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America’s Schizophrenia

The United States is divided today as much as it was during the Civil War. We aren’t shedding blood in furious, literal warfare, but the hatreds–the differences in thought–divide as surely as did the north-versus-south issues of the mid-1800s.

Our name “United ” is no longer applicable in the truest sense. We are split in many ways, from political ideology with regard to constitutional authority, to worldview on geopolitics, socioeconomics, and religion. In terms of the discipline of human psychology, we are a schizophrenic country. We have severe split personality disorder, at the very least.

National schizophrenia continues to manifest in ways that indicate mental disorder within some factions of American society and culture. Anger, unfounded, i.e., unprovable as to reasons it is warranted, is growing. Denial of reality, in that much of the population refuses to accept the legitimacy of a constitutionally conducted presidential election, is a prime symptom of the nation’s psychological illness.

Members among that faction talk openly in social media about actually wanting to see the newly elected president murdered. It’s a psychological–even psychotic revisitation, some might say–of those long ago, southern-like sympathizers in the mold of John Wilkes Booth.

Their mindset is not unlike that of the dastardly assassin, who so resented President Lincoln after Lincoln’s directing the winning of the Civil War to preserve the Union that he could abide nothing less than the sixteenth president’s murder.

Voters have spoken within the rational, constitutional process. They put the current president in office. Mainstream media, entertainment media, higher educational institutions, and leftists of every stripe refuse to accept the legitimate election. They are observably driven to a form of madness. They are the ones who manifest the mental illness they accuse the new president of having.

We review just a few of the schizophrenic symptoms manifest in the U.S. It all stems from reprobate or upside-down thinking of which the apostle Paul warned in Romans chapter 1. It’s what happens when any people move in a direction other than that which God prescribes.

  • Muslims are called peaceful while Christians are called homophobic, Islamophobic, etc.
  • The liberal mindset is that we should do all for the children, yet they are responsible for 58 million being murdered in their mothers’ wombs.
  • This mindset calls homosexuality an acceptable alternate lifestyle, while God Word calls it abomination
  • Marriage is between one man and one woman, and this culture now says it is legally a marriage between man and man and woman and woman.
  • The mindset is to say, “God Bless America,” yet the government has kicked God out of public affairs in 1963 and since.
  • Schizophrenia exists as Islamists commit heinous attacks out of hatred for anyone who doesn’t see things their way (bow to Allah), yet the mindset is that we must have open arms and welcome people from those countries–without questioning and examining (vetting) them.
  • Christians are called intolerant, yet the progressives won’t tolerate the Christian worldview–they see it as intolerant and hateful.
  • Men want to become women, women want to become men–now men want to be made into women who can have babies.
  • Presidential administration always looks for a “motive” when it is obviously Islamists who murder. Never call them Islamic terrorists.
  • Socialism is literally impoverishing all societies around the world and yet capitalism is called the system that demeans people–examples being Venezuela and other places of late…
  • Israel has only a sliver of land and the Arab nations have vast lands, yet the world diplomatic community (and many among the ideological left in America) demands that the Jewish state divide its land and give it to make a Palestinian state–from people blood-vowed to kill all Jews.

The final bulleted point in this list is the most troubling. It holds the very fate of America within its grip, if one believes God’s Word as given in Genesis chapter 12–and we do.

The schizophrenia is seen to be a perhaps unresolvable spiritual malady in this regard. America has for the last couple of decades–particularly over the past eight years–exhibited a split over support of Israel.

The former administration “put light” between the U.S. and Israel, something one of the Obama administration spokespersons vowed would happen as stated at the very outset. The Trump administration has vowed to do just the opposite. It has indeed to this point embraced the Jewish state and even is seriously considering moving the American embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

Yet at the same time, the American government is again befriending Israel, there is a faction, made up of domestic terrorists, it seems, who are exhibiting psychotic hatred reminiscent of that found in the Germany of the 1930s.

NEW YORK – Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States surged by 34 percent in 2016 compared to 2015, and have jumped 86 percent in the first quarter of 2017, new data released by the Anti-Defamation League on Monday showed.

In its annual ‘Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents’, the ADL reported that there has been a “massive increase” in the amount of harassment of American Jews, particularly since November, the month of the US presidential election.

The report stated that there was a total of 1,266 acts targeting Jews and Jewish institutions in 2016, nearly 30% of which occurred in November and December. These incidents included 720 incidents of harassment and threats, 510 vandalism acts and 36 physical assault incidents.

During the first three months of 2017, another 541 incidents took place including 380 harassments and 161 bomb threats. In addition, the beginning of the year saw 155 vandalism acts – including three cemeteries- and six physical assault incidents. Among the latest incident, included one last month, in which a New York rabbi received a threatening email, which read in part: “Things will start getting bloodier for the Jew boys, I know where you live.”

According to the data, if anti-Semitic occurrences continue at this rate, 2017 could end with over 2,000 incidents. (Source: “US Anti-Semitic Incidents Jump 86% at Start of 2017,”Danielle Ziri, Jerusalem Post, April 24, 2017)

For the moment, it seems that the current administration wants to apply healing balm to the rift with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his nation caused by the previous administration. But the American schizophrenia remains a most serious spiritual disease that grows within. Believers must continue praying as hundreds of thousands prayed leading up to the presidential election just past. It is the only Rx that will spare this nation the demise that the Lord says will befall all individuals and nations who choose to defy His divine order for mankind.

Are We Rapidly Approaching the End of the Age? – By Michael Hile

Jesus’ disciples came to him privately while He sat upon the Mount of Olives and asked Him three questions (Matthew 24:1-3).  One question dealt with the time of the destruction of the temple. The other two questions were concerned with the end of the age. “…What will be the sign of your coming…?” and what will be the sign of “…the end of the age?”  The “end of the age” question was answered by Christ at the beginning of His Olivet discourse.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:9-14

Producing Good Fruit

Jesus told the Pharisees and Sadducees that they needed to produce good fruit (righteous works) like a tree that brings forth good fruit. If they did not produce good fruit, worthy for repentance, they were spiritually worthless to God. As a tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire, so would their destiny be if they did not produce good works that were worthy of repentance (Matthew 3:7-10, 7:15-20; Luke 3:7-9, 6:43-45).

Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Matthew 3:8-10

The principle that a tree should bring forth good fruit was taught by Jesus on several occasions. In the parable of the barren fig tree, Jesus used a fig tree (symbolic of Israel) that had not produced fruit for three years to represent the nation of Israel. The fig tree in the parable had not produced any good fruit (ripe figs) during the three years of Christ’s ministry to the Jewish people. Jesus was telling the Jewish nation that His ministry with them was drawing to a close, and if they did not produce fruit within the next year, their opportunity to repent and accept Jesus as their Messiah would soon pass.

The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree

And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’  And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’” Luke 13:6-9

Since Israel did not produce good fruit (ripe figs) at Jesus’ first coming, the nation was cut down, as a tree, in A.D. 70 by the Roman army, and the Jewish house of worship, the temple, was destroyed.  Jesus’ prophecy about the destruction of the temple, with not one stone left upon another, was accurately fulfilled (Matthew 24:2). As King Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom was cut down like a tree, taken from him and later restored, the nation of Israel, represented by the fig tree, was cut down for failing to recognize Jesus as their Messiah and not recognizing “the time of their visitation” (Daniel 4:1-37, Job 14:7-9, Luke 19:41-44). The Kingdom of God was taken away from Israel but will be restored after the Lord refines them “as silver is refined,” and tests them “as gold is tested” at the end of the age (Matthew 21:42-43, Zechariah 13:7-9, 14:1-16).

Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him. Matthew 21:43-44

Jesus Curses the Fig Tree

Figs are symbolic of the Jewish people in several places in the Scriptures (Jeremiah 24:1-10, Hosea 9:8-10).  When Israel did not produce good figs at Christ’s first coming, He cursed the fig tree, which is symbolic of the Jewish nation of Israel (Matthew 21:17-20; Mark 11:11-14, 19-22).

