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ARE YOU PESTERING GOD? (The Father’s Importunity) – By Camilla Smith

We live in an environment of endless pursuit of answers.    Many of us are getting feverishly excited as we try to figure out the nearness of the Rapture, study the order of the Father’s “appointed times” (Jewish Feast dates), look for answers to historical mysteries that are being uncovered, and try to pinpoint Bible prophecy and the end game of the wars and final events.   We’re watching harbingers, looking at cycles, crunching numbers, and searching skies and the Scriptures–all of this is necessary and edifying.   Prophecy teachers have put in hundreds, probably thousands of hours trying to help us all put the puzzle together and to their credit, many of them have taught us remarkable things.   We seek answers and signs from our Heavenly Father, but what if He is waiting on us?

What is our call as watchmen on the wall?   Here it is, plainly in Scripture:  Isaiah 62:6-7 tells us “I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem, all the day and all the night, continually, who are not silent.  You who remember YHWH, give yourselves no rest, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”

Obviously, He wants us to pray unceasingly about this.   He wants us to come to Him about bringing in His Kingdom.   We’re waiting on Him, while He’s waiting on us!   Watchmen, it is time to start a revolution of approaching our Father respectfully, yet expectantly, in asking for our Marriage to Yahshua to take place.  A Kingdom Come Revolution, if you will.

First, we need to come BOLDLY to the throne rather than being so willy-nilly.  We seldom recognize the authority that we possess as a result of our love for Jesus.  I’ve kicked it into high-gear prayer mode, a step short of demanding (maybe beseech sounds better) that He bring our marriage to the Lamb to a real-time fact rather than our whining and begging every day.  Yes, many God-fearing men came BOLDLY before the throne.  It’s time for our marriage, inheritance, and eternal life with Christ to begin.

God being God will accomplish all of his salvations whether this side of the Rapture or during the Tribulation.   We lovers of Jesus say that it’s high time that our Messiah be elevated throughout the world and that every knee bow to the King of Kings.  Just like the fellow who pounded on his neighbor’s door for bread because of his importunity, we pound our prayers before the throne of God to ACT in our behalf.  Jesus tires of our repenting—we know that we are sinners, but if He can forget our sins, then we must also.

Think about this:  When satan was approaching the throne having to ‘ask’ God if he could put Job thru the ringer, God, knowing Job’s heart and faith, said OK to satans ‘requests’. Now if God allowed satan to test Job, His desire for us is to get serious about ‘demanding that our marriage take place’ may be the very thing holding Him back (tarrying)!   If we pray like that, God will have the legal right to answer us now instead of tarrying. He needs to tell satan that He is obliged to complete His program because the prayers of the saints have reached His Throne.  “The effectual, fervent prayers of a righteous man availeth much.”  James 5:16  

While we scramble with day-to-day living, seeking Him, learning, listening and watching, are we earnestly, humbly, yet boldly approaching our Father, asking Him to perform His will?   Are we praying multiple times a day, “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done”, or are we mumbling our memorized prayers as we drift off?   I’m guilty of this myself–but NO MORE.   From here on out, (and if He sends Jesus for us today, even better),  I resolve to continue to boldly, precisely and specifically importune the Father and give Him NO REST, asking that He fulfill His will, send Yahshua Ha’Mashiach for us, and begin the transformation to eternity with Him.

So where is your heart—here, or Up There?   If it is with Him, in His Kingdom, then let the “petitioning” begin.   He’s given us His permission, even instruction, to do so.   Put this PRAYER INTO PRACTICE every day!  Give Him no rest…No rest.

As I concluded writing this, I had a strong urgency about Jerusalem, and how MUCH the Father loves His Qodesh City.   Saints, it is imperative that we pray for Yerushalayim at this critical time in history.   “For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.”  Hebrews 13:14.   It is also imperative that we understand how MUCH He loves Her, “The bride, the wife of the Lamb” Revelation 21:9.

Dear Abba Father, my Master, my Adon, please hasten the day when you put your government in place. Those days will see Egypt, Israel, and Syria as friends. Yahshua, we, the world need this, and it is obvious that it can only come through judgment, just like you said. Let the Day of the Lord arrive.  Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done.  Father, we pray Your words for Yerushalayim, “We pray for the peace of Yerushalayim; may they prosper who love you.  Peace within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.”  Father, we pray this in Your Son’s Mighty Name, Yahshua ha’ Mashiach.       

