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Olivet Overview – Part 5 – By Ed Wood

The Sign of Jesus

Matthew {24:29-30} Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.     

The next event on the Olivet calendar concerns Jesus’ Second Coming. Now this is not to be confused with his earlier coming to collect his believers seven years earlier to spare them from the “wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10), those who by faith were “accounted worthy” to escape the Tribulation (Luke 21:26). The Bible tells before his Second Advent, he’ll be preceded by his own sign.

Now what exactly that will be, no one really knows. The most popular view is that it’ll be the sign of the cross and since this is the most universal symbol of Christianity that makes a good deal of sense. Even non-Christians recognize that. It certainly might be something else but whatever it is, it’ll be visible in the sky by the whole world and understood to such a degree that “all the tribes of the earth mourn” when they see it. When we remember that at this time most of the world has followed the Antichrist and taken his mark that makes a lot of sense because the Bible reveals that they are irrevocably doomed. (Revelation 14:9-11)

What precipitates the sign of Jesus’ return is quite clear. Satan’s goal has always been to take God’s place. One way to accomplish the task is to make Israel cease to exist because by so doing, the promises God made to it in various places in the Hebrew section of Scripture (Genesis 12:1-3; 28:10-15; Isaiah 2:1-4; 4:2-6) can’t come to pass. That would mean that God made an error and is therefore not omniscient, not omnipotent, something the devil would certainly exploit to his advantage. From the pharaoh of Egypt in Moses’ time, through Haman in the book of Esther all the way up to Adolf Hitler and today’s militant Muslims, Satan has always found someone more than willing to try to make this happen. He has always failed but in a last-ditch effort, Satan will turn loose three demonic spirits to draw all the world’s military forces together at Armageddon:

Revelation {16:13-16} And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs [come] out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, [which] go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed [is] he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

Zechariah {14:2} For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

In the past 68 years, there have been many more times when it looked as if Israel’s enemies would wipe out this nation. Indeed, at its restoration in 1948, it looked like it would not last for a day. Greatly outnumbered by its Arab foes, the odds were completely against it. And yet it has not only survived but prospered during the nearly seven decades of its existence. It is probably safe to say that when the Battle of Armageddon does occur, it will be the first, only, and last time Israel is losing a war in the modern age. As Zechariah relates, the incursion into Israel is so deep that half of Jerusalem itself falls to enemy forces.

I have often wondered about this in considering that there are presently Arab, Jewish, Christian, and Armenian sections in this city. Will this remain the case right up to the end? If so it seems likely the Arabs would actually assist the aggressors. Since we see that the conditions are already here for this to happen, the time for the last years of history as we know it may be very close indeed. And since the Rapture is likely to occur no less than seven years sooner than the events which lead to Jesus’ Second Coming, its time is that much closer!

One may wonder at this point where the bulk of the Jews will be when the invasion occurs. There Bible evidence suggests they are safely being supernaturally protected in the ancient city of Petra:

Isaiah {16:1-5} Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela* to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion. For it shall be, [that,] as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon. Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth. Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land. And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness. *Petra.

Revelation {12:1-6} And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: * And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon**, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child***, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and [to] his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness,**** where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days. *Israel (see Genesis 37:5-11). ** Satan (see Revelation 20:2). *** The Messiah – Jesus. **** Probably refers to the place where Petra, now a ruin in the wilderness, exists. Note the length of time of this protection amazingly turns out to be 3.5 years – the last half of the total seven year Tribulation time, just as Daniel (Daniel 9:27) predicted, a week representing seven years and the Antichrist breaking his seven-year deal with Israel half way into it!

Life on Earth will be truly hellish, especially at the end of the last seven years of the Tribulation as the planet will be battered by natural – and supernatural – forces. Disease will be rampant along with lawlessness on a level beyond comprehension even compared to the worst places on Earth today. A large percentage of human life will be lost and that which remains will be comprised of people who are either willing allies of the world’s last demonic monarch or in hiding from them, unable to access the global economy because they have refused to take his mark (Revelation 13:1-18). The relative few who had accepted Jesus during this time will be rounded up and executed wherever possible, betrayed by their own families and friends. (Micah 7:5-6; Matthew 10:34-36)

But suddenly in the midst of this when the misery is the greatest, suddenly there will appear the sign of the Son of Man in the heavens and just about everyone who sees it will mourn, except those surviving new Christians who will no doubt rejoice and know for a fact that their redemption is near at last.

