Prophecy Line

Laodicea on Display

Prophecy coming to fulfillment was on full display while America’s number-one Christian preacher–in terms of numbers he draws to his events—gave the many thousands in attendance his version of “hope” for their lives.

Joel Osteen wrapped up his confirmation of this “hope” that resides within each by having them repeat his gleefully shouted words.

(I paraphrase, because I couldn’t find a transcript of the TV program.)

He said with a toothy smile, while holding up a Bible, “Repeat what I say!

He then proceeded:

“I am favored by God!” (The audience jubilantly repeated the words.)
“I am special!”
“I am destined for something great!”
“I am important!”
“I am deserving of all things good!”
“I will overcome all problems!”
“I will defeat all depression!”
“I will take control of my own destiny!”

You get the point. This went on for many such “”I wills” and “I ams.” The many thousands were in rah – rah ecstasy by the time the head cheerleader concluded.

I heard no mention in Mr. Osteen’s sermon, I guess you could call it, of any of the “I wills and I ams” giving glory to the one who makes hope possible. I heard nowhere America’s most popular pastor of the moment mention the biblical ”hope” that is in reality at the heart of the Christian’s glorious destiny–salvation from soul-destroying sin through the shed blood of the only begotten Son of God.

Instead, I heard the glorification of self, and how good everyone is, and how deserving everyone in attendance was to receive the very best God is obligated to bestow.

More troubling, as the program came to an end, was the perception that the “I wills and I cans” the mesmerized thousands shouted, repeating Osteen’s words of self-praise, reminded me of the “I wills” of Isaiah 14:13-15: “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”

Jesus, resurrected and at the right hand of His Father, gave John, who penned Revelation, a vivid picture of the church that will, literally, make Him sick. That church was the last one the Lord addressed while going through the seven churches of the Church Age: 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. (Revelation 3:14-17)

The Laodicean church bases its thoughts and actions on terms of 1) self-glorification and 2) physical prosperity, i.e., wealth. This end-of-days’ church is “lukewarm”; that is, it is tepid so far as teaching and preaching the gospel. This church preaches and teaches that people are good and deserving of God’s total blessings and adoration. It does not teach and preach that people are not good, that they are lost in sin, thus need a Savior.

The Laodicean church teaches and preaches that all is well, if money and physical comforts are in abundance. That prosperity is the key to a glorious future is the message sweet to the taste of those who sit in its luxuriant pews. It appeals to self, the same as did the serpent to Eve in Eden.

Another prophecy of Jesus comes into view when we consider the great moral degradation that has taken place in the last half-century. The prophecy is in line with the Laodicean church that, in my opinion, constitutes the majority of so-called Christendom today. Jesus, in His Olivet Discourse, forewarned first and foremost of deception which would mark the time just before His return. Many would, He warned, come in His name, proclaiming themselves to have Christ within themselves–to belong to Him. They would be deceiving themselves and those who followed them, according to what I see in my study of Paul’s words that in the last days evil men and seducers would come, deceiving and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:13).

Again, the apostle Paul put his prophetic finger on our time, and, I’m convinced, the sugary, feel-good sermonettes, the likes of which preachers like Mr. Osteen pour into the itching ears of today’s Laodiceans: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

Questions that must be addressed are: Where is the proof that this coming forth of a more sinner-friendly church has done harm rather than good? What’s the harm in embracing all sinners and bringing them into the fold, without the condemnation that the Bible passages on sin throws at them? Isn’t Jesus a Lord of love and all-inclusiveness? Isn’t that accusation of Christianity’s “intolerance” the thing that brings the disdain of the world for the very name of Jesus Christ?

All that has to be said to answer the above is: Churches of America have indeed increasingly moved away from pointing at sin as requiring condemnation and sinners as requiring redemption. The result has been that the increased inclusiveness–this greater toleration of sinfulness, in concert with every imaginable evil gushing from Internet debauchery–has produced a society and culture rivaling that of Sodom and Gomorrah.

One article outlined some problems stemming from the church shirking responsibility in America.

The divorce rate has doubled, teen suicide has tripled, reported violent crime has quadrupled, the prison population has quintupled, the percentage of babies born out of wedlock has risen sixfold, couples living together out of wedlock have increased sevenfold, and gay marriage is now a legalized reality in a number of states, with many believing the end is not in sight. (Bert M. Farias, “The Great Deception in American Church,” Charisma News)

Paul prophesied as recorded in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 that the Restrainer, resident within the church, would one day be removed from planet earth. Antichrist and complete lawlessness will then rule the world when the true church–all born-again believers—are called into Heaven.

The Laodicean church now on display, as forewarned by Jesus, Himself, surely must be a major indicator of where this generation stands on God’s prophetic timeline.

Trump: “Peace has to happen”

It is inevitable. Peace in the Middle East must happen. This, according to President Donald Trump.

The president, while being interviewed on former Governor Mike Huckabee’s initial TBN program, made the declaration.

“I want to give that a shot before I even think about moving the embassy to Jerusalem.”

He said further, “f we can make peace between the Palestinians and Israel, I think it’ll lead to ultimately peace in the Middle East, which has to happen.”

Trump, in June of 2017, signed a temporary order keeping the American embassy in Tel Aviv. This follows the actions of presidents preceding him.

Some see this as his breaking a promise he made while on the 2016 presidential campaign trail. He received rousing ovations every time he declared he would move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, the city that Israel claims as its capital.

Mr. Trump has said on numerous occasions that his administration is working on a peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians that will result in peace for the whole region. He has appointed his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as unofficial diplomat in charge of working to accomplish peace in the Middle East.

Others–including the Benjamin Netanyahu-led government–deny that the president has abandoned the idea of moving the embassy. In his declaration that he wants to give peace a chance before moving the embassy, Trump simply means, in their view, that the move is postponed. To force such an action at this moment in the current volatile geopolitical climate would likely ramp up hostilities.

To watchers on the wall–those who view the world through the prism of Bible prophecy from the pre-Millennial, pre-Tribulation perspective, the president’s declaration and decision on the embassy move should not come as surprise.

Like every other prophetic indicator on the present world horizon, the fact that there is a continuing drive to force peace between Israel and its enemy neighbors is simply something that must be in view while final prophecies near fulfillment. Like Mr. Trump says, peace between Israel and its closest enemy neighbor “has to happen,” from the human point of view.

Like all the world has cried for decades–as wrapped neatly in the lyrics of the song by John Lennon–we must “give peace a chance.”

But, that much-ballyhooed peace process leaves out the one essential ingredient that can make it come to pass. God is ignored. The very Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ, is not even considered in their humanistic effort. As a matter of fact, His Holy name is ridiculed and mocked at every turn by most of the diplomatic world. Christ is viewed as the holdup to peace in most instances, rather than the solution to the hatred and war-making that has dominated human history.

Mr. President, much of your political–electoral–base is made up by those of us who support Israel. We want peace for Israel, the Middle East, the United States, and the world. We know, however, from what God’s prophetic Word has to say, that there will be no peace until the Prince of Peace rules and reigns in the hearts and minds of mankind.

The present call for peace is addressed, I’m convinced, by the apostle Paul as follows:

For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:1)

Mr. President, peace will happen. It will come in two distinctively opposite forms.

The first peace will be a false peace, brought about by the man of sin, the son of perdition — Antichrist.

Daniel the prophet said the following about this false prince that shall come:

And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many. (Daniel8: 25)

The other peace–the real peace–will be brought upon the planet at Christ’s return to make all things right again.

Jesus, the Prince of Peace, said the following just before leaving this sin-corrupted world:

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)

Thy Kingdom Come . . . . By Ed Wood

Matthew {6:9-13} After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (The speaker here is Jesus.)

It is probably safe to say that all Christians, and perhaps a large number of non-Christians as well, recognize the words above which have since become known universally known as the “Lord’s Prayer.” In this article we’ll focus specifically on the ones which concern God’s coming kingdom. Strangely enough, Christians don’t entirely agree on when it will come, or how it will come, or even what it is! Let’s see if we can sort out some of these mysteries.

Let’s see first if there is an equivalence between the “kingdom of God” and the “kingdom of heaven. In the following passage, Jesus relates how one must enter the former and some of those who will be there:

Luke {13:24-30} Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all [ye] workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you [yourselves] thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and [from] the west, and from the north, and [from] the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.

Concerning the manner of entering the kingdom of heaven we have Jesus saying:

Matthew {7:21-23; 8:11} Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity . . . And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.

With these passages, it appears that the kingdom of God and kingdom of heaven are clearly one and the same. Let’s see now if we can determine whether this kingdom already exists or is something yet to come. From the Old Testament we have:

Genesis {28:10-12} And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and [put] them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

Ezekiel {1:1} Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth [month,] in the fifth [day] of the month, as I [was] among the captives by the river of Chebar, [that] the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.

Daniel {7:9} I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment [was] white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne [was like] the fiery flame, [and] his wheels [as] burning fire.

Luke {2:13} And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  (This is a verse from the account of the appearance of the angels announcing the birth of Jesus to the shepherds who were tending their flocks in the night.)

This evidence clearly shows this magnificent kingdom is already in existence “someplace” in a realm quite distinct from our own. However, from what we see below, it also appears to be closer than we might think:

Matthew {3:1-2} In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew {4:17} From that time* Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. *The time after John the Baptist was imprisoned by Herod..

Matthew {10:5-7} These twelve* Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into [any] city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. *The twelve apostles

Matthew {12:27} And if I * by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast [them] out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. *Jesus

 “The kingdom of heaven is at hand . . . the kingdom of heaven is come unto you.” From what Jesus said and did above, something of God’s kingdom is already here, ushered in by the Lord himself. Yet one must remember that the Bible has to be taken in its entire context, not just by selected passages. What then, are we to make of this?

Revelation {21:1-5} And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.

Clearly the kind of world we are living in now is nothing if not a direct opposite of what God’s kingdom is like. The explanation for this seeming contradiction might be resolved in the verses below:

Matthew {13:31-32} Another parable put he* forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.. *Jesus.

With this passage, we introduce the added element of time. Just like the grain of mustard seed in the parable above, I believe that though Jesus initiated the coming of the kingdom of God during his First Advent, it will only arrive upon Earth in its full maturity after the conclusion of the Millennium with all the characteristics described in the Revelation account.

In the three years of his public ministry, Jesus gave other tantalizing “previews” of this kingdom by his words and deeds. Some appear in the Beatitudes (Matthew chapters 5-7) and show us quite profoundly just how different the standards of this kingdom are compared to those upon which the world has operated ever since Adam and Eve lost Eden. Jesus also healed the incurable, somehow multiplied a few fish and loaves of bread to feed thousands, calmed a raging storm in the Sea of Galilee, and brought the dead back to life just by his word. These actions demonstrated that he had truly initiated the kingdom of God on Earth.

Two Conflicting Kingdom Views

There are two primary differences of thought about the nature of this kingdom in the present world. One says the full benefits of the kingdom are already available while the other maintains that while began with the arrival of Jesus, we do not have access to all of them yet. So, which one is right? The answer is obvious enough, found just by looking at the world around us.

We certainly do not see the paradise described in Revelation, but a sin-damaged planet that’s getting worse by the hour. Even so, it is not totally divorced from God’s Presence or influence. Perhaps the best way to look at it is how things were during Jesus’ ministry. To be sure, the world was far from an idyllic place while he walked among us that first time, but as we have seen he did introduce aspects of the kingdom of heaven into our world. Yes, it’s true that there were miraculous events recorded in the Bible prior to Jesus’ life, but with the arrival of God in human form, the veil was drawn back more than ever before. His teachings, miracles, and, most of all, his resurrection and ascension were unmistakable revelations of a coming age will be totally different from the one we and our ancestors have experienced since the Fall.

At this point, I think we can agree that the kingdom of God, though initiated nearly 2000 years ago has yet to arrive in its completeness. The next logical question we should address is how that’s going to happen. Again, there are two basic and opposite views.

How the Kingdom of God Will Arrive:  Two More Conflicting Views

The first is called “dominionism” and its adherents claim that the church will slowly transform this world into the kingdom. Once that’s done, Jesus will return to rule and that will be that. Think of it as culminating into a universal Christian theocracy, if you will.

Dominionism, whether overtly expressed or not, has influenced much of the modern church today. For example, from the Book of Common Prayer used by the Episcopal Church we have in this prayer for peace:

O Almighty God, kindle, we beseech thee, in every heart the true love of peace, and guide with thy wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth, that in tranquillity thy dominion may increase till the earth is filled with the knowledge of thy love; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (BCP page 207).

The petition in the prayer is for God to guide those who lead the nations with the “wisdom” to “in tranquility” turn our troubled planet into a utopia Of course, anyone who is familiar with Bible prophecy is keenly aware that the Last Days will be characterized by anything but tranquility. All human government falls far short of God’s standards, even the best of them. In his God’s eyes they all look “beastly” (Daniel, chapter 7). The worst “beast government” of all will be controlled by the worst beast of all, the Antichrist (Daniel, chapter 7; Revelation, chapter 13).

Here’s a thought: If Christians are to ultimately take over the world, what does the condition of Twenty-first Century Earth say about the kind of job they’ve been doing for the last 2000 years? Shouldn’t things be a whole lot better by now if Christians are supposed to be moving humanity toward utopia through their own efforts?

A final proof of the error of the dominionist viewpoint is that the Bible tells us unambiguously that believers (or saints) will most certainly not prevail by their own methods to establish the kingdom of God on Earth:

Daniel {7:21} I beheld, and the same horn* made war with the saints, and prevailed against them. *The Antichrist.

Revelation {13:6-7} And he* opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. *The beast, referring to the Antichrist.

The rule of the Antichrist, aided and abetted by a second beast known as the false prophet (Revelation 13:11-18), will only end by the return of Jesus, not by anything even the saints of that day can do:

Revelation {19:19-20} And I saw the beast*, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet** that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. *The Antichrist ** The second beast.

Interestingly, this idea of a world take-over by some type of human government is not a new idea, nor is it limited to dominionism. It has parallels to the Islamic belief that it a Muslim theocracy will one day rule the world under the “mahdi.” It can also be found in Hitler’s assertion that his Third Reich would rule the planet for a thousand years and Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s claim that Communism would one day “bury us” (the capitalist countries comprising the free world) in a speech he gave in the 1960’s.

I think what we see here is Satan’s tendency to repeat one of his strategies with only the details and faces being changed. It seems safe to conclude therefore that Dominionism is nothing but a rehashing of an old tactic that has failed every time throughout history because it is nothing more than a lie. The devil is merely exploiting once again the classic human inability to learn much from history.

The alternative to this, for lack of a specific name, we can call “Anti-dominionism” and define it as the course of history being totally under God’s control with the ultimate result of “making all things new” (Revelation 21:5). It is only into this new reality, free from the sin that poisoned our universe in the dim past, that God’s Kingdom will finally at long last arrive and only at his direction and timing, not ours!

Concluding Thoughts

Does this mean that we as believers are to just sit back placidly and wait for it to happen? I think not because Jesus said:

Luke {12:35-37} Let your loins be girded about, and [your] lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed [are] those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.

Matthew {28:19-20} Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world.

We are to be watching continuously for his return and to be getting out his message while we watch because it is only by the truth that we can stand against the evil that is growing exponentially in our End-Times World. By doing so we will add to the count of citizens who will enter that promised kingdom of God and live forever where:

Revelation {21:4} God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

From all indications, the time is short, maybe even shorter than we can imagine. So, we would be wise to remember Paul’s words as he quoted Isaiah (Isaiah 49:8):

2 Corinthians 6:2} For he* saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now [is] the accepted time; behold, now [is] the day of salvation. *God

It’s time to get busy, don’t you think?

Christophobia

One of the most telling signals of these last days I want to point to in this essay flashes daily in the spiritual eyes of observers of these prophetic times.

We are bombarded, of course, by things surrounding the nation Israel, which is the number-one sign of where we stand on God’s prophetic timeline. We see the violence that seems to be rising to the level, perhaps, nearly like it was in the days of Noah. The moral depravity hits us between the eyes hourly with homosexuality on the way to becoming the preferred lifestyle, not merely an alternative lifestyle, if Hollywood, the media, and the political left have their way.

We have become worse as a generation, just in America, than some of the most pagan of societies of past ages. I refer to the murder of more than 59 million unborn babies who have been sacrificed on the altars of convenience since Roe v. Wade in 1973. Abortion is indeed a religion of sort for those who worship the god of self rather than the God Who is the giver of life.

All of that said, I can think of no signal, sign, or attitude that more strongly signifies the lateness of the prophetic hour than that of the current, irrational anger toward Jesus Christ.

Those of us who hold to biblical values for maintaining sane, moral society and culture are accused of waging war on women, are said to be sexists, are called extremists of every description, or are designated homophobes and Islamaphobes. If we want an America like the Founding Fathers gave us and for which millions have fought and died, we are called judgmental and full of hate speech. We are insensitive, inflammatory, and in need of being locked away or sent for re-education/training.

The progressives brand us with all of the phobias they have coined or invented. They equate our belief system with irrational, schizophrenic behavior that is intolerant and that must be judicially dispatched so everyone else can forge ahead into a new age free of Christian restrictiveness.

They are absolutely right in one respect. It is the Christian worldview that is the holdup to wickedness being given free rein and/or reign, make no mistake. Paul foretells in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 that it is the Restrainer–the Holy Spirit, resident within each believer–the Church, that is indeed holding back evil.

Islam is not considered in the liberal mind as being part of things gone awry. This is because the same father of lies directs this sort of thought process like he directs the perverted theology of Islam. Muslim thought and action are, for example, given almost complete non-culpable status around the world by a large portion of those within our political system and by mainstream news media.

This same spiritually dark thinking was made manifest in the Benghazi matter when a video–which practically no one viewed—was blamed for an uprising that murdered the American ambassador and others. The truth is that it was Muslim hatred–Islamist terrorists— that planned then perpetrated those ghastly murders.

One example of this was a number of years ago when the Nigerian Christian schoolgirls were abducted in Chibok. Rather than blame the Boko Haram Muslim terrorists, the Obama administration line was leaked that it was the Christian government of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan that was to blame for the abduction. It was proposed that if that Christian government had been less restrictive and more accommodating to those of Islam, the (group) would not have acted as they did.

That American president from the very beginning made it clear that he viewd America as a non-Christianity-oriented country. He announced right after taking the oath of office that this is no longer a Christian nation.

Now, I’m not saying I disagree with his assessment. America certainly is moving fast and furiously away from the docks of Judeo-Christian moorings to which this ship of state was safely attached by the Founding Fathers. But, it was Obama’s administration’s constant and consistent support of or silence about judicial action against Christians that was so starkly disturbing. I will just mention a few very brief examples here of the hatred by governmental agencies and others for Christian, Bible-based thought. These were from several years ago, but the Christ haters still strain at the bits to punish and destroy Christian businesses.

I could cite dozens, and I’m sure you’ve read or heard dozens of examples yourself.

A Methodist church in New Jersey was sued for not offering its facility for use during same-sex weddings. A judge ruled against them. (LifeSiteNews.com]

Christian photographers, Elane Photography, in New Mexico was approached by a same-sex couple looking to hire a wedding photographer. Elane Photography politely declined, citing their Christian faith. The studio was sued by the couple under the state’s antidiscriminatory laws, and the couple won. (Amicus Brief in Elane Photography v. Willock; cited by Eugene Volokh on November 2, 2012 in Freedom of Speech)

Twin brothers, Jason and David Benham, were preparing to launch a show on HGTV entitled Flip It Forward. In the show, the brothers would be helping families in need renovate their homes. But when their staunch Christian beliefs were brought into the limelight by Right Wing Watch, HGTV cancelled the show before it ever had a chance to air. Their crime? A strong stance against homosexuality, abortion, and radical Islam. (Terresa Monroe-Hamilton, “The Silencing of American Christians,http://www.rightsidenews.com/2014050934250/life-and-science/culture-wars/the-silencing-of-american-christians.html; published on May 9, 2014)

These post-Christian-era bastions of “toleration” call Christian “homophobes” and “Islamaphobes,” and accuse Bible-believing people of being “haters.” But, it is becoming increasingly obvious that they, themselves, are victims of the reprobate thinking–the turning toward insane ways of thought, as given by the apostle Paul in Romans, chapter 1.

They are “Christophobes.” They fear and hate anything to do with Jesus Christ. They see what is represented by His Holy Name as inflammatory and intolerant.

This doesn’t surprise. As a matter of fact, it is a major signal of where we are at present on God’s prophetic timeline.

Jesus said: “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. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.” (John 15: 18-21)

 

Is God Judging?

Books are published and videos produced that deal with God’s judgment upon those who curse Israel. Some put forth that the Lord answers each attempt at forcing the Jewish state to give up land for peace by sending direct violent, natural phenomena—that is, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.

These books and videos are produced by strongly devoted Christians, most for whom I hold considerable respect. They view these correlations between nations dealing with Israel and such geophysical rampages as documentable in every case.

Most begin their premises with the familiar pronouncement recorded in Genesis chapter 12:

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis12:1–3)

Some hold that presidents have paid the price for dealing with the Jewish people in a way that might be viewed as a “curse.” for example, Franklin D. Roosevelt died of cerebral hemorrhage after deciding the U.S. would not help in the formation of the Jewish state in its God-given land. Harry S. Truman was made president upon Roosevelt’s death in 1945. Truman was raised by a mother who was a strong Christian believer. She instilled in him the biblical truth that Israel is God’s chosen people.

Truman, in 1948, supported Israel’s rebirth, defying most everyone in his cabinet and the U.S. State Department. Thus, some who believe that God deals directly in the matters involving Israel hold that Roosevelt was removed because of his treatment of Israel. Truman, they believe, was blessed because he took Israel’s side. In fact, the polls and all political watchers wrote Truman off in the 1948 election, believing New York Governor Thomas Dewey would win the election.

Truman’s smiling face as he held up a newspaper the morning following the election tells the story, so far as those who think the curse vs blessing applies today are concerned. The headline read “Dewey Wins!” Of course, Truman won against all odds.

We know the end of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. They came to their demise in the most ignominious way imaginable. They brought the entire German people down, dividing their nation. Similar disasters have befallen most all who have come against the Jewish race and Israel in a way intended to destroy them.

Coming into our day, those who write the books and produce the films point to events that prove their postulation that God deals directly in many cases with anti-Israel actions.

George H. W. Bush and his secretary of state, James Baker, held Israel at arm’s length, viewing the Jewish state in many cases as the problem in the Middle East. On one occasion, while the Bush Administration was trying to force peace on the region by trying to make Israel give up land, hurricane-force winds drove the Atlantic into the Bush home at Kennebunkport, Maine.

The son of Bush 41, President George W. Bush, it is pointed out, by trying to force Middle East peace at Israel’s expense, opened the divine door for Hurricane Katrina. That horrific storm occurred at the same time Jewish people were forced to leave their homes within territory won by Israel after the nation was attacked. Many in America were, approximately at the same time, forced to move from storm-stricken areas.

Now, what am I saying? Am I, with my commentary title’s question, pooh-poohing the proposition that these storms and other disastrous-type occurrences might have any correlation to leaders and nations dealing with God’s chosen nation and people?

No, as a matter of fact, I have quoted in my own books excerpts from some of the books by those who have written on the matters just mentioned. Most of my inclusion of those quotations have been positive. I do believe there is credence in many cases to the supposition that there is documentable evidence to support these writers’ position.

However, as I’ve asked in the title of the commentary: Is God judging? That’s a point to consider, because there are inconsistencies. Not every move against the Israeli people or Israel has thus far resulted in such direct judgment.

For example, Iran continues to declare their death wish for Israel. The entire U.N. is against the Jewish state—except for a very few. America, herself, was led to be against Israel by the previous administration.

There isn’t always, or even most of the time, direct, heavenly action against the diabolists who come against Israel.

So, Is God truly “judging” at the present time?

I will accept that it might merely be a matter of semantics. But, I view these events—the disasters thought to correlate to dealing nefariously with Israel—as not judgments, but warnings—very dramatic warnings in some cases. They are harbingers of things to come.

The truly God-directed judgments that are coming are stipulated throughout the old and new Testaments. Revelation particularly lays out the judgments of God in no uncertain terminology. God is going to bring the whole world into the place called Armageddon specifically because of the way the nations of the world have dealt with Israel—with the Jew.

For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, 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: 1-2)

Evil Continually

To my way of thinking, the number-one societal/cultural manifestation that points to the fact that this generation is at the very end of these last days is the wickedness that’s in every direction one looks. Evil permeates not just our lives through the never-ending crimes that assault us in every way imaginable, but also our very imaginations—individually and collectively—constantly delve and wallow in every sort of evil.

I find myself mesmerized, for example, time after time after time by the horrors of Adolf Hitler and his rampage against the Jews and all of humanity, while listening to the recounting of that beast’s short but unbelievably brutal time on the planet. There seems no end to the documentaries just on Hitler, alone, that fill hours upon hours of television fare. Likewise, I’m intrigued far more intensively than I should allow myself to be by the TV channel offerings that present factual accounts of murders, rapes, and other vileness man perpetrates upon man.

Entertainment venues are devoted to bringing us accounts of violence—both fictional and factual. So are the hard-news journalists who bring us their versions of the “news” during this late hour of the age. In that regard, we can hear reports of every sordid kind of local evil within the thirty minutes allotted for local news every evening.

So, not only are we bombarded by evil from our surroundings that could take our very lives, but our fallen imaginations—already wicked in and of themselves—are also encouraged to relish in the terrors suffered by others through the mayhem presented hourly on our computer monitor, TV, and movie screens.

Beyond that given above, we now face a burgeoning wickedness by a religion that threatens all of humanity in the name of their god.

Islam, headed toward 2 billion in number, is purported by the woolly-minded of the American left to be a religion of peace that has as its objective to bring all people into tranquility so that fighting and dissensions will end. It is more than overtly obvious, however, that that tranquility is intended to come through the death of anyone and everyone who won’t bow the knee to Allah. It is the same for all luciferian planning. It’s bow the knee to whatsoever regime, be it secular or religious, or lose the head…or be removed by the equivalent means of dispatch.

Antichrist will be the ultimate such beast, we are told. We are seeing his rise today that is swift and certain.

Evil continues to dominate the cultures throughout all of humanity. Jesus prophesied that the very last days before His return will be like in the days of Noah. Here is what God’s Word records about that time: “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

Paul the apostle prophesied that evil men and seducers will grow worse, deceiving and being deceived. We certainly see the truth of that foretelling in every direction we look today. Although Islam and all it entails manifests the absolute evil that is leading this generation to another juncture in human history when God must again take wrathful action as He did with the antediluvians, we must look within ourselves to see the true manifestation of the wickedness that separates humankind from the Creator.

When we are born again, we have a new, eternal, life in Christ. Old things have passed away, and all things within our souls have been made new. We are to live in that glorious light while we progress toward our heavenly home. We are instructed how to begin living in that light, putting the evil that continually plagues fallen man behind us as the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to do so.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you” (Philippians 4: 8–9).

 

 

Rapture and Watching

Recently I listened to a well-known preacher on his TV program saying something to the effect that only those “watching” for Jesus will go to be with Christ in the Rapture. He defined “watching” as those Christians who are truly wanting for Jesus to return and that believe with great faith that He will call them to Himself in that great Rapture event.

This didn’t totally surprise me, because this particular preacher has, in my opinion, never been clear in his thoughts on the security of the believer—that is, the once saved, always saved doctrine, as the sometimes hotly debated term goes.

While his remark in making such a statement—to be watching is commanded by the Lord—is scripturally correct, I totally reject the premise that it is possible for even one truly born-again person to be left behind when Christ says: “Come up hither” (Rev. 4: 1).

I believe that the apostle Paul made very clear who will be taken in the Rapture when Jesus calls the Church. Paul, in revealing the mystery of the Rapture, said the following:

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

Paul, given the key to this mystery by the Lord Jesus Himself, tells us clearly that all will be changed. It will take place in less than a microsecond. That’s the Rapture!

The word “we” is the pronoun that is all-inclusive as given in this context. The “we” here means all who are born again—the Church.

There is no room for any believer to be left behind in Paul’s declaration. Those who are truly saved—that is, who are in Christ Jesus, who shed His blood and resurrected to redeem all who will but received this free, grace gift, will go in that twinkling-of-an-eye moment.

Paul, under divine inspiration, further enlightens concerning the security of the believer:

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

Again, Paul uses a pronoun that is all-inclusive of believers in God’s way to salvation—Jesus Christ—the only righteousness God the Father recognizes. Paul, under that divine inspiration, says that nothing and no one will ever be able to separate “us” from the love of God.

Paul is undeniably talking about the born-again, because he goes on to say that this “love” of which he speaks is “in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The pronoun this time is “our,” meaning those he is talking about—including Paul himself—who are born again—that is, who are believers in Christ for salvation. 

The TV preacher then said that watching for Christ means one is “worthy” to stand before the Lord on that Rapture day. Again, implying strongly that unless one is watching, he or she is not going to go in the Rapture.

He used the following Scripture in that declaration:

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 21:36)

Some years ago, I addressed the matter of being “worthy” in God’s holy eyes.

What does it mean to be “worthy,” as given in this Rapture example? Again, the answer is wrapped up in the same name as before: Jesus. Jesus is the only person “worthy,” in God’s holy eyes, to be in the heavenly realm.

Remember what Jesus said to a man who addressed Him as “Good Master”?

And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. (Luke 18:18)

Jesus, the second person of the Godhead, was not seeking to chastise the man for addressing Him in this way. The Lord was confirming through this question that He is indeed God, the only good, the only righteousness. Righteousness is the only ticket to Heaven–either through the portal of death, or through the Rapture. Only through Jesus—being born again into God’s family through belief in Him—can a person enter the heavenly realm.

Jesus spoke to this all-important matter by addressing Nicodemus:

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)

God’s Word says about fallen mankind:

As it is written, There is none righteous no not one. (Romans 8:10)

And:

For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 8:23)

So, Jesus is the only person “worthy” to enter Heaven. It is through Him that any of us are worthy to stand before Him in that heavenly realm. That is the truth found in the Scripture in question.

On a less magnificent scale, the word “worthy” in this passage means that we should be in a constant mindset of prayerful repentance. We should always want to be found “worthy”—cleansed of all unrighteousness, as stated in 1 John 1:9, so that we will hear our Lord say to us on that day:

Well done, good and faithful servant. (Matthew 25:23)

Many of God’s children will doubtlessly lose rewards at the Bema (judgment seat of Christ,) for not being watchful and not listening for their Lord’s call in the Rapture. But, they will make that fantastic trip into Heaven, every single one, because of the Lamb of God who redeemed them.

Terry James Prophecy Line

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