To Test Israel
To Test Israel - By Gary W. Ritter - https://www.raptureready.com/2022/09/07/to-test-israel-by-gary-w-ritter/
To determine whether God’s Chosen People truly had faith in Him, the Lord allowed pagan nations to remain in the land of Canaan as the Exodus concluded so that the next generation of Israelites might experience war. Judges 1:1-2 tells us:
“Now these are the nations that the Lord left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan. It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before.”
Why, we might ask, would God want to subject His children to the violence associated with war? What kind of a loving God would do that?
After listing the nations that would confront them, Judges 4:4 goes on to tell us why:
“They were for the testing of Israel, to know whether Israel would obey the commandments of the Lord, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.”
So, war was the mechanism for God to determine if Israel would trust Him by obeying all the laws that He had set forth in order that they would live righteously for Him. How did circumstances get to this point that Yahweh had to test the peoples of Israel in this way?
The first generation to leave Egypt had significant issues. They were delivered miraculously by the hand of God time and again. Their failure to trust the Lord was largely due to their having been conditioned for the last 400 years to glorify the pagan Egyptian gods. These gods were visibly represented by idols. Then Moses came along and told them they had to worship an invisible God who was Spirit only. The giving of the Ten Commandments solidified this quandary, as they were instructed to worship no God but Yahweh, and they couldn’t even represent Him through the making of an idol.
That didn’t work out so well, and their lack of trust in this God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – despite the overwhelming miraculous evidence – resulted in this entire generation sentenced to death in the wilderness because of their unbelief.
The second generation learned the lesson. They were generally faithful to God by obeying His Word. Several incidents cropped up that caused them grief, but God knew their hearts and their faith in Him. He ushered them across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. However, part of their duty was to take out the giants of the pagan nations inhabiting Canaan.
They had mixed results, but that was probably to be expected by frail, sinful people. All in all, they generally did what God intended, i.e., to devote these other nations to destruction and to possess the land.
As their leader, Joshua knew – just as Moses before him had – that the Israelites were a stiff-necked people and subject to disobedience. He warned them that other gods would be a snare and that they would have to choose between Yahweh and the pagan gods. It’s why he made his famous declaration in Joshua 24:15:
“And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Surprisingly, the people heard him and responded positively. In fact, following the death of Joshua, they continued working at their appointed task of driving out the inhabitants of the land as God directed, again having mixed success. But then … trouble!
Judges 2:10 describes what happened in the following years:
“And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.”
This new generation, the third counting those who left Egypt, i.e., the grandchildren, completely lost it.
Judges 2:11-13 shows what happened:
“And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the Lord to anger. They abandoned the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth.”
Is it any wonder that God determined He had to test them?
What happened? The second generation learned their lesson pretty well.
They saw the unbelief of their fathers and realized something had to change. They needed to have faith in the God who delivered them from bondage. All well and good. But look at what they neglected. They didn’t teach their children, despite what God had commanded they do. Recall that Moses declared in Deuteronomy 6:4-7 as the Lord had instructed:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
And if the children didn’t learn and propagate the Word, how then could their children know it? Is it any wonder that the time of the Judges was one of great apostasy, as ignorance of God was passed on for many generations?
Is there a lesson for us today?
Of course. It’s what makes the Bible as relevant as it is – ALL of Scripture, from the Old Testament through the New Testament.
However, we want to describe the faith of the World War 2 generation in America (i.e., the Greatest Generation) and those following. There’s little doubt that the teaching of God’s Word has dramatically declined since then with the resulting Biblical illiteracy that consumes our culture today. People are more inclined to believe in aliens from other planets than they are in the God of the Bible and their absolute need for salvation. In fact, many believe their redemption will come through these visitors from outer space. Given the examples we see in the Old Testament, we know that doesn’t bode well.
These examples also show what God tends to do in order to test His people to see if they really believe and trust in Him. He brings war and difficult times. Why? So that we can learn to rely on Him – or not.