Jesus Returns: The Beginning

The Bible does not provide many details about what happens when the sign comes but in my mind’s eye I picture just about everything in the world coming to a halt. I imagine it to be surpassing more awesome than that which those shepherds of long ago beheld as the angels announced the birth of the Savior at his First Coming over 2000 years ago. This will mark the return of Jesus to Earth for the second time, not as a helpless infant or suffering servant, but as the omnipotent King of Kings and Lord of Lords! And if this were not enough, he won’t be returning alone:

Psalm 149

Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, [and] his

praise in the congregation of saints.

Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of

Zion be joyful in their King.

Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises

unto him with the timbrel and harp.

For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify

the meek with salvation.

Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon

their beds.

[Let] the high [praises] of God [be] in their mouth, and a

twoedged sword in their hand;

To execute vengeance upon the heathen, [and] punishments upon

the people;

To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters

of iron;

To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all

his saints. Praise ye the LORD.

Daniel {7:13-18} I saw in the night visions, and, behold, [one] like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed. I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of [my] body, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things. These great beasts, which are four, [are] four kings, [which] shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even for ever and ever.

Luke {22:28-30} Ye* are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. *Note that Jesus is addressing his apostles here, telling them of their specific destiny to be in charge of judging the tribes of Israel. Judas Iscariot forfeited this honor when he betrayed Christ, his place being filled by Matthias (Acts 1:15-26).

Other Jewish and Gentile believers apparently will have many other responsibilities as Paul indicates in 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 below.

1 Corinthians {6:2-3} Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

1 Thessalonians {3:13} To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

Revelation {19:11-16} And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him [was] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes [were] as a flame of fire, and on his head [were] many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he [was] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies [which were] in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on [his] vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

The Lord will be accompanied by every believer whoever lived, from the saints of the Old Testament, Christians from the time between Jesus’ life on Earth and the Rapture, and finally the Tribulation saints who were killed by the forces of the Antichrist. When they appear, the first thing Jesus will do it is to put a stop to the war, save the Jews from total destruction, and deal with the Antichrist and his false prophet once and for all:

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

There is another fate reserved for Satan himself:

Revelation {20:1-3} And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

Why the devil is not immediately tossed into the burning lake is not known, however, we’ll look at a possible reason in our next article in this series when we examine the kind of world that will exist when the King of Kings assumes his rightful place at long last on Earth.

Next time we’ll look at what this wondrous new age might be like and the roles each of those who believe will get to play in it.

Roman Road of Prophecy

Many who are Christians are at least somewhat familiar with one particular Scriptural formula for coming to Christ in becoming a believer. It is known as The Roman Road to Salvation.

It has often been used for many years to show those who haven’t heard the reason salvation is needed, and how it is obtained. The following is that scriptural road map:

  • Romans 3:10: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one.”
  • Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
  • Romans 5:8: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
  • Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
  • Romans 10:13: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

These Scriptures mean that none of us are worthy, nor can we earn the right to go to Heaven when we die. But Jesus loved us so much that He died for us to pay the price for our sin so that we can be with Him forever. All we have to do is ask Jesus to come into our hearts and be our Lord and Savior and follow Him.

In similar fashion–but, perhaps somewhat more circuitously–I believe there is a Roman road of prophecy that can help the student of Bible prophecy receive understanding of things involved with developments of several years ago.

With the announcement on Monday, February 11, 2013 by Pope Benedict XVI that he was resigning as pope effective February 28 of that year, came considerable concern and curiosity about what it might mean, prophetically. Most who email me, of course, are vitally interested in Bible prophecy. They know, to one degree or another, about the supposition that the next pope will be the last pontiff.

This prediction comes from the twelfth-century Irish Catholic bishop, St. Malachy, who was said to have had a vision in the year 1139, in which he received foreknowledge of the 112 popes that would reign in the line of papal succession from that point until the final pope. Although some aspects of the names of the popes from that time until now have been somewhat nebulous in terms of accuracy, they have in many cases been considered to be close enough to the “prophesied” names to validate St. Malachy’s prognostications. The last forty-five popes, I’m told the research shows, have been almost precise in their accuracy.

So, we at that time awaited the installation of the next pope to see if the Malachy “vision” that the last pope is to be Petrus Romanus (“Peter the Roman”) would prove to indeed be the case.

