The Mysterious Prophecy of the Trees - By Michael Hile - https://www.raptureready.com/2023/07/12/the-mysterious-prophecy-of-the-trees-by-michael-hile/
During the last week of His life, Jesus delivered a detailed prophecy to His disciples about the end times. It has come to be known as “The Olivet Discourse” since it was delivered on the Mount of Olives after Jesus and His disciples had left the Temple Mount and crossed over the Kidron Valley. This discourse can be found in three of the Gospels: Matthew 24:3-25:46, Mark 13:3-37, and Luke 21:5-36.
Jesus ended this comprehensive speech about end-time signs with a parable that prophetically indicated the timing of His Second Coming.
Matthew 24:32-35: “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”
A Frequent Symbol
This was not the first time Jesus had used the symbolism of a fig tree to make a point. Earlier that year, while teaching in the Perean province on the eastern side of the Jordan River, Jesus had given His disciples another parable about a fig tree.
Luke 13:6-9: “And He began telling this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. And he said to the vineyard keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’ And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.'”
This parable was a warning that if the Jewish people did not accept Jesus as Messiah, the wrath of God would be poured out on them, and their state would cease to exist. On the day Jesus made his entrance into Jerusalem (Sunday), he warned the Pharisees and Jewish people there would be no peace because they did not recognize the signs of His coming.
Luke 19:41-44: “When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.'”
The day before His Olivet Discourse (Monday), Jesus gave His disciples another fig tree parable. This happened as they were walking from Bethany to Jerusalem by way of the Mount of Olives when they encountered a barren fig tree.
Mark 11:12-14, 19-22: “On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again!’ And His disciples were listening…. When evening came, they would go out of the city. As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. Being reminded, Peter said to Him, ‘Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.’ And Jesus answered saying to them, ‘Have faith in God.'”
This was a classic symbolic prophecy. Like the fig tree, Israel had no fruit because the Jewish people had rejected Jesus as their Messiah. The curse Jesus placed on the tree was symbolic of the fact that the Jewish nation would experience the wrath of God and be set aside.
The next morning, as they returned to the Temple Mount (Tuesday), they saw that the tree had withered. Later that same day, after visiting the Temple, Jesus delivered His Olivet Discourse, and he reminded them of the fig tree. That’s when he told them to watch it because one day it would come alive again, and when that happened, the generation that witnessed it would also witness His return to earth. This is why He had told them that morning to “have faith in God.” Their state would be destroyed due to their rejection of their Messiah, but one day it would be re-established again.
Luke’s version of the fig tree parable, given on Mt. Olivet, provides us with additional insight as to the timing of the Lord’s return.
Luke 21:29-32: “Then He told them a parable: ‘Behold the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place.”
As you can see, Luke adds something that does not appear in Matthew’s account. Luke says that in addition to watching for the fig tree to come alive, we are to watch for “all the trees.” This is evidently a prophecy about the birth of many Gentile nations in the end times, at the same time that Israel is reborn as a sovereign state.
The Fig Tree
So, what about it? Has the fig tree come back to life? The Jewish people, displaced from their homeland for centuries, began showing signs of life during the second half of the 19th century (1850-1900) when waves of Jews (aliyah) started coming back to the land of Israel. Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), the “Father of Zionism,” was the visionary behind the modern return of the Jewish people and the reestablishment of a Jewish homeland.1
Herzl organized the first world congress of Zionism that met in Basel, Switzerland, in August 1897 and became the first president of the World Zionist Organization.2 The goals of the organization were set forth in the Basel Program: “Zionism seeks to establish a home for the Jewish people in Palestine, secured under public law.” 3
The Balfour Declaration on November 2, 1917, paved the way for the United Nations partition resolution for Palestine on November 29, 1947, and the subsequent formation of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948. The fig tree (Israel) came back to life during the first half of the 20th century (1900-1950), and Israel is now producing young figs (potential Jewish believers) that will be harvested at the end of the age (Zech. 13:8-9; Rom. 11:1-27; Rev. 12: 1-17).
“…As a terebinth tree or as an oak, whose stump remains when it is cut down. So the holy seed shall be its stump” (Isaiah 6:13).
“For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease. Though its root grow old in the earth, and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put out branches like a young plant” (Job 14:7-9).
“In days to come Jacob shall take root, Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots and fill the whole world with fruit” (Isaiah 27:6).
“And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more” (2 Samuel 7:10).
“Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel, and they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them; They will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, and make gardens and eat their fruit. I will also plant them on their land, and they will not again be rooted out from their land which I have given them,’ says the Lord your God” (Amos 9:14-15).
The Other Trees
Trees are symbolic of nations, kingdoms, and empires in several places in the Bible (Daniel 4:10-27; Ezekiel 17:22-24, 31:1-18; and Judges 9:1-21). In Luke’s version of the fig tree parable, many trees are pictured as coming to life around the same time as the fig tree (Luke 21:29-32). Jesus said to “watch the fig tree and all the trees.”
When the branches become tender and begin producing leaves, which shows signs of life, you are to “know” that the generation that sees this take place will also be the generation that sees the kingdom of God established on earth. The generation that witnesses “the fig tree (Israel) and all the trees (Gentile nations)” come to life was specifically chosen by Jesus to be the generation that would “know” the kingdom of God was “near—at the doors!”
The parable of the fig tree did not say when “the fig tree and all the trees” put forth leaves, “we might know,” or “we should know,” that “the kingdom of God is near,” but rather, we were to definitely and emphatically “know” and “recognize” that “the kingdom of God is near.”
“So, you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, right at the door” (Matthew 24:33 NASB).
“So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates” (Mark 13:29 ESV).
“So also, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near” (Luke 21:31 NKJV).
Jesus told His apostles before His ascension that it was not for them “to know the times or the seasons” when the kingdom of God would be established on earth (Acts 1:6-7). Rather, He reserved the understanding of this mystery about “the times and seasons” of His return for the generation that would see “the fig tree and all the trees” come back to life (Luke 21:29-32, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 5:1-11).
The Proliferation of Nations
Since the formation, expansion, division, dissolving, and reorganizing of nations are subject to wars, internal conflicts, and changes in leadership and governing bodies, the number of independent, sovereign states in the world has been subject to constant change. Factors for determining statehood have included independence dates, dates of constitutions, symbolic foundation dates, and, more recently, international recognition from the League of Nations and its successor, the United Nations. Dates of national formation vary slightly among varied sources; however, the total number of independent, sovereign nations in the world today is considered to be 195-197 by several sources.4
Before the 20th century (1900), there were 44 countries that had achieved statehood. The 20th century (1900-2000) saw 147 new sovereign states added, with many splitting off from the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Portugal, and the Soviet Union. The first half of the 20th century (1900-1950) saw 38 new states created, while the second half (1950-2000) experienced an unprecedented addition of 109 new sovereign states. Only 5 nations have been recognized as sovereign states in the 21st century (2000 to date).5
The number of new states in the world multiplied quickly after World War II (1945) and continued at a rapid pace for the next 50 years. This proliferation of new states during the second half of the 20th century (1950-2000) abruptly ended on October 1, 1994, after Palau was granted recognition as a state. Only five nations have become sovereign states since 1994, with the last, South Sudan, receiving statehood on July 9, 2011.
Growth in Membership of the United Nations
Only independent, sovereign states can become members of the United Nations. There are currently 193 member states in the UN, with the last member, South Sudan, joining on July 14, 2011.6
There are currently 85 countries and territories not currently in the United Nations. 7 The Holy See (Vatican) accepted permanent observer state status on April 6, 1964, which was regarded as a diplomatic courtesy to enable the Vatican to participate in the UN’s humanitarian activities and in the promotion of peace.
On November 29, 2012, Palestine was granted the status of “Non-member observer state” but hasn’t yet been admitted to the UN as a full member. 8 As of 2019, there are two permanent non-member observer states in the General Assembly of the United Nations: the Holy See (Vatican) and Palestine. 9
The Overlooked Sign
Watching “all the trees,” as we now know, meant watching all the nations as they come alive in conjunction with the rebirth of Israel before the end of the age. The proliferation of new nations during the 20th century gave new meaning to Luke’s version of the parable of the fig tree when we were told: “watch . . . all the trees.”
“The fig tree” (Israel) officially came back to life in 1948, and “all the trees” (Gentile Nations) have come alive, some before and more after Israel became a nation in 1948. There were 75 states present in the world when Israel became a nation on May 14, 1948. After Israel’s rebirth as a nation, 120 nations have been recognized as independent, sovereign states. 10
The Pharisees and Sadducees were spiritually blind to the signs of Christ’s First Coming (Matthew 16:1-4). When they asked Him for a sign, Jesus acknowledged their ability to interpret the weather based upon the appearance of the sky, but they failed to grasp “the signs of the times” described in the Old Testament (OT) that were predicted by the OT prophets. How much more are many of the religious leaders of this generation blind to the “signs of the times” described in both the OT and NT that are heralding Jesus’ Second Coming!
After observing the coming to life of “the fig tree and all the trees” after World War II and during the second half of the 20th century (1950-2000), we can be assured, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the events that take place just before Jesus’ return are nearing fulfillment. This means His coming is “near, right at the door.”
According to Jesus’ words, when “the fig tree and all the trees” put forth leaves (come alive), we are to absolutely and confidently “know” the Kingdom of God is near, and the generation that is living at that time “will not pass away until all is fulfilled.” The preponderance of scriptural and global evidence is overwhelming that we are the generation Jesus was talking about.
1) “Theodor (Binyamin Ze’ev) Herzl (1860-1904),” https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/theodor-binyamin-ze-rsquo-ev-herzl
2) “Theodor Herzl: Austrian Zionist Leader,” David Ben-Gurion, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Theodor-Herzl
3) “Zionism: World Zionist Organization (WZO),” https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/world-zionist-organization-wzo
4) “Independent States in the World,” Bureau of Intelligence and Research, https://www.state.gov/independent-states-in-the-world/
5) “List of Sovereign States by Date of Formation,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_by_date_of_formation
6) “UN welcomes South Sudan as 193rd Member State,” https://news.un.org/en/story/2011/07/381552
7) “Countries Not in the United Nations 2023,” https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/countries-not-in-the-un
8) “United Nations General Assembly Observers,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_General_Assembly_observers
10) “List of Sovereign States by Date of Formation.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_by_date_of_formation
Revelation 14: An angel and the last call for salvation - By Mark Creech - https://www.christianpost.com/voices/revelation-14-an-angel-and-the-last-call-for-salvation.html
In chapter 14 of the book of Revelation, there are references to several angels performing specific actions, such as proclaiming the eternal Gospel, warning the world of a coming judgment, and harvesting the earth of souls. These angels reassure us that the cloak of night during the last days will be short-lived.
The late Dr. Billy Graham wrote for his devotional book, Day by Day:
“The Bible says that because he realizes his time is short, Satan’s activity will increase. But his evil activities are countered for the people of God by his ministering spirits, the holy ones of the angelic order. Christians should never fail to sense the operation of angelic glory. It forever eclipses the world of demonic powers, as the sun does a candle’s light. If you are a believer, expect powerful angels to accompany you in your life experiences. And let those events dramatically illustrate the friendly presence of ‘the holy ones’… Certainly, the eye of faith sees many evidences of the supernatural display of God’s power and glory. God is still in business.”
God is indeed always in business, even during the most tumultuous times of the Tribulation period when his angels play a significant role.
Angels exist first to serve God. More specifically, they worship and praise God (Isaiah 6:1-3, Revelation 4:8), carry out God’s judgment (Genesis 19:1-13, Revelation 15:1-7), serve as God’s messengers (Luke 11:1-20, Acts 8:26, Hebrews 1:14), and protect and guide his people. (Psalm 91:11-12, Daniel 6:22, Acts 12:7-10).
Angels are not to be worshipped. Neither are they the spirits of people who have died, nor are they glorified human beings (Hebrews 11:12,22,23).
There are numerous biblical accounts of angels appearing before people.
In the book of Daniel, angels appeared multiple times to him, including in visions (Daniel 10:1-14). In Genesis 28:10-17, Jacob saw a vision of a ladder reaching up to Heaven, with angels ascending and descending upon it. The angel Gabriel appeared before the Virgin Mary in a vision announcing she would miraculously conceive the Savior of the world (Luke 1:26-38).
Physical manifestations would include the two angels that appeared at the tomb of Jesus after his resurrection. Two angels also turned up before the disciples at the ascension of Jesus, assuring them Jesus would return one day (Acts 1:10-11). When the Apostle Peter was imprisoned, an angel physically came to his prison cell and set him free (Acts 12:6-10). When Paul was onboard a ship that encountered a violent storm, an angel stood next to him and told him that no lives would be lost and that he would surely stand trial before Caesar (Acts 27:23-25).
Angels have appeared to people in modern times, too.
A friend of mine, Eddie, was in a dreadful head-on collision crash with another car traveling at high speeds. Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) rushed him to a nearby hospital to save his life. His injuries were life-threatening and his probability of survival was low.
When Eddie started to regain consciousness, his family was at his bedside. Because the accident occurred on a rural highway where no one had seen or knew what caused the accident, Eddie’s parents asked him, “Son, can you tell us what happened?” Eddie replied, “I don’t know, but I do know how I got here.” Pointing to the right and left sides at the head of his hospital bed, he added, “These two angels brought me.”
Eddie fully recovered, but later remembered nothing about how the accident occurred, his parent’s question, or the angels he saw at the head of his bed.
Several years ago, after I had finished a speaking engagement, I was walking to my car when I saw a man on the sidewalk swaying and staggering. At first, I assumed he was drunk, but when I approached him and got a better look, I realized he was in the throes of a heart attack. While supporting him with my arm around his waist, he suddenly collapsed to the ground. I checked to see if he was still breathing and was mortified to find that he wasn’t. I didn’t know CPR. So, I started yelling at the top of my voice for help. No one was anywhere nearby, except one lady far in the distance who seemed to ignore my desperate pleas while she disappeared inside a building.
When I frantically turned my attention back to the poor soul laying on the ground, a man suddenly appeared from nowhere to give aid. He immediately started CPR. Strangely, after giving only one chest compression, the gentleman whose face seconds before had been the pale color of death, started to breathe again and regain consciousness.
I later learned the woman who seemingly ignored my cries for help had actually heard me and gone inside to access a phone and call 911.
By the time the EMTs arrived, much of the danger had already passed and the EMTs congratulated me on a job well done. “You saved that guy’s life,” they said exuberantly as they placed him on the gurney. I replied, “No, I didn’t. I can’t take credit. That man did it. A man showed up and performed CPR.” Confused, they asked, “What man?”
I tell you the truth, the one who provided life-saving support that day was nowhere to be found. I looked around everywhere trying to find him, but he had disappeared just as mysteriously as he had appeared. I’ve always wondered whether that fellow was an angel in human form sent by God.
In Revelation 8, an angel that was like an eagle flew through mid-air proclaiming ‘woe’ to the people on earth. Now in Revelation 14, there emerges an angel in mid-air who proclaims the eternal Gospel. Here is what the Scriptures say:
“And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world — to every nation, tribe, language, and people. ‘Fear God,’ he shouted. ‘Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water’” (Revelation 14:6-7).
There are several places throughout the Bible where angels indirectly provide messages related to the Good News (Gospel), but never directly.
In Luke’s account of the angels who announced Christ’s birth to the shepherds, it says they proclaimed “good news of great joy” that a Savior, Christ the Lord, had been born. However, this was not the same as proclaiming the eternal Gospel.
Matthew’s account of the resurrection says angels appeared at Jesus’ empty tomb and told the women the good news that Christ had arisen, and they were to go tell His disciples. But this was not the same as proclaiming the eternal Gospel.
The book of Acts says an angel directed Philip to embark on a desert road, where he would encounter an Ethiopian Eunuch with whom he should share the Gospel. Still, even this was not an angel directly proclaiming the Gospel.
Nonetheless, Revelation 14:6-7, says an angel flies through the sky and proclaims the “eternal Gospel” during the end-times.
When looking through the Bible’s pages, it becomes apparent that sharing God’s revelation of Himself and His offer of reconciliation has always been reserved for the people He chose solely from the ranks of humanity.
Initially, God chose the Israelites to represent Him, but they failed miserably in this mission. Later, the Church was commissioned to take the Gospel to “all the nations,” but Revelation shows the Church falling short, too. By the time one reaches the pages of chapter 14 of Revelation, the true church of Christ has been raptured, and only an apostate church is left — one that bows down to the Dragon.
At this point, the 144,000 may still be upon the earth, but the oppression and tyranny of the Antichrist are likely to be so pervasive it will be near, if not completely impossible, to get the Gospel message out. Moreover, the primary focus of the 144,000 will be directed toward the salvation of their brethren, the Jews.
There isn’t much time left and only one method remains to fulfill Christ’s prophetic words recorded in Matthew 24:14:
And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.”
Yes, this is the last call. This is the last chance people of the earth will be allowed an opportunity to repent of their sins and trust Christ as their Savior and Lord.
When I was in my early teens, my mother and father came home from a long trip and told me about a horrific automobile accident they witnessed on their travels. They said several dead bodies were sprawled across the road. The accident occurred just after one of the vehicles pulled out of the parking lot of a bar called, “Last Chance.”
How many people, after hearing the good news of God’s offer of forgiveness and eternal life, having never responded, are abruptly and unexpectedly thrust into eternity unprepared to meet their Maker?
The angel who flies through the sky sharing the Gospel message in Revelation 14 is giving “the people who belong to this world” their last chance. Henry Morris says of these people in The Revelation Record:
“The people on earth will no longer be ignorant of God. Not only have they had access to the Bibles and Christian literature left behind when believers were raptured, but they have also heard the testimony of Enoch and Elijah [the two witnesses] for three and a half years, have experienced many great divine judgments on earth, have seen and heard angels of God flying through the skies, and have realized at least in measure what is really happening in heaven and earth. Yet they still reject God and his Christ and are in imminent danger of receiving the mark of the beast and thus forfeiting all hope of repentance and salvation.
“God, in His infinite grace, will thus send forth a mighty angel, flying back and forth across the skies, loudly proclaiming the Gospel from one place to another, covering every nation and tribe and speaking in every language so that no one at the coming judgment will be able to say that he hadn’t heard.”
For some, it might seem the message of this angel is anything but good news. It’s a message calling on people to “fear God,” to “give God glory,” which means to respect, honor, and acknowledge his greatness, holiness, and authority. The angel’s message is a dire and urgent warning that the time of God’s judgment has arrived.
In this current age of snowflake mentalities, when people are overly sensitive, easily offended and unable to handle criticism, messages which speak of God’s unwavering sovereignty and absolute dominion, messages that summon remorse and repentance, messages that command a change of heart and a change of ways, messages that warn of the retributive consequences of rebelling against God’s sovereignty, are considered grossly inappropriate and a form of scaremongering. Preachers are urged to be more sophisticated in their subject matter and avoid tones of urgency about getting right with God.
Nevertheless, neglecting the discussion of God’s wrath or the importance of fearing Him, develops an unbalanced and incomplete understanding of God’s character. Preaching solely about God’s love, mercy and kindness leads to the perception that God is merely a loving figure, ignoring other critical aspects of His nature. It also diminishes the importance of personal responsibility, leading to a weakened ethical framework, both individually and corporately.
Someone rightly said, “There was less hell in our streets when there was more of hell from the pulpit.”
Failing to preach about God’s wrath leads people into a false sense of security and complacency about their spirituality, causing them to underestimate the inevitable negative consequences that come with defying God.
Finally, note that the eternal Gospel, the good news this angel preaches to the entire world, is based on a call to worship God as Creator. This may seem rather innocuous, but it’s a big deal. If someone holds to an evolutionary worldview instead of believing in God as Creator, it can undermine their comprehension of the Gospel.
The creation account in Genesis provides the framework for understanding the origin of humanity, and the entrance of sin into the world. Without accepting this account as literal, one is likely to question the concept of a historical Adam and Eve, the Fall and the inherent sinful nature of humanity. This has implications for realizing the need for salvation through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Evolutionary theory presents humanity as a product of natural processes, sharing a common ancestry with other life forms, which logically leads to a very different perception of human nature, and thereby negatively impacts one’s acceptance of the Bible’s chief teachings concerning original sin, humanity’s spiritual identity and purpose.
Accepting an evolutionary worldview similarly requires a reinterpretation or complete dismissal of the historical creation account, inevitably leading to questions and doubts concerning the authority and reliability of the Scriptures. Thus, potentially impacting one’s full embrace of the Gospel message.
This everlasting Gospel that traverses Heaven above, cascading its radiant message across the globe in every language, enfolding the world with its exquisite wings, is not one of several gospels for different dispensations. Morris argues:
“This type of hermeneutics, however well-intentioned, makes Scripture contradict itself for the sake of maintaining a particular theological system. In effect, it denies God the ability to say what he means, thus requiring a hermeneutist with the proper theological training to translate what God says into what he means, for the benefit of the ‘layman.’ It is the Gospel [the eternal Gospel, the same good news] which we are to preach, which believers of all ages were commanded to preach, and which the angel will preach. This Gospel is everlasting.”
What is this Gospel?
The eternal Gospel proclaims God created us and everything in the heavens and earth. It’s a message requiring recognition of God’s person, His unlimited greatness, holiness, power and a deep sense of reverence and obedience towards him. It entails a certain trepidation for the consequences of ignoring or disobeying him. This everlasting Gospel, this message of good news, is that Christ sacrificed himself on the cross to pay in full the penalty for humanity’s sins. Through faith in Christ and surrendering to his benevolent authority, we may find forgiveness and cleansing for every sin and be justified forever in the sight of God.
Without receiving this eternal Gospel, we cannot see the Kingdom of God. We can never enter Heaven.
How often God entreats people by various means to be saved from damnation — compassionately calling to the very end — even sending an angel to crisscross the skies with the message of eternal hope. Yet people still stubbornly refuse to believe.
Leon Morris in his commentary on Revelation quotes Kiddle, who summarizes the matter this way:
“Here is the bitter irony of their lot: though they damn themselves eternally by their refusal to face the truth, one day they will be forced to face it, sooner or later the ‘glory’ they refuse to ‘give’ the Creator willingly will be torn from them by the spectacle of his wrath.”
Could today be your last call? Don’t wait too late to yield your life to Christ and be forgiven of your sins. Receive from him the gift of eternal life.
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In A World of Corruption, How Do We Spot a False Prophet? – By David Jeremiah - https://harbingersdaily.com/in-a-world-of-deception-how-do-we-spot-a-false-prophet/
Over the centuries since Christ’s death and resurrection, countless impostors have pretended to be the Messiah or claimed to know details about the future they could not possibly know. While false prophets are nothing new, they will become increasingly prevalent and destructive in the End Times. Jesus warned us about these individuals in His Olivet Discourse: “many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:11).
In Matthew 10:16 and Luke 10:3, Jesus warned His followers about “wolves” who would be openly hostile to the Gospel. But Matthew 7 presents a more subtle threat—wolves disguised as sheep. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matthew 7:15). These are false prophets who infiltrate the Church and lead people astray.
Jesus warned that false prophets would deceive many people in the Last Days, but we don’t have to fall for their schemes. The Bible provides many warning signs and practical ways we can respond to false teaching.
Just as clever hoaxes have conned many brilliant people, it is possible for Christians—even mature believers—to be duped by false teachers. Many philosophies that have nothing to do with the cause of Christ masquerade under the banner of Christianity. Without the wisdom and grace of God, we’re all vulnerable to deception.
Matthew 7:21-23 contains some of the most disturbing words in the Bible. Jesus is speaking, and He says, “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.” Someday, the true nature of each person’s relationship with Jesus Christ will be revealed when they stand before God in judgment. Unless that individual has a personal relationship with Christ, all their deeds and religious fervor will be meaningless.
Jesus warned His disciples, “Take heed that no man deceive you” (Matthew 24:4). But in a world of deception, how do we spot a false prophet? God’s Word gives us several tools to separate the wolves from the sheep.
False prophets may make predictions that do not come true.
The Bible says, “And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:21-22). Today’s false prophets often try to predict the time of Christ’s return. However, Jesus told us in the Olivet Discourse, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36). The Lord does not intend for us to speculate about the timing of His return. The Christian’s responsibility is to remain watchful, righteous, and ready.
False prophets may perform miraculous signs and wonders.
After Christ raptures His Church and the Tribulation begins, Satan will use religion to unite the world under the leadership of the Antichrist and False Prophet. Although the False Prophet of the Tribulation will not rise to power before the Rapture, the Bible’s description of him helps us evaluate all other false prophets. According to the apostle Paul, “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9). Remember that miraculous signs and wonders do not always indicate God’s presence or power. If you recall the showdown between Aaron and Pharaoh’s sorcerers, the Egyptians used “enchantments” to turn their rods into serpents (Exodus 7:11-12). And in the book of Acts, Luke described a sorcerer named Simon who deceived many people through magical powers (Acts 8:9-11). Any miracle that does not bring glory to God and further the Gospel is rooted in demonic influence.
False prophets may claim to be Christ.
When Jesus’ disciples asked for signs of His return and the End Times, His first warning had to do with impostors. “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:4-5). Later in the Olivet Discourse, Jesus explained how we could recognize this type of false prophet: “Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:26-27). The entire world will witness Jesus’ return. We do not need to worry about missing it or finding Him in some hidden location.
False prophets may have an unbiblical lifestyle.
Jesus’ half-brother Jude wrote a short epistle that, among other things, vigorously urges Christians to stay alert, contend for the truth, and know that God will judge false teachers. This letter provides several clues related to a false teacher’s lifestyle: “These… defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities,” “speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves,” deceive people for money, care only for themselves, and bear no fruit (Jude 8, 10, 11, 12). “These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage… These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit” (Jude 16, 19). False teachers often claim that God will not condemn anyone, but Jude says the Lord will judge ungodliness (Jude 15). Godliness and integrity are essential traits for anyone who teaches the Word of God.
False prophets may deny Christ’s identity.
Whenever Satan cannot directly suppress or destroy the truth, he assaults it indirectly by deceit. The apostle John wrote, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world” (1 John 4:1-3). As Christians, we cannot believe everyone who claims to have a message from God. Anyone who attacks Jesus’ humanity or deity is an “antichrist” operating under Satan’s influence (1 John 2:22).
False prophets’ teaching will lead people away from the Lord.
One way to identify false prophets is to look at the kind of people their followers are becoming. Are they becoming more or less Christlike? In Luke 6:40, Jesus said, “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.” Long before tragedy struck, trouble was evident in the lives of people who followed cult leaders like Jim Jones, David Koresh, and Marshall Applewhite. But because our culture is more concerned with tolerance than the Word of God, we missed the warning signs. Faithful Christians glorify God and identify with Him by producing the spiritual fruit of good works and steadfast character. Jesus taught, “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:17-20).
Written shortly before Peter’s martyrdom, the book of 2 Peter reveals the apostle’s grave concern about false teachers in the Church. He encouraged his readers to focus on the Word of God rather than listening to “private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20) or self-appointed teachers who refuse to believe that God will judge wickedness (2 Peter 2:1-22; 3:3, 4). In the second chapter alone, Peter lists 22 attributes of false teachers.