Over the last twenty years, we’ve had a pretty good run at this testing. Starting with 9/11, the serious financial difficulties in 2008, and certainly the last two-plus years of COVID and its aftermath, all these and more have greatly tested the church, not to mention the secular population.
And how have we done? The church embraced Islam, the prosperity and other social gospels have risen greatly, and a large contingent of Christianity decided to trust the government and its authority figures rather than God.
Finding a good church is a major challenge these days, i.e., one that actually preaches and teaches God’s Word as written. Eastern mysticism is rising exponentially as New Age dominates the spiritual realm of many people’s lives. Children have little to no idea of who the God of the Bible is, the fact of their sinfulness, or why they aren’t good people like they’ve been conditioned to believe.
In the time of Judges, the Lord had to raise up a deliverer who would rescue Israel for a brief period, then they’d slip back into apostasy. What can we expect in this day and age?
I think God has clearly shown that judgment must come because there is soon to be an end to things. In the past, that meant subjugation by pagan nations. Now, that means God is getting ready to wrap up the Church Age and history as we know it in order for unbelievers to be under the subjugation of Antichrist in the Tribulation.
Ultimately, in Israel, as the years rolled by, the people were ruled by kings, and they fell further away from God. It meant the absolute destruction of the nation – initially at the hands of the Assyrians and Babylonians, and finally again by the Romans. Judgment fell because it had to.
Are we so special in this nation that we think we’re immune to God’s judgment? Apparently, many people think so. But we’re not. This world – led by the example of America – has been on a downward trajectory for a long time. The blood we’ve shed and the abominations we’ve propagated are a stench to God.
Who is our deliverer in this new time of Judges on the cusp of the Tribulation? None other than Jesus Christ. Mankind has shown that it is incapable of delivering itself from the troubles it brings on through its anti-God actions. We need a true Savior, and we have Him in Jesus. In this world gone rogue, we need the One who will remove us from its midst.
Many of us who name the Name of Christ realize how alien this world has become to us. (Sadly, many Christians don’t, and they’ve decided to embrace the world.) Because of this world’s hostility, such destruction is coming that will make the past violence and oppression of the pagan nations against Israel look like child’s play. Thankfully, God knows all this and will remove those of us who have called upon Him.
Why? Why the pre-Tribulation Rapture? It’s all because of Jesus! It’s His merciful gift to us who believe. We’ve already proven through faith our need for Him and trust in Him. We have no further requirement to demonstrate how thoroughly we can gird up and stand against the horrors of God’s wrath upon this earth. God’s grace is sufficient.
Soon, the Lord will show us this very fact.
Gary Ritter website: books & blog
Kindle Vella story: Tribulation Rising
Mideast Review: What Will It Take for The IAEA To Wake Up? – Amir Tsarfati - https://harbingersdaily.com/mideast-review-w-amir-tsarfati-what-will-it-take-for-the-iaea-to-wake-up/
Tuesday night saw the second Israeli airstrike on the Aleppo airport in a week. The purpose of the attacks was to shorten the runways so that larger aircraft are unable to land. This is directly related to Iran’s attempts to ship weapons to Syria using large cargo planes. Also Tuesday night, Deir ez-Zor, Syria, was attacked by unknown warplanes. There are two possibilities for who might have carried out the strike. First, it may have been the US synchronizing with Israel so that they can attack in conjunction with one another. Second, Israel may be leading this strike also, and just informing the US of their actions. The base that was attacked in Deir ez-Zor was originally Syrian. Then the war began, and Russia took over and upgraded the facilities. But now that Russia has pulled its troops from the base in favor of the war in Ukraine, Iran has swooped in and set up shop. Thus, it was the Iranians who were targeted in this attack.
This week began on a difficult note for the Kremlin as on Monday a suicide bomber killed two staff members outside the Russian embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Security forces shot the perpetrator, but it is unclear if the bomber was able to still set off the bomb or if the bullets are what detonated the explosion. Among the dead are a Russian diplomat and a member of the embassy’s security. While initial reports put the number of civilians killed much higher, casualties amongst the public still were at least four deceased and more than ten wounded.