And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it… And when evening came they went out of the city. As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”  And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.”  Mark 11:11-22

The question posed earlier in Matthew concerning “What will be the sign of your coming?” is answered by Jesus with a parable (Matthew 24:32-34, Mark 13:28-30, Luke 21:29-32).  The importance placed on this particular parable, as distinguished from the other parables, is magnified by its appearance in three of the gospels. In Matthew and Mark’s versions of the parable of the fig tree, Christ tells us to “learn a parable of the fig tree” while Luke’s version instructs us to “look at the fig tree and all the trees” (“look,” “watch,” or “behold”).

Matthew’s Version of the Fig Tree Parable

From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Matthew 24:32-34

The practical application Jesus gave was to be learned from observing the fig tree. When you see a (literal) fig tree with branches full of sap (becoming tender), and producing new leaves, these signs meant that summer was near.  The spiritual application, hidden to many, teaches when the fig tree (symbolic of Israel) comes back to life, we are to know that Christ’s return is near. The generation that sees Israel come back to life will not die off until all the events involved with the second coming of Christ take place. All current and future generations were to watch the fig tree (Israel) for signs of new life. This parable could not be properly understood until after Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70 by the Romans, and the Jewish people were scattered throughout the world.

Luke’s Version of the Fig Tree Parable

Luke’s version of the parable of the fig tree gives additional insight into what to watch for in order to understand when Christ will return (i.e., “the sign of your coming”).

And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. Luke 21:29-32

We are told by Jesus in many Scriptures to “watch” for Christ’s return (Matthew 24:42-43, 25:13, Mark 13:33-37, Luke 12:37-40, 21:36, Philippians 3:20, 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6, 2 Timothy 4:8, Titus 2:13, Hebrews 9:28, Revelation 3:3, 16:15).

What are we to watch for? Several signs and indicators are given in the aforementioned Scriptures for the general time of Christ’s return, and we are to watch for them as the Scriptures command. In the parable of the fig tree, Luke records Jesus’ specific words where He said to “Watch the fig tree and all the trees” (Luke 21:29). (1)

  1. Watch the fig tree (Israel)
  2. Watch all the trees (Gentile nations)
  3. Watch for leaves sprouting on the fig tree (signs of life)
  4. Watch for leaves sprouting on all the trees (signs of life)

When the fig tree (Israel) and all the trees (Gentile nations) come to life, the parable of the fig tree, which is a date specific and generation specific prophecy, begins its countdown to the return of Christ and the setting up of the Kingdom of God.

Has the Fig Tree (Israel) Put Forth Leaves (come to life)?

The Jewish people, displaced from their homeland for centuries, began showing signs of life during the second half of the 19th century (1850-1900) when waves of Jews (aliyah) started coming back to the land of Israel. Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), the “Father of Zionism,” was the visionary behind the modern return of the Jewish people and reestablishment of a Jewish homeland. (2)

Herzl organized the first world congress of Zionism that met in Basel, Switzerland, in August 1897 and became the first president of the World Zionist Organization. (3) The goals of the organization were set forth in the Basle Program: “Zionism seeks to establish a home for the Jewish people in Palestine, secured under public law.” (4)

The Balfour Declaration, dated November 2, 1917, paved the way for the United Nations partition resolution for Palestine on November 29, 1947 and the subsequent formation of the state of Israel on May 14-15, 1948. The fig tree (Israel) came back to life during the first half of the 20th century (1900-1950), and Israel is now producing young figs (potential Jewish believers) that will be harvested at the end of the age.

Before she was in labor she gave birth; before her pain came upon her she delivered a son. Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?” says the Lord; “shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?” says your God. Isaiah 66:7-9

For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease.  Though its root grow old in the earth, and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put out branches like a young plant. Job 14:7-9

In days to come Jacob shall take root, Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots and fill the whole world with fruit. Isaiah 27:6

And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. 2 Samuel 7:8-10

Have All the Trees (Gentile nations) Put Forth Leaves (come to life)?

Trees are symbolic of nations, kingdoms, and empires in several places in the Bible (Daniel 4:10-26; Ezekiel 17:22-24, 31:3-18; Judges 9:7-21).  In Luke’s version of the fig tree parable, many trees are pictured as coming to life around the same time as the fig tree (Luke 21:29-32).  Jesus said to “watch the fig tree and all the trees.” When they begin to show signs of life, by producing leaves, you are to “know” that the generation that sees this take place will also be the generation that sees the Kingdom of God established on earth.

So, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Matthew 24:33 NASB

So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Mark 13:29 ESV

So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the Kingdom of God is near. Luke 21:31 ESV

The parable of the fig tree does not say that “we might know,” or “we should know,” that “the Kingdom of God is near.” Christ proclaimed in all three gospels; Matthew, Mark, and Luke, that when “the fig tree and all the trees” put forth leaves, we were to definitely and emphatically “know” and “recognize” that “the Kingdom of God is near.” The generation that witnesses “the fig tree (Israel) and all the trees (Gentile nations)” come to life was specifically chosen by Christ to usher in the Kingdom of God at the end of the age. When the fig tree (Israel) puts forth leaves, the generation that sees this take place is to “know” and “recognize” that His coming was “near, at the very gates.”

The Proliferation of Nations

The growth of nations in the world is a long, evolutionary process where the date of a country’s “formation” cannot always be objectively determined.  England and France, for instance, were sovereign kingdoms during the medieval period, however England is not now a sovereign state (having passed sovereignty to the UK in 1707), and France is a republic founded in 1792 but refers to itself as the French Fifth Republic, formed in 1958. (5)

Independence dates for widely recognized states prior to 1919 should be treated with caution, since prior to the founding of the League of Nations, there was no international body to recognize nationhood, and independence had no meaning beyond self-recognition from the sovereign state itself (the role of the League of Nations was taken over by the United Nations after the Second World War). (6)

Since the formation, expansion, division, dissolving and reorganizing of nations is subject to wars, internal conflicts (coup d’état) and changes in leadership and governing bodies, the number of independent, sovereign states (also nations, countries) in the world has been subject to change. Factors for determining statehood have included independence dates, dates of constitutions, symbolic foundation dates and, more recently, international recognition from the League of Nations and its successor, the United Nations. Dates of national formation vary slightly among varied sources, however the total number of independent, sovereign nations in the world today is considered to be 195-197 by several sources. (7), (8), (9), (10)

Before the 20th century (1899 and earlier), there were 44 countries that had achieved statehood. The 20th century saw 147 new sovereign states added, with many splitting off from the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Portugal, and the Soviet Union. The first half of the 20th century (1900-1950) saw 38 new states created while the second half (1950-2000) experienced an unprecedented addition of 109 new, sovereign states. Only five nations have been recognized as sovereign states in the 21st century (2000 to date). (11)

The number of new nations in the world multiplied quickly after World War II (1945) and continued at a rapid pace for the next 50 years. This proliferation of new nations during the second half of the 20th century (1950-2000) abruptly ended on October 1, 1994 after Palau became a nation. Only five nations have become sovereign states since 1994 with the last, South Sudan, receiving statehood on July 9, 2011.

Creation of the League of Nations and United Nations

The forerunner of the United Nations was the League of Nations, an organization conceived in similar circumstances during the first World War, and established in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles “to promote international cooperation and to achieve peace and security.” The League of Nations ceased its activities after failing to prevent the Second World War. (12) The name “United Nations” was coined by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was first used in the “Declaration by United Nations” on January 1, 1942, during the Second World War, when representatives of 26 nations pledged their governments to continue fighting together against the Axis Powers. In 1945, representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on International Organization to draw up the United Nations Charter.