 Your servant(s)

EMP and Gog

It’s a frightening thing to consider. For the most technologically endowed nation to ever exist on planet Earth, it would be a nightmare of almost unimaginable proportion. I’m referring to an attack on the U.S. by EMP –electromagnetic pulse—about which there continues to be much chatter in the cybersphere. Most feared is a nuclear blast that could interact with the ionosphere, the shell of electrons and electrically charged particles surrounding Earth, to create a series of electromagnetic pulses that could reach across the North American continent, according to the scientists who study such matters.

In such an apocalyptic scenario, an American enemy would explode a nuclear weapon a certain number of miles above a central point above the continent. This would cause everything that is controlled by electronic circuitry to fail, bringing society and culture as we have known them to an instantaneous conclusion. All modern transportation would be stopped, with planes falling from the air. Car engines and circuitry would cease to function. From the sophisticated technologies of the hospitals, banks, and electric power-generating plants to the electronically powered, smallest conveniences such as coffeemakers, all would be instantly fried, and we would be sent back to the 1850s in a millisecond, according to the experts.

There would be no more TV watching, electronic devices to play music, no cell phone talk, or texting! Now, I know that last bit got your attention. The only positive might be that car accidents caused by texting would cease to occur. For sure, the insurance industry would be out of business. Their electronic files on the texting-caused accidents would be no more…

The stores would be out of food within a day because the vehicles to resupply would no longer be operating. Whoever could get to the shelves first on foot or bicycle would get the quickly disappearing grocery items. Water and sewer systems would begin to undergo contamination and disease would begin to spread.

Those who warn of such things worry that America’s military capabilities would be degraded to the point the U.S. would have no course of action that would protect the nation from invasion. The military machinery and personnel would be as adversely affected as would we civilians.

It is indeed a nightmare to consider.

This is all predicated upon the postulation that it would be an enemy nation or possibly terrorist group that would attack with EMP. However, America has nuclear submarines and many other assets that–like in the case of the cold war and MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction)—would devastate any enemy who dared to knock out the American power grid. Even if the enemy could not be determined–such as if al Qaida launched an EMP off a freighter on the Atlantic coast—there are automatic responses programmed that make any enemy think twice before attempting such an untried assault on the most awesome war-making entity ever to exist.

Well, maybe that doesn’t exactly apply any longer. Remember Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Those nineteen terrorists did not seem to regard the awesomeness of America’s military. It’s true they have paid the price for the attack. But the price we’ve paid since is far greater. Not just in the trillions of dollars spent and still being spent, but in lives lost and continuing to be lost.

Disregarding such an enemy for the moment, the experts tell us we face the possibility of an EMP attack from the cosmos. Now, there’s something to truly be concerned about!

Solar flares are the real danger, according to the scientists involved in study of this sort of EMP assault. These coronal mass ejections are enormous sun eruptions of super-hot plasma that spews charged particles across the solar system. They do the same sort of damage that the nuclear weapon EMPs might do, as I understand it.

The Earth is in a period of high likelihood for these types of coronal mass ejections, according to the scientists—authorities on such things. Although Congress has been given ways to help prepare for damage such EMP events can do, there has apparently been little interest from that quarter in making preemptive preparation. We remember the same sorts of fears and warnings about the year 2000–Y2K–event. In that instance billions of dollars were thrown into fixing the feared problems.

Now, however, unlike in the case of the Y2K scare, for example, the mainstream media seems to have all but ignored the EMP concerns. Even peripheral media cable networks and other such media have remained silence. Only the blogosphere is alive with details of the possibility of impending doom.

My own thought is that the Lord is and has always been in complete control of the fate of individuals, nations, and the entire Earth–which He created. That’s why there hasn’t been all-out warfare–nuclear war. That’s why there hasn’t been an EMP event that sets us back to the 1850s or so…

However, there is a prophetic thought that has nagged for a long time. That’s all it is–a thought.

Salem Kirban wrote the novel 666 in the 1960s. He portrayed the Ezekiel 38-39 Gog-Magog attack as being waged totally like the Scripture depicts. There were only horses, bucklers, shields, etc., as they stormed like a cloud to cover the land as the Gog forces raged toward Jerusalem. All modern weaponry had been rendered useless–I can’t remember why or how.