Europe is beginning to suffocate, as Russian President Vladimir Putin slowly twists his energy garrote tighter and tighter. Meanwhile, a distant voice calls out from Mar-a-Lago in Florida, “Hey, EU, I told you so.” Now, Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled energy company, has said they will completely halt the flow of gas to Europe through Nord Stream 1 and it will remain shut off until Europe lifts the economic sanctions on Moscow. In turn, Europe accused Russia of weaponizing its energy, to which Russia responded, “Yeah, and…?”
The EU is receiving no sympathy from the rest of the world. Rather than step up oil production to help offset the economic damage from the gas shortages, OPEC+ is reducing their oil production by about one hundred thousand barrels per day. This is despite calls from US President Joe Biden for large increases. China is offering to sell the EU some of their surplus liquified natural gas (LNG). But before you think that suddenly Beijing has become altruistic, the reason they have surplus LNG is that they are buying Russian excess that had previously gone to Europe. China is then loading up that excess onto ships and sailing it thousands of miles to Europe where they are selling it to the gas-starved Europeans at a huge mark-up.
A little over a week ago, Austria stepped in to rescue its primary energy supplier, Wien Energie, by providing a two-billion-euro bailout. Four days later, both Sweden and Finland had to jump in to keep their power utilities solvent. Sweden is giving up to 250 billion kronor ($23 billion) in credit guarantees to its energy companies which are facing immediate technical bankruptcy. Finland is offering loans and guarantees up to 10 billion euros ($10 billion) to its utilities. Norway said it is closely watching the situation but does not yet feel that they need to act.
It is not surprising to see that not only did the Euro fall below the dollar earlier this year, but it has now reached a 20-year-low. Why is this so important? Because it is one of the key factors that is going to lead to the massive civil unrest that is soon to come. A fascinating report by Verisk Maplecroft determined that out of the 198 countries evaluated, 101 have seen a rise in social unrest over the last quarter. This includes both established and emerging countries alike. The expectation is that with the energy shortages and economic downturns, the dissatisfaction within the populace is only going to increase. It will take a major disappointment of the masses toward their governments to allow a singular leader to step in and unite the people of many nations under one head. This is certainly the direction that this world appears to be going.
Even as the Kremlin is continuing to make enemies to the west, they are deepening their ties with their new BFFs in the Iranian regime. Tehran has confirmed that they’ve placed a bid to purchase Russian Sukhoi SU-35 advanced fighter jets. Highly maneuverable with long-range air-to-surface strike capabilities, these fighters will greatly modernize the Iranian air force. Let’s hope for the sake of their pilots that these planes are more reliable than the military drones that Iran sold to the Russians.
On Wednesday, the IAEA, nuclear watchdog of the UN, stated that the agency was “not in a position to provide assurance that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.” In other breaking news, the IAEA has discovered that water is wet and that the sky is blue.
A senior diplomat who saw an IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear readiness stated, “Iran now can produce 25 kg [of uranium] at 90% if they want to.” That is both the amount and the enrichment level that the IAEA has determined is necessary to create a nuclear weapon. Currently, the uranium is stored at 60% enrichment, but the UN’s nuclear watchdog reported that it would only take three to four weeks to increase it to the needed level. According to the same report, the IAEA concludes, “It seems that Iran will be able to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for three nuclear bombs in one month and enough for five bombs in four months.” Wake up, IAEA! The Ayatollah’s regime already has enough enriched uranium! You know it and I know it. All it takes now is them making a strategic decision to move ahead with a bomb!
For most of the world, it seems that the nuclear deal is dead. The EU believes that the US government process for lifting sanctions will make completion of a deal impossible prior to the November elections. An anticipated conservative backlash against the very unpopular Biden administration has Europe thinking that there is no hope for a deal after the election. It seems right now that the only ones who think that a deal can still happen are Biden and his democrats. That possibility has Israel concerned enough that the head of the Mossad, David Barnea, traveled to Washington DC to meet with various top officials in the administration, Pentagon, and State Department. Prior to Barnea taking his position in June, his predecessor, Yossi Cohen, met with President Biden for the same purpose of dissuasion.
Tensions are building between Turkey and Greece over the Aegean Islands. The Turkish government was content to allow the islands to remain under Greek sovereignty as long as they remained demilitarized. However, now Erdogan is accusing Athens of building a naval force within the island group. The Turkish president is adamant that Greece must stop or risk paying a “heavy price”. Erdogan warned, “When the time comes, we will do what is necessary. As we say, all of a sudden, we can come overnight.”
Musaad al-Halawi, former leader of al-Hisbah (the secret police of ISIS), was killed in an attack in Deir ez-Zor, Syria, by the US-led coalition. Al-Hisbah is the “morality police” of ISIS and is known for violently ensuring that all follow its interpretation of the laws of the Koran.
The Broad Path to Destruction - Nathele Graham - email@example.com
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13-14.
It’s very easy for most people to find the broad path that leads to destruction. It’s a well-beaten path and clearly the way many feet have travelled. You don’t need GPS to get the directions to that path, just follow the crowd. Watch movies that promote violence, sexual promiscuity, and other sinful acts, and you’re on your way. You can also find the directions in secular music that glorifies the ways of the world. If you’re tempted by sin, instead of asking a well-grounded Christian for directions, ask a worldly person and you’ll get directions to the broad path that leads to destruction. Scripture will not guide you to that road, but will guide you to the strait gate that leads to life eternal. Keep Jesus’ words in your heart and follow Him on the path to the strait gate. Not long before He was going to offer Himself as the final sacrifice for our salvation, Jesus had a talk with His disciples. He told them He was going to prepare a place for them (and us). The disciples had followed Him for three years, but they still weren’t clear about what was about to happen. “And wither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” John 14:4-5. They were confused by Jesus’ words, and it was Thomas who asked Jesus how to find the way He spoke about, rather than asking Peter or Matthew, who were as confused as he was. Jesus will never lead us astray, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6. We need to take heed to these words seriously. Faith in Jesus is the only way to find eternal life.
The Sermon on the Mount holds many lessons taught by Jesus, and we need to pay attention to His words. After stating that the path to eternal life is found by following the “strait and narrow path”, He warned against false prophets. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 7:15. False prophets have always led people down the broad way to destruction. God is very serious about not following false prophets and what their punishment will be. “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.” Deuteronomy 18:20. That’s pretty serious. Thank God for His grace and mercy through Jesus. It’s very important not to allow yourself to be swayed by the teachings of the false prophets of today who write books with new ideas and many pastor mega-churches. Scripture is God’s word and His truth. Just because someone writes a book doesn’t make them a true follower of Christ. Today there are many authors and leaders of mega-churches who promote the “prosperity gospel” which isn’t found within the words of Scripture. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Colossians 2:6-8. Purpose driven, kingdom now, replacement theology, name-it-and-claim-it, and other false teachings will lead along the broad way to destruction. New Age ideas aren’t found in Scripture, nor is contemplative prayer or Yoga. The only way to protect yourself from these lies is to study truth. God’s truth is found in Scripture.
When we think of following the path of destruction, quite often we think of those who live a destructive lifestyle filled with illegal drugs, drunkenness, promiscuous lifestyles, and other such activities. We are moving quickly to the end of time, and Satan and his minions are becoming more noticeable in their attempts to destroy humanity. Satan can cause many conflicts in our minds and making sin seem acceptable. We can’t expect people of the world to follow God’s truth, but for people who have professed Christ as their Saviour, sin isn’t acceptable. Confusion comes when we deviate from Scriptural truth and compromise God’s word. It’s a sign of the times that many pastors don’t view sin as a problem, but teach user friendly sermons that don’t make the pew-sitters uncomfortable. There are even pastors who are “transgender”, which is a abomination that openly mocks God. There’s no way they can be trusted to preach God’s truth while embracing a life of sin. If we stand firm in the Lord, we won’t be detoured off of the strait and narrow path that God desires us to follow. We are in a spiritual battle. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-6. As Christians, we need to use God’s truth as a filter for our thoughts, words, and actions. We need to conform ourselves to God, rather than trying to conform God to our sinful ways.
If you aren’t strong in your Christian walk, you can be easily beguiled by Satan’s lies. He has had centuries upon centuries of watching humanity and becoming familiar with our weaknesses. His lies to humanity began in the Garden of Eden. God had given Adam one rule “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surly die.” Genesis 2:16-17. God gave this command to Adam prior to Eve being created. It was up to Adam to be sure that Eve understood and followed God’s word. Some time after Eve was taken out from Adam, she had a conversation with Satan, which is always a bad idea. He appeared to her in the form of a serpent. Satan lied to Eve, who believed his lies instead of God’s truth. God said don’t eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil because you will die. “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5. The broad road that leads to destruction was open for travel. Satan twists God’s truth into a ball of confusion and those who have no grounding in God’s truth, are easily detoured to the broad way of destruction. Satan lied, Eve believed him, Adam joined in sin, and Paradise was lost. Adam and Eve did not become like gods. God was right (as always). Death entered creation. Adam and Eve didn’t drop dead immediately, but their sin separated them from God and the death they experienced was soul death. Ever since that time, anyone with no faith in the Messiah faces eternal death. Satan will always lead a person to sin and the broad road to destruction. Study God’s word in order to stay one the path that Jesus walks.
The broad road to destruction may come by someone knocking on your door and presenting you with the Mormon or Jehovah Witness lies. Beware, and don’t be deceived. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him… For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ”. 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 & 13. Many have been led astray by these nice-looking, and very sincere people who earnestly are deceived. Sadly, they desire to deceive others. Study Scripture and don’t waiver from following Christ along the strait and narrow path. If anyone preaches a different Gospel than the truth found in Scripture, don’t listen to them. Their lies are from Satan. “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. Keep your mind and heart on Jesus, and don’t be deceived.
When we come to a true faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our life should reflect that faith. We will continue to sin, but we have the assurance that confessing our sin to Jesus will bring forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. What a blessing. If we confess our sin to Jesus, He forgives. When we turn away from the broad way that leads to destruction, and follow Jesus on the strait and narrow road the leads to eternal life, we have Christ’s assurance that He will forgive us.
As we near the Rapture, the days will become more and more wicked, as the world embraces Satan’s lies. As this happens, Christians need to become more sure pn our walk on the strait and narrow path. Not following false prophets, the latest fad, or any doctrine of demons. Christ is our example and we need to follow Him closely and avoid the broad path that leads to destruction.
God bless you all,
Recommended prophecy sites:
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
Why Is a Biblically Sound View of Eternity so Essential? – Jonathan Brentner - https://www.jonathanbrentner.com/https/jonathan-brentner-g8fgsquarespacecom/config/2021/9/21/4-ways-the-bible-helps-us-understand-our-destination
In his devotional, New Morning Mercies, Paul David wrote this,
“You see, a sound biblical doctrine of the future is the only way to arrive at a sound biblical understanding of the present. If there is a final glorious destination for all God’s children, then this time is not a destination, but a preparation for a final destination.”
In other words, we need a true Bible-based perspective of our future beyond this life in order to understand our journey through it. Without such a Scripture-based forward look to the paradise that awaits us, we often err by making this life our destination and eternity but an afterthought.
In his book Desire, author John Eldredge quoted physicist Blaise Pascal as saying, “Our imagination so powerfully magnifies time, by continual reflections upon it, and so diminishes eternity…for want of reflection…we make a nothing of eternity and an eternity of nothing.”[i]
We all struggle with this at times, do we not? It’s so easy to value what we see above our future destination, that of imperishable bodies, reigning with Jesus, and a spectacular eternal state. When we lose sight of these things, we also lose a biblical understanding of our lives this side of eternity.
So, why is a biblically sound doctrine of eternity so essential for our everyday lives?
1. IT FOCUSES OUR HOPE EXCLUSIVELY ON JESUS’ APPEARING
The Rapture has become a source of much mocking today and unfortunately such ridicule often comes from those within the church. However, the New Testament teaches that Jesus is coming for His church before the Second Coming and before the start of the Tribulation period.
As such, Jesus’ appearing is our imminent expectation as it was for the early believers. Paul summed up this eager anticipation in Philippians 3:20-21:
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
The word for “await” depicts a heightened eagerness and attentiveness for a future event. New Testament saints regarded the Rapture as an imminent event and watched for it with great expectation.
Our hope rests totally in Jesus’ appearing to take us to the place He’s preparing for us (John 14:1-3; Colossians 3:4). We live in biblical times; this is the season of His return for us.
Yet, the most popular teachings of our day deny this biblically sound understanding of our imminent hope in one of two ways. First, many pastors tell us that life will return to normal; the world has seen times like this before in its history and recovered. “Today is no different than previous periods of chaos and evil,” they say.
A second popular misconception unduly exalts the church making it the shelter for the current storm rather than the Lord Jesus. Most in this camp make the unbiblical claim that the church itself will bring in the millennium with Jesus returning at its conclusion.
Some teach a more subtle form of dominion theology, yet equally errant, by directing the hopes of believers to eventual triumph of the church before the eternal state. The church thus triumphs even though there is no millennium or a restoration of the kingdom to Israel.
Please know that in such a time as this, our hope must rest in Christ alone. All the teachings that deny the imminent appearing of Jesus for His church exalt what we can see above what’s invisible and in so doing take our focus away from Jesus.
2. IT ASSURES US THAT THE LORD WILL PUNISH THE WICKEDNESS WE SEE
Perhaps the biggest frustration of our day is that evil, vile people appear to enjoy much success while those who hope in the Savior face increasing persecution and opposition. Those who kill Christians, or those that enable them to do so, seem to have all the power at the moment.
The Bible tells us not to fret over the success of wicked people because in the end God will judge them (Psalm 37:7-15). The Old Testament depicts the horrors of the day of the Lord in which the entire earth will feel the impact of God’s wrath (Isaiah 13:9-13; Zephaniah 1:14-19). The book of Revelation adds details to this coming time of judgment upon the earth in chapters 6-18.
“If hell is real, and it is,” one might ask, “why is it necessary for the Lord to deal with sinners in this life? Why is the seven-year Tribulation a necessity if God will surely deal with sinners at the White Throne judgement?”
I believe the Lord will display His wrath in such a way for the following reasons:
First, the Tribulation will give God an opportunity to display His glory. After He destroys the powers in the Gog-Magog alliance, He will declare, “And I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them” (Ezekiel 39:21). Those now seeking to destroy our way of life will see a full demonstration of His power and sovereignty ahead of their ultimate destruction. They will witness the Lord’s glory firsthand.
Second, His judgments during this time will give sinners one last chance to call upon the Lord (Revelation 9:20-21). Though most people will continue in their rejection of the Savior, the Bible tells us that a great multitude will turn to Him and find eternal life (Revelation 6:9-11; 7:9-17).
Third, the wrath of the day of the Lord will give the world a visual representation of His justice. The Lord’s direct and unmistakable intervention in human history during the Tribulation will demonstrate His intent to judge all those who reject the Savior and His provision of eternal life.
The seven-year Tribulation is real and it’s closer than most can imagine.
3. IT ADDS CONTEXT TO OUR LIVES VIA OUR FUTURE REIGN WITH JESUS
For those of us securely in Christ, our future millennial reign with Him provides a context into which we can place personal tragedies and other experiences during our short-lived journey this side of eternity.
Much like it might have been for Joseph, bound in chains headed for a life of slavery in Egypt, it’s difficult to see beyond the trials and many disappoints in our lives. However, just as the Lord used hardship and injustice to prepare Joseph for his rule alongside Pharaoh and preserve His chosen people, so the Lord blends together our struggles, talents, gifts, hardships, and experiences to prepare us to reign with Him during the thousand-year period we refer to as the Millennium.
Yes, trials come to test us, enable spiritual growth, and provide us with opportunities to serve others in the body of Christ. However, I believe the Lord is also preparing us for our future role in His glorious kingdom.
At this point you might also ask, “Why is the millennium necessary? Could He not accomplish the exact same purposes in the eternal state?” These are good questions; however, I believe Millennium is a biblical necessity because:
It will vindicate the holiness of God before all the nations of the world (Ezekiel 36:22-23; 39:25-29; Zephaniah 3:14-20).
It will demonstrate that the Lord is a covenant and promise keeper. At the start of the Millennium, He will restore the fortunes of Israel just as promised throughout the Old Testament.
It will further glorify Jesus as the Father exalts the Son to rule over the earth, the very place of His rejection and great suffering (Psalm 2; Daniel 7:13-14).
It will prove the innate sinfulness of humanity. After one thousand years of perfect conditions on the earth and the rule of a righteous Sovereign, a multitude will rise up against Jesus (Revelation 20:7-10). This will decisively remove the excuse that it’s the environment that causes people to reject the Savior.
Together, the Tribulation and Millennial rule of Jesus will leave sinners with absolutely no justification for their rejection of the Lord.
4. IT TELLS OF OUR GLORIOUS DESTINATION IN THE ETERNAL STATE
Revelation 21-22 add the final touches to our ultimate hope, that of dwelling forever in the New Jerusalem and newly reformed earth and heavens. At this time, the words of Revelation 21:4 will apply for us and for everyone God brings with us to this brighter shore:
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Paradise is a real, physical place. Life in eternity will be exponentially better than even our best and most favorable experiences in this life.
The New Jerusalem will exceed even the grandest of expectations or the most fanciful images of our imagination. Do not let anyone deceive you into thinking that the New Jerusalem merely represents a future symbol of God’s presence on earth as some teach today. Such false teaching rips the heart of all biblical expectations of eternity that we see in both the Old and New Testaments (see Hebrews 11:13-16; 12:22-24).
JESUS IS OUR HOPE
Jesus is the sum total of our hope in today’s lawless and wicked world.
Some say things in the world will return to normal. However, apart from God’s direct intervention, it will be impossible to stop the momentum of the globalists that control many governments (including the U.S. President) as well as all avenues of communication and justice. The Lord will utterly destroy their kingdom, but that will not happen until the end of the Tribulation.
Those who deny the reality of the Rapture and Jesus’ future reign on the earth often direct our attention to the church as our hope. But how can we have confidence in an institution that’s so awash today in false teaching, errant views of the Gospel, and all-out compromise with the wickedness of this world?
The New Testament points us to Jesus as our hope (read 1 John 3:1-3).
The biblical picture of eternity breathes hope into our lives and brings peace amid the turmoil of this life. As the collision of this world with the seven-year Tribulation looms ever so close, it’s essential that we focus on Jesus’ imminent appearing.
Normal is not coming back, Jesus is! Don’t let the relative calm of our day deceive you; the kingdom of the antichrist is still advancing throughout our world.
My book, The Triumph of the Redeemed-An eternal Perspective that Calms Our Fears in Perilous Times, is available on Amazon. In this book, I show how the words of Scripture lead us to beliefs in Jesus’ imminent appearing and in a future gloriously restored Israel.
Note: Please consider signing up for my newsletter on the home page of my website at https://www.jonathanbrentner.com/ . It will greatly help me in reaching more people. Thanks!
[i] John Eldredge, Desire (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2007), p.110.
Daily Jot: The Farm Chronicles: Farmball and football - Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
With football season now kicked off, it reminds me of another game we played on the farm, a way to have some fun and let off some steam. Growing up on the farm was a lot of hard work, especially in the fall when school started. Waking up early in the morning before school and heading out to the barn in cold weather to feed and water the livestock, cleaning stalls and then eating breakfast and getting ready for the school bus. It never ended. So when we had a little time on our hands, we would try to find something to get into. Sometimes, that was playing farmball. Now farmball could be a form of basketball or football or baseball. But the rules were modified greatly for the number of participants or the weather or equipment.
In the summer to fall months, I often loved dressing up in my brothers’ football gear and making believe I was them. Chuck played in high school and college. Larry was a high school standout. These guys were strong, fast farm boys and they knew how to compete with the best of them. I wanted to be like them. Only trouble was, at such a young age and my brothers being 9 and 14 years older than me, I often had to play alone. Imagine how it is throwing yourself the football. I guess it made me faster, trying to catch my own passes. As I got older, my friend Sonny would come over and we would spend hours playing catch and “broadcasting” our moves for the TV audience. We would take turns being Roger Staubach or Bobby Hayes or Bob Lilly or LeRoy Jordan or Calvin Hill (get it that we were cowboys, so we were Cowboys fans?).
New Years Eve at the farm, Sonny would come over and we would have some friends from school sometimes. We would go out in the horse barn and play farmball. The center ally in the barn was ten feet wide by 60 feet long, with a hard, compacted dirt floor. The doors at each end were the goal lines. No out of bounds. Tackle only. You could make two first downs. Throwing a pass was difficult because the ceiling of the barn was only about 14 feet. But if the ball bounced off the rafters and somebody caught it, it counted as a complete pass or interception. Probably one of the first “Arena” football venues. We would be bruised and bloodied up big time at the end of the night. And we were really sore the next day. Many a championships were fought, won and lost in that barn.
Isaiah 22:18 recalls the judgment of the evil servant Shebna, “He [The Lord] will surely violently turn and toss thee like a ball into a large country.” Commenters agree that Shebna was in the hands of the Lord like a ball in the hands of a strong man, and would be hurled out of his place–thrown at a great distance by a strong arm. In 1911, Park H. Davis wrote what is known as the first history of football—”Football: The American Intercollegiate Game”–where he claimed: “This allusion, slight as it may be, is sufficient unto the antiquary to indicate that some form of a game with a ball existed as early as 750 years before the Christian era, the epoch customarily assigned to the Book of Isaiah.” I’m pretty sure God loves football, and I bet that it’s cousin, farmball, is played across America more than people would admit. We the have scars to prove it.
Daily Devotion: Character Over Charisma - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD. —Psalm 119:1
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/character-over-charisma/ - Listen
There are people who cheat, lie, steal, and cut corners, yet they seem to get away with it. Maybe you’ve thought, “Why shouldn’t I do that? Why should I play by the rules?” Here’s why: In the end, those people will reap what they sow. The Bible tells us, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7 NKJV).
The longer I live, the more impressed I am with character over charisma. I’ve seen a lot of preachers with dynamic personalities flame out because they didn’t seek to maintain honesty and integrity. The psalmist David wrote, “I will be careful to live a blameless life—when will you come to help me? I will lead a life of integrity in my own home” (Psalm 101:2 NLT). And in Psalm 119:1 we read, “Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord” (NLT). The great evangelist D. L. Moody said, “If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.”
In the Old Testament, we read about Daniel, a man of integrity, someone who always sought to do the right thing. On one occasion, it caused his arrest. After the king signed a decree that no one could pray to any god, only to him, Daniel prayed to God anyway. His enemies had him arrested and thrown into a lion’s den. What a bleak scenario that was. But how did the story end? His enemies ended up being eaten by lions, and Daniel lived to pray another day.
The same thing happened to Joseph, whose story we find in the Book of Genesis. Joseph lived with honesty and integrity, and although Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him of rape, he received vindication in the end. If you live with honesty and integrity, you will, too.
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