While preparing for being a guest on a nationwide radio program, the program host and I discussed a number of things in our preliminary phone conversations. As part of our talking through the pope and end-times matters before doing the program, we agreed that we couldn’t be absolutely dogmatic about whether Rome was the city about which the prophecies in Revelation chapter 17 foretell. The Vatican, headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, as everyone knows, sits upon the “seven hills of Rome.” Therein resides the almost universal belief among Bible prophecy students that the Catholic Church will be a major player in the last days.

That prophecy about the end-times city that will play a profoundly deleterious role in the consummation of the age states: “And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth” (Revelation 17:9).

Although I still maintain that we can’t be absolutely dogmatic that the city referred to is Rome, I remain personally convinced that this is the case. I believe there is a scriptural road map of sorts that we can explore that might present strong evidence that the city given in Revelation 17: 9 is Rome. Therefore, let’s look at what I term “The Roman Road of Prophecy”:

Daniel 9: 26-27 and the ties to Rome. The wind-up of this Age of Grace (Church Age) is encapsulated in the prophecy given Daniel (Daniel 9:26-27). The great prophet was told to write that the “prince that shall come” would confirm the covenant (agreement of peace between Israel and its enemies) for seven years. This prince would come out of the people who would destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary (the Jewish Temple). These were the Romans. Regardless of their regional makeup, they were Romans, whose leaders were Emperor Vespasian and his son, General Titus–of Rome. Romans fulfilled part of this end-times prophecy in A.D. 70., beginning earlier, around 33 A.D. with the “cutting off of Messiah” (Daniel 9:26). All of human history, from the confirming of the covenant by this Roman prince (the Beast of Revelation chapter 13) through Christ’s return, would, the Daniel 9: 26-27prophecy indicates, conclude in almost total devastation for planet Earth. This prophetic area of Scripture puts the city of Rome at ground zero for the wind-up of human history.

Luke 2:1-3: Rome holds sway over the world. During the prophesied time of Israel’s Messiah being born, Rome was the power center of the then-known world. “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the entire world should be taxed. [And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.] And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem [because he was of the house and lineage of David]; To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child” (Luke 2:1-5). Again, Rome is in the prophetic spotlight while the Savior of the world makes His appearance in the flesh upon a judgment-bound planet. Revelation 17:15-18: Rome represents the focus of God’s judgment at wind-up of the age. God’s Word uses a drunken, debauched prostitute as symbol for the end-times religious system that is located–you guessed it—in Rome, whose tyrant regime had exiled John the apostle and prophet to Patmos. There, John was given the Revelation:

“And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth” (Revelation 17:15-18).

Can there be much doubt that Rome was the city that reigned over the whole Earth at the time of John’s exile? Bible prophecy tells us in these passages that Rome will be at the center of world rebellion “until the words of God shall be fulfilled.” A corrupt religious system will be prominently ensconced atop the seven mountains.

Make no mistake: With its expansive reach and influence, the doings of the Roman Catholic Church in the coming months are worth watching for the observer of Bible prophecy.

 

Jerusalem Move Prophetic?

One can sense prophetic movement afoot within this presidential election cycle. The globalist agenda, as mentioned a number of times in these commentaries, seems to have been put on hold, or at least slowed.

That is not to say that the forces wanting to set the stage for Antichrist’s rise to power–unwittingly no doubt in most cases–have by any means given up on their agenda. But, in America, for the moment, the people’s decision to put this particular man in the most powerful office on earth appears to have erected a wall of opposition.

It is God, Himself, who in actuality has put Trump in the office of U.S. president, just as He allows any potentate, prince, or president to come to power.

With this in mind, it is most interesting to consider developments as offshoots of this particular election–thus in light of the coalescing of prophetic indicators the issues and events of these times have wrought.

One such indicator I’ve written about previously that has potential prophetic overtones in my estimation is the possibility of a coming economic boom. This is the trend in every direction one looks in consideration of the financial markets of late. Most every indicator leading up to this election year pointed to dire outcomes in America and the world regarding economic prospects. Europe and much of the rest of the world continue to be steeped in dire such predictions. The United States prospects, however, are looking brighter and brighter as the inauguration of Donald J. Trump approaches.

I’m not deluded–nor should you be–that all is well. It isn’t. But, a boom, I believe, was prophesied by the Lord Jesus Himself. It will be a time of buying, selling, building, marrying, planting, and doing all the things that say good times are here again.

