The Lion, the Sluggard, and the Rapture – Jonathan Brentner - https://www.jonathanbrentner.com/https/jonathan-brentner-g8fgsquarespacecom/config/2023/7/31/the-lion-the-sluggard-and-the-rapture
One morning last week, Proverbs 26:13 caught my attention, “The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!’” The “sluggard” in the book of Proverbs is more than just lazy, although he’s all that. Sluggards of the past invented the bubble of normalcy in which they imagined they were safe from the dangers outside their homes.
As I watch the signs of the coming Tribulation period fall into place, I believe that one might rightly say, “There’s a lion in the street!” The perils to our wellbeing are exceedingly real and they’re not going away.
What then is the difference between someone with the mindset of a sluggard and one that the book of Proverbs describes as wise?
It’s where they look for wisdom. Sluggards trust their own instincts (see Proverbs 26:16) while the wise seek the understanding and insight that’s found in God’s Word.
Jesus personifies the wisdom of the book of Proverbs. It’s in His words, Scripture, that we find not only His guidance for our daily lives, but genuine guidance for lives and insight into world events. As such, Bible prophecy illuminates the dangers of our day while at the same time assuring us of a joyous future regardless of the lions we face in our world.
THE LION IN THE STREETS
We live in perilous times on steroids; Paul’s description of the last days in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 has never been more relevant or posed a greater threat to our livelihood. In addition to the rapid downward spiral of common decency around us, the coming kingdom of the antichrist is taking shape before our eyes with an ever increasing velocity and deadly fierceness. The technology that will enable the lawless one to control all buying and selling (Revelation 13:16-18) is already here and it appears to be far more enslaving than we ever imagined.
Lest you think I’m just another prophecy guy sounding the alarm for whatever reason, please pay attention to the quote below from Peter Koenig, a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO). Koenig recognizes the grave threats to our future wellbeing, but being outside of Christ; his only solutions is for “we, the people” to rise up and stop the beast. (Yes, in other articles he refers to the coming world government as “the beast,” just as in the books of Daniel and Revelation.)
Two kinds of absolute controls are being prepared to implement The Great Reset, alias UN Agenda 2030. A potentially straitjacket and total control by programmable Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), and an all-oppressive health tyranny by WHO, overriding national Constitutional rights and national sovereignty as far as health measures are concerned.
The former will be “managed”, coordinated and supervised for faultless implementation, by the so-called Central Bank of Central Banks, the Bank for International Settlement (BIS); the latter by the 1948 Rockefeller-created, falsely called UN-agency WHO. The emerging tyrant’s budget is to 80% pharma, Gates and otherwise privately funded. Both are criminal organizations. . . .
CBDC may be upon us, humanity, rather sooner than later. Programmable CBDC is a weapon of mass destruction. The weapon has been in the planning for decades – and it fits right into the Bigger Picture of the Great Reset / Agenda 2030.
Programmable – means the money can be programmed on how it is to be spent by an individual, or blocked, or made to expire, or made to be used for certain goods or services – or it can be totally withheld, wiped out, depending on how well you behave, according to the standards of the all-commandeering death cult elite. . . .
Simultaneously, an all-controlling health tyranny is being prepared by WHO. The plan is that the new totalitarian rules – Biden Administration initiated revised International Health Regulations (IHR), including a new Pandemic Treaty – are to be ratified by the World Health Assembly, presumably by the end of May 2023. If approved by a two-thirds majority, the new rules will become effective in 2024.[i]
We know from Scripture that the future one-world government, which will dominate the world during the seven-year Tribulation, aligns perfectly with the threats that Peter Koenig describes in the above quote. It will be a satanic and deadly tyranny, one that will enslave people of all nations through the use of technology. The CBDCs and Pandemic Treaty will someday trap an unsuspecting public in a web of deceit and murder.
In an article entitled, “Technocrat says quiet part out loud: A Digital ‘World ID’ will soon be mandatory for anyone who wishes to partake in day-to-day functions of society,” blogger and research analyst Leo Hohmann wrote the following:
I’ve been saying for nearly three years now that the beast system is based on the world’s people accepting two technological components offered up by the Luciferian globalist elites: A globally recognized digital ID to replace the cards in your wallet and a globally recognized digital money to replace the cash in your wallet. The two together will comprise the foundation of the punitive global beast system.
From an article in Slay News, we learned today that the CEO of an outfit called Worldcoin has warned that a global digital ID system will be ushered in for citizens around the world whether they “like it or not.”[ii]
Please know that we are not decades away from the lethal regime of the globalists seizing control of the all nations, but rather a few short years. The UN and WEF (World Economic Forum) have 2030 as their goal for worldwide implementation of their empire. The elite from these organizations are meeting in September of 2023 to ensure that they are on target for the full implementation of their worldwide regime by 2030, if not before.
THE SLUGGARD HIDES
In today’s world, those that copy the behavior of the ancient sluggards hide from the dangers they see believing they will pass and the streets will return to normal. They find confirmation of their hopes in the mainstream media that disguises the long-term threats to their long-term wellbeing.
What they often hear in churches, if they attend, is an exclusive emphasis on how the Gospel relates to this life. The silence about biblical prophecy confirms their perception that all is well, at least for the foreseeable future. If not, surely those who know the Bible would warn them.
The wise place a high value on understanding, which in turn leads them to a diligent search for wisdom such as those that that seek after precious and expensive jewels (Proverbs 2:1-6).
Such dependence on the words of Scripture is especially needed with biblical prophecy. Unless one is willing to do the hard work of thoroughly examining God’s Word and letting the words of the text speak for themselves, one is likely to wander down an erroneous path that leads to the drowsiness found in the bubble of normalcy.
The prevalence of beliefs in Jesus’ thousand-year reign and the pre-Tribulation Rapture in Bible-believing churches during the last century resulted from Bible students vigorously applying two principles of Bible interpretation that came from the Reformers.
The first was sola scriptura, which signifies that the Bible must be the sole source for our beliefs. What we believe must come from its words and their meanings. Other resources help us understand the text of God’s Word, but it’s the words on the pages of the Bible that matter for faith and practice.
The second was “Scripture interprets Scripture.” God’s Word doesn’t contradict itself, but some texts are difficult to understand. One must always give way to the clear passages and let those interpret the ones that seem less clear.
Because they performed the difficult task of applying these precepts to Bible prophecy, these students of God’s Word from the past opened the door for the revival of premillennialism (the belief in a literal Tribulation and thousand year reign of Jesus), which had dominated the early centuries of the church.
Yes, books can aid in our understanding of future things. I’m an author myself. However, there’s no substitute for doing the hard work of studying the Bible for oneself and letting the words speak for themselves.
THE RAPTURE IS IMMINENT
The awareness that the world is rapidly moving toward the events described in Revelation 6 and 13 gives all of us hope because it signals the nearness of Jesus’ appearing to take us home. Such an anticipation relieves any fears that might arise from the deadly perils around us and encourages us to press forward in serving our Lord.
In the meantime, however, we sometimes wonder aloud, “How much longer can it be before our Savior comes for us?”
One the one hand, we see a multitude of signs telling us we live in the shadow of the Tribulation. There’s never been a day like this one when so many things from biblical prophecy are coming into clearer focus with vibrant colors.
On the other hand, we also recognize God’s restraining power, holding back the full onslaught of evil that will come when the antichrist steps onto the world scene.
So we wait.
The good news it that with the myriad of signs converging, against the backdrop of Israel’s miraculous existence as a nation, we have a valid expectation of being alive when Jesus comes for His church.
THE WORDS OF SCRIPTURE VALIDATE OUR HOPE IN THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE
Proverbs 30:5 says, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him” (KJV). The word for “pure” denotes something that is tested and found to be genuine. The verse tells us that the words of Scripture have been refined like precious metals and as a result proven to be true.
Proverbs 2:6 states, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” In 2 Timothy 3:16, Paul repeats this same concept when he says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” The words of wisdom come directly from the Lord’s mouth via the inspired words of Scripture.
Of key importance for our day, this truth applies to passages that describe the event we now refer to as the “Rapture.” 1 Corinthians 15:48-54, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11, Romans 8:23-24 and Philippians 3:20-21 refer to this still future occurrence. This signifies our imminent and “blessed hope” (Titus 2:11-14).
How is it possible for anyone who has carefully examined Scripture not to recognize the nearness of the Day of the Lord and hence our homegoing? The signs cry aloud with the message that we live in the last moments of the last days!
The dangers for those outside of Christ arise from a much different Lion. Revelation 5:5 refers to Him as “the lion of the tribe of Judah” and during the Tribulation, His roar will signify destruction and death for many.
Although today’s perils are more deadly than ever before, our confidence as New Testament saints rests in Jesus who is coming to rescue us before executing His wrath on this wicked world.
Because so many mock our hope in Jesus’ appearing, I wrote: The Triumph of the Redeemed-An eternal Perspective that Calms Our Fears in Perilous Times to provide a comprehensive defense of the pre-Tribulation Rapture In this book, I share the results from a lifetime of studying Bible prophecy. The same truths that gave me hope in the midst of tragedy at age ten, are even more precious to me at age seventy. And guess what? After decades of study, I’m still learning more about what God’s Word promises us in the future, beginning with our joyous hope in Jesus’ appearing to take us home to glory.
Note: Please consider signing up for my newsletter on the home page of my website at https://www.jonathanbrentner.com/ . Thanks!
[i] Peter Koenig, Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC): The Weaponization of Money? WHO’s Health Tyranny: Towards a Totalitarian World Government? No Way! July 15, 2023 at: https://www.globalresearch.ca/central-bank-digital-currency-cbdc-weapon-of-mass-destruction-and-whos-health-tyranny-towards-a-totalitarian-world-government-no-way/5814122
[ii] Leo Hohmann, Technocrat says quiet part out loud: A Digital ‘World ID’ will soon be mandatory for anyone who wishes to partake in day-to-day functions of society, July 20, 2023, at: https://leohohmann.com/2023/07/20/technocrat-says-quiet-part-out-loud-a-digital-world-id-will-soon-be-mandatory-for-anyone-who-wishes-to-partake-in-day-to-day-functions-of-society/#more-15107
10 Signs That We Really Are Living In Apocalyptic Times - by Michael Snyder - http://endoftheamericandream.com/10-signs-that-we-really-are-living-in-apocalyptic-times/
Time is running out for humanity. Our world becomes a little bit more like a really bad science fiction movie with each passing day, and our self-destructive tendencies are slowly but surely transforming our society into a living nightmare. Given enough time, we would destroy ourselves and everything around us. On a very basic level, most people can feel that global events are starting to spiral out of control. Evil is growing all around us, and just about everything that our leaders do to solve our rapidly growing problems seems to make them even worse. The pace of change just keeps getting faster and faster, and many fear that this will soon lead to widespread chaos all over the globe. The following are 10 signs that we really are living in apocalyptic times…
#1 Leaders all over the world seem to be catching “war fever”, and the Biden administration just made a military conflict with China even more likely by announcing a 345 million dollar weapons package for Taiwan…
The Biden regime is sending $345 million in weapons to Taiwan as they look to create another proxy war against China similar to the proxy war they have set up in Ukraine with Russia.
The U.S. made the announcement on Saturday. In response to the news, China has made it clear they will not be backing down.
“No matter how much of the ordinary people’s taxpayer money the … Taiwanese separatist forces spend, no matter how many U.S. weapons, it will not shake our resolve to solve the Taiwan problem. Or shake our firm will to realize the reunification of our motherland,” said Chen Binhua, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of China.
#2 Both sides just continue to escalate the war in Ukraine, and now the Russians are openly warning that they could potentially use nuclear weapons…
The Kremlin today bluntly threatened use of nuclear weapons in the wake of the Ukrainian drone strike on Moscow’s skyscraper zone.
Three drones struck an elite office building and residential skyscraper in Moscow early Sunday morning in what Russia’s Defence Ministry has branded an ‘attempted terrorist attack by the Kyiv regime’.
Dmitry Medvedev, a former Russian president and Putin ally, has warned there is ‘simply no other way out’ and said that Kyiv should ‘pray to our warriors’ that they do not ‘allow the global nuclear fire to flare up’.
#3 According to the United Nations, 2.4 billion people already do not have enough food to eat. And now that the Black Sea grain deal has broken down and India has placed severe restrictions on rice exports, we are being warned that global food prices could soon go much higher…
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said the price of bread and breakfast cereals were most likely to increase given Ukraine’s role as one of the breadmakers of the world.
Rice supplies are now also under pressure after India restricted most exports, which the World Bank warned on Monday (July 31) would cause “considerable increases in world prices and induce price volatility”.
#4 Pestilences are raging all over the globe, and many old diseases are now making stunning comebacks. For example, Florida has now become the epicenter for an outbreak of leprosy in the United States…
Health officials say that cases of leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, are surging in Central Florida.
In a research letter, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that Central Florida has accounted for 81 percent of reported cases in the state and almost one-fifth of reported cases nationwide.
#5 Global weather patterns have gone completely nuts. For example, Phoenix just had a streak where the high temperature reached at least 110 degrees for 31 days in a row…
Phoenix sizzled through its 31st consecutive day of at least 110 degrees Fahrenheit and other parts of the country grappled Sunday with record temperatures after a week that saw significant portions of the U.S. population subject to extreme heat.
#6 Men are getting pregnant and giving birth to babies…
A 22-year-old transgender man has given birth to twins after going through six rounds of artificial insemination in a bid to get pregnant.
Aaden Darr, a Starbucks barista from Charleston, West Virginia, was born biologically female but came out as transgender at 16 years old after identifying as a lesbian for several years and started a course of testosterone.
However, he soon came to realize that it was his dream to have a biological child – so he put a stop to his hormonal treatment and visited his local family planning clinic in order to begin the process of having a baby.
#7 Technology continues to increase at a pace that is absolutely breathtaking. In fact, it is being reported that scientists have developed a “breakthrough” treatment which “appears to annihilate all solid tumors”…
Scientists have developed what may be a “holy grail” molecule that eradicates all solid cancer tumors while leaving other cells unaffected. The breakthrough was achieved by the team at the City of Hope Hospital, one of the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the United States, and targets the proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) protein.
A mutated form of PCNA assists cancers in their repair and growth. The team has developed a molecule, AOH1996, that targets and eradicates the mutated PCNA. Previously, PCNA was considered too challenging to be a target for therapy, but AOH1996 appears to annihilate all solid tumors in preclinical research.
#8 Scientists are bringing ancient species back to life. For instance, it is being reported that one team of researchers was recently able to “reanimate” worms that had been frozen for thousands of years…
Scientists have managed to reanimate worms that were frozen for an estimated 46,000 years.
Thought to have lived in the late Pleistocene era, a small group of the worms found 40 metres deep in the Siberian permafrost have been thawed out and revived.
#9 Deaths from heart attacks have been surging dramatically in every age group in the United States…
NBC’s the Today show reported, “A national study from Cedars Sinai hospital shows the deaths related to heart attacks increased across every age group since the spring of 2020, but the group that saw the biggest increase isn’t who you might think… The relative increase in heart attack-associated deaths among 25-44-year-olds was a staggering 30%… Experts are still working to figure out why young people are so impacted.”
#10 Our soil and water are already heavily saturated with microplastics, and now we are being told that this crisis is getting “exponentially” worse…
NOT EVEN THE Arctic Ocean is immune to the incessant growth of microplastic pollution. In a new study that analyzed sediment core samples, researchers quantified how many of the particles have been deposited since the early 1930s. As scientists have shown elsewhere, the team found that microplastic contamination in the Arctic has been growing exponentially and in lockstep with the growth of plastic production—which is now up to a trillion pounds a year, with the global amount of plastic waste projected to triple by 2060.
If you don’t understand why microplastics are a very serious existential threat to our society, you really need to read my most recent book. Given enough time, microplastics would completely collapse our civilization even if none of the other very serious problems that we are currently dealing with existed.
Of course the same thing could be said about nuclear war, global famine, AI and a number of other cataclysmic threats that we are now facing.
We really are living in apocalyptic times, and the months and years ahead of us promise to be very “interesting” indeed.
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Revelation 14: A third angel and the distinction of the ages - By Mark Creech - https://www.christianpost.com/voices/revelation-14-a-third-angel-and-the-distinction-of-the-ages.html
In today’s Western culture, the word “diversity” is referred to as a social value that people are encouraged to laud and celebrate. There is racial/ethnic diversity, so-called gender diversity, LGBTQ+ diversity, disability diversity, religious diversity, socioeconomic diversity, age diversity, cultural diversity, and linguistic diversity. This is not an exhaustive list. There are other forms of diversity people are expected to applaud. However, when it comes down to brass tacks, in God’s economy, there are only two categories of people: saints and sinners, the redeemed and the unredeemed, the righteous and the unrighteous, the pure and the impure, the moral and the immoral, the saved and the unsaved.
This two-fold differentiation is seen throughout the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation.
For instance, the line of Seth, which represented a righteous line of people, was differentiated from the line of Cain, whose descendants spread sin and intolerable levels of violence.
In the story of Noah’s Ark and the universal flood of God’s rage against gross worldwide sin, Noah and his family were counted righteous, while the rest of the world was condemned (Genesis 6-9).
In the account of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18-19), Lot, the nephew of Abraham, is seen as a believer living in wicked Sodom. 2 Peter chapter 2 verse 7 says Lot was a righteous man distressed by the conduct of the lawless. Separated from the evil people of Sodom, Lot was rescued by angels before God rained down his fiery judgment on the cities.
Throughout the Old Testament, there is a distinction between the chosen of Israel, who were expected to keep God’s covenant and law, and the Gentile nations who engaged in idolatry and immoral practices.
During the period of Israel’s captivity in Babylon, the righteous Israelites were divided from the unrighteous. Daniel and his friends were faithful and separated from God in that pagan city.
In the New Testament, Jesus tells a parable about a farmer who sowed wheat in his field, but an enemy came later and sowed weeds among the wheat (Matthew 13:24-30). When harvest time arrived (a symbol of judgment), the wheat (symbolizing the righteous) was separated from the weeds (symbolizing the unrighteous).
In another parable, Jesus talked about sheep and goats being differentiated and placed into two different categories or groups. The parable illustrates a future judgment where the righteous (the sheep) are divided from the unrighteous (the goats).
On another occasion, Jesus talked with Nicodemus, a religious leader of his day, about those born of the flesh and those born again of the Spirit of God (John 3:1-18).
There is still one other striking text in the New Testament that contrasts these two groups of people. In John’s Gospel chapter 8, Jesus speaks about the children of God as opposed to the children of the devil.
In his commentary on The Sermon on the Mount, the late Dr. James Montgomery Boice, former senior pastor of the Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, explained this distinction.
“In the eighth chapter of John we are told that Jesus had been teaching in Jerusalem and had made the statement, ‘Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’ (v.32). The Jews answered him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?’ (v.33). ‘I know you are Abraham’s descendants,’ Jesus responded, ‘Yet you are ready to kill me…If you were Abraham’s children,…then you would do the things that Abraham did’ (vv. 37,39). At this point, the people grew angry and accused him of being illegitimate. In righteous anger, the Lord replied, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I am from God and now am here. I have not come on my own, but he sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire’ (vv.42-44). Thus, he [Jesus] put to an end forever the misleading and totally devilish doctrine that God is the father of all men and that all men are his children.
“Let us submit to the Word of God, and let the truth of the Word sweep the mind clean of all such false ideas. There are two families and two fatherhoods in this world. There is the family of Adam, into which all men are born, and there is the family of God, into which some men are reborn by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. These latter were once the children of darkness; they are now children of light (Ephesians 5:8). They were dead in trespasses and sins; they are now alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:1). They were once children of wrath and disobedience; they are now children of love, faith, and obedience (Ephesians 2:2-3). These are God’s children. These and only these can approach God as their Father.”
How interesting that when one reaches the description of the last dispensation of humanity in Revelation, two types of people are referenced again. This time, however, they are signified as “anyone who worships the beast” and “God’s holy people.”
In Revelation 14, it says the first angel preached the everlasting Gospel. The second angel announced Babylon had fallen. In verses 9 through 13, it says a third angel comes into the picture and shouts a warning based on the distinction of the ages.
This is what the Bible says:
“Then a third angel followed them, shouting, ‘Anyone who worships the beast and his statue or who accepts his mark on the forehead or on the hand must drink the wine of God’s anger.
It has been poured full strength into God’s cup of wrath. And they will be tormented with fire and burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb. The smoke of their torment will rise forever and ever, and they will have no relief day or night, for they have worshiped the beast and his statue and have accepted the mark of his name.’
“This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus.
“And I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!’” (Revelation 14:9-13)
This passage from Revelation is certainly not for the faint of heart because it speaks demonstrably about God’s wrath and his sending people to hell.
Not long ago, I came upon several old issues of The Sunday School Times, at an antique store. The Times was a very popular periodical published in the United States from 1859- 1966. It was primarily focused on providing religious and educational content for Christian Sunday School teachers, administrators, and students. In a November 1944 edition, an unnamed author wrote:
“‘Hell’ is exceedingly popular as an expletive or swear word, but quite unpopular as a reality. It would seem to be one of the multifarious devices of the devil to get men to use the word in anger or jest, and to forget there is such a place.”
Indeed, there is a literal hell. It’s a place where the damned are imprisoned forever. It is God’s universal trash bin, where the lives of those who refused God’s offer of grace and did not live for his glory are thrown away.
A new Gallup Poll says belief in God, the devil, angels, heaven, and hell have fallen to a new low. Specifically, 74 percent affirmed their belief in God, followed closely by 69 percent who expressed belief in angels and 67 percent who shared belief in heaven. A slightly lower portion, consisting of 59 percent and 58 percent, respectively, professed their belief in hell and the devil. What’s alarming is belief in all five of these fell from 3 to 5 points just since 2016.
Nevertheless, refusing to believe in something doesn’t make it untrue. We can know hell is real because the Bible teaches it exists.
There is no book in the world comparable to the Bible. Scholars and historians have proved the reliability of its claims repeatedly through archaeological evidence and other historical sources. Although it consists of numerous different books by different authors written centuries apart, the internal consistency of its messages demonstrates its divine origin. Its abundance of prophecies that are fulfilled with incredible accuracy demonstrate its holy inspiration. Moreover, its unprecedented positive impact culturally, politically, and personally show that every word of the Bible is from God, trustworthy and factual.
It’s also important to know that Jesus spoke more about hell than he did about heaven. Yes, the mild and gentle Shepherd of Souls often spoke about the horrors of hell, saying it was a place of weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:40-43), darkness (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30), and a dimension in the underworld where the worm never dies (Matthew 9:43) and the fire is never quenched (Revelation 20:14).
Hell is where the anger of an eternal God is poured out in full measure on those who by their own volition chose to stay in their sins. Therefore, God leaves them in their unregenerate state, and their self-centered rebellious hearts forever fuel the flames of God’s wrath.
How fearful! Jesus spoke often about hell because he wanted to shake us, frighten us, and awaken us to hell’s dreadful terrors. Jesus spoke of hell because he wants us to be redeemed and forgiven. He wants us to be converted and enjoy eternal life.
Alice Cooper, the iconic rockstar known for his provocative stage presence, underwent a significant transformation in life a few years ago. In an interview with Pastor and Evangelist, Greg Laurie, at the 2018 SoCal Harvest event, Cooper shared his reason for coming to Christ. He stated his conversion was not solely based on knowing God loved him, but mostly based on his fear of God and hell.
There is an adage which says, “Fear is the mother of caution.” In other words, fear can serve as a warning to help us make wise decisions in potentially dangerous situations. Fear of God’s wrath ought to be a good motivation for people to accept his offer of grace in Jesus Christ, lest as unreconciled sinners they are sent to an eternal hell, where “the smoke of their torment will rise forever and ever, and they will have no relief day or night.” What a harrowing prospect!!!
Another tremendous truth to be drawn from Revelation 14, which is in verse 12, is that God’s holy people have always had to suffer persecution from the ungodly. It will be this way until the very end when Christ’s Kingdom is established for eternity.
The Bible says the pious young Joseph (a type of Christ) was despised by his impious brothers and treacherously sold by them into slavery.
The Israelites while living in Egypt were oppressed and persecuted by the Egyptians for more than four centuries, despite their righteousness. Pharoah even ordered the murder of all the Hebrew male infants to keep their ranks from growing.
The prophet Elijah faithfully served God, but was maltreated by King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. Elijah had to flee for his life and endured many hardships because of their corruption.
The prophet Jeremiah was called a prophet to the nations but faced constant harassment, imprisonment, and death threats at the hands of both Jews and Gentiles who sought to suppress his faithful preaching of the Word of God.
The apostle Paul formerly known as Saul, himself, persecuted Christians before his conversion to Christ. However, after embracing the Savior, he endured tremendous hardships from Jews and Gentiles who opposed the Gospel message.
Jesus, of course, was the epitome of righteousness. Yet, he was unjustly accused, condemned, and crucified by the authorities of his time.
The apostle Paul wrote in his letter to Timothy, something every Christian must understand, he said:
“Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 2:12)
It’s not that the godly might suffer some form of persecution, it’s that they inevitably will. It is the plight of the faithful.
Many years ago, my faithful pastor warned me, “If you never run up against the devil, it’s likely you’re walking with him.”
Various forms of marginalization, isolation, rejection, hatred, and hostility experienced by Christians are hallmarks of their saintly lives. Christians must learn to anticipate and expect persecution, of greater or lesser intensity. Persecution is inevitable if the individual professing to be a Christian has truly been transformed by Christ, if the Redeemer’s mark is on his forehead. Therefore, God’s children must bear it patiently, never swerving in their obedience or abandoning their faith in Christ, holding onto the promise that God is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6).
How powerful is this contrast in Revelation where the lost and unsaved may only look forward to eternal torment, but the saved may rejoice in their sufferings, knowing ahead of them lies heaven and an eternal reward!?
Former Bible teacher for the Back to the Bible Broadcast, Warren Wiersbe, expounds in his book, Be Victorious, that the apostle John is “warning that ‘the easy way’ is really the hard way, that to ‘go along with the world’ means to go away from God…John intended for his readers to see the contrast between verses 11 and 13: no rest for the wicked, but eternal rest for the saints (see 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12). Better to reign with Christ forever than with Antichrist for a few short years! Better to endure persecution patiently now than to escape it and suffer throughout eternity!”
Perhaps it would be good to close with an additional distinction made by Boice. This one comes from his commentary on The Gospel of John:
“There are two ways open before us. ‘There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death’ (Proverbs 14:12). This is Satan’s way. And there is a ‘way, which leadeth unto life’ (Matthew 7:14), which is God’s way. The two paths lie before each individual.
“On the one path, Satan makes his promises. But he is the father of lies, and his words cannot be trusted. He is offering wisdom, as he did to Eve in the Garden – ‘Ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil’ – but the wisdom of Satan leads to folly in spiritual things. He is offering love, but the end is hate. He is offering that which is pleasant – ‘all the kingdoms of this world and their glory’ – but the end is torment for those who follow him.
“On the other path stands Jesus with his promises. In one sense they are the reversal of Satan’s promises. He says, ‘You are blind!’ but he gives sight, and wisdom follows. He has a message of hate. ‘I hate sin,’ he declares. But he will turn you from sin and draw you to himself with great love. Finally, he warns about torment. He has more to say about hell than anyone in the Bible. But he offers pleasantness to those who follow him. All his ways are ‘pleasantness’ and all his ‘paths are peace’ (Proverbs 3:17). Will you follow him? Will you commit yourself to him as your Savior?”
Well, will you
The Statue and The Stone: The Beginning And End Of Human Government – By Nathan Jones - https://harbingersdaily.com/inherently-evil-the-beginning-and-end-of-human-government/
Did you know that right now, nearly 200,000 people are suffering in the modern-day equivalent of Nazi concentration camps? These horrific work camps can be found in North Korea. This Asian country, officially and ironically named the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, according to the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights, is one of the worst offenders of all the nations when it comes to their appalling human rights record. North Korea’s government infringes on nearly all their people’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, such as the freedom to have an opinion and expression. Murder, torture, slavery, sexual violence, mass starvation, and other abuses are common methods employed by this authoritarian government to terrorize its population into submission.
When the Korean Conflict unofficially ended in the early 1950s, the dictator of North Korea, Kim Il-Sung, declared himself “Eternal President” and closed his nation’s borders to establish a totalitarian Communist government.
Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), a persecution watch ministry, estimates that some 30,000 Christians suffer daily in these labor camps for the “crime” of not worshipping their “Dear Leader,” and many never make it out alive. VOM tells a true day-in-the-life story of Christian persecution in a little village there called GokSan. A pastor and 26 of his underground church members were bound and taken before a screaming crowd of Communists. Soldiers demanded that the Christians “Deny Christ or die!” Not getting the answer they were looking for, the soldiers then threatened to kill the children. The only response to be heard was a mother who leaned down and whispered to her young daughter, “Today, my Love, I will see you in Heaven.”
The Communists proceeded to hang the children. When the sobbing parents still refused to deny Christ, the soldiers rolled out a huge steamroller and proceeded to crush the remaining church members, all of whom were singing together, “More Love, O Christ, to Thee, More Love to Thee.”
God’s Purposes for Human Government
Regimes such as North Korea clearly do not understand the purpose of government. So, what then is the purpose of government?
United States Founding Father, Thomas Paine, in his pamphlet Common Sense (1776), wrote that security is “the true design and end of government.” Another Founding Father, John Adams, in his book Thoughts on Government (1776), believed its purpose was to be found “in the goal of happiness through virtue.” Thomas Jefferson, in his writing titled Political Economy (1816) declared, “The most sacred of the duties of a government is to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens.”
Security instead of enslavement, justice instead of corruption, virtue instead of vice, and the preservation of the happiness of its people rather than the cause of their suffering — those were the godly ideals these men founded a nation upon. These ideals correspond to what the Bible says is the true purpose of government — namely, to provide an atmosphere in which believers can live, as 1 Timothy 2:2 teaches, “a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”
Are nations like North Korea merely bad apples, or do they demonstrate that government is in and of itself inherently evil? Because they were steeped in the Bible, the Founding Fathers thought very poorly of human government. Thomas Paine wrote, “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil, in its worst state an intolerable one.”
The reason the Founding Fathers believed government was inherently evil was because they believed in the biblical teachings (such as Romans 3:23 and 10:10-18) that mankind is inherently evil and in need of a Redeemer. In fact, Jeremiah 17:9 reveals that there is nothing more corrupt than the human heart!
Therefore, the Bible warns over and over not to trust in Man. One of the strongest of these warnings is found in Psalm 118:8-9: “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.”
As another Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton confirmed,
Men are inherently evil, governed by greed and lust and love of power and a host of even less endearing passions.
America’s first President, George Washington, put it this way:
Government is not reason. Government is not eloquence. It is force. And, like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
The authors of the United States Constitution knew that while human government is a necessary evil, it remains prone to falling into villainy and corruption. Therefore, in their writings, they wisely taught that government must be limited. Government must constantly be checked by the population so that it can only extract the least amount of taxes to perform the most limited of functions — providing security for its people.
A government that isn’t constantly monitored will grow into a monster, one that, to feed its endless thirst for power, will consume its population’s money and trample on their God-given inalienable rights. In other words, the Founding Fathers knew that government is composed of people, and people are inherently fallen and evil. Inevitably, the more corrupt and evil a government becomes, the greater the people will suffer. As the former president of Fuller Theological Seminary, Dr. David Allan Hubbard, once remarked:
When the lawless, vicious men are the government, where do the people go for help? They must feel like a little child who flees from a bully into the arms of his father, only to have his father hold him while the bully beats him.
How Human Government Will End
To whom can we flee to when our own government is the bully? How can we, like those Christians from the little village of GokSan, maintain some semblance of hope when human government has utterly failed us at providing security, justice, and tranquility?
Our Lord provides the much-needed answer to this dilemma through a disturbing dream given to a troubled monarch.
The great King Nebuchadnezzar dreamt of a massive statue with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, two legs of iron, and feet a mixture of iron and clay. Nebuchadnezzar next beheld a great stone — one not cut by human hands — come crashing down out of the sky. It smashed the statue, blasting it into pieces, and its dust blew away. The stone grew and grew into a great mountain that quickly filled the entire earth.
Daniel interpreted the king’s dream. He explained that the head was Nebuchadnezzar himself, and each metal down was a successive empire: the Babylonian Empire, Medo-Persian Empire, Greek Empire, Roman Empire, and a Revived Roman Empire. The great smashing stone represented “the God of heaven” who “will cause a kingdom to rise up which will never be destroyed… it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms…” (Daniel 2:44-45).
