for times just ahead.

Daniel the prophet forecast the storm that approaches:

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)

Jesus zoomed in more specifically to forewarn about the power and destructiveness of the coming supernatural storm:

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Matthew 24:21)

The entire book of Revelation, of course, is a detailed, blow-by-blow description of that coming Tribulation tempest. John outlines twenty-one specific destructive aspects of the storm in a series of seven scrolls, seven trumpets, and seven bowls of judgment.

Again, there is no human manufacturer that could produce a safe place against what is certainly scheduled to be the worst time of destruction the planet has ever known (and that’s saying a lot, considering all life was destroyed by water in the Flood of Noah’s day). But, thankfully, there is a superhuman shelter that is readily available to each and every person alive today.

In thinking on that shelter, my own ruminations caused me to wonder more deeply about God’s promises.

Jesus prophesied that the time He next intervenes into the affairs of mankind–revealed by His catastrophic interaction–the world will be exactly like it was in the days of Noah and in the days of Lot. (We read of that prediction in Matthew 24: 36-42, for example.)

Like in those two instances, God’s children–those who are righteous in His holy eyes–who are alive at the time of the Rapture will be taken out of harm’s way. The terrible storm of His judgment will then fall. All believers will go into that supernatural storm shelter prepared for them in Heaven, while there is great chaos and carnage on the planet that is ripe for God’s wrath.

Many new believers who were left behind when the Rapture happened will come out of that Tribulation storm, some as martyrs and others as flesh-and-blood survivors to repopulate the millennial earth during the reign of Christ upon His Second Advent.

And, there is a second supernatural storm shelter that will be provided during the Tribulation tempest itself. I believe the following prophecy and promise applies to both the saints who will be raptured and to another group of believers –the believing remnant of Jews who will find shelter through God’s divine direction. This protection will likely include Tribulation-era Gentile believers to some extent, too.  

Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be over past. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. (Isaiah 26:20-21)

Jesus, Himself, points the way to the supernatural storm shelter. It is the ONLY way to assure that we can be safe while the coming Tribulation tornado ravages a judgment-deserving world.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

 

%d bloggers like this: