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Olivet Overview – Part 3 – By Ed Wood

We’ll pick up this third article in our Olivet series with the next item on our list of events yet to come.

Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21-22; Mark 13:19-20; Luke 21:25-26)

This will be a time worse than anything else in history as Jesus said:

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.

Remember that we are now in the post-Rapture world where, quite literally, all hell has begun to break loose. The reason for this can be found in the following passage from Paul in his second letter to the Thessalonians, written to dispel a false notion that the “day of the Lord” had already come:

2 Thess {2:1-9} Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him,  That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come,] except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let,] until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: [Even him,] whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders . . .       

Now there is a lot of information here so it is well worth our time to explore this passage in greater detail. Let’s begin with the phrase “except there come a falling away first.” I’ve heard two interpretations of it, each with its own merit. The first says this refers to the Rapture, when all believers are rescued from Planet Earth to meet Jesus in the clouds (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). The second says it refers to a falling away from the faith. In other words, apostasy, something which is occurring in a widespread manner among the church in Europe and North America in particular, something we already discussed under “False Prophets” and “Christians Persecuted” in the initial article of this series. The original Greek term rendered as “falling away” in the above is“apostasia,” from which “apostasy” clearly comes. Therefore, in my opinion, this second interpretation has the most merit. If you think it’s bad now, during the Tribulation it will get a lot worse – along with everything else.

The reason for this is that “he (the Holy Spirit) who not letteth (wherein ‘letteth’ is translated from the Greek word ‘katecho’ which itself means ‘restrains’ in modern English)” will be gone, since those believers in whom he had taken up residence have been removed from the Earth during the Rapture. It is only then that the “man of sin” and “son of perdition (damnation)” otherwise known to us as the Antichrist is revealed and given power to ultimately bring the human race to the very brink of extinction. We also learn that this man will be imbued with satanic powers making him virtually irresistible to most of the planet’s population. Judging by just how much traction lies get over the truth these days, it isn’t difficult to believe the triumph of falsehood and evil for the last seven years of history, is it?

Many of those who study prophecy have applied the terms “Great Tribulation” to the last 3 1/2 years of the entire seven year Tribulation period and there is every reason to believe the this last half of it will truly be the worst. It will be the time after the Antichrist has suffered a fatal head wound, returned to life (Revelation 13:2-4), and invaded the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem and claimed to be “God.”

Paradoxically, when this demonic figure first appears on the scene, I envision him gaining wide appeal in a very short time as the “Answer Man” appearing just as Earth thrown into turmoil by the sudden unexpected disappearance of believers (1 Corinthians 15:51-54) coupled with an intensification of all the present economic, political, social, and natural upheavals we are already experiencing today. In fact, the beginning of the Trib period might look just great.

For example, a long sought-after Middle East Peace Accord will likely come into effect with a seven year treaty that the Antichrist will confirm (Daniel 9:27), possibly averting, though only temporarily, the outbreak of a regional nuclear war that would have the prospect of growing into a worldwide cataclysm. Since we already see in our time that whatever happens in the Middle East has widespread implications, I also envision with the tensions relieved there a short-lived global economic boom. For the human race, it will undoubtedly look like Utopia is just around the corner – making it ripe for the Antichrist to exploit for his own sinister plans.

It probably won’t be very long before the euphoria begins to wear thin as Earth continues to be plagued by natural disasters and civic unrest begin to sprout up again as a result of their effects on food production and transportation. The general reaction of governments to such matters is generally one of tightening restrictions on individual liberty. If you think the population of United States would be immune from such a scenario, here is a small sample of what could happen here right from the Office of the Press Secretary of the White House as to who would control our resources in the event of an emergency:

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

March 16, 2012

Executive Order — National Defense Resources Preparedness

EXECUTIVE ORDER

NATIONAL DEFENSE RESOURCES PREPAREDNESS

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended (50 U.S.C. App. 2061 et seq.), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, and as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, it is hereby ordered as follows . . .

Sec. 201Priorities and Allocations Authorities.  (a)  The authority of the President conferred by section 101 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2071, to require acceptance and priority performance of contracts or orders (other than contracts of employment) to promote the national defense over performance of any other contracts or orders, and to allocate materials, services, and facilities as deemed necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense, is delegated to the following agency heads:

(1)  the Secretary of Agriculture with respect to food resources, food resource facilities, livestock resources, veterinary resources, plant health resources, and the domestic distribution of farm equipment and commercial fertilizer;

(2)  the Secretary of Energy with respect to all forms of energy;

(3)  the Secretary of Health and Human Services with respect to health resources;

(4)  the Secretary of Transportation with respect to all forms of civil transportation;

(5)  the Secretary of Defense with respect to water resources; and

(6)  the Secretary of Commerce with respect to all other materials, services, and facilities, including construction materials.