The charter was signed on June 26, 1945 by representatives of the 50 countries. Poland, which was not represented at the conference, signed it later and became one of the original 51 member states. The United Nations officially came into existence on October 24, 1945, after the charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, and a majority of other signatories. United Nations Day is celebrated on October 24th of each year. (13)

The Growth in Membership of the United Nations

Only independent, sovereign states can become members of the United Nations (UN). There are currently 193 member states in the UN, with the last member, South Sudan, joining on July 14, 2011. The main functioning bodies of the UN are the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the UN Secretariat.  All were established in 1945 when the UN was founded. (14)

The growth of membership in the United Nations was rapid during the second half of the 20th century (1950-2000).  At its inception in 1945, 51 countries (original members) joined the organization. By 1950 there were 60 members, 80 in 1956, 135 in 1973, 185 in 1994, and 193 in 2011. (15) There are 54 countries and territories not currently in the United Nations. (16) On November 29, 2012, Palestine was granted the status of “Non-member observer state” but hasn’t yet been admitted to the UN as a full member. (17) As of 2015, there are two permanent non-member observer states at the United Nations: The Holy See and Palestine. (18)

The Judgment of Nations

The judgment of nations and peoples at the end of the age (the harvest) is found throughout the Old and New Testaments and in corresponding passages in the book of Matthew (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43; 25:31-46, Zephaniah 3:8, Zechariah 14:1-19). Jesus’ description of the end of the age after His return involves the gathering of all nations together by His angels, who will separate the people, as the sheep and goats are divided. The saved (sheep) will inherit the Kingdom of God and eternal life, and the unsaved (goats) will suffer the same fate as the devil and his angels.

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…’  Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels… And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.  Matthew 25:31-46

Because the nations of the world have scattered the Jewish people throughout the world for nearly 2000 years (A.D. 70 to present) and have been, since Israel became a nation in 1948 till now, persistently harassing Israel to give up their land to obtain “peace and security,” God will, at the end of the age, take vengeance on those who have been afflicting and oppressing His people (Deuteronomy 32:35-36).

For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land, and have cast lots for my people, and have traded a boy for a prostitute, and have sold a girl for wine and have drunk it. Joel 3:1-3

The Peace and Security Agreement

While the nations of the world, with the United States taking the lead, have been involved with on-going negotiations in Middle East peace talks to force Israel to accept a diabolical peace agreement, these unwitting persecutors of Israel do not realize they are setting a trap for themselves that will lead to their “sudden destruction” (Luke 21:34-36, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, Revelation 3:10).

This judgment from God upon the global leaders, who are continuously pressing Israel to accept a false peace covenant (Isaiah 28:18, Daniel 9:27), will come upon them in the same manner as a woman having birth pangs. The implication is an increase both in frequency and intensity of warnings that will end abruptly with their “sudden destruction.”

The four main participants pushing the Israel-Palestinian peace process, referred to as the Quartet (US, Russia, EU, UN), who use the words “peace and security” on a regular basis in their speeches and formal documents, send veiled signals to those who are watching for signs of Christ’s return, that we are living in the “times and seasons” of the rapture and the day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:1-11).

The words “peace and safety” or “peace and security” are ancient code words used by the apostle Paul, in his essay to the Thessalonians, that could not be fully understood until Israel had been restored to their land and the Israel-Palestinian peace process had become a major concern of all the nations in the world.

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3

The Day of the Lord and the Day of Redemption

The code words “peace and security,” that are used frequently in the ongoing Israel-Palestinian peace process, signal the imminent arrival of “the times and seasons” of the catching up of the saints (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).  The repetitive use of the words “peace and security” by the globalists is also a harbinger of the “sudden destruction” linked to “the day of the Lord” that follows the translation of the saints (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11).

The rapture of the saints, which comes as a thief in the night (Matthew 24:42-44, Luke 12:35-40, Revelation 3:3, 16:15), and the day of the Lord, which also comes as a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Peter 3:10), may well be describing events that are closely connected (contiguous). (Rapture—1 Thessalonians 1:10, 4:13-18, 1 Corinthians 15:51-58, John 14:1-3, Titus 2:11-14; Day of the Lord—1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, Joel 1:15-20, 2:1-11, Amos 5:18-20, Zephaniah 1:7-18)

The apostle Paul describes two types of people: Those who are caught off guard by “the day of the Lord” and those who escape “the day of the Lord.” There are those who are in darkness, and those who are not; those who are overtaken, and those not overtaken; children of the light and day and those of the night and darkness; some who are awake and others who are asleep; some who are watching and are sober and others who do not watch or remain sober; those who receive wrath, and those who receive salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:4-9).

The day of the Lord brings wrath to some (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3, 9; Luke 21:34-35, 2 Peter 3:10), and the day of redemption brings salvation to others (Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:30, Romans 8:19-23, Luke 21:28, 36, 2 Peter 3:9). For those living just prior to “the day of the Lord,” the only way to escape “the day of the Lord” will be removal before it begins, which will be accomplished by the catching up of the saints on “the day of redemption” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30

Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. Luke 21:28

But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day (the day of the Lord) come on you unexpectedly. For it (the day of the Lord) will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things (the day of redemption) that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:34-36 NKJV

The Parable of the Net

The coming to life of many nations during the 20th century also lends additional support and meaning to the Parable of the Net (also dragnet) where many people (also nations) are gathered together for judgment at the end of the age. Is there solid, Scriptural proof in the Bible that confirms we are nearing “the end of the age,” and the generation that is now present on earth will see the return of Christ and the establishment of His Millennial Kingdom?

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:47-50

Are we living in the “times and seasons” just before “…the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus?” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8, 9-10, 2 Peter 3:3-14, Jude 14-18).

The prophet Daniel was not given understanding of events that would take place at the time of the end; however, he did understand that God would give wisdom to those living in the end times who knew the Scriptures, especially the prophetic Scriptures, and understood “the times and seasons” of the coming of the Lord (Daniel 2:20-23, 2 Timothy 3:14-16, 1 Chronicles 12:32, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18-5:1-11).

But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase… but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. Daniel 12:4, 10

World Government and the Rise of Antichrist

The total number of sovereign, independent nations present in the world grew from 44 at the end of the 19th century (1900) to around 195 nations in just over 100 years.  Nearly all the nations of the world (193) have agreed to the United Nations Charter and have become members since its formation in 1945. Since the growth of new nations in the world appears to have reached its climax, and the majority of nations now belong to a world order (UN) that wants to eliminate national borders and form a one world government, are “all the trees” (Gentile nations) alluded to in Luke’s parable now in place for the rise of Antichrist and implementation of global government? Are we approaching the end of the age where one global ruler will create a surveillance society and control all commercial transactions involving buying and selling? (Daniel 7:15-27, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, Revelation 13:1-18).

And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.  

All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain… And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six. Revelation 13:6-18 NASB

Watch the Fig Tree and All the Trees

Does conclusive evidence exist in the Scriptures and today’s headlines that reveal the “times and seasons” of Christ’s return? (Acts 1:7-9, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, Hebrews 10:23-25, Luke 21:28-32). Are we seeing prophetic stage setting take place in the Middle East with Russia (Magog), Iran (Persia) and Turkey (Togarmah) forming alliances that will come against Israel as predicted by the prophet Ezekiel over 2500 years ago? (Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39).

A significant, but concealed indicator of the approaching end of the age is contained in Luke’s version of the Parable of the Fig Tree. Jesus said to “Watch the fig tree and all the trees.” Watching “all the trees,” as we now know, meant watching all the nations as they come alive in conjunction with Israel before the end of the age. The proliferation of new nations during the 20th century gave new meaning to “watch…all the trees.”

“The fig tree” (Israel) officially came back to life in 1948, and “all the trees” (Gentile nations) have come alive, some before, and more after Israel became a nation in 1948. There were seventy-five nations present in the world when Israel became a nation on May 14-15, 1948. After Israel’s rebirth as a nation, 120 nations have been recognized as independent, sovereign states. (19)

Jesus told His apostles before His ascension that it was not for them “to know the times or the seasons” when the Kingdom of God would be established on earth (Acts 1:6-7). Rather, Christ reserved the understanding of this mystery about “the times and seasons’ of His return for the generation that would see “the fig tree and all the trees” come to life (Luke 21:29-32, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18-5:1-11).