While Daniel couldn’t begin to comprehend the breadth and scope of this vision, Jesus Christ centuries later would describe in detail to the Apostle John in Revelation 19-20 this very event—the coming of the King of Kings.
For thousands of years, human government has failed mankind. Government cannot keep war, poverty, hunger, and disease at bay. Corruption quickly rots its once noble core, and many of its leaders fall into villainy. Times of security, peace, and safety have been as fleeting as the life of a mayfly.
And yet, God promised the prophet Daniel that in one glorious day a “stone not cut out by human hands” would burst from the heavens and destroy the statue of Gentile world government, and His Son’s kingdom would fill the entire earth. This Kingdom will be ruled over by a perfect, divine Monarch, its administrators will be the resurrected saints in their glorified and sinless bodies, and its population will initially all be believers who are taught at the feet of their King.
Christ’s kingdom of peace, righteousness, and justice will be established. But first, before we can enter that long yearned-for age, King Jesus must return and destroy the failure that is flawed human government. And, with that joyous hope just barely over the horizon, we can only cry out: “Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!”
Daily Jot: Stupidocrisy: Ignoring mass shootings - Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
Whenever there is a tragic mass shooting, the leftist Democrats and disarmament folks come out of the woodwork like clockwork. “We need more gun control,” they scream. But there is a little-known dirty secret that they avoid like blaming the COVID plague on China: In Chicago, there is a mass shooting every weekend. But Chicago is run by Democrats. Chicago is among the most stringent gun-controlled cities in America. Chicago bans assault weapons and high capacity magazines. Chicago has a licensing requirement for gun owners. Chicago has a red flag law and a 72-hour waiting period on gun purchases. As of July 25, 330 people had been killed in Chicago, according to the Sun Times homicide tracker.
Every weekend there are dozens of shootings and many people killed in Chicago. One could make the case that every week, Chicago has mass shootings. They range from single shootings to drive by shootings to gang war shootings. A couple of weeks ago, somebody drove by a group of classmates that were gathered outside after a high school reunion, killing the mother of an Ohio State football player. Yet, Chicago makes every effort to take guns away from people, proving that making laws against gun ownership only affects the law-abiding. Criminals don’t care about the law. That’s why they are criminals. They will get guns at will. Disarming law-abiding folks makes them easier targets. Chicago is proof.
You see, the fallacy is found in the concept of banning guns. A gun has no mind of its own. A gun doesn’t wake up in the morning and decide to rob a store or go out and try to kill somebody. It is the person who has possession of the gun that is the problem. This is the root of the real issue. Criminals will use guns for criminal activity. But banning guns or controlling gun ownership as applied to those who obey laws meets the demands of the real issue: disarming society. Liberals say they want to ban guns to bring peace and harmony to society. In reality, most every society that has banned guns ends up with a socialist, Marxist or fascist type of government. And that’s the real goal. Leftists cry gun control at every opportunity. Maybe some honestly believe that if guns were banned, nobody would get shot.
But the leaders of this charade know that if the general population is disarmed, they are easier to control. And when government controls people, they lose their freedom. Galatians 5:1 says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” God is a God of freedom. God is also a God of moral character. With freedom there is responsibility to act with morals. And that includes not murdering people. If these leftist would focus their attention on improving the moral character of people, perhaps banning guns wouldn’t be necessary. But most of them deny God and ridicule morality. Just like they ignore the shootings in Chicago because it doesn’t fit the narrative. It’s, say it with me…Stupidocrisy.
Daily Devotion: Why We Put Off Prayer - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. —Philippians 4:6
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/why-we-put-off-prayer/ - Listen
Why don’t we pray more often? And why do we put off prayer?
Maybe we don’t pray as often as we should because we think we don’t have the time. But is that really true?
How much time do we spend on social media every day? Recent research says that people in the United States check their social media accounts seventeen times each day. That is once every waking hour.
Imagine if we prayed seventeen times every day instead of checking our phones. We can waste so much time. Yet we’ll make time for what matters to us.
Maybe another reason we don’t pray is that we don’t think prayer is all that important. We would never admit that outright, of course. But what do we really think about prayer? It is, in fact, very important.
In the Book of Joshua, we read about the Israelites who were led out of the bondage of Egypt into a new land flowing with milk and honey. But there was an obstacle in their path: the mighty city of Jericho, a huge fortress.
There was no way they could bring it down militarily. But God told them He would give them the city. So, they prayed and called on God, and He gave them a rather unorthodox battle plan. They marched around the city, yelled, and blew trumpets. But it worked, and the walls of that fortress came crashing down.
Afterward they needed to conquer a smaller town called Ai. But the Israelites didn’t pray about defeating Ai. And when they went to capture it, they were soundly defeated. This serves as a reminder that we need to pray about everything.
The Bible says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:6 NLT). Do you have a need today? Call out to Jesus.
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