Jesus said as recorded in Matthew 24:36-42 and Luke 17:26-30 that times will be booming economically at the time judgment will fall. Anytime the Lord prophesied–such as in His Olivet Discourse foretelling–the things He foretold announced an especially accelerated or more pronounced state than normal circumstance would indicate. When He said people will be buying, selling, building, etc., “like in the days of Lot,” He was, I’m convinced, predicting a boom in wealth, etc.–i.e., economic circumstance well beyond business as usual.

We see, at this present hour, a movement into economic boom times for this nation. Trump is an acknowledged business whiz, and the financial markets almost without exception give indication they have confidence he will “make America great again”–at least economically speaking.

This optimism of the money changers of Wall Street and other echelons of fiscal power inspired me to meander a bit through the Revelation chapter 18 prophecy in which the entity known as Babylon the Great is described. The ruminating in my mind raises the question, despite the longstanding seminary declaration that this entity will rise from the geographical area of ancient Babylon. Is it possible the prophecy might involve the United States of America?

I’m not saying it will be thus–just that it is legitimate to raise the question. I’m aware that great theologically prophetic minds–some belonging to dear friends–say there is no such possibility.

Another such prophetic indicator flowing from this presidential election–the subject of this essay–is the matter of the president-elect’s promise to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Actually, candidate Trump long ago made this declaration during many stump speeches. It is more than noteworthy, therefore, that his selection to be ambassador to Israel has at the center of his thinking the move of the American embassy from where it now sits in Tel Aviv to–you guessed it–Jerusalem.

Trump’s choice, David Friedman, an orthodox Jew, has stated that he looks forward to serving as ambassador to Israel at “the US embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.”

Former Republican National Committee chairman and now President-Elect Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, was told in an interview on the December 18, 2016 FOX News Sunday program by Chris Wallace, the show’s host, that Freidman has said he is against the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This, Wallace indicated, is against the international community’s determination to make such a “solution” part of a peace deal. The upshot of Wallace’s thought was that this is going to be a highly controversial stand by Friedman and Trump. This, it was implied, will prevent the peace from eventuating, which the globalists want to impose upon Israel and the region.

Zechariah’s prophecy might here come into play as we look forward to the coming months of the Trump presidency. The establishment of America’s embassy in Jerusalem, thus making recognition of that most controversial city on earth as Israel’s capital ironclad, will almost certainly both drive the Arab-Islamists of the region into a frenzy and cause massive diplomatic headaches for the globalist, international community sort.

The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.

And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. (Zechariah 12:1-3)

Like in the prophecy involving Jesus’ days of Noah, days of Lot foretelling, Zechariah’s prophecy regarding Jerusalem looks to be forming. Stay tuned…

Dawn’s Early Light

This week’s commentary is a reminder for those who believe in Jesus Christ as defined by the following scriptural description of the term “Christian”:

“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” (Romans 10:9).

Tragically, if the reader hasn’t genuinely confessed sin and asked forgiveness of the God of Heaven, and adopted this faith prescription from God’s Word, this essay cannot apply to his or her life. Thankfully, all people everywhere are invited to come to belief in the Son of God, who came to Earth the first time specifically to die so that anyone who accepts Christ’s shed-blood antidote for sin’s deadly venom will be saved from the eternal fires of Hell, and will instead live forever with the Father in Heaven. My prayer is that the reader, if he or she hasn’t done so, will do so right now–for this is the only moment guaranteed to you. You might not have a follow-up second of life. Your last heartbeat might come before you finish reading.

Paul the apostle reported God’s words on the tenuous nature of life and the importance of immediately making the decision in the matter of salvation: “For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

With the gospel message offered, as the Holy Spirit draws, we will proceed with additional good news, something that some accuse is a rarity for a prophecy writer’s commentary. The mention of prophecy often conjures in the imagination darkness and foreboding–a very bleak outlook for America and the planet we call Earth. When considering the troubling course we see narrowing in the distance, while we examine today’s issues and events under the microscope of God’s prophetic Word, we must be truthful and faithful in giving the forewarnings of the watchman (Mark 13: 37).

But, while nearing midnight, the world keeps turning. There is coming a moment after the gore and terrible dangers of the battle at twilight’s last gleaming–like Francis Scott Key wrote—the dawn’s early light. The flag of the United States of America is under attack, and the nation is staggering. It might well fall this time, unlike during the time of its birth as given in the “Star Spangled Banner.”