(b)  The Secretary of each agency delegated authority under subsection (a) of this section (resource departments) shall plan for and issue regulations to prioritize and allocate resources and establish standards and procedures by which the authority shall be used to promote the national defense, under both emergency and non-emergency conditions.  Each Secretary shall authorize the heads of other agencies, as appropriate, to place priority ratings on contracts and orders for materials, services, and facilities needed in support of programs approved under section 202 of this order.

By virtue of this being an Executive Order which bypasses Congress, we have a declaration that puts every vital resource of this country put under the absolute control of individuals who were never elected by the voters of the United States. I am also left wondering just who it is that determines what an “emergency” is. Now if such a thing can happen in America, the land of the free and the brave, it can happen anywhere! People will characteristically give up a lot of their freedom for “peace and safety.” An examination of Hitler’s rise to power and the kind of Germany he created in his image proves this point in dreadful detail. The Antichrist will institute a government based on the total control of everything on a planetary basis. One major way to accomplish this is by controlling the economy. Let’s take a look at the specific way it’ll be done.

Revelation {13:15-18} 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. 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.

This is a subject which we covered in some length in “Prophetic Tech – Part 3″ but is worth a review. There is probably nothing else that affects an individual more than that which affects his or her personal finances. After all, what you eat, where you live, and what you wear, are the essential basics that are common to every single human being on Earth regardless of who and where they are. Control the purse strings, and you control the person. As we have seen before, those who don’t play ball with the Antichrist don’t get access to his economy. There may develop a black market of some type to circumvent the restrictions – a possibility that would explain how some post-Rapture believers will manage to survive to the very end of the Tribulation, but I have a hunch that there will be very few of them since those who refuse the mark will be systematically hunted down.  One must remember that the Antichrist government will not only have advanced technology but the dark power of Satan himself on its side to do just that. In fact, the Bible tells us quite plainly that he will for a time, “prevail against the saints” until Jesus himself returns to establish the Millennial Kingdom upon a decimated and greatly depopulated planet:

Daniel {7:20-22} And of the ten horns that [were] in his head, and [of] the other which came up*, and before whom three fell; even [of] that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look [was] more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them. {7:22} Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. *The Antichrist – the “horn” or leader which eventually takes over the whole world from the other “horns” who ruled previously in some manner of global government. (See Daniel 7:24-25.)

Make no mistake: this will be the worst time in the history of humankind upon the Earth so terrible that if it had not been shortened by direct Divine Intervention not even the relatively few remaining righteous souls would survive, just as Jesus said:

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.

If allowed to continue unabated, the Bible makes it clear that no one, not even the “elect” (probably referring mainly to the Jewish race and including post-Trib people who had come to believe in Jesus) would survive. The extinction of the human race would be total.

The implications of this are terrifying – it would mean that Satan wins in a scorched Earth policy from which none would be exempt. Why do I say this? Because if this came to pass, all the promises the Bible records that God made to the Hebrews in the Old Testament and true Christians in the New could never come to pass. Since it is our conviction that the Bible is 100% accurate, this would make it in error. Logically it would follow that God himself is likewise capable of error and therefore fallible.

It has always been the devil’s goal to thwart God’s plan from the very beginning (Genesis, chapter 3) all along. He has tried to destroy the Hebrews throughout history, he tried to do the same to Jesus himself and to his followers after the Ascension. The demonic persecution continues unabated even to this day and, as prophecy reveals, will intensify as we approach the close of this age.

Next time we’ll begin with looking toward the skies and examine what we might expect is coming from above.

***************************************

THE OLIVET DISCOURSE – WHAT JESUS TOLD US TO EXPECT – UPDATED

Status EVENT BIBLE REFERENCE
Matthew Mark Luke
D TEMPLE DESTROYED 24:1-2 13:1-2 21:5-6
 I FALSE PROPHETS 24:4-5,11,23-28 13:5-6; 21-23 21:8
I WARS 24:6-7 13:7-8a 21:9-10
I FAMINE 24:7 13:8b 21:11
I EARTHQUAKES &NATURAL DISASTERS 24:7 13:8b 21:11,25b
I PEOPLE GET WORSE 24:12
I CHRISTIANSPERSECUTED 24:9-10 13:9-13 21:12-15
I GOSPEL PREACHED WORLDWIDE 24:14 13:10
I FAMILIES IN STRIFE 13:12 21:16
 DURING THE TRIBULATION
F ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION * 24:15-22 13:14-16 (See ** below)
F JERUSALEMSURROUNDED ** 24:15-20 13:14-18 21:20-24
F GREAT TRIBULATION 24:21-22  13: 19-20 21:25-26
F SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS 24:29 13: 24-25 21:11, 25-26
F SIGN OF JESUS 24: 30
 THE MILLENNIUM BEGINS
F JESUS RETURNS  13: 26 21:27
F ELECT GATHERED 24: 31 13: 27

NOTES:

D = DONE

I = IN PROGRESS (But we can expect all of these to intensify as time goes by.)

F = FUTURE EVENT

* Jesus told us here that the antichrist will desecrate the temple as did Antiochus IV Epiphanes as related in Daniel 8:9-14. In Daniel 9:27, the prophet describes a second similar desecration of the temple in the midst of the antichrist’s one “week” (seven years) reign.

** Luke’s version omits the mention of the Abomination. Perhaps it relates the siege of Titus in 70 A.D., while Matthew and Mark’s versions refer to that second event that Jesus mentioned which will occur during the Tribulation.

 

End-of-Days Violence – Part 1

The most profound foretelling in Bible prophecy is done by the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Great I Am, and no prophet of the Old or New testaments speaks with greater authority. Other prophets speak with authority equal to His, the argument can be made, but only because Jesus gave them the prophetic truth to pass along to the rest of us. It is His prophecy in the first place.

Despite the tremendous importance of and power manifested in Jesus’ Olivet Discourse, the earliest part of that reporting of end-times matters takes second place to another area of prophecy, as far as we are concerned today, in my view. I find Christ’s words in the following passages to be the most relevant to this very hour in which this generation finds itself:

“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)

As many who read these commentaries are aware, I consider this to be the most relevant prophecy to our time because of specific factors. Jesus was prophesying here about exactly how things will be in culture and society upon the earth at the time He intervenes catastrophically into the affairs of mankind. He said in these and other similar passages that things would be pretty much normal for the times, so far as human activity is concerned, at the time of His thief in the night interjection into earth’s history. People will be eating, drinking, buying, selling, building, marrying, planting, and doing other things that seem to be normal activities at the time He breaks in and reveals himself.

As I’ve written numerous times, this cannot be referring to the Second Advent (Second Coming at Armageddon–see Revelation 19:11). The twenty-one specific judgments of the scrolls, trumpets, and vials will have decimated this planet at the time of that glorious return with ten thousand of Christ’s saints. God’s wrath, Satan’s rage, and man’s gross sin and folly will have denuded the earth of, perhaps, three-fourths of human life. The radical environmentalists will see their dream come true–that of getting the planet’s population to its bare minimum.

Rather than the utopian existence they anticipate, however, it will be hell on earth at the time Christ’s foot touches down on the Mount of Olives upon His return. Remember –Jesus said that if He didn’t come back at that time, there would be no flesh left alive on this devastated sphere (Matthew 24:21). The violence that has plagued mankind will reach its crescendo as Armageddon explodes in all of its fury in the Middle East. And, the Bible indicates, no part of the globe will escape the effects of the seven-seals scroll found in Revelation chapters 6-19.

So, we look at Jesus’ Luke 17 prophecy to discover why, exactly, I say I believe it is the most relevant foretelling for our time. We first must think on the characteristics of the time of Noah and Lot’s days on earth. Again, that intervention has to be at a time when things culturally and societally are going along in a relatively normal fashion. Prophecy tells us elsewhere in the Scriptures that there will be a cry that peace and safety has arrived, when sudden destruction comes. Jesus’ break-in on the world will be like the break-in of a thief in the night, according to His own words. It will be totally unexpected by the children of the night, we are told by the apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians.

Point is, our present time frame seems to match up with another prophecy by the Lord Jesus that speaks to this business-as-usual profile. Again, we find the amazing words of Jesus himself laying out specifically how things will be. He tells these future events within the framework of the Olivet Discourse. Read carefully what He says about what those attuned to the promise of His coming can expect. Particularly, look at the last verses of this prophecy.

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 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. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 24:36-44)

Jesus was talking about the “think-not” generation that would be living at the time of the Rapture of His church. I know the seminary position has most often been that Christ was talking here about the time of His Second Advent. But, we just looked at why this isn’t possible. Societal and cultural circumstances will not be business as usual at the time of Christ’s return at Armageddon. these Scriptures can refer to none other than the calling of believers into the air to be with Him forever. (Read John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-55; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

So, we consider further the days of Noah and of Lot. What is the most common characteristic–and there is one in particular— that marked those times as unmistakably similar to our current time? Next week’s article will, I hope, provide an enlightening dissection of that characteristic.

The Wheel of Humanity

It is the geopolitical center of earth’s most dangerous dilemma from the standpoint of the threat of nuclear Armageddon. It even outweighs the gravity of threats from ISIS, Russia, China, or North Korea.

The very survival or destruction of humanity’s future seems to revolve around this nucleus geopolitical matter.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced the problem in a recent video.

Israel’s diversity shows its openness and readiness for peace. Yet the Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one pre-condition: No Jews.

There’s a phrase for that: It’s called ethnic cleansing. And this demand is outrageous. It’s even more outrageous that the world doesn’t find this outrageous.

Some otherwise enlightened countries even promote this outrage.

Out of 138 nations eligible to vote on United Nations Resolution A/67/L.28, only Israel, the United States, Canada, and the Czech Republic voted against the resolution, while forty-one abstained.

The resolution reaffirms: “the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967.”

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, in a practically unprecedented such bias-tinged statement, declared recently that the Israeli “occupation” of Palestinian-controlled territories “must end.”

As the U.N. world leaders gathered in New York City the past week, the number one-collective thought, if not necessarily expressed as the all-out obsession of most gathered, was the idea to force Israel to give up land for peace. It was the same old, ages-long rant: There can’t be peace until Israel gives the Palestinians back their rightful land.

Only, it isn’t theirs. God gave it to Israel in perpetuity:

And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. And I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojourning, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. (Genesis 17:7-8)

But, if you don’t accept that biblical claim, then how about this one?

Israel took the territory in question in a series of modern wars, the most pertinent for this argument being accomplished in the 1967 Six-Day War.

The diplomatic world frets that this is the sticking point for Middle East peace. They fret further that if not forthcoming, acceptance of the demand that Israel give up the land in question for peace will mean World War III–nuclear conflict, and the end of humanity itself.

Actually the inverse is true–thus according to God’s Word, which prophesies the following:

I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. (Joel 3: 2)

Most all of the leaders of the nations are dead set to do just what this foreboding prophecy foretells. They are determined to part or divide God’s land. At some point, this will be accomplished, because that’s what Armageddon is all about. All nations will be brought by the God of Israel into the Valley of Jehoshaphat–that is, to the place where Armageddon will unfold.

All of this is shaping up at a rapid pace while most every signal of prophetic significance is coming together in dramatic convergence. We have covered these converging signals of end-times alignment many times in this column.

There is perhaps no such prophetic element so important as the nations of the world dealing treacherously with God’s timepiece–Israel.

One of the great Bible teachers of these present days mentioned Israel in relationship to the world’s nations the other day. I was sipping my coffee and watching his thirty-minute Bible study at 5 a.m. It was Through the Bible with Les Feldick, and Les made a profound point. The fact that he had made it way back in 2001 when the program was taped did not diminish its profundity.

He said (and I paraphrase) that the world is like a wheel, with Israel its hub. All of humanity move in their orbits around this people as God permits with Israel, His chosen, at the center. He gave the following Scripture:

When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the LORD’S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. (Deuteronomy 32: 8-9)

This does not in any way mean that the Jewish people are better than any other. As a matter of fact, God points out on occasion that they have been among the most obstinate. But, make no mistake, Israel is His, and it will be the nations of the world forcing its version of peace on that nation that will bring about God’s wrath and judgment.

That great wheel of humanity and history is rolling ever closer to Armageddon.

The Damascus/Psalms 83 Question

Most of the following worries in the Middle East center around a number of factors: 1) Israel’s impatience with threats from its enemies; 2) Iran’s bellicose posturing in threatening to use its missiles; 3) the Syrian regime’s feared ability to wage biological and chemical warfare; and 4) (of particular concern for many Bible prophecy students) the so-called Psalms 83 war.

I term it “so-called” because I remain unconvinced that the Scriptures involved indicate a prophesied war–for reasons I will address in due course. Other factors just mentioned dominate news coming out of the region where Armageddon is foretold to bring the world together for the final and most horrific war of the age.

Israel has good reasons to be short of temper and of patience, although the leadership has shown remarkable restraint to this point. The Jewish state has been threatened with annihilation by all leaders of the Arab League at one point or the other. With the record of that leadership’s predecessors attacking viciously in the relatively recent past, Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu can hardly disregard current Arab League semi-encirclement, the ring of hatred having tightened rapidly with the Muslim Brotherhood-spawned Arab Spring uprisings and now the tremendous growth of ISIS.

The Persian branch of Islamist rage has superseded the Arab rage to the point that Iran now threatens to produce weapons that can indeed do what Arabs from Nasser to Sadat and beyond could not. There remains concern that Bashar Al Assad has weapons of mass destruction in the form of biological and chemical agents that his Syrian regime might rain down on Israel’s citizenry, should the dictator begin to lose in his effort to stay in power. He has shown he can and will wage such   warfare upon his own people.

The Iranian leadership, as well as Russia, and to some extent, China, continues to back Al Assad. The Russians and China do so for the most part by refusing to allow U.N. action against the Assad regime in the Security Council, where each holds veto power. Russia has given somewhat stronger backing by moving some naval military assets into the waters nearby.

Iran, on the other hand, backs Assad with threats of military action, all the while displaying a growing missile arsenal–even demonstrably proving it now has an intercontinental ballistic missile that is capable of reaching the U.S. homeland. Iran’s apparent determination to stand by the Al Assad regime’s refusal to give up power is doubly troubling. Reports of weapons of mass destruction hidden away in Syria’s military arsenal, if more than rumors, make the threat of a Middle East conflict of major magnitude a real possibility. Iran apparently possesses the technological knowledge and hardware to assist Assad in raining terror upon Israel in order to divert attention from his own possible overthrow. He might choose all-out war if he is about to go the way of Saddam Hussein, Mubarak, and Gaddafi.

Enter one more worry voiced by many emailers of late: the Isaiah 17:1 prophecy, which follows: “The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap” (Isaiah 17:1). The Syrian capital city is, like so many other prophetic indicators today, front and center in the news headlines. The question is: Will we soon witness the complete destruction of Damascus as given in the Isaiah 17 prophecy?

Further: Might an attack on Israel on that city bring about the Psalms 83 war, bringing all of Israel’s enemies into coalition that will declare that war on the Jewish state? As stated many times in this column, most every major Islamist terrorist organization is headquartered in this, the longest continuously inhabited city in world history. A single strike of a relatively low yield nuclear weapon could do the job in a single flight of an Israeli fighter-bomber. The heads of the terrorists’ hydra-headed serpent could be lopped off in that single blow.

My belief is that the Psalms 83 matter is a prayer for God’s protection, and that it will be answered when the “many people with thee” of the Ezekiel 38-39 Gog-Magog war will be destroyed, except for one-sixth of those forces. My assessment is that whether the Psalms 83 Scripture indicates an actual war or is an imprecatory prayer for God to vanquish Israel’s surrounding enemies, the attack on Damascus–if the destruction does come from an Israeli attack—and such a war won’t happen until after the Rapture of the church.

Such an event would take the world out of the time of “business as usual,” as Jesus prophesied in Luke 17:26-30 and Matthew 24:36-42, 44, in my opinion.

Such an attack and a war would be catastrophic to the world’s economy, and in other ways that are almost incalculable. Sudden destruction comes, according to Jesus’ words in those passages, similarly to the situation in the cases of the Flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah–that is, after Noah and Lot were safely out of range of harm at the time judgment fell. It fell immediately after they were safely in the ark and in the city of Zoar.

He said that as it was at that time, so will it be at the time He intervenes again into the affairs of men in a catastrophic way. Again, Luke 21: 28 are applicable. “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”

 

Rapture Resistance Ramping Up

The past number of weeks has brought a ramping up of vitriol against the doctrine of the pre-Trib Rapture to my inbox. The assault seems spearheaded by one blog thrust in particular. I receive as many as three long diatribes from this source in a single day. The accusation is that those who believe in the pre-Trib Rapture are part of what this blog entity calls the Rapture Cult.

A number of emails pour in from various individuals who, close examination uncovers, are likely in cahoots with the blog-entity initiating this latest strategy against pre-Trib Rapture teaching. These emails, without exception, use the “Margaret McDonald” accusatory proclamation. They claim that we who believe the Bible presents a pre-Trib Rapture have been taken in by the hellish vision of the nineteenth century false prophetess who is said to have also caused John Darby to fall for the lie of a pre-Trib Rapture. C. I. Scofield, the DeHaans, and the rest of us have joined and perpetuated this ” Rapture cult.”

The anti-pre-Trib blog writer points an anger-tinged condemnation of the ancient writings such as that of one called Pseudo-Ephraem. This writer from antiquity has been studied by prophecy scholars such as Grant Jeffrey and others in order to find extra-biblical validation that the pre-Trib view of Rapture was held by the early church fathers and by the early church in general.

The blogger insinuates that the very use of the title “pseudo” indicates this is a false teacher. The “genuine” Ephraem, he writes, apparently lived in the fourth century, while the “pseudo” lived in as late as the seventh. Yet he confuses his attempt to make his case by using both Ephraems to claim that they both, in the final analysis, write a firm denial of the pre-Trib Rapture.

The blogger writes of both Ephraems: “Both said the only thing ‘remaining’ is the arrival of Antichrist”–i.e., they both believed, according to him, that the Antichrist coming to power is the next prophetic event to take place. No Rapture is in view.

Grant Jeffrey plainly refutes that claim through his research. Jeffrey wrote the following in a chapter for one of my books:

  1. Ephraem’s manuscript lays out the events of the last days in chronological sequence. Significantly, he began with the Rapture, using the word “imminent,” then he described the Great Tribulation of three and a half years duration under the Antichrist’s tyranny, followed by the second coming of Christ to earth with His saints to defeat the Antichrist.
  2. Significantly, at the beginning of his treatise in section 2, Ephraem used the word “imminent” to describe the Rapture occurring before the Tribulation and the coming of the Antichrist. “We ought to understand thoroughly therefore, my brothers which is imminent or overhanging.”
  3. He clearly described the pre-Tribulation Rapture: “Because all saints and the Elect of the Lord are gathered together before the tribulation which is about to come and are taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion which overwhelms the world because of our sins.”–Grant Jeffrey, “Rapture, Three Fascinating Discoveries”

The writers of those earlier times used the term “pseudo” as merely a literary device in order to not have their names made public for one reason or the other. The same devices are used today in modern literature, of course. And, there are other factors involved in why such pseudonym devices were employed, but that’s not relevant here.

The point is that very meticulous scholarship examining the writers of that ancient period has proven beyond doubt–to me and many others who study Bible prophecy–that there were many students of God’s Word amongst the early believers who held to a pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church.

Yet the blogger calls the writings by Ephraem the Syrian (A.D. 306 to 373) “false witness” and refers to the writer as a “forger.” This he does without actual proof of his charge, but with high-sounding, pseudo-scholarly phraseology, in my opinion.

The danger in all this is that these assaults on the Rapture deflect the study of many of the true children of God who have a desire to look into Bible prophecy these days. Believe me, these seem to constitute a group that is diminishing in number.

The bloggers that are virulently against the truth about the pre-Trib Rapture brought to us by Paul the apostle in his letters to the Thessalonians and the Corinthians, and indeed by Jesus Himself as given in John 14:1-3, send their seemingly well-studied dogma in mass mailings on an ever-increasing basis. People are all too quick to take the sophistry thus delivered, usually unsolicited, as factual. Like those who get their news from cyberspace venues who twist truth that is not news at all, but fable, those marginally interested in Bible prophecy often take the lazy way and choose the blog presentations from the purveyors of anti-pre-Trib Rapture propaganda.

This is a primary reason I wrote my latest book, Rapture Ready…Or Not: 15 Reasons This Is the Generation That will Be Left Behind. My prayerful desire was and continues to be to get the book into the hands of as many as possible in order to counter such satanically spawned attacks. My special prayer is that we get the book to as many pastors and teachers within churches that are still of the Philadelphian rather than of the Laodicean sort.

My thanks to all who have seen to it that your pastors and teachers now have this book in their possession. For those who haven’t yet seen to it that these ministers of your acquaintance have copies, I ask that you consider providing each a copy.

Time looks to be running out in this Age of Grace. Pray, if you will, that these will begin using their pulpits and teaching opportunities to deliver truth about Christ’s imminent coming for all believers. As chapter 1 of Rapture Ready…Or Not puts it: “The end isn’t near, it’s here.”

Liberty’s Last Gleaming

My laptop was new, just out of the box. There wasn’t time enough to program it with the things I needed in order to use it before leaving on a trip to San Antonio, Texas. I am, as Dr. J. Vernon McGee used to say, “a back number” when it comes to acumen and literacy. I need all of the assistance I can get in navigating the Net. On top of that, I need JAWS (Jobs Accessible Word System)–a voice synthesis computer program–to tell me what I’m doing on my computer, because I’ve been blind since 1993.

So it was that I didn’t have my anytime-I-want-it Internet access and email available to me while on the trip. This was quite disconcerting, as I am constantly online and using email during the course of any given day. I felt at times imprisoned at the loss of liberty to get into cyberspace any time I wished.

I reflected during those hours without my computer much like we old-timers sometimes get hung up on nostalgia about our days of yesteryear when we didn’t have air conditioning in the hot summers. How in the world did we ever do without those environment-controlling technical wonders? I wouldn’t have to worry about returning to those humidity-filled, sweat-inducing days of yore, I was pretty sure. And, at least I knew I could hang on until I returned to the computer, Internet, email, and the like. My time in lock-up, away from Internet access, was not permanent.

However, an executive order by the president of the United States could, at any moment in the future, end freedom from worry about loss of ability to conduct business through such electronic communications. According to some experts, liberty’s last gleaming, so far as cyberspace is concerned, is as near as the next crisis deemed severe enough to invoke pulling the plug on our Internet availability.

The presidential dictate of Friday, July 6, 2012 gives government unprecedented new authority to take over wired and wireless private communication networks under pretext of national security. The White House edict will permit such national security entities as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Defense, Department of State, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to formulate, implement, and direct policy recommendations and plans for ensuring continuity of government communication capabilities in time of crisis.

The Obama directive authorized the establishment of a National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Committee (NS/EP). Representatives from each of the agencies constitute the crisis-management system for controlling all communications within the nation.

According to the executive order, “The Federal Government must have the ability to communicate at all times and under all circumstances to carry out its most critical and time sensitive missions.”

A watchdog group, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), issued a statement that said, “The problem with the executive order is that it also grants the DHS new authority to seize private communication facilities when necessary and to effectively shut down or limit civilian communications in a national crisis.”

Amie Stepanovich, associate litigation council at EPIC, said the provision that grants the government such encompassing control over private communications is troubling. She maintains that the complete takeover of private networks for government communications purposes during a crisis could degrade or severely compromise the civilian population’s ability to communicate in an emergency.

Stepanovich said, “This specific authority is something that should have been granted through Congress, rather than through executive order.”

And therein resides the reason for the phrase liberty’s last gleaming for the title of this commentary. This president has taken every opportunity, it seems to me, to dilute American liberty through presidential edict, as opposed to seeking approval through constitutional means. We have watched this process take place time after time, even to the point of foisting Obama Care upon a population that overwhelmingly disapproves of the enslaving legislation–legislation that was found unconstitutional under the guise of which it was congressionally proposed and approved–as a mandate to require the purchase of health insurance.

It took a Supreme Court chief justice to find a surreptitious way to make it constitutional by calling the legislation not a mandate, but a tax, in order to get the forced payment strapped upon the backs of the already national-debt-laden American people.

Another deep gully –that of impending, internet tyranny– materialized in America’s landscape of liberty, caused by the flood of executive orders that are eroding our freedoms. No doubt, the biblically prophesied great world leader that is soon to appear will completely control all communications, ostensibly for purposes of instituting measures that the people of planet earth will believe are the answer to the great crisis of the time.

I’m convinced that the crisis that will be too good for Antichrist to waste will be the crisis created in the wake of the Rapture of the church. But, for believers who go to be with Christ, it will mean true liberty forever.

 

 

Doomsday: The Truth

Doomsday talk is on the rise. It brings to mind the 1964 movie filmed in stark black and white on the topic of nuclear war, entitled Dr. Strangelove. This was a darkly humorous film that captured the fearful times at the height of the Cold War involving America and the Soviet Union.

A U.S. general, in this fictional account, went a bit nutso and ordered a strike on the Soviet Union by the B-52 bombers under his command. (Yes, Hollywood was liberal and saw the U.S. as more evil than the Communist world in those days, too.)

The president, played by Peter Sellers–who also played Dr. Strangelove, the former Nazi scientist in the employ of the U.S. Department of Defense–did all he could to direct the Soviets to bring down the final B-52 as it began its assault. But, alas, the bomber, although crippled by a nearby anti-aircraft missile strike, managed to unleash a multi-megaton hydrogen bomb.

This strike set in motion all-out nuclear war because the Soviets had developed a doomsday machine nobody within the U.S. Defense Department knew about. It became at that point a final war that could not be controlled or stopped.

Back to reality… President Ronald Reagan’s peaceful defeat of Soviet designs for world domination was believed to bring the Cold War to an end. Immediately the cries by the “progressives” went up to convert all of the Cold War military spending to social, do-good causes.

This call for ever-decreasing spending in America’s military roared during the Clinton years and again during the Obama administrations so that the U.S. military, in many of its aspects is now said to be at pre-World War II levels.

But, it is obvious to those who view things through the lens of reality that America’s old, Cold War foes–Russia and China–are building military war-making machinery. They are doing so technologically, if not in war-capable hardware, and now are reaching out to achieve super-power status. Other diabolist states are doing their best to establish their niches in the world’s nuclear power structure.   

We know all about Iran wanting to develop nuclear weaponry and the missile capability to deliver them. The Ayatollahs have even forewarned time after time just who these weapons when completed will be used against.

North Korea makes no bones about wanting to hit any target they can when they achieve the capability to accurately launch them.

All of this has brought the world to renewed fears of the world possibly meeting its end in fiery, nuclear doom within a decade or sooner.

European doomsday worry-warts are ginning up ultra-Cold War fears by warning citizens to prepare for disaster. With the prospect of the influx of millions of hostile militants migrating to Europe, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, as I reported last week, said, “We must give priority to security, so let’s start setting up a joint European army.”

The German government has instructed its people to prepare for disaster by stockpiling ten days’ worth of food and five days’ worth of water. Berlin is also considering re-instituting conscription (a military draft) in view of the tremendous surge of Muslims entering Europe.

One thing we haven’t heard much about in this volatile political season is that President Obama is also speaking in such terms. In June he said that Americans must be prepared “–by having an evacuation plan,” as well as “having a fully-stocked disaster supply kit.”  

All of this comes with increasing alarm by some military analysts who report that Russia is developing and testing new “hyper-weapons.” Russian TU-22M3 long-range Backfire bomber aircraft will now be armed with the new Russian Kh-32 cruise missile. The capabilities of this missile are astounding: It can fly at speeds of up to 600 mph to an altitude of almost 25 miles, and when it reaches the proximity of its target, fly downward at a speed of almost 3,000 mph with a total range of almost 600 miles.

There are unsubstantiated reports within some fear-forewarning supposition that “doomsday bunkers” have been prepared for Russian citizenry. Some of the fearful postulation is that many within Russian officialdom are taking to the especially prepared doomsday bunkers in the Yamantau Mountain complex that has been constructed.

Add to this increasing reporting that Russian President Vladimir Putin is in the process of purging all upper-echelon officers within his military that oppose future war with Europe and the U.S.

Turkey is said to be making tremendous changes within its military planning, in conjunction with Putin’s own maneuverings, as preparations for an eventual war in the Middle East and beyond are becoming more manifest.

Chinese leaders are all but declaring war on China’s neighbors in creating islands in the South China Sea–which it now claims for the most part to belong to China. The Chinese navy consistently challenges any commercial and other ships that want to pass through what the world still considers international waters.

China, like Russia, is believed to have produced weapons of a defensive nature that are designed to thwart nuclear missile strikes in retaliation for their own offensive assaults–thus in violation of longstanding agreements against such military technological development.

So, it looks like the old Dr. Strangelove Cold War fears are back. Despite the hyperbole and conspiracy theories, there is enough reality-based concern to be alert to the worries wrought by all this doomsday speculation.

All that said, the bottom line is that the God of Heaven will have the final say about the fate of nations–of planet earth. As a matter of fact, He has already given us all we need to know about that which this generation is now facing so far as the likelihood of doomsday is concerned.

This world is not at its end. It won’t be at its end until at a minimum 1007 years from now–and that is if the Rapture occurred within the next fifteen minutes.

“Doomsday” is a matter that must be viewed in terms of degree. It is true, biblically, that earth’s total obliteration will never take place by human use of the hydrogen bomb or any other device or doomsday machine. It is equally true, prophetically speaking, that earth as we know it will one day be done away with, then remade. That will perhaps take place through nuclear fission or some other phenomenon of natural physics. However, it is done, it will be God who remakes the heavens and the earth.

To most all of those who will be left behind and live through the Tribulation era following the Rapture of the Church it will be the time of doom. Most believers (those who accept Christ after the Rapture) will be martyred. Theirs will not be “doom” but severe persecution–and, in most cases, death. But, those who die will go instantly to an eternity of bliss beyond all imagination.

To the reader: You don’t have to concern yourself with “Doomsday.” Jesus Christ died on the cross at Calvary two thousand years ago to assure that your place of heavenly safety is forever secured. Again, the following is the way God has provided for you to escape the terrors the doomed unbelievers of the ages must face:

“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” (Romans 10: 9-10).

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