The Pharisees and Sadducees were spiritually blind to the signs of Christ’s first coming (Matthew 16:1-3). When they asked Him for a sign, Jesus acknowledged their ability to interpret the weather, based upon the appearance of the sky, but they failed to grasp “the signs of the times” present everywhere. How much more are many of the religious leaders of this generation blind to the “signs of the times” that are heralding Christ’s second coming?

After observing the coming to life of “the fig tree and all the trees” after World War II and during the second half of the 20th century (1950-2000), we can be assured, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the events that take place just before Christ’s return are nearing fulfillment. This means His coming is “near, right at the door.”

According to Christ’s words, when “the fig tree and all the trees” put forth leaves (come alive), we are to absolutely and confidently “know” the Kingdom of God is near, and the generation that is living at that time “will not pass away until all is fulfilled.” The preponderance of Scriptural and global evidence is overwhelming that we are the generation Christ was talking about.



(1) A Literal Translation of the Bible, Jay P. Green, Sr., The Interlinear Bible—Hebrew, Greek, English,  Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts, copyright 1976

(2) http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/theodor-binyamin-ze-rsquo-ev-herzl

(3) https://www.britannica.com/biography/Theodor-Herzl

(4) http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/world-zionist-organization-wzo

(5) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_by_date_of_formation

(6) ibid

(7) LeParisienhttp://dictionnaire.sensagent.leparisien.fr/list+of+countries+in+chronological+order+of+achievin     g+statehood/en-en/

(8) https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2088.html

(9) http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/countries_of_the_world.htm

(10) https://www.countries-ofthe-world.com/all-countries.html

(11) LeParisien

(12)  http://www.un.org/en/sections/history/history-united-nations/index.html

(13) ibid

(14)  ibid

(15)  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlargement_of_the_United_Nations

(16)  https://www.quora.com/United-Nations-What-countries-are-not-part-of-the-UN

(17)  http://www.worldometers.info/united-nations/

(18)  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_General_Assembly_observers

(19) LeParisien

Unless specified otherwise, all scripture quotes are from the English Standard Version (ESV), NASB—New American Standard Version, or NKJV—New King James Version.

Peace–The Number-One Sign

Bible prophecy’s number-one sign that God’s next intervention into the affairs of mankind is near at hand was again front and center in the headlines. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had just completed a mission for the Obama administration, consulting (to some extent at least) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about getting the “Roadmap to Peace” process back on track. The process had been on hold for an extended period, but with apparent loosening of stipulations involving the 1967 borders–by both sides, the Israel and the Palestinian Authority–the deadly peace process was at the time seeming to once again get traction.

I use the word “deadly” without reservation, because that’s exactly the way the Lord portrays any man-made peace process involving Israel and its enemy neighbors that excludes the Lord. His Words through the prophet Isaiah spell out God’s anger against subterfuge in the matter of human attempts to impose godless peace on His chosen nation. He minces no words in admonishing those of his nation who would be part of this subterfuge.

“Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves… And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.” (Isaiah 28:15, 18)

The land in the long-disputed territory involved is God’s, and He gave it to Israel forever. He is jealous of any attempt to change things in that regard. He is so adamant about this, as a matter of fact, that His Word, through His prophet, Joel, foretells that God will bring every nation to Armageddon precisely because they attempt to change His directive in this matter.

“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)

America, during the entire time of the Obama Administration, was at the forefront of trying to impose such peace as is forbidden by the One who made the covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And it doesn’t take much to read between the lines as to whose side the Obama Administration and its State Department wanted most to listen to in the process. One report summarized:

On his visit, Kerry had marathon talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas–including a stop Friday in Ramallah. Kerry also met Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in Amman and had been consulting Israeli officials by telephone, a U.S. official said. The Palestinian leadership on Thursday did not accept Kerry’s latest plan, but signaled that it was leaving the door open for him to continue pushing for talks. (Mandel Ngan, “Kerry Says Israel, Palestinians Laid Groundwork for New Peace Talks,” World News, AP/Reuters)

This is the way President Obama always saw fit to deal with Israeli leadership in almost every situation. We remember when, immediately following his first election, the president summoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House. He then talked to, not with, him for a few minutes before saying that he had to go have dinner with his family, leaving a condescended-to Netanyahu sitting alone and perplexed.

During the course of their relationship over the next years of Obama’s presidency, it’s reported that the president calls Netanyahu and told him what’s what, but rarely listened, even refusing to take calls from the Israeli leader at times.

But, this is pretty much the way Mr. Obama handled all of his meetings. We noticed how abbreviated was his response to serious questions he didn’t want to address–like those about Benghazi, the IRS scandal, the NSA scandal–well, you name it.

And, the press conferences were so few and far between with the president before the microphones that the press must have wondered why they even attended them, just to hear Jay Carney play “Ring Around the Rosy” with them. But, members of the mainstream news media were and are so devoted to keeping this president –now ex-president– from any political fallout that we have our answer as to why they kept coming to hear the president’s propaganda minister instead of the man, himself.

So, the Israeli prime minister is just like the rest of us. He, like American citizens, had to wait, and then endure the phone call or presser in which Mr. Obama, like when he depended upon the Teleprompters, gives a one-way lecture.

It appears to this point that the Donald J. Trump Administration has a much different attitude about dealing with Netanyahu and with this all-important prophetic nation called Israel. Still, the idea of a land for peace deal of any sort, no matter the president or other who tries to force it, is a most deadly matter.

Just my opinion…

But it is fact, not just my own view that the issue of peace involving Israel is the number-one issue and signal that shows the nearness to Christ’s call to His church in the Rapture.


Posthumous Post Profoundly Personal

Please indulge me as I yet again engage with personal memory of Easter season six years ago. It is a memory that I couldn’t put out of the forefront of my thoughts even if I wanted to do so–which I don’t.

Good Friday, April 22, 2011 was the day that, after a workout session, I felt as if my chest would explode. It was a widow maker heart attack.

Once the emergency guys got me to the hospital about 2 two miles from our home, my heart stopped. I was instantaneously in the presence of a throng of beautiful young people–male and female–who cheered vigorously, all the while bidding me to join them.

I started to do so, but everything grew dark around me and I was on the gurney being whisked toward the cath lab.

I heard a young man say he had to “hit him with the paddles.”

I asked, “What paddles?” and he replied: “Your heart stopped and I had to use the defib paddles.”

My heart stopped two more times that afternoon. Each time I was instantaneously in front of the same wildly cheering throng of young men and women who bid me to join them.

The third time I joined them and we were running a victory lap of some sort. They were looking over at me and laughing joyously, with their hands extended at full arms-length into the air.

The sensation was…well… heavenly. I have no other way of describing it. We were running–without any physical exertion whatsoever–toward some wonderful destination. (I have, in reflecting on this experience for years, come to the conclusion we were headed toward the Throne of God.)

I know these were the “cloud of witnesses” of Hebrews 12:1-3.

But, things grew dark again and I was again, after seemingly several seconds, on the cath lab table and the cardiologist interventionist was working on me. He had removed the arterial blockage.

Astonishingly, I had no permanent heart damage and have had absolutely no problem with my engine since. My life, however, continues to be affected every waking moment by that Good Friday trip to somewhere on the heavenly property that I will someday inherit–as will you, if you know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. (We are joint heirs with Christ, God’s Word promises.)

So, with that memory indelibly etched in my spirit, I naturally–or perhaps supernaturally would be a better term–was reflecting on my trip of six years ago the other day as Easter 2017 approached.

One of my things to do every morning is to read The Omega Letter. This email newsletter is well known by most who love Bible prophecy, of course. It is the letter mailed daily to subscribers that was written by Jack Kinsella, perhaps the most prolific such writer I’ve known.

Jack was a dear, personal friend who went to claim his heavenly property inheritance in 2013. I miss him immensely, as do all who knew him. He was indeed a special friend and Christian brother.