But, as much as we all love this nation, we look toward a heavenly home, built by the Lord Himself (see 2 Corinthians 5:1; John 14:1-3)–a world without end (Ephesians 3:21). The matters to think upon for you and me as God’s children involve a glorious dawning of unimaginable things to come. Paul the apostle puts it this way, as we have all read many times: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

While I often express in this column frustration over the fact that the majority of Christians are today inward turned, not at all thinking of things of God, and are asleep in the pews because they get only pabulum from the pastors in the pulpits for the most part, I am of the conviction that this is a malaise that is an important indicator of exactly where we are on God’s prophetic timeline. Jesus said the following: “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8b). This said, each child of God–whether on fire for the Lord, or living life oblivious to the things of God–needs to know that when Christ’s call “come up hither” (Revelation 4:1) is heard, every truly born again (John 3:3) believer will go instantaneously to be with the Lord. He will then take us to the home He has been preparing for us (John 14:1-3).

Even if the child has not been watching for His coming for them in the clouds–in the Rapture—each and every one will go in that stupendous atomos of time to be with Him, forever!

I know the foregoing will be angrily disputed by many. There is an erroneous visceral belief among many who know the PreTrib view of prophecy to be truth from the Bible. That mistaken belief purports that the watchful Christians will go to be with Christ when He calls, and the slothful, Earth-minded Christians will stay behind to–well, I’m not sure to do what.

Those holding this view just cannot accept the full scope of what the Bible says about God’s love for His family. Christ did it all on the cross at Calvary, so what can we do to make ourselves more secure in Christ?

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4 that ALL will go in that twinkling of an eye. The Word of God didn’t say that some will stay and some will go. Here’s the thing: God knows who is and is not His child; we, His children, are not privy to that knowledge.

My friend, Dr. Dave Breese, used to say that the Lord Jesus will not leave part of His Bride, the Church, here on Earth to be bloodied and bruised during the most horrendous time of human history. He will take a perfected Bride home to the Father’s house. Jesus did the cleaning-up when He shed His precious blood at Calvary two millennia ago. He cried “It is finished!” –And, it was! The translation –the transformation from mortal to immortal–that will take place in that stunning, glorious, split second will make every one of us worthy and acceptable in the heavenly city!

Now, let me say that the child of God living like the devil, with unrepented-of sin, will pay a tremendous price at the Bema Seat (judgment seat of Christ). Make no mistake: there will be an eternal instant when all will look into those eyes of absolute love and understand their Lord’s disappointment. We will at that moment want more than anything we’ve ever wanted to hear Jesus say, “Well done, good, faithful servant.”

The dawn’s early light will one day shine its rays of glory. It will happen as Christ breaks through the dark, death-decaying clouds at Armageddon (Rev. 19: 11). He will defeat all of His–and our—foes. Antichrist will be thrown in the lake of fire, with the false prophet. Satan will be chained for one thousand years. Jesus will clean up Planet Earth.

But, that’s not the really good news for you and me. Just consider…you and I are here at this strange time, and in this foreign land, for purposes the Lord, Himself, has determined. We could have been placed here at any time in history. But, He chose us to serve Him, and now, while all around us breaks the most stunning prophetic possibilities imaginable. For example, no other generation has seen Israel reborn and as hated by the entire world of nations as has our generation –exactly as prophesied. Something is up –and it is big!

We will see the “dawn” at the close of Armageddon described above as we descend on gleaming, white, heavenly steeds as Christ leads the way.

However, for believers of this Age of Grace, “Dawn’s early light” is scheduled to break brilliantly and instantaneously much earlier–during this darkening hour we presently face. We do not have to wait at least seven years for that other “dawn” as Christ returns at the end of the Tribulation. The Rapture is very near! Serve Him as if He could call in the next second. He just might! Take heart!

 

Saving the World

My practice each week before beginning to think seriously on the next week’s commentary for this column is to pray for guidance from on high. This week’s essay, I sensed, would require especially intensive beseeching in order to receive direction toward the commentary leading up to Christmas Day. Just the opposite turned out to be the case.

An idea of what the topic should be came almost instantly upon my beginning to think on the matter. Next, within less than an hour into the process, came a message through email that validated beyond any doubt that the topic was chosen from above.

The email was from a regular family member of our website, raptureready.com. Her words were verification that the thought for the Christmas message to be delivered wasn’t mine, but from the One who sent that first Christmas message two millennia ago. I quickly dashed off an email-note thanking her.

I again thank her here and will include some of her words from her most timely cyber message to me.

As many who read these commentaries will know, my articles of late have involved the lead-up to and reporting of presidential election 2016. I view that election, I think I made clear, as being intervention by the Lord–and this for several reasons.

His intervention was to, I believe, answer the prayers of His people who are called by His name, in accordance with 2 Chronicles 7: 14. His response was to begin to turn around the quick slide into the abyss of total moral decay. His action was to stop this nation’s almost certain march to globalism, which, I’m convinced, the losing candidate would have put on an even faster track than America was on, should she have been elected president.

I likened the intervention in the matter of globalism to God’s erecting a wall even more profound than the wall the president-elect has promised to put along America’s southern border. For now, at least, America, apparently, will have a wall of sorts–a return to the constitutional concept of sovereignty and nationhood intended by the founding fathers.

That constitutional concept was formed by Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, and all the rest, based upon their strong belief in adherence to Judeo-Christian principles found in the Bible. This, the new world order architects cannot abide. Religion, they rant, is the bane of progressive thought and action. These most often champion the Utopian dream fostered by Karl Marx, who wrote: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

The globalists elite who hate religion and despise Christianity in particular see Communism as the route to Utopia. If only they could have their blueprint for their version of socialism put fully into production, they would create heaven on earth. These have come to embrace fanatically their own version of religion. It is called “environmentalism.”

They were, until recently, calling it global warming. The scientific sophistry behind their claim came to light through exposure to the facts, so they changed the core of their religion to “climate change.”

These are of the save-the-earth cult which holds that man is destroying Mother Earth. Therefore, the globalists elite–the high priests of their religion–must see to it that all nations, all peoples, must be brought under their regulation–else we will all drown beneath the overflowing oceans because of icecap melting, etc. Greenhouse gases and carbon emissions and all of that are produced by evil Western mankind in particular and must be governed. They–the global elitists–of course, are the only ones who can thus save the world.

Pope Francis and some within the Catholic Church have wholeheartedly joined this save-the-earth cult to add their version of religious input. The following excerpted article explains:

Catholic Online reports that new priests will be expected to be familiar with and promote efforts to reduce carbon emissions…

The Church has a responsibility to care for people, and the environment. And care for one is also care for the other…

The new guidelines suggest that in the future, priests will also have a good grasp of the global climate change problem and will share this with their congregation…

It must be said that some committed and prayerful Christians, with the excuse of realism and pragmatism, tend to ridicule expressions of concern for the environment. Others are passive; they choose not to change their habits and thus become inconsistent. So what they all need is an ‘ecological conversion’, whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evidence in their relationship with the world around them. Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience. Therefore, it will be necessary for future priests to be highly sensitive to this theme and, through the requisite Magisterial and theological guidance, helped to “acknowledge the appeal, immensity and urgency of the challenge we face. (Source: Catholic Church: New Priests Will be Expected to Preach Global Warming, Guest essay by Eric Worrall, http://www.clerus.va/content/dam/clerus/Ratio%20Fundamentalis/The%20Gift%20of%20the%20Priestly%20Vocation.pdf)

There has been little reaching out by this pope since he replaced Pope Benedict to proclaim that conversion must be made to belief in Jesus Christ in order to save the souls of people of earth. But the cry at present goes out in every direction that conversion to the dogma of ecological sophistry must be instituted and enforced to save all people everywhere.

With regard to the Luciferian religion called climate change, the words of my emailer say it plainly.

“No matter how much humans try to ‘improve’ on God’s plans, He has the last say. He allows us to experiment but then, rightly shows us that His way is the best way. No matter how much humans try to wreck Planet Earth, God always has the upper (and healing) hand.

The world belongs to God. His Creation. Wonderfully and perfectly made. There is no way He is going to allow some spiritually backward, egocentric lunatic, [to] ruin what He set up. For the RC [Roman Catholic] church to actually believe that they will influence or make a difference to what is happening to planet earth is spiritual ignorance of the highest order. They are implying that action from man can fix stuff. That they (the RC church) are running things. Astonishing!”

Let me be clear in saying that I’m fully aware and agree that we are expected, as Christians, to be good stewards of the earth. However, we are not to worship the earth and make that worship the means of our salvation.

It is the reverse of the true Christmas story that we are witnessing as Christmas approaches. Globalism preaches that it is up to man to save himself by saving the planet.

Like Lucifer told Eve, we are destined to become our own gods. We are to save the world, totally apart from any deity, except, of course, for the gods–he elite–of the globalist agenda.

But the truth of the Christmas story simply, powerfully and wonderfully tells all who will listen–and believe.

“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17).

The Real Crisis

Crises and potential crises surround us during every waking moment. Except for those who are oblivious to what is going on in this nation and world today, the cultural and societal pathway ahead disappears into the anxiety-laden darkness of the unknown. Rather than take on the entire world and its problems in this regard, I will, for our purposes in this commentary, stick to analyzing the fearful future of this nation I love.

Most in America–and sadly, in the church (born-again believers) –falls into that category of the oblivious. Therefore, the crises, from their perspective, don’t exist. All the forewarnings of coming disaster seem issued to ears that will never hear and presented to eyes that will never see. Yet, at the same time, the crises, themselves, do create undercurrents of worry. Even the otherwise diverted masses notice, at least for fleeting moments, when societal dangers disrupt their world of shopping and entertainment–for example, when attacks by terrorists and others upon people going about their daily lives take place. Then, it is back to buying, selling, building, marrying, and giving in marriage, and the thousand and one other things that matter most to them.

Crises dominate the horizon politically, economically, and morally. As a matter of fact, they intertwine in such convolution as to now be inseparable so far as discerning where one aspect begins and the others end. There has developed, because of the incessant progression of assaults by evil actions, desensitization that affects the masses like a venomous bite by a deadly serpent.

The analogy is more than coincidental. It is a precise description of what has happened. The serpent of Genesis, chapter 3, has successfully injected much of America’s population with the same sort of morality-paralyzing toxin that separated man from God those many millennia ago. We have indeed reached the point of becoming a people like those at whom Isaiah the prophet pointed the finger of condemnation: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).

This crisis of moral decay was brought home to me nearly 8 years ago as I listened to the minister who was selected by the 44th president to read a prayer during the Obama inauguration on January 21, 2009. He, we are supposed to presume, prayed to the God of Heaven for Him to bless the gay lifestyle in that prayer for inclusiveness and tolerance in America.

This is the same administration that has made homosexuality and those who fight for the right to openly display the debased, debauched activities of that community in a very public way as the equivalent of the black community crusading for those people’s civil rights. This is the same political entity that will pull all the levers of governmental power at their disposal to protect the young of wildlife, thus to impose as much control as possible over individuals and businesses, under the guise of environmental concerns. These will, at the same time, do everything within that power to facilitate the murder of babies in their mother’s wombs for the sake of placating a voter base that desires to expediently get rid of unwanted fruits of their pleasure-seeking indiscretions.

While America sleeps, liberties are eroded one at a time, and the powers that be viciously seek to marginalize all who would disagree with their seizing by “executive action” constitutional powers the founding fathers built into the nation’s safeguards through checks and balances. Even those who have until recently adamantly opposed such a power grab seem now to be shrugging shoulders and going along with the mainstream media mantra that it is just the new norm.

But the dumbing-down of the American public and apparently, too, many of those constitutionally elected to represent it, in convincing that the new norm is just the hope and change that is the natural progression of such an advanced, sophisticated culture –thus the moral implosion that continues to take its toll– isn’t the real crisis.

The real crisis is wrapped up in the following: the Church in this crucial hour is asleep, and if there is no preacher, how shall they hear? (Romans 10:14).

The Lord of Heaven might have just about reached the limits of His patience with a nation peopled by a populace that has lived the most materially–and even spiritually blessed—existence in the history of mankind. However, we can take hope that with the lord’s direct Intervention –in my view– into America’s election this year, we might have indication that America will yet have a moment of turning from the slide toward the abyss.

Until this apparent turn back to God because of the prayers of those who are called by His Holy Name, Proof that we might be near the outer limits of God’s tolerance for national rebellion was evident in the fact that there seemingly has been a collective mindset developed like that forewarned by the apostle Paul.

Please consider with all gravity the Word of the living God. I believe it is the equivalent of Isaiah’s finger pointed at my beloved United States of America:

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things.

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Romans 1: 21-32)

 

The Wall

Everyone who has access to any news outlet these days is familiar with the wall mentioned hundreds of times by Donald Trump throughout the presidential campaign season. Now president-elect Trump continues to proclaim that he will build a wall on America’s southern border.  

