Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Rapture and the Covenant - Pete Garcia -
I am not a scholar, nor the son of a scholar, but I do believe I am being faithful to the calling the Lord has set me upon. In that calling, I've come to understand some basic truths about the nature of God through study, mentorship, and leading by the Holy Spirit. One of those truths is that God never changes.
However, how He has dealt with mankind over the past six thousand years, has changed. This is primarily because the information available to mankind has changed. God did not reveal everything to Adam, nor to Noah, or Abraham, etc. Information about God, His nature, and His agenda would be revealed incrementally. This progressive revelation came in the form of administrations, or dispensations. Changing from one to the next, meant changes in what man was accountable for knowing or doing.
I liken these administrative changes, to how a parent raises a child. It would be unjust and irresponsible for a parent to have the same rules for a 2-year-old that they do for a 12-year-old, or vice-versa. Even though the rules and responsibilities may change, a good parent never stops loving or caring for their children regardless the age.
So we come to one of those topics today that I inject my understanding of Scripture for the things I know. I'll also inject some speculation on things I am unsure of, simply because there is not enough information about it in Scripture to make firm declarations. And since I am also not a prophet (or son of one), I can only work with the tools I have available at my disposal. One of those topics I believe is what salvation looks like after the Church is caught up in the Rapture. I believe the keys to understanding this are:
Old Testament (OT) salvation (and I use that term liberally) is not the same thing as our salvation now in this dispensation. Romans 4:3 states that Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. But what did Abraham believe? Did he believe in the Gospel of Christ crucified? Well, no, because the Incarnation had not yet happened and thus how God would redeem mankind remained a mystery (1 Cor. 2:7). In fact, in Matthew 16, when Jesus asked His disciples who men said that He was, He praised Peter's answer of "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God" by saying Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
But Abraham was asked to do to Isaac (his only son) the very thing that Christ would one day have to do...become the sacrifice. I believe that Abraham's faith in God was that He would resurrect his son and ultimately himself. He may not have understood it then as we do today, but He had faith in God. This is why there is an entire chapter on the faith of the Old Testament saints (Hebrews 11). In the OT, salvation is more akin to redemption, which is still a result of God's grace through our faith, but the object of said faith was not yet fully understood.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. Hebrews 11:1-2
This good testimony is what redeemed them to a place we know as Paradise or Abraham's Bosom. At certain times and usually for specific reasons, the Holy Spirit would indwell individuals to carry out God's specific task for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it was national deliverance (Samson), sometimes it was national leadership (Saul, David). But what it wasn't, was universal. Not everyone who had this good testimony was indwelt by the Holy Spirit (or at least Scripture does not tell us this).
But the Holy Spirit could also depart from men when they strayed from God's plan (Samson, Saul). When these OT persons died, they either went to a place known as Paradise (or Abraham's Bosom), or to Torments, which comprised the other half of Sheol (or Hades). (See Luke 16:19-31, 23:43)
While redemption was not exclusive to Israel (see Job 19:25-27), they were however set aside as a people who were meant to be light to a world shrouded in demonic darkness (Exodus 19:6). Instead, we read about a people who struggled nationally with holiness and the demands of the Law. The Law as it was given to Moses, was designed to point them to their need for the coming Redeemer. Instead, they made a religion out of the Law and began adding to it making it even more cumbersome (Acts 15:10-11). Instead of pointing to the Christ (Messiah), it became a shallow, works-based version of what it was meant to represent. This is why when Jesus pointed out the intent of the Law, the Jewish clerical leadership (Pharisee, Sadducees, and Scribes) plotted to kill Him (Mark 3:6, 14:1).
Key takeaway: OT salvation meant justification and/or redemption by faith in God and what He would do (future tense). The Holy Spirit could come upon a person, but could also depart from said person. The Holy Spirit would come and go from man as necessary to accomplish God's plan. The deceased either went to Paradise or Torments. The OT ends with Christ's death on the cross (Matt. 27:51).