How to Respond to False Prophets
If a religious teacher matches any of the above criteria, God’s Word calls him a false prophet—a wolf in sheep’s clothing. We should not be surprised when we encounter such people. “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). It takes discernment to see beneath the mask of an impostor, but we can cultivate that discernment by studying God’s Word and abiding in its truth.
When we encounter false teaching, Jude urges us to approach each situation individually. “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” (Jude 20-23).
Some who wander from the truth need compassion. Others need urgent intervention. Regardless of the situation, grace is the benchmark of Christian conduct. God’s people cannot tolerate false teaching in the Church, but we are responsible for separating sinners from their sins. Even as we reject false teaching, the Lord calls us to maintain a spirit of gentleness and contend for the offender’s spiritual restoration.
The best defense against false teaching is a vibrant faith that walks in step with the Lord. We do well to follow the example of the Bereans, who “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). Our most fundamental testimony lies in the way we live.
Nothing can distinguish God’s people from the culture like a steadfast commitment to the truth of the Gospel.
In a world of deception, make up your mind to pursue truth wherever it leads and spread the Good News.
Going to a Wedding Soon! - By Dennis Huebshman - https://www.raptureready.com/2023/07/15/going-to-a-wedding-soon-by-dennis-huebshman/
In ancient Jewish wedding customs, the groom’s father would choose a bride for his son. If the bride’s father agreed, terms of payment would be agreed upon. This was called the “bride’s price,” and the groom’s father was basically buying her for his son. Once any agreement was made and the price paid, the bride and groom would sign a contract or covenant called a “Ketubah.” Then they would drink wine as a symbolic sealing of the marriage contract. (ESP – all emphasis mine)
At this time, the couple was “betrothed” and actually considered to be married. However, before they could consummate the marriage, the groom would return to his father’s house to build an addition onto it. He would work until the father would give him permission to go and get his bride. The bride had no idea of the day or hour that the groom would call for her, so she had to be ready at all times. Many times, the groom would arrive in the middle of the night, and sometimes it would be to the sound of horns and shouting from a crowd of people that would follow him. It was a very wonderful, joyous occasion.
The groom would take his bride back to his father’s house, to the place he had prepared for them to live in, and they would have a great feast lasting sometimes up to seven days. At this point, they would officially begin their married life.
If all this sounds familiar, our Savior is our Bridegroom, and the Church – not any building or particular religion, but all true believers who have received and accepted Jesus as their Savior – is the Bride of Christ.
It is said that at the last supper when Jesus shared the wine with His disciples, He told them He would not drink of it again until He would drink it in His Father’s kingdom (Matthew 26:29, Mark 14:25, and Luke 22:18).
In John 14:2-3, Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to Myself, that where I am, you may be also.”
Jesus made it clear that He was not just here for His disciples or only for God’s chosen people, the Jews. John 10 is a chapter with a wealth of information that totally applies today. For example, in verse 9, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” Then verses 14-16, “I am the Good Shepherd. I know My own, and My own know me, just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. So there will be one flock, one Shepherd.”
Jesus paid the “bride’s price” with His own blood. He makes it very clear that this was His decision, and He freely made the commitment in verse 18, “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from My Father.”
One note here: I am very humbled and totally thankful to our Lord and Savior that He went through the agony of a most terrible death for me. As a line from the song “At the Cross” states, “Alas, and did My Savior bleed, and did my Sovereign die? Would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?” (Isaac Watts 1707)
As for the day and hour that Jesus will return for His bride, Matthew 24:36, Mark 13:32, 2 Peter 3:10, and Acts 1:7 all state it’s not for us to know. However, there are signs given by Jesus, Paul, John, Peter, and many others that tell us what will be happening near the end of this age. We are told to be ready for whenever He comes. All the signs are here right now and for the first time ever, all at once.
Does this mean we are to live a perfect, sinless life once we ask Jesus to be our Savior? It would be wonderful if we could; however, Our Heavenly Father knows our weaknesses and that we will be sinners as long as we’re in these human bodies. Romans 3:10 says, “as it is written, none is righteous, no not one.” Then Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” He does provide us a pure pathway to forgiveness when we do sin, in 1 John 1:8-10. Without God’s forgiveness, how can we even expect to be worthy to be taken Home by our Savior? Paul tells us in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ, our Lord.”
Until the Bridegroom comes for us, and we are taken up to meet Him in the air at the Rapture, we will be in perishable, human, sin-filled bodies. At the moment we are taken up, right after the dead in Christ are raised imperishable, we will all be changed into forever, immortal bodies, and with the mindset of our Savior (1 Corinthians 15:51-53 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).
There are numerous verses throughout the Old and New Testaments that tell us about our coming “wedding” with our Most Holy Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. The most important part is for us to follow Romans 10:9-13 and call out to be saved. At that time, we are “betrothed.” What we will be listening for is the Trumpet of God and a shout of an archangel, and having the “Wedding Music” in our hearts.