That highly controversial proposed wall involves Mr. Trump’s promise to keep illegal would-be immigrants from entering the United States. Those who support building of such a wall obviously believe this will prevent potential terrorists from entering the country en masse, as they fear is happening presently.

A physical structure of the nature described by some will be a massive and expensive undertaking to be sure, as I perceive the project as proposed. It is to be constructed in order to keep American citizens safe.

There is a wall of another sort I would like to think on for a bit. This is a structure that also involves keeping America safe. However, it is a wall not of physical materials as in the case of the one proposed to stand between America and Mexico. I’m referring to the barrier that has suddenly appeared with this presidential election. Again, it is not a physical wall, but one that is made of much sterner stuff–as Shakespeare’s Mark Antony might put it.

Globalism’s growing invasion into the American way of life has been marching all but unchecked for at least two decades. Its force of movement into all strata of life has increased dramatically during the administration of Barack Obama over these past eight years.

Globalism’s threat is greater than just the hordes of illegals from the south–those illegals being but one ingredient within the globalist elite’s plans of action: to bring America into configuration with new world order as they envision it. The danger implied stretches across the broad spectrum of culture and society of our nation.

The inculcation has been a long time in process. The youth of America in particular have been dumbed-down to the point that they know little of truth about the country’s founding principles.

The churches of America have not, since the days of the Moral Majority efforts, resisted the globalist drive to take the nation as far away from God’s influence as possible. The godless teaching of the corrupted and corruptive educational system from K through the doctorate programs has convinced many that there must be a separation of church and state. That demand has come down, finally, to governmental dictate–approved by the Supreme Court–that opposition to social matters perceived as anti-biblical must be confined to the sanctuaries.

Just as the president-elect plans to put up that wall to stem the physical flow of illegals in to America, there has suddenly been erected an even more spectacular wall.

It is a spiritual wall, as I view it. God, Himself, has put it up for His own good purposes. It is, almost certainly in part, a wall to stop the globalist invaders from continuing to move the United States farther along the pathway toward the new world order being prepared for Antichrist and his regime of horror. I wrote the following in my commentary that immediately preceded the November 8 presidential election.

Although the nucleus of God’s people who hold fast to the Heavenly Father’s precepts and promises might be a dwindling number, we are still here in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. We are engaged in this prayer war for a restoration of sanity in America’s government, society and culture.

We are praying specifically that the evil forces that are raging to make this nation into a state totally apart from all godliness will be, at least on an interim basis, kept from their Luciferian goal.

I say “on an interim basis,” because Bible prophecy plainly foretells that the satanic, globalist forces will for a time one day achieve establishment of a one-world order as Antichrist’s platform of power. It will happen. It’s just a matter of time.

Meantime, however, while the church of Jesus Christ is here, thus the Restrainer (the Holy Spirit) resident within that body holding back evil, it is right and proper–and I believe expected–that God’s people, called by His name, are to pray the prayer of 2 Chronicles 7:14.

God has erected this wall in answer to the prayers of His people. Yet, only He knows the purposes in full. One reason, I sense, is to give the true church (all born-again believers) time and room to carry out the Great Commission. At the same time, as I’ve written previously, this wall seems to offer hope of a brighter economic future. The free enterprise forces seem to be saying this with their optimism.

But, this, if it does eventuate, makes these days just ahead precisely like the time predicted when Christ will next catastrophically intervene into the affairs of mankind.

Jesus indicated, as recorded in Matthew 24:36-42 and Luke 17:26-30 that business will be good–even perhaps booming–at the time He next intervenes. This will be the Rapture of the church.

There is one more wall I wish to touch on in this essay–the wall that separates lost mankind from God and Heaven in eternity. The wall is made of the awful, soul-killing matter called sin. Man himself constructed this wall with his disobedience in the Garden of Eden. This wall keeps all of the lost of mankind from entering into God’s Kingdom. They are aliens who cannot go through that great barrier.

But, God has provided a Gate in that great wall of separation. It is a narrow gate that leads to salvation, the Scripture tells us.

Jesus put it this way: “I am the door: if by me any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9).

I believe the reason God has constructed this wall against globalism is primarily to provide time and opportunity to get out this message that Jesus is the only way to salvation. Let us who are called by His Holy Name do our utmost for His Highest in honoring Him for allowing this reprieve.

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