An EMP event from Earth’s sun could apparently make Mr. Kirban’s novel truly prophetic, if all we’ve been told about EMP is correct.

The way things are shaping in that region of the world should alert us that maybe we don’t have too long to wait to find out about how Bible prophecy plays out.

 

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

The Church at Thyatira

Revelation {2:18-29} And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet [are] like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last [to be] more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have [already] hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

The next church, represented by the ancient one of Thyatira, was the one which came to exist as a direct result of Constantine’s conversion to Christianity. By the end of the Fourth Century, it was ironically the dominant faith in the Roman Empire, which had once done its worst to eradicate it. Over the course of time it split into eastern and western factions, namely the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches which still exist today.

Jesus praised the original church at Thyatira and by inference, its present incarnation in the two churches mentioned above, for its “works, and charity, and service, and faith,” patience, and thy works; and the last [to be] more than the first.” Clearly both have excelled at both in spreading the word across the globe, stepping in to aid in charitable ways, and persisting in these efforts across the centuries, right up until the present time.

But along with commendation there is condemnation, namely its association with “Jezebel.” As is the case with apocalyptic writings, our task is to try to determine the meaning of its symbolic references. In this case, it would seem that a strong case could be made that this is a reference to the wife of Ahab, king of Israel circa 919 – 897 B.C. According the account in 1 Kings, Jezebel was the daughter of King Ethbaal of Tyre and an ardent worshiper of the pagan god Baal. Ahab was very accommodating to his wife’s idolatrous worship and promoted its practice in his kingdom and in the persecution of God’s prophets such as the most prominent of that time, Elijah.

Though neither the Roman Catholic nor Orthodox Churches promote “Baal worship” both have unfortunately incorporated into their beliefs the practice of praying to Mary, the mother of Jesus and other assorted saints. In the Roman Catholic Church the term “saints” has evolved from the biblical meaning which applies it to all believers to someone in whose name a miracle has been accomplished due to prayers made to them. It is hard to imagine how everyone who is familiar with the First and Second Commandments can in good conscience accept a practice of praying to anyone other than God or enlisting the aid of any “intercessor” other than Jesus Christ himself when the Bible is quite clear on both of these matters:

Exodus {20:1-5} And God spake all these words, saying, I [am] the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.

1 Timothy {2:5} For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

A simple question I’ve always had is: Since we already have access to God through his Son, why would we need a “second stringer?” I’ve never gotten an answer from anyone who endorses this practice.

Another form of idolatry is the concept of church tradition being put on an equal or even superior basis as Scripture because here we have the exact situation experienced by Peter and the apostles shortly after the birth of the church:

Acts {5:28-29} Did not we* straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. *Members of the Sanhedrin are speaking here.

In this case the Jewish religious authorities were arrogating to themselves the “final word,” when that actually belongs to God alone.

Church “tradition” across denominations has too often darkened its history with such excesses as the Inquisitions, anti-Semitism, the condoning of slavery and racism, making a mockery of what Jesus actually taught.

The message from Jesus to the church of Thyatira, and, we may assume its future representatives, does indicate that its members which do not subscribe to these serious errors but regard Scripture, “rather than men,” to be the ultimate authority regarding doctrine, will be duly rewarded in the life to come, being part of Jesus’ government on Earth when he returns.

To be fair, by virtue of their being so many diverse versions of the Christian Church today, it is probably fair to say most of them have doctrinal problems, except the Church of Smyrna which we explored in the last article and has since disappeared into history and the Church of Philadelphia, along with its present incarnation, which we will examine a little later. Both of them received only praise from Jesus.

Before we move on, it is important to mention that we have arrived at a significant point in our exploration. Remember that in the last article it was mentioned that the first three churches have disappeared into the past? Let’s take a moment to look at how the message to each of them concluded:

For Ephesus:

To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

For Smyrna:

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.

For Pergamos

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.]     

Contrast this passage in the conclusion of the message to the church at Thyatira:

But that which ye have [already] hold fast till I come.

In this case the indication is that this church will still exist in some form – at the time Jesus returns! As we look at the remaining three addressed in Revelation, we see the same indications. This may yet be one more sign that his return may be very soon indeed. That being said, let’s continue with our next church.

The Church at Sardis

Revelation {3:1-6} And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee*. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. * This is just one example of an unexpected return of Jesus (only for his followers, in this case) in complete contrast to the time when it is unmistakable to the whole world (Revelation 19:11-16). In order for both accounts to be true, they must be referring to two different events.