Dispensation of Grace
Salvation as we know it today is a Church-age phenomenon that makes salvation open to all mankind by believing in the finished work of Christ on the Cross. When Jesus said, it is finished (John 19:30), He meant that there was nothing further He could do to satisfy God's demands in the Law for sacrifice. He offered Himself as the perfect, blemish-less lamb that takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). His burial and subsequent resurrection on the third day, were simply the fulfillment of the prophetic texts (Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, etc.), patterns (feasts) and sign (sign of Jonah) that had to be fulfilled. Furthermore, anyone in this dispensation who believes on Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins is immediately filled and sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption (Eph. 1:11-14, 4:30). None of the OT saints ever had that guarantee bestowed upon them.
Believers in this age are sealed by the Holy Spirit by a one-time profession of faith. Not because of works, or how dutiful we are in our "Christianity" (John 3:16, 36; Romans 10:9-10; Eph. 2:8-9). The reason it's called the Age of Grace by dispensationalists is not because its grace (grace has always been a factor through every dispensation), but probably because we are the least deserving of it. We have history, archeology, prophecy, technology, and a complete set of Scriptures for our benefit, and still, many reject God, pervert His words, and/or live unchanged lives after we are redeemed (See Luke 12:48).
But one day, this special dispensation (age/era) will come to an end when those who are sealed by the Holy Spirit, will be caught up (both the living and the dead) to be glorified in their eternal bodies and be with our Lord forever (Jn. 14:1-3, 1 Thess. 4:13-18, 1 Cor. 15:51-55). We have to be changed (from mortal to immortal) because where we are going (third heaven), the human body (flesh and blood) cannot survive. This is why the Holy Spirit is withdrawn (2 Thess 2:7) [I believe the ESV has the best translation of this particular chapter], because He currently indwells all believers as a guarantee. But does this mean that no one else can be saved after the Rapture?
Key Takeaway: The key distinctive of this age, and the ones before and after, is the role of the Holy Spirit. Redemption and/or justification by grace through faith remains as it always has, but now, God sent the Holy Spirit to permanently seal those who professed true faith in Christ death, burial, and resurrection for the forgiveness of their sins (1 Cor. 15:1-5, Gal. 1:9). Once this dispensation ends, the world goes back to the way it was before Acts 2 Pentecost.
The Seventieth Week
The Seventieth Week of Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27) chronicles the last seven years of human-led history. This week of years is devoted to two things: destroying all the Christ-rejecting nations, and disciplining, but preserving a remnant of the Jewish nation Israel (hence why it's called 'the time of Jacob's Trouble') (Jeremiah 30:7-11).
Just like the world before the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4 when the Holy Spirit was given), the world will one day return to an age and reality where the Holy Spirit does not, in fact, seal everyone who places their faith in Jesus Christ. If Acts 2 had any significance at all, then it was the physical, visible given of the Holy Spirit to mankind to demonstrate the significance of the Church Age (or Age of Grace).
But we also know that the Holy Spirit existed on the earth before Acts 2. Genesis 1:2 and numerous subsequent OT passages indicate that the Holy Spirit is omnipresent and was busy on earth long before that Pentecost. So the idea that the HS is no longer on the earth at all is simply a misreading of the passage (2 Thess. 2:7). The Holy Spirit is in fact, the Restrainer, who is acting to restrain evil by always keeping a remnant of believers alive.
The Church (i.e....the salt and light and body of Christ) preserves God's judgment from being exacted upon a lost world whose current administrator is Satan (Luke 4:5-6) until the day of redemption (the Rapture). We do not see the Holy Spirit active on the earth during the last seven years except to seal the 144K Jewish male virgins as found in Revelation 7.
But we know that God is merciful and long-suffering (Jonah 4:2, 2 Peter 3:9). It could be that the martyrs we see in Revelation 6:9-11 (the fifth seal) are a result of believers who come to faith in Christ during the gap of time between the Rapture and the beginning of the official 70th Week. Seeing as the Rapture does not start the 70th Week, but must wait for a peace accord or a kind of covenant (Dan. 9:27), it makes sense that they come to faith early on because of the Rapture. It could be that the Holy Spirit makes one last past through (a gleaning if you will) before the strong delusion is placed upon the earth (2 Thess. 2:11).