More than that, he was a special teacher of all things biblical–especially of the prophetic Word of God. In that regard I don’t miss him, because his many hundreds of articles continue to instruct, implore, exhort, admonish, and inspire on a daily basis. His writing is, amazingly, as fresh as the day he wrote it.

So it was on Saturday before this past Easter Sunday that I opened my Omega Letter.

There it was–Jack’s inspiration and exhortation for this Easter. Only it was originally written April 23, 2011. That’s right. It was written one day after my trip onto the heavenly property that Jack now owns for all of eternity. I probably shouldn’t, but I envy him that fact…

Jack’s words were wonderfully poignant and personal that day as he waxed eloquent yet simply in his own inimitable, communicative style.

Since there is no such word as coincidence in God’s vocabulary, according to Jack’s dear friend Hal Lindsey, I know that the Lord somehow used Jack’s and my close friendship to convey this special message on the day following Good Friday.

Jack, in closing that Omega Letter, addresses the question: What happens when we die?

He wrote:

If the Bible is true and Jesus can be believed, then when a saved person closes his eyes in this life, he awakes fully conscious in the next – where he is whisked by the angels into heaven… There is a choice. But it is admittedly limited. One can repent and trust Jesus or one can face God clothed in one’s own righteousness and see how things work out…

Jack pointed out in the article that, tragically, the rich man Jesus told about in the rich man and Lazarus story is still in the place of torment, eternally regretting depending on his own righteousness to get him to Heaven. Jack’s posthumous post delivers to me the profoundly personal exhortation to do more to reach the lost with the Gospel at every opportunity–opportunity I’ve been given by having been returned to earth for awhile longer.

Sunset of Empires

Some will remember the boast, “The sun never sets on the British Empire.” It was true for a considerable period of time. Between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, the British Empire was the most expansive in history, basically touching, in terms of modern time calculation, all time zones with its overseas possessions and trading posts. Thus, the sun was just arising on one part of the empire while it was in process of setting on another.

Even the Roman Empire, which many of us who study Bible prophecy believe is referenced in the book of Daniel and other scriptural places, came nowhere near matching the British Empire in scope and influence. Some Bible prophecy scholars and students believe that Britain and its influence is, in fact, mentioned in prophecy yet future, although obliquely. These references, it is conjectured, are found in Daniel:

“Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.” (Daniel 7:2-4)

The lion in this prophecy might be Britain, those prophecy watchers believe.Certainly, England has been symbolized by the lion in legend, lore, and in the annals of war.

Another place in Scripture that many–including me–believe Britain is likely mentioned is in Ezekiel’s prophecy about the Gog-Magog attack on Israel:

“Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” (Ezekiel 38:13)

Here, those who hold that Britain is referenced believe the term “merchants of Tarsish, with all the young lions thereof” is significant proof of their position. The area of Tarshish (“land of tin”) is thought to be where the isle of today’s England sat in ancient days. They believe “the young lions” of this Scripture likely refers to the United States and other of Great Britain’s offspring.

Upon hearing the news pundits going a bit gaga over an approaching birth of a royal British baby some years ago, my thoughts ran with cogitations of contrast to another news item in headlines at that time. All of the talking heads had been conflabbing about the upcoming birth of the baby who would become fourth in line to succeed the present queen, I believe. There seemed some confusion among the pundits about exactly what number in line the child would vbe.

I googled ABCnews.com to find out just who were the royal parents and other details. No problem: The first link said: “Royal baby due date has world on pins and needles.”

The headline was far elevated above the other matter–the matter starkly in contrast:

“Gay marriage is set to become law after clearing the House of Lords. “The Queen is expected to be asked to give her approval to the Bill–one of the most radical pieces of social legislation of her reign–by the end of this week.

“It opens the way for the first legally recognized same-sex weddings to take place in England and Wales by next summer and brings the centuries-old understanding of marriage as being solely between a man and a woman to an end. “Peers gave their assent to the third reading of the Government’s same-sex marriage bill without a formal vote after a short debate in the Lords, also backing plans for a review of pension arrangements for gay couples… “Baroness Stowell, the Government spokesman who steered the bill through the Lords, told a chamber packed with peers wearing pink carnations, that it was an “historic” achievement.” (John Bingham, Telegraph)

My first thought was to whisper to myself the–I guess mean-spirited–statement, “Well, there will be no royal babies produced from those unions.”

On second and third thoughts, however, with all of the gene-splicing and other corrupting of genetics being carried on today, who knows?

The Creator–who is the Lord Jesus Christ–laid down the rule and provided the physiological means to produce offspring. One man and one woman, in marriage, for life. The sun has definitely set on that law, so far as the humanist God-rejecters are concerned.

It is appropriate to consider, in thinking on the upper house of Parliament’s decision, that the sun set long ago on the British Empire. It is in process of setting on the greatest of all empires in history to date–the American empire of influence. America is following directly in the footsteps of Mother England, it is apparent. The final throes of decline and fall of world empires are easily determined by study of the greatest of them.

Greece, Rome, Britain–each saw a marked influence of homosexuality as their demise approached.

Enough said.

The words of the Lord Jesus apply to empires as well as to individuals, and none of Christ’s words are more apropos in regard to all of the above than the following:

“And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7: 26-27)


Case of the Missing Millions

Erle Stanley Gardner, creator of Perry Mason, the fictional criminal defense attorney, had nothing on the apostle Paul. Gardner reported  on the great lawyer as he solved all his cases, winning acquittal for his clients at every turn. But Paul, the former Saul of Tarsus, brought the world the story of resolution  to what will be the greatest mystery of all time–that wrapped up in the case of the missing millions.

There is some interesting interplay to be found here, believe me. While Perry’s mysteries were to entertain us as he got his innocent clients off the proverbial hook within human courtrooms, Paul’s “mystery” involves us as the subjects of all being guilty in God’s Court of Righteousness. Paul explains how each of us–each human being–can be gotten off that hook, even though we are already proven guilty!

Perry always carefully defined the crime of which his client was accused. We knew the client was innocent…well…because of the very fact that Perry Mason was defending him or her. Paul places the crime of which we–all human beings–are accused  within one, simple statement: “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work” (2 Thessalonians 2:7a).

We know that we are all guilty as charged under this “mystery of iniquity” because of Paul’s words that report condemnation by the God of Heaven: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

So, “sin” is at the heart of this “mystery.” That mystery is working in the world today as it has always been active. It is scheduled to get much worse as the Dispensation of Grace (Church Age) nears its end. “But evil men and seducers shall [become] worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13).

So, whereas the fictional Mr. Mason’s clients were presumed innocent, each of us–you and I–is, in fact, guilty as charged. This is because of original sin.

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).

The original man, Adam, partook of the fruit of the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. That act of rebellion started that mystery called “iniquity”  upon planet earth. Apparently that mystery was already present in Lucifer, one of the Lord’s most majestic angels. This is what God says about that long ago mystery:

Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou was perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee (Ezekiel 28:13-17)

This magnificent creature became full of pride (read Isaiah 14:14). He came to the planet prepared for God’s creation called man. Lucifer–now called Satan–did his iniquitous work effectively and continues to do it effectively.

Man is therefore as guilty in the court of God’s righteousness as are the fallen angels (those who rebelled with Lucifer all those eons ago).

Paul the apostle–a mere man, fallen like the rest of us, until he was  declared “not guilty”–is only the Supreme’s Court reporter. He tells us of the one and only Attorney who can successfully handle each case involving the mystery of iniquity before the eternal bench of God the Judge.

Here are John the apostle’s words on that Great Advocate:

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2: 1-2)

Our Attorney is far superior to Perry Mason or any earthly attorney. He is Jesus Christ–the very Son of the Supreme Judge–God, the Father. When Jesus defends, it is a guaranteed “Not Guilty” verdict! Our defense rests upon our plea that we believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of our Advocate, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul, the court reporter, says of that plea, a plea each of us must make as we turn our desperate case over to our Attorney, whom we trust completely:

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)

Jesus, the Christ, stands between us and eternal punishment. He is our only hope. And He never fails to win our acquittal.