Kirk Talley and Phil Cross wrote a song around 1993 called “Is That Wedding Music I Hear?” It’s a very “right-now” song, and we could be hearing it very soon.
(ref) Is that Wedding Music I Hear? The bride’s adorned and ready to appear. There’s Heavenly preparation for the Wedding Celebration; Is that Wedding Music That I Hear?
1.) The family is preparing for a wedding; all of them invited to attend. The bride is standing ready, waiting for the signal, when the Groom says Christ My Children, come on in. (ref)
2.) Soon we’ll rise to leave this land of sorrow for that ceremony in the air. The Father then will lead us through the Holy Land of splendor; have you made your preparation to go there?
(ref) There’s Heavenly preparation For the Wedding Celebration; Is That Wedding Music? Oh, is that Wedding Music I hear?
Romans 5:8 tells us, “but God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
“Jesus paid it all; all to Him I owe; sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow.” – (Elvina M. Hall 1805)
On the other side, all who reject the Bridegroom will not spend eternity in Heaven with Him. They will have a permanent, eternal residence in the total darkness of the lake of fire called hell. There is no third option, as many false prophets are saying today. Anyone who ends up there will have chosen it, as the Father will not force anyone one way or the other.
Choose life; choose the most wonderful Bridegroom we could ever have; choose My Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Hope to see you at the Wedding.
Daily Jot: Seeing justice prevail - Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
As the recent Supreme Court session has come to an end, Americans are seeing a gradual return to the rule of law. Courts are beginning to strike down the overreaching mandates used by unelected administrative agencies during COVID. Recent decisions at the District Court level against government agencies compelling, coercing or even partnering with big business to censor protected free speech are trending toward constructionist interpretations of the Constitution. Indeed, state courts upholding the rights of parents in what amounts to sexual coercive decisions by school administrators and profit-mongering health systems to encourage sexual mutilation of minor children are encouraging.
The legal process is slow and people are harmed while its glacier pace proceeds. Notwithstanding, judicial appointments during the Donald Trump administration are making a difference. While, the Supreme Court sat on the sidelines in the 2020 Presidential Election dispute (largely because states certified their own elections), the SCOTUS has restored the rule of law and common sense to several areas, rolling back the huge overstep on controlling our lives by what is called administrative law—the juggernaut of unelected government agencies determining how law is to be applied and enforced without following the intent of the law.
For example, SCOTUS ruled the government had no authority to use an education debt relief bill designed to help first responders and military families to forgive student loans en masse. Quoting the Bible, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “The taxpayer must render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, but no more,” when SCOTUS unanimously decided against “home equity theft,” on forced government sales of real estate due to unpaid tax debt where the government keeps the balance of proceeds over the tax owed—and that was a unanimous decision. The Court also ruled in favor of property owners when it ruled against the government encroaching environmentalist policy of declaring damp land (essentially saying it was a navigable waterway) off-limits to development by its owners.
Epoch Times’ Matthew Vadum writes, “The court made momentous strides in restoring constitutional order, returning the regulation of abortion to the states, safeguarding the right to bear arms in public for self-defense, and limiting the government’s ideology-driven war on carbon dioxide emissions. Its more recent decisions show that most justices are determined to continue this course. The court struck down racial discrimination in college admissions and declared President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program unlawful. The justices also issued decisions upholding religious freedom and defending property rights from bureaucrats.” While slow, the progress is sure. Proverbs 28:5 sayss, “Evil people don’t understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand everything.” May we see God’s justice prevail.
Daily Devotion: The Table of Contents for Our Lives - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/the-table-of-contents-for-our-lives/ - Listen
In a sense, the words that we speak are the table of contents for our lives. What we say gives away who we really are. Jesus said, “For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart” (Matthew 12:34–35 NLT).
The Bible also tells us, “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences” (Proverbs 18:21 NLT).
Christians who never would consider murder can be guilty of character assassination and backbiting. Yet the Bible warns about this and tells us that it’s wrong. Our words can hurt others.
In 1 Peter 3:10 we read, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies” (NLT).
Words can chart the course of our lives.
Saying “I do” means marriage for life, or at least it should. Saying “I won’t” to the offer of drugs, alcohol, and premarital or extramarital sex will free us from a lot of misery and the consequences of sin. And saying “I will” to the offer of forgiveness from Jesus Christ will change our eternal destiny.
James points out, “We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. . . . In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire” (3:3, 5 NLT).
God did not give us vocal cords, a tongue, and lips to tear down and destroy others. Rather, He gave them to us so we can build up others, speak the truth, and worship Him. The highest use of our words is to offer them in praise and honor to God.
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