This is thought to represent the churches broke away from the Roman Church as it existed during the Reformation. Its most prominent feature is that it emphasized the doctrine of salvation through grace, not works and was likewise critical of what was considered corruption and other doctrinal errors of the Roman Catholic Church.

However, when reading the passage concerning it, it appears that though it might have started out on the right path, it quickly lost its way and was therefore admonished to “strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die.” Could this be reflective of the manner in which the majority of the Protestant denominations today have embraced biblically contrary doctrines such as the acceptance of active homosexual behavior, a denial that Jesus himself as being the only way of salvation, a rejection of his physical resurrection and the reality of a literal afterlife at all, and refusal to believe in his return to this planet to establish his everlasting Kingdom?

Verse 3b of this chapter also clearly indicates that most of this church won’t be ready for the Lord’s return. In other words, it will be just as big a surprise to it as to the non-Christian world alike because there is scant attention given to Bible Prophecy in most of the church today, regardless of denomination. But all is not lost because there is the hopeful mention of those who “have not defiled their garments” by accepting the “doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1) and will one day literally walk with Jesus in his kingdom to come.

 

The Church at Philadelphia

 Revelation {3:7-13} And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David*, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.** Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, [which is] new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and [I will write upon him] my new name***. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. * Perhaps this means that As David was a conquering king over his adversaries, so Jesus is likewise over his. Of course, we are clearly not yet at the point where the results of his victory is fully realized, any more than David’s were immediate in his age, but the Bible teaches that one day they will be (Revelation, chapters 21 & 22).

** The indication here is that this church will be here on Earth in the present time and will be removed from the “hour of temptation (trial),” a good interpretation meaning the rapture, after which the Tribulation years will begin.”

*** Just as the false prophet will lead people to be marked with the name of the beast (antichrist), so God will cause his own to be marked as described above. Revelation 14:1 shows a partial fulfillment of this as regards to Israel.

As with the church as Smyrna, Jesus has only praise for the one at Philadelphia. In this case, it does not represent any single denomination but is comprised of all believers no matter which one (or even none at all) to which they belong. I suppose it would be safe to say that in many churches these days they adhere to the authority of Scriptural teachings in spite of what’s being preached in their pulpits. Why they choose to remain in some of them rather than leave is complex. Some, no doubt, stay in the hopes of changing them and getting them back on course. Others stay because they’ve gone to the same parish all their lives and don’t want to be uprooted. It’s probably safe to say the former are “Philadelphians” because having the courage of one’s convictions and bucking the tide is not an easy thing. As for the latter, the quality of their faith and is only something that God can decide.

Now it does not mean these individuals are perfect when it comes to doctrine because all of us are subject to what Paul said so well due to our human limitations:

1 Corinthians {13:11-12} When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

What is does say is that to the best of his or her ability, each defends the faith using the Bible as the standard, regardless of the opposition or immediate consequences. As far as the Western world is concerned, this church is sadly losing ground in the Western world, something Jesus no doubt saw coming 2000 years ago:

From the passage above we have:

Revelation 3:8 . . . . for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word . . .

And from Luke 18:8, Jesus said: Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

This is certainly not reflective of the quality of faith of its constituents. If anything, persecution, whether it be comparatively mild as in the U.S. (so far, at any rate!) or openly violent as in the recent cases of Muslim attacks on the Copts in Egypt, it has only served to strengthen their resolve to stand by their faith.

Smyrna and Philadelphia represents the church at its best. Now it’s time to look at it at its worst!

The Church at Laodicea

Revelation {3:14-22} And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.* He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

* Again, this is suggestive of this church being around in the present and those who do not follow its error will be saved.

It is probably no accident that the Laodicean Church shows up last, because this is indeed the state of affairs we increasingly have today. Jesus has nothing to commend in this one. We can look at it as being comprised of what I call “Comfortable Christians.” They show up each week, listen to latest non-judgmental the humanistic doctrine which pretty much teaches “anything goes.” Here’s an example from Pew Research (May 12, 2015) regarding the acceptance of homosexual behavior:

Denomination                                 Year 2007                             Year 2015

Roman Catholic                                    58%                                       70%

Mainline Protestants                             56%                                       66%

Orthodox Christian                               48%                                        62%

All Christians                                        44%                                        54%

Historically Black Protestants               39%                                        51%

Evangelical Protestants                       28%                                        36%

Mormon                                                24%                                       36%

Jehovah’s Witnesses                           12%                                        16%

If this one example of biblical doctrine being rejected in the church is representative of an overall erosion of the following scriptural precepts in today’s church, it is affecting all of them. Interestingly, the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, despite their other serious doctrinal errors, are doing better in this particular case than all the rest of them.

As a former life-long member of the Episcopal Church, I’ve personally seen this denomination fall apart doctrinally. Though the decline was decades in coming, in 2003 its decline into error became most evident as its triennial convention gave its assent to ordaining an open homosexual to the office of bishop. Now actively homosexual clergy people are no longer the uncommon. In the case of TEC, this was just the beginning of its descent into apostasy.

Former presiding bishop Kathryn Schori preached a “mother Jesus,” pluralistic salvation” (meaning that Jesus is not the only way to salvation (TIME Magazine, July 10, 2006), and that “confessional Christianity,” (i.e. that an individual can be saved by confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior) was a “great Western heresy” (opening remarks to TEC’s 76th Convention in July 2009). In the case of the Episcopal Church, there has been a ruthlessness exercised in any member parish not willing to “roll over” for these errors – the loss of its funds and property under the Dennis Canon which states that the church buildings and funds are only held in trust for their respective dioceses, not owned by their members. How this unjust principle ever got ratified into canon law seems positively devilish. The sad part about all this is that TEC is not unique because such heresy would find a welcome in most of the major protestant churches in Europe and North America.

Perhaps the biggest reason heresy has been so easy to foist on members of these denominations is that “Comfortable Christians” are also “lazy Christians” who never bothered to pick up their Bibles and read for themselves.

If one doesn’t know the truth, how can one possibly reject the lie?

Concluding Thoughts

From the best to the worst, the churches of Revelation present the whole spectrum. It seems fairly obvious where we must be in history based on where the church is now and where it is increasingly headed. I’ve personally watched the death spiral of the Episcopal Church from the inside and must admit I was amazed not only at the magnitude of its descent but the speed at which it occurred. I’ve watched many of the other Protestant denominations on the very same trajectory. If allowed to continue unabated, how long would it take before the percentages above top out at 100%? Based on the aforementioned acceleration into acceptance of the “doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:2), it indicates that it will not be allowed to continue much longer.

For we who believe, this is just one more sign for us along with so many others that the time of our redemption must be very, very, near!

It has never been more vital than right now to keep looking up!

God’s Next Catastrophic Intervention

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un  continues to fire off missiles that fail shortly after lifting off. But there are enough successes to portend a time when he can arm them with nuclear devices to kill hundreds of thousands. The ayatollahs and military of Iran continue on course to produce deliverable nuclear weapons to rain upon the hated Israel. Russian president Putin becomes more bellicose by the day, sending his bombers near America’s Alaskan shores. He has fighter jets buzzing American aircraft within twenty feet in some cases.

Syrian dictator Assad continues to inflict genocide in the region, no doubt causing Israel’s military to consider preemptive action to protect the Jewish state.

China, despite some minor, peaceful overtures to President Trump and America, continues to build its military and new bases in waters that are considered international rather than Chinese territorial waters. ISIS and the many Israel-hating terrorist entities continue to plan and carry out murderous assaults around the world.

This is a time that there is a cry for peace and safety, while there seems little peace upon the planet.

Our president is going to the Middle East to have a go at formulating a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians–a thing many diplomats of every stripe have tried but failed to achieve.

Everything in regard to those geopolitical exigencies seem to point to just how near this generation is to the time of Tribulation, the final seven years immediately preceding Christ’s Second Advent. But, those represent only one side of the equation that makes up the signals we are to look for in being watchmen on the wall as Bible prophecy fulfillment draws near.

While the volatility and violence that will be part of end-times indicators are certainly something to consider, Jesus painted a much different picture that will be on the scene when He next catastrophically intervenes into the affairs of fallen mankind.

We know that the Bible–that God’s prophets–never contradict one another. If we search deeply enough and long enough, we will see the interconnectedness and the absolute integrity of prophetic truth. So, how, as God’s Word says, does Paul’s prophecy, “evil men and seducers will [get] worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived,” comport with Jesus’ own words about the moment He will next break in upon this rebellious world?

How does, for example, the Lord’s own declaration make sense? He prophesies that people will be buying, selling, marrying, and building–doing all the things of everyday life. How does that declaration not conflict with  the Revelation foretelling twenty-one devastating judgments given to John on Patmos?

That is, how does such a not-unpleasant set of circumstances like Jesus describes using the days of Noah and of Lot not contradict the Olivet Discourse? The Lord’s words there describe conditions so horrific when Christ comes back that no flesh would be saved if He did not return at that moment (Matthew 24: 21).

The only answer to why there are these diametrically different prophetic descriptions–that of business as usual and that of the worst times of human history–is, of course, wrapped up in the apostle Paul’s foretelling.

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

The pre-millennial, pre-tribulation view of Christ’s return is the only view that answers the big questions about the apparent contradictions.

God’s next catastrophic intervention into the affairs of rebellious mankind’s evil doings will take place in two phases. The first involves the “mystery” Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 15: 51-55. All born-again believers who have died or are living will in one stunning moment be translated into supernatural bodies and instantly appear with Jesus Christ above planet earth.

Jesus tells that at the time of that event–the Rapture–things will be relatively normal for most living on the earth. As a matter of fact, I believe His words tell that it will be business even better than usual.

I will expand on this greatly in my next book which, God willing, will be available late this year.

The second phase of Christ’s Second Coming will, of course, be that moment when He comes back with all the saints to put an end to man’s most terrible war–Armageddon (Revelation 19:11-12).

At that time, the earth will have been devastated by war and God’s wrath. Again, Jesus said that all flesh would die if He didn’t intervene at that moment.

God’s judgment will begin, Jesus said, the very day He is next “revealed.” That will be at the Rapture, when all the earth will know there has been a tremendous event that made millions simply vanish. Like in Lot’s day, God’ judgment will begin that very day, Jesus says as recorded in Luke 17:26-30. God’s wrath won’t begin until the covenant of Daniel 9:27 is confirmed. But judgment will begin immediately, we are told by the Lord, Himself.

It will be a catastrophic intervention right from that twinkling-of-an-eye moment!

I believe we, as watchmen, should be observing the times to see if there is in the near future a noticeable upswing in national and international economies–this in conjunction with considering all the traditional signals that the Bible describes.

Caught Up

We just upgraded to a system that has added an extra 500 channels or so to our television programming. All of it comes automatically with what I really wanted to acquire, Internet service that increases my download capacity and speed by a factor of three or four.

I realize there are many who read these columns who believe strongly that there should be no television in the home whatsoever, so I’m almost apologetic–but not quite. I was sick and tired of waiting sometimes hours to download materials I needed to do my work for this blog, Rapture Ready and for other work.

Clicking through the myriad of TV channels I now have, I am amazed at all of the things of life that bombard us. I can no longer “see” the programs and their content because of retinas that no longer work–which I suppose makes the upgrade sound ludicrous. I do hear, however, with at least a modicum of ability in my closing ears and years, so I get the gist of the programming. The many aspects of everyday living in America today are astonishing–not in scope, but in the absence of the profound.

By this, I mean that in America all that is presented on the programming revolves around nurturing self-centeredness that directly affects the average U.S. citizen in one way or another–love, sex, finance, lifestyle, and health.

Religion is covered by TV entertainment and news to a much lesser degree, and increasingly in a way that moves ever farther from the biblical fundamentals of the faith once delivered to the saints. The only things that matter for life more abundantly, according to Jesus Christ, are conspicuously absent from this massive programming regime. Things of truly eternal value are sequestered in the corners of the religious channels, and few of those Christ-centered programs exist. The majority of so-called Christian programming involves prosperity-a-thons that are almost as ubiquitous as the secular infomercials that incessantly barrage the late-late-night/early-morning viewers. Most in America in these closing days of this Church Age comprise a generation caught up in a world system that long ago pushed God out of the equation for living on the planet He designed for mankind.

Jesus forewarned of a future generation of believers that would be caught up in such a world system at the time when His return neared. He had just gone through the many signs of His coming again, and had given His disciples the answer to their questions: “Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?”

Jesus said in forewarning that future end-times generation: “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” (Luke 21:34-36)

Sadly, Christians in mass numbers seem to fit the description of that final generation of the Age of Grace. If we are honest, we have to consider that it appears that the everyday cares of life hold most captive like the Lord’s description of those who will be alive at the time of the “snare” that will come upon the whole Earth. I’m convinced that “snare” referred to will be none other than the rapture of the church.

It will be a startling thing for those so married to this world to suddenly be in the presence of their Lord. Having been caught up in the world and all of its quicksand of immorality, they will suddenly find themselves “caught up” into the holy presence of the One who died for them.

While every true believer will meet the Lord in the air when He calls, “Come up here,” the above Scripture leaves little doubt that there is a most serious issue involved in the words the Lord used: “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”

Christians are not to be caught off guard like the lost of the world, for whom the rapture will be a thief-in-the-night experience. To be caught off guard in the sense that we are living like the world, with little thought of Jesus’ coming back for us, will demonstrate unworthiness to stand before Him at that monumental moment. Our worthiness will determine whether we hear Him say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” when we then move to Heaven and the Judgment Seat of Christ for rewards earned in this life.

 

 

Israel’s Identity Crisis

It seems strange that the one nation on planet earth that God Himself calls His “chosen” suffers such low self esteem. I use the term self esteem in the sense that there is an internal, national uncertainty concerning where the nation fits within the international scheme of things. There projects from Israel an aura of not belonging.

I suppose this shouldn’t surprise, considering that most countries making up the United Nations join in voting against Israel in almost every case that is brought against the nation. The history of such anti-Israel voting is stunning.

Israel completely outperforms all of its neighbors in productivity. Its ingenuity benefits not only the region but all the world. That tiny sliver of land encompasses only a fraction of the land grant the lord says is theirs. Yet it is an island of technological, agricultural, and societal creativity that is second only to that generated by the United States. And, fact is, much of America’s such creativity and activity is directly due to the brilliance of U.S. Jewish citizenry.

Its tentativeness in national confidence has long been the concern of Israeli thinkers and innovators. Just this past week, initiatives to deal with Israel’s identity crisis came to the surface as breaking news.

A proposal to anchor Israel’s status as a Jewish state in a Basic Law was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation Sunday.

MK Avi Dichter (Likud), who proposed the bill, called the vote “a big step towards establishing our identity, not only universally, but mainly towards ourselves, the Israelis, to be a free nation in our land,” a line from Hatikva…

“I’ve been working on the Jewish State bill for six years,” Dichter recounted. “Six years to establish the simple and most basic truth: Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish People.”…

The legislation states that “the State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, in which it realizes its aspirations for self-determination according to its cultural and historic traditions. The realization of national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.”…

… It also mentions the Law of Return, and calls for the government to work to strengthen Israel-Diaspora ties.

It states that Hebrew is Israel’s official language and Arabic has a special status, requiring all government services to be available in Arabic. (ISRAEL NEWS, Jerusalem Post, May 7, 2017)

The bill, if approved, was set for a preliminary vote on Wednesday. It will thus take place in the first week of the Knesset’s summer session. The Justice Ministry will be charged with drafting its own version of the bill within sixty days. The two bills will then be combined.

The bill is receiving push-back by those who see it as a racist action that puts too much emphasis on Israel being Jewish and not enough on democracy.

Such an accusation has some validity. But, with things going on as of late, it is action that is warranted, in my view.

One example of the world doing all possible to strip Israel of its sovereignty and even its right to exist is that perpetrated by the U.N.

The UNESCO Executive Board passed a resolution in Paris that disavowed Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. The organization insists, thereby, that Israel should no longer have authority in the city. The vote was meant to delegitimize Israel’s right to the city governance that was won during the 1967 Six Day War.

Because of continuing such actions by the U.N. against Israel, the Israeli government is considering ousting that organization from its facilities within the city of Jerusalem.

The government on Sunday is set to debate the question whether or not to oust the United Nations from its Jerusalem headquarters, but is not expected to take any action on the matter at this time…

In a statement to Channel 2, [Miri] Regev [Culture and Sports Minister ] said that clearly there was no longer any logic to the UN remaining at that location.

“We’ve been sovereign in the city for 50 years, so there is no need for UN monitors. They were given use of the compound to oversee the cease-fire agreement from the Six-Day war, it’s an agreement that is no longer relevant. This saga has to end,” she said. (ISRAEL NEWS, Jerusalem Post, May 5, 2017)

Israel’s identity crisis is destined to become much more acute. Zechariah the prophet and other prophets foretell a time when all nations will seek to kill all Jews. Haven’t we heard that before?