We also see that believers come from all the tribes of the earth (primarily Gentiles then) up until the Seventh Seal. There is no mention of anyone being redeemed beyond that point except for those Jews who are saved. But we know that there will be Gentile believers at the end because of Matthew 25:31-46 and Isaiah 2:1-4. Those martyrs who are already physically dead by the Fifth Seal are positioned below the altar of God asking how much longer it would be (Rev. 6:10-11). We know that these martyrs aren't part of the Church because the Church isn't hanging out below the altar waiting for God to exact justice on our fellow brethren and servants.
Key Takeaway: Although many will come to faith in the time immediately following the Rapture (and because of it), but before the start of the official 70th Week, it is unclear that many will become believers once the "Tribulation" officially starts apart from Israel. Since it is extremely likely the Rapture causes many to come to faith finally realizing that it was real after all, then it is also equally likely that those believers are also killed fairly early on leaving primarily Israel and an unrepentant world (whose given over to a strong delusion) as the sole inhabitants of the earth.
We have seen the Church go through seven stages (mirroring the Seven Letters in Revelation) for the past two millennia. As important as the Reformation was, it did not go far enough primarily because it adopted the same Eschatology as the church it sought to reform from the Roman Catholic Church.
It was both the Great Awakening and subsequent Dispensational movement of the 18th and 19th centuries that saw the Church reach its peak in terms of biblical "authority" and knowledge. It was here that the great missionary movements were sent out to every nation, as well as men coming to about the best knowledge they could arrive at (this side of the Rapture). But during the 20th century, both began to wane as a lukewarmness swept across western Christendom.
Here is where I am inserting my own speculation. Some wonder why we spend so much time going on about the Rapture as we do. Aside from our curiosity and excitement about this coming event for our generation, it will also serve as evidence for those who are left behind. One second after the Rapture, the world will be cast into turmoil and chaos. It will remain in chaos until a system (the beast) rises up to take the reins of a global system (possibly ran by some form of Artificial Intelligence). It is in this system that a man (the little horn, the rider on the white horse, the man of sin) rises up to take control of the beast. He confirms some kind of covenant between Israel and the many (many gentile nations) that officially starts the beginning of the seven-year countdown.
How long that gap is between the Rapture and the covenant is anyone's guess. I believe it is anywhere from a few months, to a few years. But however long it is, it seems long enough for people to realize that this Rapture thing we crazy "Pre-Tribber's" have been going on and on about was real. Because of the Rapture then, many come to faith in Christ, yet, they will not be sealed by the Holy Spirit in the same manner we are.
The reason they aren't is because Satan also has a seal (the Mark of the Beast-Rev. 13:16-18) and both systems cannot exist at the same time, because one preserves eternally, while the other damns eternally. If even one born-again Christian who was sealed by the Holy Spirit were somehow to take the Mark of the Beast, then "theoretically", Scripture could be broken. We know the 144K Jewish male virgins are marked by a seal on their foreheads, but what exactly that entails we do not know (Ezekiel 9:4; Rev. 7:3). If we assume they aren't sealed by the Holy Spirit, that doesn't mean God can't preserve them in some other way. We've seen all throughout the OT (Noah's Ark, Lot's early exit, parting the Red Sea, etc.) how God miraculously delivers His own. But overwhelmingly, these Tribulation martyrs are given over for slaughter by the Antichrist and his beast system (Revelation 13:7).
Lastly, while some may take issue with me placing believers in different categories, they shouldn't. There are different categories of animals, plants, heavenly bodies, angels, humans, etc. why shouldn't there be different categories of believers? Our diversity and differences will all be used by God to bring Himself glory, and that should be a great comfort to us.
I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:25-27
Trump peace proposal will seek regional deal, won't set timetable - By Raphael Ahren -
Channel 2 says administration wants to bring Arab states to table, thinks Abbas is 'serious,' will not impose terms. US, in response, says no imminent intention to unveil its plan
US President Donald Trump's administration will shortly unveil a formal proposal for Middle East peace that aims to enable a "comprehensive regional arrangement," but that will not be imposed on the sides, and that will not feature a rigid timetable, Israel's Channel 2 news reported on Sunday evening.
The proposal has been drawn up on the basis that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is a credible leader who genuinely seeks a permanent accord, the report said, quoting unnamed sources in the Trump administration.
The sources said that, were that not the case, the Trump peace team would not have spent so much time on the issue.
The TV report said the US proposal would be aimed at bringing Arab states to the peace table with Israel, and that its components would be open to negotiation by all sides.
Such an approach would apparently represent a departure from previous US peace efforts, which focused primarily on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has argued repeatedly that progress on the Palestinian front can be best achieved in the wider context of warming Israeli ties with Arab states.
President Donald Trump's administration aims to act quickly and efficiently to advance the goal of a comprehensive regional deal, but will not impose an "artificial timetable" and will not seek to impose terms, the TV report said. Again, the absence of a timetable would mark an adjusted US approach.
Contacted by The Times of Israel, an administration official said the US was continuing its peace efforts but had no immediate plans to present a proposal.
"It would be more newsworthy if we weren't working towards an enduring peace. We are engaged in a productive dialogue with all relevant parties about an enduring peace deal but are not going to put an artificial deadline on anything. We have no imminent plans beyond continuing our conversations. As we have always said, our job is to facilitate a deal that works for both the Israelis and Palestinians, not to impose anything on them," the official said.
Administration officials have in the past made plain that a proposal will be put forward at some point in the near future, and that the administration will discuss its specifics at that time.
The TV report said administration officials have revealed aspects of the proposal to Democratic politicians. An unnamed Democratic source was quoted saying that the Trump officials promised the Democrats that they would be "pleased" with the approach.
The TV report said the administration was highly aware of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security concerns.
It said that Netanyahu has told his ministers that Trump is a businessman and that he would likely demand a price from those who say no to him. For that reason, Netanyahu prefers at this stage not to argue with the president, it further quoted the prime minister as saying.
Is Iran Trying to Bring Islamic End-of-Days in Syria? - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz -
"Behold, I am sending My messenger to clear the way before Me, and the Lord whom you seek shall come to His Temple suddenly. As for the angel of the covenant that you desire, he is already coming." Malachi 3:1 (The Israel Bible™)
Iran is establishing bases in Syria, but according to some sources, their preparations to engage Israel are motivated far more by Messianic aspirations than military or political ones.
Iran has frequently stated its desire to desire to destroy Israel, claiming the Jewish state as the focus of its nuclear and long-range missile program. Iran has also funneled millions of dollars into proxy enemies of Israel, like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
According to Debka, a Middle East military analysis site, Iran is now stepping up its pace, having established 13 military installations in Syria. Some experts see behind this a sinister desire for the end of the world - Islam style.
Indeed, the escalation of Iranian military efforts in Syria are religiously motivated, Ryan Mauro, a political analyst for the Clarion Project, explained in a recent interview.
"This isn't normal competition between hostile powers, this isn't even the normal Iranian sponsorship of terrorism or attempts to expand their military presence," Mauro said. "To the Iranian regime this is the fulfillment of prophecy."
Mauro pointed out that new Iranian troops are called Ansar al-Mahdi ("Supporters of the Messiah"). It has also created a 313th brigade, into which it is is recruiting young Syrian Shiites. According to tradition in Shiite Islam, 313 is the number of fighters that will arrive with the Mahdi, the Islamic Messiah.
Islam's tradition holds that Mahdi is the redeemer of Islam. The arrival of Mahdi will coincide with the arrival of the Christian messiah, who will be the Mahdi's assistant in fighting the Masih ad-Dajjal, the false messiah, or anti-Christ.
According to the tradition, the Mahdi will reappear along with Jesus, who will declare himself a Muslim, and kill Christians who refuse to convert. Shia Islam holds that the end-of-days will be a bloody battle, killing off two-thirds of the world population and leaving the rest to convert to Islam.
The concept of Mahdi is explicit in Iranian politics. In a speech in front of the UN General Assembly in 2008, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad left the gathered politicians aghast as he explicitly begged Allah to hasten the return of the Mahdi.
"You are not dealing with fully rational actors," Mauro said. "You can be irrational and strategic and pragmatic at the same time, which is what Iran is doing. If you understand these prophecies, you can understand Iran."
Mauro explained that according to Shiite theology, Iran believes they will lead the battle against Sunni adversaries, continue down into Israel, and eventually take over Jerusalem. He believes that the recent destabilization in Saudi Arabia is a direct result of Iran's apocalyptic agenda.
Debka editor Giora Shamis agreed. "The basis of Iran's policy is based on spreading Shiite Islam and making it the dominant religion in the world," Shamis told Breaking Israel News.
"The Iranian revolution in 1978 was solely a religious movement focused in a religious battle against America. This is being carried out today in the smallest details. It is impossible to discuss the Iranians or their actions in the region without taking into account their religious agenda."
Saudi Arabia and Arab allies push for unity against Iran, Hezbollah -
Saudi Arabia and other Arab foreign ministers criticized Iran and its Lebanese Shi'ite ally Hezbollah at an emergency meeting in Cairo on Sunday, calling for a united front to counter Iranian interference.
Regional tensions have risen in recent weeks between Sunni monarchy Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Islamist Iran over Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri's surprise resignation, and an escalation in Yemen's conflict.
Hariri, a Saudi ally, resigned on November 4 from Riyadh, accusing Iran and Hezbollah of spreading strife. But Lebanese President Michel Aoun and other politicians accused Saudi Arabia of holding Hariri hostage and said he had been coerced into resigning. Saudi Arabia and Hariri both deny that.
Hezbollah, both a military force involved in Syria's war and a political movement, is part of a Lebanese government made up of rival factions, and an ally of Aoun.
Saudi Arabia also accuses Hezbollah of a role in the launch of a missile towards Riyadh from Yemen this month. Iran denies accusations that it supplies Houthi forces there.
"The kingdom will not stand by and will not hesitate to defend its security," Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir told the assembly. "We must stand together."
The emergency Arab foreign ministers' meeting was convened at the request of Saudi Arabia with support from the UAE, Bahrain, and Kuwait to discuss means of confronting Iranian intervention.
In a declaration after the meeting, the Arab League accused Hezbollah of "supporting terrorism and extremist groups in Arab countries with advanced weapons and ballistic missiles." It said Arab nations would provide details to the UN Security Council of Tehran's violations for arming militias in Yemen.
Lebanon's Arab League representative objected to the declaration accusing Hezbollah of terrorism and said it is part of Lebanon's government, the Hezbollah-affiliated Manar television channel reported.
United Arab Emirates' Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Twitter later that the declaration was a "clear message" about joint Arab action against Iran.
Yemen's civil war pits the internationally recognised government, backed by Saudi Arabia and its allies, against the Houthis and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
"Iranian threats have gone beyond all limits and pushed the region into a dangerous abyss," Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said.
"Unfortunately countries like the Saudi regime are pursuing divisions and creating differences, and because of this they don't see any results other than divisions," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Iranian state media on Sunday on the sidelines of a meeting in Antalya.
Egypt's foreign minister received a call from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday when they also discussed regional tensions over Lebanon, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
After French intervention, Hariri flew to France and met President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Saturday. He will arrive in Cairo for a visit on Tuesday, his office said.
Speaking in Paris, Hariri said he would clarify his position when he returns to Beirut in the coming days. He said he would take part in Lebanese independence day celebrations, scheduled for Wednesday.
Just a Matter of Time - By Daymond Duck -
Iran's growing domination of Syria and Lebanon (with Russia's consent) has brought Israel and Lebanon to the threshold of war, but this looming conflict doesn't appear to be an ordinary war. It is shaping up like a prophesied war with implications for the Rapture, Tribulation Period and more.
War broke out between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006. It ended 34 days later with a UN-sponsored ceasefire that required the UN to disarm unidentified militant forces (Hezbollah) in Lebanon and to prevent those forces from re-arming.
But Hezbollah (means the party of God) refused to disarm, and the UN never did anything about it. Hezbollah even increased its weapons and troops and undermined the Lebanese government, and the UN remained dormant.
On Nov. 4, 2017, Lebanon's Prime Minister fled the country and resigned for fear of being assassinated. His resignation left the nation of Lebanon in chaos.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait have withdrawn their money from Lebanese banks. Some say this will collapse the Lebanese economy.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait also ordered their citizens to leave Lebanon as soon as possible. They even told their citizens that live outside of Lebanon not to go there. They desperately want world leaders (especially the U.S. and Israel) to stop Iran's interference in the affairs of other nations.
Israel has accused Russia and Iran of trying to take over the Middle East. Israel has started moving troops and weapons to its border with Lebanon.
Hezbollah has 150,000-200,000 rockets and missiles aimed at Israel. Israel said she won't go after those rockets and missiles one at a time. Israel will seek a quick victory because Israel knows that her troops may have to fight on several fronts. She knows that she could be Russia's and Iran's next target.
Hezbollah's leaders admit that they unintentionally started the war with Israel in 2006. They say they don't want war right now, but one could easily be started unintentionally.
On Nov. 11, 2017, Pres. Trump met Russian Pres. Putin in Vietnam. At Israel's insistence, Pres. Trump tried to get Pres. Putin to agree to a 30-40 km (roughly 18 to 25 miles) buffer zone to keep Russian, Iranian, Syrian and Hezbollah troops farther away from Israel's border with Syria. Pres. Putin did not agree to that.
Syria sent a drone over the buffer zone (presumably with Russian approval). Israel shot it down.
Iran and Hezbollah want to build bases in the proposed buffer zone, but Israel said she will not allow it. Prime Minister Netanyahu said Israel will protect her borders and act in Syria as Israel sees fit.
To add fuel to the fire, Iran supports Houthi rebels in Yemen. On Nov. 4, 2017, the Houthis fired an Iranian missile at Saudi Arabia's International Airport. The Saudis shot it down.
Saudi Arabia accused Iran of committing an act of war against Saudi Arabia by supplying the Houthis with the missile. Iran responded by threatening to send more missiles to the Houthis.
The Saudis want Iran taken out, but they are not strong enough to do it by themselves. They are pleading with the U.S. and Israel to help them.
It could happen. The U.S. wants Saudi Arabia to help them get a peace treaty in the Middle East, and Israel wants Saudi Arabia to recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish nation.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman, has instructed PA Pres. Mahmoud Abbas to accept Pres. Trump's Middle East peace proposals. He has also told Mr. Abbas to cut the PA's ties with Hezbollah.
All of this comes down to the fact that the Middle East could explode at any time. If something isn't done to calm the situation soon (and hopefully it will), Israel and Lebanon (Hezbollah); or Israel and Syria; or Israel and Russia, Iran and others could find themselves in a very deadly war.
Any one of these wars could draw in the Palestinians, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and others and could quickly turn into a full-blown regional conflict that fulfills several end-of-the-age prophecies.
Related to all of this is the fact that prophecy teachers are divided on which comes first: The Rapture or these wars. It is not clear, but it is just a matter of time until we have the answer.
Prophecy Plus Ministries, Inc.
Daymond & Rachel Duck
Overt demonic activity coming, warns 'Spiritual Warfare' expert - http://www.wnd.com/2017/11/overt-demonic-activity-coming-warns-spiritual-warfare-expert/
'Stand against the powers of darkness rather than ridicule or run from them'
The Roman Catholic Church is publishing prayers to combat the "powers of darkness" as interest continues to grow in the rite of exorcism.
Demons and supernatural forces have become a staple of popular culture, and churches are scrambling to keep up as the imagery of evil continues to flood pop culture.
An expert on combating the demonic, Pastor Karl Payne, former chaplain of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, told WND the "message about a Christian's battle with the world, the flesh and the devil is just as real and relevant today as it was when God originally addressed the subject through the men He inspired to pen the Scripture."
Payne is the author of "Spiritual Warfare: Christians, Demonization, and Deliverance," which now is available as an audiobook,
"The reality of demonic warfare in particular has more to do with the delegated authority God has given every true Christian over all of the powers of the enemy than cultural particulars, ethnicity, gender, education or theological training," he said. "The reality of this enemy, this battle and the delegated authority God has given to Christians over Satan and his minions has not changed."
Payne said the battle "will continue until the Lord Jesus Christ vanquishes all of His enemies."
"I believe according to 1 Timothy 4 that the closer we get to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, the more intense this battle is going to become," he said. "If this is the case, it means that unless Christians want to live like victims rather than victors, they had better do their homework and be willing and able to stand against the powers of darkness rather than ridicule or run from them."
Payne has been a critic of how pop culture increasingly treats the demonic as something glamorous or appropriate for children.
"The growing fascination North Americans and Europeans seem to have with horror movies, spiritism, supernaturalism, the occult and Satanism is softening up the senses and consciences of the people watching and involving themselves in this nonsense," he said. "It's helping prepare them to function as predators or prey when Satan begins his ultimate reign over planet earth through his coming Antichrist and false prophet.
"When two fighters get into the ring, with one thinking the fight is a staged game and the other understanding it is for life or death, the fighter who takes the fight more seriously is generally the fighter who is going to win the fight. Too many Christians seem to think demonic warfare is a game to turn on or off at their convenience, and they are getting their behinds kicked in battles they should be winning rather than losing.
"With the media and public square vilifying the Judeo-Christian faith, and conservative Christianity in particular, people are going to put their faith in something or someone. But unfortunately, it just will not be the Lord Jesus Christ. Satan is alive and well, and he is prowling around like a hungry lion, looking for those he can devour. Christians need to wake up."
The Roman Catholic Church is the organization most strongly associated with exorcism, an image strengthened by its central presence in movies such as "The Exorcist." But Payne says it is a common misperception to believe special titles or denominational credentials are required to fight what the church calls the "powers of darkness."
"I am glad for anyone who knows what they are talking about to stand up against demonic warfare rather than run from it, regardless of their titles or labels," he said of Catholic exorcism efforts. "I still care more about what is actually in a bottle than the label that is on the bottle.
'However, as long as demons legitimately hold 'ground,' Ephesians 4:27, against a person, they will not leave that person until the sin that opened the door for their involvement has been personally confessed and forgiven by God, and the 'ground' they hold against that person has been canceled by God. Demons do not fear pastors, priests, people or their denominational titles. They fear the Lord Jesus Christ and those who understand their delegated authority over the powers of darkness."
Instead of focusing on dogmatic rituals or sensationalism, Payne hopes his book and its new audiobook edition will force American Christians to wake up to the existence of the demonic real and rejoice in the knowledge believers have the power.
"Too much of the church today represents two sides of the same coin," he said. "On one side of the coin are people who like to talk about demonic warfare, but do not know how to stand against it in an effective manner. On the other side of the coin are people who ridicule or run from demonic warfare. They seem to think that in redefining demonic warfare they can eliminate the reality of the battle. This is naÃ¯ve. Again, fighters who prepare for battle generally fare better than those who think it is all a game. Sloganeering is not helpful or effective in confronting demonic spirits who are tormenting Christians. Talking about a battle or playing video games simulating fighting in battles does not win actual battles."