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:5)

Paul expounds on a further “mystery”  that will be handled by the Lord Jesus Christ. This eternal legal action will not only keep us from God the Judge’s courtroom of condemnation; the action will get all of Jesus Christ’s clients–those who believe as described above–completely off this condemned planet at some stupendous moment just ahead!

Paul the court reporter tells us of this all-important action:

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:15-16)

He states further:

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)

Thus the case of the missing millions will conclude. Mystery will be solved. Comforting words indeed! Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“Perilous Times” Headlines

No prophetic indicator more precisely relevant to our time can be determined than what we have seen develop within recent weeks and days to my way of analysis.

Specifically, I would like us to examine in this brief commentary things in our headlines of late─that I believe parallel Paul’s perilous times forewarning found in the following portion of 2 Timothy, chapter 3:

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be…traitors, heady, highminded…” (2 Timothy 3:1a, 2a; 4a).

First, we should get these words down in terms of the definitions given in the Greek language, in which the New Testament was written. I invite you to check out the Greek in the Strong’s Greek Lexicon, or another source to get the exact Greek word. I deal here only with the definition of each of these words that I believe so fit our day in regard to being end times:

Traitors: A betrayer─in the sense of giving forward into another’s [the enemy’s] hands. Heady: 1): to fall forward, headlong, sloping, precipitously 2): precipitate, rash, reckless (Example: Acts 19:36. Paul advises to never act rashly.)

Highminded: 1): to make proud, puff up with pride, render insolent, to be puffed up with haughtiness or pride 2): to blind with pride or conceit, to render foolish or stupid

These characteristics have in recent days, in my opinion, been on display in glaring, unmistakable fashion for anyone who is willing to honestly acknowledge America’s slide into reprobate thinking, as Paul forewarned:

“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” (Romans 1:28).

One particular young man has been at the center of this end of the age display of God’s prophetic truth since 2013. Paul’s perilous times characteristics have been manifesting before our eyes on an hourly basis. Edward Snowden is stuck in Moscow, awaiting word on possibly being given sanctuary. Of course, we all know his story by now. He divulged massive amounts of National Security Agency (NSA) information regarding the snooping agency’s intelligence gathering.

Most troubling, apparently, to the powers that be in Washington has been the revealing of the methodologies the NSA uses to collect the data and use it–even against American citizens. The 30-year old contractor, who reportedly doesn’t have a college degree, was in position to collect information on the capabilities of, arguably, America’s most secretive clandestine service.

Everyone in power, from the Obama Administration to senators and representatives, and mainstream media pundit-types  were at the time calling him a traitor and demanding that he be immediately extradited to the U.S. Snowden claims he divulged the information–and would divulge a lot more─because the NSA and other clandestine services are spying on individual American citizens and collecting dossiers in a way that violates the Constitution. For example, the Fourth Amendment.

Snowden went to China and to Russia with the information─America’s traditionally most powerful, antagonistic opponents─so the word “traitor” is a term that is appropriate, it can be argued. –Thus, although the betrayal might be viewed as well as being carried out against a corrupt, intrusive government, not as against the American people.

Regardless of his motive–and only the Lord and Mr. Snowden know for certain what that is—he has opened himself up to appear to have selfishly performed a traitorous act by placing himself in a position to be debriefed on these sensitive documents by America’s most dangerous foes, in terms of geopolitical intrigue.

Now, I would like to look at an even more worrisome matter in all of this — the betrayal or traitorous activities by those in the high places of government who are so heady and highminded─to use Paul’s Holy Spirit-inspired Words. Those In the NSA, the IRS, and other such agencies who have wantonly and recklessly disregarded the Constitution the founding fathers gave this nation have violated, and continue to violate, apparently, the very spirit of what has made this unprecedented experiment in human liberty unique in all the ages of human history. That they do their dastardly, enslaving activity under the guise of “national security” makes the crime worse.

They have, and continue to betray the trust a people must have in its leaders in order to carry on with civil and productive society and culture. Make no mistake─there are those principalities and powers in the high places─both human and supernatural─who want you to be the servants of the ruling class, rather than those whom are served, as the founding fathers wrote into that most noble document. Here is what Benjamin Franklin had to say about a national, salaried bureaucracy:

Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men…ambition and avarice-the love of power and the love of money… What kind are the men that will strive for this profitable preeminence, through all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters? It will not be the wise and moderate, the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust. It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits. These will thrust themselves into your government and be your rulers…

Franklin said further:

There will always be a party for giving more to the rulers, that the rulers may be able, in return, to give more to them…The more the people are discontented with the oppression of taxes, the greater need the prince has of money to distribute among his partisans, and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at pleasure .There is scarce a king in a hundred who would not, if he could, follow the example of Pharaoh-get first all the people’s money, then all their lands, and then make them and their children servants for ever…I am apprehensive, therefore─perhaps too apprehensive─that the government of the States may, in future times end in a monarchy…and a king wills the sooner be set over us. (My thanks to Bill Federer’s American Minute, June 28, 2013 –From Ben Franklin’s speech on June 28, 1787 Constitutional Convention, at 81 years of age.)

The traitorous, heady and highminded are among us. We have come to a time very near that of a Constitutional crisis. These times in which we live look to be the perilous times that Paul said, will be prevalent at the moment Christ calls His church to be with Him forever.


Sadat’s Prophetic Legacy

Those of us old enough to remember can still see the smiling faces of U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat shaking hands on the White House grounds. It was  prelude to the formal peace treaty that was concluded and signed on March 26, 1979. The treaty became effective January 1980.

The two nations–Israel and Egypt–had been in a perpetual state of impending war since Israel became a nation on May 14-15, 1948.

Israel agreed, as part of the accord hammered out in Washington D.C. in 1977, to completely withdraw all military forces from the Sinai Peninsula. Israel had won the territory in the 6-Day War of 1967. Egypt agreed to leave the area demilitarized.

Additionally, the agreement guaranteed Israel free shipping passage through the Suez Canal. Also, it gave recognition of the Strait of Tiran and the Gulf of Aqaba as international waterways.

The treaty effectively made Egypt the first Arab state to officially recognize Israel and the first to make an agreement with the Jewish state.

Anwar Al-Sadat was successor to Gambel Abdul Nasser, the dictator who fiercely waged war against Israel in times leading up to the 1956 war and then in the 1967 war. Sadat was a fierce warrior himself during those wars against the hated Israeli intruders as they saw them. None of the major Arab states recognized Israel as a legitimate nation-state. None today officially do so–except Egypt.

Much of the Muslim world was enraged when Sadat signed the historic treaty. In my estimation, this set in motion a truly satanic rage that has escalated since, bringing us to where things are today.

Most all Muslim states are in agreement with Nasser’s long-ago declaration that Israel must be eliminated–eradicated from the face of the Middle East.

Anwar Sadat led the 1973 Yom Kipper War. He was at the center of its planning and execution.

The Arab forces were overwhelming, and by every metric of military strategic methodology, it was thought that Israel’s days were numbered.

The Yom Kipper assault was indeed a surprise to even the brilliant Israeli generals at the time–among whom was the Israeli strategists, Menachem Begin.

The Arab coalition assault at first made heavy inroads into Israeli territory. But the tide soon–miraculously, some say–turned, and Israel routed the much larger forces and captured large portions of land from its enemies.

I observed all this and especially Anwar Sadat after all these developments. I was then and remain convinced that he came to realize that–like Pharaoh came to realize finally–that Israel’s god…is God.

Sadat, a hardened Muslim-Arab warrior, I determined, changed considerably. He still was a strong leader, but with a much softer eye toward Israel–toward the West, for that matter.

Anwar Sadat paid for his embrace of Israel and the Western world with his life. He was assassinated by Muslim military elements within his own ranks near Cairo on October 6, 1981, while reviewing a parade that memorialized, strangely enough, a part of the battle that had initiated the Yom Kippur War.