Anti-Semitism on the rise is only one symptom of the great hatred that Antichrist will foment, especially during the second three and one-half years of the Tribulation.

“Alas! for that day is great, so that there is none like it   : it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” (Jeremiah 30: 7)

Israel’s identity will one day be firmly established, however. God has promised to make it the head of the nations when Christ rules and reigns from atop Zion in Jerusalem as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Third Temple Temperature

Third Temple fever is rising surrounding the Temple Mount. It is, I believe, the most burning issue of our time, although simmering just beneath the surface of Middle East madness, just out of sight and mind most of the time.

Upon researching and writing for CAULDRON: Supernatural Implications of the Current Middle East–my book published a few years ago— the Temple again shouldered its way to the top of my thinking.

This is for good reason. The Temple Mount, Mt. Moriah, is the center of the earthly battle in the war Satan has waged against God since being ejected from Heaven with the one-third of the rebel angels that followed him.

Moriah is the spot on the planet where some believe the Garden of Eden was centered. Some hold that the stone under which the Dome of the Rock sits was the place where Adam, then Eve, was created. I don’t necessarily hold to this, but there are serious scholars within Christendom who do. The surface of Mt. Moriah is the place where Isaac was to be offered as sacrifice by his father, Abraham, when God intervened and provided the ram caught in the thicket by his horns. Moriah is the place where the Holy of Holies sat with in the two previous Temples. It is the place where the Ark of the Covenant resided within the Holy of Holies. It is the place where the veil was torn from top to bottom the moment Jesus Christ said, “It is finished,” and gave up His life to death and the grave, to be raised on the third day.

As we have written many times in these commentaries, the signals of this Age of Grace dispensation coming to an end soon are everywhere. It is absolutely mandatory, if that is true, that the most important signal of all be in view at this time. I believe with all that is within me that matters involving the rebuilding of the Temple atop that most centrally important piece of rock must be clearly in view in proving that this generation is near the end of the Church Age.

Some excellent scholars believe and teach that the Tribulation Temple (Third Temple) doesn’t have to be located atop Mt. Moriah. Rather, they believe it will possibly be a synagogue-type structure somewhat north of Jerusalem–Shiloh, to be exact—where the tabernacle stood for 400 years. I respectfully disagree. Satan wants to usurp the throne of God. He cannot do so by taking over the throne of God in Heaven. He has already been banished from that kingdom, except for having the privilege of accusing the brethren.

The devil does want to usurp the earthly throne of God, however, and, in his totally depraved thinking still believes he can do so. That “throne”–which I call God’s touchstone to humanity–is where the Holy of Holies sat, where the Ark of the Covenant resided within Solomon’s Temple. Lucifer the fallen isn’t interested in a second choice for a place to place his “man of sin.” Antichrist must sit right where the Ark, containing God’s Law–the Tablets (Ten Commandments) –rested.

Antichrist will, of course sit in that spot, declaring himself to be God, according to 2 Thessalonians: “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

Satan will apparently indwell this “prince that shall come,” thus achieving–in his own demented mind, at least–the usurpation of God’s earthly throne. This, after all, is the place within the Temple Jesus will one day sit as King of Kings during the Millennial Kingdom.

Now, I know the mountain of Moriah will be split in the middle and the Tribulation Temple will likely be completely destroyed. After all, it is the Third Temple built, I believe, by unbelieving Jews; thus, it doesn’t meet with God’s approval. Mt. Zion, as it will be known, will be supernaturally elevated in the tremendous topographical changes that will take place when Christ’s foot touches the Mt. of Olives when He returns. Christ will, Himself, build the Millennial Temple upon Mt. Zion, where He will reign and rule with a rod of iron for 1000 years.

The thing we are considering here is: Do we see signs of the call to rebuild the Temple? The answer is, of course, “Yes!”

Great tensions are currently building around the Temple Mount. Both the Jewish community, which wants to worship on top of Moriah, and the Arab Islamists, who are determined the Jews will never do so, are revving up their emotional engines. The temperature is rising, and the diplomats of the world realize that it is potentially the one place on Earth that is the greatest trigger point to start nuclear Armageddon.

Because we are so near the end of the Church Age (Age of Grace), look for the temperatures of both the Jews and the Islamists to continue to rise as end-times events continue to unfold.

 

 

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