Payne said he wrote the book "as a transferable guide to help Christians learn how to biblically recognize and respond to demonic warfare."
"We should win more battles than we lose, and serve the Lord Jesus Christ with the confidence of a victor empowered by Him rather than playing the role of a passive, helpless victim. We are victors, not victims because of the accomplished work and delegated authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. If my book helps in equipping the saints to fight rather than run, then I will rejoice."
Daily Jot: Planning for Thanksgiving - Bill Wilson -
Across the United States, Americans are preparing for the holiday of Thanksgiving, except that many do not know exactly why we celebrate this wonderful day, and many others believe it is a day of sorrow. Anything in American culture that would portray people in a reverent and humble position toward God Almighty is subject to criticism and Thanksgiving is not exempt. Every year, the godless seek to chip away at the history of this blessed holiday that reminds us as a nation of our roots in thanking God for His many benefits. For example, in 2007 the Seattle Public School system attacked Thanksgiving by instructing its staff to deconstruct Thanksgiving by using a bitter account by a native American advocacy group.
In a letter to Seattle Public School staff, Caprice D. Hollins, the Director of Equity, Race and Learning Support, along with two representatives of Native American Education, directed the staff to the Oyate Web page entitled "Deconstructing the Myths of the First Thanksgiving." The letter says the website "offers suggestions on ways to be sensitive of diverse experiences and perspectives and still make the holiday meaningful for all students. Here you will discover ways to help you and your students think critically, and find resources where you can learn about Thanksgiving from a Native American perspective. Eleven myths are identified about Thanksgiving, take a look at #11 and begin your own deconstruction."
This 2007 website and it's 11 so-called "myths" hardly documented anything from the true historic account of the Plymouth Plantation, written by Mayflower passenger William Bradford, who is considered the nation's first historian. The myths were a collection of bitter politically correct drivel. Myth number 11 recounted as fact: "For many Indian people, "Thanksgiving" is a time of mourning, of remembering how a gift of generosity was rewarded by theft of land and seed corn, extermination of many from disease and gun, and near total destruction of many more from forced assimilation. As currently celebrated in this country, "Thanksgiving" is a bitter reminder of 500 years of betrayal returned for friendship."
In "Of Plymouth Plantation," Bradford writes of how the Indians stole tools from the settlers and after an English speaking Indian named Samoset came to their camp, they became friends, the tools were returned and "With him, after friendly entertainment and some gifts, they made a peace which has now continued for twenty-four years." The peace agreement set forth how the Pilgrims and the Indians would help and protect each other by living in peace. The bitter politically correct crowd has it wrong. The first Thanksgiving, as it was then and is today, is a 1 Chronicles 16:34 day, "O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endures for ever." And don't let the lies of deceivers spoil it.
Daily Devotion: Remembering to Say Thanks - By Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! -Psalm 107:8
In the Old Testament, we find an interesting story of how King Jehoshaphat took an uncommon approach when his enemies waged war against him. Instead of sending in his army first, he sent the choir and musicians.
Imagine the scene: "All right, guys, here's the plan today. An army is out there, armed to the teeth. So we are sending in the choir and the musicians." If I had been a choir member or musician, I might have wondered whether the king liked our music.
But God had directed Jehoshaphat in this unusual battle tactic. We read that Jehoshaphat appointed people to sing to the Lord, praise the beauty of holiness, and go out in front of the army saying, "Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever" (2 Chronicles 20:21).
So that is exactly what they did. The Bible tells us that when they began to sing and praise, God sent an ambush against the enemy, and they were destroyed. God's people were able to go into this situation giving thanks, because He was in control.
In approaching God to ask for new blessings, we should never forget to thank Him for the blessings He has already given.
Have you recently come to God for help and He came through for you? Did you come back to say "thank you"?
If we would stop and think how many of the prayers we have offered to God have been answered and how seldom we come back to God to thank Him, it just might amaze us. We should be just as deliberate in giving thanks to God as we are in asking for His help.
FROM THE HEART
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