Despite the death of Sadat by such violence, his successor, Hosni Mubarak–also severely wounded during the attack–held to the agreement Sadat had made with Israel. The agreement has, in effect, remained to this day, even in spite of the time of Egyptian inner-turmoil when the Obama administration worked to install the Muslim Brotherhood leadership, that organization and others overthrowing Mubarak.

The Egyptian soon became irate with the Muslim Brotherhood tyrant, Mohamed Morsi, who tried to reinstall strict sharia law and other freedom-suppressing actions.

Morsi was put out of office by the peoples’ demand, despite the Obama administration’s attempt to influence the situation. Abdel Fattah el Sisi, a much less restrictive leader along the lines of Sadat, is now president, having overthrown Morsi. He met this week with, in my view, a much less freedom-suppressing United States president than the previous one.

It was Sadat’s first reaching out to a foe who had severely “whupped” him–as Muhammad Ali might have put it–that has made possible a better working relationship in all of this Middle Eastern madness. It is Anwar Sadat’s foundation-laying  that continues to at least  provide Israel some degree of buffering protection against it’s blood-vowed enemies.

His influence is seen within the most recent, unfolding news.

Egyptian and Jordanian leaders both were in Washington,  D.C., to meet with President Donald J. Trump this past week. The meeting was to include talks on Iran, Isis, and the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. It was el Sisi’s first meeting in the White House. He had been treated as persona non grata by President Barack Obama in the view of many.

Apparently, a number of those within the diplomatic community dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process see el Sisi as being a player in working toward bringing the two sides together. While the Bible makes clear that a man-made peace deal between Israel and “the many” will end only in Israel’s having to flee for its national existence, the Lord also said “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

Sadat tried to make peace, and it remains a resilient peace under the governing hand of el Sisi. Some who study the prophetic picture see Egypt as a nation that will be immensely blessed and will embrace Israel as a friend.

The nations are scheduled to be split during that judgment into the sheep and goat division, according to Matthew chapter 25 The Bible indicates that Egypt is a nation on the scene during millennial times. It will be Israel’s friend. So, Egypt obviously will make it into the “sheep” nations during that division.

Perhaps Anwar el Sadat put that  blessing into motion when he met Menachem Begin with a smiling handshake on the White House lawn all those years ago.

The Next Voice You Hear

The Next Voice You Hear is a black and white film released in June of 1950. It starred James Whitmore and Nancy Davis (who would become Mrs. Ronald Reagan some years later). It was sometime in the 1970s, probably, when I watched it as a late night movie on television.

The movie portrayed Whitmore’s and Nancy Davis’s characters as a typical American couple residing in suburbia near Los Angeles, I believe. The husband worked in a factory─building aircraft, I think. He stormed out of his home early one workday headed for the factory. He was ticked-off because he was late, thus in a rush. He was quite irritable as he backed in a rage from his driveway.

A motorcycle policeman pulled him over and gave him a ticket. Whitmore’s character was even angrier, now. He stuffed the ticket between his teeth, put the car in gear, and took off as fast as the old sedan would move when the cop was finished with him. The policeman chased him down, as I remember, and gave him another ticket. The entirety of the stage setting of the film involved how angry people were with each other and how they treated each other in their hectic rush to do their own thing. Everyone was “mad at each other” it seemed.

Suddenly, during a radio broadcast, all broadcasts were interrupted. A voice spoke to the whole world at that moment through radios wherever they could be heard. Whitmore’s character heard it and called his wife to hear the voice. Although we, the moviegoers, didn’t hear the voice, we could see on the puzzled, shocked countenance of our hero that he had just heard something profound. He informed us that the voice said, “The next voice you hear will be God, and He will be with you for the next few days.”

Over those days, the voice (we learn from the Whitmore character and his wife) was that of the Lord giving warning that people must change their ways and begin treating each other better. Judgment was coming, if this didn’t happen. Rain began falling as it hadn’t since the flood of Noah’s time, but then stopped. It was a warning.

How simple was that storyline! Compared to the world and its sins today, the Whitmore character and his family were living in Utopia!

When the film was released, America was a society and culture coming out of being on a war footing. The emphasis was on building families from a moral perspective based upon Judeo-Christian principles as conceived and perceived by the nation’s founding fathers and the U.S. Constitution.

The Next Voice You Hear was produced from a book of the same name─a volume whose theme was that America should move forward as a good, moral people. French philosopher, Alexis de Tocqueville put it this way:

I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers─and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce─and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution─and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.

The rabid, voracious, anti-God, anti-America as founded detractor-revisionists are working every day to convince us that de Tocqueville never said or wrote this. When looking on google.com, I found that this is the viewpoint, that search engine seems to harbor. That everything “good” about America must be debunked seems to be at the heart of the revisionist-efforts.

But, de Tocqueville did write it, and it is true: Anything “good” about America is because of what the Lord of heaven has done, and continues to do. Good is found only in Jesus Christ, the Bible tells us. There should be little argument, in Christian circles at least, that in 1950, when The Next Voice You Hear was released, America was more morally in alignment then with its Constitution─which is based upon biblical principles, than it is now. As a matter-of-fact there is little comparison, then to now. The morality deconstructionists (I’m being facetiously polite in calling them such, here) have done their work. America is no longer “good” under de Tocqueville’s definition of the term.

Alexis de Tocqueville’s extrapolation was correct. Each and every day the headlines presenting all of the subterfuge, scandals, profligate mismanagement and spending of this nation’s wealth─every debauched, debased activity chronicled by entertainment and news media─prove that we are no longer a great nation. That a major Hollywood studio would in these times present such a morality tale under a biblical world view is unthinkable.

A prospective film’s depiction of the God of heaven giving warning through reminder of a biblical flood that once “corrected things” would likely never enter the minds of Hollywood producers these days. Or, if the thought of a god giving such warnings ever did percolate in the minds of the entertainment industry geniuses; it would never include thoughts of the true Creator of all that is.

Especially troubling in all of this is that most within the church today─all who are born-again─likely wouldn’t think to consider that such a message as God warning this generation was even relevant to them, should such a movie be made. The church has been so desensitized to what is going on around them, and so caught up in living snuggly within their own comfort zones as to prefer to not think about the dangers of being caught-up in the pleasures of worldly pursuit.

The messages these get from the pulpits are sugar coated. They learn how to go through life ignoring the Holy Spirit-engendered conviction of living like the world during these final days of the age. They are all too comfortable in their blissful ignorance of Christ’s call for repentance. Bible prophecy never enters their thinking; they never hear about it for the most part, and that, it seems, is fine with them. Strive to be among those of Christ’s Bride who are longing for His coming for them. The next voice you hear just might be the one that shouts: “Come up hither!” (Revelation 4:1)

The Seven Churches of Revelation – Part One – By Ed Wood

In the second and third chapters of Revelation, Jesus had messages for the seven churches which existed in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) at the end of the first century A.D. This was the time at what would ultimately become the last book of the Bible was given to the apostle John, the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 20:2), while he was exiled on the island of Patmos.

A reasonable question for us would be: “How does it apply to us now almost 20 centuries later?” Were Jesus’ words intended only for those churches at that time, or do they have significance for the present day?

The answer is that many Bible scholars believe that every one of those ancient churches were also prefigurements of churches which were to follow. Let’s look at each one of them and see if this is a valid claim. First, the introduction:

Revelation {1:12-16} And I* turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks [one] like unto the Son of man**, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and [his] hairs [were] white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes [were] as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance [was] as the sun shineth in his strength.

*John ** Jesus

This is followed by an explanation by Jesus of what the candlesticks and stars represent:

Revelation {1:19-20} Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels* of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. * From the Greek aggelos which means “messenger” (Strong’s Concordance). It can refer to a heavenly messenger or a human one. In this case and in the passages to the churches which follow, it is most likely directed to their respective human chief pastors who served as “messengers of the Word.” It wouldn’t have been necessary to give the message to John had God chosen to employ heavenly angels as he did to announce the birth of Jesus to the shepherds in the fields (Luke 2).

Now we will look at each one of the churches in turn.

The Church at Ephesus

Revelation {2:1-7} Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

This church bears many parallels to the first which began on the day of Pentecost in which the apostles received the initial and permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2). It is commended for its stance against evil and false doctrine, yet, as time went by, it, too, became subject to error. In fact, many of Paul’s letters were meant to address various errors and conflicts which had sprung up. Its members had left their “first love” of proclaiming the Gospel without distortion and of not living in harmony with each other.

One of the several characteristics which earned them praise, however, was their rejection of the “deeds of the Nicolaitanes.” there are two possibilities regarding this reference. The first is that it is referring to the followers of Nicolaus, a heretic (Strong’s Concordance). It may be the same Nicolas, a pagan convert from Antioch Syria, who became one of the initial deacons (Acts 6:5) but later reverted again to paganism.

A second other possibility is that there were church leaders who ran roughshod over their adherents since the term “Nicolaitan” translates as “victorious over the people” (Strong’s). There have been plenty of examples of religious leaders doing just that throughout history, a sorry trend that when practiced to its extreme even brings death.

Perhaps both characteristics were in play at the time Jesus related his words to John.. The Lord then concluded by saying anyone belonging to this church who overcame all the failings he indicated would be live on eternally in paradise.

The Church at Smyrna

Revelation {2:8-11} And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and [I know] the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but [are] the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast [some] of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

Jesus had much earlier told his disciples:

John {15:18-19} If the world hate you, ye know that [it hated] me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

The Lord became the first object lesson of that hate at the hands of the Jewish religious leaders and the Roman government. This persecution continued with vigor upon his followers. If there was one person who personified all those trying to crush them it had to be Saul of Tarsus, a Roman citizen and Pharisaic Jew whose self-chosen role was to track them all down and deliver them up in chains. Armed with the appropriate letters and the power from the religious authorities, he headed for Damascus to do just that – until his encounter with the post-ascendant Jesus changed his whole life. Saul became Paul, the writer of most of the epistles comprising the New Testament and the greatest evangelist of the gentile world of his time. Though Simon Peter played some part in that outreach (Acts, chapter 10), his mission was primarily to his Jewish kinsmen (Galatians 2:8).

Unlike the church at Ephesus, Jesus found no fault within it and the “overcoming” he spoke of was not against any error on its part, but against the outside forces opposing it. Those who did resist, even to the point of death, would be given the “crown of life” and not be subject to the “second death” described in Revelation 20:14-15 where the unsaved would be condemned to the lake of fire forever. Instead, they would be “blessed and holy,” (Revelation 20:6) and reign with Jesus during his Millennial Kingdom. In fact, except for John, all the apostles, including Paul, were martyred for the faith.

The Church at Pergamos

Revelation {2:12-17} And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges*; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, [even] where Satan’s seat [is:] and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas **[was] my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam***, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. {He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the  churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone****, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth [it.]

* See Hebrews 4:12.

** Probably the Bishop of Pergamos who was killed by being thrown into a brass bull statue which had been heated to a lethal temperature.

*** Balaam – a fortuneteller hired by the Midianite Balac [Balak] to curse the Israelites but who refused, (Numbers, chapters 22-24). Balaam was later killed by them (Joshua 13:22). A negative comment about him shows up in 2 Peter 2:11-15 and the historian Josephus (Antiquities, Book 4, chapter 6) suggests that though he would not curse the Hebrews outright, he advised Balak to use the Midianite women to tempt the men and lead them into idolatry. This account supports Peter’s contention quite well.

**** The “white stone” analogy may have a double meaning. First, at the conclusion of a trial, those deciding on the accused’s fate would either cast a white stone for acquittal or a black stone for condemnation. Second, it was also the custom for one giving a party to send a personalized greeting – a white stone- to those invited with a message on it intended specifically for them. I believe this is telling us that those who did as Jesus directed would receive both acquittal for their sins and a new home tailored precisely for them in the world to come (John 14:2-3).

            Many Roman emperors made it their business to exterminate the new faith. If Nero (A.D. 54 – 68) wasn’t the worst, he was certainly on the short list for being so. In the year 64 the city was devastated by a fire and he promptly blamed to the Christians, having them put to death in his own garden. Peter and Paul met their ends during his reign – Paul was likely beheaded, since he was a Roman citizen and Peter crucified upside-down because he was not.

Despite the ongoing persecutions of many the Roman emperors, the Christian faith still grew for the next two centuries. In the year 312, there was a turn-around. Emperor Constantine the Great had a vision described by his son’s tutor Lactantius which directed him to put the sign of the cross on his soldiers’ shields and go into what is called the battle of Milvian Bridge at which he was successful. From that point on Christianity became an accepted religion and was now intertwined with Constantine’s government itself.

The church of Pergamos has been compared with this “state church.” The original church existed right in the midst of “Satan’s seat,” and the description describes the stresses it was under in that pagan city. It is easy to imagine the “state church” was subject to many of the same stresses producing idolatry and apparently including a “victory over the people” approach practiced by its leaders. A combination of church and state, i.e. a theocracy, has historically never worked out in the long run. Ancient Egypt had its pharaohs, Rome had its supposed “divine” emperors. The Roman Catholic Church had its share of supposedly “infallible” popes who were clearly corrupt, insane, or both and whose “Nicolaitan” approach taken to extremes resulted in the Inquisitions at its worst, or simply keeping its members in check with the threats of damnation for failing to adhere to church doctrine, even if it was scripturally unsound.

Protestant sects were and currently not immune to such abuses when they are tightly enmeshed with the civil government as witnessed by such tragic events the Salem Witch Trials, the unopposed disgrace of racism by nominally Christian churches in the United States right into the Twentieth Century, and the “Reich Church” of the Nazis in the last century. This list, sadly, like the number of demons in the possessed Gergasene demoniac, are legion (Mark 5:1-20).

Though I believe that a separation of church and state is a necessity for the reasons above, this is not to say the biblical standards of morality and justice should be excluded from civil authority. In America, I believe our government was at its best when this was the case. The founding fathers certainly believed that, too, and it is only in the last few decades that this principle has become increasingly abandoned.

In my view, the government also crossed the separation principle of the First amendment when in 1963 the Supreme Court presumed to tell Americans when and where they may or may not pray – in our schools, for example.

In the face of this, I present these two questions: Where was and is the opposition of Christian Church to this blatant intrusion on our freedoms and as a society are we better off now for it?

Concluding Thoughts

This is a good stopping point in our exploration of the seven churches of Revelation because despite their differences, these first three have one thing in common – all have slipped away into the pages of history.

The Ephesian Church came to an end when the last of the original apostles died (once again including Paul,) which was followed by the persecuted church of Smyrna. This is not, by any means, to say true Christians are no longer subject to persecution. For over 2000 years Jesus’ words of John 16:33 have been confirmed repeatedly.

It finds its harshest extremes in autocratic nations today which are officially atheistic or under fundamental Islamic rule and in more subtle forms where Bible-believing and affirming Christians find themselves excluded from the established denominations which have “gone rogue” and fallen into apostasy.

The difference, I believe, is a question of magnitude. In its time, the Smyrnan church was the target of what was essentially a world government as far as the Mediterranean region of the world is concerned. We are not likely to encounter anything like this again until the Antichrist appears and proclaims himself as “God.” in which the entire planet will be involved, though the trend away from a Christian world view is already well under way in Western civilization.

Nor does there presently exist any neo-Pergamos Church in which a fusion between civil government and a Christian church comparable to what existed in Constantine’s time. This, however, will likely be replicated in the Tribulation as well with a “one-world religion” operating in concert with a “one-world government” under the control of the aforementioned Antichrist.

Now this is not to say that modern churches may not still have shared characteristics with these historical ones, because they certainly might. However as entities in and of themselves, the three we have examined so far have ceased to exist.

But what of the final four? Have they all disappeared into the past as well?

That’s just one of the questions we’ll examine in the next article.

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